How to bring project status reporting to the next level ?
What the mgmt. boarder really is expecting to hear?
Today Stakeholders are overwhelmed with information (e-mails, conversations in the hallway, workshops, Steering Committees, DevOps meetings etc).
When running a program of 20 projects spread out over a couple of years, as PMO you hardly have time to dive into details. The logistics of creating on a weekly basis the project status report is eating time.
On the other hand these days the management boarder has very limited time to become informed, therefore:
- We need to report factual the progress of our portfolio of projects
- We need to assemble the report in that way the information can be absorbed in less than 15 minutes per project
- The report needs to contain sufficient detail to allow steering and decision taking
To compete with this we need to communicate project status in a very structured way.
Therefore progress reporting to be based upon a max of 2 slides per project.
The best option of course is to have all information available into 1 tool.
- Collecting progress of all projects
- Calculating the KPIs
- Generating the presentation report
As there are a lot of sophisticated tools on the market embracing 1001 type of reports I was challenged to setup an agile and lean way of working for an extensive team of project managers and their teams.
LEAN Project Status Report
1) to reduce the workload of the logistics to a very minimum effort (just a couple of minutes) I’ve been using standard MS Excel covering all information needed : planning, forecast, actuals, earnings, KPI / Earned Value Management, risk management
2) the technique to generate the powerpoint presentation out of the blue is done by a VBA script interfacing between MS Excel & MS Powerpoint.
Doing this the total time to generate a Project Status Report is reduced to max 3 minutes per project. When I started as PPPM I needed per project a couple of hours … the time spend on the logistics incredible is reduced.
- all information is handed over on max 4 slides (if not interested in trend analysis nor the visuals then 2 are dropped)
- all information is managed using standard spreadsheets (no fancy tricks)
- all information about all projects is managed onto 1 location: a simple spreadsheet
- all information is re-used: register once, use many
In my previous blog I’ve assembled the technology of EVM.
Slide 1: SQERT reporting
Goals: to inform the audience about:
- What is being delivered –> S of Scope
- What is the quality so far of the deliverables –> Q of Quality
- What have we established / burned –> E of Effort
- What kind of new risks / issues we need to tackle, where/when we need decision support from the Project Management Team –> R of Risks
- The KPIs –> T of Time:
- If we are ahead / behind planning
- If we are over / under budget spending
And if the boarder really wants to understand the trend of your portfolio then we make a combination of Earned Value Management and Visual Planning into slide 2 & 3.
Make a simple timeline to compare the forecast against the reality.
Goals: informing the audience about the planning
Option 1: standard MS Excel
In this spreadsheet we only enter the deliverables, the actual start, the actual end date and the quality (%completed) we are working on. The Gant chart is automatically generated.
We are able to see very quickly the status of some deliverables : ahead or behind.
Option 2: MS Powerpoint (free) add-on
Option 3: a planning tool
See MS Project, Project in a Box, and a lot of alternatives.
The disbenefit is to extract an manipulate the data to enable automatic reporting.
Slide 3 : next slides bring an overview of the KPIs (Earned Value Management)
- Planned versus Actual versus Earned
to have visibility onto the charges : planned versus actual versus earned
informs the boarder to rebaseline
- KPI : Cost & Schedule variances
- Estimation of end of delivery
Slide 4: risk overview of the program
|supply chain disruption||R01||1,0||9,0||5,0|
|customer preference shift||R02||10,0||5,0||1,0|
|copper price rise > 10 %||R03||4,0||1,0||2,0|
|work stoppage > 1 week||R04||3,0||1,5||2,0|
|local competitors enter||R07||7,0||3,2||2,0|
|new substitues available||R08||6,0||1,3||3,0|
|cost of capital rise > 5%||R09||1,8||6,7||4,0|
|tighter emission standards||R10||2,0||1,0||1,0|
|overheating of server abc||R11||1,0||0,8||1,0|