How Do You Objectively Throw YOURSELF Under the Bus?

The article I posted last week was entitled “How Do you Objectively Throw Someone Under the Bus?” The purpose of the article was to show the importance of professional and objective escalations when deliverables on your project are on the verge of running late or are behind. It introduced a method I’ve used over the years called the Deliverable Radar Report. You can read the article here if you missed it:

Responses to this post were many and varied and ranged from “are you crazy?” to “great idea!” Thanks for such a lively and comprehensive discussion. It then occurred to me that another benefit of this report is to keep ourselves accountable as Project Managers. What do I mean?In the grand scheme, Project Managers could be considered resources. Just like other resources, we run the risk of becoming overwhelmed, overcome by events, losing focus on what really matters or potentially working on lower priority items. The Deliverable Radar Report helps us hold ourselves to the same level of accountability we expect from others. Below are two areas where this can help:

  • Treat Everyone Fairly – If an objective escalation path is not in place, we may be less apt to report on someone we know who is working 12 hours a day and is still behind. Or, maybe they are a personal friend who we know will be able to pull it together last minute. Both are risky scenarios. The Deliverable Radar Report removes subjectivity from the equation so we never find ourselves in the situation of having to make that judgment call. Our actions are always motivated by what is right for the project.
  • What If We Caused the Delay? – Maybe something was missed in the Work Breakdown Structure and a deliverable was not identified until later, or the project plan has not been updated. Or, perhaps we own a deliverable that is behind. We know that PMs owning deliverables is less than ideal, but in today’s resource strapped environment Project Managers find themselves putting together requirements documents, report mockups, and other key deliverables that are on the critical path in order to keep the project moving. The Deliverables Radar Report will objectively bring it to light that this is not a good practice.

I am not an advocate of throwing anyone under the bus. However, I am a zealot for keeping the greater good of our projects to the fore. This means escalating on our resources, and possibly ourselves, to keep things moving.

Couple of questions for discussion: Do you think the ability to objectively escalate on ourselves is an issue for PMs? If so, is there a way to remove the need to do this? For example, keep us off the critical path. What have you done, or seen others do, that hold a PM to the same level of accountability as their team?

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