Lookahead Report as a Management Tool


The Lookahead Report comes in two versions; Pre and Post Refresh. The PostFresh version is run immediately after the the Refresh session (after Update and Pull-in) - on the same day. It is used by each activity owner to manage their weekly tasks. It forecasts the tasks on the schedule that should be started or are in-progress during the upcoming week (based on the schedule), prior to the next Refresh meeting.

The PreFresh version is run the night before the Update meeting and is used by owners to collect actual performance data. This is designed to help each owner prepare for the weekly team Refresh meeting (i.e. to come prepared with the status of each task on their Lookahead Report).

There is a more extensive description of the report's operation here at this post.


Above is an example PostFresh Report for the upcoming week. The first tasks to focus on are the tasks that are on or near the critical path. This is easily done by clicking the "Float" sort in the Ribbon. This is just an Excel file, so all columns are filterable and sortable using the down arrows on the columns if you prefer to use this rather than the Ribbon.

The first 5 tasks (in the above example) are important to make sure get worked on in the coming week, as they are on or within a few weeks of the critical path. Task 240 is the most important as it is on the critical path.

Owners should use this sorted list to focus in the coming week. Will 240 stay on track? Are there any risk affecting 240? Are resources available to work on 240? Is Charles aware he is driving the critical path? All these questions are asked before the week starts, rather than after the week has past in order to anticipate and mitigate problems impacting the timely completion of the task - before-the-fact action.


For the next level of analysis in the example above, we sorted by FINISH, so that the tasks finishing soonest would be at the top. A further sort filtered on just one person; "Dave's" tasks only. This is the kind of simple filtering each owner should do each week when they receive the Lookahead Report; filter on their tasks and sort by Finish Date. These at the top of the list are very important to focus on in the coming week. If there are any problems anticipated on these during the week, action should be taken in advance of problems manifesting.


There is one more important format feature shown above; the yellow highlighting. In this example, task 261 is Not-Started and scheduled to finish in the coming week. This should be started. But in this example, Dave has some flexibility since his "unfolding circuits" task is many months from the critical path. The tasks to watch out for are the tasks with low or no float that have not started, but should be finishing in the coming week.


Above is an example of a PreFresh Report. It is similar to the PostFresh version, yet this one has fields displayed to use as input capture for the status of the upcoming tasks. For example, task 244 "Finalize mechanical packaging" was started in a previous Update and is now in-progress. It is not completed. If the actual progress of the task was it was "not completed," the owner would need to enter in the Remaining Duration to complete the task; so the input would look like this Y - Y - n days remaining.

There are many format options on these reports in the Lookahead Ribbon interface; due by, show/hide, sort by, filter on risks (if risks have been entered), showing notes on tasks, reporting (savings as PDFs by owner for distribution), and charts.

See also:

The Lookahead Report

Import a Lookahead Report

Customize a Lookahead Report

When Should I Send Out the PreFresh Report