We’ve talked before about the importance of building and maintaining
. The more time you spend keeping them in the loop and ensuring that they have the most current information about your project, the happier stakeholders are. And, the happier your stakeholders are, the more likely they are to go to bat for you when you need them.
That’s why it’s important to provide regular updates on the project’s progress to stakeholders. They stay informed about what’s going on and feel like they have more of a connection to the project.
Of course, because we’re big fans of both helping your projects run smoothly and building stakeholder engagement, we have just the thing that can help - the project status report.
What is a project status report?
A project status report is a project management document that is sent out regularly to stakeholders and project team members that provides updates on how a project is progressing. This document isn’t necessarily meant to provide an in-depth look at the project, although it can. The main goal of the document is to give people a snapshot of how things are progressing through the project plan, the current status of everything, what issues you may have run into, what deliverables have been completed, and what the next stage of the project is.
What is a project status report template?
A project status template is a project management template that helps you capture all the necessary project details in your updates without having to use Excel. These status update templates are put together in a way that guides you through the key points that you need to talk about for the various key stakeholders involved in your project. Best of all, since they’re editable, you can tailor what you include to match the preferences of specific stakeholders.
Project status report template benefits
Keeping everybody in the loop during a project can be time-consuming for project managers. Without a document that helps you gather information, you'd be forced to send out multiple emails on a regular basis containing the miscellaneous information that your stakeholders like to see. With a project status report, you’re getting everything in one spot. But, along with better communication with stakeholders, these templates can help you in other ways.
With a project status report template, you’re only collecting the information that you need. Rather than spending all your time wandering through your project docs, trying to find interesting or relevant information, you’re hyper-focused on gathering only the information that people need to see. And, it saves your stakeholders from having to wade through a document’s worth of unnecessary information just to find what they’re concerned about.
Project status reports provide clarity into how the project is coming along, what roadblocks you’re encountering, how you’re dealing with issues, among other things. It’s a good way to better understand if the project is moving along nicely or struggling. In turn, this shows stakeholders things like where they can help or where more resources may be needed.
Improved transparency and understanding of project objectives
Status reports bring a high level of transparency to projects because you’re using them to give stakeholders and team members a glimpse behind the curtain. Along with helping people better understand what you’re trying to achieve, you’re showing how close you are to achieving those objectives on a regular basis.
Remember above when we mentioned sending out multiple emails each week to provide updates? Well, the project status report eliminates most of that (we can’t promise key stakeholders won’t follow up with questions), allowing you to streamline the reporting process. With the report, you can send out one email each week to everyone who needs updates and be done with it (besides, you know, the questions).
Maximized project performance
Along with helping stakeholders understand how the project is performing, the very act of putting together regular progress reports helps project managers see where the issues lie. This gives you the information you need to optimize certain aspects of your project to maximize performance on the fly. You’ll be able to enhance the workflow to get rid of blockers and make sure that your superstars have everything they need to do their best work.
Crucial elements of a project status report
Now that we understand the benefits of using regular project status reports, let’s explore what information absolutely should be included each time. Some sections won’t need to be updated as frequently as others, but even making a note like, “No change” helps bring clarity to the status of your project.
Overall project status update
First, just like when you’re making small talk, give a general overview of things. If you’re running into a lot of problems, mention them here. If things are going well, great! The idea is to give a few sentences that sum up how everything’s going. You should also include any important metrics, like the percentage of project schedule complete, here as well.
Individual project milestones status
Provide an update on the various milestones in your project. You don’t need to go into too much detail with these, unless something has gone horribly wrong, simple updates like,
in progress, completed,
should be enough. All you’re really looking to do is give a general update. However, if something isn’t going according to plan with a milestone, mention it and go into more detail.
What’s been accomplished so far? This section probably won’t change much until you’re nearing the end of the project timeline, but some milestones are also going to result in aspects of the project being completed. This could be things like finishing the back end (or the front end), completing user testing, or having a usable demo product.
Risks and issues
Have you encountered any
or issues since the last update? If so, mention them here along with their impact, mitigation tactics, and outcome.
Were any changes made to the project? List the changes and what the
looked like to get the changes approved. Include some detail about why the change was made and how it’s going to impact the success of the project.
How’s the project budget looking? Still working with the same team? All you need to do here is make note of what resources you’re using and whether you may need more. This helps stakeholders better understand how you’re using resources for the project.
This one’s easy, what’s next for the project? This could be something simple, like “Moving on to the next milestone” or “ continuing with the current milestone”. But, it might also involve moving into a new stage in the project, from design to production, for example. If there are any action items for stakeholders, you could also include those here.
Get started with this project status report template.
After you copy this template, you can start utilizing this free project status report template for your projects and business.
How to write a project status report using Coda's template
Step 1: Defining Projects
Starting with the
page, you can add a new project that your organization is taking on by clicking the
button. In the
table you can add details for your project like
column will be automatically be filled in once milestones are completed in the correlated project.
Step 2: Creating Milestones for your Projects
Next, you can add in milestones for your correlated projects in the
table. By clicking the
button you can add in details for your milestone like
. Also keep track of the
of each of your milestones/tasks, this will allow you to keep track of the overall progress on your project. Milestones allow your organization to see prioritize certain objectives before others based on their timeline.
To see a visual representation of the progress of each of your projects you can visit the
page where you can see a timeline that is organized by the selected
Extra Steps: People, Teams, Roles
To keep track of the teams and people that are a part of you organization you can visit the
page where there are tables to define
and assign each person that is in your organization to a team and role.
Project status report FAQs
What is included in a project status report?
The exact information you’re going to include will vary depending on how you work, but you want to include as much information as possible at a high level. Similar to what we’ve outlined above, you want to capture pieces like where you’re at in the project, how much is left to do, and any issues that may have come up. Ultimately, you want to provide enough information to give everyone a sense of how it’s going, without dumping all the information you have on them.
How do you record project status?
The best way is to use a template. It simplifies information gathering by providing you with a repeatable process and allows you to customize the information you gather for stakeholders.
What is an executive status report?
Your stakeholders are often completely dependent on the information provided in the report, so make sure you ask them what they want you to include. —Mattias Hallberg, PMP, Rakuten Inc., Tokyo, Japan
An executive status report is a project management document that provides high-level updates
to the executives in your company. This document needs to be succinct (typically no more than one page) and contain enough information to give the executive team an update on the project. Executive teams tend to want to see specific information, so be sure to talk with them at the start of the project to find out what information should be included in the executive summary of the project and how often they want to be updated. Some executives want weekly project status reports, others are okay with less frequent updates.
What is the purpose of the project status report?
The purpose of the status report is to provide updates on the project for stakeholders and team members. They highlight how the project is going, how close to completion it is, and whether or not there have been any issues or changes along the way.
What is the difference between a status report and an assessment?
The big difference between a status report and a project assessment is that a project assessment is done before the project is even started to help better understand aspects of the project like scope, timeline, and goals of the project. A status report, on the other hand, is a regular update that happens once the project is underway. They look at similar details, but from different perspectives (”how it’s going” versus “here’s what this project is going to look like”).