Writing status reports is hard. Too often we write them from the author’s point of view, and do not consider the reader who may not be familiar with all the details.
- Fixed Jira issues PROD-123, PROD-465, and TEST-967.
- The Chalupa feature works.
- Met with product management about the Flying Pigs project.
- Helped support with BigCo support issue.
This list reads like a snapshot a person checked off from their to-do list. They do not provide an update on how things are going. The context is missing, as is the conclusion. The true story is an exercise for the reader to craft.
I had to take time away from working on the Blaster project to resolve some urgent issues in production. The system is now stable, and I plan to go back to Blaster next week. For more details on the issues we solved, see PROD-123, PROD-465 and TEST-967. The main project schedule accounted for some product interruptions. We are still on track to meet the schedule.
Rather than write a list of bullet items, write mini stories. Write a paragraph or two. Describe the outcome and impact to the product, to the team, or to the company. Explain why we should care. Include any new risks that popped up, or risks that got eliminated. Bonus points: include what you learned, or even better, if you messed up.
Elon Musk’s aggressive text message to the former Twitter CEO, Parag Agrawal, “What did you get done this week?”, resonates daily in my mind. Answering that question practically writes your status report.