Handling an elaborate project that involves a considerable amount of money and resources is a huge responsibility to shoulder. The constant attention from internal and external stakeholders can be daunting. Making sure that the project is on track smoothly and efficiently will remain your primary goal. The regular briefing meetings help bring everyone up to speed on the progress. However, having a document that breaks down all the elements and progress at a single glance can prove to be a lifesaver.
That’s where the project status report can help. A project status report provides a view of the progress made against set milestones, costs, and timelines. It shares the information required to manage any issues and ensure that the project is on track.
Open, consistent communication is the lifeline for any project. A project status report facilitates this across different levels of the organization. The most effective communication tool you can use to keep your collective team up-to-date on your projects’ many moving parts is a status report. It also helps keep communication simple with a single report that anyone can refer to and stay up to date.
Using a project status report template will help you, your stakeholders, and the internal team stay honest about your work, process, budgets, and issues. Making time to regularly review and document the most basic information about your project will pay off in spades. It helps you to not only communicate essential project details but also helps to strengthen your relationship with your team and clients. With a status report, you are building trust by being 100% transparent about all project details on a very regular basis.
A project status report aims to effectively and efficiently communicate the project status at regular intervals to stakeholders. It keeps all concerned parties informed of critical aspects of the project, such as timeline, issues, risks, resources, budget, escalations, etc., and allows the management to address pressing issues promptly.
The benefits of effective project status reporting include:
1. Improved communication for all stakeholders: It facilitates more open and transparent communication among all stakeholders concerning information about the project.
2. Simplified the process of gathering and disseminating project information: All crucial information related to the project is available in a condensed and simplified manner via the project status report. This helps ensure that all critical information is communicated effectively to all stakeholders.
3. Assured information relay to all stakeholders: The project status report cumulates all critical information about various aspects of the project—this way, all the required details and updates are made available to parties involved in an orderly manner.
4. Key milestones and issues concerning project progress get attention: The key milestones, issues, and risks are included in the project status report and their status. This makes it easier to identify areas that require increased attention to ensure the successful completion of the project.
5. Improved organizational support for the project: The project status report shines a light on all aspects of the project and its status. This makes it easier to assign and divide responsibilities among the parties involved.
The type and depth of information you communicate in a report will depend on the nature of your audience. For instance, managers and clients may have a better understanding of the concepts and terminology involved in a project than do stakeholders and other personnel. Effective project reporting, therefore, requires using the appropriate tone and phraseology.
Ideally, the project status report is maintained throughout the life of the project and includes:
1. Project information - project name, project manager, resources, etc., to give a synopsis of the project.
2. Status report information - date, author, project repository, etc.
3. Executive milestone status
4. Project summary status
5. Project milestone status
6. Project issue summary
7. Project risk summary
8. Project budget overview
Points 3 to 8 provide an overview of the various milestones, issues, risks, and budget allocations involved in multiple stages of the project. Stating the status of each milestone and element helps to identify the areas that require urgent attention. It also provides insight into the status of each aspect, which helps analyze the progress of the project.
The Project Status Report is a crucial document in the life of a project. It provides a snapshot of the actual and expected projections, issues, risks, and so on. Because the report serves as a one-stop document to ensure that all parties are briefed on the project’s status and developments, it is essential to create an effective project status report.
The following are some of the best practices to keep in mind while creating a Project Status report:
1. Establish communication: Incorporate the report as a component of the project’s overall communication management plan.
2. Maintain consistency: Stick to a single format to ensure that parties involved can easily track the various elements throughout the project’s life.
3. Establish metrics: Establish metrics for status reporting during planning. It helps to measure progress and ensure that you are on track.
4. Keep it simple: Keep the status report simple but effective.
5. Ensure proper documentation: Ensure that all interested parties receive the necessary information.
6. Maintain standards: Establish and use a standard process and template for reporting the project status. Ensure that key elements of the project are retained through all phases of the reporting process.
Effective project management requires that you keep lines of communication open (between the team and client) and ensure that the information you present is accurate and up-to-date. Provide all stakeholders with the status of critical projects, milestones, steering committee escalations, progress, and upcoming events using a project summary report template.
This project status report template covers all the primary elements of the project status report in a convenient one-page format. This pre-built status report provides an overview of project status by category (budget, scope, etc.), project timeline, key risks, issues, and issue ownership to ensure that the team accounts for and completes all project action items on schedule. Having a clear visual of a project’s high-level metrics and overall performance enables a project manager to identify and hone in on problem areas requiring further attention.
You can adapt our project status report template to your use and format it for yourself. Just remember, the more you share and the more transparent you can be, the better! Knowledge is power on projects, and you want your teams and clients to share that power.