Taking the proper steps to manage your project reporting
WHAT SHOULD BE MEASURED?
Measuring your project can mean more than simply measuring tasks against a timeline. You can also measure how well you are meeting project objectives, costs, scope changes, and risks.
Although each of the items mentioned are important in their own right, they may or may not make it in to your regular project reporting. Most companies will opt for a simple report showing budget, timeline, and risks.
SO, HOW BIG SHOULD THE REPORT BE?
For most projects, a one-page report is ideal. If someone wants further details, they can always drill further into other more detailed reports.
Toyota introduced their one-page project management report that everyone talks about. They called their report the A4 report. It was called the A4 report because it was produced on one piece of A4 paper. In North America, we would use a standard letter sized piece of paper (8.5” X 11”) in place of A4 paper.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRODUCE PROJECT REPORTS?
Of course, the size of your project would dictate how often your reports should be produced. For most software projects, a weekly report is the recommended standard. This provides resources enough time to get their weekly time-sheets in and using a Project Manager once a week to do this ties to the standard 20% utilization rate that is expected of them.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER?
The “estimate to complete” (ETC) number is most likely your most important number. You will want to take your “actual time spent” number, add your “estimate to complete” number, and arrive at your “estimate at completion” (EAC) number to see if you are going to trend over or under against the original budget (i.e., estimate).
Here is an example of that calculation: