The reporting system has two distinct functions.
Its first and foremost function is to keep everyone informed about the status
of the shutdown. The second function is to prepare documents that become part
of the history of the facility and inform later people about what happened and
how it happened.
Most PMS have extensive status reporting and
graphical capabilities. Some software was purchased to make ‘pretty charts and
displays’ that management was clamoring for! The ability to help organize and
manage the shutdown was a secondary byproduct of the ability to satisfy
management’s need for charts.
What is happening?
The need to know is universal. But different people
need to know different things. In one older project management system, the
supervisor got hundreds of pages of printouts every week. He actually needed
and referred to only the first two sheets and threw the rest away.
Project Management Mentors has an interesting
generic grid that sheds some light on this issue:
There are three kinds of reports (or three sections
• Status Reporting: Where
we are today
• Progress Reporting: What
we have accomplished
• Forecasting: What is
likely to happen?
Many reports to management have elements of all
Keys to effective reporting
•KISS (Keep It Simple
•Audience specific. Make
sure the reporting covers the audience’s interests in the shutdown.
•Be concise and terse
(short) so that people will read the report and not be overwhelmed.
•Use graphics effectively
but honestly and do not overdo them.
•Keep copies of reports in
project history binder (also called the project narritive).
The issue is called developing a reporting
hierarchy. The team has to decide what is the minimum amount of reporting that
will satisfy their information needs. Other stakeholders need information updates
appropriate to their stake in the outcome.