Explain Or Inform

Nobody likes to be questioned for every decision he took. Nobody likes to be micro-managed for every step he attempted.

It is always good to inform the stakeholders when there is any progress.

Stakeholders will have an impression that you are in control of the whole situations. Informing stakeholder will be just a normal protocol for them.

Once a Manager informs regularly to the stakeholder of the project progress, the stakeholders are happy.

However, if Manager does not inform the stakeholders early and timely, things will look ugly when issues occur.

Once an issue occurs, such as schedule slippage, gold-plating etc.; stakeholders are paranoid and will start questioning. Manager will then be in the defensive mode and start to explain every detail. Why this issue happens, why that incident did not take place etc. Eventually, the Manager will have to provide many facts and figures to support the argument.


It is always good to inform the stakeholder early whether is good or bad. If an issue does happen, at least Manager is covered as stakeholders have already been informed in advanced. This will also give Manager certain level of confidence in managing the project independently. Obviously, not every little detail needs to involve the stakeholder. There are still things for the Manager to make certain level of decision.
If things happen, everyone can start to put their heads together and solve the issue instead of finger pointing.

On the other hand, if issues do not happen, since the Manager had already informed the stakeholder in advanced for any things could happen. This thus gives the stakeholder a thumbs-up of things coming up. Some stakeholder will then, in turn be appreciative.

Explain mode versus Inform Mode.

It could be a very fine line. When any issue happens, this “explain” and “inform” is very sensitive. Stakeholder will be questioning, why weren’t they informed early.

Manager starts busy extracting various supporting documents like email, table etc. Time spent in meetings to explain things instead of solving issues.


As a manager, do take note of such communication approach or strategy.

This could be an expensive lesson if you do not heed.


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