Paul Ruderman reports:
"Communication is key in any business, and one of any good employee’s duties is to keep everyone informed of what is going on — especially the people they work for. These status updates are critical to keeping projects on track so they may be delivered on time, and to make sure that the team has visibility into what’s going on. A great project status update leaves people informed without wasting their time. As efficiency is important when writing an effective project status update, here are a few tips to help you write better project status updates...Long reports are cumbersome and often laden with unimportant information (or worse, corporate jargon). Report only on what needs to be said and keep your updates concise (we like to think that 250 characters is the sweet spot). Every word should count towards your goal of relaying information. Try to avoid business speak if at all possible...You do not have to use fancy fonts or crazy borders to spice up the page. A report is meant to directly relay information that the receiver needs to hear, so nothing should distract them from obtaining that. Bright colors and fancy flourishes just bring the eyes away from the words on the screen, detracting from your main goal...Status updates should never be sporadic. It is better to report that nothing was accomplished versus not reporting at all. As mentioned earlier, people like to be in the loop, so being consistent with your reports makes them feel more comfortable. This is especially important in long, time-consuming projects. It is good practice to illuminate things keeping the project from progressing ('blockers') or updates in timelines. Many managers like to have updates once a week, on Mondays or Fridays. Some want them more frequently. It’s personal preference at that point...Sometimes things go wrong in a project. Any major setbacks or issues should be immediately brought to the attention of the right people rather than using the update as a way to notify them. By the time the update gets sent to them formally, it may be too late to fix those issues. Avoid this by communication with the higher ups, and keep this to what it is: a simple status update...Give your status reports value by bringing them up in meetings and reviews. It allows you to share information about your project in a way anyone can appreciate. You also improve efficiency when your manager is already up to date, so you can spend more time planning how to move projects forward. It can be a great reference in your regular one-on-one or team meetings."
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