How To Keep Your Project On Track With Project Status Reports?

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The polymath of the olden times would note down their findings, inventions, and musing in writing on paper. To some extent, I’d say that the same goes for the status of project — or projects for that matter. Have you ever come across Leonardo da Vinci’s 7000 notebook pages that contain his ideas? (Right?)

He was a lone man working on his creativity so he showcased his work encrypted and coded that still interests and baffles humans.

We, however, have transversed a long way from working solo. People tend to work in large organizations, teams, and groups. The antediluvian* ways of taking notes and sending handwritten memos have been replaced with fast technology-integrated communication.

Imagine Leonardo da Vinci be your mentor. We’d all be scratching our heads (albeit, in awe) and we would get nowhere.

We do not have time for encrypted notes in this fast-moving world Leonardo! We need the clear regular-interval status update of where the work is currently so we can get a move on. Let me have a quick Project Status Report please, Danke schön!

What is a Status Report? Why do you need to fuss over it?

For projects that have a long run, your reports can be monthly or quarterly. For short projects, it can be weekly. Here are the benefits of status report:

  • A status report is part of the controlling and monitoring processes of project tracking. It is a keeping-a-tab way, of letting your team know, you are aware of what is happening and where things are heading.
  • It increases, fastens and simplifies communication among the organization — keeping everyone informed.
  • Create accountability among the team members, with a Status Report to increase performance and productivity. A sense of ownership is necessary to not just make everyone feel a part of the team but to get the most out of their capabilities.
  • Status reports are a powerful tool for keeping all of your stakeholders and clients in the loop as well. Those along with your team can gain a clear knowledge of the tasks accomplished, issues to be tackled, risks, scheduling and budgets and the overall shape of the project.
  • With each person working individually, and in smaller groups to achieve the ultimate goal, can make everyone lose touch with the bigger picture. A status report can enhance the visibility of everyone on the team; give an insight into the work to project future strategies.
  • Want an extra layer of control over your project? Throw a status report into the mix and you’ll have it. It allows you, as a manager, a bird’s eye view of the progress, inertia, performance of the employees and any discrepancies.
  • You can extrapolate, envision, plan and then re-plan based to make your project an eventual success to exceed previously set goals. An excellent chance for learning and improving yourself, your team and your project.
  • Instead of catering to every team member’s update request separately, create a status report to let everyone know of each other’s progress and what areas need more work and time.
  • This could serve as a chance for you to showcase your skills as an enterprising manager. Make everyone aware of any delays and the why behind it. You’ll be able to answer all the questions everyone will have for you as a manager-you’ll already be ahead of the game.

How to Write a Project Status Report?

Keep in mind that you may have to send a progress report quite often during the same project. So it would be not just convenient for you but easily understandable for your team and clients if you keep a consistent pattern for your Status Report.

There are templates available that you can use to create a Status Report. However, it would be in your best interest to customize the templates to your needs and requirements.

1. Name of the project/Title of the Report/Client Name

2. Project Summary

3. Project on or off track/ Project health?

4. Activities so Far, Milestones/Deliverables

5. Activities Up Next

6. Issues or Challenges

7. Link Important Tool and Documents

8. Upcoming Milestones

Some Practices for further Guidance

· Create a Draft, Edit and Send

· Stick to the Format

· Stick to the Metrics

· Stick to the Method of Delivery

· Make it a One-Pager

· Double-Check

Double-check everything!

· Use Project Management Tools

· Ask for Feedback

Additional/Optional Items

As with any other reports, using visuals is extremely effective. Make use of charts, graphs, tables to show to make it more understandable and easy to read. Whoever is reading your report would want to read it in a short time; visuals are a great assistant for that.

What not to Include

  • Do not use an excess of words. Be concise!
  • Avoid any discursive sentences or points in your project status report.
  • Even if you are mentioning a major setback in the report, do not throw shade. A status report is not a place to express your disapproval.

You’ve got it now!

Originally published at https://www.ntaskmanager.com on January 17, 2020.

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