What is a project summary?
Put simply, a project summary is an important project management tool that gives a synopsis of a project's status at a moment in time. Owing to this, they come in handy for both external and internal purposes.
Internally, project summaries often report project status and progress to project teams. Externally, they're used to present or provide updates on a project to external parties. Regardless of their specific use, they bring together a project's key details and information and combine them into one concise, easily understood document!
Why are project summaries important?
There are so many reasons why project summaries are incredibly important project management tools. They save time, increase efficiency and foster clear communication, just to name a few perks.
However, our favourite consequence of using project summaries is the fact that they act as guides and project roadmaps no matter how they're used. They provide direction throughout your project's various phases and act as fantastic resources to refer back to when needed.
How are project summaries used?
Project summaries are great because they can serve many different purposes in project management. That's why project managers love to use them.
Internally, project summaries act as status reports for projects in progress. They effectively communicate key project updates related to milestones, metrics, objectives and timelines to project teams. These executive summaries can come at any point in the project lifecycle: beginning, middle or end.
Externally, project summaries are tools that help present project information to decision markers, stakeholders, sponsors, clients and the like. They can be used to provide updates, but also work well as project proposals that offer thorough first impressions of a project's characteristics, status and context.
What elements are included in project summaries?
Project summaries look a little bit different depending on the needs and context of your project. The elements they include depends largely on whether you want to use your project summary internally or externally, as well as their position within your project's lifecycle.
Nevertheless, project summary reports are often made up of variations of the following elements:
- Basic information & key details: It's always a good idea to have a written record of the basics in your summary. This includes information like project name, project ID, project phase, project completion date & current date.
- An indicator of project status or phase. This acts as a form of progress report that's easily referred back to.
- Project background. If you're using your project summary for external purposes, it's important to include a general summary of the project. Outline why your team is working on your project, your chosen approach and other key contextual information.
- Project progress updates. This is especially important if you're using your project summary internally. Refer to project achievements, roadblocks and challenges.
- A project timeline that outlines your project's most important milestones, deliverables and deadlines. This can encompass the entire project or the reporting period at hand.
Our free project summary template
By now you should realize just how useful project summaries can be in the project planning process. You're in luck because we'd love to help you get started with the development of your very own!
You don't have to start from scratch either. Here at Slite, we love to help teams of all shapes & sizes work together seamlessly and efficiently and achieve all their project goals. Our free project summary template will help you do just that. It's easy to customize, has a clean, elegant interface and can even be updated in real-time.