ProjectConnections com Template Project Status Reports



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ProjectConnections.com Template Project Status Reports



INTRODUCTION: Project Status Reports

The status report formats/examples start on page 3

What This Is

Five different formats and types of status information that can be used to summarize and communicate project status to the team and Management.


  • Document formats to capture status on one page and easily hand out, post, or email.

  • Simple 3-slide set for presenting top-level status to management in meetings

  • One-page format for summarizing status on multiple projects.

Why It’s Useful

Regular status reports help ensure that the team has clear visibility to the true state of a project and that Management stays properly informed about project progress, difficulties, and issues, by periodically getting the right kinds of information from the project manager. Frequent communication of project status and issues is a vital part of effective project risk management.

The reports should let management know whether the project is on track to deliver its outcome as planned, and must highlight to management any place where their decision-making or direct help is needed.



How to Use It

  1. Review the included status report formats and select the one that seems most appropriate for your needs, or create your own hybrid.

  2. In communication planning with your team and stakeholders during the project front-end, decide on the initial period for the status report and who should receive it. This can be documented in your Communications Plan.

  3. Decide on appropriate definitions for indicators in the report. For example, if you choose a format that calls for a ‘red, yellow, green’ indicator of project health: Green can mean the project is on track for hitting schedule, cost, and requirements (scope) goals, and there are no major issues; Yellow can mean early warning of potential risk to either cost, schedule, or scope, and refer the reader to the Issues section for details; and Red can mean that one or more serious issues have put project success in jeopardy. Adjust these definitions to fit your project’s critical success factors and goals.

  4. The project manager then creates and sends this report at the agreed-upon frequency to the recipients. Note that you don’t have to wait until the Execution Phase of the project to start sending status reports – updating the team and stakeholders during the earlier project phases is a good way to increase project knowledge and decrease risk. It is essential to be periodically updating the team and stakeholders by the Execution Phase at the latest. Also, you can change the frequency of the reports as necessary—a bi-weekly report can become weekly during a time of intense project activity.

  5. Pay attention to the type and level of detail the report suggests. Sometimes communication with management can be of low quality because too MUCH information is provided, and busy executives can't determine what actions they need to take to help the project.


Special note for small projects: If you’re on a relatively short timeframe project or a project with a very small team—say a very short feature enhancement to an existing product or an internal department project, or any similar, very straightforward effort—it may seem like no formal status reporting is needed. Before you reach this conclusion think about the following:

(continued on next page)

The status report examples and formats start on page 3

INTRODUCTION: Project Status Reports (continued)

How to Use It (continued)

Special note for small projects: (continued)

  • What status tracking and “reporting” will be helpful for your team members (and their managers)? Even if there are just a few of you, it can still be helpful to keep everyone on the same page with what’s done, what’s not, and what issues need to be worked. Actually this can be really important for small projects, because by definition your team members are probably working on multiple other projects at once. You need to keep status of YOUR project in front of everyone so nothing gets dropped! See formats 1 and 2; these formats provide two different ways to convey current status simply through keeping track of planned vs. actual work.

  • Who are the project stakeholders besides those few people doing work on your project? Stakeholders are those who have some reason to care about the outcome of your project. They could be customers or users of the project’s eventual deliverable; they could be managers whose staff are working on the project; they could the ones providing the budget for the program. Do these people need to be informed of status along the way? What would they like to know about how the project is progressing? See format #4 – it shows how to summarize the project, status, and issues, in ‘slide format’ for easy reading. And of course, this info can simply be used as bullets in an email to the right people.

Contents of the file:



  1. Periodic Progress Summary Report: Report format for publishing progress, plans, and issues at regular intervals.

  2. Project Status – Major Task Completion: Presents status for a project phase, with emphasis on reporting completion status of major tasks.

  3. Project Status – Work-plan Measure: Presents status for a project phase, with emphasis on reporting completion metrics on various items.

  4. Project Status Presentation: Provides typical 3-slide-per-project information bullets for summarizing project status in a management meeting.

  5. Multiple-Project Status Summary: Provides one-page overview of current phase and planned completion date of a set of projects being updated.



The status report examples and formats start on the following page.

Project Status Report Formats

(1) Project Status Report – Periodic Progress Summary

Content: A template for a 1 – 2 page report summarizing progress on a project. The format is “what we did last period,” “what we’re doing next period” and “issues we’re working on now.” The report is formatted to allow stakeholders and team members to quickly assess a project’s status, progress, and key current activities.

Bottom Line: The “what we did” and “what we are going to do” sections help establish a rhythm for the team as well as keep management apprised of progress and alerted to early indications of slip. The “Issues” section helps expose project risk areas early, focus attention on tasks to mitigate them, and communicate a possible need for help from outside the immediate project team.

Note: When a project is running smoothly, there should a visible correlation between one report’s “Upcoming tasks for this period” and the next report’s “Key accomplishments last period.” Most of the task descriptions should just change their action verbs to past tense. If there is little correlation between what you intend to do each week and what you ended up accomplishing, the project is probably experiencing problems such as inadequate resources, unclear requirements, or convergence on solutions that meets requirements.

Summary Progress Report

To: {distribution list} From: {project manager}

Subject: Summary Progress Report, xxx Project Date: mm/dd/yy

Project Name:




Report Period:




Project Manager:




Phone, E-mail:




Project Description:




Project Priority:




Project Status Summary: ____Green ____Yellow ____Red

Key accomplishments last period:

List brief 1- or 2- sentence descriptions of what was accomplished in this last period:



  • Include important schedule milestones if any occurred in this last period.

  • Include any events that significantly reduced risk in the project.

  • Include key tasks that closed an issue that was marked “open” on the previous report.


Upcoming tasks for this period:

List brief 1- or 2-sentence descriptions of what you plan to accomplished this next period.



  • Include important schedule milestones if any that will occur in this period.

  • Include any upcoming events that will significantly reduce risk in the project.

  • Include key tasks that will move an open issue toward closure.

  • Include any item you specifically need Management’s help on – and what actions you need.


Issues:

List principal open issues.



  • Include any item you specifically need Management’s help on – and what actions you need.

  • Identify an owner of the issue – who is driving the resolution.

  • Include a task in the “Upcoming tasks for this period” that will move this issue toward closure.

  • Don’t try to track all project issues in this report. Just list the principal ones along with any progress toward closing them.

  • If resolving the issue needs management action, be specific about what action is needed and by when.

(2) Project Status Report - Major Task Completion

Contents: Presents status for a project phase, with emphasis on reporting completion status of major tasks.

Variations: a) This format can be used to give status on current phase or you can expand it to include all major phases. b) You can reduce the level of detail in each phase and report on a smaller number of major milestones. c) Some people prefer to leave out "percent complete.”

Bottom line: This status report is a good summary for a team and functional managers. By providing planned and actual start and end dates for the various tasks/milestones, it lets you see at a glance whether the project is on schedule. It is not a complete picture for reporting to executives, because it does not provide highly targeted and summarized information on issues they need to understand where to focus their attention to assist the project. At most the Status or Comments column could be used to convey some of that information.
Project Name: Biz1 Data Warehouse Status Date: __________________


PROJECT STATUS

Planned Start Date

Actual Start Date

Planned Complete Date

Actual Complete Date

Percent complete

Status or Comments

Business Analysis



















Review current capabilities



















Develop requirements



















Refine requirements



















Develop Deliverable



















Source Data Analysis



















Develop Data Model



















Develop Data Transformations



















Data Conversion Analysis



















Legacy system review



















Develop conversion requirements



















Data conversion cost-benefit



















Technology Analysis



















Software acquisition



















Develop infrastructure



















Transformation test



















Develop prototype









































(3) Project Status Report - Work-Plan Measure
Contents: Presents status for a phase of a project, with emphasis on reporting completion metrics on various items.

Bottom line: This status report is a good companion to the status report on the previous page, for a team to keep visible the work that is getting done and what is left. The dates on report (1) give the time view of the project tasks. This one (2) provides a very objective measure of the work associated with all those tasks and how much of that work has been completed. The example below is from an IT data warehouse development project. Substitute the work items and metrics that fit your projects and make sense to keep visible in this way. Other examples where this could be useful include testing phases of projects, where test cases are being written and executed; writing/publications projects; web projects where many elements of graphics, page designs, page contents, etc. must be created.
Project Name: Biz1 Data Warehouse Status Date: __________________


PROJECT STATUS

Selected Measures

Totals

Planned

Actual

In progress

Not started

Status or Comments

Business Analysis




33

19

19

0

12




Review current capabilities

No. Interviews completed

21

9

9

0

12

Considered complete at 9 instead of 21

Develop requirements

No. subject areas complete

8

8

8

0

0




Refine requirements

No. interviews completed

4

2

2

0

0




























Source Data Analysis




26

15

8

1

6




Develop Data Model

No. interviews

20

9

8

1

0




Develop Data Transformations

No. of source systems

6

6

0

0

6




Data Conversion Analysis




10

6

6

0

0




Legacy system review

No. interviews

6

6

6

0

0




Map legacy to source

No. JAD sessions

4

0

0

0

0




Data conversion cost-benefit

Final report

1

0

0

0

0




Technology Analysis




15

8

4

4

0




Technology Requirements

No. of work sessions

11

4

0

4

0




Prototype

No. of scenarios

4

4

4

0

0





























(4) Project Status Presentation

Contents: Provides guidance for content to put in several presentation slides for summarizing project status in a management meeting. Content bullets are similar to those in #1 Periodic Progress Summary report.

Bottom line: This status report emphasizes quickly summarizing the state of the project for management. It can be used for a monthly project review meeting with management, and each project can use this format.

Key: This report helps a project manager emphasize to executives whether the project is on plan, and what the execs need to do to help (if anything). Why is this important? Some reports to management provide way too much detail about all the work being done as opposed to 1) a ruthlessly objective statement of how it's doing relative to plan, and 2) the actions management can take to help resolve any issues.

First slide: Project Overview

  • Project Name:

  • Project Manager:

  • Product Manager or Business Team member:

  • Brief description of project objective:

  • Current lifecycle phase project is in:

  • Projected completion date:

Second slide: Milestone Status

  • Key accomplishments since last report: Major phases or activities completed, issues resolved (not a laundry list of everything that got done.)

  • High-level project milestones: Planned and actual or projected completion dates.

  • Vision status: Has the Project Vision (major project objectives) changed? Summarize the changes.

  • Status summary statement: Red/yellow/green to indicate seriousness of issues. Qualitative statement of state: Is the project on track? Struggling but team has action plans to address? In dire need of management assistance to recover?

Third Slide: Issues Detail (report major issues in this format):

  • Issue 1: Summarize the issue.

  • Impact: Give a succinct statement of how it impacts the project if not resolved – cost issue? Schedule issue? Scope issue? Particular customer contract in jeopardy? What business objectives not met?

  • Action being taken by team: Owner, and summary of team’s plan to resolve it, including key resources involved, and date by which team will have more information or know that the issue is resolved.

  • Action requested that management take (if any): What do you need from Management to help resolve the issue? Be very specific about what you need, when you need it by, and why.



(5) Multiple-Project Status Summary
Contents: Provides one page summary of current set of projects.

Variations: You can add various columns to provide whatever info you want to convey.

Bottom line: This status report is a good summary for functional managers to see the landscape of projects their people are being assigned to; and good for executives to understand where resources are being deployed and how those efforts are going. The delta columns at right point out quickly which projects are changing or slipping. The "resets" column indicates projects that had such radical change or issues that they were considered restarted.
Portfolio Name: Commercial Drug Division 1 Status Date: __________________


Project Priority

PROJECT NAME

Category

Resets

Current Phase

Project Completion Date

Delta since Last Month

Delta since July 05

1

Drug2 formulation

Process




3

6/30/05







2

Lab Information System upgrades

IT




4

8/14/05

1 week




3

UK2 Pilot line Construction

Construction

1

3

2/02/06




3 months

4

Process2 development

Process




3

8/01/05







5

Process3 development

Process

1

2

3/03/06







6

Mfg capacity ramp Drug1

Capacity




4

5/05/05

3 weeks




7

Etc.



















8






















9






















10






















11






















12





















NOTE: “Resets” refers to the number of times the project has been re-scoped and re-planned and the Completion date re-baselined.




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