By now, I have done quite a lot of work for a company, which makes high tech products in set product cycles.
There used to be some overlap of team participants in each product launch, but once in a while, several projects ran alongside with no overlap. This often resulted in a necessity to ‘reinvent the wheel’ again and again.
What one team was working on was not shared with other teams, often resulting in confusion and chaos.
Your own careful planning is practically worthless if nobody else is kept in the loop, so that’s why it’s vital that the information is shared among both team members and between teams.
You can find a multitude of project management tools on-line, but if you don’t know where to start, I strongly recommend an old-school Excel sheet, which, for example, you can save on Google Sites. This way, the sheet is available for everyone involved. All team members can read it and relevant team members can edit it as well.
The trick is of course only to include relevant information. I have seen loads of status reports, which held absolutely no useful information.
- Write a clear status – be specific and concise. Remember that your update should make sense for others as well.
- Make sure to include a next step for all projects – again concise; who should be doing what and when. This way you can do a short status at the next meeting regarding whether you have succeeded or not.
- If you go through the list as a group, make sure it doesn’t take forever. The list is not meant to inform about everything around the project, it should only be about what’s relevant for the team.
In order for you to get started, I have uploaded a status report that I often use. Try it out and make changes to it in a way that fits your job.
Bonus tip: Even if you aren’t working in a team environment, the list is still extremely useful. It will force you to think ahead and write down actions you need to take at a specific time. Update the list once a week to hold yourself responsible for the progress you make in your projects.
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