Believe it or not, collecting status in large organizations is a difficult problem; one that new leaders, in particular, struggle with and spend countless hours trying to figure out.
It’s easy to see why. Managers, and particularly those at senior-level, are expected to be able to represent their team’s work to their peers and upper management. Similar to how engineers are evaluated based on their in-depth knowledge of a particular system or tool, leaders are evaluated on their ability to answer the important questions of the moment about their organization. The easiest way to do this is through status reports. When they work well, status reports enable leaders to demonstrate a deep understanding of their team – inspiring confidence from their peers – and provide the ability to manage expectations, minimize unpleasant surprises, and brag about the great work that’s happening.
The problem is that status reports are boring. And while almost every mature organization has some version of collecting status, oftentimes it is rendered ineffective by inconsistency or indifference as our proclivity for the shiny and new wrestles with the mundanity of the boring and consistent.