why do they keep yelling at me?

I found these suggestions on how to give good status reports useful. They are directed at techies, but many of the principles apply to any profession.


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  1. I’ve tried this with my boss, who is also an engineer. The problem is that he’s a structural engineer and I’m a hydraulic/hydrologic engineer. While I do some structural work when I have to, he just doesn’t get half of the H&H stuff I explain to him – even when I use structural terms. I’ve found that simple, shallow explanations are best when dealing with him. Otherwise, I’ll spend more time going over a problem with him than actually working on it (and solving it). And that does nothing but decimate the budget for that project.

    Comment by Jan on September 2, 2003 @ 5:50 am
  2. I find our weekly update of things-accomplished and things-to-do extremely useful. Not only for our manager, but for myself. When I’m writing up the new update for the week I look back at what I’ve accomplished from the previous update. It’s a pretty good gauge of how I’m doing and what is holding me back. Good article Dan.

    Comment by jason on September 2, 2003 @ 7:48 am
  3. Jan: I understood the essay to encourage status reports, but not necessarily in great detail. I think it is assumed that more often than not, managers will not have detailed technical skills making an executive summary the best method of reporting.

    It’s also a valuable skill for a engineers to be able to communicate with non-technical people and still get their point across.

    Comment by dan on September 2, 2003 @ 9:18 am
  4. Oh, I think it was a great article. I just have a boss who wants to know and have a hand in every little thing even if he doesn’t understand it. The article would have been perfect for the boss before this one.

    Comment by Jan on September 2, 2003 @ 12:02 pm
  5. Okay, I understand now. I thought you were saying the article was recommending you explain every minute detail of your work in your status reports.

    Comment by dan on September 2, 2003 @ 12:51 pm
  6. Nope. Sorry. Sometimes I forget that everyone doesn’t know how controlling and ‘hands-on’ my boss is.

    Comment by Jan on September 2, 2003 @ 1:11 pm
  7. It’s definately good to communicate with the boss about status, though I find it somewhat difficult. That’s not because he’s not a techie, but because I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. He wants to know what I’m working on at the moment and what’s coming up, but he also basically thinks I’m swamped with work no matter when he comes over, which is pretty true.

    Comment by Cameron on September 2, 2003 @ 4:42 pm

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