No doubt you have heard these project issues before…
- This solution does not meet our requirements.
- The budget forecast shows an overrun and there is no extra funding available.
- We may not deliver the next milestone as the team is experiencing significant unexpected leave.
A project status report (PSR) is a point in time view of a project’s health. It brings attention to what matters, is easy to consume, provides consistency in information and highlights the decisions and actions required now.
An all-green status report after a few months into project delivery should be questioned. Things happen, things go off track so at least you should be reporting/seeing amber or red for at least one or two things from time to time.
DOWNLOAD this PSR template to start practising with a pattern of fortnightly reporting. Observe the growth of trust in shaping conversations. Be recognised as a project manager who tackles the complex issues with executive support and team confidence.
Here are my six key points for effective project status reports:
- Understand your project landscape
- Provide complete and accurate information
- Submit on time
- Escalate early
- Be prepared to answer questions
- Acknowledge the good, bad and ugly
Reporting from the lens of an Executive
In episode 9 of my Laugh, Learn, Lead podcast show I interviewed Mike Stapleton who was then the Deputy Director-General Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.
You can listen to the episode in full or fast forward to 17:34 to hear the three things he looks for in status reporting, his insights may surprise you.
I believe being transparent about a project’s health is vital in getting the support you need when it matters most. Project Executives do not like surprises. Project Managers do not have to solve problems alone. Mike sums it up nicely with my favourite quote from the interview “some project managers seem to suffer what I call optimism bias, I’ll solve this and get on with it”.
In the following episode I unpacked the interview to share my insights about project status reporting:
Jeanette Cremor (JC) has over 20 years’ experience in government, higher education, utilities, entertainment and sport industries shaping and implementing projects.
She brings her insights of people, process and technology to the digital transformation arena. She is aware of the complex problems and promised results linked with massive programs of work – getting the basics right is critical for your project success. She has lessons from ERP, asset management, case management and business intelligence solutions; sharing what works and what doesn’t. She integrates her practical approach underpinned by theory to build strategy to operations scaffolding that supports transformation change that sticks.
Diagnosing and communicating progress, identifying potential issues and shaping processes to keep everyone united. She has held roles as a Program Director, PMO Manager, Project Manager and Business Analyst with responsibility of $20M capital and $10M operational budgets.
Jeanette created the The Project Ecosystem® framework in 2017. It is a planning and delivery framework to uplift project management capability in an organisation. It is used for small projects to large programs and reveals how an imbalance impacts a whole organisation.