Topic 11.1: Reporting status

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Ok, let’s get the basics out of the way first…

Stakeholders will always need certain data from you to see the project’s overall health, performance against milestones, and the threat that project issues present.

At a high level, these data points might include:

The project’s name

The project’s overall health (or status)

Earned value data (which we will cover shortly), including schedule and cost performance indices, and forecasts to completion

Changes to the risk environment, and

Issues or barriers to planned performance.

Your job is to report on the details of your project in concisecrisp bites that stakeholders can consume rapidly without having to spend much effort on it.

It might take you three hours to write your report, but always remember that your stakeholders do not have three hours to spend reading it!

Your reader realistically only has minutes to consume your status, as they may have 30, 40, 100 or more concerns for which they are responsible.

There is enormous value in a project manager who can report status without detailed narrative.

In addition to some of the report writing tips we introduced back in the first Module, here are some suggestions:

Write in bullets, not in prose – this is not the place for paragraphs.

Reduce, reduce, and reduce some more. Do your best to shorten all expressions and sentences.

Avoid ‘intensifiers’ (very, really, much) and adjectives (good, bad, ugly).

Our advice is to develop and use a lean status reporting template… like the one provided here!