In a previous article, I suggested a way to report on a project’s status briefly and however in a way that supplies management with the level of detail that they want as a way to interpret the overall wellness of the project. In this write-up, I give some recommendations as to how to deliver that status to management and the project team that you will hopefully discover to be very effective.
Status is project management communication, and any channel of communication offered to you is a possible delivery approach for status. You will find two simple kinds of delivery method: presentation and verbal. If you give status in presentation format, you’ve got a reference document which you are reviewing having a group of men and women. Once you give status verbally, you’re delivering it without having much preparation and without having referring to a typical document.
Verbally or in presentation format, you are able to deliver status:
- Face to face
- Over the phone
- On a conference call
- By instant messenger
- In e-mail
Face to Face
Face to face status reports could occur in a staff meeting, but much more likely may possibly occur in a hallway or whenever you stop by your boss’s office to check in on an additional topic. “So, how is Project X coming along?”
When you deliver status verbally, stick the recommended format. 1st, provide overall info such as project health, % complete, % target complete, number of days ahead or behind schedule. Tell what milestone you’re in, and what next steps are. If asked, go into a quite crisp description of essentially the most crucial issue which is outstanding on the project. The greatest point to keep in mind about verbal status is to keep it concise. Practice delivering status verbally in your mirror, and try to give the entire project status in much less than 30 seconds. Far more than that, and you risk irritating your manager with unnecessary details, or, much more likely, you risk rambling on and on about details that are not the best details.
Whether you are in a conference room or within your boss’s office, the capability to supply crisp, fresh project status verbally can mean the difference between being observed as a project management genius and a village idiot. Wandering, verbose reports on projects, which present seemingly random and extensive irrelevant details are a frequent source of irritation for management.
Over the Phone
The same rules apply over the phone. Consider a conference call to be the identical factor as an in individual meeting around a table. A 1 on one call is the equivalent to any face to face meeting. Be brief. Considering that you might be not in person, you can use a script or a 1 page status report for a reference source without having revealing that you simply are performing so.
Most IM programs don’t genuinely permit for graphics, so hopefully you might have a text status which is very brief that you can paste into IM on request when your boss sends a fast message over asking following a particular project. Have it ready to go, in writing, and pop in the overall details very first. If they press on, offer milestones in an additional message and your top issue last.
E-mail is by far the most effective tool for offering project status. There is one massive mistake that separates e-mail from all other communication channels. E-mail provides the capacity to attach documents, so many project managers will attach 1 or a lot more files, generally a mixture of documents for example a presentation with multiple slides along with a spreadsheet with several tabs.
Folks, the truth is that most managers will in no way open up your attached documents in e-mail. If the status just isn’t inside the actual body of the e-mail message, it may by no means be seen, which is why you’re called or IM’d for project status.
Why? E-mail inboxes turn out to be clogged very simply. The higher up the chain of command you climb, the much more e-mail you obtain. The more you obtain, the much less time you must procedure each and every message. The far more content within the message, the less likely you are to bother attempting to process the message. That and the fact that e-mail attachments tend to indicate the opposite of crisp status. Instead, the status on your project is possibly a large pile of data that the manager doesn’t want to sort by means of to determine the present state.
Boil it all down to the body of the e-mail. Make it brief. Make it readable on a Blackberry or other intelligent phones. Do not flood management with data, and however do not leave them asking questions.
The subject line of your e-mail ought to be quite relevant to the project. Put the project’s official name inside the subject line together with the project ID number from your tracking program, if there is 1. This helps management sort your status reports simply in their inbox soon after they’ve filed them away. Attempt to use the identical subject from 1 e-mail report to the next.
How Often Ought to You Report Project Status?
Send status reports in e-mail as usually as the project events demand. If the project is green and not on your boss’s top ten list, then you might by no means send project status upstairs as your project cruises to easy completion without having management assistance. When you have a high visibility project with a gigantic budget, a massive cross-functional project team, and several executive participants, then your status really should appear in e-mail to all participants and your boss often.
Note that I said to incorporate your boss. By no means send project status to your boss’s peers or superiors in other departments without copying your boss. If your boss hears about your project from other teams by surprise on account of your failure to consist of her on status reports, you will locate your self on your boss’s list of folks to educate about status reporting. No manager likes to be blindsided with news about a project that’s becoming managed in their own department.
If the project is important enough and in sufficient trouble to invite such scrutiny, status reports may be necessary daily. They could even escalate to hourly in some extreme instances.
Do not fall out of your chair in shock just yet! Status reports may be asked for every single 30 minutes in particular fast-paced environments.
Sending out successfully organised status which is well composed permits management to rapidly consume what they receive passively instead of working long hours to call around, send messages, and slowly gather up data. This permits for the avoidance of much frustration on management’s part and makes you a project manager worth your weight in gold.