Back to Basics: Reporting your status

Here’s the scenario: you’re a team member assigned to some tasks, and (surprise surprise) your manager would like you to provide a status update. What’s more is he wants it done through Project Web Access. You panic a little, maybe break out into cold sweats, can’t sleep a wink, yada yada.

Well first of all, that’s some serious overreacting to a relatively common request, so you might be due for some vacation time. But in all seriousness, a little panic at a request like that is pretty common. You know what information your manager wants, and you want to provide it, but there’s this tool in the way and you don’t know how to use it. This is not the time to panic. It’s not nearly as daunting as you might think, once you get your bearings.

There are two ways to report status in the version of Project Web Access that ships with Project Server 2007. You’ll need to talk with your manager to figure out which reporting method he or she is looking for.

First, let’s talk about simple status reporting. How are you used to reporting your status? In a weekly e-mail message? In a regular meeting with your manager? Regardless of what you’ve been doing, your manager can take the typical discussion points for status reporting and make them into a form in Project Web Access. He or she can set up the frequency at which the team should fill out the form (weekly or monthly, for example), and you’ll receive a request to complete the status report at those intervals. To submit your status, you simply fill out the form and submit it to your manager. Nothing terribly complicated.

The other method for reporting your status is a little more detailed. Instead of providing a general summary of task status, as you do in status reports, you can use the My Tasks view to provide specific hours and percentages for each of your assigned tasks. When reporting task status this way, your hours and percentages must be approved by the project manager and any other key stakeholders. The approvers can choose not to approve your task status, at which time you might want to have a discussion about the reasons behind the rejection, and how you can help to resolve the issues. Want to learn more about using the My Tasks view to report task status? Take a look at the topics in this area on Office Online.

Hopefully that helps you get a little bit of footing in how status is reported in Project Web Access, and points you to where you can learn more. Got specific questions? Post them in comments and I’ll see if I can help!