Use this Excel template to streamline your status reports, improve communication with stakeholders, and deliver your presentations with greater impact. There’s so much more a status report can do, and with this free Excel status report template you can begin to take full advantage of its capabilities.
Download Our Free Status Report Template:
Why You Need Better Status Reports
You already know that a status report is a necessary task when running a project. If you don’t know, you’ll find out soon enough from your stakeholder or team members. They need information, and this is the best way to deliver it.
A status report is an essential document in project management. It’s a communicative tool to relate necessary information to clients, sponsors, and/or team members. The current state of the project is captured in these documents. It’s a great means to convey where the project’s at. And you want to have a mechanism in place that can respond in time to stakeholders or sponsors, who inevitably want things yesterday.
That schedule can be as leisurely as monthly or as intense as daily, though most likely you’ll be generating weekly status reports. Regardless of the frequency, you need a system in place that make status reporting simple without taking up too much time.
One of the great things about having a template for status reporting is that it gets much of the busy work done and out of your way. Even better is when you’re working with ProjectManager.com, which gives you the tools to automate much of the process. That frees you up for more important tasks.
Our project management software gives you the ability to create a status report with one click. You can customize and filter the report to capture only that information that you need or that you have to disseminate to stakeholders or team members. If you’re working on a portfolio, a status report is also crucial. With it you have access to all the projects, and can generate reports on each individual’s health and performance. This can be done as an overview, or if you’re interested in more granular data, you can drill down as deep as you need.
When you’re ready to run a report off of your ProjectManager.com software, you have the option to choose from any number of formats, including PDF, Excel or CVS, which can be easily emailed. If you want to share the information, you can do so with through collaborative online platform, and see the data in real-time.
With our free Excel status report template you can focus on pertinent information, offer clarity, collect a record of events and even address the bigger picture of the project. When you bring these reports online through collaborative project management tools, it’s easier to create and share.
Status Reports Best Practices
The importance of a status report cannot be overstated. They are missives from the frontlines of your project that keep the stakeholders informed on its progress. They help project managers see exactly where they are in the context of the larger picture and whether that actual progress is aligned with the planned one. Therefore, effective status reporting is essential to the success of any project.
Know Your Target
The first best practice is making sure that the status report is being targeted. That is, know your audience. When you write anything, you should know who the intended reader is. This is the best way to make an impact. Therefore, whether our status report template is for the stakeholder, client or some other upper management executive, keep the language understandable and focus on what they’re interested in learning.
Another rule of good writing is that brevity is the soul of wit. You want to keep the status report short and to the point. Keep away from background material unless it’s relevant to the status report. You don’t want to “bury the lede,” as they say in journalism. If you do, then you risk losing the attention of your stakeholders, and uninformed stakeholders are not good for a project.
Even how you format your status report is important. Keep the content targeted and to a minimum, but structured to include an overview of your milestones, risks, issues, costs, etc. Whatever formatting you choose, keep it consistent. This makes it easier for stakeholders to read because they’re familiar with the report and know where everything they need to know is.
While you want to be brief, you don’t want to neglect including the meat of the status report, such as key successes and achievements that were reached over the last period. It not only communicates the accomplishments that have been already met, but it helps stakeholders review the progress of the team over the long haul of the project. Also, by illustrating the gains made by your team to upper management you help boost their morale.
It might seem insignificant, but the visual presentation of a status report can go a long way to attracting interest from your stakeholders. This doesn’t mean you have to have an art school degree, but do keep in mind use of fonts and how you design the page. A solid block of dense type is not going to help stakeholders read the important information hidden within it.
Along those lines, you want the content to be accessible, too. You want status reports to come regularly, through a channel that is preferred by the stakeholders. The status report shouldn’t get lost in the clutter of communications that flood our in-boxes daily.
How to Use Projectmanager.com’s Status Report Template
It’s one thing to know that you need it, but another to learn how to use a status report. Thankfully, it’s a fairly intuitive process. You’ll be able to pick it up in no time. Here’s how you can create a status report with the downloaded template.
Input Key Project Highlights
Add the key project highlights in the project information section. You’ll add the sponsor and date. Who is the project manager? You’ll have some space to add progress and achievements, as well. Think of it as an executive summary, especially if you’re presenting this information to stakeholders and sponsors. It’s a great opportunity to tell them what you need and when.
What Needs Immediate Attention?
Call out any items that need immediate attention. This is a way to remember what needs remembering, and have it communicated to those who need to know.
Note Project Milestones
Note milestones. This is where the heavy lifting is. The milestone is larger than a task but smaller than the project. Think of it as the points when a phase of work has been completed. It’s a smart way to note the progress of your project and whether it’s on schedule or not. It can also show executives that you’re on track. You can color-code this red and green, depending on whether you’re on- or off-schedule. It’s also where you can note who is responsible and add comments.
List Key Risks and Issues
List key risks and issues. The template has room for five of them, and while most projects probably have more than that, this is where you want to write out the top-five. Prioritize, or you’re going to get bogged down. This is also a good way for stakeholders to know what’s going on with the project. They can see the real risks and issues, as determined by you. But follow that up with the actions you’re going to take in order to avoid or deal with them. Don’t use this as a forum to bring up bad news. Surprises are bad. Face to face is best when first identifying the risk or issue with your stakeholder.
What’s the Budget?
Address the budget spent and overall percentage spent. This doesn’t have to be a super-detailed line by line item account, but it’s a great place to note the overall expenditure and where the project is in terms of budget: behind, ahead or on target. A good rule of thumb is to think of this status template as the outline of a compelling story you’re telling about the project. No matter who your target audience is, you want to have them fully engaged.
How to Use Status Reports in ProjectManager.com
Customize Your Reports
With ProjectManager.com you can do all kinds of things to customize the report for a specific audience. Filter the columns or the status of the project to deliver only that information that needs to be known.
Share Your Reports
The great thing about ProjectManager.com is that it’s cloud-based and online, so you can print out reports if you need to, but just as easily share the report via email or as a PDF or Excel spreadsheet.
If you’re curious about status reporting, there’s a ton of blog post and videos on ProjectManager.com. Here are a sample of some of the most relevant and recent posts that address the topic of status reporting.
If you enjoy these stories and have found that our free Microsoft Office templates are helpful, then you might want to visit ProjectManager.com and look over the great software features we offer. There’s lots of other free Excel templates, and you can even take a free 30-day trial run of ProjectManager.com, our award-winning project management software that has repeatedly won best project management app in the rating website GetApp, (a division of Gartner).
(This post was updated December 2019)