Growing Your Project Management Toolkit: SITREP Edition
Having managed a plethora of projects over the last several years, I’ve been asked on several occasions to mentor new project managers and share what I’ve learned throughout the years. I somehow always think back to Disney’s quote and, therefore, always share the following with someone just entering the realm of project management:
No two projects are ever the same and, therefore, it is vitally important that, as a project manager, you always try to keep an open mind to new tools, ideas, and solutions.
As project managers, keeping an open mind allows us to continuously improve and expand our ever-growing project management toolkit. This was one of the reasons I was so excited to join The Persimmon Group.
Prior to joining The Persimmon Group, I did some research on the “Insights & Tools” page and was extremely excited to find some new ideas and approaches to Project Management. Moreover, I was delighted and truthfully surprised to find the SITREP template-a tool and idea that was completely new to me. The Situation Report (SITREP) template is used as a form of status reporting that provides decision-makers and readers a quick understanding of the current situation.
The SITREP is effective because it combines the best aspects of a Post Mortem and Status Report, but does so in one simple and easy-to-read document.
A few days after joining the team I was lucky enough to sit in one of our weekly SITREP team meetings and see its effectiveness in action! Thus, I wanted to share why I find this tool so effective in communicating with stakeholders and facilitating a quick project team meeting.
- A project manager should be able to facilitate a SITREP meeting in a matter of minutes. The SITREP helps the meeting stay on track by:
- Providing a recap of the situation and actions to date
- Sharing a brief review of the actions that will be completed
- Delving into any issues, action items or decisions needed
- Similar to a post-mortem, the SITREP provides factual information about a project’s trajectory. However, the information is provided at recurring intervals throughout the project rather than having to wait until the end of the project, like a post-mortem.
- The SITREP approach is especially valuable in an agile environment given that it allows the project team not only to ask “What exactly did we accomplish since the last SITREP?”, but more importantly “What could we do better next time? How can we improve our next sprint?”.
- Like an average project status report, the purpose of the SITREP is to communicate information to the stakeholders and decision-makers, however, it accomplishes this task much more effectively given its concise approach.
While the SITREP is by no means an exhaustive project communication approach, I’ve found it to be quite effective and extremely flexible for all the common project management methodologies.
I hope the SITREP tool or any other tools on our site help lead you down a new path of learning and that you enjoy the journey as much as I did!