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Truman We've had quite a project rescue and recovery trip through SPARTA this week.  To get the full context of these points, I welcome you to read Race Through The Forest.  To recap,

  • We STOPPED all work to regroup
  • We set PARAMETERS around the recovery work effort
  • We identified and documented ASSUMPTIONS and risks meaningful to our recovery
  • We tagged relevant ROLES based first and foremost upon skill sets
  • Lastly, we planned and estimated the TASKS that were important to our recovery effort

So what's left?  The most important piece:  ACCOUNTABILITY (the last letter in the SPARTA acronym).  Former U.S. President Harry S. Truman had a plaque on his desk that said "The Buck Stops Here."  Unlike almost every president we've had since, Truman understood the key element of his role was accountability.  No excuses.  No whining.  No finger pointing.  No spin-doctoring.  It ended with him (are you paying attention, Clinton and Bush???!!!).  When I am managing a project, I tend to keep reporting simple.  I provide all of my resources with a 2-3 week look-ahead report (on a weekly basis) so they know what is coming up.  I also publish a "late task" report.  That one single report lets EVERYBODY know what tasks are late and who is responsible for those tasks.  When I say "publish," you can translate that as the corporate equivalent of shouting it from a mountain top.  Every relevant stakeholder knows what is late and who is accountable.  It's an objective yet powerful motivator to get tasks done on time.

Sometimes accountability can take a simpler tone, though.  Last month, Steve Farber posted a great story about a Sleep Country delivery driver.  His take on accountability provides lessons for all of us.  When I'm in a restaurant, I tip my server based on one primary issue:  how well did they keep my beverage glass full.  That is truly the one thing that I know they are wholly accountable for.  Simple follow-through.  It's really not that hard.

Well, folks, I hope you've enjoyed this trip through SPARTA as much as I have.  Good luck recovering and rescuing your challenged projects.  Carpe Factum!

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