Effective communication is a key component of successful project management and delivery. Eighty percent of a Project Manager’s job revolves around communication with the project team, client, and executive management. Without effective communication vital information may not be exchanged effectively, or not at all.
A lack of communication may even delay or prohibit the execution or completion of scheduled tasks. By dealing effectively with communication issues the probability of project success increases exponentially. Project status reporting is one method of addressing the importance of project communication.
Project status reporting is a regular, formalized report on project progress against the project plan. Its purpose is to effectively and efficiently communicate project status at regular intervals to project stakeholders. Good, consistent, project status reporting helps guard against unexpected surprises to project sponsors and other stakeholders. It keeps project stakeholders informed of critical aspects of project health such as schedule, issues, scope, re sources, cost, etc and allows management to take action to address project issues and risks.
Project status reports can also be used to provide a documented history of the project. This can then be applied to strengthen lessons learned and to evaluate, review, and learn from how the project succeeded and where it may have had difficulties.
Objectives of effective project status reporting include:
- Improve communication of information within the project and across the organization
- Simplify the process of gathering and disseminating project information
- Ensure that stakeholders receive necessary information
- Communicate key messages about project progress
- Improve organizational support for the project Reporting requirements and frequency of reporting vary from project to project depending on factors such as expectations of information distribution by management and project stakeholders, project size, complexity, risk, etc.
Identifying what information project teams and stakeholders need in addition to basic project status reporting information is a process that takes place early in the project life cycle and most likely will evolve as the project progresses.
Project status is usually reported by the Project Manager to higher organizational levels such as a steering committee, executive sponsor, senior managers, etc.
However,status reporting can also be to individuals or committees that are part of the project such as team leads, quality managers, and other project staff. The finalized project status reports should be shared and distributed to the project team and stakeholders as defined within the project’s communication management plan.
It is important to note that formal status reporting is not a substitution for ongoing project communication between the project manager, project team, client, senior management, and any other parties needing updated project information. Status reports are simply a formal document summarizing the projects progress since the last formal status report was distributed.