When you are managing a project with a long duration or multiple phased deliveries, you will be asked to produce weekly or monthly status reports.
If you are in a situation where your stakeholders ask lots of questions and cut you off often when you present, it is a sign you are not delivering your message.
I am going to talk about 2 reasons why and how to resolve it.
- Reason 1 – You might not know your audience
- Reason 2 – Incremental delivery
Know your audience
Business stakeholders will ask for the progress, what is done in business sense. For technical stakeholders, progress is asked in technical sense.
If this is a 15-minutes update, communicate the business and technical benefits and leave out the “how” and “what was done” details. Know your audience.
What is the difference in delivering a fantastic report with minimum question and delivery a mediocre report with lots of questions or worse – lots of debates
It is the science of incremental delivery!
Mediocre report – speak in general terms
“We did a fantastic job this week and completed A,B,C,D” –
Result – lots of questions…
Great report – articulate the increment
We moved the project completion from 40% to 55%, a 15% increment this week because we completed A, B, C, D
Result – medium amount of questions
Fantastic report – articulate the increment, paint the future, talk about confidence level
- We moved the project completion from 40% to 55%, a 15% increment this week because we completed A, B, C,D
- Because we finished D this week, it set the stage to start E on time for the upcoming release
- We report that we are at a confidence level of 8/10 to complete on time
Notice a theme where moving the same message from mediocre to fantastic reporting, I mention numbers, %, forward thinking, projecting into the future. Even the confidence level, I expressed in a number 8 out of 10.
Is important to express progress in measurable metrics. Communicate in % and $ are measurements people can understand
If the metrics increase is a bigger range, e.g. 15% increase, you must also be able articulate the 15% in smaller increments, 4% for X, 6% for Y, 5% for Z etc.
- Know your audience – emphasize the benefits. Answer the “how” and “what” when asked.
- Incremental delivery – express your progress in %, $, #, breakdown a large % into increments. Practice forward thinking and explain what is upcoming as a result of current status
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