50+ Sample Project Status Reports
What Is a Project Status Report?
This is an effective method and instrument of presenting the current overall status of the project. This would outline the different key elements necessary for the completion and success of the project. This is a way for the people with authority as well as the stakeholders to visualize the progress of the project. This will then be compared to the actual project plan.
There are 3 common types or kinds of a project status report. The first is the weekly status report. From the word itself a report would be done every week. The second is the monthly status report. This would be done once a month. The third is a quarterly monthly status report. This means that the project status report would be done and evaluated every 3 months.
Key Elements Included in a Project Status Report
General information of the project: This is the first part of the report. This can also be referred to as the overview of the project. This will state all the basic information. This will include the project name and the project manager. This may also include the resources needed and used in the project.Status of the project: In this section, it will identify if the project is on track or under attack by certain risks. This can also be referred to as the overall health of the project. In this section, it is important to utilize different color coding to easily identify the status of the key elements of the project. The key elements is usually the project budget, project schedule, project quality and project scope. As for the different color coding, the most common is green, yellow and red. Green will mean that the project element is on track according to the expectations. Yellow will mean that the element is at risk. Red will mean that the project element is in dire need of immediate attention and remedy. By using these different color coding, you will have the means of filling out your priority list.Executive overview of the project milestones: Stakeholders and the people with authority will mainly want to check and evaluate the milestones that have been accomplished so far. In identifying the project milestone, make use of a work breakdown structure. This will help in identifying the different critical activities and the schedule for each. This will then be referred to as the milestones. These are the phases that you have to accomplish within a given amount of time. These are also the smaller manageable activities necessary in the overall success of the project. It is important to outline them and identify the percentage of their completion. It is also important to identify the different milestones that are yet to come or the ones that are not yet accomplished. This section will state the planned starting and finish date of a particular milestone. It will then be compared to the actual starting and finish date of the said milestone.Project summary: This is the main element of a project status report. This must provide a clear but brief summary of the project. Indicate and explain the status of the project. How is the progress of the project? This is also where you will state the goal of the project and the expected deliverables or outputs. Summarize the project progress in a concise manner. Also, include the timeframe of the different key activities and deliverables. This will be a way for the higher ups to assess the progress properly and objectively. Outline and showcase any significant event or advancement that you were able to encounter and achieve. Also, include if there are any notables issues and problems that are in need of addressing and solving. In general, indicate the tasks that are accomplished, the tasks that are ongoing as well as the tasks that are next in line.Project risks and issues: In this section, it is important to have a thorough risk management plan. It is essential to list out all the issues and risks that the project is currently experiencing as well as the upcoming risks and issues that may affect the project success. Give a clear and brief description and explanation on how they are hindering the project. In line with this, it is important that the stakeholders and higher ups know the risk response plan. This may be divided into two, the current plans of action and the response you will be executing to address the upcoming risks and issues. This must also indicate who is in charge of managing and containing the risks. If there is any change request, this is also the section to discuss them. Change requests are documents that will state if the project scope will be altered. This is done in order to avoid certain risks.Financial health of the project: It is also important to have a discussion about the current status of the project budget. It is important to thoroughly explain how much of the budget has been used. In this section, it is important to make sure that you utilize the budget plan in order to cross reference that project status report. This will give you the means of identifying whether the current budget is on target, under the target and over the target in terms of budget.Project metrics: This should already be designed and implemented as early as the planning stage or this should already be included in the project plan. This will be a point of reference for every project status report that will be conducted and presented. This will prove that all the elements included in the status report is accurate and true. This is a way of checking the actual numbers of those key elements.Highlight section: This section is optional. In this section, you will once again go through any roadblocks that you are encountering and also state the different plans of action that would be executed in the next phase of the project. This will let the stakeholders know and see the what the next step would be.
Step by Step Process in Creating a Project Status Report
Step 1: Select a Format or a Template
The first step is to look for and make use of a template or a format. This will give the user the necessary means in order to come up with a project status report as easily and as fast as possible. This will also help in creating a detailed and on target status report.
It is important to remember to make use of the same format or template in your status report. This is done in order to have an easy comparison of the actual progress from your last report.
Step 2: Identify the What and Who
The following step would be to identify who are the personnel that should be included in the report. To whom does the project status report be addressed to? You have to identify the essential members and stakeholders of the project. In this step, it is also a must to identify and state the goals statement of the entire project.
Step 3: Identify the Different Key Elements
After having a format or a template, it is a must to gather all the data you will need to report on. In this step, it is important to gather all the records and necessary data that should be tackled during the meeting. Key elements would be:
The timeline of the project – During the planning process of the project, the planners will identify the expected duration of the project and the expected finish date of the project. In the planning process they would also identify a timeframe for the different key activities. It is important that in a status report you used the actual project schedule as your point of reference. This will be used to identify whether the project is behind the schedule, ahead of the schedule or on target.
The budget of the project – This is an important aspect to be discussed in your status report. As this is one of the most needed resources in order to continue on implementing the project. It is important to state whether the actual budget is still on target or the project is already experiencing overspending.
The milestones and deliverables of the project – As the stakeholders and investors would want to see an actual progress or advancement in the project, it is a must in every report to highlight a key activity or deliverable that the team was able to complete or obtain. This will give the people with authority a sense of security that the project is progressing and not failing.
The risks and issues involved – It is a must to be truthful and realistic in a project status report. You should not sugarcoat the words and the pieces of information that you will present during the meeting and evaluation of the project. It is important to have a thorough analysis of the risks and issues that have occurred along the way of the project as well as the risks that you are expecting to happen in the near future.
It is not enough that you have identified the different risks, it is also a must that you have come up with a rock solid risk response plan. State and describe the plans of action that you are currently executing and the different responses you will make use of in case some of the identified risks occur.
Before ending the third step, construct an abstract or an executive summary of the different elements. This will iterate the key pieces of information. This will allow for a better understanding for the part of your target audience. It is also important that you communicate with the different team members in order to see things from their point of view. This will allow you to identify and describe the elements from a different angle and this may identify minute details as well.
Step 4: Finalize the Report
Before presenting your status report to the stakeholders or investors, it is a must that you have double checked it. It is important that you have proofread the report. It is also a must to include supporting documents in the report. This will prove that the numbers you have input are true and accurate. It is important to make use of visual representations in the report as well.
Benefits of a Project Status Report
Why is a project status report important? There are a variety of reasons as to why they are created. Some of them are:
It Identifies the Different Risks.
With the help of a status report, it helps the project manager as well as the team members to identify and come up with a risk register. In turn, this will lead to the design and creation of a risk response plan. This will help to prevent any unnecessary setbacks in the project.
It Provides Transparency.
As stated above, it identifies the risks and roadblocks that will hinder the project. Therefore, it creates transparency. This is actually a good thing as it shows professionalism. Risks are only natural in all projects. This way you will earn the trust of key members.
It Creates an Opportunity for a Buy-In.
As you present the status report, if they see that the project is of significant importance and is progressing well, this will help in getting more stakeholders or investors.
It Identifies the Health of the Project.
Knowing and understanding the actual progress of the project helps in assessing the health of the project. This will help in identifying whether the project is still on track or if it has swayed from the original scope of the project.
It Helps in Managing the Resources.
A project status report does not stop after it has identified the achievement and elements of the project. After identifying the details, it will lead to better allocation of the budget as well as the team members. This is crucial as proper allocation will lead to better efficiency in executing and finishing the project.
It Helps in Communication.
The status report will also help in a faster and easier way of communicating with the stakeholders as well as the team members.
It Leaves Paper Trails.
This means that it is also a way or instrument used to document the different key activities that are happening in the project.
A project status report is an important instrument outlining the different achievements accomplished in the project as well as identifying the overall health and status of the project. Remember that the success of a project will greatly rely on the individual efforts of the team members. Make use of a team charter, this will lead to better understanding of the project as well as better execution of the operational plans. Make use of the details stated above and try the templates available above in order to have a detailed and solid project status report.