If you've recently been put in charge of an important project or initiative, you're probably experiencing a range of emotions, from excitement to possibly some uneasiness.
As you’re sizing up that new project initiative that’s very important to your company, you anxiously start thinking about who needs to be involved, and you pull them into a meeting.
Everyone is excited about this initiative (even though they have a lot on their plates already) so everyone gets to work to make it happen. It’s going to be fantastic for the organization—and for you personally!
And then something happens. Could be another leader’s project takes precedence. Or others get behind because of the other tasks they have to complete first. Or even an unexpected cost comes up that throws you out of budget.
And you start thinking—this is going to reflect poorly on me as the project leader. Could I get fired over this?
In our article, The Case for Team Accountability, we looked at reasons why shared team accountability promotes project success. But how do you keep track of who’s accountable for each deliverable?
Planning often gets a bad rap. It’s boring. It takes too long. It makes things sound too scary, or it’s never realistic enough to make it worth the effort… So how do we create plans that make our work easier, instead of just taking up time?
Do your team members struggle to work together? Do your team leaders struggle to bring high-performing teams together to deliver team outcomes? Do team members succeed at fulfilling their individual assignments, but projects still fail?
We feel your pain and we have the cure. Shared team accountability.
Accountability can help or hinder your project. In the past, accountability was often synonymous with blame. It created fear, forced people to cover their backsides, and sabotaged learning. This kind of accountability did little to improve performance.
Collaboration is the act of working together to achieve a common goal. In a matrix, leading teams collaboratively helps them engage, move through the stages of team development (become high-performing), solve problems and get more work done.
People who lead projects in a matrix understand the challenges of building buy-in and commitment. Some project leaders fear losing control of the project if the team participates.
In a matrix organization, project leaders lead teams with members who report to someone else. To be successful, these leaders must be able to lead without authority.
We all know that the point of any project is to produce a final deliverable that satisfies the customer, and is delivered on time and within budget. So, if it's a deliverable we're after, why not manage our projects with a focus on deliverables instead of activities or tasks? Focusing on deliverables at the main project level has several advantages.