Using Visio Project Report Templates
Visio 2003 offers four project templates: Gantt chart, Timeline, PERT chart and Calendar. For my example project, a computer-based training course, the Gantt chart and Timeline templates seem to generate the best status reports.
Gantt Chart Status Report: From the File menu, select New --> Project Schedule --> Gantt Chart (Metric) or Gantt Chart (US units). Before Visio can open the Gantt chart template, you need to specify the Gantt Chart Options. In my example, the Major units are “weeks" and the minor units are “days." After you indicate the start and finish dates, the template automatically populates the Duration field and places a Task Bar over the appropriate days (or units). You can use Callouts, Text blocks, Arrows and Titles as desired. I used a contrasting color to indicate which tasks were complete or mostly complete.
Note: Remember, you use Visio to create a “simple" status report. If you have lots of pertinent project detail to add to your status report, particularly team dynamics or technology needs, you should use either a Word or Excel format, as explained in Parts 2 and
3 of this series.
Timeline Status Report: From the File menu, select New --> Project Schedule --> Timeline (Metric) or Timeline (US units). When you select this template, the Configure Timeline dialog box doesn’t appear until you actually place a shape from the Timeline Shapes menu on the left. Then Visio needs you to specify the dates and units to assign to the shape.
The Shapes menu offers various options for the timeline itself as well as the milestone markers. I used the World background for my example. [Click to view a Timeline Status Report saved as a graphic.] Once again, these Visio status reports look great in Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and on Web pages.
You can add as much information as necessary, but remember that the Visio status report is designed to only highlight the need-to-know information.