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I am writing the status on a project I am working on. This will be informal style meeting but quite an important one, since head of our small company will be there as well. I found out about the meeting part today/part yesterday.

There are no big processes yet in our company as it is not as process or management heavy as some where I used to work at.

So I have been requested to "share details on what I had done in the year past and what I plan to do in the current year" by a person who is not my immediate manager. And while it sounded to me that it is about me, it is really about the project or should be about the project. This is not a status report to my immediate boss, but a meeting with various department managers, including my own (whom I invited after learning about the meeting), on the status of the project. I am not sure why my non-immediate managers are interested in the project's past. I can see why they may be interested in the project's current and future plans, in case they want to add things to the project, and want to judge how much they can add.

I am also puzzled as to why they came to me first, and not to my immediate supervisor, who I think should be in charge of disseminating this type of information.

But this is where I am finding myself, and thinking that it is probably in some capacity also about me as much as it is about the project. But it really should be about the project, at least in my head, but I don't know, and need your help here.

My immediate task is this: share the progress on my project thus far and share where things stand and share what I might have on my outstanding list.

What I have now (the language style I am using now) is something like this:

  • added feature X
  • cleaned up feature Y
  • implemented construct Z

And the more I write, the more I realize it sounds like a resume. On a resume you usually put things like "worked as so and so, did so and so, cleaned so and so". But this is not a resume! Or I don't think it should be!

I might try this instead:

  • feature X was added
  • feature Y was cleaned up
  • construct Z was implemented

That way or writing takes off the onus from me and onto the tasks, thereby by removing me as the actor on the tasks (and thus sound less like a resume but more about the project).

Which wording is best for me to use, considering this report is for the purpose I am not quite sure I discern? Is it okay to sound like a resume? Is it okay to focus on that the task was done, doesn't matter if it was by me? Does it matter at all?

I think part of my confusion is that it is unclear to me what the purpose of the meeting is, other than satisfying someone's curiosity for whatever reason about the project, and maybe about my progress on it.

My immediate boss said: Yep, just send your status out when you're done with it, I don't think it matters to him how I word it. So maybe I am making a bigger deal out of this than I have to.

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If you're providing a status to the upper management, you need to provide information that they will find useful. Therefore, think about how your project has helped the company in the last year, and how the changes this year are useful. Then write up your status accordingly:

  • added feature X which allowed us to sell to business customers as well
  • cleaned up feature Y because it was resulting in angry calls from existing customers
  • implemented construct Z in order to make the entire process work more quickly

Add in your plans for the next year:

  • am going to add features K and L because a lot of customers have been asking for that, and we can see how it will make the product more complete.

  • Process M has been a bottleneck when N happens, and I think by doing O instead that it will eliminate this problem. Several customers have returned the product because of this bottleneck.

Make sure your status is in English (or your common language), not in jargon. It needs to be understandable to people who don't do your work, and it needs to relate to business needs that they can see.

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    +1. Emphasis on the "how the changes are useful" bit: if you can figure out some metrics ("increases sales by X%, customers Y% happier according to survey"), even better. – jpatokal Jan 9 '15 at 5:42
  • +1 because its extremely important to know who will be reading the report; and tailor the language to that audience. – Burhan Khalid Jan 10 '15 at 8:50
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Before I read your last line, I was going to suggest asking your immediate boss. I would still suggest running a draft by your immediate boss before sharing it with anyone else.

As for style, I think your "active" bullets sound fine.

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