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Drive Project Management and Team Collaboration Accountability

Have you ever wondered how to make people accountable? Well, there's really no such thing as "making" people take ownership. But there are some things you can do that will help foster accountability, and in the process make your project run smooth and profitably. Here are a few to get you thinking:

#1 Define the team and each person’s responsibilities
This may sound obvious, but sometimes a person knows only their little corner of the world, and therefore doesn't realize how their role impacts other roles, project deadlines and the results.

#2 Assign tasks and make them visible among the team
The keyword here is VISIBLE. If nothing else, ego motivates! We're not talking about "big brother" or micro-management, but just a general awareness. For example, if the architect is holding up the job, the general contractor wants the client to know the architect has things on hold. And more importantly, the contractor wants the architect to know that everyone knows the architect is holding up the job! (follow that?).

#3 Use a defined communication mechanism
Documentation and communication are important, especially when deadlines are missed or the project is delayed. So put in place a "public" (to the team) place where team members can contribute current statuses, updates, or issues, and in doing so, inform other team members. Use a system that automatically updates other team members. By the way, this will also provide an "audit trail" if needed at a later time.

#4 Engage the end-user/client
Who is the project being implemented for? An outside client? An internal department? Make these people part of the team. Of course, no one wants the client to know everything! So put in place a way for the client to view only what you enable them to view in regards to project status, issue management, job completion, etc.

#5 Eliminate excuses!
No more "I didn't know that" or "You never told me"! In your communications, implement some form of  "Acknowledgement" process, so no one can ever say they didn't get the message. By keeping a historical log of Acknowledgements, you'll eliminate excuses - well, the valid ones anyway!