Where's your project status report?

Making Project Status Reporting less painful

Do you hate producing project status reports? I certainly did. My boss insisted that his team get them in by noon every Friday or like a hawk he'd be at your desk within minutes requesting when it would be done. As a project manager back then, much of my time was spent on conference calls and meetings that took up most of the day. Like most of you, I'm sure, I also had my own deliverables to produce with countless piles of documents that needed my 'urgent' review. So, whats changed after 15 years?

Very little. I still spend countless hours on calls and meetings, but less frustrated in having to produce status reports - making it easier to write them in the first place. How?  through what I'm calling our PST - a combination of: Process, Standards and Tools for key project management functions. My reasons for getting frustrated with writing reports originated from the fact that I had to collect that information manually from multiple sources: Issue lists within MS Excel, Schedules from MS Projects, Progress from each team member via calls and emails etc, then verify/validate the data before consolidating that with subjective content - for each of my projects. Sounds familiar?

Integrated Project Management Systems also known as EPPM (Enteriprise Project Portfolio Management) have evolved from a plathoria of desktop tools and file directories into organization wide global project information stores tracking more than just dates: documents, financial data, changes, risks etc all accessed through a secure role based dashboard via a web browser.  

5 steps to improving project visibility

No, this is not one of those "infomercials" on daytime tv, though i was tempted to add: " try risk-free for 30 days!" or "But wait, order now and you'll get another absolutely free!". In case you're wondering, I *try* not to watch too much tv!

You can use the following 5 steps and improve project status reporting with current and accurate data and from my experience, the rewads can be an improvement seen by as much as 50% especially for IT driven or internal projects, though the same can be applied to contract type projects. Some of the most successful status reports I've seen not only communicate upcoming tasks, those that were completed and progress to date, but also used to communicate decisions made or Open Top 5 issues etc.

Step 1. Identify key information required within a status report grouped into sections.

Typical sections you should consider are:

  • Summary
  • Outstanding Tasks and Progress
  • Top 5 Issues
  • Financial Information
  • Top 5 bugs
  • Decisions made 

Tip: If you're an Oracle Projects user there is zero cost to deploying Project Status Reporting as the framework is delivered through Oracle Project Foundation. The content sections are available by product and can be tailored to add/remove table columns.



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