Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Communicating Progress

Question 12: Are you distributing regular progress reports?

Project manager speaking to her customer

21 Ways to Excel at Project Management

Good Practice: Progress reporting is an important part of project management. Regular reports, anything from weekly to monthly, should be issued to the Executive Sponsor, Business Sponsor, Budget Holder, Steering Committee, Project Team, User Group and circulated to all other interested parties. The report should be as-brief-as-possible and summarise key points.

The following format is recommended on a maximum of two pages:

  1. Report Date
  2. Project Status
  3. Project Summary
  4. Key Issues
  5. Identified Risks
  6. Tasks and Next Steps
  7. Decisions Needed
  8. Key Future Dates and Milestones
  9. Budgeted Cost
  10. Spend to Date

This ensures that people are kept informed, involved and committed. Frequent communication is essential to the well-being of any project.

Regular progress reporting creates a valuable written record of the projects’ life. This can be used later to look back and decide how to improve the running of future projects.

Metrics can also be developed to measure project progress in other ways, such as Earned Value, or Activity Float Statistics.

Common Mistakes

  • Poor communication channels.
  • Lack of honest communication.
  • Not asking for help when it is needed.

Warning Sign! Unwillingness to communicate bad news.