Few things cause excitement like the phrase, “status reporting.” Yes, I know you are already quivering from anticipation, but that is our topic. This episode looks at how much confusion could have been avoided (and some loss) through better use of this communication form. Accordingly, this is an excellent lesson to learn early in your career.
Status Reporting – Staying on the Same Page
The best reason for regular communication in a project is to ensure everyone stays on the same page. A lack of cohesion in a team is a common reason for failures, over-runs, and low quality. While status reporting may feel or seem like busy work, it is not. There is a noticeable value in even the most basic update that provides high-level bullet points. The typical approach of “What we did,” “What we plan,” and “Blockers and challenges” can be covered in minutes. However, the information can save hours, days, or weeks. The story in this episode is just one such example.
The Lesson Learned
Project status and plans are the primary measures of progress and milestones. These combine to give a picture of how things are going and the focus during a given period. While that may seem vague or unhelpful, it is not. Status reporting provides a method for refining and clarifying project work before it is too late. Thus, a failure to keep in touch through the tools is a recipe for disaster.
If you like this season, you will probably like Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”