We 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. Plus, you can download the PM Tips Project Status Reporting completely FREE of charge at the end.
The Importance of Project Status Reporting
The purpose of a project status report is to communicate the current status of the project to all members involved in the project. This document reports all parties how the project is running: what activities are completed, and what issues have risen. If your goal is to be effective, a detailed Project Status Report can be one of the most powerful tools to have in your pocket.
Moreover, this type of report can do way more then just report something. It’s an important communication tool that provides a documented history of the project. In this way, project status reports can make the planning of the future projects easier.
Some of the other benefits of project status report include:
- Deliver the key information.
- Improve the communications across all parties.
- Improve organizational support for the projects and/or the team.
- Keep everyone involved on track.
- Simplify the project processes.
A project status report is essential to keeping all members informed. In this way, you will be sure that the stakeholders are on the same page, and they know the pace and progress of the project.
Every report needs to be clear and to the point. But, what should one basic project status report contain? The report sections may vary depending from the project, but the general outline includes these parts:
- Project Summary
- Key Contacts
- Dashboard / Quick View / Overview
- Schedule Status
How and what you display in this section is up to you and up to what your customer/sponsor wants to see. However, the most important part is the schedule status. Here, you can use filters in your project scheduling software to create a subset of the schedule to cut and paste into the status report for quick review. For example, in MS Project, you can create filters that 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
Nevertheless, these parts depend from the project itself, and how you want to present to the stakeholders is up to you.
Things to Consider
Don’t see the project status report as a burden or waste of time. If done correctly, it can be very effective in building a strong communication between you, your team, and the stakeholders. In order to get the status report productive, keep these things in mind:
- Target the audience effectively.
- Keep the report clear and brief.
- Keep the same format during the project.
- List key successes.
- Make the report visually attractive.
Project Status Report is not a complicated document, if you know how to craft it. Download our template to get a better idea how a status report looks like.
And, if you got any question on this topic, feel free to write them in the section at the end. We do our best to respond quickly.