When planning and executing any project, it’s crucial for organizations to implement a proper support system to keep track of, manage and promote collaboration between teams. At any given point in the project life cycle, everyone should have an idea of how it is going, as well as other key aspects. Has the project hit its desired KPIs? Are there further steps to take? What are the challenges faced so far? To ensure project success, these are just some of the important questions to ask at multiple touchpoints.
Having a project summary will provide an overview of a project’s status at any given time during the project. This is essentially a brief description of the progress, nature, current status and pending activities. Project summaries are helpful in collating all data and presenting it in a concise and understandable way. In other words, your project summary should describe the project to internal or external stakeholders, letting them know of any success, key metrics, next steps and more. Internal stakeholders, such as team members and managers, will be able to keep track and manage their projects. For external parties, the project summary is a way to provide context.
In every organization, project management can be affected by a variety of reasons. For starters, project managers deal with constantly-changing goals. This could be due to market fluctuations or other limitations. Then, there may be a switch in the availability of resources, such as labor or finances, in the duration of the project. Pair this with the fact that 59% of project managers run 2 to 5 projects at a time, project summaries are a critical aspect of management that will keep things in check.
Project summaries aren’t just a formality to complete at the end of every touchpoint of a project. In fact, they bring about a plethora of benefits to project managers and stakeholders, as well as go a long way in ensuring project success.
Here are some of the benefits of creating a project summary.
Presenting a project scope and outcome in a detailed format will enable teams to drive future actions through information-driven decisions.
Comparing a project’s current status against the original plan acts as an indication of how well the project is going, as well as what to keep in mind for future projects.
Risk management and cost management are a critical aspect of project success. By reporting these in the project summary, managers will be able to mitigate risks and stay within budget.
One of the main objectives of creating a project summary is so that stakeholders will have an overview of all project details. This way, they can always ensure that things are kept in check and running smoothly, without having to conduct site visits or in-depth analysis.
Depending on the scope, nature and objectives of the project, the project summary will be tailored to communicate these details. In general, a project summary should include the following elements:
An executive summary is a short documentation that introduces and outlines your project summary. It typically takes up a few lines and includes information project description, objectives, main highlights of the report and more. To the reader, an executive summary provides a way to be acquainted with the content without having to read the entire report.
A project outline includes the company name and description, as well as any external partners. If this is a large organization, the project outline needs to include the specific department and/or teams. Then, it should also include a project scope statement. A project scope statement is a detailed outline of the work that needs to be done, the problem it wants to solve, as well as the deadline for completion and allocated budget. This helps set a foundation for an objective-driven project management process.
A project map creates a visual representation of the activities that are being carried out to achieve a desired outcome. Since project maps may take up too much space and be time-consuming to read, project summaries can include a brief schedule description that lists all past and future activities pertaining to the project scope.
These are the milestones that the project set out to achieve. This section should list out each specific phase of the project, such as ideation, design or testing, as well as a definition of each phase. Then, mark each phase with an in-progress, complete, or incomplete stamp.
Every project will have a budget. If the budget for the phase is complete, the table will mark the actual cost. If the milestone is not reached, the project summary will include estimated costs.
Successful project management is heavily reliant on proper risk management. “Issues” are the problems that were faced during the duration of the project so far. “Risks” refer to potential issues that may arise in the future. Listing these out will give project managers and team the opportunity to review their past challenges as well as mitigate future risks.
Project metrics indicate the project’s success and help to track performance. These can include performance metrics to measure KPI. This way, project managers will have an idea of how their team has performed as well as areas for improvement. Additionally, engagement metrics take a look at how efficiently the team works together.
Every project summary ends off with an action plan. With a clear idea of how the project went, it is now time to determine the next course of action. Whether this is mid-project or end-project, the summary will determine the next steps to take. This may be in line with the initial scope of work or include new initiatives.
If you’re ready to begin effectively managing your projects by crafting a well-thought project summary, get started right away with Kipwise’s Sample Template for Project Summary.
Dive into how your projects are going at any moment in time without having to go through all the trouble of paperwork and countless meetings. This Sample Template is made for teams to efficiently communicate their project’s information on-the-go and work better moving forward. Project summaries begin with an easily-integratable, intuitive format that works well across all users of an organization. Furthermore, you can upload this sample into your company’s knowledge base within seconds!