Where is my project update report?
That was the start of the conversation.
It was a senior manager who asked a member of the Project Management Office (PMO) why he couldn’t get the monthly update reports for all the key strategic projects. He was a member of The Project Overview group (TPOG) which is part of the governance arrangements for project management in the company. This is how the conversation proceeded.
PMO staff member (PMO): As you know, the monthly report is collated from the highlight reports. Project managers are not sending in their highlight reports on time and in some cases not at all. It therefore becomes impossible to present any coherent updates to TPOG
Senior Manager (SM): So what have you done about it?
PMO: Several things:
- we have spoken to all the project managers and tried to instil the need for the reports to be in on time
- put the item on the agenda of the TPOG and it was agreed that all project sponsors would address this issue directly with the project manager. From discussions with the PM’s, it would appear few have done this. Where it has happened, the reports are coming in on time
- we have raised the risk scores of several projects that have not reported against their projects. You will see several have crept into the red zone – a major concern. This will be going to TPOG and they need to decide what to do
- we have raised this with the chair of TPOG last week and we are awaiting some response despite chasing
SM: So what do you suggest we do?
PMO: It seems to all of us in the PMO those project managers who submit their highlight report have been ‘briefed’ by their sponsor, recognising the importance of this process. This is the key. I cannot tell sponsors to brief their project managers however the chair of committee can!
SM: So what you are saying is it’s down to us to talk with our project managers and ensure they deliver against the agreed standards?
PMO: That’s correct! Once we receive the reports from the project managers, you and all of those on TPOG will receive the report.