Sure. There is a plethora of IT consulting opportunities out there right now, but you’re happy in your technical consulting role. You like your team, the challenging issues, and the atmosphere. You’d like to keep this contract running for as long as possible, but how do you do so?
While bringing in donuts every day may make you a big hit, we have a more effective (not to mention cheaper!) way of maintaining a long-running contract – status reports. We have found a direct correlation between well written IT consulting status reports and long-running contracts.
IT Consulting Reports: What they are
A weekly technical consulting status report is sent to your manager at the end of each week. In these reports, you inform your managers of:
2. Upcoming Tasks
Note that this is not the place to inform your manager of any new issues. This section just acts to remind them that you are waiting on something from another team, or that you are looking at QA to do their thing before you move on. Don’t bring up new issues – remind them of outstanding ones.
4. Your Schedule (time off/vacations)
If you use these four areas as headers, and bullet point your accomplishments, upcoming tasks, issues, and schedule below, filling out the status report should take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Once you get experienced, it should take you even less time.
The handful of minutes this project demands doesn’t take away from billable time, and as a result, it costs you nothing to maintain good relations with your manager and keep a long contract.
4 Ways Technical Consulting Status Reports Help Maintain a Long-Running Contract
1. Weekly status reports illustrate what you have done, and what you still have to do.
By putting your accomplishments on your weekly status report, you show your manager just how much you are producing. They’ll know exactly what you’ve been working on all week, and won’t have to guess (or fear) that you’ve been slacking off. They’ll know how good you are.
When you put upcoming tasks on your report, your boss will also gain a sense of your direction and will understand how much more you have to add to the company. When forced to let someone go due to budget cuts, they’ll think, “I can’t fire Sara. Every week she tells me just how much more work she has to do.” They’ll start to think of you as an indispensable team member – someone who is not only productive but also has a lot more to do for the company.
2. Weekly status reports foster positive interactions with the manager.
Too often, especially in large companies, managers only talk to their technical consultants when something is going wrong – for example, when there is a delay in the project. When your manager only speaks to you when something is going wrong, negative associations, however unjustified, pile up. With a weekly status report, however, you’ll be interacting with your manager once a week in a positive manner that showcases your productivity. Positive interactions go a long way when they have to decide who to let go, and who to keep, during budget cuts.
3. Weekly status reports keep the line of communication open.
A manager hears what’s going on in the office from many different sources, all with a slightly different twist. With a weekly status report, you’ll give your manager more insight into what’s going on. You’ll help them piece the puzzle together, and gain greater visibility in the process.
4. Weekly status reports keep you from getting in trouble on your days off.
Managers deal with sizable teams. As a result, they sometimes forget that you told them you’re taking next Tuesday off. When you don’t show up that day, they’ll be upset, and even when you remind them that you told them that you were going to the zoo, they may not remember the conversation. Sending them a message like this ensures that there is no confusion, which goes a long way when they start thinking about reliability.
Keeping people informed of what you are doing is great PR for you. By letting people know about your weekly accomplishments, upcoming tasks, issues, and schedule, you’ll not only make a positive impression on your manager but also make your contract more stable. They’ll see you as being the indispensable, hard-working, productive technical consultant they can’t do without.
Thanks to juhamsonin for the use of their respective photographs.