Team Member Status Report


Quick Summary
Collecting regular team member status reports provides the project manager a window into the true state of the project work. At its heart, status reporting is as much about risk management as people management. The focus should be on what is needed to complete the project, not a detailed analysis of the team member's every task and movement. Includes guidelines, sample template, and two examples.


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What this is

A template for a 1-2 page report summarizing an individual team member's project status and work progress. The report is designed to allow team leaders to collect status information from team members on a regular basis, in a format that's quick and easy for everyone; easy for team members to complete, and easy for the project manager to roll up into project status. An effective update should be possible in just a few minutes.

In addition to traditional task status, team member status reports can give the project manager critical insights into the qualitative issues affecting the team. This information helps the project manager spot issues, obstacles, or detrimental interruptions, and make sure every team member has what they need to finish their tasks on time.


Why it's useful

Lists of completed and pending tasks help the project manager roll up status into the schedule, keep an eye on progress, and spot any scheduling issues quickly. If a team member reports only that a task is "80% complete" the project manager may be left with the impression that things are going well. What that simple percentage doesn't reveal is that work has completely ceased because needed tools and equipment are missing. Having team members spend the extra 15 minutes to detail the tasks completed, tasks pending, and any open issues highlights these situations before they become a critical slip.


How to use it

  1. As you finish the planning phase of the project, talk with the team about how to best track status during the rest of the project. Emphasize that the point is not to micromanage them, but to maintain adequate visibility into true progress so that issues can be seen and addressed immediately and team members get what they need at all times. Status reporting should be seen as a quick, value-added tool, not as an onerous burden or yet more bureaucratic paperwork.
  2. With the team, decide on format, content, level of detail, frequency, and audience. Who else really needs to get each person's individual detail, rather than a summary created by the project manager? Should the report come in a bulleted email to the project manager, or a Word document? Some teams may prefer to post task status in the project scheduling tool.
  3. Make your team members' functional managers aware of what you're asking the team members to do, and ensure you have their support. Explain your rationale and the discussions that resulted in this approach to status reporting (so they don't see it as an arbitrary mandate).
  4. Document the decisions in your Project Communication Plan.
  5. After the first round of reporting, discuss the process at the next team meeting. Did the format work well? Did anyone have trouble compiling the report? Do they understand why it's useful? Ferret out any complaints and address them immediately, to maintain support for the process.
  6. Continue to monitor the utility of the information you get, and any resistance to providing the reports. Keep emphasizing the purpose—good project visibility so issues can be addressed immediately and everyone's project experience can be smoother—and change the reporting as needed to make it work for everyone.
  7. As project manager, review the status reports promptly for information that should be communicated to the project sponsor, stakeholders or other managers, and include that in your summary status reporting. Build this review into your weekly project tasks, just as you're asking the team members to do; an unread status report does no one any good. If you find yourself making excuses for not reviewing the reports or letting them get backlogged (no time, already know what's on it, nothing new to see here), it's time to revisit the reporting process and format again, to make sure it's working for everyone, including you.

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Related Templates
Project Communication Plan
A brief plan created by the project team, documenting how they will communicate important information, including meetings, status reports, etc.

Project Status Report
Several different one-page document formats for getting a true picture of a project or portfolio at a glance, and a presentation format for talking to management.

Issue Resolution Status Report
Format for reporting progress on work to resolve one or more open issues (e.g. project or technical issues).




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