July 29, 2010
give status daily
Once upon a time I had a ritual called the “friday afternoon walk of shame”. As I finished work for the week, I called each project’s stakeholder to tell them where things were, which was usually late, hence the name. In bigger projects, we’d have daily scrums where the status was discussed in detail. Everyone had access to our issue tracking system, so all stakeholders could delve into the immediate details. Full visibility.
In the last three years, my visibility on some projects has gone from daily to weekly to monthly to sometimes quarterly. My three current projects have been waiting for an extremely long time. Client emails have also gone unanswered for long stretches. My inbox currently has 430 emails.
The stress in this neglect is nearly unbearable, especially when the phone rings and you see the neglected client on the caller ID. Blow-offs (aka “going dark”) are all too common, yet completely unnecessary.
Send a short email to everyone waiting, every day.
My rationalizations for going dark usually center around two themes . . . 1) I tell myself I need to focus on what I’m doing and block out everything else. 2) I feel uncertain about when I can actually finish the delayed work and so don’t want to make promises I can’t keep.
Both are bull. Stay visible.
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