As I study the collection and reporting of metrics and project statuses, I find many reports just do not deliver what they should. I believe there should be a stand-alone deliverable that a project manager is able to provide to a stakeholder at any time, illustrating the total project status. I created a report and used the name "TPS Report" from the movie Office Space. I try to interject a little humor into a project, where I can, without raising too many eyebrows. Because I do not think I should keep all of the good stuff for myself, I hope others will download my free template. It captures everything from overall project status to schedule, budget, scope, and quality, including a RAG (Red, Amber or Green) status. What milestones were planned and accomplished? What is planned for the next period? Though I believe a subjective narrative does have its place in project reporting, I like the more objective approach. Give your stakeholders the facts!Please enjoy this free copy of my Total Project Status Report Template.
Without trying to appear to be too much of a geek, I sometimes code-name a project as Kobayashi Maru. For those out there who are not Star Trek geeks, Kobayashi Maru is a test in which command division cadets at Starfleet Academy are presented with a no-win scenario as a test of character. I use the term for a project in which management gets involved and I'm presented with a no-win scenario. I doubt they are trying to test character. Rather, it's an example of their lack of understanding project management. I'm sure there are PMs out there who have had management redirect resources from your project to others, only to refuse to narrow scope or push out a delivery date. That is a Kobayashi Maru. Just because I have a PMP®, don't expect me to pull a rabbit out of a hat. On a previous program, I've looked management in the eye and reminded them that something will have to give. Narrow scope, extend the deadline, lower quality expectation, or increase the budget. Do something or this will be a no-win scenario.