April 26, 2010 — Vol. 3, Issue 4
Project Management and Transparency
Transparency has arrived—in government and project management.
In a memorandum
sent on December 8, 2009, President Barack Obama called for increased transparency, participation, and collaboration from executive departments and agencies. As a result, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued an Open Government Directive asking executive agencies to take specific actions to satisfy the President's request.
The memorandum also encourages agencies to take action on their open government initiatives in advance of the deadlines set by the Open Government Directive. Actions include: 1) publishing government information online; 2) improving the quality of government information; 3) creating and institutionalizing a culture of open government; and 4) creating an enabling policy framework for open government.
In response to this memo, NASA released the "NASA Open Government Plan
" on April 7, 2010, in which the agency details its plan for transparency. The plan addresses past and planned actions to revisit and evolve the agency’s commitment to open government. These actions primarily focus on better engaging the public and external partners using social networks and cloud computing platforms.
The timing of this memorandum and agency plan also coincides with increased interested in transparency among project management professionals. Quint Studer, founder of the Studer Group, cites ten reasons for transparency in the April issue of PM World Today
- People assume the worst when they don’t hear from leaders.
- Transparency helps employees connect to the why.
- Employees may not understand how the external environment affects the company.
- Transparency allows for consistent messaging across the organization.
- Consistent messaging across the organization creates organizational consistency.
- Transparency leads to faster, more efficient execution.
- It heals we/they divisiveness.
- Transparency keeps good people from leaving.
- It eliminates "park ranger leadership"—you don’t learn if you’re always being saved.
- Transparency facilitates the best possible solutions.
The more employees know, the better, according to Studer. Transparency prevents the anxiety and stress brought on when leaders keep their teams in the dark.
Making a commitment to transparency drives positive changes in culture and offers a way to strengthen a project—and the government.
Read the full article.