Transparency Within the Project Team
Having transparency within your project team can increase the odds of success. Learn why transparency is important and how you can foster a spirit of openness within your team.
Transparency is defined as “the quality of being done in an open way without secrets.” In the realm of projects and processes, it means creating a project management system in which all team members can access all relevant information about a project easily and efficiently.
While some managers feel that providing transparency poses risks to the project, the benefits of transparency far outweigh these project risks. It is true that the personal data of both employees and clients must be protected, and not everyone needs access to contract details and similar legal documents. Outside of those areas, concerns about over-sharing information usually stem from unhelpful fears.
If a culture of trust and transparency is established, companies can share proprietary information with employees, and team members can communicate honestly about their ideas and progress. Project transparency leads to better outcomes for both the team and the project itself.
Why transparency is important in project management
In project management, information is not readily accessible to everyone and is on a need-to-know basis. The project manager and key stakeholders are the ones with access to all the information. This lack of transparency can cause distrust and resentment among team members.
Here are a few reasons why you should build your team, or even an organization, with transparency as a foundational pillar.
To build trust and teamwork
Transparency is all about honesty, openness, and trust in the team. It makes the teamwork better as a single, cohesive unit. Project team members are likely to trust each other when they are supported and encouraged to understand what the team is doing as a whole.
They can also share valuable information or offer help to others because they feel the team’s success is as important as their individual success.
To keep work on track
Project delays and missed milestones can derail any project. A single stuck task creates a cascading effect because of dependencies in the project. Transparency is crucial in this case so project managers and team members can identify the bottleneck and work out solutions to correct the situation before it becomes too late for any action.
To improve team productivity
When team members have ready access to key information, they don’t end up wasting a lot of time waiting for project approvals. Instead, they can use that piece of information to get their job done. It also makes it easier for team members to share their tools and techniques with each other, which in turn, can help improve everyone’s productivity.
Want to learn project management but put off by jargon?
Learn what's important in the simplest ebook for non-project managers.
How to improve project transparency – 6 simple ways
Here are some of the ways you can improve transparency in project management.
1. Let everyone see the big picture
Everyone wants to understand how his or her part contributes to the larger goals of team management or the company. By giving your employees visibility on the overall progress and the project scope, each person can see how his task fits in as well as what other team members are relying on him to finish before they can complete their part.
In task management, if the whole team can view task status, a team member can jump in to help an overwhelmed coworker instead of turning to the manager to complain about slow progress. Giving every team member a view of the big picture by monitoring the project status encourages collaboration and initiative-taking.
2. Let them see the data
Ever seen a report at the end of a project and thought “well if I’d known that before…”? Project managers must fight the impulse to keep report data and other information siloed. When everyone on the team has the ability to track project progress, run reports, and access data easily, each person is empowered to make better decisions and stronger contributions.
For example, team members who can access the project reports on hours used vs. hours budgeted will be able to allow their own time more effectively and raise concerns earlier about tasks that have become more time-consuming than originally planned. Giving everyone access to project data gives every team member ownership over the project and the ability to see how their work is contributing to the team’s progress.
3. Make collaboration easy
Teams that collaborate well get better results and a key factor in project collaboration is due to communication in project management. Open communication breaks down silos on interdisciplinary teams and keeps individual team members from working in isolation (even if they’re working remotely).
Strong project collaboration tools enable teams to identify and solve problems more quickly.
4. Share calendars
It may seem obvious, but it’s really helpful if everyone knows when things are happening.
- What is the stakeholder’s schedule and how does our project play into the bigger picture for them?
- What is the timeline for each task in our project?
- Who’s going on vacation next week (and how can I help fill in the gap)?
- What events are coming up that might affect our work schedule?
Much time and frustration can be saved if everyone on the team knows what’s on the calendar.
5. Have regular team-wide meetings
It’s essential to hold kickoff meetings with every team member present periodically to update everyone about the project constraints and progress. Involve everyone in brainstorming sessions and holding ask-me-anything (AMA) sessions, and a regular ongoing sharing of initiatives, key metrics, challenges in project management, losses, and gains.
This makes the team feel validated and their contributions acknowledged.
6. Choosing the right project management tool
Like so many things, project transparency requires the right tools. Choosing the best project management software that works well for your team can give you the framework you need to give your team the transparency needed to become even more successful. A good tool will show everyone the big picture and let each team member hone in on her specific tasks.
It will have an easy-to-use reporting tool and various project management features so no one needs IT to support to get access to project data. There are lots of project management tools that can facilitate collaboration by providing a platform for immediate feedback, file sharing, and group discussion. And they can keep everyone on the same page with shared calendars and important alerts.
Kissflow Project can help you improve transparency in projects
Kissflow Project is more than a project management tool. It’s a complete digital workspace, designed to help your organization see better results with intuitive features and world-class customer support. Kissflow Project easy to use Kanban board give your team the big-picture view such as
- In Progress
- On Hold
status divisions for each project step keep the visual field uncluttered and your team more aware of the true progress of each task. It’s easy to generate helpful, customized reports in Kissflow Project or to run the pre-programmed reports that come ready to use.
With user permission settings, managers can keep confidential information protected while giving each team member access to the data they need. Collaboration is made simple and seamless with file sharing and storage, alerts and notifications, and a real-time activity stream where task progress is updated and challenges can be discussed.
To experience how project management software can help you build a more transparent, more productive team, start using Kissflow Project for free.
- Google Project Management Software: 6 Tools to Help Address the One Weakness of G-Suite
- Time Tracking in Project Management is Important. Here’s Why.
- Reasons Why Projects Fail and How to Avoid Them
- 7 Strategies to Manage Multiple Projects