I have always been a big advocate of status reports and am surprised when I hear people say they are a waste of time. Regular status reporting is one of the most important productivity tools a BA (or anyone) can use. Status reports were originally invented by managers who wanted a written record of the work of their employees. Some people still look upon them as a management oversight tool and feel they are being “checked up on”. But the true value of status reporting comes to the individual creating the report.
Let me give you just a few of the reasons that I LOVE status reporting!
1. BAs get the opportunity to “toot their own horn”. We all do hundreds of little tasks every week, in addition to our big projects but often only the big things are noticed. A status report is an opportunity for you to let your manager know about the other important, yet small tasks you are doing. For example, when one of your past business stakeholders calls to ask your advice and you spend a half of an hour doing some research for them you are improving your organzation’s business. Let everyone know!
2. Status reports are a great record/history of work done and time needed. I don’t know about you but I don’t remember everything that I did last year. When I want to go back to review the time needed to perform a certain task, or remind myself of what type of projects I was involved I always have a great, detailed record available. This is very useful at performance review time and when its time to recertify for your IIBA CBAP and PMP. Status reports are also a great resource if you have to update your resume. 🙁
3. Reviewing your list of assigned projects each week forces you to stay focused on your priorities. Your status report should include due dates so that you can measure your progress on large tasks. Describing the work that you did during the previous week also helps you to plan for the next week. The report reminds you to do things that had gotten pushed aside during a critical time.
4. Best of all, making notes about the work that you have accomplished gives you a good feeling. We sometimes get too focused on all of the things that we haven’t finished and forget about all of the work we completed. Pat yourself on the back at the end of the week and write a status report for yourself!