The Project Group, LLC
We specialize in assisting corporate and government
clients in learning to improve their productivity while planning and
Our three-phase approach yields faster,
more efficient project initiation, planning and execution results.
Each month our newsletter delves into a specific step in
the phases of Initiation, Planning and Execution of projects.
Our methodology is applicable to any project in any industry.
Our process approach to Project Management is designed to help
your company's projects gain traction quickly, communicate
clearly to all parties and keep them on track to reach a
We facilitate workshops that
jump-start your teams, making sure they know what they are
going to do and validating they have the time and resources
with which to do it.
This newsletter focuses on Process 11:
Reporting Project Status.
Reporting Project Status|
||The boss says "I want to See your Project Status"
When you go to the movies in the San Francisco Bay
Area and your friends ask you how you liked it, a negative
response could be "The little man wasn't jumping out of his
chair." This is a reference to the icon the San Francisco
Chronicle uses in their film reviews. When they like the movie
they display and icon of an ecstatic little man jumping out of
It is an image that goes straight
to the right hand side of the brain (emotions) rather than
intellect. For the other side of your brain you can read all
the words and get the full "picture" on the picture.
The same can be true of managers and sponsors in the
hard-pressed corporate world. They want to read a project
status report that tells them everything they need to know
about the project in less than five seconds. Is the plot
proceeding well? How about the characters? Will there be a
One way to do this is with a project
dashboard that includes colored graphic elements: Green is a
"go", Yellow is slow down, and Red is stop, trouble. You may
not be able to read or understand all the words on this sample
report but you sure can have a feeling for how it's going.
We unearthed this status reporting method at a best
practice company where, believe it or not, most PM's reported
their status accurately with relatively little fear of blame
or recrimination. It was safe to describe a project as being
in red status because it was meant to flag down the sponsor
Another way we have heard status reported to
a large project community is through broadcast voicemail.
That's right, we literally heard it. Every two weeks the
project manager carefully wrote and recorded a forty- five
second message which was sent to a broadcast list of over two
hundred stakeholders and end-users. The project had high
visibility in the company and it was good public relations to
keep everyone updated as to what was coming and when. The
dividends paid off handsomely when there was a change or
delay. The positive trust of two months of regular good news
was counterbalanced when the negatives came. And by the way,
the message was never more than 45 seconds. Much longer than
that and listeners feel imposed upon and tune out.
team of another company made large banners with their resident
color plotter and decorated the corridors near their cubicles
trumpeting the successes of recent milestones. There could be
no mistake entering their part of the building. This team was
making progress and proud of it.
One of the more
bizarre instances of visual project status reporting involved
a group who placed their project symbol on a button which they
wore as a crude reminder of the critical nature of their
For those of you who don't
recognize it, the graphic stands for "Our butts are on the
If that wasn't bad enough, when the project was
nearing completion, a few wags took out their Sharpie pens and
turned the button around replacing it with a more positive
We give kudos to a company that
allows the employees to have their fun.
going beyond words to report your project status. If you're in
good taste, you'll probably get fewer words in return.
Next Month In The Newsletter|
||In the February Newsletter we will talk about closing
out a project.
To receive our
newsletter, click here