Does anyone have any good tips for reporting status and bad news on a project when you are are not the person who was in charge and responsible for the team's performance.   (i.e. you have reporting duties, but you are not the Project Manager)

You can't just accept responsibility for missed targets or other problems that are not yours to accept.  However, when reporting bad news for the project, there seems a very fine line between reporting the facts, and not throwing people under the bus.

I'm taking the 'no dropping of dimes' advice to let the responsible people know what I'm going to be reporting so that they can prepare their reponse if they get asked.

Any other ideas?

Kind regards


olverson's picture

I have a couple of suggestions for you:

  1. Discuss the issue in terms of a responsible department and not individuals.  I find that naming individuals usually leads you down the blame game rabbit hole, which isn't a positive for moving forward on your project.
  2. Notify the department's management about the issue and the likelihood that senior management will be asking questions.
  3. Ask the department to produce a mitigation strategy prior to the meeting.  Throwing bad news on the table is a lot easier when your next sentence is about how you're going to move forward.
  4. Invite the responsible department to the meeting to discuss the issue and potential fixes.
  5. Brief your executives before the meeting.  I don't advise dropping big issues into a meeting without prior notification.