Project status reports are essential to making sure that everybody on your team stays on the same page. It provides a snapshot of where you are in a project, where your projections expect you to be, and what new goals or issues have arisen since the last report. Because the project status update is so useful, it is essential to make sure that you and your team create intuitive, effective reports. Here are a few tips on how you can accomplish that.
1: Keep Them Brief
Status reports that carry on for too long risk having employees gloss over them and miss important details. If you see your project status report as a snapshot rather than a detailed breakdown of all aspects of the project, you will have much more success. Unless absolutely necessary, make sure that your status update stays under one page. If it goes for longer than that and you can’t shorten it, consider whether you should issue multiple memos in order to make sure you keep everybody’s attention.
2: Format Them Appropriately
Use consistent formatting from report to report, so your employees always know what to expect and so information is easy to find at a glance. Using project management software allows you to automatically generate reports in a consistent format, guaranteeing success with this step. This step is one of the most essential in making sure that project status reports remain useful and effective month in and month out.
3: Target Them Effectively
As with any report you generate, you should always target your project status updates to the intended audience. In this case, the audience is usually management and your executive stakeholders. With that in mind, make sure you use language that those individuals understand, and keep your updates focused around areas where they have the most interest. If you need a report targeted for other employees, consider generating a second detailed status report that focuses on their needs.
4: Make Them Visually Attractive
It may not seem like much, but a report that is attractive to the eye can generate much more interest and better results. Consider your font, margins, and use of space. If you have too much text crammed into a small space, people might wind up ignoring key parts of your report. So, make sure you include charts and visual cues to help people understand complex data quickly. This is another area where project management software can be useful since you can use pre-generated templates for your reports.
5: Make Them Accessible
Project status reports aren’t useful unless people can read them and refer back to them with regularity. Whether you use project management software for easy storage or another method, make sure that everybody who might need these reports knows where to find them. You may also wish to generate hard copies of the reports for use during meetings and on-the-go briefings.
A project status report is an essential tool that you can use to keep your project on track, but only if you generate them effectively. Using these tips, you should see an increase in your efficiency and effectiveness.