How To Write Better Status Reports (with a sample template!)
Koan Reflections help teams to write clear, concise status reports for more purposeful work. Here’s how to do it.
Weekly status reports are a great way to improve team communication, collaboration, and alignment, but only if they’re clear, concise, and focused on what really matters. That means being deliberate about what goes into them—and also what gets left out. As you’re wrapping up your week, here’s how to make 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. In an ideal status report template, here are some of the elements you’ll want to 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 status 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 or KPIs 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.
The other thing to keep in mind is how others will read your status report. Remember, you’re writing to keep others on your team updated. Feel free to add commentary, background, or context that may be beneficial in helping your teammates understand your updates.
How often to write status reports
Another aspect of what makes status reports so impactful is regularity. Many good reporting practices recommend weekly (or biweekly updates for agile organizations), but you’ll want to decide what works best for your team and culture.
At Koan, we actually use daily check-ins via a Slack channel to identify our top priorities for the day, what we accomplished the day before, and any concerns to alert the team of. Then we leverage the daily check-ins to draft our weekly status reports, as we rate our OKRs.
Status Report Template: Keep it simple
The easiest place to start writing your status report is with a simple, consistent template. The “3P” format of Progress, Priorities, and Problems is a good choice. Here’s a template of how to structure your status reports and some frequent questions to ask:
What are the important things you got done this week?
What are your top priorities for next week?
What were your challenges or learnings this week?
How to Manage Status Reports for your team
There are several ways to manage how you share your status updates across your team. Email or spreadsheets or communication tools (like Slack or MS teams) remains a very common way to manage status for teams, but these often lead to updates getting lost or missed by several teammates.
We’re a fan of using a software tool (like Koan Reflections) to manage team status, because it tracks progress on key initiatives and helps connect status to goals or OKRs. It also keeps track of status over time so you can see broader, longer-term progress, and software can support status with suggestions and reminders that make it even easier to complete your weekly update.
Whether you manage status report by email or through a dedicated platform, however, always ask 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 of your weekly reporting process.
If you'd like like to see the benefits that come with using Koan Reflections for status reports, be sure to sign up for your free account here!