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Project updates

I must have tried as many different ways as I have had projects in my career. I don’t know what is the problem, but I just suck at consistently keeping people informed in the same way.

The bigger problem is that if I am not providing updates to other people than it is likely I am doing a bad job keeping track for myself. That really should be the central reason for doing it in the first place but without external accountability I’m just a lazy ass.

Today I had 5 minutes so I decided to write my boss an email just to give him a glimpse into where I am with things. I used this model:

I am working on 7 projects at the same time right now at different stages of development so I wanted to give him just a taste of what is going on where.

Project name and a one liner about the last thing I accomplished was the bare minimum I thought was necessary. Two bullets indicating what is going to happen next and what risks may be incurred seemed to be the additional two most relevant pieces of information.

Finally, the red/yellow/green flags are really just to make the one page scan-able so he can see that I have 2 projects on green, 1 on yellow and 4 on red and without my whining – but knowing what the issues highlighted are – see that there are blockers or resource problems making that happen.

How do you keep people up to date about what you’re working on on a regular basis? How do you provide project updates to your peers and bosses?


Tony Collen said,

January 21, 2010 @ 11:32 am

Don’t tell anybody, but I work in an agile shop. That means we have daily standups and burndown charts to keep people informed of what is going on. That’s about it!


Craig Kistler said,

January 22, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

I do something very similar. I created a spreadsheet with all the projects that I and my team are working on. Usually this stop light report gets sent out on Thursdays.

Basically I have a column on the left that lists the projects being worked on (grouped by which brand the project is for). Each row then lists the project name, a short description, the status of each project (in text and color), the ux designer assigned on the project and finally the priority /completion.

If a project is added since the last time I sent out the report it gets highlighted (row shaded). If a project is completed I gray out the text.

If you’re interested I could send you the template I created.

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