I consider the Project Status Report a sacred piece of PM material. You do a lot of things on a weekly basis as a Project Manager, though many of those tasks that you perform are not very quantifiable. Your team members may accomplish a lot of documented tasks that there are billable. But as the PM, you orchestrate but rarely deliver a product that you produce yourself. However, the weekly Project Status Report is all yours. No one else puts it together and no one else wants to touch it with a ten foot pole. Here is where you explain what you’ve monitored, controlled, administered, overseen, and generally PM’s for the past week. You show your worth (and often billable worth) to the customer through the Project Status Report and the accompanying revised Project Schedule. Let’s discuss the contents of this critical piece of PM communication.
I like to start the Project Status Report with a summary section which outlines the project title, sponsor, delivery team leadership, and key dates. Other than potential changes to key dates due to schedule changes or change orders, this portion of the Project Status Report remains fairly static throughout the engagement. Key delivery team members may change, but hopefully not as this can lead to customer concerns and dissatisfaction, unless it is necessary to correct issues with the delivery on the project.
This section should include names, email addresses and phone numbers for all project team members for both the customer and the delivery organization. It serves as the source for contact information throughout the project and must be maintained by the Project Manager. Especially on larger engagements, it is likely that some team members will be added or drop off and accuracy on the contents of the contact list is critical.
How and what you display on the dashboard view is up to you and up to what your customer/sponsor wants to see. Likely budget and schedule will be the primary items you display. I utilize the standard Green (On Target), Yellow (Concern), Red (Off Schedule or Off Budget). Other key indicators can be included such as customer satisfaction or individual schedule milestones that deserve close attention.
This is where I like to use filters in my project scheduling software to create a subset of the schedule to cut and paste into the status report for quick review. In MS Project, I create filters that I can input date ranges into to identify the following:
- Progress - Task Completed for Reporting Period xx/xx/xx – xx/xx/xx
- Planned - Tasks Planned to Complete or Start Next Reporting Period xx/xx/xx – xx/xx/xx
- Alerts - Tasks Past Due for Completion or Starting