Transparency is an important element for effective project management and has numerous benefits. The article below outlines how you can implement transparency in project management.
The English dictionary defines transparency as the quality of material that allows anyone to see through it. When applied to project management, transparency means keeping every stakeholder in the loop and creating an environment of trust and collaboration.
Calls for transparency in project management are often received with mixed feelings today. Some managers believe that there must be some aspects of the project that should remain confidential and too much transparency might be harmful. However, data-driven researches prove that in project management, the pros of transparency far outweigh the cons.
Project transparency requires the same level of openness within a project irrespective of the stakeholder’s role or position. From the constraints to the actual expectations from the project, managers need to be honest and open. This means that everyone is aware of the bigger picture and every decision the team takes is for the benefit of the project. Compartmentalizing information or revealing it on a ‘need to know’ bases will only hinder the progress and cause unnecessary problems that may lead to project failure.
The Benefits of Transparency in Project Management
As a project manager, you probably won’t have much say in how the company shares its information but within the project team, you can foster a culture of openness and accountability and reap the benefits.
- Better performance and accountability
In an official environment, transparency makes employees feel more involved and valued which leads to better performance. Team members are aware of the expectations from them and the role they are to play in the project. Tasks usually have dependencies and when team members know what affects their tasks would have on the project, they are more likely to try their best to complete them on time.
Transparency in project management also makes it easier to maintain a system of responsibility and accountability as everyone knows who is responsible for which task. Data shows that engaging team members bring a positive change in their performance as they know what they are trying to achieve. Team members who are aware are also great at motivating and helping each other out which boosts performance.
- Projects remain on track
Projects often get derailed due to several factors that are difficult to manage. PMI states that in 2018 alone, 52% of all projects faced scope creep in one way or another. Lack of transparency is one significant reason for scope creep. When members are not fully aware of the exact requirements and constraints of the project. It’s only natural that they would make mistakes that can have a detrimental effect on the project. In a transparent team, the chances of your project derailing get significantly reduced
- Improved trust and teamwork
Transparency plays a great part in helping managers unify their teams and encourage them to work cohesively. Team members know who exactly will be most affected by their tasks and can approach them if they want to discuss something or to include them in the decision-making process. In such collaborative environments, teams can share important information and discuss new techniques that can be used to further enhance their productivity.
- Better relationships with customers
Team members are not the only people managers should be honest with. Project transparency is truly achieved when every single stakeholder is kept engaged and that includes the customers too. Customers are more likely to come back to your team if they are included in the entire proceedings of the projects. Moreover, keeping the customer in the loop also helps with product development as you can discuss potential problems with them and integrate their feedback with much more ease. That is one of the reasons why many organizations are shifting toward Agile project management because customers now expect to be engaged throughout the execution phase.
How to introduce and Improve Transparency in Existing Projects
There is no universal method of increasing transparency within your projects. Every team has its own set of realities and constraints. Even the industry or the type of client can affect how it can be introduced in your projects.
Here are some ways you can improve the transparency of your projects and boost your performance:
- Communicate Effectively
Communication is a cornerstone of project management. Many managers work actively to improve communication within their teams because data shows a significant increase in a team’s performance when they communicate.
Effective communication is also important for teamwork. When team members feel involved and work together on solving problems, they’ll have a greater sense of respect and reliance on each other.
- Let everyone see the bigger picture
Feeling validated and having a clear goal are important motivators for anyone. Your project team will perform better when they’ll know how their contribution is affecting the success of the project and how each task is dependent on the other. By having a clear view of the project scope, team members would also be able to confidently take an initiative and come up with unique solutions to maximize output.
It’s also important to make sure that every member has access to all the data pertaining to the project. By having access to crucial data at the right time, team members can make informed decisions that will benefit the project. Similarly, giving honest feedback and updates about the progress can help managers keep the team motivated and engaged throughout the project lifecycle
- Involve everyone in the decision making process.
One of the main reasons why most modern organizations and clients prefer Agile to traditional project management methodologies is the way everyone is involved in the project. Managers should encourage every member to share their ideas with the team and not worry about their job status or hierarchy.
- Forster and culture of collaboration and build teamwork
When you have transparency and effective communication in your project, opportunities to collaborate and work together will come naturally. As a manager, you must provide an environment where team members learn from each other’s experience and continuously improve. New project teams usually consist of members from different departments and take some time to get in the groove. In a collaborative environment with transparency, you will see that teams will take less time to get comfortable and start performing like a well-oiled machine.
- Rely on modern technology
A modern project manager deals with multiple challenges and needs help from the right tools to be successful. There are many project management applications out there that make collaboration and communication easier which enables managers to maximize their potential. Some solutions, come with features like task management, progress tracking, and automated notifications that make it simpler for managers to improve transparency.
A Happy and Involved Team Means a More Successful Team
The key takeaway is that transparency is an important element for effective project management and has numerous benefits. There are multiple paths project managers can take to ensure that their projects remain as transparent as possible. By improving the overall communication in the team, nurturing a collaborative environment, and using a powerful project management tool, managers can make their teams more productive and efficient.
Credit: Dinesh Varadharajan