Regularly scheduled status reporting can add some serious overhead to your project. It’s not always easy for a project manager to get the information that they need when they need it. How can you get your team members to provide you with the right information at the right time? Perhaps you should consider the PRINCE2 approach to time-driven status reporting when dealing with your team managers and team members.
PRINCE2 recommends that the project manager use work packages to delegate work to the team managers and/or team members who report to them. A work package contains the necessary information for creating one or more products. It describes the products, the required work and any associated constraints. The team manager provides status regarding these work packages in two ways: using a checkpoint report and updating the quality register with the status of the products under development.
The quality register is one of my favorite status mechanisms in PRINCE2. Created early in the project life cycle, it contains the summary details of all planned and completed quality activities for the project. When a product is completed and its quality criteria have been met, the register is updated to reflect this fact. What if there are issues or problems with passing a product’s quality criteria? The team manager or members notes that in here as well. The project manager can use the quality register to check the status of what is being produced in a work package at any time. The only team requirement is that they keep the information in the register current and up to date.
The quality register entries are also linked into the project’s configuration management approach. Each product has a Configuration Item Record (CIR) that describes the status, version, variants and relationships for a configuration item (for a product, product component or release). The CIRs and the product descriptions can accompany the work package and be used by the team manager to assess progress and confirm product completion and quality checking.
As a PRINCE2 project manager, be sure to minimize the meetings and ask your team managers or team members to use the PRINCE2 management products that link into, report on and verify the status of the technical or specialist products that the team is producing.
Happy status reporting!
Remember, a copy of the PRINCE2 method is required reference material in any project manager’s bookshelf! The method is documented in the OGC publication “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2” which is officially published by TSO. Serious project managers seeking to enhance their knowledge, skills and professional credibility target should consider PRINCE2 certification. Learning Tree offers two excellent certification courses for folks interested in becoming a Certified Practitioner of PRINCE2 or simply starting with the Foundation Certification.