The value of weekly status reporting on projects

Good weekly project status reporting isn’t easy to do.  The value of weekly status reporting on projects is that it allows problems to be captured as soon as they start to manifest, rather than finding them weeks or even months into project delivery.

Stop and put yourself in the place of your sponsor or a PCB member. Consider what is it that they need to see to feel confident that you are doing what you need to be doing?

And yes, it will mean that your members have different needs.  If you have the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on your PCB he is going to be more concerned about your burn rate/how your finances are tracking and whether the return on investment is going to be realised, than if you have the Chief Information Officer (CIO) who will be more concerned about the technical aspects and how the IT team is delivering.

Your project sponsor and Project Control Board (PCB) are your advocates.  Your project sponsor or project owner is the person that you (as the Project Manager) are delivering your project for, so it is very important that he or she is fully across how everything on the project is tracking.

They don’t need to know down to the level of detail as to which team member is doing what, for example Tim is coding the payment change in the SAP payment module that relates to periodic payments to correct the payment fault, but it is important that you keep them fully across the tasks that are being undertaken and how they are tracking.

Here are a few things that your project sponsor/PCB need in your PSR (Project Status Report):

  • They need to have visibility on what is being covered in scope for your project.
  • They need to know if you are on track for delivery
  • They need to know if you are likely to go over budget and if so why
  • They need visibility of any new risks
  • They need to know how you are managing the identified risks

By providing them with this level of visibility you are (a) protecting yourself and ensuring that they as the control body for your project are making the executive decisions on items that may cause you problems and (b) providing them with what is needed to go in to bat for you if you need it, for example where you are having resourcing issues.

Depending on the size of your project, your PSR may be no more than one page.  For larger projects it may be up to 4 or 5 pages long.

I have found over time that my project sponsor likes to know what is going on on a weekly basis.  He or She feels more comfortable that everything is under control, especially when you have tight and non-negotiable time frames for delivery.

If you’d like some help pulling together a PSR that will meet the needs of your PCB please contact me.

Karen