On Wednesday, April 26th, our team gathered at the PD Castle to discuss important updates to how we’ll be playing the game. Not a ‘re-org’, but an update on our “OS”.
Why update our OS?
for our ambitious goals and targets.
In this article, you will find our internal presentation slide deck, key links, and FAQs that came from our Q&A portion of our get-together.
The following questions were asked during our Q&A session.
- 1. Why was the word Account Management used in the presentation to describe the idea of hosting?Answer: To improve clarity and efficiency, we’ve separated the former combined role of project and account managers (PAMers) and now have project management as its own role, duty, and job function. All client-facing individuals should act as hosts and take on account management responsibilities that were once on a PAMer—even if it’s just for a quick 10-minute explanation. Although terms like “client management” or “host” could be used, we’ve chosen “account management” based on the way projects and account management flows.
- 2. Are there account management procedures included in the PAM Wizard's Code?Answer: The Wizard’s Code will be updated to separate project management from account management.
- 3. Will organizational-wide resources be available for account management as the OS is revamped for scalability?Answer: Yes, we will provide more resources on account management and our approach. We will start by extracting the account management content from the Wizard’s Code and creating articles around it.
- 4. Are we renaming the PAM Wizards to PM Wizards?Answer: Sarah and the team will decide what they want to call themselves. That’s a great question.
- 5. What is the timeline for these changes, and how will it affect incoming projects?Answer: The changes have already been in place and will continue to evolve, so it will be a gradual change. We will keep having conversations about which leader is accountable for which portfolio of clients and accounts, making it clear who should own the project. By doing so, we will know who to contact when a new project comes in, ensuring both its success and that the right resources are allocated.
In the past, it was left up to the individual to figure out the project plan and resource allocation—but this is seen as an unfair ask. The future plan is to notify the account lead first when a project comes in and for them to determine the game plan and who should be involved. The account lead should know all the work coming in from their accounts unless they delegate this responsibility.
- Communication should be tailored to the recipient’s preferences and ensure they receive the information
- Project scope, team, and deliverables should not be changed without approval from the account leader
- Account leaders have the knowledge and relationship with clients to best serve their needs
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach to project management
- Project managers should confer with account leads before making any significant changes
- Account leads are responsible for handling client interactions related to finances
- 6. Are we no longer having project teams?Answer: Project teams will still exist, but the Account Lead will choose the team members based on their experience and skills.
- 7. Are the account leads now responsible for discussing financial matters with clients?Answer: The Account Lead is responsible for communicating with the client about any money-related matters, project scope, deliverables, and the like. The Account Lead is accountable for the profitability and hours of the project, and the functional role of the Account Lead will also come into play in certain situations. Overall, the emphasis is on flexibility and accountability on the part of the Account Lead.
The Account Lead is responsible for money talks and project scope changes. They are accountable for the profitability, budget, scope, revenue, and expenses. The Account Leads will run their accounts and projects in a manner that makes sense to them in their particular scenario, and they have to be accountable for it.
- 8. What is the difference between being accountable and being responsible?Answer: Being accountable means ultimately being answerable for something while being responsible means having a duty to take care of something. The Account Lead is accountable for the profitability, budget, scope, revenue, and expenses, but the project manager may be responsible for specific tasks within the project.
- 9. Can the Account Lead make conscious decisions that may make the project unprofitable?Answer: Yes. For example, suppose the Account Lead is the executive creative director and wants to enter a new industry. In that case, they may decide to take on a project they know will not be profitable but is important for the company’s growth.
- 10. Is the company encouraging cross-departmental collaboration and learning?Answer: Yes. For example, suppose there is a Writer’s Symposium. In that case, it will be open to all and led by the writers, regardless of department. Another example is that a writer can be recommended to join the DesDept sessions to understand more about the connection between writing and design.
- 11. Does it mean the functional leader can no longer sub players without consulting Account Lead for that project?Answer: Correct. The project team cannot switch team members on a project without informing the project owner and obtaining approval from the project lead. If a team member is unavailable, it is their responsibility to communicate this to the team so necessary actions can be taken to meet project objectives.
It is important for the project team to communicate effectively to allow team members the opportunity to do what they believe is right.
- 12. Does a writer have the autonomy to ask another writer for help while working on a project?Answer: Yes and no. It depends on the project owner and their policies. The writer can seek help from another writer during non-company hours, but during work hours, it would depend on the project owner’s policies. The Account Lead may allow a certain amount of hours for seeking help or may require permission before involving others in the project.
- 13. What happens if the PM does not agree with the Account Lead's decision because they are concerned about bloated hours? Who has the final say?Answer: When you are in the account lead position, the buck stops with you. And if there is bloat, it is not on the PM.
In a healthy organization, it’s important to voice your opinion but ultimately respect the decision made by the person responsible and accountable.Sometimes leaders make decisions that may not align with our beliefs. In those cases, we must decide whether to continue supporting the decision or step away from the organization.
Even as a CEO, it’s important to give autonomy to other leaders and trust their decisions while also being willing to step down from the CEO role if necessary to allow someone else to make the final decision and take accountability for it.
It’s important to have accountability and responsibility for decisions, including the willingness to fix problems that arise due to those decisions.
- 14. What kind of framework will be provided to the team to understand how each Account Leader will manage their projects?Answer: There will not be a one-size-fits all framework,. Each Account Leader will have different expectations and approaches to their management. For example, some may prefer frameworks and guardrails, while others may take another approach.
Regardless of the hows, it’s still important to leverage each other’s best practices, learn from each other, and be vigilant.
- 15. What happens when people forget the changes or updates?Answer: Forgetting will happen, and it’s 100% normal. It’s up to the account leader to ensure that the team operates within the project’s expectations and across multiple projects. When someone forgets, it’s an opportunity to have a conversation and train them up. For example, suppose someone added hours to a project without approval. In that case, the account leader can talk with them to clarify the checks and balances.
The Account Lead is responsible for ensuring project hours are allocated correctly, and the entire team follows the project’s expectations. If someone is not approved to work on a project, their hours should go into learning, coaching or other appropriate areas.
The path towards progress is not always smooth and comes with its fair share of hurdles. From pesky bugs to communication breakdowns, we need to be ready to tackle any challenges that come our way with the new OS patches.
Looking to help us improve our operations? Share your thoughts and ideas by submitting them through The Kaizen Kard.
Accounts & Leads
Discover our team of Account Leads and their corresponding accounts in our Accounts & Leads spreadsheet.