How to Report Project Status

Project ReportTo write a report of project status, you must understand:

  • The three components of status.
  • How to write brief details.
  • What key data is needed by management.

Three Components of Status

There are three major components to reporting project status:

  • Overall: We need to see the overall project health. As managers, we want to be able to detect a project in trouble. We also want to help make that determination sometimes. You might not know everything we know despite our best efforts to communicate. Your project might not be as healthy as you think it is.
  • Milestones: Your project has major accomplishments which must be completed by specific dates. We managers want to see which milestones are complete, which ones are in progress, and which ones are coming up next. This allows us to analyse the schedule and decide to either feel comfortable with it or challenge it.
  • Issues: Your project also probably has one or more obstacles to completion which have been discovered. We’d like to see brief details about each issue so that we can make a decision about whether or not to step in and help if necessary.

Organising Your Status

Just as you would clean a kitchen by starting up high and working your way down ultimately to the floor, project status is best when it starts off with the highest levels of detail and works it way down to lower and lower levels.

Thus:

Overall project health comes first. If I like what I see here, I can stop reading the rest. Major milestones follow overall project health. If I don’t like the project health, or if I am in need of further details, I can read a littletes. We managers want to see which milestones are complete, which ones are in progress, and which ones are coming up next. This allows us to analyse the schedule and decide to either feel comfortable with it or challenge it.

  • Issues: Your project also probably has one or more obstacles to completion which have been discovered. We’d like to see brief details about each issue so that we can make a decision about whether or not to step in and help if necessary.