Status reports in project management are great ways to provide to all project stakeholders good visibility over progress and performance. Furthermore, the reports can assure buy-in from the stakeholders if are structured enough to be concise and easy to read.
Usually there are two main categories of project stakeholders that need to informed via status reports: internal top management and customer management.
A good practice would be for the customer stakeholders to be informed about the project progress on a weekly and monthly basis while for the internal top management is sufficient to receive a monthly report, but only in case no extraordinary events happen. During crisis situations, internal top management can be notified as well on a weekly basis.
The weekly reports suitable for a close group of stakeholders, mostly for the people which are actively involved in the project development. The topics to be shared in a weekly report are the following:
Additional topics might be included as well at the discretion of the project manager.
The monthly report needs to be quite brief but informative enough to provide a good picture over the project's progress. As for the format, try to keep all the info in the body of the email. If you put the status into an attachment, that would mean some additional extra clicks for your stakeholders to do. That doesn't mean you should avoid them in case you have good reports to be shared.
Furthermore, it is important to have backups in a central location, i.e. Google Drive can be used for files sharing and Confluence can be used to store the body of the emails for further reference. That will assure, upon request, information access for everyone and from everywhere.
The monthly status reports will be sent to two stakeholder types. However, the content will not be the same. The customer will receive an official project status while the internal reports will address other topics like customer relationship status or profitability.
Below there is the structure of the monthly report for the customer:
One smart way to provide a super-fast status would be with colors. Just state some PM areas and color them according to level of urgency.
Please see below an example:
In this table green means "All good", yellow means "Under observation" and red means "Immediate attention required!".
This table can be used as well for customer reports but, of course with the right indicators used.
In addition to the colored table, you would need to provide as well some additional info about the project, like:
Please see below some best practices on how to write accurate and meaningful project status reports:
I hope you find useful these reports structure. Please share any tips that you believe will create a more effective way to deliver meaningful and accurate project reporting.
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