Collaboration and accountability: can you say that and mean it?

Collaboration and accountability may seem like overused buzzwords, but they actually mean a lot for project managers. We rap about what the terms mean, why PM’s aren’t getting them, and how to fix that. Away we go! 

Let’s about the business of collaboration. It’s everyone’s favorite buzzword and ranks right up there with synergies, businessy businessmen, and influencer. Collaboration is defined as “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” But we know that it’s just as likely to be working with something rather than someone.  So while it’s that you might be working with people you never see, communicating almost exclusively through email and phone, it’s critical for PM’s to have great tools to get work done on time and on-budget. HOWEVER, collaboration is not always a two-way street. Sometimes, you invest time, money and resources into something that gives the illusion of helping but in fact bites you in the butt – over and over and over again (lookin’ at you 1990’s software which ultimately drives well-meaning managers to spreadsheets).

Modern collaboration inherently requires accountability, and accountability is a two-way street. Teams need to have clear directives from their PM’s, and PM’s need to have confidence that their team will execute – seems pretty necessary, right? If your team is updating the status of activities, but you don’t know who’s entering it or how accurate it is, you’ve got a problem. Without a single source of truth, you can’t be sure your team is managing a task with diligence and efficiency, and you can’t be sure people are not sitting on their hands waiting for an email (likely late) to confirm a completed predecessor activity. The bottom line is this – if you want high-level collaboration and the ability to be accountable to your team in real-time and vice versa, you need SiteTracker. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

A recent Harvard Business Review broke down the concept of collaboration into components: “Informational resources are knowledge and skills—expertise that can be recorded and passed on. Social resources involve one’s awareness, access, and position in a network, which can be used to help colleagues better collaborate with one another. Personal resources include one’s own time and energy.”

SiteTracker was built to address the personal resources drain. Spreadsheets may look like honest collaborators, but DO NOT BE FOOLED. When a team member types in a name instead of a date, or puts the wrong name, or the wrong title in a cell, that’s a collaboration killer. You see (talking to you site-based project managers) spreadsheets and the dated systems that push you towards them are not your friends.

But we’re different at SiteTracker. Our tools encourage collaboration. SiteTracker lets users and PM’s work in one system – THAT’S collaboration. Collaboration suffers when you make an update in a spreadsheet on Tuesday but don’t upload the update until Thursday. Collaboration also suffers when you finish what you’re doing on a Tuesday, but the people responsible for activities downstream are not notified until your Monday site-by-site meeting.

Automated workflow and real-time notifications mean you know exactly what’s happening with your team. SiteTracker was created to prevent the all-too-often “I’m waiting for a team member to enter information and then we can move on” project bottleneck. SiteTracker makes it easy to assign/manage tasks and notifies the user of milestones and project alerts. And, lest we forget, the platform is accessible on all devices, meaning you and your team can use SiteTracker when at home, in the office, or in transit.

And with better collaboration comes more accountability. If you’re a PM, and when you log on to your behemoth spreadsheet, you have no idea which team member has entered what info, you are flying blind. SiteTracker records every change made to data, including username, date and time. And with collaboration and accountability comes (wait for it, buzzword coming) TRANSPARENCY. You’re in control of your data and your team, and you can make personnel and strategy decisions with a full deck of information.

So when we get down to it, collaboration and accountability are not independent, they’re very much related. When you’re collaborating, you can outline the project and team objectives. Plus, optimal collaboration means you keep your house in order. SiteTracker was built to get PM’s and their teams working more cohesively than they ever have before- operating in one comprehensive system with a single source of truth.