A Status Report for a Blog?
This week Chris Brogan wrote about whether our personal networks would be of value to companies that hire us. He used Twitter to choose an example of someone with a strong personal network. The example he used was me.
The thoughts Chris wrote dovetailed with some thoughts I’d been having, so I put them together in a post of my own. I set out three questions with an offer of free consulting time to the most insightful comments. Joanna Young offered this idea that I’ve shortened some here . . .
. . . But what might be more interesting is the frame that needs to go round that, the parameters if you like, that come from *your* wants and needs: they might be things like wanting to blog less (or more!) frequently; to spend more time off line (or online); to experiment with a different style or topic; to focus on one dimension or get more creative by sending out streams with manyâ€¦
How to deliver the material thatâ€™s working for our readers at the same time as achieving the things that need to work for us.
That got me thinking about accountability, communication, and managing projects in all of the past publishing jobs I’ve ever known. One tool I always insisted upon was a status report.
So I’m starting a Status Report for this blog. It seems like a fine way to answer the question of what keeps this blog running and what choices I make to ensure the bills are paid.
What Makes a Great Status Report
A status report is a snapshot of how finished something is at a specific point in time and next steps in the process. With a well-written status report, everyone knows what the news, issues, problems, and great new ideas are. A great status report is written to be
- and easy to scan
just like a great blog.
My form for a status report has four headings:
- News — Changes in the atmosphere, market, strategy, or agreed plan, as well as important people we’ve met, events we’ve attended, and publications that have taken notice of what we’re doing. New initiatives will get announced.
- Issues and Requests — Information about actions, requests, and ways of doing things that make work harder or are inappropriately handled in some way. Requests for help and volunteers might be here. Think of these as business problems that need talking about.
- Progress — an update of what’s going on and what’s starting up
- Short Term Goals — dates by which certain things will be done.
When it’s shared, the status report keeps a community / team involved in the ongoing work and how it’s getting done. People can offer help. People can spot future problems. People can generally participate more because they can see where they might fit and how busy things are.
The routine of “publishing” a status report also keeps everyone aware when priorities when changing and where stresses might be coming in. Status reports also keep us aware of how we’re doing on reaching our goals.
Joanna’s comment is perfectly tuned advice for a community blog like this one. It nudges me to be more transparent about the business of blogging. I’ll be posting the first Successful-Blog Status Report tomorrow. Hope you’ll look for it then.
Have you worked with status reports before?