My daughter got her drivers license last week. 
This week she thinks everything in life has changed. 

She doesn’t have to come home from school.
She doesn’t have to tell us where she’s going.
She doesn’t have to check in.

We just had a good conversation about it.

Not dissimilar from the conversation I had with the 6 programmers/server admins who work for us.

Most people know I’m big on daily reporting. 
I require it.  Every day.

But sometimes I get relaxed and some OFS get relaxed and they stop doing it. I don’t think about it because I’m thinking about how to grow the business.

This time it caused a problem.

We’re trying to significantly improve the messaging system on

Complex, but not super hard…

The issue is when I stop getting reports and the project drags out for months.

In an attempt to figure out why it’s dragging on, this week we sent an email to all 6 of our OFS programmers saying basically

We need a daily report from each of you.
If you don’t have something to work on, please tell us.  It’s not your fault, it’s ours.
This is non negotiable at this point.

Then all the issues came out.

One of the server admins is struggling with his diabetes. 
We thought they were all working on different parts of this upgrade, but it turns out the whole thing is bottlenecked with him right now.

The other programmers aren’t sending reports because they’re not working! They all started emailing us saying 

“Yeah, I don’t have something to work on right now until this upgrade gets completed.”

Problem solved.

All it took was an email from us saying 

I need a daily email, and your employment is conditional on me getting it.

My business partner Dan added

You’re supposed to work 8 hours/day. It seems to me a 10 second email should be pretty easy to incorporate into those 8 hours.

We’ll still be lenient (not going to fire someone over not sending a daily report) but for me, I can’t emphasize enough how important the daily report is.


PS. I talk about the daily report in my book The Outsourcing Lever.