Sunshine Report

November 11, 2009 by
Filed under: Development, Project Management 

Sunshine Report: A status report which only reflects the positive feelings one is having.

For the most part, I have found that engineers tend to focus on problems in their status reports, but the first person who gave me sunshine reports took me by surprise. These next few paragraph detail my first enlightening experience with the sunshine report.

1st Status Report
When asked for his status, he responded that, “Everything is great, I’m looking into this one issue, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to get everything done on time.” My first thought was wow, a part of this project is going well. I recorded his report and moved on to my next task.

2nd Status Report
I asked him for his status report, he said again that everything is good. He was still looking into this one issue, but is confident that fixing this issue will resolve many other issues he has assigned to him. According to him, everything will still get completed on-time. At this point, warning bells started to sound. I was concerned that he is still on the same issue and that this issue is starting to spread to other sections of the code. But, he still seemed positive about it. I let it go to see where he would get to next week.

3rd Status Report
Now, this time I came to the meeting much more prepared. When I asked him how it was going, he was still one big happy ball of sunshine and confident that it would be done on time. I thought differently. He had just spent three weeks working on the same issue. I began to question him much more in-depth about his work. Driving down on the issues. After only about 5 minutes of drill down, he started to come to the realization that he was in over his head. We worked together to come up with a plan to get him back on track.

After that, I monitored his project more closely. Unfortunately on the next project, when prompted for a status report he still gave “Sunshine Reports”, but it just took a few minutes to cut through the sunshine to get to the truth.

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