News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Present Project Status

Comprehensive project status reporting means staying ahead of the game when it comes to identifying and communicating necessary changes and updates. All project participants are able to work towards common goals as they work towards project progress.

There are two critical area of communication during a project life cycle. The first is the communication of task assignments and the status of the tasks assigned. The second is the accurate and timely communication of project status.

The ability to communicate project status in real-time is not a common functionality that Project Managers expect out of the software tools they use. The irony is that all too often the information that is necessary to communicate is hard to retrieve, because the data is locked in their application’s project file. Day-in and day-out, during the life of a project, it is a critical for success that Project Managers exchange timely project information and report on a project’s status to all active participants and stakeholders.

There are many tools on the market that enable users to report and communicate task assignments. While some of these tools are rich with reporting features, they also tend to be very complex and not intuitive for users who need to create vital reports on current task situations and the impact of the current status on projects. More times than not it is complicated to determine and communicate accurate project status, and understand inter-project impact of resource allocation.

Project Managers need to be able to understand and explain project details at any level of granularity via telephone, email, project meetings, flow charts and diagrams, project presentations, and sometimes even white board presentations. The most critical skill set a Project Manager can have, without question, is the creativity to communicate and manage people.

There are some simple and basic guidelines that are important to follow when reporting project status to project and non-project managers:

  • Be Intuitive.
    The report must be a straightforward and concise presentation of critical project information that represents project status and details.

  • Keep it Brief.
    Report presentations should have a simple yet informative layout. One page is optimum to make project information easy to review.

  • Be Compelling.
    The audience must be able to quickly locate what requires attention and/or immediate action.

  • Keep it Easy to Learn. No special instruction should be needed to read the project status.
When reporting on projects it is necessary for us to write about currently occurring unique situations as well as having a standard report format to record conclusions. The automatic formatting and visualization of a project’s attributes help us with our communication tasks and saves a lot time on explanations during update meetings. Visualization plays a significant role in the communication process.

ConceptDraw Office, developed by CS Odessa, has taken all these important elements into consideration, by building powerful real-time report functionality into ConceptDraw Office that accurately conveys status to all individuals.

The visual Project Dashboard within ConceptDraw Office, is the best way to deliver a clear view of project performance to all project participants. The multiple types of reports help present project status in a simple and visually appealing format. With the Project Dashboard, you can easily concentrate hours of work into a visual representation that takes just 30 seconds to interpret.

This dashboard ensures that project teams are up to date and all on the same page as they can review milestones and action items while addressing any outstanding tasks.

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