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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Controlling Consulting Project Costs: Weekly Status Reports

When working with consultants, the use of weekly status reports is an important tool. Status reports help remind the consultant to remain goal-oriented. Status reports require accountability for how project time has been spent. A good status report covers more than identification of tasks accomplished during the week. A status report should identify work completed that was beyond what the consultant expected to encounter during the week. This type of item is important so that a project manager can understand why certain consultants seem to fall behind schedule. If they are solving problems outside of their originally intended scope, the manager early in the project can address this.

The status report should also include an identification of the expected tasks to be accomplished in the upcoming week or period. This will confirm that the consultant plans to work on the same priorities as expected by the client. Finally, a status report should identify issues and concerns that could affect future time lines or scope.

A side benefit of status reports is observed during turnover of consultants. If a previous consultant has left the project, her past status reports offer an excellent starting point for the next consultant.

The client should review these reports and not necessarily place a blind trust on the priorities of the consultants. The point here is not to be adversarial. The point is for the clients to remain informed and continue to educate themselves throughout the project. The goal here is to help reduce the risk of being blindsided by major project problems by addressing them early enough before they become big problems.

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