What is the project status report and why is it important to present to a customer?
As the name suggests, a project status report is the factual data about the work plan you’ve been assigned for. It’s a way of communication between a project manager, his team, and the client as well. A project status report keeps your project sponsor and other stakeholders updated about the progress you have made so far, risks and issues you’re facing, and the deliverables.
Project managers can’t prove their management skills unless they know how to present the status of their projects. Instead of discussing individual tasks and monotonous technicalities, your presentation will briefly overview overall progress. In a nutshell, your presentation works as a template to do progress control in a project and plan your time and risk management strategy.
Strategies to present the status report of a project to a customer
While presenting the project report to someone, most people, even seasoned managers, start stammering. To exhibit your project status report while keeping your nerves in control, you need to;
Create a project tracking report
To present the status report of a project, the first thing you need is, create a project tracking report. It will help you to get real-time status update and track your project progress. You’ve nothing to present if you haven’t prepared your project tracking report.
Get familiar with the project management tools
A project manager should have hands-on project management software. Project Management Tools provide great assistance during project status report creation as well as presentation. Moreover, a digital job site diary will help in recording the production of your team members.
Give a short intro of your management process
Let your client know what’s your project management strategy. Keep in mind you’re communicating with your customer who might be unaware of the project technicalities, so make it coherent and understandable. Enlighten your audience how and why this process worked in previous projects and will give you the same required results.
Summarize the project progress
Don’t make your presentation a mind-numbing exercise for the audience. Discuss only key points instead of going into unnecessary details. Present the objectives, achieved milestones, issues you encountered during the process, and your strategy to mitigate them.
KPI and RAG Status
The best and most common way to present any of your project's KPI is the RAG status. Every project has objectives and whenever you’re presenting the status of your projects, you need to compare these objectives with the current progress. While using the RAG system (Traffic lights Red, Amber, Green) as the KPI, you let the stakeholders know;
- Red- the problem affecting the project’s health and needs immediate rectification.
- Amber- not evident, but it’s expected that some issue might create hurdles and precautionary measures needed to be taken to achieve the required results.
- Green- everything is going well. No apparent or potential hazards.
Rehearse before the actual session
Gather a group of volunteers and perform practice sessions in front of them. Let them ask whatever comes into their minds, so you could make yourself ready for any unexpected situation during the actual session. Request them to highlight the gray areas in your demonstration, so you could improve yourself.
Use status report template
Whether you’re a veteran or a recruiting project manager, you can’t spend the whole time crafting a project status report. Whether you like to work in Excel or Word, a project report template will become your finest helpmate while presenting the status report. It’s quite easy to find and download your required status report template from the Internet.
Create a project milestone video
Videos and images are a good way to elucidate your project status to a customer. Along with Gantt charts and statistics, you should ginger up your presentation with milestone images and short videos. It’s quite easy to create a project milestone video from still images.
Expect questions from the customer
You don’t know what’s stirring up in your audiences’ minds and what questions they might ask in the QA session. You could, however, speculate, what queries are more likely to come from your client.
Every client looks for clarification of a few major and the most common concerns, which are;
- What’s your plan to finish the project on time?
- What is your risk management strategy?
- What will you do to curb unexpected delays in the project?
There are chances, they ask something you can’t answer right away. No need to kill yourself. You could take some time from your client and give them a timeline when you will answer their pending questions.
Presenting the status of a project is an essential part of project management. Either it’s your ongoing project or trying to convince a prospective client, the only way that will work to win their confidence is how you manifest the project status report.