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Has anyone had success using Weekly Status Reports as an adequate way to see what your reports are working on?

Around here it's the common answer - so much so that there's a standard template. But I can't see the value in it over quality drop bys and One-on-Ones. Sure, it's something they can bring in to our quarterly meetings, but it rarely contains the information it should and is rarely at the right detail level for my consumption.

But it looks like I'm stuck with them as I have to reformat them to push them up the chain (hooray admin work). Does anyone have suggestions on how to make the best use of this status reporting device?

stroker's picture

If I may offer my perspective... it would be difficult to compare without seeing firsthand what your Weekly Status Report format is. I would also think that it would have different functionality depending on whether you manage other managers or front line staff.

I have 7 direct reports (1 Admin, 1 Quality Manager, 1 Chief of Fun, 3 AVPs for Operations, 1 AVP for Sales). I would say that most of my directs manage other people and spearhead larger strategic initiatives while my admin and Chief of Fun are more of individual contributers. They coincidentally have no directs while the others. For all of them I have found that the 1:1s are the best place to get a weekly status report (and what I expect is typically green for in progress, yellow for i've got questions for you, and red for i've got real problems) and they get to start with what's top of mind for them. This also tells me if their priorities are aligned with what I had in mind or previously given directive to prioritize. When I want deep dive status updates on specific projects I allow them to schedule separate meetings and it will usually include any project teams or working groups they are leading. This also allows them to showcase the talents of their directs or project team members.

I'm probably a high D so for key projects and initiatives in my mind, all I need to hear from the project leaders is whether we're on track and on time to achieve the results or outputs that were established at the onset for them to achieve.

This allows my directs a degree of freedom to operate how they want to but also keeps me open for escalating the show stoppers. If you've likewise established recurring update expectations with them, then you should always be up to speed on key projects at a pace that you both agree on.

If a Weekly Status Report is needed anyway to remain compliant to some corporate standard, then have someone else do it if doesn't help you to be effective.

steveaz26's picture

I'll offer my 2 cents as well. For a few months I've been requiring a weekly status report documented as a [b]1-page[/b] Powerpoint file. I've stressed the 1-page format to save time and be direct to the point. It originated as a request to one of my managers so that I could quickly digest it and send it upward to my manager. It worked very well as a simple internal communication that could be supplemented with a one-on-one.

What I've been struggling with lately is that I rolled out this requirement to my other 4 managers and have not received the quality or the timeliness of the the status. Sometimes they forget or there's too much detail or it has the same exact words and information from the prior week. When they are done correctly they are very useful to me and if I have questions, I can just ask directly. I'm getting frustrated as well.

chaser's picture

Weekly seems like overkill to me, the only time I have seen this work (sort of) was when one of my managers requested from each of his DR weekly GBU's. (Good, bad, and ugly) They had to list at least 2 good things, 2 bad things and an optional single ugly thing that happened that week. It kept the overhead of it short and it was very effective.

I would suggest that anything more than this should become every two weeks.
[quote]I have 7 direct reports (1 Admin, 1 Quality Manager, 1 Chief of Fun, 3 AVPs for Operations, 1 AVP for Sales).

[/quote]

What is a chief of fun? Is this short for something or really a position?

Ryan

ctomasi's picture

I keep our project status reports online (Microsoft SharePoint). The team is expected to have them updated at least weekly - I prefer managing them as the project changes, but weekly is fine. We review the active projects as a group in our team meetings for 25 minutes. If there are issues or more details needed I discuss those in our O3s. This keeps me up to speed pretty well and fits in with the project planning they have been doing for years. Friday afternoons, we all set aside some time for a good old fashioned planning and reporting session (about two hours).

stroker's picture

[quote="Chaser"]

What is a chief of fun? Is this short for something or really a position?

Ryan[/quote]

Ryan,
It's really the job title. It's a manager level position by our salary and org structure approach. He organizes events for all call center staff to promote a fun working environment and improve employee satisfaction. Also does a lot of data gathering for feedback from staff. So really, a "chief" of fun. It's not my primary role but i do manage this one man department at the moment. While my primary operations group is about 450 people, he provides chief of fun coverage for the entire org.
Carlo

PierG's picture

My 2 euro-cents: a written report may be useful for tracking or executives reporting but cannot substitute verbal communication for keeping the real status.

PierG

wendii's picture

Chief of fun?

I WANT THAT JOB!

What do I have to do?

Wendii

Mark's picture

Wendii-

No you don't. It's a staff job. You want line responsibility.

:wink:

Mark