No matter how good you are at your job, sooner or later communicating status will be required. A helpful hint is to avoid waiting until this becomes a requirement. Instead, get in the habit of regularly reporting your progress and status to your boss. Since this is a regular task, you should find the proper balance between keeping it short and providing enough detail.
A Weekly Status Template
First and foremost, try to keep your status report to a single page. The commonly accepted parts of this communication are, list what you did, list what you plan to do, list any issues or questions. Your weekly report should be able to capture these items in less than ten bullet points for each. You can then provide some notes or further details at the bottom of the page. When you keep it short like this then a page should be plenty.
Your goal is to communicate a summary of what you are doing. If deep detail is needed then provide that in another document or meeting. I like to put the issues at the top so they are harder to miss. You might also want to include the hours worked on each item and a summary of billable hours for the week. This approach is not often needed for an employee. However, it is an excellent way to avoid billing surprises with the client.
Progress is a different issue from status. The goal of this communication is to provide a snapshot of where you are in a project. The status report may provide this information but not in the best format. Progress is something you want to provide in a sentence or two. Think about the CEO asking your boss how a project is going. The progress communication should be a quick, but accurate answer. Thus, you should be able to update your boss with this regularly without taking much time. Generally speaking, progress is often going to focus on whether it is on schedule and any big risks or wins. For example, our project is a few days behind schedule due to some snags hit with the vendor but we have had a demo with the sales department and they love it.
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