Send out an email every Friday on the status of the OKRs for this week, for example
Lead with your team’s OKRs, and how much confidence you have that you are going to hit them this quarter. If you don’t use OKRs, use any goal you set quarterly. If you don’t set goals, you have more problems than your status report. You list OKR’s to remind everyone (and sometimes yourself) WHY are you doing the things you did. Your confidence is your guess of how likely you feel you will meet your key results, on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 is never going to happen and 10 is in the bag. Mark your confidence red when it falls below 5, green as it heads toward ten. Color makes it scannable, making your boss and teammates happy.** Listing confidence helps you and your teammates track progress, and correct early if needed.
List last week’s prioritized tasks, and if they were achieved. If they were not, a few words to explain why. The goal here is to learn what keeps the organization from accomplishing what it needs to accomplish. See below for format.
Next list next week’s priorities. Only list three P1’s, and make them meaty accomplishments that encompass multiple steps. “Finalize spec for project Xeno” is a good P1. It probably encompasses writing, reviews with multiple groups, and sign off. It also gives a heads up to other teams and your boss that you’ll be coming by. “Talk to legal” is a bad P1. This priority takes about a half-hour, has no clear outcome, feels like a subtask, and not only that, you didn’t even tell us what you were talking about! You can add a couple P2’s, but they should also be meaty, worthy of being next week’s P2’s. You want fewer, bigger items.
List any risks or blockers. Just as in an Agile stand-up, note anything you could use help on that you can’t solve yourself. Do NOT play the blame game. Your manager does not want to play mom, listening to you and a fellow executive say “it’s his fault.” As well, list anything you know of that could keep you from accomplishing what you set out to do— a business partner playing hard-to-schedule, or a tricky bit of technology that might take longer than planned to sort out. Bosses do not like to be surprised. Don’t surprise them.
Notes. Finally, if you have anything that doesn’t fit in these categories, but you absolutely want to include, add a note. “Hired that fantastic guy from Amazon that Jim sent over. Thanks, Jim!” is a decent note, as is “Reminder: team out Friday for offsite to Giant’s game.” Make them short, timely, and useful. Do not use notes for excuses, therapy, or novel writing practice.
This format also fixes another key challenge large organizations face: coordination.