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Accountability is many a time one of the most neglected aspects of SuccessFactors implementations which are always fast-paced deployments with no real contingency and at every phase require something solid to replace the blame game when things go wrong. It may come across as very simple that PMO has the responsibility of establishing an environment of accountability; team members have the responsibilities to hold themselves and each other accountable, if so why do we come across figure pointing and lack of smooth success? Never assume that project leaders and team members understand the critical value of accountability.

Know fact, execution gets chaotic when tasks and roles are unclear yet the majority of SuccessFactors deployments are initiated and imperfectly completed without creating a formal accountability matrix required during the Prepare phase. Fancy expensive tools or project management software are NOT required even a simple spreadsheet will work wonders, yet it’s completely ignored.

  • Lack of accountably means ownership deficit, poor performance, connectivity/sequencing issues and risk of the failed solution.
  • Assigning accountability will put a project on track to succeed.
  • Accountability makes sure you don’t run out of steam before the finish line.

The understanding required

The fight between Accountability and Responsibility

Often mistaken for being one and the same, distinguishing them is critical. The accountable entity is the individual/team “answerable” for the task or decision this is mostly the customer in the SuccessFactors world. The responsible entity is the individual/team “executes” the task.

As an example, it has to be a decision on the customer’s HR business team to choose a process that fits their needs vs asking consultants for business recommendations who are responsible for delivering a solution only per documented requirement in workbooks. Clients are responsible to understand and populate configuration workbooks with their business process in mind.

But this is easier said than done as most customers are not familiar with roles or team structure required in a SuccessFactors deployment https://blogs.sap.com/2018/06/20/successfactors-implementation-team-structure-for-success/ and then we also have the fight between Customer Accountability and Implementer Responsibility.

My Suggestion

Client: don’t toss everything to your Partner, understand and accept answerability.

Partner: don’t succumb to your Client, push back when required to drive them forward.

How to keep accountability alive

  • Setup expectations early on Prepare Phase via linear responsibility chart (LRC) or RACI matrix
  • Socialize layout of accountability and get agreement from all stakeholders
  • Validate all task sequencing at regular phases of the project
  • Setup weekly status calls and publicly call out all pending items
  • Mitigate risks and issues without any hesitation to confront any team member after failed constructive feedback

All stakeholders must be motivated to work towards a common goal if that’s missing, accountability fails.

Above all, project leadership’s reasonability is to communicate: Accountability is meant to empower stakeholder and not blame them.

Conclusion: Accountability Gap = Success Gap

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