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Reporting on Project Status

To reduce questions and challenges on the project

Project StatusAs a project manager, you want to report effectively on the project status by providing sufficient information to stakeholders while also reducing the amount of back and forth communications necessary. This entails providing complete, detailed information in ways that works for the stakeholders but also works for you as the project manager. It can be challenging!

The most effective way to develop a plan to report on the status of your project is to do so in collaboration with the leadership team in the organization. These are likely where your sponsors will originate and the individuals whom you will have to tailor communications in order to meet their needs and expectations. The more complete your communications, the more likely you are to reduce questions about the project as well as challenges to the project. Now, I am not proposing that you need to ask each leadership team member how they want to be communicated with about the project; rather, you want to have a method and format for communicating that meets everyone’s needs overall.

Ensuring a summary of the projects in progress and following that with details meets the needs of those key stakeholders who simply want an overview of status as well as those individuals who want to dive deeper into the project and its status. Consider the following to be included for the detail part of each project in progress:

  • Project name
  • Key stakeholders and project resources
  • Current status (using a stoplight report)
  • Work to be completed over the next reporting period and resources required
  • Issues to be resolved (and specifically what input needed from stakeholders)

Let’s look at an example:

Project in Progress – DETAILED

Project: New accounts payable process

Key Stakeholders:

  • VP Finance & Accounting
  • Director Accounts Payable

Project Resources Assigned:

  • Team members: Alison, Bryan, Samantha
  • Client-side team members: Sally (accounts payable manager), Billy (accounts payable administrator)

Current Status (Green, Amber, Red):

AMBER – client side team members unavailable for 2 weeks

How Status is Being Resolved/Addressed (details – for Amber and Red only):

Client side team members unavailable for 2 weeks. Project team members will continue to work on developing new process solutions for review when client side team members become available. Expected 1 week delay in project.

Work to be completed over next reporting period

Major task…

Assigned to…

Client-side resources Required…

Expected date of completion…

Development of potential process solutions

Alison, Bryan

Sally, Billy (unavailable)

Delay of 1 week:
June 10

Issues to be discussed/resolution needed

Issue

Reason for issue

Resources required

Proposed resolution

Impact to project (budget, resources, timeline, etc.)

Technology needs tied to new process (three potential solutions require new technology)

Processes initially considered did not require upgrading technology.

IT staff

Need to arrange meeting with IT staff to determine impact of new technology need

Will need approval for any new technology needed (budget increase)

Expected impact to budget as well as timeline; will require IT resources – more details to follow

Above is a very simple example of detailed information on one particular project. More or less information may be needed for your projects depending on the organization and the preferences of leadership.

As a best practice, sending out the information prior to a project status meetings enables for stakeholders to review the information beforehand and come prepared with additional questions and/or to make a decision.

The more detailed project managers are in reporting on the project, the less questions and challenges the project will receive; as stakeholders will feel “in the loop.”