Recently I've noticed a trend which frankly really ticks me off. My observation is that more and more project managers are becoming hyper risk-averse and demonstrating an unwillingness to accept accountability for the projects they manage. One tell-tale sign which I've noticed is the usage of "matrixed" organization charts. In matrixed organization charts, the project team is depicted using different types of team leads shown vertically and horizontally on the organization chart. With a matrixed organization, team members may have a "solid line" reporting relationship to one manager and a "dotted line" reporting relationship to one or more managers. Now, I fundamentally don't have a problem with the collaboration aspect that a matrixed organization enables; where I do have a problem is when the matrixed organization makes it difficult to pinpoint who has accountability for the project.
In every single successful project I've ever been associated with there was a project structure which ultimately put responsibility and accountability for the project on a single project manager. Depending on the size of the project the project manager may have a number of project managers working with her on a project but at the end of the day there was one person ultimately accountable for delivery. Strip away singular accountability and you've now reduced your likelihood of success on a project.
Ok, so by now you've gotten my point that I am manic when it comes to accountability. Hopefully a bit of my manic-ness will rub off on my readers. Consider these tips to better ensure project success through clear lines of accountability:
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