RE: Getting Reports On Time

Subject: RE: Getting Reports On Time
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 12:56:36 -0400

Nancy McDonald has been assigned to gather, edit, and deliver information
for a series of reports: <<There are about 50 pages of these reports, and
from projects all over the country.... in the heirarchical chain, the
"progress reporters" do not
report to me or my manager, but I must deliver the compiled information to
the Director. The biggest problem (as you might well know) is that the
reports are not being delivered on time.>>

Sometimes the authors are enthusiastic and only need to be reminded of
deadlines well in advance, particularly if you've talked (telephone or
e-mail) to the authors early on, while you're still planning the upcoming
report to the Director. For example, we've cut our external review cycle
time by much more than half by implementing a few simple steps:
- confirm that the person is willing to participate in the review on a
specific date
- at that date, confirm that they're still available and willing
- send them the manuscript on that date and confirm that they've received it
- remind them of the deadline at least a week in advance
I imagine you could adapt this approach easily enough to your specific

Where the authors are unenthusiastic, too busy to worry about someone else's
tasks, or deadline-impaired, there's no substitute for getting cooperation
from their own managers. This would involve modifying the first of my
bullets by adding a preliminary step: "confirm that the manager is willing
to assign the employee the task of providing what you need". (The other
bullets would be modified accordingly to ensure that the manager takes
responsibility for the employee meeting the deadline, etc.) If your Director
really feels that the reports are important, then the Director must lean on
the authors or their managers to ensure that they provide the necessary
material on time.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"In seeking wisdom, the first step is silence, the second listening, the
third remembering, the fourth practicing, the fifth -- teaching
others."--Ibn Gabirol, poet and philosopher (c. 1022-1058)


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