Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives

What is a Project Update?

A project update is a report that contains information on the progress and status of a particular task or project.

Who makes Project Updates?

Office staffs and secretaries are the ones who usually prepare project updates, since they have direct or hands-on grasp of the project. In some businesses, all team members are delegated to prepare project updates so that the whole team will have an idea on what is happening in the project.

Why do people do make Project Updates?

Project updates are made in order to inform the team members the status and progress of the project. It is important to update team members for them to know what is happening in the project, allowing them to do necessary actions to certain issues or concerns.

Continuity of activities is one reason why people make project updates. By including information on areas such as accomplishments, plans, and conflicts, the whole team will be kept informed on the position of the project or task. Knowledge of the project status will allow the team to steer the direction of the task at hand.

How to make a Project Update

A great project update keeps people informed on what is going on with the project.

The project update includes a title and a list of people involved in the assignment. Also, it includes details on regions such as achievements, goals, and issues. Some project updates also include the current status of the project, the recent development, the major decisions that have been made, the next steps to be taken, and the effects of these areas on the overall project.

Visual aids such as tables, graphs, and images can also be included in order to aid the readers appreciate the information better. Pictures can be captioned for it to be more comprehensive. Additionally, project updates can include videos that provide in depth information about the project. Usually, these videos are not lengthy; they are usually three minutes long.

In making a project update, it is also important to use a language that is understood by the readers. The language used should be parallel with the readers’ profile and level of comprehension. As much as possible, jargons and acronyms should be avoided, since not all of them are known by the readers.

Advantages of making Project Updates

Making project updates present an array of benefits to the team.

Being an instrument of motivation to team members is one advantage of project updates. The update report includes accomplishments and achievements of team members, which can sway a positive aura within the team. Also, those members who feel dissatisfied with their performance can grab optimism from such good news.

Another benefit of project updates is that they present a summary of key decisions, progress, and future actions of the team. This is a documentation of the things that occurred throughout the project, giving the team a bigger picture.

Project updates serve as useful tools to focus on the team members in a specific time frame. Since these updates contain information on actual and potential team issues, team members can discuss and talk about them in order to devise a strategic plan to solve or counter them.

Disadvantages of making Project Updates

While project updates have a number of benefits, they also present some flaws.

One disadvantage of project updates is the probable involvement of time and money. Making project updates require adequate amount of time to ensure that sufficient, complete, and accurate information is include for the benefit of the staffs. In addition, typewritten project updates should be printed, which requires finance. Some team members who have a lot of tasks to do get limited time to accomplish a project update.

The other con pertains to e-mail based project updates. Some teams take advantage of the internet accessibility so as to send the update to all team members faster and easier. The disadvantage arises when there is faulty or absent internet connection, which prevents transfer of information from one team member to another.

Best practices for making Project Updates

With regard to the timing, project updates should be done at least every two weeks so as to maintain the cycle of information within the team on a timely basis.

Completeness and accuracy of information are essential keys in making good project updates. Team members can refer to previous reports or updates they have prepared before, as those may have information that can guide them in their current project status. In addition, plans that have been set previously can be evaluated if they have had a favorable outcome or not.

Information noted in the project updates should be accurate, as the updates can serve as the team’s references in the future. To ensure that the report contains accurate details, data should be verified from previous reports. In addition, team members can also confirm the information they have on hand with the information noted by team members or other sources such as the minutes of the meeting.

How Teamreporter helps at making Project Updates

Teamreporter is an application that uses scheduled report mails instead of status meetings to facilitate communication within the team.

The application is capable of generating notification e-mails, which are sent to the team members to solicit information on three important areas – achievements, plans, and conflicts.
The achievements of the team help them determine the team’s level of productivity and these also serve as motivating factors to other members of the team who feel unproductive. Plans are also asked from team members, which can help the team generate an overall team strategy to accomplish the entire task successfully. Moreover, problems encountered by the team can be included in the report for the team to prioritize and resolve them. This triad of information enables all team members to see a bigger picture of the team’s project.

Alternatives to making Project Updates

Project updates provide knowledge about to the team status and progress, facilitating effective communication within the team. They direct the team members to the right path as areas like accomplishments, plans, and conflicts are discussed.

Project updates can be done in various forms such as reports that can be sent daily, weekly, or monthly. Daily reports allow exchange of information between team members concerning the project or assignment on a day to day basis. In addition, such reports allow consistent provision of knowledge to team members and prevent missing out information. Weekly reports enable team members to present condensed information based from the events that happened within the week. Monthly reports can serve as the complied summary of the weekly reports and they can serve as future reference in preparing an annual report. These reports are done on a regular basis, which can help the team track their progress over time and analyze trends in their productivity.

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