Delivering Your 4th Dimension – Value Based Reporting
By Dr. Shree Nanguneri on March 20th, 2013
“Guys, our reports are due this Friday to our client!” This rings a loud bell in our ears as project managers. While you compile those reports, you might find some that are excessively detailed; others that are not written in the language of the customer; and occasionally, some that are late. And rarely, you get a report from one of your team members that “hits the nail on the head” for the client, like a Hollywood box office hit, ready for benchmarking across your team.
Project managers are sensitive to time and have great intentions to “go the additional mile” to delight their customer. However, they can also feel that report-writing means just listing hours worked each week–especially when each week is similar to the last. They are rarely challenged on the value of their work, let alone how it is reported.
Hiring managers are asked for reports that can become voluminous to read buried deep in their emails and this itself can create a need for additional meeting time and hence billing costs for your clients.
“The longest and most frustrating delays are usually never quite at the airports, but maybe at the emergency room waiting to be called simply because they said “your child’s or family member’s situation is not “life threatening.”
Value Based Reporting is a unique for of reporting where the job of compilation as well as writing are entirely eliminated – well almost, however, devoid of the drudgery that goes along with it week after week.
So then what do we do to eliminate a major part of the drudgery associated with report writing as project managers? It is not going to be easy to make this change overnight, however, you are going to get some questions from your colleagues as well as clients with this new form of reporting.
Ask yourself these three fundamental questions:
- If my report is inconsistent or delayed or defective:
- What loss would it create for my Client with his KPI?
- How will my report and reporting:
- Make something faster, cheaper, or better for my Client?
- What is the probability of the projected or actual value ($):
- Probability of hitting the targeted benefit$? or
- Probability of arriving on time?
Yes, your internal statistician would have some legwork and number crunching, however, if the political pundits at CNN can hack those numbers for an election precincts outcome and be close to reality, this is something he can easily crank out without being a rocket scientist. Additionally, one can test the validity of each of these math models and increase the effectiveness of the same.
By the time you realized this drudgery, you would have enough of a baseline with your clients that you can almost chart out a nice predictable model.
This is considered an epic for your clients, as you have pretty much shown them and their management on how their KPIs will look for the month or quarter ahead, as a direct result of your work in the corporate trenches, for lack of a better term.
Each time you report in a value-based tone, the need for details and what you do as a Project Manager are not talking points on their news channel. It is how the “Big Deals” or “Tangible Business Results” that the executives are looking for.
So by the use of Value Based Reporting (VBR) as project managers:
1) We reduce time and efforts with our progress or status reports
2) We take of the burden of a single person compiling these
3) We don’t need a person to remind to worry about deadlines
4) Client gets direct status on our efforts toward results
5) Client has the best understanding of our value adds
Project Managers then can continue to focus on their work and stop worrying about filling time sheets and time reports that even otherwise may have been buried in the annals of their email archives.
Most importantly, it feeds on to our marketing system and demonstrates to potential clients on how effective we are and what is our business success model. It also demonstrates to the outer world external to our business on how we as an organization practice what e preach. Basically being predictable in our 5th dimension – Delivering the Delight.
This is not an easy target to achieve on converting to a VBR system, however, once we demonstrate the effectiveness and reduce the complexity of the process and eliminate the waste associated with it, customers and partners are going to be pulled into doing this and making that next breakthrough in delivering their 4th dimension – The Dollar value.
A quick 5-tips to remember could be:
- My client pays for what I achieve, and NOT what I do for them.
- Our internal coordinators are not dung beetles to carry our burden.
- Client managers being busy are focused on enhancing their KPIs.
- In these days of killer apps, it is about time to automate such reports.
- VBR is here to rid all processes of manual reporting.
The tipping moment we need is either a demand from our clients to switch to VBR or proactively pioneer this and lead the way. I prefer pioneering the breakthroughs.