Communication in Project Management: No News is Bad News!

October 21, 2013 by

The importance of Communication in Project Management cannot be overstated. Every stakeholder in the Project Office needs to know what is happening at all times, from team members knowing what open work they have on a Project, all the way to the executive management who need to know the overall status of all the Projects. Without having open, correct and consistent communications, many projects would grind to a halt and eventually fail.

 

Project Status Reporting

When managing Projects on SharePoint, Project Managers have an immediate advantage of using a collaboration platform designed to ease communication in an organization. Often the simplest communications processes are the most effective and once established, can be enhanced and improved upon.

Let’s focus on one aspect of Project Management communications, the Project Status Report. Project Managers are always very busy managing Projects and ensuring their success, so logging a frequent status report may not be top of their list. Therefore, the recommendation would be to have a simple process to capture the key data needed to know where the Project is.

The most frequently captured information for a Project Status Report would be the following:

  • Overall Status
  • Recent Accomplishments
  • Next Steps
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Metrics
  • Overall Health (Time, Cost, Scope, % Complete)

Using SharePoint to capture this information makes it easy to automatically capture the Project Manager (who logged the status), the date it was logged (week ending) and other information via a SharePoint Workflow.  The Free Project Management Template available from BrightWork has this process baked in and an example of how the report could render on a dashboard is seen below:

 

TeamFocusedProjectSite

 

Measuring Status Reporting

Once the process and culture of frequent status reporting is established, you can then deploy a metric to measure the frequency of reporting. So, therefore, one of the Projects’ Metrics or KPIs could be how frequently a Project Manager logs their Status Report.

This could be achieved using the BrightWork Reporting Engine and CAML Query, where the number of Status Reports logged in the past 30 days would be counted. An Automated Metric could then compare the number of status reports against a target and render Green/Yellow/Red Icon (see table below).

 

IndicatorNo. of Status Reports in the Past 30 days
Green2 or more
Yellow1
Red 0

 

The CAML Query to check the most frequent Status Report uses the Today element which renders the current date and the Offset element can add or subtract the numbers of days from today. The code example is shown below.

<Where>
<Gt>
<FieldRef Name=”WeekEnding” />
<Value Type=”DateTime”><Today OffsetDays=”-30″ />
</Value>
</Gt>
</Where>

 

Summary

In summary, there are few reasons why a Project Manager cannot provide an overall summary of their projects in SharePoint, and with the addition of the BrightWork Reporter and metrics, this could become a key measurement of the current health of a project.

 

Image credit 

Peter Doyle

Project Management Consultant, BrightWork
Peter Doyle

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