I often find that communication between project managers and senior management is very limited or nonexistent. There are several reasons. One reason is the busy schedule of executives. And other reasons might be the lack of interest shown by the project managers, as well as the need to perhaps hide something that project managers feel should not go up to senior management.
But it is an important part of keeping up with project progress.
Reviewing progress and profitability should not be something that waits until year's end. Instead there should be some monthly or quarterly checkpoints in between. This regular communication should also include client feedback--both good and bad.
In most organizations, senior managers or account managers require project managers to conduct daily/weekly status meetings and publish the minutes of meetings. These meetings are usually kept internal to the team and there is rarely communication with the senior manager or account manager about the discussion.
Senior Management Review (SMR) reports--which lists things such as project risks milestones achieved--prepared by project manager for senior management and other support/effected groups also do not promote accountability as they can be manipulated for convenience.
How can project leaders and senior management solve this problem? By having someone independent of the project of someone on the client side (e.g. business analyst) prepare a monthly status report. The report should include:
1. Resource Utilization
2. Billing Done for the Month (to be provided by project manager and this should match with the value submitted to accounts)
3. Earned Value generated by the Team (to be provided by project manager and this should match with the value submitted to accounts)
4. Work Projection for Next Month
5. Testing Quality (mainly for IT projects)
6. Highlights/Lessons Learned
7. Operation Decision that need SM/Account Manager's review
8. Items to be taken in company's Interest
By doing this, senior management will have an insight to the project and can act accordingly before it gets too late. Project managers should not behave like a stranger in a crisis situation.