two-39755_1280There was a short and unfinished conversation regarding accountability at a recent meeting. Many people are attracted to the reliable promising component of the weekly work planning by last planners because they see the weekly work plan as a tool for keeping people accountable.

Accountable for what? The commitment they are making to others on the team generally, and to the downstream customer(s) more specifically. Some caution is warranted:¬†accountability, like commitment, is not a one-way street. Last planners are making commitments and accountable for work completion based on a network of commitments. A challenge with the word “accountability” is that it often invites a shortcut to assigning blame rather than an exploration uncovering and addressing a flaw in our systems of work.

Applying the word “accountability” to someone else’s reliable promise does not negate the reality that all Last Planner commitments are shared by at least three or more members of the team, in reliance of performance by much of the rest of the team.