The move to standardization is a double-edged sword. It allows for seamless workflow and analysis, but does not consider the genuine needs for unanticipated exceptions, or crises.
The project status tracking system needs to focus on standardized and consistent information rather than a standardized project tracking form or method. The flexibility to file status report via email, phone, instant messaging or any other means, ensures timely filing of the report, whereas insistence of any particular format or media ensures delays and holds up the process. For instance, a team member reluctant to speak to the manager over the phone regarding some past conflict will invariably try to avoid calling in the report, or wait until the last possible minute. The same member might readily file reports through emails promptly.
A good project status tracking also plans and allows for alternative means of reporting, as the circumstances dictate. This could mean a subordinate without access to the standard email form making the report over the telephone when the team leader is unavailable, an out of turn report filed due to certain exigencies, and the like. The key is, however, to keep such alternative forms of reporting to the minimum, ensuring the process is returned to routine as quickly as possible.
In short, a good project status tracking system makes filing reports easy for the team members rather than trying to make analysis easy for the project manager.