Ask any project manager this question: “What part of your job do you dread the most?”

I guarantee that one of the top 10 answers to that question would be creating and sending status reports.

Obviously, a project manager must inform his or her boss about how the project is going. But the boss is just one of many people who needs this information—the people working on the project need updates, too.

In Microsoft Project, there are a few status reports designed to update and inform team members. But these reports are cumbersome, and getting them into the hands of the people who need them is difficult.

That’s why I created a way to produce a status report designed especially to meet the needs of project team members—with an easy method of delivering this information to them. In the download “Create cool e-mail status reports in Microsoft Project,” you’ll find a Microsoft Project template that has a macro designed to generate an e-mail for each team member. (Keep in mind that in Project, team members are called resources.)

Status reports keep communication on track
The macro will create an e-mail with information about each task assigned to a team member, or resource. The e-mail will show the following information for each unfinished assignment: the start date, finish date, percentage of work completed, and the remaining work to be done. (See Figure A.)

Figure A

This method is an efficient way to let your resources know the status of their tasks as outlined in your project plan. Communicating this to them can help highlight discrepancies between your plan and their perceptions.

The macro looks at each resource in the project and then moves through each assignment and task. The macro then gathers data on the task name, assignment start, finish, percentage complete, and remaining work to be done. It formats this information into an e-mail and uses the e-mail address property of the resource to send it via Outlook. It repeats this for each resource.

The download contains instructions about using this macro in existing projects. Download “Create a cool e-mail status report in Microsoft Project,” and see if this macro turns a dreaded task into something you look forward to completing.
Tell us about your experiences using this macro. Post a comment below or send us an e-mail.