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The Perfect Project Summary Template

A project summary is a project management tool that gives a synopsis of a project status at a given time. Try Slite's project summary template for free.

What is a project summary?

A project summary is a project management tool that summarizes a project's status at a moment in time. They're concise, comprehensive and provide an overview of all the key details of your project.

Internally, project summaries demonstrate project progress at a moment in time. They provide an executive summary for project managers, team members, contractors and other service providers. They communicate project milestones, metrics and project timeline updates to keep project teams on track, help them get organized and work together efficiently.

Project summaries can also be used as project briefs, used to present or provide updates on projects externally. In this case, they often act as project proposals and help their readers get a quick impression of a project's nature, status and overall context.

All of this makes project summaries incredibly useful tools that make project planning and execution much easier.

What does a project summary include?

Project summaries are flexible depending on the specific needs of your project, but usually include the following elements:

  • Basic information: This includes fundamental project details like project name and/or project ID, project phase, planned project launch date and current date.
Pro Tip: It's also a good idea to indicate key project team members on your project summary, as well as their contact information. This can include the project manager, main stakeholders, key decision makers and project sponsors.
  • An indication of current project phase and/or status. There are many ways to stylize this.
  • If you're using your project summary for external purposes, it should include some project background where you address why your team is working on your chosen project, project objectives and how they are planning to approach it.
  • If you're using your project summary for internal purposes, it should include a section on recent achievements and another on current project roadblocks or challenges.
  • A project timeline that outlines and provides updates on key project milestones and deliverables. This section sometimes also provides budgetary information.

What can a project summary do for me?

Writing and developing a project summary is an excellent action to take as part of any project plan. Doing so:

  • Provides you with a project roadmap: Whether you use your project summary as a means to keep your project team up to date throughout your project's lifecycle or to present key updates to project stakeholders, it will act as a map to guide you through your project's various stages. As it progresses, your project summaries will be great resources for you to refer back to.‍
  • Increases clarity: Putting together project summaries forces project teams to put all the essential elements of their projects in writing (if you use a Slite template, they can always be updated in real-time). This facilitates clarity and transparent communication from the get-go.
Pro Tip: To make data even easier to understand, elements of project summaries are sometimes stylized as Gantt charts or other visual graphs.
  • Saves time: Having a project summary handy is convenient for all kinds of project management needs. Whenever you find yourself needing to present your project to someone, internal or external, you'll have a document ready to share with ease.

Slite's free project summary template

If you're ready to start developing your project summary, you can get started right away with Slite's free template.

We love helping teams collaborate more easily, and our project summary template will help you do just that. It has a simple, intuitive design and formatting that's easy for anyone to customize and use. Forget about sending Excel sheets, Google Docs, Microsoft Word documents and powerpoints back and forth. With Slite, you can keep everything you need in one easily accessible place.

How should I get started with my project summary template?

Want to begin customizing your Slite template? Dive in right away by:

Meeting With Your Project Team

The best project summaries are assembled collaboratively and with a deep understanding of the project at hand. To get things started, meet with your project team early on to brainstorm and hash out all the details that'll go into your summary.

Thinking About Your Audience

How your project summary looks will depend on who it's being written for. Be sure to determine the key audience that will be reading your project summary and make sure it's geared towards them. If you want to keep it flexible, make sure to write a report template that'd be clear to any reader.

Determining Key Project Milestones

While you should avoid getting bogged down in the details at this stage, make sure to determine your project's key milestones and include them in your summary. This will help you and your team get oriented early on.

...there you have it! You're ready to start working on your project summary. Use these tips and you'll have it ready to use as a key element of your project planning process in no time.