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I am a software engineer of 7+ years of experience and working in a application in which I am the only resource. My reporting manager is busy with other work and on daily basis we have very little communication, only once or twice a day. He just tells me verbally what changes he needs or forwards some email to me provide by the clients to look into an issue.

I want to know how to give a effective daily reporting to the manger which gives him a clear idea of how honestly and sincerely I have worked the entire day to fulfil his requirement.

For example, he says "I am forwarding a email and you need to do custom pagination in the entire application as per the mail shared by client". When we meet in the evening how should I tell him what I have done for the entire day.

  1. Should it include minute details, such as I had done changes in this this stored procedure for this this reason and on this web page I had implemented this code?

OR

  1. Should it be very broad such as I had completed paging implemntation in this pages and now I will start to work on that page?

How should I structure the report of daily work in such a way that makes my reporting very clear without going too minute or too broad details?

2

When we meet in the evening how should I tell him what I have done for the entire day?

If it's really necessary to provide a daily report, I would:

  • create a list of bullet points, or use a spreadsheet
  • each bullet would be a task that you were told to work on that day, either via email or verbally
  • each bullet would include a 1-sentence summary of the task, and a simple statement of the current status (such as "Completed", "In Progress", "Needs more information", etc
  • bullets drop off the day after they are completed

I would update and send this list daily, and use it for your evening discussions.

I would also save each day's Daily Report, in case you need to go back and research something that was discussed in the past.

3

First, you should ask your manager what he wants (one manager of mine gave me a template for status reporting which is easy to fill out). If there's no clear guidance you can follow the advice below (and in the other answers) and then ask your manager if it's enough/too much information. Managers are all different and want/expect different level of information.

What follows is my opinion/experience as a manager and being managed.

Your manager needs (wants) to know what you've done, what you have left to do and how long it will take, and any problems you have.

So, for your example, if I was your manager I'd want something like:

Pagination task: requires X pages updated, Y pages done so far (up from Z yesterday). Predicted complete by the end of the week. No problems in sight.

I know everything I need to tell the customer, I can see immediately if you have a problem, plus I can use the information to build a picture overtime of how much work you can do in a day/week/month.

Also, unless your tasks are generally small and rapidly changing I would think weekly updates are fine, although I know daily is not unusual.

Your first option:

Whether it should include minute details such as I had done changes in this this stored procedure for this this reason and on this web page I had implemented this code

Is really more of a peer/code review thing. A manager shouldn't really be checking that level of the code -- that's why they're employing you. If the manager wants to know that detail then they can ask.

However, if the manager is more of a mentor or your a trainee, it might make sense to add a bit more detail. But really I'd try and do that in a separate meeting saying "I've done the change on one page, can we review what I've done before I replicate it on the other X pages".

  • @KillianDS true. I generally am involved with much longer term projects and reports every two weeks seems to the sweet spot for us. I wasn't sure if the questioner wanted to give daily updates or had been asked too. If they haven't been asked too then it's probably too much, but if it's just an e-mail and it makes them happy I'm OK too. – SpaceDog Jun 5 '15 at 9:32
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IMO a good manager is not interested in time. Arguably, this is not what you, as a developer, are paid for. You are paid for completing tasks/features/stories and making a program useful for others. I am also a big believer in cutting bureaucracy: less paperwork - more time for work.

I'd suggest reporting only on the task progress and any issues you had or any obstacles you foresee preventing you from implementing next task. I wouldn't spend more than 5 minutes on this.

This is based on the Daily Standup, where you should answer these questions:

  • What have I done yesterday?
  • What am I going to do today?
  • Are there any issues?

You may also look to adopt Scrum or Kandban, even though your are the only one man in a field.

  • I was checking if anyone mentioned daily stand ups before I gave an answer. I'll just upvote instead now! :) – Jane S Jun 5 '15 at 9:55
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    @JaneS I just bumped into this question, I'd have suggested that, but now I can't because it would be awkward after your comment :) – Jonast92 Jun 8 '15 at 15:39
  • @Jonast92 When an answer covers everything I wanted to say, there's very little point saying the same thing again! :) – Jane S Jun 9 '15 at 3:11
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You can do something like below :

First suggestion : Daily before leave office you can mail something like time sheet to your manager. That will be simple excel sheet which contains fields like :

Task ID, 
Project Name, 
Module Name, 
Site page URL where you working, 
Hours for that task you have spent,
Status [Working , Pending , Completed , Onhold]

So above excel sheet will give clear idea to your manager that what you are doing and what is current status of work he assigned to you. And this will also good for your to keep track of things that what you have did and when.

Second suggestion : you should send reply in mail of assigned task when it done so if your manager do not get time to check your time sheet then at least he can get immediate idea that Yes you have done that which is assigned to you.

So above both are good way to product clear picture that you are working in perfect way , efficiently and professionally.

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    I would recommend using a better tool than excel, for example a bug tracker or trello. You can track your issues, and your manager can see what the status is. – Paul Hiemstra Jun 6 '15 at 9:03
  • @PaulHiemstra - Yeah , that is also good thing.. – Helping Hands Jun 8 '15 at 2:49

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