Format for reporting progress on work to resolve one or more open issues (e.g. project or technical issues).
What this is
Format for reporting progress on work to resolve one or more open issues (e.g. project or technical issues). Contains a bulleted format (that will fit on a PowerPoint slide) for reporting progress on an individual issue. Also contains a table format for showing consolidated issues list with indication of root causes once they're resolved.
Why it's useful
If it's really an issue, someone, somewhere, cares about whether the issue is being addressed. It's often not enough to just be informed when the issue is resolved and closed, especially if the issue takes a while to get resolved. Silence unfortunately can be taken as a lack of effort or progress on an issue. Interim communication can be very important for keeping people informed, calm, supportive, and confident that you're taking care of the problem. In situations where the issue occurred at a customer site, this information helps sales, marketing, customer support people keep the customers informed as they're waiting on the resolution. And as issues are resolved and their root causes analyzed, seeing a running tally of those issues and their root causes helps the team see where there could be room for improvement in testing, design reviews, etc.
How to use it
Start the table format as your summary report. If you use issue-tracking software, this kind of table can likely be created by programming a field (or using an existing one) for 'root cause' and entering the cause for each issue.
Decide who needs to get interim status of issues, and how often. Think of the 'customers' for the fix—customer support personnel, marketing people who have to answer questions from customers, account teams interfacing directly with customers, etc.
Decide how to record and distribute the status and create a regular mechanism. Decide whether to generate a written status to be distributed to people in email, or whether the information will reside online somewhere and/or presented in weekly team meetings.
Create your first status "report" for a set of key issues that you need to report status on, using the categories and bullets shown on the next page. (In our format, the information is captured in bullets to make them easily readable and digestible.)
Create a summary list of issues, status, and root causes using the format on the last page.
Present/distribute the information based on your decisions in 2 and 3 above.
Get feedback as to whether the status report was beneficial. If not, find out how to improve it.
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