Clients and executives want to see project scorecards that are simple and visual. These are used communicate the status of a project and any potential risks associated with it. Here are 5 things to know when preparing for your next client or executive review.
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1. Communicate the right amount of information
Executive audiences do not need to know everything you know about the project. The first step of any project presentation is to condense your project data to the most critical information. Typically a scorecard would be anchored by a visual timeline that shows the important milestones and tasks, as well as how far the project has progressed against its schedule. The timeline graphic should be accompanied by metrics or commentary on budget, risks and any outstanding issues. Since executives have limited time, your project scorecard should avoid any complicated charts or lists. The goal is for your audience to understand the health of a project in a limited amount of time.
2. Present it in the right format
Enterprise customers and clients want to see project scorecards in formats they are familiar with. It is important to deliver your scorecard in a format that is easily accessible to them and something that could be forwarded or easily shared with others. Requiring executives to log into project management systems or to use proprietary tools for viewing project scorecards will limit the effectiveness of your report. Rather, select a format this is pervasive across the enterprise. Doing so will keep your project scorecard easily accessible.
3. Make it easy for others to contribute
Create your project scorecard with tools that other team members and stakeholders can easily use. Projects are collaborative efforts with many stakeholders, and they will want to contribute to your scorecard or edit it. Executives may want to roll-up your scorecard up into their higher-level business reviews, clients may want to move a critical milestone on the timeline, and team members may want update the project schedule. Successful scorecards are not static but rather a continuously updated record of the project. Making it easy for others to contribute to your project report will be important to it success.
4. Leverage templates to get started
Using tools that are pervasive across your organization makes a lot of sense, so does using templates to get started. At a minimum templates are a good source of ideas. Browsing free PowerPoint templates, free timelines or free Gantt charts should give you plenty of ideas on how to design the most important project visual for your scorecard. Additionally, if you find something you like, instead of building something from scratch, you can use that template to quickly create the project visual that will anchor your scorecard.
5. Present the right metrics
The most important metric in any project is a time vs. schedule metric and that is what the timeline is for. Once you have developed a timeline or Gantt chart to show clients or executives time vs. schedule progress, you should surround it with other key metrics. The next most relevant scorecard items may be a budget or a financial metric and a status or risk metric. After that metrics vary greatly and tend to be unique and very specific for each project and organization. It is not necessary to show every project metric in an executive project review but your scorecard should include the most relevant ones.