Status Reports: Form of Communication 2

Last month, I mentioned that communication is one of the biggest factors that can make or break your project and  your career.  Did you ponder on this? To many, status reports are tedious and annoying, but to a true project manager, status reports are a great contribution to the success of a project.  Status reports serve as your record of communication, especially when your circle of communication is vast.  This is where status reports can make or break your project and your career. Status reports provide a note of current success and/or impending doom.  If you recall, I previously stated that while a project can have many risks and issues affecting it, a project still has the potential of closing successfully.  Sponsors don’t want to hear bad news, but they would rather be informed of potential danger to the project than be clueless when it fails.  This type of knowledge will allow the sponsor time to absorb the level of criticalness and (if necessary) step in to assist with mediation before complete chaos ensues.  If you’re not honest in your status report or completely ignore the submission of this document, this could be the beginning of the end for your project and your career. Avoiding negativity in your status report could put the project in bigger jeopardy, which could then force the sponsor to cancel the project completely.  An action like this will leave a bad taste with the sponsor and the stakeholders.  This lets them believe you are not an adequate project manager, much less a “good project manager”.  Depending on where you are working, this could and most likely, affect you when another project need arises.  They’ll believe you are not up to challenge.   If you do receive a 2nd chance and still make the mistake, your future will be bleak.  Your employer may keep you around to consult on other projects, but not to lead. Let’s say a project need arises in a different department or group.  The lead person for that group may come to your superior and inquire about your skills or availability.  Your superior wants what is best for the company and the project. They’re not going to give a good referral on you as a project manager.  This may continue for some time.  Before you know it, most of the project management world has heard of you and you’re not able to move to a new job.  Do you really want that? But wait there’s more….