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Individual and Team Accountability

Individual and Team Accountability

Author: Jeff Carroll

This lesson provides an overview of individual and team accountabilities.

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Developing Effective Teams

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Source: Image of task description, Creative Commons, Jeff Carroll; Image of callout box, checkbox, checkmark, images by Video Scribe, License held by Jeff Carroll.

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jeff, and in this lesson, we'll discuss how the individual and team accountability on a project is critical to a project's success, and how it's the project manager's responsibility to obtain agreements on accountability from project team members and the project team as a whole. So let's see how this happens.

As you might remember from another lesson, clearer communication is an important aspect of good leadership. This includes communicating about the expectations for work and establishing the rewards for success and the consequences for work that doesn't succeed. In other words, each team member should understand what is expected of them. And one method to do this is through individual accountability. This can occur through verbal or written agreements with the project manager.

Accountabilities are often shared with team members in the kickoff meeting. Whether verbal or written, the roles and responsibilities of each team member must be agreed upon. And each team member must know the activities and tasks that they're required to complete and the time and resources available to complete the work. This should occur for every activity and task in the schedule.

If the project manager chooses to write accountability agreements, then they should be written like project objectives and follow the SMART method. If you recall, SMART is an acronym that means specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-phased. Here's an example of a well-written task description using the SMART method. Note that it shows how much time is estimated for each task assigned to the team member.

The total commitment to the project is specified. In this case, the team member is spending 100% of their time on the project. And the quality of deliverables is also specified. Note that it references a quality standard, which can be common in some organizations. The team member then verifies that they're accountable for what's contained in the description, often by signing off on the document. Accountabilities can also occur with an entire project team, and can help ensure project success. As a whole, teams are accountable for communicating about project issues. This means open communication about any problems or issues that impact the project. Solutions can often come from unexpected places.

Cooperating to solve problems. One person's problem is the project's problem, so everyone is impacted in some way. Team members need to know that they must assist others, in addition to working on their own problems. Sharing information freely. Just as open communication is critical for project management., so it is critical for a team's success.

Documenting progress. Now, filling out project tracking sheets is not the most enjoyable task of the day, but this information helps a project manager gain the support of the project sponsor and key stakeholders by keeping them aware of the current project status. Attending and participating in team meanings. Since team meetings are one of the few times when information can be passed to all team members, it's important for everyone to attend and participate in the meeting.

And assisting in identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks. There are a few project managers who can identify all risks a project faces on their own. Each team member must contribute their expertise to the task of finding and mitigating risks. And that's all we have in this lesson. Good job. You learned the individual and teams must both be accountable to a project's success. Thanks and have a great day.

Terms to Know
Individual Accountabilities

Clear performance criteria for each team member in relation to specific tasks.

Team Accountabilities

The framework for team members to contribute and collaborate throughout a project.