Home / Letters & Templates / How to Write a Status Update Email

How to Write a Status Update Email

Keeping everyone on the same page is essential to team success. Status update emails are a simple tool for promoting transparency, ensuring accountability, and tracking progress toward the final outcome. 

We’ll explain how to write a clear and effective status email and show you exactly what pieces of information to include in one.

What is a status update email?

A status update email is a professional message outlining a project’s current state. It explains the tasks that have been completed since the last update and the immediate steps that are to be taken next. It also calls out any roadblocks hindering progress and allows anyone involved to ask questions or get further information to advance the project. 

These emails are typically short and concise. They should be written for simplicity, with in-depth discussions reserved for a separate email or a live meeting. 

What is the purpose?

Status update emails ensure that all team members are informed of the overall status of a shared assignment. 

When different people tackle different parts of the work, it’s easy for information to become disjointed or lost in translation. This message is a simple way to regularly get all stakeholders on the same page while holding everyone accountable for progress. 

Status update emails also create a paper trail of what was done on a project at what point in time. This can be helpful for staying on the designated timeline and referring back to it in the future when working on similar assignments.

If your work is for a client, this formal update system is important for demonstrating your value and helping the client feel confident that the proper tasks are being accomplished in the appropriate time frame. 

When should you send a status update email?

On a regular schedule

If this is a long-term project or a regular update on your work generally, send the email at the same time and on the same day every week. This way, it becomes standard practice, and all recipients can routinely incorporate the information into their work for the week.

You can even create a status update template and save it in your ‘drafts’ folder to speed up the writing process each week.

Before or after a big milestone

A status update is a great place to celebrate wins and showcase noteworthy accomplishments. It’s also useful for reminding team members of important deadlines and other key project milestones.

Ahead of a meeting

If you have a regularly scheduled meeting that covers your scope of work, send the status update shortly beforehand so everyone has the pertinent information. You don’t have to waste time re-hashing details. 

What to include in a status update email

Project name or context

Identifying the project or context at the outset of your email is crucial. It sets the stage for the following information, so recipients immediately understand the subject of the update. Start your email with a clear and specific reference, such as the project title or a brief description of the update’s scope. This straightforward approach prevents confusion and focuses the reader’s attention on the matters at hand.

Progress overview

Providing a progress overview is like painting a picture of where things currently stand. It’s essential to establish a baseline that allows both you and the recipients to measure how far the project or task has come. Summarize the achievements and progress made, focusing on important milestones reached or significant advances. This overview should be succinct yet descriptive, offering a clear snapshot of the project’s current status without going into unnecessary details.

Key achievements

Highlighting key achievements is not just about listing successes; it’s about celebrating the milestones that contribute significantly to the project’s goals. Detail these accomplishments and their impact, connecting them back to the overall objectives. This acknowledgment not only serves as a record of progress but also boosts morale by recognizing your team’s hard work and dedication.

Challenges and solutions

Discussing challenges and the steps taken to address them showcases transparency and fosters trust within your team. Describe each challenge briefly, followed by the solutions implemented or planned. This section should convey a sense of resilience and adaptability, encouraging an open dialogue for feedback or additional problem-solving ideas.

Next steps

This is pivotal for maintaining momentum. It outlines the immediate actions and objectives, clarifying what needs to be done, by whom, and by when. A well-defined plan helps keep the team aligned and focused on the upcoming tasks, ensuring everyone is prepared and understands their responsibilities.

Calls to action

A clear call to action is essential for engaging your recipients and prompting the necessary responses or actions. Specify what you need, from whom, and by when. If your call to action includes reviewing documents or completing tasks, provide direct links or clear instructions on how to proceed. This direct approach eliminates ambiguity and facilitates effective collaboration.

Common mistakes to avoid

  • Lengthy descriptions. Don’t include huge paragraphs detailing the ins and outs of the project. Save longer descriptions for written reports that can be shared as an attachment.
  • Complaints, grievances, etc. This isn’t where to call out individual team members or gripe about your workflows. Stick to the facts and take the issue offline or into a separate email if it needs to be addressed in more detail.
  • Vagueness. Being too vague about what has been accomplished or the challenges encountered can leave your audience needing clarification about the actual status. Make sure that your achievements and any issues are described clearly and succinctly.

Sample status update email templates

Example #1: Internal project progress update

Subject: Update: [Project Name] Progress – Week [Number]

Dear Team,

This Week’s Highlights:

  • Successfully launched the Alpha version of our application.
  • Completed user testing and received valuable feedback for improvement.

Challenges Encountered:

  • Experienced unexpected server downtime on Tuesday.
  • Received mixed feedback on the new UI design from initial users.

Action Taken:

  • Quickly resolved server issues, restoring full functionality within hours.
  • Scheduled a review session for UI feedback to inform the next design iterations.

Upcoming Objectives:

  • Finalize preparations for the Beta version launch, targeting Week [X].
  • Initiate the first session of our webinar series on [Date], aimed at user engagement.

Your Contribution:

  • Development team: Prioritize final adjustments for the Beta release.
  • Marketing team: Finalize preparations for the upcoming webinar.

Your dedication and hard work are key to our progress. Thank you for your continued effort and commitment to excellence.

For further discussions or concerns, feel free to contact me directly.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Project Manager, [Project Name]

[Contact Information]

Example #2: Weekly team status update

Subject: Weekly Update: Key Achievements and Next Steps

Dear Team,

As we wrap up another productive week, I want to share our key achievements and outline the next steps for our ongoing projects.

This Week’s Achievements:

  • Finalized the client proposal for Project A, submitted ahead of the deadline.
  • Improved server response time by 30% after successfully deploying the new caching strategy.
  • Secured a 5% increase in monthly sales figures through targeted marketing campaigns.

Challenges and Resolutions:

  • Encountered a delay in receiving materials for Project B. Expedited shipping has been arranged, and the timeline has been adjusted accordingly.
  • Identified a bug in the customer service portal. The IT team has prioritized a fix, expected to be deployed by next Tuesday.

Upcoming Objectives:

  • Commence Phase 2 of Project A, with a kickoff meeting scheduled for Monday, 9 AM.
  • Launch the customer feedback survey to gather insights for the Q2 product line adjustment.
  • Finalize and present the quarterly budget review by the end of next week.

Action Items:

  • Project A team: Prepare for Monday’s kickoff meeting, and make sure all preliminary research is complete.
  • Marketing team: Coordinate the release of the customer feedback survey and begin analysis of early responses.
  • All team leaders: Submit budget feedback by Wednesday for inclusion in the quarterly review.

Your hard work and dedication continue to drive our success. Special thanks to the IT team for their swift action on the customer service portal issue and the sales team for their strategic efforts that led to this month’s sales increase.

Your input is invaluable. Please share any feedback or questions you may have. I am available for a call or meeting to discuss any points in more detail.

Thank you for your continued commitment and effort. Let’s keep pushing forward.

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Contact Information]

Example #3: Client project status update

Subject:  [Company Name] Project Update: [Project Name] – [Date/Week]

Dear [Client’s Name],

As part of our commitment to keeping you informed and engaged throughout the development of [Project Name], I’m pleased to share the latest progress and insights.

Project Milestones Achieved:

  • Successfully completed the design phase, with all major components approved and finalized.
  • Initiated the development phase, with the core functionalities currently being implemented.
  • Secured key partnerships for [specific project component], enhancing the project’s scope and potential impact.

Challenges Encountered and Solutions Implemented:

  • Due to unforeseen technical challenges, the development timeline was slightly delayed. However, we’ve adjusted our approach and added additional resources to be certain we remain on track for our projected completion date.
  • Encountered regulatory compliance questions around [specific feature]. We are actively consulting with industry experts to verify that all aspects of the project meet the necessary standards and regulations.

Next Steps:

  • Continue development with an emphasis on [specific area of focus], aiming to complete this phase by [date].
  • Begin preliminary testing of the functionalities developed to date, ensuring any issues are identified and addressed early on.
  • Please schedule a review meeting for [date] to discuss the project’s progress, make any necessary adjustments, and gather your feedback on the developments so far.

Your feedback is invaluable to the success of [Project Name]. Should you have any questions, suggestions, or require further clarification on any aspect of the project, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

We deeply appreciate your trust in us to bring [Project Name] to fruition. Your support and collaboration make all the difference.

I look forward to our continued partnership and will contact you to confirm the details of our upcoming review meeting. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me directly with any immediate questions or thoughts.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Contact Information]

[Company Name]