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Project Management Accountability – Where Does the Buck Stop? Steven A. Vinson, PMP 14 years of life science project leadership Appointed officer: PMI.

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Presentation on theme: "Project Management Accountability – Where Does the Buck Stop? Steven A. Vinson, PMP 14 years of life science project leadership Appointed officer: PMI."— Presentation transcript:

1 Project Management Accountability – Where Does the Buck Stop? Steven A. Vinson, PMP 14 years of life science project leadership Appointed officer: PMI PharmaSIG B.S. Chemical Engineering Technical Depth: – Pharma/biotech manufacturing and development – Allied chemical – Healthcare – Telecommunications For more info or to contact Mr. Vinson:

2 Project Management Accountability – Where does the buck stop? Begin with the end in mind Accountability is contagious Character that Matters Managing Up Walk the Talk

3 Begin with the end in mind Start out Right Measure Objectively Turn over Control

4 Start Out Right At kickoff, stress the value of mutual respect and collaboration – Those who take on tasks will rest assured they are in a supportive environment and will more readily accept accountability

5 Measure Objectively Goals must be measurable Performance assessment must be based on objective data whenever possible Accountability decisions based on facts Not distorted by opinions, politics, and desire for power

6 Turn Over Control A sense of accountability requires a sense of control If several levels of approvals are needed for routine tasks, it will be abundantly clear that someone is accountable… it is just not them

7 Accountability is Contagious Carpe Auctoritas (Seize Authority) Support and Clarify Continuously Align Support Groups

8 Carpe Auctoritas Auctoritas (Latin) – Authority derived from a combination of prestige, initiative, and influence. Often used in reference to the Roman Senate, which accomplished much, though it held no legislative power Project Managers must seize authority when appropriate

9 Support And Clarify Continuously Reinforce this value through your communication and actions Team members must feel that they can trust leadership Proactively manage expectations of customers, executive management, and all stakeholders

10 Support And Clarify Continuously Frequently changing expectations can be a drain on a sense of accountability It is easier to blame changes for not attaining goals than it is to commit to getting the job done – take away the excuse!

11 Align Support Groups Functional groups must be aligned with business goals The project manager is the glue that holds it all together legal, accounting, human resources, marketing, etc.  Clear expectations; clear connection to project success  Successful work team interaction If key inputs are not under the control of project employees, it is natural to cede accountability

12 Character that Matters Seek out accountability Be politically aware, but rise above office politics Define project success in business and technical terms – not in terms of personal gain Do the right thing Provide support, honor trust

13 Managing Up Use the project charter (and not as a club) Advocate for the team Minimize Constraints

14 Project Charter Confers formal authority Documents vision Objective and non-threatening

15 Advocate for the team Executive sponsor ultimately provides authority Team members take risks to be accountable for project results that may not have derived directly from functional managers – convince sponsor to run interference Sell the project to ensure continued support and funding – accountability is nonexistent when the team feels funding or support could be withdrawn at any time (Part 11 example)

16 Minimize Constraints Sense of accountability is smothered by pressure from constraints that are beyond a team member’s control Example  team staffing – If a project work team is short-handed & does not have the ability to bring in new workers, team feels helpless – Helplessness is the great destroyer of the sense of accountability

17 Walk the talk Reward consistently and often Promote use of group problem- solving techniques Enable creativity and innovation

18 Reward Consistently And Often If a team is truly accountable, they should be rewarded when they are successful … and they must accept “corrective action” when the news is not so good – Public Recognition – Avoid perception of arbitrariness or favoritism – Reward accountability and success with increasing exposure and responsibility Beware: Careful not to reward "non- accountable" performance

19 Promote The Use Of Group Problem- solving Techniques Make sure teams work effectively to plan, identify obstacles, & develop their own solutions. – Then respect their conclusions – Otherwise, resulting pressure on participants will make them frustrated & eventually passive

20 Enable Creativity And Innovation Nothing de-motivates high-performing, accountable workers more than institutionalized obstacles to goal attainment Example  existing processes & procedures must have clear added value; allow flexibility whenever valuable

21 Parting Thoughts Why is this so much more difficult in Discovery and Development versus other project environments? – Project Size, Scope, Duration – Emotional ties to definitions of success – Weak matrix organizations whose business is primarily projects


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