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What is a status update?

Definition: A status update is a management document outlining a project's progress.

The status update summarizes the project's current status since the last update. The document also identifies any risks or issues that could impact the project's success and outlines what steps are being taken to mitigate those risks.

A status update is essential for keeping everyone on the same page and ensuring everyone is aware of the project's progress. By keeping all stakeholders informed, status updates help keep projects on track and on budget.

What should a status update include?

Information in a status update varies depending on the project, team, and company. 

Common elements found in every status update are:

  • Project name
  • A brief description of the project
  • The timeline
  • The project's progress
  • A section that identifies any risks or issues
  • Next action steps

Types of status updates

There are four types of project status updates:

  1. Daily: These status updates give a brief report on what has been accomplished during the day.
  2. Weekly: These status updates are more comprehensive and include a review of the previous week's work and a plan for the upcoming week.
  3. Monthly: Monthly status updates take a longer view. They report on progress made over a month and a plan for the next month.
  4. Quarterly: Quarterly status updates are the most detailed and include a review of the previous quarter's work.

Other types of status updates are:

  1. Informational updates - These updates provide information about the project but don't require any action from the team. For instance, an overview of the project, the project timeline, or updates on milestones.
  2. Progress updates - Provides information on the project's headway and details the accomplishments, what's currently being worked on, and what's next on the project roadmap.
  3. Action items - These updates include specific tasks or actions that need to be completed. They keep the team on track and focused on the project's goals.
  4. Issues and risks - These updates provide information on any identified issues and how they are being addressed.

Status updates example

Suppose the project manager for company Z wants to give a status update on the progress of a product development project. 

The report includes details such as:

  • Company Z aims to develop a new product to expand the current catalog.
  • The team is pleased to report that the project is progressing ahead of schedule. 75% of the work is complete.
  • All planned tasks for this quarter are finalized. The project is moving to the next stage - packaging, and branding.
  • The team is currently working on the remaining tasks and is confident they will be completed by the end of the next quarter.
  • There are no significant risks or issues at this time.
  • The next period aims to complete the project. The project assistant will inform all stakeholders of the progress in the next quarter through monthly status updates.

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Article FAQs

Who is in charge of status updates?
The project manager is in charge of status updates but may delegate to another team member.
What is the difference between a status update and a status report?
A status update is a brief, high-level overview of the project's current status. A status report is a more detailed document that includes tasks completed, problems encountered, and next steps.
In which format should I deliver status updates?
Status updates can be delivered verbally, in writing, via email, or through other communication tools.
How do you communicate project status updates?
Some common ways to communicate project status updates include holding meetings, sending emails or reports, or using project management software.

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