Accountability and transparency
Accountability and transparency in project management refer to the duty of a project manager to be held answerable for their decisions and actions, and to make all related information available to stakeholders. This includes maintaining open communication and providing timely updates on the progress of the project, as well as any changes to the original plans, objectives or goals. Accountability and transparency also imply that the project manager has the responsibility to report any foreseeable issues or challenges and to clearly explain the rationale behind any decisions they make.
Example of accountability and transparency
- A project manager can demonstrate accountability and transparency by providing regular progress updates to stakeholders, such as a weekly or monthly report that outlines the status of the project and any changes that have been made.
- The project manager should also create a timeline of key milestones and tasks which can be used to track the progress of the project, and any changes that need to be made.
- The project manager should also be willing to explain their decisions and justify the reasons behind them. For example, if the project manager decides to change the scope of a project, they should provide an explanation of why the change was necessary and what the expected outcome will be.
- The project manager should also be open to feedback from stakeholders and willing to make changes or adjustments when needed. This could involve revising the project plan, amending objectives, or setting new goals.
- The project manager should also be transparent about the budget and any changes that occur. They should clearly communicate the budget to stakeholders and explain any changes that have been made.
Best practices of accountability and transparency
- Create and maintain effective communication channels with stakeholders. This includes proactively keeping them informed of any changes and progress in the project, and taking the time to address their questions or concerns.
- Follow a standard operating procedure and document all changes or decisions made during the lifetime of the project.
- Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member and ensure that they are held accountable for their work.
- Make use of project management software to track progress and ensure accuracy of project data.
- Utilize risk assessment techniques to identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.
- Establish a reporting system that allows for regular updates on project progress and allows stakeholders to provide feedback.
- Involve stakeholders in decision-making processes where possible and ensure that their input is taken into consideration.
- Develop and implement a code of ethics for the project team.
- Have a process in place to monitor the performance of all team members and address any issues that arise.
- When any issues arise, ensure that they are addressed promptly and all related data is made available to stakeholders when requested.
When to use accountability and transparency
Accountability and transparency should be used throughout the life cycle of a project. It can be applied in the following ways:
- During the planning phase, a project manager should ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed of the project’s objectives, timeline and budget. This includes providing accurate and up-to-date information on the expected resources and costs associated with the project.
- During the execution phase, a project manager should use accountability and transparency to ensure that all stakeholders are kept aware of the progress of the project. This includes regularly providing updates on the status of tasks and milestones and promptly addressing any risks or issues that arise.
- During the review phase, a project manager should use accountability and transparency to ensure that all stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide feedback on the performance of the project. This includes soliciting input from stakeholders on how the project could be improved and addressing any issues raised.
- During the closure phase, a project manager should use accountability and transparency to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the outcomes of the project. This includes providing a clear explanation of the project’s successes and failures, as well as any lessons learned.
Types of accountability and transparency
Accountability and transparency in project management involve several key elements. These include:
- Financial: Project managers must be transparent with financial information related to the project, including budget, costs, and expenses. They must also be accountable for their spending decisions.
- Performance: Project managers must be accountable for the performance of the project and be able to explain any delays or changes to the project timeline. They must also be able to provide regular progress reports to stakeholders.
- Communication: Project managers must ensure that all stakeholders are kept up to date with any changes to the project, and they must be transparent with any communication that is sent out.
- Risk Management: Project managers must be able to identify, assess, and manage risks associated with the project. They must be able to explain how risks were managed, and accountable for any decisions that were made in response to a risk.
- Quality: Project managers must be able to demonstrate the quality of the project and be responsible for any issues that arise related to quality. They must also be transparent about any quality assurance measures or processes that are being implemented.
Steps of building accountability and transparency
- Establish and Communicate Goals: The project manager should clearly articulate the goals and objectives of the project, as well as any timeline for completion. This should be communicated to all stakeholders.
- Define Roles and Responsibilities: The project manager should define each person's role and responsibility on the project, and these roles should be made clear to all stakeholders.
- Assign Resources: The project manager should assign resources or personnel to the project, and should ensure that these resources are allocated efficiently and effectively.
- Monitor Progress: The project manager should monitor the progress of the project and provide regular updates to stakeholders.
- Encourage Open Communication: The project manager should encourage open and honest dialogue between stakeholders, and ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to voice their opinions.
- Document Changes: The project manager should document any changes made to the project, and explain the rationale behind the changes.
- Report Issues: The project manager should report any foreseeable issues or challenges to all stakeholders.
- Provide Transparency: The project manager should make all related information available to stakeholders, and should provide timely updates on the progress of the project.
Advantages of accountability and transparency
Accountability and transparency in project management offer several advantages. These include:
- Increased trust between stakeholders: When a project manager is held accountable for their decisions, it shows that the project is being managed with integrity and that the project manager is taking responsibility for their actions. This can create a sense of trust among stakeholders, as they know that their interests are being taken into account and that they can count on the project manager to make informed decisions.
- Improved decision-making: When a project manager is held accountable for their decisions, they are more likely to have access to all the information they need before making a decision. This helps to ensure that decisions are made with the best interests of the project in mind and that they are based on a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the situation.
- Improved communication: By providing timely updates and making information related to the project easily accessible, project managers can facilitate open communication between stakeholders. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that expectations are clear.
- Increased accountability: When a project manager is held accountable for their decisions, it encourages them to be more organized, efficient and prepared. This helps to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
Limitations of accountability and transparency
Accountability and transparency are important components of successful project management, however, they also come with certain limitations. These include:
- Increased workload for the project manager - Being accountable and transparent often means additional effort spent on communication and reporting, which can put a strain on the project manager's resources.
- Risk of information overload - If information is not managed properly, stakeholders may be overwhelmed with details, making it difficult to focus on the most important aspects of the project.
- Flawed decision-making - In some cases, project managers may prioritize transparency over other important factors, such as cost or time efficiency, resulting in suboptimal decisions.
- Reduced autonomy - When a project manager must report every decision to stakeholders, it can lead to reduced autonomy and the lack of freedom to make their own decisions.
|Accountability and transparency — recommended articles
|Configuration management plan — Applications of project management — Aspects of project management — Importance of project management — Project change management — Project governance model — Programme planning — Implementation of decisions — Project monitoring and control — Consumer awareness
- Mac Donald, K., Rezania, D., & Baker, R. (2020). A grounded theory examination of project managers' accountability. International Journal of Project Management, 38(1), 27-35.
- Betta, J., & Boronina, L. (2018, December). Transparency in project management-from traditional to agile. In Third International Conference on Economic and Business Management (FEBM 2018) (pp. 446-449). Atlantis Press.