Organizational Development Consultant

Fifteen Techniques for Implementing Decisions: #12 Progress Reviews

January 24, 2015

“I was given the responsibility for running a project within my company a few months ago. I’m doing my best, but the project is already running out of steam and so am I. My boss hasn’t asked me about the project even once, so maybe it’s no longer a priority. I’m not really sure. Maybe I should just put the project on the back burner and see what happens. What do you think I should do?

#12: Progress Reviews

What are Progress Reviews?

Progress Reviews are the mechanism for tracking a project’s progress and results. When done on a timely and regular basis, Progress Reviews can help maintain momentum, and ensure that results are achieved. The Project Manager uses his or her project plan as a guide, and depending on the project structure, updates the Sponsor, Executive Steering Group, and/or key stakeholders including one’s boss on a regular basis. Typical Progress Review meeting topics include:

  • Progress against plan
  • Measures and accomplishments vs. targets
  • Risks and issues, specifically those needing Sponsor or ESG support
  • Decisions to be made
  • Next steps/expected accomplishments before the next meeting

When to use Progress Reviews

  • When your project lasts more than a few weeks in length

How to use Progress Reviews

Project Reviews are conducted and prepared by the Project Manager for meetings held with the Project Sponsor and/or the Executive Steering Group (ESG). If there is no formal Project Sponsor or ESG, proactively schedule and hold these meetings with your boss.

The schedule for the Project Reviews should be part of the initial project plan and be timed with project deliverables, milestones and decision making points.

The Project Manager should be well prepared for each Progress Review meeting. It is appropriate to bring bad news forward proactively, in a ‘here’s what we can do about it’ manner.

It is often helpful to also send written progress updates between meetings. A useful method for written Progress Reviews are ABCD Reports. ABCD stands for:

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Reporting on overall status is also helpful using a Green, Yellow, Red format. Use the actual color in a box to emphasize the point.

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In Summary:

Progress Reviews are the mechanism for tracking a project’s progress and results. When done on a timely and regular basis, Progress Reviews can help maintain momentum, and ensure that results are achieved. Progress Review options include meetings, ABCD reports and Green, Yellow, Red status summaries.

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You will find my book Mission Critical Meetings: 81 Practical Facilitation Techniques on Amazon. Your feedback and reviews are most welcome.

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