Guide: How to Use a Project Status Reporting Template

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 16, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project status reports are documents that present timely updates on the progress of a project within a specific time and compare it with an established project plan. They allow team members to remain informed about the progress of projects and monitor costs, risks, time, and work. Understanding more about project status reports can help you stay updated on a current project.

In this article, we explore the importance of project status reporting templates, review what project status reporting is, explain the importance of project status reporting, explore the types of project status reports, identify what to include in these reports, state how to write project status updates, and provide a template for you to review.

Importance of a project status reporting template

A project status reporting template is important, as it can guide you in creating an effective project report. A template typically outlines the sections required in a report, which means you only require filling in your information. This can help make your process more efficient.

What is project status reporting?

Project status reporting is a crucial communication tool that provides a documented history of projects. It summarizes a project's overall progress and compares it to the project plan. The purpose of a project status report is to inform all stakeholders and team members of the project's progress, prevent issues before they become problems, and help ensure the delivery of projects within the decided timeframe. It can also improve and simplify communication within the organization, providing a single and formal report everyone can refer to for updates.

Related: How to Use a Project Scheduling Template Effectively

Why is project status reporting important?

In project management, there are several aspects a project manager may manage, like budgets and deadlines. These activities can become overwhelming over time, especially if the updates for different tasks occur in different sections. Project status reporting can help the project manager inform stakeholders and team members of the progress of a project while helping the project manager track crucial metrics, like budget, costs, and deliverables. It can also help to identify roadblocks and risks which may interfere in project delivery.

Related: 22 Essential Project Management Skills

Types of project status reports

There are various types of project status reports that you can present to your partners to help ensure complete transparency concerning the project team's progress. These may include:

Weekly status report (WSR)

You can share these reports with immediate team members, project managers, resource managers, or project stakeholders. They provide a comprehensive view of the project's overall progress. The weekly status report contains more explicitly detailed information compared to other status reports. This report can also help in tracking the budget, identifying milestones, and explaining risks.

Monthly status report

The audience for these reports is higher-level managers. These monthly or bi-monthly project status reports help them feel engaged and in control of projects, and it doesn't require as much detail as weekly status reports. The reports help these higher-level executives track the budget, spending, quality of deliverables, and type of risks and roadblocks involved in the project.

Quarterly status reports

These reports cover an extended period of anywhere from three to four months. You can choose three or four important priorities or goals and report them to prevent unnecessarily long reports. Keeping the project status report concise can help you focus on quantitative progress rather than on big ideas.

External status reports

You can provide these reports to your clients. The tone of these status reports is professional, straightforward, and optimistic. They don't have as much detail as an internal report, so most project managers use them to report high-level goals and a wide range of issues. It's best to allow several people to proofread this report before you share it to avoid mistakes.

Internal status reports

You can share these reports within the organization, and they're more detailed than the external status reports. The tone of this status report is more transparent, as you can share if you're concerned or happy about a situation. This report focuses more on details, explaining the individual tasks of team members, but may focus on fewer issues.

Related: 8 Types of Project Charts for Effective Project Management

What to include in your project status report

The following are crucial details to include in your project status report:

Project and client name

Ensure your report starts with the project and client name. This helps your team members know which project and client it concerns. You can also add a date or timestamp if you report on this project regularly.

Project health

Here you can state in detail the current status of the project and explain whether it's going as planned. You can detail if there are roadblocks, budget concerns, or if you have met deadlines. You can also include ways to improve the overall health of the project or any specific areas that may require improvement.

Summary

You can express the report summary in two or three sentences. It provides readers with a quick update on the status of the project without reading the full report. You can include highlights, major roadblocks, and unexpected project risks.

High-level overview of each key area

This section gives an overview of each key area of the project. You can include an update on the progress, achievements, and upcoming work. Consider using bullet points to express this information in the report.

Links to other documents or resources

It isn't necessary to include every detail of your project in the status report, but you can include links to other documents that are relevant. Team members, stakeholders, or managers who want more specific information can refer to the links and resources provided. These resources can include specific project milestones and the business goals the project can achieve.

Roadblocks

Projects may meet roadblocks in its duration. These may include project risks, unexpected increases to the budget, or delays. You can use this section to inform stakeholders and team members of these issues to aid in adjustment and resolution.

Related: How to Create a Project Communication Plan (With Template)

How to write a project status update

You can include project status updates in project status reports. They explain the progress of a task and inform involved members how close the project is to reaching the established goals within the timeline. Here's a list of steps you can take if you're interested in writing a project status update:

1. Determine the purpose

This step helps you know the point of your status report. It can be about roadblocks or just informing the stakeholders of your action plan. There are different types of reports for different audiences. Your audience can be clients, other team members, or high-level executives. It's important to define the purpose so that your audience finds information that's relevant to them.

2. Choose the format

Once you have established the audience for your report, you can choose the appropriate format. This decision can consider the information your audience requires. When choosing your format, be sure to also consider the tone of the document and its content.

3. Collect the data

It's important to collect all documents, links, and resources related to your status report. It helps stakeholders or team members refer to more specific information if they want to review something further. Remember that it's unnecessary to include every single detail of the project in the update.

4. Proofread your draft

It's common to make errors or mistakes while writing. Be sure to proofread and edit your report for mistakes, oversights, omissions, and errors. You can also ask someone else to review the document to help identify errors or typos.

Project status reporting template

Here's a project status reporting template for you to review:

Report name
[Name your report and add the date.]

Project health
[State if your project is on track, at-risk, or delayed.]

Summary
[Shortly describe the important points of your project status report. You can include highlights, risks, and issues to help summarize the rest of the document.]

Important area 1: High-level overview
[Add specific details about the progress, achievements, and upcoming work.]

Important area 2: High-level overview

[Add specific details about the progress, achievements, and upcoming work.]

Important area 3: High-level overview

[Add specific details about the progress, achievements, and upcoming work.]

Additional information and links

[Link other relevant project details or information that can raise questions. You can include specific details and explain how this project fits into the organization's larger strategic goals.]

Roadblocks
[Include any challenges you're facing and how you plan to solve them.]

Additional notes
[Add any additional details you deem important and the next steps.]

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