How to Report Progress


With our own progress reports coming due each week, I thought I would share this article that has some pointers for how to effectively communicate the status of a project. The author, Rob Redmond, states that to write an excellent status report you need to understand the three components of status, how to write brief details, and what key data is needed by management.

He describes the three components of status as:

  • Overall: The overall project health
  • Milestones: Major accomplishments with accompanying dates
  • Issues: Obstacles to successful project completion

He then goes on to explain the concept of “brief details,” in which he suggests that when reporting a status you:

  • Use bullet points instead of prose
  • Avoid unnecessary titles
  • Shorten sentences as much as possible
  • Avoid adverbs

Lastly, key project data that should be communicated includes:

  • Project Name
  • Overall health (red, yellow, green can be used here)
  • Current completion (in %)
  • Expected project completion
  • If you are ahead/behind schedule, if so, how much
  • Issues you face

Do you agree with the author’s three-point structure for status reports? What do you think goes into writing a good status report? How have your status reports evolved after taking MIS 3535?

One Response to How to Report Progress

  • I agree with the author’s three-point structure for status reports. All status reports should include the overall project health so that others can get a sense of whether the project is going well or not, right away. Major accomplishments should be tracked to assure stakeholders that the work is being done in a timely fashion and can be very encouraging. Issues should definitely be communicated because if the issues are unknown to others, there is no way they will know if there is something that they can help with.

    A good status report should definitely use the green, yellow, red approach to illustrate the health of the project so that it draws attention to what needs to be focused on and less attention to what doesn’t. A good status report should also be written concisely. After taking MIS 3535, I’ve gotten better at writing status reports. I am briefer in the details of what is happening throughout the various phases of the project and am elaborating on details that may be unclear.

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