Reporting is one of the eternal headaches of project management and the PMO. You need to report enough to convey critical information, but not so much that stakeholders disengage or get frustrated with you. In a post for the Association for Project Management, Tim Lyons discusses different approaches to reporting used by PMOs.
Reporting That Matters
In the first place, reporting done badly might create undesirable new “cottage industries”:
Agile PMOs allow different levels of reporting, proportionate to the complexity or duration of the project. Rigid PMOs impose fixed formats, templates and software which teams must stick to, regardless. Sometimes this leads to a grand job-creation scheme of unofficial reports done ‘on the side’ which often tell the real story!
A common tactic of immature project management teams is to carpet-bomb stakeholders with a huge amount of detail, though this frequently leads to pleas for executive summaries and single paragraphs that can be lifted into board reports. This approach can create more cottage industries, dedicated to writing reports that are too long and which are often more about justifying than demonstration of control.
A more desirable arrangement that PMOs often use is “satisficing,” combining “sufficient for” and “satisfying conditions,” where PMOs report just enough information for important project decisions to be made. To make this strategy viable, you need to have conversations with the sponsor and stakeholders about their individual needs and expectations for reporting—type and depth of data reported, frequency, etc.
Modes for reporting are evolving gradually. Gantt charts and S-curves are as reliable as ever, but additional techniques are now entering the conversation. For instance, some people are experimenting with just making a single-page report out of data snipped from dashboard visualizations. And this is fine, as long as it satisfies the ultimate goal of reporting—to provide clear intelligence to make relevant, informed decisions.
For additional thoughts on reporting, you can view the original post here: https://www.apm.org.uk/blog/the-information-food-chain-or-death-by-reporting/