Who is Accountable For Delivery?


I know, I know, it is the team! After all, they are the ones doing the work and any other model is flawed.

But from experience, many organizations and executives have a hard time grasping this because of their command and control traditional mindset. I recently had a few tell me that “having multiple people accountable is a recipe for disaster because no one will actually do the work.”

Yes, these are leaders who lack trust and understanding of the power of a cross functional team. They are certainly in need of coaching, but the reality is the light bulb will not go on right away because the shift in mindset is a journey for everyone.

So…this brings me back to my question. I am interested in your experiences in this area? Have you come across the same resistance of shifting accountability to the team? And if so, were you able to influence, and what was the model that was adopted? Were you able to find some type of hybrid approach that was better than the traditional “PM is Responsible” approach that at least pointed the org in the right direction?



I like the question, but I think it is dated. Delivery is a toggle, either it is delivered or it isnt. But outcomes are what we should be after. I can deliver a bunch of code that produces no value, but should that be celebrated? Obviously not.

Leveraging OKRs and outcome driven metrics, we shift the lens from delivery and feature factories, to value seeking self-organized teams. There should be goal metrics for the teams to monitor and impact, freedom to experiment against those outcome metrics and unapologetic transparency to the performance of that metric to everyone in that value stream. Once you have this, the teams are truly accountable to the metric and the outcomes, and the shift goes to “Who is accountable for setting the objective and measurement?” - to which I say; the product champion.