Status report questions

The latest .NET Rocks podcast interviews Pat Hynds on why projects fail. Toward the end of his interview he mentions a simple template for status reports.

  1. What did you work on?
  2. What did you get done?
  3. What did you do that you didn’t anticipate having to do?
  4. What did you plan to do that you didn’t get done?
  5. What do you plan to do?
  6. What do you need from others?

When I started managing a group of programmers, I’d focus on #1 and #2. But in some ways #3 is the most important question. That question can alert you to a major time sink that’s not include in your project estimates. That question can let you know of problems beyond an individual developer’s ability to resolve. That question that can tell you it’s time to buy something you were planning on building yourself.

2 thoughts on “Status report questions

  1. The question is good, and there were tidbits in the podcast. The Franklin-Campbell-Hynds show was a little disappointing, IMO. There was a lot of stuff other than Why Projects Fail discussed. The discussion of the current recession was simplistic, IMO, too much along the lines of “it’s just another recession and we’ve seen them before”.

  2. Yeah, I’d recommend fast-forwarding through the economic discussion. But the project management content is very good.

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