Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Weekly Reports

Part of being a good Project Manager is being a good communicator.  A good communicator can convey information both orally and in writing.  One of the key communications is a weekly status report.  This report can become an historic archive of the way that the project is progressing and can allow all stakeholders to see where you are against your schedule and budget and see what the major risks and issues are.

I have a template that I use each week, so that the stake holders can see the progress easily.  This report is produced on Friday afternoon and distributed to the required stakeholders.  I then place this report into a folder within my project site on SharePoint so that anyone can see the report.  The target of this report is to be a single printed page, as any more may take too long for a senior stakeholder to read.  I try to make the report graphical, so at a glance you can see which areas require attention.

Below is a list of items contained within the report.

Project Summary - Finally, the project objectives are described in four or five sentences, or bullet points.

High Level Milestones - The majority of projects are short and under one year in length.  If your project is more than this, I would recommend that you limit this section to a -2 to +6 month timeframe.  This can then depict your high level milestones over the coming months.  I would limit this list to ten or less milestones.  If people need to see more (such as the project sponsor or PMO) they can view the full project plan.

RAG - The milestones above should contain the description, the start and end dates and the RAG status.  The "Red Amber Green" status is a quick method is showing if the milestone is on track, in danger or has been missed.  The stakeholder can immediately see the status of the project through this simple visual method.

Finance - A key section for the stakeholders is the budget.  Here you could show the projected spend against the current spend.  This can be visually presented in a graph and could be broken down further to show Budget At Completion, Earned Value, Cost Variance etc..

Completed this Period - This is a small section to highlight what has been worked on over the last reporting period.  I keep the reporting period to weekly, so I describe in a few bullet points the achievements of the week.

To do Next Period - This section describes what the project will accomplish in the coming period.  I keep this to a maximum of 10 bullet points, otherwise we would be describing detailed planning, which is contained in the actual project plan.

Risks and Issues - The final two sections highlight the Risks and Issues that require attention.  You may have a RAID with more than 100  entries.  In the weekly report, I try to highlight up to 5 risks and 5 issues that will need addressing, either by the Project Manager, the Project Steering Committee or the Project Sponsor.

Once you have created the weekly report, it is important that you share the document.  I would be wise to print eh one page report to a PDF, so that the document can be kept in the final state and cannot be changed.  This will enable you to review the status of the report at any point in history.  I tend to date my filename with YYYYMMDD so that the files remain in order.  Once you have the final document in PDF format, send this to your Project Steering Committee and then place your file in a shared are, such as SharePoint, so that the wider community can see it.

I hope this helps.  To help further, I have attached a link to an example of a weekly report to this article.


  1. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for sharing this great idea. Could you possible share a visual of your weekly report?

    Are you generating the A4 manually each week or is the data automatically from sub docs of data (such as an xls main page based on multiple sub pages containing phases of work/tasks)

    Additionally, while I'm quite new to PM I've certainly found a tool set called TeamWorkPM very useful indeed to help me run multiple projects (within a programme of work) and assign tasks for tracking within easy. The overall programme of projects appears visually.

    Kind regards


  2. Jamie,

    The last line of the article above has a link to the weekly report that I have created as an example. Click on it and take a look.

    I like the look of the TeamWorkPM, but I am not sure I want something that I need to pay for at the moment. I usually work in a secure environment, so privacy is very important (ie. at Banks), so I would need to see how secure the site it.