Project Status Report: A How-To Guide with Free Template

You track how much time your employees work on a project, how much money you spend, and how close to reaching milestones and meeting deadlines you are. You use spreadsheets, charts, and all project management tools in the book to ensure your project succeeds. However, tracking is one of many project-related activities you must regularly do. Reporting is on the list too. Project status reports are some of the most important for everyone: the manager, the team, and the stakeholders. Here is everything you need to know about project status reports and how to master them.

What Is a Project Status Report?

A project status report is a written document that registers the progress of a project. It is updated periodically (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) with the latest news regarding the project. It accurately views tasks, activities, budgets, working schedules, meetings, and deliverables. At every moment, the project status report is compared with the project plan and used as a base for future decisions. As a result, sometimes the status report generates changes to the project plan, budget, or workforce necessary.

A project status report aims to inform everyone involved about its status. It goes to the team to evaluate the tasks' status, the necessary workforce, and work schedules. It goes to the manager to assess costs and timelines. It goes to the stakeholders to evaluate potential risks, delays, or additional costs.

Why Is a Project Status Report So Important?

How you write the project status report influences how people involved in the project perceive its progress. Inaccurate or missing data may need to be clarified for the employees and send them in the right direction. Incomplete reports may alert the stakeholders by not letting them understand where they stand concerning the project. Misfortunate decisions may be made based on an erroneous project status report.

On the contrary, a well-written project status report keeps everyone up-to-date and engaged. It improves communication, allows people to make informed decisions, and avoids money—or time-related issues. The project status report generates adaptation and strategy changes, which are effective and important for the project's progress.

Main Benefits of a Well-Written Project Status Report

Although good communication and informed decision-making are the top benefits of a well-written project status report, many others can arise from this. Among them are:

  • A written documentation that reveals at any step the project's journey from start to end. It may be used as a reference for future projects to improve your team's efficiency.
  • Accurate data for computing project progress measurements. You can calculate KPIs and monitor the project's development in different key areas, such as workforce, budget, and resources.
  • Support from your company or organization. The report acts as a link between people involved in the project and helps you receive support when needed.
  • Transparency. Everyone has access to relevant data and knows how each stakeholder is progressing.
  • Motivation. Increasing the pace and engaging in the process is much easier when you know where you stand.

Elements to Include in a Project Status Report

A project status report is a document you will be updating periodically. You need a suitable format that takes you a long way and includes all relevant aspects of your project. It also needs to be adaptable, allowing you to add new data as it comes without overwhelming the format and making everything confusing. Here are the main categories to consider for your project status report:

  1. A short review. This brief introduction lets people know at a glance what has happened since the last report. It informs of the aspects that suffered modifications or progressed. Based on this short review, people will know which parts of the document have changed. For example, if you write a weekly project status report, they may not need to read the budget section each week as no change occurred there.
  2. A table of contents. Each part of your project should have a dedicated section. At the beginning of your project status report, add a table of contents to take people where they need to go. For example, your accountant will only be interested in the costs section, while your HR manager wants to see employee time schedules.
  3. Tasks timeline. This is the first content section dedicated to all activities, tasks, and subtasks. Each will have a completion score you update each time you update the report. Use different headings for each category and include them in the table of contents. This way, you can highlight the ones that were updated in the current version of the document.
  4. Budget. Stakeholders are primarily interested in this part of a project, including costs, expenses, and budget tracking. You can deliver accurate budget information for each task and the entire project, mentioning how much you spent and on what, as well as how much money you have and how much you estimate you'll need to finish the project.
  5. Issues and decisions. Any project will have some issues. The original project plan could have run smoother than you would have liked. So, include a section about issues you face and your decisions to overcome them. Ensure the manager and stakeholders are on board with every change in the project plan. Also, include risk analysis, critical aspects, and potential bad news that may affect the progress of your project.
  6. Upcoming actions. Clarify what actions, activities, and tasks will be done until the following project status report. People should know upcoming milestones, deliverables, and deadlines and plan their work accordingly. Provide details about dependencies (e.g., if this task is done, this one can begin, etc.), teams, schedules, and budgets. Before putting this document away, your readers should clearly know what to expect in the next one.

6 Steps to Write a Project Status Report

Now that you know what elements to include in your project status report, it's time to organize your work and create a workflow that helps you complete the job quickly and error-free.

First, decide how often you need to update the report. This is an essential pre-step because it helps you structure your document and provides enough room for all the information.

Then, decide how to name your document and to whom you must send it. Use the project's name and status report's frequency and date to create a document name—for example, Project_Name_Status_Report_Monthly_01_2024. The following document will increase the month and sort nicely with the previous one.

Step 1: Gather Data from the Project's Teams

Gather all information in one place and organize it according to your report's sections. For example, all financial information should be in one place and all employee-related data in another. 

Then, compute indicators that show the project's progress and health. For example, you may record the progress in task completion, customer satisfaction, employee KPIs, or budgeting progress. You will need these high-level indicators to show how the project goes from one document to another.

Many people prefer to use percentages to show progress but also visual tools, such as color schemes and bar charts.

Step 2: Write the Summary

Put together all the data and write the summary, focusing on the most important aspects of the project. Include the high-level indicators using the highlight system you agreed on. At the same time, mention the main advances and blockers, which areas are way ahead of the plan and which are way behind, and any information that needs to be seen immediately (e.g., a bad risk analysis, an audit, etc.).

Step 3: Add Status Updates to Each Section

Update each section, including local indicators that show progress and any relevant details (e.g., expenses per activity, employee shifts, etc.) for each category. Be consistent; use the same indicators in all following status documents.

Each project is different and has different requests. Adapt the informative sections to the project's objectives and focus on what matters to managers, employees, and stakeholders. A project status report shouldn't be an exhaustive document with hundreds of pages. Please keep it simple, concise, accurate, and informative.

Step 4: Link Related Documents

Instead of filling the document with more information than a reader needs to know, link related documents for those needing more detail. You can refer to company documents (e.g., employee manual), technical documents (e.g., specifications), or informative documents (e.g., online resources, examples, etc.). 

Ensure you provide a library where people can find all the documents accompanying the project status reports throughout the project's history. They will be helpful for future projects.

Step 5: Address Issues

Underline any issues, risks, or delays you might have based on the data you gathered. You can add indicators to be more specific and a priority or importance scheme to highlight the most urgent ones.

Here, you can include decisions made to solve existing issues (e.g., the manager has decided to stop the development of activity #1.4 for two weeks) or prevent future ones (e.g., the team has agreed to do overtime for the next month to avoid delaying the delivery).

Step 6: Plan Upcoming Actions

Include here the list of activities and tasks to be completed in the next period (usually short and mid-term). Don't add everything that needs to be done to complete the project, just the actions for the next time slot.

You can also highlight actions that still need to be planned but need to be, such as meetings, attending industry-related events, and celebrating milestones.

Free Project Status Report Template

Don't start your project status report from scratch. Download our free project status report template and use it as guidance for your own. It's straightforward to customize.

Project Status Report Template

Project Status Report Example

Project name: Time and Attendance Implementation Within BigCo

Project owner: Luisa McFerris

Reporting period: March 1, - May 1, 2024


The project started according to the plan by acquiring new time and attendance software for employees working remotely. No delays in delivery. No extra expenses.

Overall status: Completed [10] %

Health: Very Good 

1.    Tasks and Activities

Task #no


Progress (%)


#1 Acquisition




#1.1 Market research




#1.2 Purchasing




#2 Training




2.    Budget

Expense #no



Amount ($)

#1 Time and attendance app


#1 Acquisition










Total ($)





Planned Budget ($): 10,000

Current Budget ($) – (%): 250 – 2.5%

Overspent (%): None


3.    Problems

Issue #no


Importance - High Medium Low


















4.    Upcoming Actions

Task #no




#2 Training


June 30th, 2024


#3 Implementation


June 30th, 2024


#3.1 Account creation


June 30th, 2024


Note: If the current hardware doesn’t support the new Time and attendance app, we must purchase new mobile phones and/or tablets that support it or upgrade existing ones.

5.    Related Documents

  1. Internal Document Employee_Manual.docx available at HR Department
  2. Internal Document HR_App_User_Manual.docx available at HR Department



How often should you report out?

Each project has a different timeline and, thus, different reporting requests. For example, an Agile project requests weekly status reports as things progress quickly, and the projects are usually short-term. Longer projects may have bi-weekly or monthly status reports. Quarterly status reports are suited for very long projects with slow development, such as a 10-year development to extend the railway network.

Status Report vs. Progress Report

Both status and progress reports help the stakeholders have an accurate perspective on a project's development. However, while the progress report refers only to what has been done, a status report is much more complex than that. It includes the project’s progress, expenses, problems, plan changes, etc.