Project manager: accountable for what?

As a job profiling consultant specialising in project management, I often hear questions like,Responsibility-ahead-Blog-14 ‘Who is responsible for…?’ and ‘Am I responsible for…?’ As questions, they seem straightforward enough, but further consideration reveals the complexity that can underlie them. Perhaps the questioner is just filling an acceptable gap in knowledge, or a check on understanding, but the question may also be reflecting more deep-seated management, or indeed company culture related problems:

  • confusion – nobody is clear who is responsible for what, and therefore who is going to take what action
  • fear – of having to take on responsibilities for which one is not properly equipped
  • anxiety – at having to be accountable for the discharge of the responsibility
  • concern – at the possibility of having to be accountable, without having discharged the responsibility oneself
  • anger – at having to take on responsibility that one feels should be discharged by someone else for a variety of reasons
  • frustration – trying to find out who is responsible in order to get action taken, make a complaint or obtain redress
  • ignorance – of the way in which responsibilities have been delegated or distributed and therefore who should be discharging them
  • obfuscation – when debates about who is responsible result in, or are used to explain, delays and inaction.

Perhaps you recognise some of these?

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Is this why South Africans make great project managers?

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One of the delights of taking part in the Success Stories Shared initiative is that you get to hear the stories from projects managers across a whole range of disciplines

I always start the session by asking the manager how they got into project management.  Invariably it turns out to be by chance or by some convoluted series of career and job moves.  Indeed, in my entire career of coaching and interviewing project managers – I’ve only met one person, a woman – who from school had set her mind on being a project manager.  She is now one of the youngest Partners in Deloitte’s!

Continue reading “Is this why South Africans make great project managers?”