History is full of stories of how little things, if left untended, can eventually bring really big things down in a heap of dust. Like empires. Like civilizations. And yes, like projects, too. And while we’ll leave a discussion of empires and civilizations for another day, we can certainly spend a few minutes here looking at one of the project management world’s most deceptively small threats: progress reporting.
How Important is Progress Reporting?
Ask any project manager how important progress reporting is to the success (and sanity) of a project, and the response you’ll receive will be in the form of a facial expression that translates into: How important is oxygen to breathing?
That’s because, while there are many important parts and pieces of a project, progress reporting is at the core. Without reliable and updated progress reporting, knowing whether a project is at point A or at point Z is at best an educated guess, and at worst a desperate stab-in-the-dark. Neither of those cut it when money, time and jobs are on the line (not to mention innocent, helpless stress balls).
So yes, we all know that progress reporting is important. So then, why – exactly – do so many project management software solutions make it SO TEDIOUS to report progress?
It’s All in the Software
Many project management solutions require project team members to log into cumbersome software, navigate their way through a maze of updates and reminders and report their progress via some bloated and pretentious interface.
And for project managers, that means project team members who dislike tedious things aren’t reporting their progress in a reliable and efficient manner. Instead, they report it after being nagged, begged and/or threatened. As complicated and risky as project management already is, it just seems bizarre that some project management software makes progress reporting part of the problem.
Fortunately, not all project management solutions are created equal! And that’s why the few solutions that truly understand what project managers deal with on a day-to-day basis offer progress reporting via email, mobile apps or other ‘outside the application’ means.
Using these progressive, intuitive methods, project team members can review expected progress and update actual progress without having to log into anything. They simply hit a few keystrokes, click the “submit” button, and that’s it. Progress is updated. Project managers know what’s going on. No more begging, pleading, threatening or guessing. It’s bliss.
Okay, maybe bliss is an exaggeration. But anything that makes progress reporting easier is to be celebrated.
Because while there’s (yet to be) a civilization or empire felled by tedious progress reporting, there’s a countless number of projects – and, sadly, project managers – who have.