Project Status Reports are critical documents that project managers

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Project Status Reports are critical documents that project managers

Project Status Reports are critical documents that project managers employ to communicate vital aspects regarding the progress of their ventures, hence ensuring that all stakeholders remain informed to facilitate better decision-making practices and increase chances of succeeding (Cervone, 2014). The most common types of status reports entail the following:

Variance Reports

These reports provide data on the difference between the actual and pre-planned states of the project. The tabular numeric data makes it relatively more comfortable for the target audience to compare and differentiate. Similarly, the deviations could be presented graphically to make it easier for the audience to identify the differences between the actual and planned outcomes. Hence, these reports consume relatively much time since it presents lots of details about each category of data. Moreover, the reports do not offer summarized or conclusive information, instead the audiences have to analyze the data.

Stoplight Reports

These types of reports rely on specific colors to exemplify the progress of the project. Accordingly, the reports are relatively easier for the target audience to attain the intended message because it employs visual aspects of colors that convey particular meanings. Since the colors have specific meanings, these reports are more effective and common among project teams. The reports rely primarily on three colors; red, yellow and green. Green color means that the project is progressing well. The yellow color indicates that the project is lagging in some areas, and hence certain aspects should be adjusted to encourage recovery and better progress. Finally, the red color means that the project is facing major problems and running out of control.

Exception Reports

These reports illustrate what has gone against the plan. Accordingly, the reports could be used as a baseline for avoiding the repetition of similar mistakes and errors. These reports are primarily developed for higher management personnel. Therefore, these reports could be of no or negative value to other stakeholders since they are meant for the top management only.

Gantt Charts

Gantt Charts provides graphical representations of data regarding the project schedule. The charts illustrate and track each task against time. The charts offer important details including all necessary activities, procedures of handling tasks and assigned workers. Unfortunately, Gantt Charts do not provide information about interrelationship between the different activities involved. Still, Gantt Charts could be relatively challenging to understand due to their complexities.

Cumulative Reports

These reports rely on graphical representations to present how the actual versus predetermined values as they accumulate. Accordingly, the reports offer crucial historical details from the start to the current state of the project by providing relevant metrics against time they were attained. Therefore, the time-phased report is relatively easier to understand since it graphically presents data. Nonetheless, these reports may not offer finer details because they focus on cumulative data.

Current Period Reports

These documents provide details about the recently accomplished tasks and progress of the projects. Besides, the reports offer reasons for various events. Accordingly, these reports are highly informative to varied categories of audiences. However, these reports provide limited information since they focus primarily on the recent experiences and progress of projects (van Aartsengel, & Kurtoglu, 2013).

Differences Between Status Reports Offered for Steering Committee, Sponsors and Project Teams

Reports for sponsors: Since sponsors are concerned with the progress and eventual output of the project, their reports may not relay lots of details including employees and activities involved. Such reports provide anticipated risks and possible ways of overcoming them while explaining other necessary resources.

Reports for steering committee: since the steering committee would like to understand how projects progress in relation to their plans, they need lots of details in timely basis to facilitate better decision-making activities for revising and adjusting the project plans.

Reports for the project team: these reports offer details concerning tasks, schedules and involved personnel assigned to each team. Moreover, these reports provide information on accomplishments of the teams, encountered issues and challenges, as well as target goals and objectives.

Application of Status Reports in the Selected Case Study: Lyle Construction Project

Different status reports are necessary to encourage better progress of the Lyle construction project. First, Current Period Reports should be used to inform virtually every concerned stakeholder including the teams, steering committee, and sponsors. Sponsors of the project should remain updated on the current status of the project, additional resources needed and established approaches to addressing existing and anticipated problems and challenges. The stakeholders should gain adequate information regarding the project to facilitate better decision-making activities. Besides, the Stoplight Report should be employed to inform the top management and steering committee on undesired status of the project, hence triggering execution of necessary resolutions. Moreover, Exception Reports should be used to educate and inform the project teams on tasks that were not accomplished well while providing necessary adjustments to avoid repetition of similar errors. Also, the steering committee should rely on cumulative reports and Gantt Charts to gain more insightful about the project to unravel areas of laxity and processes that should be adjusted to ensure that the project regains its desired course and increase chances of realizing its long-term goal and objectives. The management and steering committee would gain better capability to restructure, revise and adjust the project’s plan upon ensuring that each engaged party acquires sufficient information.

References

Cervone, H. F. (2014). Effective communication for project success. OCLC Systems and Services: International digital library perspectives.

van Aartsengel, A., & Kurtoglu, S. (2013). Develop Communication Management Plan. In Handbook on Continuous Improvement Transformation (pp. 363-380). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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