Checklist: do I really need this report?

If you want to know if your report is worthwhile and not just going to tell you that the ship is sinking, use this checklist:

  • What would you do if you didn’t have the report?
  • What’s the purpose of the report? (in two or three sentences)
  • When the report indicates a problem, is it too late to do something about it?
  • Has the report ever helped prevent a problem or fix a problem?
  • What have you got out of the report historically?
  • What could you use instead of the report, to get the same information?
  • How often do you really look at the report?
  • Are the measurements lagging indicators or leading indicators?
  • What does it cost to maintain?
  • What’s unnecessary that could be removed?
  • Is it worth looking at? Is this report distracting you from something more important?
  • Did someone tell you to look at it? Would you look at it if they had not asked you to?
  • How do you plan to use it in the future? Is that justifiable?
  • If you could only have one report in your life, would this report even be considered?