January 17, 2020
January 23, 2020
The polymath of the olden times would note down their findings, inventions, and musing in writing on paper. To some extent, I’d say that the same goes for the status of project – or projects for that matter. Have you ever come across Leonardo da Vinci’s 7000 notebook pages that contain his ideas? (Right?)
He was a lone man working on his creativity so he showcased his work encrypted and coded that still interests and baffles humans.
We, however, have transversed a long way from working solo. People tend to work in large organizations, teams, and groups. The antediluvian* ways of taking notes and sending handwritten memos have been replaced with fast technology-integrated communication.
Imagine Leonardo da Vinci be your mentor. We’d all be scratching our heads (albeit, in awe) and we would get nowhere.
We do not have time for encrypted notes in this fast-moving world Leonardo! We need the clear regular-interval status update of where the work is currently so we can get a move on. Let me have a quick Project Status Report please, Danke schön!
A status report is basically to update every one related to the project with the status quo and the progress so far. It is a concise but detailed means of communication. However, for status reports to work effectively, you have to be consistent, regular and concise (Keep everyone on their toes!)
For projects that have a long run, your reports can be monthly or quarterly. For short projects, it can be weekly. Here are the benefits of status report:
Let us present to you some of the essential components for your next status report.
Keep in mind that you may have to send a progress report quite often during the same project. So it would be not just convenient for you but easily understandable for your team and clients if you keep a consistent pattern for your Status Report.
There are templates available that you can use to create a Status Report. However, it would be in your best interest to customize the templates to your needs and requirements.
Your team members might be engaged in more than one project in your organization. So it would be a good idea to clearly mention the name of the project as the title of the Report. Or you could include the name of the client and who the manager is. That way everyone would be on the same page. Do not make the mistake of assuming that everyone, especially all of the stakeholders, is familiar with all of the information.
It would be a good idea to remind everyone of the overall aim/goal for the project, to align everyone’s interest in what needs to be accomplished in the long run.
A quick review of whether the status of the project so far (or during the previous reporting session) has gotten off rails from heading towards the intended end. This will disseminate the information whether the project is in keeps with the long-term or the short-term goals. This would indicate the overall health of your work.
Include the touchstones that the team has passed by successfully during the development of the project so far. This would be a source of motivation for the team and an update on the accomplishments so far.
Make everyone aware of the milestones that need to be accomplished. This should mostly include the tasks that are to performed and completed before the next Status Report hits everyone’s computers. That was everyone on the team can set their minds for the next thing on their to-work-on list.
This would be a great chance to relate to everyone the hiccups or the bigger challenges faced in the project. Keeping track of all the issues regularly is a smarter way of eradicating them. Identify the roadblocks, deal with it and move them out of your road. Do that before it piles up and become a major hindrance – your project status report your secret weapon to achieve that.
Since everyone on a team will have tasks assigned to them individually, they may want to view the details of their specific task. Since you will not be putting in the details of the complete project in the status report; add links to the associated documents and tools in the relevant fields. This will be a quick and nifty way of placing in an otherwise concise report.
Write up a list of the milestones you, as a project manager, expect from your team. It would be a good idea to specify the time, date and day for these tasks. That would keep to identify their timeline and get it done accordingly.
Create a rough draft for your Status Report, as goes with everything else one usually has to write. Go back to your draft after a while and edit it.
Again, make sure to be consistent with the format, and visual you are using for your status report. It would be easier to understand and would unconsciously stick with whoever reads it multiple times.
The above point should also include deciding on the criterion metrics or units you would be measuring to display on your report.
Take your pick of the method of delivery for your status report. Use a method that is convenient for everyone to increase the chances of it being read.
Keep it simple! Do not make it incomprehensible. Try to restrain your report to only one page.
Before you send out the Status Report, make sure to verify everything on it—you don’t want to send out any wrong information and then having to send corrections. That would undoubtedly increase your work and mar your standing as an assiduous and diligent project team leader.
Many project management tools generate the current status report for your project. It would save you lots of time to integrate such tools into your project management.
It would be a great idea on your part if you politely ask for feedback from the team and the stakeholders on the Status Report. This would not only show initiative but also make the whole report look less electronic and automated to create a sense of alliance.
In addition to all the required/critical activities and progress of the project, try to include any further items that you might consider.
As with any other reports, using visuals is extremely effective. Make use of charts, graphs, tables to show to make it more understandable and easy to read. Whoever is reading your report would want to read it in a short time; visuals are a great assistant for that.
We believe, armed with this information now, you are ready to make a great Status Report now. Go be today’s Leonardo da Vinci – create your masterpiece!
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