Weekly detailed engagement status update guidelines

The weekly detailed engagement status update is important because it i) keeps multi-national Clients informed of engagement progress ii) is a legal record of what is weekly agreed, for disputes later iii) keeps your senior management updated re engagement progress iv) supplies certainty to multi-national Clients, who then leave you alone and v) helps new CROs track past engagement progress and vii) minimises email tennis with multi-national Clients.

The table below helps you supply quality emails to multi-national Clients and minimize reviews by supervisors.

No.StrategyHow?Why?
1.Plan weekly Client deliverables
  • Start writing the Client update email on Monday and send it to the Client no later than Thursday.
  • Keep track of the deliverables you promised to supply to your Client in your last email update.
  • If possible, send the weekly update to your supervisor for review a day before the scheduled date of email update to the Client.
  • Do not keep a weekly update for the last day of the week – the Client may get the impression his engagement is a low priority one for you.
  • Be constantly in touch with your local team to obtain deliverables in time for client update. Do not wait until end of the week to liaise with them.
  • So you can visualize the end result.
  • So you know what you need to get from the suppliers over the coming days.
  • So you know at the beginning of the week what emails to send banks and governments and other third-parties.
  • So you have enough time to make changes/updates before sending out the email to the Client.
  • So managers have enough time to review.
2.Proof-read your email several times
  • Proof-read it immediately after you draft it.
  • Over the following days, critically review it again and again. Keep making it better and shorter.
  • Double check that you have attached the correct documents/deliverables before sending email out.
  • Do not rely on MS Word to correct your typos and grammatical mistakes.
  • Quality business English is key for the Client to trust in your abilities.
  • A properly formatted email will convey to the Client that you are organized, and someone who can be relied upon.
  • Quality email to the Client portrays a positive image of Healy Consultants Group PLC.
3.Supply a deliverable every week
  • To keep your Client on your side, weekly supply them deliverables.
  • A list of some engagement deliverables is on this web page (click link).
  • If no deliverable is due, and unless you have previously agreed with Client not to send an update that week, ensure to send a short update informing the Client of engagement status.
  • Send a summary of your call in an email every time you have an important phone call with the Client.
  • To keep your Client happy as he sees engagement progress.
  • To avoid long spells of noncommunication between you and Client.
  • To avoid any miscommunication and misunderstanding between you and the Client.
4.Meet the 50-year old businessman’s expectations
  • Typical personality type of our Client is here.
  • He wants results as soon as practical.
  • Know his business and what he wants.
  • He does not want to repeat himself.
  • Wants timely simple, practical, low cost solutions.
  • He expects to be updated at least once a week.
  • He expects the truth at all times - if you face a challenge or have committed an error, disclose it and recommend a solution.
  • He wants to know a date when he can have corporate bank account numbers.
  • He wants to know a date when he can legally conduct business in that country.
  • He wants certainty.
  • This is the way he runs his business.
  • He paid HC a lot of money, he expects timely results from you.
  • The Client will be happy to pay additional fees if a solution is reasonable and helps him fast legally conduct business.
  • Creates a good business rapport between you and the Client.
5.The weekly email is easy to follow
  • Include a summary section at the top of the email, preferably in his native language.
  • Include sub-headings to divide up email content.
  • Font is consistent without bold (Arial 11 or 12).
  • Each bullet point to be one sentence.
  • Avoid repetition.
  • Number of bullet points below 10.
  • Attach updated engagement summary and project plan.
  • Ensure weekly update follows the sequence from the previous three weeks. Delete older email trail so as to keep the mb size of email low.
  • Clients do not have the time to read long emails.
  • Clients do not like to read weekly emails that look a copy paste of what they received in the previous week detailed engagement status update.
6.Know Client expectationsAt the beginning of the engagement, agree with Client:

  • His preferred style of the weekly detailed engagement status updates.
  • Does he want detailed emails or just summary information?
  • Does he want a weekly update, or an update every two weeks?
  • Does he want a phone call once a week or once a month?
  • Does he prefer to communicate through WhatsApp/Skype/Zoom/Teams/Google Meet?
  • Agree the month when he gets a certificate of incorporation.
  • Agree the month when he gets multi-currency corporate bank account numbers.
  • Agree the month when he can legally conduct business in that country.
  • You adapt to the communication methods and style preferred by the Client, instead of the Client adapting to our communication methods and style.
  • Agreeing this upfront will save you time (maybe a detailed conference call and a short summary update will suffice for the Client).
7.Add an updated detailed project plan
  • The document to list steps achieved and steps outstanding.
  • The dates to agree with the timeframes listed in your updates.
  • The document to cover all potential challenges you may face during an engagement, including those that you do not necessarily have space to describe in your weekly update.
  • The document to include potential solutions for the challenges that may occur.
  • The document to include the payment by instalment schedule (where applicable.
  • To make sure that you properly plan each step of the engagement.
  • So you anticipate potential challenges and put mitigation strategies in place.
  • An updated project plan serves as great learning material for future CROs.
  • To give the Client a clear timeline for deliverables expectations.
8.Add an engagement summary
  • So your Client and you are clear re deliverables supplied and outstanding.
  • So your Client and you are clear on fees paid and fees outstanding.
  • Most clients do not have time to go through the detailed project plan and rely on this document for status update.
  • To ensure your Client and you are on the same page.
  • To ensure that your supervisors have a big picture view of the engagement.
9.Add a summary of contacted banks and status
  • List all the banks contacted and their jurisdictions.
  • Put the banks with positive feedback at the top of the table, followed by the ones pending feedback and then the rejected applications at the bottom.
  • Include a status and a comments column in the table.
  • If the Client is not happy with the banks contacted you may need to adjust strategy.
  • So you can always come back as proof of your work.
  • So your Client and you are clear re which banks were contacted and their feedback, both positive or negative.
  • So you Client is clear on the targeted jurisdictions and advise at an earlier stage if they are agreeable.