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Managing Processes Versus Reporting on Progress

Most managers are in a position to oversee tasks or processes being completed, but managers are not always sure how to fix something if a task goes wrong or is not being completed the way it is supposed to be done. As processes are being completed, problems or setbacks will come up that can cause delays in the schedule. In most cases the manager reports delays or problems in something like a manager’s meeting or status meeting. What the manager is really communicating is their “observation” of the problem and not the steps showing how they are “managing” the fix.

One key part of effective managing is the manipulation of resources to improve processes or a project budget and/or schedule. There are two fundamental approaches in overseeing processes or projects: reporting and managing. In reporting, the manager is observing the team progress and reporting the status. In managing, there is the manipulation of things within the project that allows the manager to bring a project back on schedule or budget. This is accomplished first by outlining all the tasks that need to be completed and setting a baseline of project cost and schedule. As a project progresses, you can compare real-time data to the baseline to monitor any deviations and look for ways to shift resources to get costs or the schedule back in line. Depending on how you have your task or project set up, there are some tools that can help bring things back on schedule, several of which are covered in later chapters.

When a process is being completed, resources need to know what to do if something goes wrong. The manager can add more resources to improve the schedule, or in other cases the manager can purchase or lease something that will help fix the problem. In any case, the manager needs to have some idea as to how to fix a problem, and this goes into the area of risk assessment, management, and being able to actually identify potential problems before they happen.

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