Plans & progress reports

Plans & progress reports

Do we need both?

When I was a young management consultant I was often asked by the partner responsible for each project to provide a regular progress report. I sometimes thought it was just an excuse to bill some expensive hours to my budget and waste my time, so my smart-ass response was, “Do you want progress or a progress report? I don’t have time for both.”

As I got older and wiser, I recognized that it was an important element of good project management: continually refer back to the plan and check that you’re still on track to meet the objectives within the allocated time and budget. Sometimes the outsider – scorekeeper, client or manager – has the best perspective on your real progress. Sometimes you have to take the time to evaluate and manage the progress yourself.

And what about writing? In writing – fiction or non-fiction – it’s important to have a purpose and a plan and to monitor and manage the progress and the results against the plan. It’s more fun and much easier to daydream about the outstanding work you’ll produce and then meander through the process, but that’s not a formula for success. However you define success.

If you’re like me, you need constant reminding of the purpose, the plan and the process. I’m currently working on my sixth novel and trying hard to meet the demanding challenge of the very productive award-winning Canadian crime writer Rick Mofina, who insists on writing 1500 words every day, including Christmas, New Year’s and birthdays! I’m falling behind at 27,000 words after 49 days (that’s only 550 per day, but I was loafing in the sun in Mexico on the beach! It’s easier now that I’m back at home in the grey cold days of winter in Montreal.)

I hope you’re being more productive and meeting your own objectives this year. Maybe reading or writing something completely different. Detours from the plan can be fun too!

Enjoy your reading,


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