The last post was an intro to the communication plan we have with my client. In addition to the weekly update I send out (see Rigorous Robust Communication - Part 1), each of my team send a weekly summary for the programs they own.
The client program owners aren’t on the Weekly Update distribution I send out. So the Weekly Program Summary is their consistent communication tool. These summaries drill down in more detail so program owners have a snapshot of the week for their business all in one spot. Similar to the Weekly Update, it’s written so the client can distribute it upward in their organization. And we’ve found many of them use it to launch their week and prioritize open topics they want moved forward.
Weekly Program Summary Format
Currently we manage 7 programs. Each is assigned an owner within our client services team. All of client services work on each throughout the week. The owner is responsible for getting the summary out every Friday.
Distribution list: program owner, contract manager, ops team, me, my boss, the rest of the client services team, call center team.
- major events of the week for that program
- key weekly volumes – orders and revenue
- items we are waiting on from the customer, and what is held up until that thing arrives
- items we owe the customer, with target delivery date
- open quality issues that need attention from the client’s QA rep
- project updates, and % complete
Initially my team balked at the extra work. They insisted the client already knew everything that would go into the summary. And they are right, the client knows about all of it, there are no surprises. However, what they know is scattered across 200 or so emails throughout the week. The weekly summary puts it all at their finger tips. It’s like we are doing the organizing for them.
My team is on board now, they send them out on Friday like clockwork. The positive feedback from the client helped with buy-in. Now they get it. And the clients rely on it. One program manager was leaving on vacation. On our weekly call she told us, “Don’t copy me on any emails while I’m gone. Just send me the Friday summary, that will get me up to speed.” That’s high praise for a simple tool.