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      March, 2011 Full Moon Edition      

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Natural Accountability Generation

A lot of team members and support personnel for projects think that the project manager is a nag.  The project manager must walk a fine line between following up and micro managing to assure there will not be a problem with deliverables. 

If you were forced to pick an end of the spectrum between being a nag and a totally hands off project manager you should choose nag.  Fortunately, we have choices between the ends of the spectrum.

Why Nag? 

  • People sometimes hide problems.
  • People sometimes are overly optimistic about what can get done in a certain amount of time.
  • People tend to start working on a task later than planned and sometimes due to priorities they may neglect to work on your project deliverable at all.  

The problems above are amplified because often when they occur people don’t tell you about it or tell you about it too late.  As a project manager you must stay informed and this means following up (you must nag to a degree.)

Here’s a tip… tell team members up front that you are going to follow up.  Tell them it is not personal… but necessary for a project like this. (A project like this can be large or small, critical or not critical, internal or external, i.e. any and every project)   Tell them you will follow up generally based on the following NAG Schedule

Natural Accountability Generation (NAG) schedule 

  • Deliverables 3 months or more away – bi-weekly.
  • Deliverables 1 to 3 months away – weekly
  • Deliverables 1 week to less than a month – twice a week.
  • Deliverables less than a week away – daily.

Obviously, you can and should modify the NAG schedule to the context of your project environment.  (Judgment always rules)  Letting people know you will do this ahead of time reduces potential resentment from the natural following up project managers require to be successful.  Never forget to always be positive and friendly when following up.

Dr. James T. Brown, PMP PE, Author, The Handbook of Program Management - McGraw-Hill

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