How to give a briefing
Communicate effectively and give a good status update.
Providing a quick and effective status update is a key tool in any modern day knowledge worker's kit bag. Whether you are a project manager, business analysts, coder or designer, everyone has to give status updates.
Some updates are formal and can be in the form of a weekly status report or they can be less formal, given over a coffee, but the structure and the flow is still just as important to get your message across.
Below is a basic outline, which can be adapted and reused depending on the level of detail required and the status update session.
This can be as simple as a replay of the current status. For example a developer might say "I am working on developing a new user interface".
This can also be a good way of structuring a conversation and a manager or a more senior executive asks "what are you working on". It provides a quick summary and sets up the conversation for diving down to the next level.
This should be stated in the form of something tangible and measurable, usually done using "D" words for example, "I am working on a developing/ delivering/ designing/ doing a new user interface, and it needs to be ready for testing by the end of the month".
Now you can add some detail and context and explain a bit more about what you are doing. Having set the scene the person listening to your status update can understand how what you tell them next fits in. A common mistake is for people to start here and dive down into a deep level of detail and start listing all of their problems and issues. The person listening does not know whether they are being asked to solve them or just listen and let the person vent.
If they have the context and the objective then can then offer assistance and guidance that is aligned to achieving the objective.
This can be as simple as describing the next steps and asking for any help. For example the developer could say...."we have logged a defect and are waiting for a fix........but we need your help to escalate and confirm delivery date".
In the end it comes down to having a structure, whether in your head or on a powerpoint so that you can be in control of the briefing or conversation.
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