Good Status

Every week our project sends a status report to our customer. This is a contractual requirement. The way status gets collected is that it is rolled up by team leads to managers to the status person. I am on the bottom of the totem pole. So I give my status to my team lead. It is actually quite simple. I send an email outlining what I did in the past week, and list percentage complete on long term scheduled tasks. This is simple right?
Here is what happens. Each week our team is stressed out with the emergency of the week. As a result, I don’t think anybody sends our team lead status. He then needs to make something up to send to his boss (the manager). Do this enough times and you get inaccurate status. Sooner or later you will get found out.

I make sure I am not part of this cycle. It does not matter the circumstances. I always send that status email on time every single week. Am I off for half the week? My team lead still gets my status. Is my e-mail broke down? I go home to my personal email and send off my status. It gets done. Why am I so adamant about this? I have been a team lead before who had to compile status. And it is such a simple and short task that gets a lot of bang for the buck. There is no excuse to not send status.

Now there are some tools I use to help me compile my status easily. Whenever I work on anything, I make a note in my “work done” system. Each day is a separate text file. To compile status, I look through the files from the last week. It is almost a copy and paste of the highlights. A good process makes status reporting a breeze instead of a chore. I highly recommend it.