Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Weekly Reporting: 15/5s (fifteen-fives) (Revisited/How to)

2018-09-22 15.38.24-blog-small

For more background on the benefits of this type of reporting and how to use it, please refer to the blog post, “On Reporting Effectively (15/5 Reports)“.

Here is a “How To” write up on 15/5 Reports

  1. Define
    • Who should have to file it
    • When it is due (e.g., end of your work week before you leave work)
    • Format (email, shared doc, etc.)
    • Who it should be filed with (and/or who can view it)
  2. Quick Start
    • Jot down what you WILL accomplish by the end of the reporting period in bullet format (recommended: weekly 15/5s, due at the end of the week, so you can start the new week knowing exactly what you should be working on)
    • Each task item should start with an action verb with clear end point (i.e., it should be obvious to everyone if you completed the task: e.g., “Upload edited annual report” vs. “continue to work on sales projections”)
    • If the project extends beyond the reporting period, break the main deliverable into series of task items that can be completed by the end of the reporting period (e.g., “get sign off on job description for new hire from Ms. X” vs. “start thinking about the replacement for Project Manager”)
    • For the second 15/5, write down the new tasks for the following week, and also report of status of the tasks you were supposed to have completed as “All Done” or call out specific task items that weren’t done, and put an asterisk to show you are late (if the item is still relevant and needs to be completed in the current reporting period, then list is as carry over item). Continue to add the asterisk if it’s late again
    • Have a copy of it handy so you can refer to it, and make sure you are making sufficient progress and scheduling tasks into your work day
  3. Details
    • Goals for the 15/5 Report
      • Efficiently inform your manager/colleagues your status
      • Help plan your priorities
      • Provide a ‘public declaration’ on what you would have completed by the week’s end (so others can count on these items being completed)
      • Provide a forum to bring up items (for one-on-one mtgs, etc.)
    • Non-goals
      • Not for time-tracking or accountability; therefore, DO NOT list routine responsibilities and/or tasks you do
    • Contents of 15/5 Report
      • Part I: items from previous week’s 15/5 report were incomplete (briefly state how they can be completed (help/resources needed vs. excuses); put an asterisk to note it is now late
      • Part II: items for the coming reporting period
      • Optional Part III: “On My Radar”
        • items you want to alert others that you are aware of that’s coming up (but not due by the end of the current reporting period)
      • Optional Part IV: “Rant and Raves”
        • place you can share your celebratory feelings or things that are getting you down (not necessarily about the projects: helps to give your colleagues context)
    • Organization
      • Group tasks that are for the same project or related
      • Use all caps/italics/bolding to show emphasis
      • Be clear if actions/decisions are needed from others
        • Can group those up front with people’s names in all caps so they see action items for them up front
      • Can separate items as high priority and essential vs. optional (items to work on if there’s time)
  4. Implementation
    • Make sure to comment on every report for the first few reporting period
      • Provide constructive feedback
        • Note what they did right!
        • Ask questions if unclear
        • State preference on format, language, etc.
    • Make sure you are using it as a tool for communication and planning
  5. Example 15/5 Report in email format:


[filed Friday, 5pm Pacific Standard Time so boss can review before/on Monday to respond before you get too far into accomplishing your items in case there is a misunderstanding, etc.]

TO: Anita Managerson

CC: Fei-fei Programmersen

SUBJECT: 15/5 Report for the week ending 2018/12/14

From Last 15/5 Report: 

ALL DONE except

*Schedule a progress mtg with X [X was out sick all last week; if out this week, will share project update report to be completed via email]


• [DECISION NEEDED] Assign team roles for final presentation

• Complete “results” chapter draft of the project report

• Get raw data from Y (so that I can format the graph differently)

• Identify list of interviewed users whose quotes we will be using in our report


• Track down the interviewed users to get approvals for the quotes and get photos to include in the report


• Innovation Competition ABC: our project might qualify for it: deadline Jan. 10, 2019


• My dog died: totally devastated



Photo: Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville, CA



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This entry was posted on December 11, 2018 by in Uncategorized.
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