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Check the status of your status reports

Status reports have always been the bane of every project manager’s life.

Generating status reports can be a logistical nightmare, but with the right automation, it’s possible for any organization to dynamically build performance dashboards and centralize the administration of the entire process.

Your status isn’t as interesting as you think it is

Most executives don’t care how work is being delivered – that’s a decision for the teams who are executing. But leaders do care about the performance of the investments that they have carefully selected. They care that the expected value and the expected contribution to strategic goals is being achieved. And that’s what they expect to see reported when they review the status of initiatives collectively and individually. Value based reporting in a context that allows them to take the necessary action.

Don’t tell me it’s funny, make me laugh

Effective status reporting can’t succeed by simply reporting on constraints or velocity, it must present information in the context of value – reporting progress on all work as it relates to the investment dollars committed and the progress towards business goals. Only then can status reporting be the fuel that drives the key business decisions you need to make around continuous and adaptive planning. Only then can it support cost transparency. Only then can it validate that your resources are optimally utilized.

Reporting shouldn’t be a full-time job

If people are spending their time updating status reports, they aren’t delivering value to your organization or contributing to achieving the strategic goals. The metrics tracked in status reporting should be automated – driven by your work management tools in all modalities and presenting that data in a context that is supportive of business decisions. It’s less important to report how much time was spent or how many story points were completed. What’s valuable is knowing where the variances from required performance have happened, where those variances are becoming concerning trends and what your options are to address the situation.

Your automated, integrated status reporting won’t make those decisions for you, but it should be providing contextualized predictive analytics to help you and your colleagues make those decisions – quickly and with confidence. Status reporting is not there to tell you what’s happened, it’s to guide you in making the right decisions around what is yet to happen.

Getting the right info to the right people at the right time

Effective status reporting guides managers of work in making minor adjustments, it supports line of business executives and PMOs in shifting resources to where they will generate the best return, and it guides the strategic planning and delivery functions to ensure the work being done is fully aligned with the strategic priorities. All while providing cost transparency on how your investments dollars are being spent. But only if it is automated, integrated, complete, timely and accurate.

For most organizations, the projects that are approved rarely align with what the organization really needs. And since most work is only ever managed to the triple constraint of time, cost and scope, very little attention is given to how well that work aligns to strategic goals. More projects are typically approved than can be delivered, changes happen across the lifecycle, and goals and objectives are frequently missed. This is the broken system many organizations use, and to fix it, something has to change.