Definition - SITREP (Situation Report)

A standardized report originated in the military to provide a concise, clear update on the current situation, typically in a combat environment. The principles can be applied to projects and construction businesses.

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Application of this concept is less about the format of a report and more about changing the culture of the team to communicate in a format starting with most important facts and requests up front to inform decision making. Additional contextual details can be added to the end or requested if required.

Remember that clarity of decision rights is critical for a contractor to grow in a sustainable manner and that more information does not improve decision quality


 

EXAMPLE

[Task] started 3 days ago. Production is on track per plan. After several production experiments, we estimate savings of $40K if we swap [X machine] for [Y machine]. Is this equipment available and if so, how soon could we get it to the jobsite?

 

This is a simplistic example but let's break it down a little bit.

Within the first ten words or so, we know that a specific task has been started and that production is on track per plan. There has to be the assumption that this is being communicated to someone who knows where this task falls within the overall schedule, and they know that it is on track per the plan / budget. That sets context for decisions they will make given the next pieces of information. There would likely be different decisions if the task were started late and/or not meeting planned budget

The third sentence starts by identifying that the project team is running some experiments to continuously improve. That provides data points for where they are at in their leadership development as well as providing greater weight to the word "estimate" since it was backed up by experimentation. 

The third sentence also defines and quantifies the decision which will improve the quality.

The fourth sentence asks a specific set of questions - what and by when. 

"Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask." - Tim Ferriss


 

Moving to the decision side of this SITREP, there are likely three things to take into account. One immediate and two others short-term but not immediate.

  1. If the other machine is available and not committed elsewhere, make the swap. If not, what is the savings of renting the machine (if available) including possible non-utilization of the current machine?
  2. If the production experiment proves out, update and distribute the company standards for estimating and building that specific task.
  3. Evaluate whether there is enough of that task to purchase another piece of equipment if applicable.

 

 

 


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Definitions for The Business of Building
Building a project requires knowledge and skill in using thousands of construction specific definitions, acronyms, and metrics. Building a business including the development of people has its own vocabulary that forms the foundation of communication.