A Stitch in Time Saves Nine Reports

I’m well into some research on effective project reporting. As I’ve reflected on the shared experience of preparing and presenting reports and the subsequent responses, I’ve stumbled across a nugget of truth that hadn’t yet dawned on me but resonated with me immediately both as an executive and as a product owner. I want to share it in hopes that it makes someone’s week a little easier.

Photo by @kmuz at Unsplash

There is a prevalent belief that if you spend enough time scrutinizing the work of your teams, that you will find that special teaching moment, a need for change, or a “gotcha” to correct behavior. It’s a popular belief because it’s repeatably true.

This scrutiny is best done through the creation and careful examination of reports. But it can also be done with over-the-shoulder management. Curiously, the more careful the questioning and correction, the easier it becomes to apply close inspection with similar results. This makes you more certain there is more to do because there is always more to find.

Oh, and you will find what you are looking for! A critical mind has the capacity to find the smallest of problems to correct. And problems should be corrected. But you gotta ask yourself: is this what I was put here on the earth to do? And if so, is this the best way to stop problems?

May I suggest that rather than allocating a set amount of time to scrutinize reports and correct, that we allocate that same time to prepare to connect and uplift? As the saying goes, can we add a stitch in time to save nine? Can we provide encouragement and the right training in anticipation of a difficult project, rather than correction after? If we do, I think we’ll find more collaboration and flexible productivity in our teams. And I think we’ll be better people too.

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