Why Team Accountability is Important for Remote Productivity

Why Team Accountability is Important for Remote Productivity

2020 has been a year of remote work management with remote team productivity being the number one priority for organizations across the world.

Increased accountability is a must for remote teams to be successful.

Accountability is a culture, a deep ingrained characteristics among great teams. And it must be always practiced right from the top to the bottom.

A bottoms-up approach won’t work as employees will soon lose track if the same level of accountability is not displayed by the managers and leaders of the organization.

What is accountability?

Accountability is about meeting your commitments or delivering on what you have committed. Be it about responding to an email within the said time, finishing a report or completing the tasks and projects at hand.

Stay true to your word! That’s accountability.

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Ownership and accountability go hand-in-hand. Owning up to one’s mistakes, or if you are a manager owning up for a team’s fiasco and leading the team forward is a great example of accountability.

Imagine your manager shirks away responsibility or distances himself when a project goes awry. Nah! That’s not right.

The idea is to put the project’s, the team’s and the organization’s best interest before self!

When a leader is able to do that, others follow and it becomes a company-wide culture wherein everyone is committed to the organization’s growth and success.

Which also means, delivering exceptional customer service, building a high performing work environment and contributing to the community you live in.

Why is accountability important for productivity?

Productivity is about delivering tasks in time with high quality. If there isn’t accountability, teams tend to lax in their efforts.

Tasks get delayed, quality levels degrade and leads to team conflicts.

As a result overall performance of the team is impacted leading to project failure.

Accountability is must for all team members to hold and deliver their part with utmost sense of urgency and responsibility.

Imagine where a lapse on one team member’s end causes the other team members to stretch, rework and stay late to meet pending deadlines. Surely not a happy environment.

This also causes a trust deficit within the team making the overall work environment very toxic.

And these problems compound when you work in a remote team setup.

Hence, ensuring your work is completed in time and doesn’t hinder the other team member’s progress is a must.

You tend to build the much required trust and a motivated team that is willing to contribute more and help each other complete their tasks where needed.

This way there is increased collaboration, faster issue resolution and all round productivity rise.

How to ensure accountability in project management?

Accountability is directly linked to the project success. Project Managers will have a hard time ensuring their project is executed as per plan within the agreed timelines and delivered in accordance with the acceptance criteria.

What is required is for team members to be clear of their roles and responsibilities on the projects, clarity around their task assignments & timelines and the overall project schedule.

To start with, deploying a work management tool like Orangescrum is a must for:

  • Robust task breakdown
  • Resource management and planning
  • Monitoring task progress
  • Constant review of project KPIs
  • Time tracking
  • All round collaboration in real time

In addition to the above, project managers can take some tactical steps using project and task collaboration tools to increase project wide accountability.

Setup user roles and responsibilities

Having a well-defined custom user role permissions management within your task management tool proves helpful in ensuring teams can access info in accordance to their project roles.

This ensures, they aren’t distracted within the tool and get straight to the information they need to complete the task at hand in time.

Clarity on their roles and expectations ensures there isn’t scope for error and leads to increased accountability.

Transparent Task Management

Having centralized task management helps in working off of a common list. Defining tasks with clear

  • Due dates
  • Estimated hours
  • Task types and task labels
  • Custom reminders
  • Task linking

Gives the team all the info they need in one view. Thus eliminating guess work or dependency among the team members.

Teams are self-sufficient and can execute their tasks on time.

Moreover, the task list is visible across the team so that all project members know who is working on what plus how one’s tasks might be linked to other.

A public task list thus puts an added onus on the team members to complete their tasks so as not to be seen lagging behind other team members. Plus it creates a sense of healthy competition as well to stay on top of their respective tasks.

Conduct Daily Stand-ups or Check-ins

Reviewing the team’s progress via quick 15-20minute catch-up meeting is a great way to maintain the required accountability within team members.

Kanban boards are great tools to visually track and review task progress.

Depending on the nature of your project and the team style you can conduct the status reviews twice a day as well i.e. beginning and end of the day.

Teams can highlight any impediments or call for help for the tasks of the day during the morning call and present their accomplishments at the end of day check-in.

This way the team remains focused on delivering their tasks within the timelines and be ready for progress update at the end of day.

Celebrate Small wins and share success stories

All work and no play is no fun either! To keep the momentum going, make it a practice to highlight team accomplishments.

Your daily stand-ups are great place to highlight success no matter how small. It can be

  • A consistent employee delivering his tasks without delays
  • A team member who solved a long standing issue or found a fix for a critical issue
  • A process improvement that reduces the tasks cycle time
  • Customer appreciation etc.

Success begets success! Team members will be more inclined to be a part of the success story and hence will be more accountable to their role.

Conclusion

Remote teams or not, productivity is a crucial KPI for project success. Driving efficiency at all levels within the organization calls for increased accountability. It starts with the leaders at the top.

The more the leaders display exemplary behaviour and act with accountability through all their responsibilities, the more it helps to drive an accountability driven culture throughout the organization.

The other thing equally important to drive a sense of accountability is the use of the right project management tool that supports the team’s working style and the overall org culture.

Not just any tool will do it. You are well off by reviewing a few and deciding on one that is closely aligned to your business flow and processes.

You can provide deeper transparency to the teams with a centralized collaboration tool so that it is easy for teams to be aligned with task deadlines, quality requirements, customer expectations and the overall project goals.

Start improving your team’s accountability with a 14-day free trial with full premium feature access of Orangescrum.

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Hayley Turner, Founder & CEO, Michigan, United States

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