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January 29, 2016

Project Status Update Email Sample : Templates and Examples

It is a standard practice to send project status updates using emails. This article will look at how a simple project status update email sample can help you communicate the project status and make the project team and stakeholders aware of the status.

Why should you use emails to send status updates?

Ask anyone who sits at a desk for 9 hours a day, and they will tell you that their E-mail (Electronic Mail) app is probably the one they use the most throughout the day. An average worker sends and receives dozens of daily E-mails, which has become one of the main communication sources in our lives. It is no surprise that many of the status updates for a project are done via E-mails, either internal or external.
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project update template, email template, project status update email sample
Project Status Update Email Sample

To focus the target audience on what’s important for the project, templates are common throughout the projects’ lifecycle. We will look at two samples or examples - first, a brief email about the task status and issues encountered. Second, an email with the status and task tracking information for the team. Before we start looking into the samples, let's understand some advantages of using project status update using email.

Advantages of project status update using emails - 

  1. Quick and easy to draft, so it can be sent in few minutes. The first time you set up the email template or format, it may take time, but after that, it should take only a few minutes for every update.
  2. Provides a mechanism of reminding the key dates and timelines to the project team.
  3. Project Status reports are generally sent once a week. Email updates are sent frequently (if required daily). 
  4. Beneficial for tracking tasks as the email report will contain a progress indicator that everyone can see. For example, if the task remains 60% for a few days, people will know that the task is not moving. 
  5. The email status report will often contain items that are due, so it also acts as a reminder to the team. And, in some cases, inform the team certain items are in scope for the project.
  6. It is beneficial to the team to get a brief update as you cannot send the detailed status report every time. 
  7. The higher possibility that everyone will read their emails and easy for everyone to respond to emails.
  8. If the status update format is consistent, it will make it easy for people to find the information they need.
  9. Helps in building confidence with senior management as they can see updates daily and know how the project is progressing.
  10. Because the updates are more frequent, the team and stakeholders will be aware of issues and project status daily. Generally, with a weekly status report, they will be informed only after a few days.
  11. It provides some flexibility compared to a project status report as you do not have to limit yourself to a template.


Status Update Email Template: A brief update

  1. This kind of update is suitable for senior management or high-level executives.
  2. The email update contains 3 sections Key Highlights, Task Update, and Other Updates.
  3. The key highlights section should have the key highlights about the project update.
  4. The task update should be for providing details about the project tasks and their status.
  5. Other updates are general updates like team events or upcoming leaves.
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Project Status Update: Brief Version


A detailed email status update tracking update -

  1. This kind of update is suitable for managers and the project team as it contains task details.
  2. The email update is divided into two sections - Key Highlights and Task Updates.
  3. The key highlights should cover the key updates only. You should be specific and discuss only the key points rather than giving a detailed update. Try and keep this to 3 to 4 bullet points.
  4. The tasks section can be from the project plan or excel sheet task tracker
  5. Display all the key task information like task name, assigned to, start date, end date % compete, and comments.
project status update email template, project update template
Project Status Update: Detailed Version


Project Status Update email to clients

A part of most communication plans is a periodic E-mail from the PM to the customer. This E-mail should display the project's overall status and focus on any specific risks, issues, or problems that the project is facing. Refrain from presenting KPI’s or graphs; they require analyzing by the PM and may alarm when there isn’t a need for it.

Email Client Status Update Template
Email Client Status Update Template

The E-mail should be addressed to the following –


  • To: The PM on the clients’ side
  • CC: Major stakeholders (internal and external)
  • Subject: Weekly/Monthly/etc. Status Update for 07-Aug-2017

The following message and template should be inside the E-mail –


“Dear,

Please see the status of the project in the table below. The project looks good, and we are confident that we will complete it on time.

No major issues have come up since the last E-mail was sent on 31-Jul-2017. Please reply to this e-mail if you require any further clarifications or wish to raise an issue for us to take care of.

Best Regards,
Matan Johnson

Status Update Request Email

To compile a status update report and E-mail, many team members need to give their input. To facilitate this process, a periodic E-mail with a template should be sent out to the contributing team-members for them to fill in.

Status Update Request Template
Status Update Request Template

The E-mail should be addressed to the following – 

  • To: The team members who need to fill in the template
  • CC: The TL’s, PM, PMO, and COO
  • Subject: Input for the Status Update of 07-Aug-2017

The following message and template should be inside the E-mail –


Dear,

As with every week, please update the below template with the updated status. The info needs to be sent to the PM by COB (Close of Business) today (07-Aug) and presented to the customer.

Thank you for the cooperation,

Shirley Kashi
Project PMO

Email Update to Manager

Since managers’ are often required to represent their subordinates, they must be kept up-to-date regarding the open tasks which they are handling at any given moment. The following E-mail and template should be sent to the managers if an update is available, without a specific request by the manager! The template should only contain the open tasks and the ones completed since the last status E-mail was sent.

Email Updates Template to Manager
Email Update To Manager

The E-mail should be addressed to the following – 

  • To: The manager
  • CC: any colleagues who are a part of this task, the PMO / COO, PM (only if this is a major task)
  • Subject: status update for 07-Aug

The following message and template should be inside the E-mail –


Dear,

Please see the updated status of the task below. We were able to develop an innovative solution that tested well in the QA environment, and we believe that this will be acceptable by the customer (according to their technical specs).

Best Regards,
Tamara Orange
SW BI Team Lead

You may also be interested in Email Templates for Project Managers.

Daily Status Update Email Template

Many PM’s conducts a short morning session with the key team members of the project to review what was done so far and agree on the next steps. These sessions may be F2F (Face to Face) or by sending short E-mails with the projects’ KPI’s, risks, and open tasks.

daily status update email template
Daily Status Update Email Template

In case the chosen medium is E-mails, then it should contain only the open issues or the ones which were closed since yesterdays’ meeting.

The E-mail should be addressed to the following –

  • To: Matan Johnson
  • CC: The relevant team-members, PMO, COO
  • Subject: Daily status Update – 07-Aug-2017

The following message and template should be inside the E-mail –


“Dear Matan,

Please see the updated status of our team below. No major changes since yesterday; we are on track regarding our tasks, and all our KPI’s are in the acceptable range.

Best Regards,
Mia Orozco
Industrial Design TL
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Email Update to Stakeholders Template

The final approval of the status update E-mail to the customer should be the project's key stakeholder. The E-mail should contain the PM’s suggestion of what it should contain, and the stakeholder needs to give their input.

Email Update to Stakeholders
Email Update to Stakeholders

The E-mail should be addressed to the following – 

  • To: The internal key stakeholder
  • CC: Other internal stakeholders
  • Subject: Weekly/Monthly/etc. Status Update for 07-Aug-2017

The following message and template should be inside the E-mail –


Dear,

Please see the status of the project in the table below. The project looks good, and we are confident that we will complete it on time. No major issues have come up since the last E-mail was sent on 31-Jul-2017.

If you have any updates or comments, please send them by COB today (06-Aug). Otherwise, I will send it to the customer by COB tomorrow (07-Aug).

Best Regards,
Matan Johnson

13 tips when using emails for status updates

  1. The “To” field should contain only addresses that have a task, need to answer a question, or are the main receivers of the message in the E-mail.
  2. The “CC” (Carbon Copy) field should contain addresses that don’t need to perform any tasks or answer any questions due to the E-mail. They are generally the FYI (For Your Information) audience of the E-mail.
  3. The “BCC” (Blind CC) should be used when sending out an E-mail to a huge audience, where most of them are FYI only.
  4. The “Subject” field must never be empty and should succinctly summarize the E-mails’ purpose. Most people skim the subjects while deciding which E-mail they should open first, which will help them decide to open your E-mail first.
  5. The E-mail itself should follow the basic writing structure rules: Paragraphs, bullets, punctuation, etc. An E-mail isn’t an IM (Instant Message)!
  6. End the E-mail with your signature, which should include your full name, job title, phone number, and E-mail address. Most apps allow an automatic signature with every E-mail sent.
  7. Send the email either at the end of the day or the start of the day as people can arrange their priorities as needed.
  8. Maintain the frequency of the email updates. If you send it every two days, then make sure that you send it after every two days. I generally send it twice a week initially, and the project gets closer to the delivery date, I increase the frequency to daily.
  9. Limit the content to a minimum as possible. People tend to ignore very long emails, especially those that are more frequent. 
  10. Always include a progress indicator for tasks. It can be % complete and effort remaining. Without a progress indicator, task tracking can be meaningless.
  11. Highlight anything that needs attention in red as people who just skim the email will be attracted to the items marked in red or some other color.
  12. Take regular feedback from the team and others to make your status updates readable. If nobody reads your updates after all this effort, then it's better not to send it !!!
  13. We recommend having a look at Email Templates for Project Managers for other templates. 

11 Tips for writing effective emails

Emails have become the official medium of communication in today's world. We spend a lot of time reading and writing emails. Here are some tips on how to make your emails effective. This article assumes you know the basics of email writing, so will concentrate on advanced tips.
how to write a professional emails
How to write professional emails

1. Get grammar and spelling right

  • This is the most basic requirement of a professional email.
  • An email with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes creates a very sloppy image of the writer.
  • Use inbuilt tools for spelling and grammar. Most of the tools actively point out the errors as you type. 

2. Brief Subject Lines

  • Always have brief subject lines.
  • Include keywords like "Approval Required," "Possible Delays," "Urgent Issue," etc., so that the email reader will know he needs to do some action.

3. Always Use Bullet Points in the email content

  • Use bullet points to make your content more readable.
  • People tend to ignore large paragraphs and just skim the email because of the larger volumes of emails.
  • Do not write huge paragraphs as people will not spend a lot of time reading unless they don't have anything else to do.
  • Try and logically divide the email into smaller sections and have a bold heading for each section.

4. Highlight Key Issues

  • Always highlight key issues by either making the text bold or highlight it in red color.
  • When mentioning an issue in the email, always mention its impact on the project or task.
  • It is good to be proactive and also mention the different solutions for the highlighted issue.

5. A heads up before sending any controversial email

  • It is always good to talk to the person before sending a controversial or surprising email.
  • Often many people react in a better way if they know what they are getting.
  • This trick is very to use full when conveying some bad news or sudden changes.

    6. Wait for sometime before sending an email

    • This is applicable when you are sending an escalation or a complaint.
    • Always avoid sending emails when you are angry or annoyed with something. 
    • Many times this hurts other people, and you will feel bad about it later.
    • You can type the email and keep it in your inbox for some time. I sometimes do this and keep my emails for a few hours. Many times I delete these emails and prefer talking to the person.

    7. Include a picture or snapshot when possible

    • A picture is worth a thousand words, so always include a picture or image if applicable.
    • I use pictures or tables when I am sending information about project overlaps and their impacts.
    • Sometimes it is easier to explain with a picture than just words.

    8. Document all the assumptions

    • Make sure you document all the assumptions you have made when sending the email.
    • This is especially true when you publishing project plans or key project dates.
    • Clearly, state all the assumptions under a single heading like "Assumptions" at the end of the email.

    9. Always close the loop

    • When sending an email to which you need a response, make sure you give an accurate date and time by which you need a response.
    • It is a good practice to highlight the time by which you need a response.
    • Examples are "Please respond by 2.30 PM Today", "Please respond by COB 12-Dec," etc.

    10. Review email with your managers before making a commitment

    • When making a commitment on a date or some other important aspect, it is a good idea to review the email with your manager before sending it.
    • Something written in black and white seems to have a greater impact than something that is verbally discussed, so just show your manager what you are going to send.

    11. Read your email Once... Twice... Thrice before sending

    • You should always read your emails before hitting the send button.
    • I read my emails at least 3 times before sending them out. 
    • I do this for important emails and not all of them.
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    2 comments

    1. Amazing, you covered it all in one page.. Very handy.. God Bless you..

      ReplyDelete