The Monthly Project Report | ace grade research

Each month, all project managers were called for an executive session to present the status of their projects. All project managers and the key project team members spent five to seven days a month preparing standardized briefing charts for this critically important meeting. The meeting lasted well over half a day while each project manager waited for his or her turn to receive executive guidance.

Result: The project managers, team members, and administrative assistants wasted hundreds of hours each month preparing detailed slides, graphics, analyses, and report papers to provide to the senior executive. The senior executive was gratified at the level of work and detail his people put in to keep him apprised of every project nuance. The senior executive had a much larger comfort zone of information to rely upon when queried by his boss.

Analysis: When most organizations work Monday to Friday, there are about twenty workdays in any month. Spending over 25 percent of the available monthly work time in preparing reports drove project management costs up and undermined organizational commitment to disciplined project management. Worse, tremendous amounts of overtime were required to offset the lost project productivity. This forced the project managers, team members, administrative assistants, and contractors to work late nights and weekends. Productivity losses were staggering. The senior executive was promoted, but the organization was ultimately branded a failure and subsumed under another executive. Several project managers no longer work for the company.

Discuss:

Evaluate the executive sessions. Should they be held on the basis of project performance norms and the key project milestone dates and not per a fixed schedule? Why? Would this require changes in organizational culture? Explain.
How might a culture of openness be established that encourages briefings to senior executives regarding deviations from expected performance (both good and bad)? Offer a few ideas.
Explain some of the less time-consuming and systematic ways through which an executive manager can update himself or herself on the status of a project.

Sample Solution