Status reporting is a very important task for the project manager. Effectively communicating status to your project team and your stakeholders will keep everyone apprised of the health of the project including key risks and issues. It sounds straight forward, however, not everyone communicates effectively. Here are a few tips:
- Know you audience (stakeholders)
Who are you communicating to and what is the right level of detail? Different groups of stakeholders are interested in different levels of details. For example, the project team will expect the most details including the current project schedule, risks, issues and key next steps you want to highlight. However, when reporting status to senior or executive management they are expecting an “Executive Summary” of your status which would only include a brief status, if the project is on track or delayed, key milestones ahead and only your highest issues and risks.
- Project Color Status
Providing a color status as part of your report provides a quick and effective status of the health of your project: Red, Yellow and Green.
- Red – Your Project is Delayed
- Yellow – Issues or Risk are threatening your project target date.
- Green – The project is tracking to plan.
- Be Concise and Organized
- Provide a concise and organized status that allows the reader to quickly know if you are on track or delayed. If you are delayed, briefly explain why and what is needed to bring the project back on track. Also, provide a summary of issues and risks and if you need assistance make it clear in your status. If there are issues, what is the impact to the project? If there is a risk, what is your mitigation plan? What are your upcoming milestones? What are you scheduled to be complete this week? In summary, project status should include schedule status, risks and issues.
- Schedule Your Status Reports
- It is very helpful for stakeholders to know when they will receive your status. Choose a date as to when you plan to provide your status to your stakeholders. This will help stakeholders to know when to look for your report. Of course, there are always exceptions. If a significant issue or risk presents itself, you should always communicate the status to your stakeholders right away.