There are fundamental data points that should be monitored to ensure that all of your company or department projects come in on time, on budget, and with the proper objectives achieved. As a COO, it’s your responsibility to monitor this and make sure things are staying on track.
One great way to ensure this is by collecting data along the way using a 5/15 reporting system. But what’s that?
Use a 5/15 Reporting System
Every two weeks, have each of the employees that directly report to you take fifteen minutes to write up a one to two-page bullet-pointed document that covers the status of each project for which they are responsible. Each project should have a green, yellow or red dot showing if it is on track, if something is going wrong, or if the project hasn’t started yet.
The 5/15 reporting system allows you to make sure that you have visibility on all projects, which is, of course, preferable to finding out something has gone off-track when it’s too late. It may seem like you’re wasting time doing this if things are going fine, but it takes way less time than dealing with a problem you had no idea was coming. A reporting system that ensures that you know key data points like this lets you get things back on track before they go completely off the rails.
The 5/15 report should take your team members no longer than fifteen minutes to write and five minutes for you to read.
Know What Points to Include
Recommended bullet points for employees’ 5/15 reports:
- Employees’ goals for the upcoming week
- What they accomplished in the prior two weeks
- What’s working in their respective business area
- What could be improved in their business area
- How they’re feeling with the people in their group as a whole
Try this for two months and see how it goes. It will surely make a world of difference, and you’ll learn key data points about projects that otherwise may have gone undetected.
Keep it Simple
One of the biggest reasons why this system works for gathering key data points is because of its simplicity. It’s easy for the employees to write the reports and easy for you to interpret and understand. Make sure employees don’t spend more than fifteen minutes on it. You don’t need to know the details of the successes and problems of a project, just what they are. Make sure that everyone knows that and is on the same page about it.
“As with all tools, the specifics of implementation are key. Writing the feedback shouldn’t take too long, and needs to be received with encouragement and good grace.” – Quartz at Work
If you don’t have a reporting system to gather key points such as this, or if the one you’re using isn’t working or is taking up way too much time, try this one! In the end, it’s just another way to foster useful communication at work. The 5/15 reporting system has been adopted by many businesses, COOs, and other leaders in the industry. It wouldn’t be that popular if it didn’t work!
Do you use a different reporting system? What is it? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send us an email, and someone from my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.