Let’s start by thinking about what they are not. Most people might think a quarterly business review (QBR) is a simple status update, usually done by sales management, while everyone sits in a room or a video conference all day listening to others drone on about strategies, pipelines, and plans.
But QBRs should and can be so much more.
Think of them as high impact checkpoints for shareholders. They are like report cards providing information exclusively relevant to the projects, teams, and progress which interest the audience. If you manage a large account, or are responsible to a large partner, a QBR is your opportunity to ensure key contacts and senior management understand everything you do.
A QBR is an explanation of your value: your accomplishments and successes, your plans and goals, your strategy for moving forward.
Though look and feel can vary depending on function, structure, and capabilities of a team or organization, these deliverables are generally presented as a slide deck, the best of which are succinct, showcasing easily consumable content, and visually engaging.
While – as the name suggests – their main purpose is to report on quarterly updates, they provide the presenter with a few key benefits.
Especially in organizations with a lot of change, a QBR – or a variation of a QBR – is an important way to make your mark. With an effective quarterly presentation, you can ensure stakeholders understand what you’ve accomplished and where you’re going.
Pro tip: Don’t wait until a QBR is scheduled to provide a key update. Insert a QBR anytime to reinforce to a manager, customer, or partner what you are doing, and why you should continue doing it. Call it something else if it helps get you get time on someone else’s schedule! IT reviews, customer reviews, project reviews, and executive reviews are all essentially QBRs and if your company is in a particularly busy period or undergoing major changes, the standard quarterly cadence may not be enough to keep everyone on track and in the loop.
At Virtira, we use QBRs as a key tool in our virtual project management practice because they make keeping sponsors and stakeholders up to date on how their budget is being spent easy. We also create QBRs for our clients so they can inform senior VPs, finance or procurement on what they are spending.
Essentially a QBR is an explanation of your value: your accomplishments and successes, your future plans and goals, and your strategy for moving everyone forward.
If you need more budget, headcount, or time, whoever you’re presenting to (a sponsor, account rep, or client) needs to be able to justify it. Make it easy with an effective and compelling QBR.
What is a cross-functional team?
A team with members from different functional departments, working towards a shared goal.
Organizations, cross-functional teams, and virtual projects can change rapidly. If your project sponsor changes roles, how can you ensure your team won’t get lost in the shuffle?
A strong, intentionally constructed QBR is the perfect tool for outgoing reps to use when explaining the ins-and-outs of their projects to a replacement or new manager. Use the record of that QBR to make sure budget is not allocated elsewhere and the project doesn’t move on without you.
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Yes, QBRs are typically done in sales organizations, presenting pipeline and account strategy to management, but they can be effective when implemented across any company, and any department, for key groups like customers and partners.
QBRs are an essential communication vehicle for anyone impacted by whatever it is you are doing. QBRs can be useful in IT and program management to make sure that stakeholders buy into progress.
Focus on stakeholder WIIFM when presenting your content so they understand that what you are doing is helping them look good to their managers.
Again, think of your QBR as a high-impact annual report. QBR presentations, notes, and recordings give your sponsor something to forward, or incorporate into their own review, to senior executives.
A QBR presentation is a quick, but comprehensive, tool. It should include:
Even if someone doesn’t attend the presentation and instead receives a copy of your notes and slides, that person should understand exactly where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and feel confident you are in control moving forward.
In organizations with a lot of change, a QBR - or a variation of a QBR - is an important way to make your mark.
Build a QBR that makes an impact and compels a viewer. Best practices for effective presentations will help you stand out and clearly deliver your message.
A quick internet search of QBR template will give you a myriad of formats, from modern designs, to charts, to a bunch of text. How your QBR looks and reads will depend on your audience, how much time you have, and what’s at stake.
Here are some rules of thumb to help guide you:
Our proven QBR template uses clean and professional formats that is easily tailored. and based on our experience delivering QBRs virtually to multiple cross-functional teams.
Elevate your QBR with help from Virtira’s downloadable template. Find it here.
A QBR is a necessary part of project communication, so they’re unavoidable, but they don’t have to be painful. Take time to stand out and make an impact, by using a simple but professional design to deliver your message and help your team succeed.