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What is the Project Status?

Smartpedia: The project status expresses the progress and condition of a project on a key date. Key figures, indicators or visual features are used as means of expression.

Project status – Where does the project stand, how is the project doing?

“Everything is currently in the green zone!” – this could be the short description of the current state of a project. Interestingly, there is more content in this short description than might appear at first glance. “Everything”, for example, indicates that a sum of information contributes to this assessment. “… currently …” indicates that it is a current statement on a key date and that the project status may change over time. “…in the green zone” reveals that there is a graduated colour coding that expresses the state of the project. And last but not least, “Everything currently in the green zone!” also means that it is an assessment; an evaluation of the progress of a project.

In short, the project status is the assessment of the current project progress and project state on a reference date. In a figurative sense, it answers the questions “Where does the project stand?” and “How is the project doing?

The addressees of the project status

There can be a whole range of people and groups of people who are interested in a project status:

In other words, a selection of stakeholders. Stakeholders are persons or organisations that are directly or indirectly affected by or have an interest in the activities (and projects) of a company. Interestingly, the information that these persons or organisations want to know about the project varies:

  • For example, a client wants to know if the project will be completed on time and thus as agreed.
  • A project management office may want to know whether the capacity allocated is sufficient to complete the project on time.
  • The governing body may want to know what decisions are needed to keep the project within the agreed budget.
  • And for the company management, a simple visual representation in the form of a traffic light is often sufficient. With “green – everything is fine” and possibly also with “yellow – there is a need for action”, the management does not become active itself, but with “red – the project’s success is at risk” it does.

The addressees of the project status (and a documented project status report) provide the information that is needed in general or in particular.

Contents of the project status

The project status can express a wide variety of aspects of a project, including

  • the project phase the project is in (e.g. in preparation, planning, implementation, completion or commissioning),
  • the stage of completion of individual work packages, e.g. using the 0/100, 20/80 or 50/50 method,
  • the consumption of human, material or financial resources, supplemented by a cost trend analysis if necessary,
  • the schedule situation, supplemented by a milestone trend analysis if necessary,
  • the risk assessment with reference to the overall project or individual project aspects, if necessary presented in the form of a risk matrix.

Since the project status is always a snapshot, there should be agreement in the organisation that the determination (or assessment) is a regularly recurring task that extends across the different project phases. The means of expression used for this (quantitative values, qualitative evaluations, indicators such as earned value or a schedule performance index) and when the determination is made must be agreed individually with the addressees.

Project Status - How is the project doing?

Impulse to discuss:

Should project staff satisfaction also be an indicator of project status?


Here you can find a German video about the related topic Project Status Report.

Here you will find a template to document status information of a team.

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