I have done a lot of work for a company which produces 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. The result was often a tendency to reinvent the wheel several times over.
The findings of one team wasn’t shared with the other teams resulting in confusion and chaos.
Your own careful planning is practically worthless if nobody else is is the loop, so that’s why it’s vital 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 you can save in for example Google Sites. This way, the sheet is available for everyone involved. All teammembers can read it and relevant team members can edit as well.
The trick is of course only to include relevant information. I have seen loads of status reports which hold abslutely 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 is doing what and when. This way you can do a short status at the next meeting on whether you have succeeded or not.
- If you go through the list in 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, I often use. Try it out and make changes to it so that it fits your work.
Bonus tip: Even if you don’t work in a group, the list is extremely useful. It forces 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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