The Status Update Report and the Drinks Connection

Monday, February 05, 2024

Primary Blog/The Status Update Report and the Drinks Connection

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The Status Update Report and the Drinks Connection

This blog was originally published by me on LinkedIn on March 15, 2022. Here is the link.

New organisation, new colleagues, new portfolio of products! I am all set to begin my work.

There is a Product Status update meeting scheduled with the business stakeholders - let’s call them Rosy and Brian. I walk to the tiny meeting room with my colleague - I’ll call her Stephanie - who is handing over this product portfolio to me.

While we wait for Rosy and Brian to join us, Stephanie is busy inducting me with her version of Rosy and Brian - Business-value focused, sometimes likeable, don’t understand (and don’t care to understand) our challenges, intentionally extend the status update meetings almost always from 20 to 45-60 minutes...

Our Business stakeholders arrive. Stephanie introduces us briefly. The status update meeting begins. Stephanie starts presenting the details from within the 10 pager Status Report. It does go on for 55 minutes or slightly more today.

I understand during the first 20 minutes of the meeting that this is supposed to be my official product introduction and handover meet. That’s it! Got me wondering "what did I sign up for!" 😉

The status update is a wrap. My product handover is now officially complete and signed off. 2 weeks from now I’m the one who needs to bring status updates to Rosy and Brian.

I start to gather insights from IT, Business, Vendors and all related stakeholders. Finally I create my very first 8 pager Status Report, ready to be presented.

2 Status update meetings go by, and I start to get the sense that no-one is really even reading the status report that I invest almost a day creating!

But hey this has been the way things have been done in the past so I must just continue to follow the process, right?

Oh! For the rebel in me! How could I ?!

​I tweak the report a bit by adding in a line on the last page saying

“If you have reached reading till this line, I'll buy you beer!”

​The day for the 3rd status update meeting.. It goes on just like the 2nd meet, but a wee bit longer...

As we start to wrap-up the meeting, I ask Rosy and Brian if they see this status report adding value? They sound a bit defensive in their responses and back their answers up with points like - the immense effort that goes through to get the graphs out, the need for this report by audits for compliance and blah blah blah..

Then I casually ask them if they always find the time to read through the whole report or should we shorten it. They confirm that they read the report all the way till the end. So, no need to shorten it at all. All is great!

I smile. I ask them, “So when do I buy you beer?”

​They look at each other, surprised, and say almost at the same time “why would you buy us beer?”

That broke the ice.

We have a good laugh together as I explain and show to them what I had written on the last page of the report. They agree not everything adds value and it surely could add value if we looked at the report with a fresh pair of lenses. Also it is too much for them to read every 15 days, and that is also the reason why these meetings extend to 40-50 minutes.

[If you have read my blog until this point, you are welcome to share this article on LinkedIn and grab 1 of the 4 books on Change agility and Lean Change Management that I have to give-away this month of February 2024. Do remember to tag me on your post]

What Next?

1) Do we continue to use this 8-10 pager report going forward? No. 'We' move to a 1 page canvas that serves the purpose and gives more value than the 8-10 pager report.

2) Do audit teams complain as we don’t use this 8-10 pager report any longer? No. They are happy with the value the canvas provides to the business as a whole. Additionally, it does fulfil their compliance requirement too.

3) Do we spend 40-50 minutes on status update meetings? Not at all ! 10-15 minutes now where 'we' discuss Key impediments and actions to be taken.

Culture Hacking: introduced to the agile community by Stefan Haas, is a powerful Experiment to generate insights. Expose the organisation’s dysfunction to itself with a Hack.

More on Culture Hacking

In conclusion, sometimes we see problems that our clients do not. So, it is important to show the mirror to the organisation. It does get people uncomfortable at first. But then we know that's where learning happens and gets change unstuck. 

Monday, February 05, 2024

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Hi, I am Sarika Kharbanda

Change Facilitator and Change Hacker

I enable teams and organisations to breakdown Resistance barriers, build Organisational Change Muscle and strengthen Team Dynamics so that they can be resilient and thrive in fast-paced change.

I achieve this through training, coaching & facilitation of Modern change management, remote ways of working, Management 3.0 and business agility.