I’ve got a bold statement for you:

If you get an email from a client asking for a status update you already failed at the project.

Yes, you read that right: If your client asks for a status update you failed on the project. Asking for a status update means your client didn’t have any idea what was going on with the project.

You left them hanging.

My update schedule

Throughout a project I send an update to the client on Monday and Thursday/Friday of every week of the project, at a minimum. Some clients get more frequent updates.

On Monday I send:

Hey $client_name this is what’s on tap for the week.

  • goal one
  • goal two
  • goal three

If there is anything that you think I’ve missed please feel free to hop into Redbooth and let’s make sure it’s dealt with.

If you haven’t already, please take the time to book our project status call this week here: $calendly_link.

Hope the weekend was awesome.

Then on Thursday/Friday I send them this:

Hey $client_name this is our end-of-week check-in email.

  • finished goal one
  • finished goal two
  • finished goal three
  • issue one
  • issue two
  • next week goal one
  • next week goal two
  • next week goal three

If there is anything that you think I’ve missed please feel free to hop into Redbooth and let’s make sure it’s dealt with.

Please take the time to book our project status call next week here: $calendly_link.

Have a great weekend.

Notice I’ve also prompted them twice to book a call during the week? The call is on top of the minimum of 2 emails to bookend our week working together.

This communication is all in addition to the communication that occurs within our project management system throughout the week.

I don’t get clients asking for project updates, because that would mean the client is asking what I’ve done in the past 8 hours, and I don’t take clients that need updates every 2 hours or so.

Don’t let them ask

When you’re working on a project, remember that in addition to being a designer/developer/yak shaver you’re a project manager and communicator. Having a good process for keeping clients up to date is just as important to project success and referrals as is writing good code or designing a kick ass website.

Step up and start communicating properly.

photo credit: 54459164@N00 cc

Published by Curtis McHale

I help people run a great business so they don't have to work all the time.


  1. What does your update process look like for projects that are on hold, or waiting for something to happen on their end, or that are stagnant for a while?

    • I very rarely have a project go that way actually since my contract says if you don’t reply in 2 weeks I bill for the whole thing and don’t start work again till that invoice is paid. If it’s 4 weeks then the project is a ‘new’ project and has a new contract.

      So the first step is to not let projects get that way.

      Now for one client they had a proper family emergency and had to put things on hold for 6 months so I just put a reminder in to check with them in 6 months.

      If I was waiting on content I’d be emailing them weekly telling them what the hold up is and that they may have to wait to get back on my schedule once they have provided XX. I’d use a very similar email format to what you see here.

  2. […] you’ve been working for a while and your client has to ask for an update, you’ve failed. It means they had no idea what you were doing. In that post I just linked to I showed you the 2 […]

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