1. Problem Definition
In my previous plog I talked about Progress Reporting in a way that provides management with the level of detail that they need in order to interpret the overall health of the project. In this article, I give some recommendations on how to deliver that status to management and the project team that you will hopefully find to be very effective.
2. Identify the Feasible Alternative
Status is project management communication, and any channel of communication available to you is a possible delivery method for status. There are two basic kinds of delivery method: presentation and verbal. When you give status in presentation format, you have a reference document that you are reviewing with a group of people. When you give status verbally, you are delivering it without much preparation and without referring to a common document.
3. Development of the Outcome for Alternative
Verbally or in presentation format, you can deliver status:
- Face to face.
- Over the phone, one on one.
- In e-mail.
Figure.2: Presentation Format.
4. Selection of Criteria
Face to face status reports could happen in a staff meeting, but more likely might occur in a hallway or when you stop by your boss’s office to check in on another topic. When you deliver status verbally, stick the recommended format. First, provide overall information such as project health, % complete, % target complete, number of days ahead or behind schedule. Tell what milestone you are in, and what next steps are. If asked, go into a very crisp description of the most important issue that is outstanding on the project. The biggest point to remember about verbal status is to keep it concise.
Over the Phone is the same rules apply over the phone. Consider a conference call to be the same thing as an in person meeting around a table. A one on one call is the equivalent to any face to face meeting. Be brief. Since you are not in person, you can use a script or a one page status report for a reference source without revealing that you are doing so.
E-mail is by far the most powerful tool for providing project status. There is one big mistake that separates e-mail from all other communication channels. E-mail provides the ability to attach documents; so many project managers will attach one or more files, usually a combination of documents such as a presentation with multiple slides and a spreadsheet with multiple tabs.
Figure.3: E- mail Communication
5. Analysis of the Alternative.
Most managers will never open up your attached documents in e-mail if the status is not in the actual body of the e-mail message. The subject line of your e-mail should be very relevant to the project. Put the project’s official name in the subject line along with the project ID number from your tracking system, if there is one. This helps management sort your status reports easily in their inbox after they have filed them away. Try to use the same subject from one e-mail report to the next.
6. Selection of the Preferred Alternative.
Send status reports in e-mail as often as the project events require. If the project is green and not on your boss’s top ten lists, then you might never send project status upstairs as your project cruises to easy completion without management assistance. If you have a high visibility project with a gigantic budget, a massive cross-functional project team, and multiple executive participants, then your status should appear in e-mail to all participants and your boss regularly.
7. Performance Monitoring and the Post Evaluation of Result.
Sending out effectively organized status which is well composed allows management to quickly consume what they receive passively rather than working long hours to call around, send messages, and slowly gather up information. This allows for the avoidance of much frustration on management’s part and makes you a project manager worth your weight in gold.
- Rob Redmond (2014, January). How to Deliver Project Status Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://cdn.projectsmart.co.uk/pdf/how-to-deliver-project-status.pdf.
- Tracker Office (2013, December). Project Status Email. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://trackeroffice.com/process-status_reporting.html
- Presentation-Process. (2013, August). New Idea Power Point. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.presentation-process.com/new-idea-powerpoint-template.html.