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SHARP Status: Projections

I was waiting at Panera for my communications consultant, Mike Sansone, to arrive.  I was grateful he was running late because I was able to eavesdrop on the following conversation between a young 20-something bride-to-be and her grandmother:

Grandma:  Honey, you need to be focusing on your shoes and your flowers and get those ordered.

Bride-To-Be (incredulous and somewhat disdainful tone):  I've got four pages of tasks and you're telling me I only need to focus on two things?  Besides, I don't need to do either of those things until the end of March.

Grandma (deadpan voice):  Honey, that's next week.

Bride-To-Be (lightbulb dimly illuminating):  Ooooooooooooooooh.

If you have focused on creating a good project plan, documenting the PROJECTIONS of the tasks to be completed in the upcoming reporting period should be a non-event when creating your SHARP Status.  Again, I refer to Robert McIlree and his March 15 blog entry.  He says a key question to ask your project sponsors is to have them define what "done" looks like.  So simple.  So astute.  That single question helps you back into all the "next steps" you will need in order to carpe factum.  What's next leads you to what's done (i.e., should be reported in ACCOMPLISHMENTS in your next status report).  While HIGHLIGHTS give readers the long-term future view, PROJECTIONS provide the short-term future view.  Just like our overwhelmed bride-to-be, many project managers fight that plethora of tasks, so it's to their benefit to give stakeholders a heads-up on what absolutely has to be done next.

So... there you have it... the five components of a solid SHARP status report.  One or two pages.  The right details.  The right frequency (preferably weekly).  The right audience (who cares or at least should care).  All done.  Carpe Factum.  Now give yourself a pat on the bag and get back to work.

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Comments

Mike Sansone

Great story and your point hits home. I recently found myself running late to a meeting. Last week, I knew I had until March 21st to prepare for a workshop I'm hosting. On Sunday, I realized that was two days away. Oops!

Thanks for keeping me SHARP

Timothy L Johnson

Mike - we've all been there. Hope your workshop went well. I really would like to have attended. You're a benefit to the Blogosphere. Carpe Factum!!

Lucia Mancuso

I couldn't agree more... but definately as the project manager slip up at times... I always find it amusing when so many things have happened in a day and so many jobs are running similtaneously that I have to ask the employees what year and month it is.
I can remember a person I spoke to for 5 seconds when I was 6 years old but sometimes dates and years can just drop out of brain without a warning. Great story - it reminded me of last week when I posted Time...Where are you now? How did it become mid - march, well a least that means summer is around the corner

Timothy L Johnson

It just drives home the importance of having a solid baselined project plan with firm scope, dependencies, resources, and estimates. Planning is such a critical investment of time up front.

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