Re: My terrible client... and Progress Reports

Subject: Re: My terrible client... and Progress Reports
From: Yvonne Harrison <yvonne -at- IHUG -dot- CO -dot- NZ>
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 07:40:28 +1300

Hi All - -

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to e-mail me about this. I'll be
replying to you soon...

Robert has an extremely good point on progress reports. They are an
essential part of any project. I should point out that I *was* filing
progress reports but I did have endless problems with the reporting period
since the manager didn't really want to be bothered once a week so the
reporting periods started to stretch to monthly.

I also perhaps didn't write my reports as bluntly as I could have (I'm
adopting Robert's format from now on).

Unfortunately there's one thing they don't teach you about technical writing
- project management skills. It's a big part of the job. I have learnt a
lot and I've recently joined the Project Management Institute so I can keep
honing my skills. But it's a difficult area at best...

Unfortunately a big part of it is managing the people involved. When the
clients start getting weird it's often hard to know how far to take things...
A wise Project Manager (and a woman) at the client site has been passing on
such handy PM sayings as 'As a Project Manager you're not here to be loved,
you're here to be respected'. Which is quite true.

What have I learnt from this project? To scream a lot louder and longer about
problems and not stop until somebody coughs up a solution. I already had a
reputation for being a bitch (related to me by one of my friends on site - he
said I had upset people because they didn't like having their work
being edited and it made them feel bad, so I'd gained the label of being an
opinionated bitch), so kicking up more of a fuss wouldn't have made any

Once I have completed the project and start the post implementation review I
have decided to send my reports to the CEO of the company. I can at least
make sure that the myth that the 'technical writers were useless' is


Robert Plamondon wrote:

> One way to deal with clueless clients is to set one's "consultant" hat
> firmly on one's head (tossing away the one marked "temporary help").

> As a consultant, the most important task is to identify and suggest
> corrections to problems. Your second most important task is to actually
> correct the problems.

> Periodically reporting on the project's status (and distributing the
> report properly) helps quite a bit. Concise status reports that can
> be read and understood quickly often spur people into something resembling
> action.

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