In this second installment of our KISS series for project reporting, we’ll continue to look at ways to be smart about what you include in a Gantt chart or timeline and what you don’t. This week, our focus turns to dates, which every project manager agrees are a pretty important part of the profession.
How much is too much when it comes to calling out specific dates in a project schedule? Many PMs incorrectly believe that more detail is better when it comes to understanding dates. It’s not. In fact, throwing too many dates at your team or at an executive does nothing more than muddy the waters. Instead of focusing on a few key dates that actually matter, your colleagues get bogged down, lose focus, and ultimately don’t remember which dates are important anyway.
In this three-part series, we’ll cover the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) as it applies to project reporting. We’ve looked at thousands of timelines and Gantt charts over the years, and can safely say that the most successful project reports are ones that keep it simple by avoiding unnecessary complexity.
Practically speaking, you can reduce complexity by making good use of graphics and color while keeping text to a minimum. How and where you should use text in a project report is more of an art than a science, and in this series, we’ll share what we’ve seen work. Our first installment covers what to do with the names of tasks and milestones themselves.