Managing nuances in performance reporting of a complex program
Terrance Lau was the program manager of the Campus Network Refresh, a major program to upgrade network connectivity of the Mountainside State University (MSU). Lau was preparing for an upcoming meeting with the new executive sponsor. The dilemma was how to best represent the overall program performance. The program adopted the traffic light indicators of Green (healthy), Yellow (caution), and Red (danger) for the overall health indicator. Should Lau be critical and report Red or be lenient and report Yellow? The implication was significant: Red would signal the need for intervention. There was a risk that the sponsor might blame the program team for the bad news. The team advocated Yellow, so they could have more time to address the underlying issues. But Lau’s instinct was that the program was in danger. How should Lau report the status?
- Articulate the distinction between project and program management
- Describe the importance of performance reports and how they lead to decision-making that ultimately affects the program
- Determine the multiple considerations in executive reporting, especially when there are many shades of interpretations
- Apply and recommend the optimal performance indicator for the performance reporting