The answer is quite simple:
Status reports are not something anybody enjoys. Those who have to write them are not enthusiastic about the work and those who receive them do not feel thrilled about having to read them, either. There are often discussions about whether or not reporting makes sense, one of them is the article Arbeit am System (working on the system) by Dr. Marcus Raitner in his blog Projektcoaching.
I think it is always a good thing if the number of those who know everything about the project is as large as possible. And there are many things that simply have to be written down. It seems that reports are also one of those things you need to see before you.
Something that will not turn me on is management traffic lights. The project is on GREEN, AMBER or RED. What help is that supposed to be?
If it says GREEN, I immediately get sceptical. It makes me suspect that someone does not know his own project, because a really green project is something that is basically not defined.
If it says AMBER, I fear that someone is really worried but lacks the courage to call for help.
RED mostly makes me relax. There is at least some hope that the person doing the reporting has a grasp on reality. And he also seems to be courageous.
Reporting should provide you with status reports that are close to reality, objective and critical.
So now here is the crucial question:
Who benefits most from a clean “Reporting”?
Of course, it is the one who writes it who usually benefits most from his own status report. Because in order to deliver a good report, he has to get an objective idea of the situation and question what he considered self-evident.
So to speak, he has to “critically review” the current project situation. It is a necessary basis for a good report. And he has to put the insight he has gained into words. That, too, contributes towards a better understanding. Consequently, the person who writes the report is the one who gains most insight into the status of his project and can learn a lot from it for future planning.
So I regularly write my private reports – just for myself. They help me to get a clear concept. I do not hand my report on to anybody else. However, I make use of some of the written ideas and enjoy handing the insight I gained on to others. And then I like it if my colleagues and partners give me some feedback – and we can continue by deciding about future activities.
Whenever I get the impression that my own insight gets too demanding for me, I ask one of my friends to assist me as a mentor or coach. And thanks to their experience, knowledge and mirroring of my ideas, I come to results that at least give me the courage to try and solve my problems.
So keep in mind – your “reporting” is for yourself. It will not pay to cheat, because all you do is lie to yourself.
(Translated by EG)
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