Transparency isn’t something project managers talk about often. In fact, it might even be a topic they avoid discussing. You should embrace transparency within your project management though, as its many benefits often outweigh the disadvantages.
And while many things are beneficial to share with your team, we can and will admit there are a few things (like finances, contracts or any personal topics) that just don’t need to be shared with everyone. Providing a deep level of visibility will not only make your job easier, but it can also make your project run more efficiently and make your teammates happier.
Before we get into some of the reasoning and benefits behind transparency, let’s define what we are talking about. A project managed transparently is one which has visibility to every task of the project. Everyone can see the status of each part of the project. Communication and reasoning about decisions regarding the project are well documented and can be found by anyone on the team.
Why Project Managers Should Prioritize Transparency
Better performance and accountability
Managing projects becomes difficult when people don’t work as a team. Allowing helps team members perform better and be accountable for their actions. It also allows team members understand the roles expected of each other and how they can support one another when necessary.
Employees can motivate one another to improve their performance because they will understand how their actions impact the work of their colleagues.
Transparency promotes responsibility by making it clear to the entire team what needs to be accomplished. If your team doesn’t have a clear understanding of the problem, they won’t be able to come up with a solution for you.
Eliminates project derailment
In the course of a project, sometimes events or findings may occur that will take it off course.
Projects typically have a due date which may suffer from uncompleted tasks. That dependency needs to be in clear view of all teams members.
Transparency of task status allows the project manager and team members to easily identify and report on any issues that might affect the project’s progress. It also allows the whole team to understand the development and how their actions can ruin or improve it.
This is where project management tools such as Allisian come in. Project management tools like this allow you to track the status of tasks and team members. Looking for more tools to help in project management tracking? Just head over to the DPM Toolbox.
Transparency helps managers and team members understand the functions of the entire team and the relationship between various tasks. This understanding improves communication, commitment, and accountability of the team.
Through effective communication, it becomes easy to identify and fix problems before they affect the results of the project. All team members understand what to do on a daily basis and the reasons for their actions.
Areas of Your Project To Focus On
Transparency in project communication allows team members to see all aspects and decisions of a project that might affect or interest them. Messages can be delivered using public forums such as meetings, emails, or directly through your project management tool of choice.
For teams interested in methods of team communication, I would highly suggest taking a look at agile or scrum methodologies. At the core of agile are meetings, such as the stand up, planning meeting, and retrospective which can facilitate great team communication along with transparency into the planning of a project.
While it may not be best to share all financial data with team members working on a project, sharing budgetary information with them can be extremely beneficial.
Letting team members know how much time they can spend on a project can be extremely helpful in allowing team members to plan their daily work and gauge if they are on or off track of completing the project under budget.
Budget information can be translated from funds available to time available, so that transmitting monetary information can be avoided
Problems that arise
Some managers may hide facts about problems in the project from the rest of the team when they really need to be sharing them. This can affect the project and create problems in the team.
The project manager should have a clear understanding of the project and the ability to identify problems when they arise so as to take timely corrective action. Since the problems in the project affect the work of other team members, it is advisable to share them with the team. Often, team members can provide suggestions that will help in solving the issues.
Project managers should exercise openness with the rest of the team when facing challenges they cannot handle alone. Being open encourages the workers to share any issues they may have with their colleagues. A team will not be fully effective unless they share problems that affect their performance and find solutions together.
By opening up to the people working on your project, they will in turn open up to you.
When things change
In the course of the project life, the manager may find it necessary to make some changes—in many ways, change management on various levels is a large part of a PM’s job. The manager should explain the intended changes to the team members and the reasons for them.
When the team understands the reasons behind the changes, they will help in their implementation. Being open is not a demonstration of one’s weaknesses but is a way of showing the desire to have success with the project. Transparency is not only expected from project managers when they succeed. They can still get appreciation from the stakeholders even if the project fails on condition they have exercised honesty and transparency.
We have provided some clear benefits that come along with project transparency, along with areas of your project management in which you can implement it.
If there is one takeaway, it’s to just communicate more with your team. Various project management methods and tools, like Allisian, can help facilitate that.
What Do You Think?
How do you promote transparency in your project? What advantages or disadvantages have you found with it?
Ready to learn more? Here’s a Related Workshop: How To Deliver More Value As A Digital PM