Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Today, we will talk about the subject of how to report to our directors/leader correctly regarding project status, in other words, how to satisfy our leader by reporting to them?
We all know that reporting the project status to our leaders is what every project manager should do periodically. If the project reporting were being done nicely, the project manager could have the opportunity of negotiating for more resources with the leader. In this way, the project would progress more smoothly.
The following are the main points of reporting to leaders as a project manager.
1. Reporting should be timely
Normally, a leader would hate that after a task was allocated there was no further feedback afterward, especially when the task was considered to be important. Therefore, we should report to our leader frequently, whether the task was finished or not. Any leader would like a real-time “progress bar” presenting to him regarding the important task. Reporting to our leader on time and frequently is very important, because it would make the project more controllable.
1. After initiation of the project.
We should let our leader or director understand the project plan and its scope, by the way, we can confirm with our leader about the important requirements of the project.
Then, the project plan should be reviewed and approved by our leader.
2. During the execution of the project.
Let the leader be aware of the progress of the project.
Let the leader be aware of what we are doing at the moment.
3. When we encounter problems in the project.
Let the leader know the current problem/situation and its influence on the project.
Let the leader know the root cause of the problem.
Let the leader know our viable options for resolving the problem, and what we have done so far.
Let the leader know what kind of help and support from him in order for us to solve the problem.
4. After the project is done.
Let the leader know that the project’s scope is finished in time, and let him acknowledge the result of the project team’s work.
Ensure the effectiveness of the project work.
2. Report the result first!
We have a golden rule of reporting to the leader, which is “Show the result first!”
Many project managers have the habit of reporting the process or details of the project/task, especially the process of resolving a problem. But these project managers have in fact neglected a simple fact of our leader, which is our leader is usually very busy and has no time to care about the details of the project, instead he only cares about the end results. Therefore, no matter how wonderful the process of you resolving the problem was before you can present a final result of the process, he would not care too much.
Therefore, we should always open the reporting with the end result in simple words and then report to our leader the most important points of the entire reporting and what the conclusion is. Only after the leader knows about the results and asks about the specific details, then we can answer him with the detailed process.
3. Let the boss have choices!
As project managers, we have to review our entire thinking from the perspective of our leader, then advance the viable solutions.
Whether we develop the project plan or report the project’s status, we can not just raise the problem without thinking of the solutions. If we could propose several possible solutions and recommend the best option for our leader, our leader would certainly be satisfied. Regardless of the quality of the solutions, our working attitude as a project manager would be worth approving.
In a word, we should present our leader with “Choice questions”, not “Blank filling questions.”
4. Different leaders require different styles!
To different types of leaders, we should learn how to adapt and adjust our reporting style intentionally.
The usual styles of our leaders are closure-oriented leader, stringent leader, bold leader, soft leader, and composite leader. During our development of careers, we would possibly meet different types of leaders. To identify what style our leader belongs to, we should observe his language and behaviors, which is not very hard to identify.
If our leader is vigorous and resolute when he is delivering a speech he would make it efficient and neat. When reporting to this type of leader, we should pay attention to the efficiency of our report and use short and simple words to deliver the messages. Do not be a plodder.
If our leader is a practical style, then we should present the reporting with logic and data. Do not use too many decorations in our language.
If we are still not clear about what style our leader is at the moment, we could communicate with some professional managers of our industry/company, in order to acquire their help in identifying the specific style of our leader. The opinions of these experienced managers can be very valuable.
5. Methods and principles
Normally, there are different work reporting, like daily reporting, weekly reporting, monthly reporting, season reporting, and annual reporting, and so forth. All these reporting can be divided into two categories: oral reporting and written report.
The principles of oral reporting:
Present the result first;
Keep our speech simple and short;
Use data and logic, do not use our personal guesses and jump to a conclusion without any objective evidence;
Do not leave out the important points;
Be practical and realistic
The principles of the written report:
Use a clear title;
Keep the words simple and clear;
Use graphics and tables to present the data;
Use attachments or additional materials if necessary.
In summary, this article presents the importance of correctly reporting to our leaders, and give the readers some advice from five aspects. Hope this article could make our readers reporting to their leaders more easily.