Sunday, June 23, 2013, AM | Leave Comment
One very important thing I found out when I was project manager was that I must report project status on the progress – or lack of it – to my senior managers and the stakeholders that obviously included the Project Sponsor.
They always wanted to know if I was on track and when the project will be complete.
On the same token, they wanted to know if I anticipated a delay in the original project schedule.
Many consider progress reporting as one of the most important aspects of the whole project. So consider it an absolute necessity no matter how much you abhor and loathe it.
The below are 5 tips on project reporting to the stakeholders – especially the project sponsor – that you must perform.
Weekly progress: Project status
Most project reports are based on weekly status, so create one that includes actual vs. planned effort, percent complete and actual vs. forecast expenses.
Whatever risk management you have done, specify the number of open risks if any, changes and issues, and state whether action by your sponsor is required to resolve them.
Also show the new forecast amount of time, effort and money that’s required to finish the project. Never forecast optimistically, always conservatively.
Because of these potential changes, update your weekly status report accordingly.
Weekly progress: Task completion
Your sponsor is interested in your weekly progress. Therefore, create a summarized view of your project plan and update it to reflect the percent complete for every task listed on your schedule.
You need to append this summary view to your Project Status Report. This way, your sponsor can see further information about each task, if they want to.
Weekly progress: Milestones
All project plans need to have Milestones that shows when the major project deliverables will be produced. Your sponsor is your first and foremost recipient of these Milestones on a weekly basis. Show the percent complete of each milestone and the new forecast of the completion dates.
Each task has a Milestone. You must motivate your team members to complete these milestones.
Weekly progress: Getting help
If you’re behind schedule and you need to get back on track, your project sponsor must know the truth because they don’t always want to hear “we’re on track and under budget” in their project reports. Not telling the truth of project delays is detrimental to your project health.
If you need more time, money or resources, then ask for it. Don’t be afraid. They are only humans. You must anticipate the need for help. Remember to ask for help before you really need it. This gives you contingency, because it always takes time for help to arrive.
Weekly progress: Be truthful
Most of the time, information to your sponsor must be in synch with that of the team members. The truth to your sponsor shall set you free. Keep reports 100% accurate and be as open as possible about real issues that are affecting your team.
Remember, slipping the schedule and not telling sponsor about it, your job may be on the line. Therefore, if you communicate an issue to your sponsor, then it becomes their issue to fix as well. Reporting issues is a great way to share the responsibility for fixing them.
In a Nutshell
The above are the 5 tips on project reporting. You, as project manager, must make sure there’s only one report sent to everyone concerned.
This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.
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