It’s time to turn progress-reporting from a burden into a driver for your team

The problem

If you are a project manager or a higher-ranking executive, you want to create value. You want to grow your business and ideally finally leapfrog the competition.

I have been there too!

Sounds familiar? I can relate to that. I have been there too. Which project manager hasn’t? We all faced the situation at least once, where we told our teams: “Don’t worry, I will take care of the reporting and figure something out”, and then sat back for hours making up some progress report in an unbelievably complicated format. That, however, got the teams disconnected completely. If we do that, our teams become completely detached from the progress we potentially communicate.

Plan for action

The three steps to create meaningful reporting:

1. Identify the value your project tries to realize

You need to be aware of the problem your project is trying to address. Often, the problem is not communicated as initiators and sponsors themselves are not even sure about what exactly they want to see resolved.

2. Break down the value realization in incremental steps

Now that we know that our real value is attracting new customers e.g. we most likely will have to adjust our project approach. If we implement the digital onboarding procedure over the next six months and then release it to our customers, we will not be able to report any progress over the next six months. Customers will be forced to use the old process. But, what if we at least allow them to sign-up and send sales agents to their doors? Then, we might be able to attract new customers already before the full digital onboarding procedure is rolled out. How cool would that be?

3. Decide on a meaningful reporting cadence

As we identified our problem, broke it down and adjusted our project approach, it is time to discuss: how often should we report? To be honest, that is not an easy question as it will highly depend on your circumstances. If you can release your results to customers daily, you could measure improvements straight away and report every week. Often enough, however, that will not be the case. Hence, choose something meaningful and discuss it with the report recipients. If you can release every two weeks into production and measure the results? Maybe report on a monthly basis. If you can only release once a month? Report every two months. If you can only release once into production every quarter/ half a year? I would suggest working with the management on a more frequent release schedule as that might be a challenge worth addressing. Whatever reporting rhythm you choose, you need to communicate it to all stakeholders.

The result

If you follow the above three steps, you will not only be able to provide real progress reporting to your stakeholders. You will also be able to measure if your project is making a difference or not. In addition to that, your team will become more interesting into the reporting itself and subsequently more driven. They will most likely watch the measurements, if possible, daily and become more and more excited the closer you get to your goal.

Last but not least

Some of you might be in the situation, where you cannot adjust your project approach anymore. Or, where you are working on a major transformational project such as a core banking system replacement or an SAP transformation. If you are in this situation, measuring customer impact and direct value realization might not be that easy.

Passionate Manager, Sports & Technology Enthusiast. I see myself as a coach. I love to see others grow and reach their full potential. Always curious to explore