We've been asking our friendly status reporting pros what their top tips are for better status reporting.
Here is what they've told us....
1.It’s all about the ‘so what’
Status reports can be pretty dull. Don’t make them more dull by making someone read through every line to find the 1 thing they need to know.
Think - is the thing I want the person to know obvious in the first 2 lines they’ll read.
2.Don’t use status reports to cover your ass
‘We flagged it as a risk 3 weeks ago.”
Noone cares. It’s your job to deliver the project.
Of course include it in your status report - but never assume that means you’re absolved of responsibility for it.
3.Don’t over think the template
“Oh wow, the added value I’m getting from this status report design is amazing” said no one ever.
It’s a status report. It has updates, risks and issues, maybe some finances.
Keep it simple, keep it organised, agree it once then get on with the project.
If you aren’t getting the action or reaction you want from it - the format is not the issue.
4.Use simple words
Your report should be easy to digest. Not make you sound clever.
“The deliverable is progressing.”
“We’ve started work on”
They don’t mean anything.
If the other person doesn’t know what new thing they can do or see - it’s not an update.
6. Follow a process
Don’t make status reporting harder for everyone by asking for updates at a different time, in a different format through a different channel each week.
Be consistent. Make it easy.
Even better, use a tool to do that for you.