Everyone will thank you for writing clear, concise status reports. Here's how to do it.
Weekly status reports are a great way to improve team communication, but only if they're clear, concise, and focused on what really matters. That means being deliberate about what goes into them—but also what you leave out. As you’re wrapping up your week, here's how to make sure your report as impactful as possible.
What to include in a status report?
Great status reports include both a quick recap of your work and a preview of what’s coming up next. Some of the elements you’ll want to touch on include:
Progress made during the previous week
Updates on critical Objectives and Key Results
Priorities for the week ahead
Any issues or concerns that may slow forward momentum
In the first part of your report, focus on bringing your team up to date. What are your most important achievements since the last update, and how have your key metrics changed as a result?
The rest of your status report should be forward-looking. It might feel counterintuitive to spend much of a “report” laying out plans for the future, but our experience at Koan has shown that the biggest benefits of status reporting come when teams regularly share their priorities and blockers preemptively. Besides encouraging deliberate, purposeful work, the simple act of publishing your intentions is one big step towards better alignment for the entire team. Similarly, surfacing concerns early helps ensure timely resolution—and that the entire team is able to learn from your experience.
What to leave out of a status report?
Just as important as what you put into a status report is what stays behind. A short, focused update is more likely to be read (and consequently more valuable) than a lengthy dissertation, and it’s safe to omit:
Routine emails, calls, and meetings
Every ticket triaged, handled, or closed
Data or analysis beneath your top-line metrics
Any other details that don’t impact your team
It’s not that the details aren’t relevant. It’s just that they’re likely already represented in other, more appropriate systems, reports, and dashboards. In your report, they’re just additional noise around your key message.
Use a simple template
The easiest place to start writing your status report is with a simple, consistent template. The “3PM” format of Progress, Priorities, Problems, and Metrics is a good choice, and software tools (we’re rather partial to Koan!) can support it with suggestions and reminders that make it even easier to complete your weekly update.
Whether you report by email or through a dedicated platform, however, always yourself: would this report be useful to me? If it covers the highlights and lays out the plan ahead, you’re well on your way to an effective status report. Hit publish, kick back, and learn how to make the most from your weekly reporting process.