Project Manager Accountability

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Anyone who has read any of my recent work or heard me speak will know I am focused heavily on the idea of projects becoming more about delivering business benefits and less about delivering on time, scope and budget. That doesn’t apply to all projects, but increasingly, organizations are recognizing their ultimate success comes from delivering initiatives that enable business goals to be achieved.

It follows that if the definition of success for a project is changing, then the definition of success for a project manager should also be revisited—and this month’s leadership theme seems like a good time to do so. At the same time, I want to also look at where in the organization accountability for that success should lie, because I think it’s changing as well (at least partially).

For as long as I have been involved in project management (and that’s a long time), there has been debate around what makes a project manager successful. This typically results in debate around whether a project must deliver on time, scope and budget for a PM to succeed, or whether there are other considerations (team development, customer and sponsor satisfaction, etc.).

While these discussions are interesting from an academic standpoint, I’ve always felt the success criteria for project managers (or for any role) should be simple. We succeed if we deliver …

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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

- Bertrand Russell

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