Using this project status report template will simplify communication to your stakeholders about your project status.
After all, a project status report is a great way to share information about your project performance. It does so in a concise format and includes updates on project progress, health, issues, and items that need attention.
Using a project status report template makes it even easier.
So I’m giving you one.
After all, your boss expects you to know everything about your project and give updates when asked.
Using this project status report template lets you pull together project status quickly.
But that’s only one of the benefits of using this template. Read on for more.
Benefits to Creating a Project Status Report
Communication is key to keeping everyone informed about your project
Your stakeholders don’t want to be caught by surprise.
And your manager doesn’t want to find out about project issues from the customer.
Your boss doesn’t want to be blindsided. Trust me on this – I’ve seen it happen and it’s never pretty.
The status report keeps everyone informed. It alerts team members and stakeholders if there are items that need attention.
Also, you want ongoing stakeholder support. Providing regular status reports promotes visibility. You can share information about project success. This helps your stakeholder promote the project to others.
There are multiple benefits to using a project status report:
- It tells the team and stakeholders in a concise format how your project is progressing against the plan.
- It simplifies the reporting process for the project manager.
- It helps you as the Project Manager manage the messaging and communication around your project.
- It ensures stakeholders receive project information, for continued support and confidence.
- It creates stakeholder buy-in.
- It provides transparency.
- It prevents surprises.
- It helps prevent scope creep.
- It provides a historical record of the project in the event this information is needed.
When to Use the Project Status Report Template
Use this project status report template if your Project Management Office or governing body doesn’t have a standard template in place.
Keep in mind that the frequency of reporting will depend on your organization and how your stakeholders want to receive it. If your PMO or governing body already has requirements in place, follow those.
Some teams require this weekly, while others may want it monthly.
Also, check with your audience and find out what they want to see. You may even share the template for input as to what they may want to see added or changed. I’ve shared it in Word format so you can easily modify it to meet your needs.
If they have a list of information they want you to include, it will be easy to add.
Otherwise, this template will allow you to start providing status reports quickly.
Bonus – along with the free template, I’ve included a completed sample so you can see what one looks like when it’s completed – in case that’s helpful to you.
Components of the Project Status Report Template
- Project name
- Project ID number
- Project manager
- Project Sponsor
- Status Report date
- Planned Start/ Finish dates & actual start-finish dates
- Brief executive summary of the project (high-level information project goals and progress). Also, provide information on the project benefits.
Report the project budgeted amount against what you’ve actually spent to date. You can share if the project is on budget, under budget or over budget. If you’ve spent a great deal up front, be ready to explain why. Alternately, if most of your spend was planned for later in the project, your stakeholders may need to be reminded of that, too.
Overall Project Health
An easy-to-read status to highlight areas that need attention. Using Red-Yellow-Green status indicators are a common way to convey this information quickly. You can break out the different areas for individual status indicators, so any that need attention due to risk are highlighted and easy to see.
Green means that all is on track, yellow means there’s some concern, red means that it needs immediate attention.
Milestones and Deliverables
- Project Milestones: target complete date / actual complete date. The Milestone is a zero-duration point in time that you can track against. It gives you reference points in your schedule to measure progress against.
- Deliverables: target complete date / actual complete date. The deliverables are what you’re delivering as part of the project. You can report of percentage complete as part of your status.
Project Issues / Concerns
- If desired, you can incorporate ticket or reference numbers if you have a system that tracks them. Also consider using severity (low, med, high), activities to resolve the issue, and what’s needed.
- You can also incorporate any risks that have occurred and how the team is addressing them.
Items You May Want to Add to the Project Status Report Template
- Project metrics – charts or graphs to show important metrics such as adoption rates, etc.
- Identify which metrics are important to your stakeholders and governance bodies.
- Identify these during project planning, so you know you’re reporting on the right thing. Know what constitutes project success so that you can track the right metrics.
Points to Keep in Mind Regarding the Project Status Report Template
- Be concise and get to the point with the important project information.
- Use charts and tables to summarize information where possible. This helps your audience consume the information more easily and tells a story more succinctly.
- Stay high-level, but be ready to provide more detail if requested.
- Anticipate any questions your audience might have and be ready to answer them.
- Write succinctly – use bullet points rather than long-form paragraphs. Don’t use adverbs or adjectives.
- Adjust as requested – the status reporting requirement and frequency will depend on the expectations of your management team.
- There may be different expectations depending on the audience. Presenting to C-level executives is different than presenting to a team of peers.
- The formal project status report should never take the place of regular ongoing project communication between the project manager, the team, customer or anyone else involved in the project. The status report is only one element of communication. Your Communication Plan will lay out other components of project communication.
- Verify information – consult with those closest to the work to make sure the information is up-to-date and accurate.
- Gather the information from those doing the work – they’ll have the most accurate information.
- Communicate with other teams you have dependencies with. Talk with those making purchases. Stay on top of actual project spend.
- Be consistent – use a consistent format and cadence for your status reporting.
- Use metrics – pick appropriate metrics during project planning, and use these same metrics throughout your reporting.
- Keep it simple – Don’t complicate the project status report. Simplify for easier understanding. This makes it easier for your audience to consume the information.
- Don’t avoid sharing bad news – be honest and upfront. If necessary, have offline conversations before the status report is shared.
- Be prepared to explain issues and variances from the plan.
- Be diplomatic and professional.
The project status report allows you to provide information on your project status efficiently. It lets stakeholders know where attention is needed. It gives visibility for continued buy-in and support.
By using one regularly, you’ll instill continued confidence in your project leadership abilities and skills.