How to Write an Effective Project Report in 7 Steps (+ examples in Microsoft 365)
By: Shubhangi Pandey | Published on: Nov 3, 2023 | Categories: BrightWork 365 , Microsoft 365 , Project Reporting | 0 comments
In an age where remote work is becoming the new every day and data-driven decision-making is more crucial than ever, project reporting has become more than a managerial obligation. It’s an art and a science that combines traditional project tracking with modern metrics and advanced data visualization.
This guide will walk you through seven essential steps to craft a project report that informs and engages your stakeholders. We’ll explore the role of AI in project management, delve into the importance of remote work metrics, and discuss cutting-edge data visualization tools that can make your reports more insightful.
Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or just getting started with project management basics , these steps will help you write a project report that adds value to your organization’s knowledge base for future projects.
Why are Project Management Tools Vital for Report Writing?
The importance of robust project management tools for effective report writing cannot be overstated. Here’s why:
- Centralization : Project management tools are a central hub for all your project data, streamlining project management and reporting processes.
- Efficient Tracking : These tools make it easier to monitor work progress during the monitoring phase of project management , helping you stay on top of tasks and milestones.
- Risk Identification : Advanced features enable you to spot potential risks early, allowing for proactive management.
- Stakeholder Communication : Keep all stakeholders in the loop with real-time updates and comprehensive reports.
- Data Visualization : Utilize features like Power BI to transform raw data into insightful visuals, aiding in better decision-making.
- Custom Reports : Depending on organizational needs, create specialized reports that offer in-depth analysis and recommendations upon project completion.
The Evolution of AI in Project Management Tools for Report Writing
When crafting an impactful project report, your tools can be a game-changer. And let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Artificial Intelligence. AI is no longer just a buzzword – it’s a reality transforming project management and reporting.
According to a systematic literature review published in MDPI , AI’s role in project management is increasingly significant, offering advanced capabilities like predictive analytics and risk assessment.
The Power of Predictive Analytics
These advanced AI tools centralize your project data and offer predictive analytics, risk assessment, and automated insights that can be invaluable for your report. Like Power BI revolutionized data visualization, AI algorithms can sift through massive amounts of data to highlight trends, predict risks, and recommend actions.
Making AI Accessible for Every Project Manager
Imagine reporting on what has happened and providing stakeholders with insights into what could happen. It’s like giving your project report a crystal ball. And don’t worry – embracing AI doesn’t mean you have to be a tech wizard. Many modern project management tools benefit from built-in AI features.
A thesis from DiVA portal explores the implementation of AI in project management and its impact on working personnel, indicating that AI is becoming more accessible and user-friendly.
The Future of Data-Driven Decision Making
AI’s capabilities equip stakeholders with data-driven insights for strategic decisions. It’s not just about tracking work and identifying risks anymore – it’s about forecasting them and offering actionable solutions. Welcome to the future of project reporting.
Types of Project Reports and Their Formats
Understanding the types of project reports you need to create is crucial. Whether it’s a project summary report, a project health report, or a project completion report, each serves a unique purpose and audience.
Knowing the format, whether a pie chart, bar chart, or complete chart, can also help present the data effectively. Writing a report is a valuable opportunity to evaluate the project, document lessons learned, and add to your organization’s knowledge base for future projects.
Data Visualization: Modern Tools and Techniques
Data visualization has come a long way from simple pie charts and bar graphs. With the advent of AI, we now have tools that can display and interpret data. Think of AI-powered heat maps that can show project bottlenecks or predictive line graphs that forecast project completion based on current trends.
Techniques for Effective Data Presentation
Modern data visualization techniques like interactive dashboards, real-time data streams, and even augmented reality (AR) representations are making it easier than ever to understand complex project metrics. These aren’t just for show; they offer actionable insights that can significantly impact project outcomes.
Making Data Visualization Accessible
The best part? These advanced visualization tools are becoming increasingly user-friendly. You don’t need to be a data scientist to use them. Most project management software now integrates seamlessly with these tools, making it easier than ever to incorporate advanced data visualization into your regular reporting.
The New Normal of Remote Work
In today’s digital age, remote work is becoming the new normal. As project managers, adapting our reporting techniques to this changing landscape is crucial.
Critical Metrics for Remote Teams
When it comes to remote teams, some metrics become even more critical. Think along the lines of ‘Remote Engagement Rate,’ ‘Digital Communication Effectiveness,’ and ‘Virtual Team Collaboration.’ These KPIs offer a more nuanced understanding of how remote teams are performing.
Tools for Tracking Remote Work Metrics
Fortunately, modern project management tools have features specifically designed to track these remote work metrics. From time-tracking software to virtual “water cooler” moments captured for team morale, these tools make remote work measurable in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago.
Project Timeline and Milestones
A well-defined project timeline and key milestones are essential for any project. They not only help in keeping the project on track but also provide a basis for decision-making.
Project management software can automate this process, ensuring that reports are always up-to-date. Try the steps outlined below for writing better project reports.
Manage Projects and Portfolios with Microsoft 365
See how you can start any project using templates for Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Teams.
How to Write an Effective Project Report in 7 Steps
Writing an effective project report is crucial for evaluating the project’s health, keeping stakeholders informed, and setting the stage for future projects. Here are seven steps to guide you through the process.
1. Decide the Objective
Take some time during the project management initiation phase to think about the purpose of the report. Do you need to describe, explain, recommend, or persuade? Having a clear goal from the outset ensures that you stay focused, making engaging your reader easier.
Understanding the objective is the cornerstone of effective project reporting. Whether crafting a project summary report or a detailed project performance report, aligning your content with the aim will make your report more coherent and actionable.
This is also the stage where you decide the key milestones and metrics to highlight in the report.
2. Understand Your Audience
Understanding your audience is crucial for crafting a report that resonates. Whether you’re writing for stakeholders or team members, the language, data, and visuals should be tailored to their preferences and needs.
- Language & Tone : Consider the communication style of your audience. Is a formal or informal tone more appropriate? Tailoring your language can build rapport and make your message more impactful.
- Data & Graphics : Choose the types of data and visual aids that will most effectively convey your message to your specific audience.
- Personal Preferences : Pay attention to how your audience typically communicates, whether in emails or other documents and try to mirror that style.
- Report Format : Different stakeholders may require different levels of detail. A project manager may want an in-depth analysis, while a sponsor only needs an executive summary.
- Audience Personas : Utilize audience personas to guide the tone, style, and content, ensuring your report caters to the diverse needs of all project stakeholders.
3. Report Format and Type
Before you start, check the report format and type. Do you need to submit a written report or deliver a presentation? Do you need to craft a formal, informal, financial, annual, technical, fact-finding, or problem-solving report?
You should also confirm if any project management templates are available within the organization.
Checking these details can save time later on!
Different types of project reports serve other purposes. A project status report provides a snapshot of where the project is, while a project health report dives deeper into metrics.
Make sure to consider the medium – will this report be a PDF, a slideshow, or an interactive dashboard? The format can significantly impact how the information is received.
4. Gather the Facts and Data
Including engaging facts and data will solidify your argument. Start with your collaborative project site and work out as needed. Remember to cite sources such as articles, case studies, and interviews.
To build a compelling case in your report, start mining your collaborative project site for crucial metrics like project milestones, resource utilization, and project health. Supplement this with additional data from external sources like articles and case studies.
Utilize data visualization tools like pie charts or bar graphs to make complex information easily digestible. Ensure the data is current to maintain the report’s credibility and remember to cite your sources for added reliability.
5. Structure the Report
How you arrange your report is pivotal in how well your audience can digest the material. A logically organized report improves readability and amplifies its impact in delivering the core message.
Your report should have a natural progression, leading the reader from one point to the next until a decisive conclusion is reached. Generally, a report is segmented into four key components:
- Opening Overview: This is the first thing your reader will see, and it’s usually crafted after the rest of the report is complete. Make this section compelling, as it often influences whether the reader will delve deeper into the report.
- Introduction: This section sets the stage by offering background information and outlining the report’s cover. Make sure to specify the report’s scope and any methodologies employed.
- Body: Here’s where your writing prowess comes into play. This is the meat of the report, filled with background, analyses, discussions, and actionable recommendations. Utilize data and visual aids to bolster your arguments.
- Final Thoughts: This is where you tie all the report’s elements together in a neat bow. Clearly state the following steps and any actions the reader should consider.
Spend some time making the report accessible and enjoyable to read. If working in Word, the Navigation pane is a great way to help your reader work through the document. Use formatting, visuals, and lists to break up long text sections.
Readability is not just about the text but also about the visual elements like pie charts, bar colors, and even the background color of the report. Use these elements to break the monotony and make the report more engaging. Also, consider adding a table of contents for longer reports to improve navigation.
The first draft of the report is rarely perfect, so you will need to edit and revise the content. If possible, set the document aside for a few days before reviewing it or ask a colleague to review it.
Automate and Streamline Project Reporting with Microsoft 365
Project reporting can often be a laborious and time-consuming task. Especially on a project where there are so many moving parts and different people involved, getting a clear picture of what’s going on can be pretty tricky.
That is why we recommend moving to a cloud-based solution for project management and reporting – and you might have guessed it: we recommend Microsoft 365! If you’re considering SharePoint, check out our build vs buy guide.
Why use Microsoft 365 for project reporting?
There are many benefits to using Microsoft 365 as the platform for your project management reporting, including:
- Centralizing your project management and reporting on Microsoft 365 brings your project information into one place, so you can automate reporting and save time. If you’re still using excel for project management , here’s why you should consider switching.
- You can access configurable and filterable reports based on the audience by leveraging the available reporting mechanisms in Power Apps, Power BI, and Excel. Everyone can see the information in the way they need.
- Linked into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, reports can appear in Power Apps, Power BI, exported to Excel, emailed in Outlook, or seen in MS Teams, so reports are available wherever the audience is working.
- Having project data maintained in a single platform means that project reports are always up to date. No more chasing up PMs or team members for the latest document version!
5 Ways you can use BrightWork 365 for Project and Portfolio Reporting
BrightWork 365 is a project and portfolio management solution for Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform. Here are five ways you can leverage BrightWork 365 and Microsoft 365 for more efficient project reporting:
1. Capture Project Status Reports in a few minutes
BrightWork project sites have a “Status” tab where the project manager can capture what is happening. This is not a status report but a place for the PM to log the current status.
2. Track the project schedule with Gantt
3. Get High-Level Visibility into Programs and Portfolios
BrightWork 365 enables a hierarchy for your project management – with Portfolios being the highest level. For example, a portfolio may house all the projects in a company.
4. Surface Risks and Issues across all projects
One of the most critical elements for senior executives and project stakeholders is being aware of the project risks, especially understanding any issues that arise quickly.
5. Leverage Visual and Interactive Reports
The type and format of a report often depends on the audience. For example, senior executives often want the high-level details of a project. That’s where BrightWork 365 Power BI Dashboards come in.
Spend less time on your project reports with BrightWork 365
Streamline your project reporting process with BrightWork 365, a tool to centralize and automate your project data. Whether you prefer real-time dashboards or scheduled email reports, BrightWork 365 adapts to your needs, eliminating the tedious aspects of project reporting. Consider the following:
- Centralization : BrightWork 365 consolidates all project information into a single platform, making it easier to manage and report.
- Real-Time Reporting : As data is updated, reports are generated in real-time, ensuring you always have the most current information.
- Flexible Access : Reports can be accessed through various methods, including logging in to view customizable dashboards or receiving scheduled email summaries.
- Efficiency : The tool automates the reporting process, freeing time and reducing manual effort.
Conclusion: The Future of Project Reporting
Project reporting has undergone a significant transformation, thanks partly to technological advancements like Microsoft 365 and BrightWork 365 . As we’ve discussed, it’s not just about tracking tasks and milestones anymore.
Today’s project reports are data-rich, AI-enhanced documents that offer predictive analytics and actionable insights. They also cater to the unique challenges and KPIs relevant to remote teams.
As we look to the future, we can expect even more advancements in project reporting technology. However, the core principles of clear objectives, a deep understanding of your audience, and a well-structured format will remain constant.
By adhering to the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to adapt to new tools and technologies, ensuring that your project reports remain valuable for decision-making and strategic planning.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness
Use BrightWork 365 to leverage Microsoft Templates, Power Automate, and Power BI for Project Pipeline Management
Shubhangi is a product marketing enthusiast, who enjoys testing and sharing the BrightWork 365 project portfolio management solution capabilities with Microsoft 365 users. You can see her take on the experience of the template-driven BrightWork 365 solution, its unique project management success approach, and other personalized services across the site and social channels. Beyond BrightWork, Shubhangi loves to hunt for the newest Chai Latte-serving café, where she can read and write for hours.
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How to Write a Project Report In 5 Easy Steps (Template Included)
Last updated on 31st January 2023
In this article we’re going to teach you how to write a project report in 5 easy steps.
Did you know that only 64% of projects meet their goals ? That means 36% fall short. And when projects don’t meet their goals it can result in a lot of headaches for your company.
The reasons why projects fail are plentiful but it typically comes back to poor planning or a lack of organisation.
A solid project report can eliminate these issues and ensure you stay on track to complete your goals.
So, let’s take a look at how to write a project report in 5 easy steps…
What is a project report?
A project report is a document that contains helpful information so that teams can ensure their project stays on track, runs successfully, and completes on time.
There are different types of project reports that are used at different periods throughout a project’s lifespan, but they all contain similar data that covers things like progress, tasks, roadblocks, stakeholders, and financial information.
Why is a project report important?
Project reports are important for many reasons. A project report gives your project a sense of direction that can help you maintain consistency throughout the project, even as it passes between different people and teams. Your project report will also be a great document to refer back to if things get difficult, so you can stay on track.
Even in the first instance, before your project kicks off, a project report can help you to manage your budget, workload, and any foreseen risks. It can also give stakeholders insight into the specifics of the project to help manage expectations from the start.
Types of project report
There are many different types of project reports that will help you manage different aspects of your project. For example, a resource report will help you to understand the resources you’ll need for the project, how much resource you have at your disposal, and will also help you to predict when your resources will need to be replenished.
Other examples include: risk assessment reports (to identify potential risks), board reports (to update investors/board members on project progress), and cost-benefit analysis reports (to help you measure benefits against the costs associated with them).
Now, let’s dive into 3 of the biggest, most important types of project reports.
1. General project report
This is your first project report. It should cover predictions and plans for how you expect the project to go, and give you a clear sense of direction when it comes to things like budget, timelines, and everything else you need to keep track of in order for your project to be considered a success.
2. Progress report
A progress report – as you may have guessed – comes in the middle and helps you document your progress. It’s important to keep reassessing your project to see if you are where you expect to be and to help you make adjustments along the way.
A progress report is also very useful for managing stakeholder expectations and keeping them informed on how the project’s going.
3. Project completion report
As you wrap up your project, a project completion report can be a great way to reflect on what went well and what went wrong. This can not only help you wrap up the current project neatly, it can also inform future projects and ensure you don’t make the same mistakes twice.
How to write a project report in only 5 steps
There are many different types of project reports. So, of course, the writing of each one will differ slightly depending on who they are aimed at and what the content of the project report is.
However, there are still some core steps to follow for each. Let’s take a look at how to write a project report in 5 steps.
1. Start with the basics
At the very top of your project report should be a simple table that includes all of the core information for the project. Here’s an example:
The table for your project will probably vary slightly to this, but hopefully this gives you an idea of the most important top-level information to include.
Underneath this table you should have a short summary of the project. This can be just a couple of sentences that sum up the objectives and goals. Think of this kind of like an elevator pitch for the project.
2. Cover your objectives
Now it’s time to go into more detail. List out each objective for the project, including what you need to do to achieve each one.
For example, let’s pretend our project is to create a brand video. There are many objectives, such as:
- Write a script
- Storyboard the video
- Record a voiceover
- Shoot the video
- Edit the video
- Come up with a plan for promotion
Each objective will need to be completed in order to go on to the next. And each objective requires different resources and skill sets. All of this should be recorded, in detail, in your project report.
3. List your obstacles
Next, list any predicted obstacles or risks. This may feel like a waste of time because of course you’re going to be avoiding risks and obstacles as often as you can. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential roadblocks that might appear so that you are prepared to handle them without slowing down.
Some example obstacles for the brand video project could be:
- Equipment breaks
- Weather ruins a shoot
- Editing takes longer than planned
Next to each obstacle, jot down a quick plan for how you would solve this issue if it happened. For example, for “weather ruins a shoot” your potential solution could be to “choose a backup location”.
4. Create a project timeline
With any project, it’s important to know how long everything’s going to take. This is the best way to estimate how much time, money, and resource is required.
A project timeline will help plot a path forward. To create a project timeline all you need to do is break down each objective into tasks and add a deadline for each task. It also helps to add an owner to each task, so you know who the point of contact is for each section of the timeline.
This can be tricky to manage but becomes so much easier with a project management tool, like Project.co . When you create a project on Project.co, all of your clients and team members can see everything that goes on with the project in one centralised place. This includes tasks that can be allocated to team members, assigned a date, and a status – so everyone involved in the project can see how it’s progressing:
You can also add comments, attachments, priority tags, and more.
Plus, it’s easy to keep track of several tasks at once by using the calendar view:
Other views available are kanban, list, and scheduler.
5. Cover project communication
Somewhere on your project report you should include a link to your communication guidelines . This will help everyone involved on the project to understand what’s expected of them when it comes to communication, for example what tools to use and how to communicate.
This can help your project run more smoothly and create a better result for everyone. According to our Communication Statistics 2022 , 95% of people feel that the businesses they deal with could improve when it comes to communication and project management .
Writing a project report: 7 top tips
1. Be clear
The perfect project report is clear and concise. Try your best to leave no room for errors or misunderstandings, and write in short definitive sentences.
Being clear is especially important when it comes to timelines and targets. It can be helpful to plot out your tasks in a visual way, like a kanban view . This will make your project timeline easy to scan and understand.
2. Be thorough
While it’s important to be clear and concise, it’s equally important to be thorough. Try to include as much relevant information in your project reports as possible.
One of the main functions of project reports, particularly project status reports, is to inform stakeholders on the progress of the project. So the more thorough you can be, the better.
3. Be appropriate
A project report is an internal document that’s likely going to be shared between many different departments or teams in your business, so it’s important to make sure your language is appropriate.
Keep the culture of the business in mind when writing your report. Use the same kind of tone and language that you would in other internal communication documents. This is especially important when you consider more than a third (35%) of businesses have lost an employee because of poor internal communication .
4. Be honest
Your project report is not the place to sugarcoat anything. You should be honest, and brutally so. This means giving accurate and realistic figures, deliverables and deadlines.
A project report should be a factual account so that everyone has a clear understanding of the data and knows exactly what to expect from the project.
5. Be quick
It may seem contradictory to tell you to be thorough and quick with your project reports, but this just means don’t overload people with unnecessary information. Be succinct and to-the-point with every aspect of the report, from points of contact to resources and any potential roadblocks.
The idea is for your project reports to be as easy to digest as possible, especially if you’re supplying busy stakeholders with a steady stream of ongoing status reports.
6. Be prepared
No project runs perfectly, so it can be helpful to be prepared for bumps in the road. You might want to leave an ‘other’ or ‘notes’ section at the bottom of your report where you can jot down anything that’s changed along the way.
It can also help to leave room for slight adjustments in your timeline. Just a couple of buffer days here and there can really reduce stress for your teams, and also help ensure your deadlines are more realistic.
7. Be proud
When you’re carefully documenting things like risks and problems, your project report can become pretty gloomy. So it’s important to even it out by also celebrating your team’s achievements.
Every project has ups and downs, and by giving as much attention to the ‘ups’ as you do the ‘downs’ you can boost team morale and this can be reflected back on your project.
Free project report template
As promised, here is your free project report template !
To use this document, make sure to hit File > Make a Copy to save it as your own. This way you can make edits and personalise it to perfectly fit your needs.
A solid project report can act almost like a map that clearly directs you towards your end goal, helping you to avoid risks along the way and take the best route to success.
In addition to a project report, a project management platform can also help you to maintain your focus and manage your project with ease, thanks to centralised communication and complete visibility of all your work. Click here to get started for free .
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How to write a project report - guide & templates, table of contents, what is a project outline, what is a project report.
A project report is a document created for a team or company that ensures a project stays on track. The project report should describe progress, milestones, and roadblocks.
Why is a project report important?
Project Reports are a core part of any project management process. There are a few key documents necessary for successful project progress, and a project report is undoubtedly one of them.
Alongside a project plan, a project report holds significant weight in justifying budgets, team members, tools, and other resources. In this article, we'll explore one of the two types of project reports any project manager needs to be able to write.Report number one is an ongoing project status report ; this report will be needed on more than one occasion throughout a project's life span and explores the overall progress of the project.
Report number two is a project completion report ; this report comes at the end of the project and wraps everything up.
We've also provided a project report template that you can adapt to your project and project report type that you need.
A Complete Guide to Project Reports
Why write a project report in the first place.
This report is so crucial in keeping key players up to date - we'll explore who exactly you need to be writing for in the next point. A project status report is needed to give a summary of a project , significant changes, and to keep a record of the project's progress.
A project status report adds milestones and target reminders to the process. Without the report, many project teams will struggle to keep up the momentum on long term projects.
Who prepares project reports?
A project status report is typically prepared by insiders who are involved in its day-to-day workings. Usually this is the project management team, a body of project managers and department executives with general or specific knowledge of the project.
Who is a project status report for?
A project report will need to be written for different people; each stakeholder will require different information that's important to them - remember this when putting together the progress of the project. It's not a one size fits all situation.
You may be dealing with sensitive information that could damage relationships or even severe them if put in front of the wrong eyes. At the same time, you could be releasing information that isn't relevant to certain people; in receiving an onslaught of information someone may miss the data or info that is specifically important for their eyes.
Different people that need to see an ongoing project status report:
- Project Stakeholders need the status report to stay in the loop and aligned with other team members
- Project Team need to know the project's progress across all departments and divisions
- Project Sponsors use the project status report to provide necessary guidance and resources to the teams and managers
- Leadership uses project status reports to stay apprised of the project's progress
- Finance Team use the project status report to determine areas that need funding allocation and to avoid potential cost overruns
- Contractors can see the project's priorities and timelines and allocate time and resources accordingly
- Project Management uses the status report to produce project manager reports on their department's progress
When to write a project status report?
This largely depends on the timeline (or predicted timeline for that matter) outlined in your project manager reports . If your project is expected to run over a few years, it may be best to create quarterly project status reports. However, if your project is set to run around six months to a year, monthly is recommended.
For all of the help that project status reports provide, it's important to remember that they can be pretty time consuming to make. We've provided a sample project report in this article to make your job easier; however, it's still a process. This is why we recommend incorporating a project proposal template as well.
For all the time a project manager is putting into a status report, they're not putting the work into managing their team. Pick a regular period to deliver the report in and put it in the Gantt calendar. Be conscious of the time it consumes, and try to stick to the real-time delivery dates.
In doing this, you'll save a lot of time with unnecessary communication from different players. Questions like "What’s the status of XYZ?" "How's the budget looking for XYZ for the project?" can all wait for the regular report- leaving the team to focus on their job.
How to write a Project Report in 7 Steps
Step 1: define your objectives.
Clearly state the purpose of the report and explain why it is necessary. Defining your objectives and providing smart goal examples can help you stay focused while writing and keep those reading the report engaged and informed.
Step 2: Have Your Audience in Mind
When writing project reports, tailor the content and your tone of voice to the audience as much as possible. Use impactful graphics and important data to connect with the people who will be reading this report.
Step 3: Write the Outline
Before you start writing, first create a list of all the sections in your report. For more details, check "What to Include in a Project Status" below, or take a look at our status report templates .
Step 4: First Draft
After your outline and analysis, you can start a rough draft. As the name suggests, it doesn't need to be perfect. If you are looking for a tool to help you put together project reports, try our document editor .
Step 5: Fine Tune Your Analysis
As time permits and new information comes in, fill in any data gaps or highlight any current or potential issues you find. Use the 'Findings' section to focus on the values, and make clear any limitations of the analysis.
Step 6: Recommend Next Steps
Once you have completed your data analysis, you will be able to propose actionable ideas towards the project's mutually desired outcome. The more solid your analysis and findings are, the more credible your project reports will be.
Step 7: Polish for Distribution
Before you send your report, proofread for grammar, spelling, and typos so that your final document looks as professional as possible. If you're sending the report in a group email, keep an eye on the file size.
What to include in a project status report?
Depending on who you're writing the report for, this will change. However, there are a few core elements to include for the project progress , despite who is reading the project report.
If you are wondering how to write a report about a project, start with an executive summary. Short overviews provide the reader with the essential takeaways from the report without having to read all the project details. Executive summaries are very helpful for those who need a quick glance at the project's general direction without wading through a lot of data.
In the project status report, the project's progress is tracked with real metrics. This provides an overview of the project's status and budget and also identifies potential risks and issues. This data-driven approach provides project management with feedback and enables them to make adjustments.
It's important to document all of the resources you had mapped out in your project plan . What do you have left still available? What have you used and found insufficient? Of what resources do you need more? This can include project management tools and physical resources like software or a PDF, but also human resources.
Timelines and targets
It's essential to give everyone an overview of your project timelines in these status reports, especially those that are outside of your project team and not using the project management software you're using.
At this point, be realistic with your timelines, not optimistic . Refer back to your Gantt calendar to help with this. Save your optimism for team meetings to spur your project team on in working more efficiently and hitting deadlines. In the reporting part, you need to be honest with your timelines and deliverables, both with the goals you have or have not hit and those you expect to be on time with or not.
Many players further down the line will be working on the information you provided in this section of the project reports, it therefore needs to be accurate so they can manage their workload and be available on the predicted date.
This can radically vary but needs to be anything notable that's happened and is no longer abiding by the initial project plan. If you're using editable report samples for projects rather than a PDF, you can go back and edit your project plan to accommodate changes.
However, it's not recommended. You can't guarantee that your team will continuously be referencing the initial project plan once they've got a clear scope of what they need to do for the entire project.
Funding & budgets
The project manager should use the time dedicated to a project status report to reflect his or her budget. Accounting skills are vital for a project manager's success, and being able to handle a large budget will come in handy when it comes to managing the overall funding of a project.
In this part of the report, give a clear overview of expenses, predicted expenses, and visually highlights where you were over or under budget in real-time. The team can learn from this, not only for future projects but even for next month's project management status report.
Use goals and targets to quantitatively identify if the team is performing well. While doing this, it's essential to consider the hurdles they've had to jump along the way. Have they faced exceptional circumstances that were not planned? If so, how did they cope and react to these challenges?
This is the final part of the Project Status report and one of the most important skill sets for a successful project manager: Risk Management . A project manager needs to have a certain amount of hindsight at play in their everyday work and be able to give an executive summary of all risks.
In the project status report, give an overview of any predicted risks and try to display them tiered so that any reader has a clear overview of what the greatest risks are right through to very low-level risks, and what can be done to prevent them. Always have a Plan B and adapt it every time a project status report is created.
The risk management report is often best accompanied by a risk analysis meeting. Come out of your meeting with detailed meeting minutes and use your team's knowledge and perspective to give a comprehensive overview of all the risks at play.
Project Report Examples
There are several different types of project reports. Here are some project reporting examples of the most widely used types.
Project Status Report
A project status report is used to communicate the project’s progress and to ensure that all parties involved are kept in the loop. Project status report examples include updates to all stakeholders as the project progresses, amended project plans, and notifications of any issues or risks that have arisen.
Project Tracking Report
Project tracking reports provide real numbers, metrics, and other key indicators of the project's progress. Tracking project report examples include data concerning project status, tasks, team performance, completion rate and other metrics in a comprehensive report.
Project Performance Report
Project performance reports are a more specialized project status report. Examples include overviews of progress, resource allocation, and costs. Project performance reports help monitor the project's current direction and forecast its success. Using performance reports, the team can address issues that are holding the project back.
Project Health Report
Project health reports are an example of project management reports that help identify potential issues before they occur, saving the firm money, time, and resources. When project sponsors and supervisors are notified of risks, they can adjust strategy accordingly before problems manifest.
Project Summary Report
You are writing for busy people when you prepare a project management report. Examples of tasks completed and financials let them see important data quickly, then allocate their time to sections that directly concern them. A project summary report should highlight key milestones and point out upcoming tasks.
Project Time Tracking Report
Project time tracking reports can help project managers gauge their teams' efficiency and identify areas for improvement. For example, project reports can show which parts of the project are requiring more time to complete and reallocate resources from issues that are requiring less hours than expected.
Best practices when writing a project report
Wondering how to write a report on a project effectively? Look no further, we've got you covered!There are a few things you need to remember when putting together a project report to help ensure it's efficient and supports the project's success.
Knowing how to write project reports successfully is largely dependent on honesty.
There is no use in hiding deliverables or viewing the truth through rose-tinted glasses. You're not creating a presentation to win someone over here; you're creating a factual report to make sure everyone has as clear an overview as possible.
Stay honest throughout your reporting, give accurate numbers (don't round up or down), and don't make excuses. Remain critical.
Give as much information as possible
This comes at your judgment, but the more relevant information, the better. A project manager will have a fantastic overview of a project and the current status. For that reason, they're the best person to put together a project status report.
However, a project manager shouldn't be afraid to let team members fill in parts of the report if they have a better overview of a particular task within the project. Assign different areas of the project report to different team members and then review everything before the report is submitted.
Clear and concise writing skills are so crucial in making sure your project report is understood. Don't view the project status report as something you just need to get done and delivered.
Review it, make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. You'll be surprised at what the power of a comma can, do. See? Make sure the read of your report is as smooth as your project management skills.
For all of the faults, risks, and problems you report in your project status report, it's essential to document your successes. A project is a rollercoaster. There will be ups and downs and spirals and flips. Identify which of these are wins and celebrate them.
By celebrating success, you will lift the morale of the project team and remind the project manager of what has been achieved so far.
Write for aliens
A proper project manager report example will be accessible for a wide audience.You'll be writing a project plan for many people, many of whom will not have had direct exposure to your team, your company, or the task/s at hand. When we say write for aliens, we mean writing for someone who has no clue what's happening.
Even the simplest of abbreviations or presumptions can be interpreted as something entirely different by someone else. Leave no room for error or misunderstanding.
Don't be afraid to use visuals
Visual support is fantastic for getting your point across or displaying information more clearly in a project status report. Visual aids can break up the monotony of the report if there's a lot of copy, which will be a welcomed relief on the eyes of any reader.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and for a good reason, if you're struggling to get your point across, then look for an example of it online. Use visuals as a supporting example of what you're saying.
Automate processes where you can
Despite each project having its own landscape, you can surprise yourself with the amount that you can automate in your reporting process. Learn how to make the most of excel spreadsheets and tool integrations to see how you can backfill or auto-populate data into your project report.
It's these small time-saving hacks that will make your project report more efficient and better looking in the future.
A Project Report Template
Use this project report sample as a starting point for your project reports. Adapt it to your company and project needs and share it with the right people to ensure your project stays on track.
Clément Rog is working in our Marketing team from Lyon, France. He loves geography, playing legos with his son, and sharing convictions about marketing or design.
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How to prepare a project management report
A project management report is an essential project management tool.
It provides a summary overview of the project’s status that you can share with stakeholders, clients and team members. Ideally, the project report is just a page or two long. And it ensures everyone can quickly assess what’s on schedule, and what’s lagging behind or is overdue.
Good communication, management, and organization are central to effective project management . Regular project management reports help to ensure your project stays on track. And you can also use project reports to manage risk, as well as monitor budgets, and timelines.
Furthermore, the project report can double up as a record-keeping tool for past decisions and actions.
The frequency of your project management report depends on the project’s size and complexity. Monthly reporting is a minimum requirement for most projects, and many produce weekly status reports.
It’s also good practice to produce project management reports throughout the entire lifecycle of the project.
What information needs to be included in a project management report?
The report’s purpose is to update all project stakeholders on progress and identify any major issues that might have arisen..
The detail may vary from project to project, but all project management reports should include the following information:
Latest project update
Current project health
The aim is to provide a high-level snapshot of where things are at. Project stakeholders want to be able to see at a glance the project’s status. Make sure your project report clearly identifies the following:
An assessment of the project’s progress against the project plan: Is the project ahead or behind schedule?
A rundown on tasks completed and what’s next in the pipeline: Is overall completion of tasks on track?
A summary of actual costs against budget: Is the budget over or underspent?
An overview of project risks and any issues identified: Has the project’s risk profile changed requiring action?
Plus, any action points or to-do items that need attention.
Tips on how to write a project management report
Keep it short and simple. Project stakeholders don’t want to get bogged down in too much detail. The report should provide an accessible overview of the project’s status. A weekly 20-page document will simply go unread.
Be concise, and avoid technical jargon. Not all stakeholders will be familiar with the project’s acronyms or technical terms. Make it an easy read for everyone by using everyday language.
Make it visual. Charts, graphs, and diagrams will bring the data to life, making it much more accessible. In Teamwork.com, project management reports are color-coded to show the status of whether it’s completed, active or late. This makes it easier for project stakeholders to see at a glance where things are at.
Be honest about progress. If the project is behind schedule or is over budget, it’s best to be upfront. After all, the sooner a problem is identified, then the sooner it can be resolved and the project can move forward.
Highlight any action points. Make it easy for project stakeholders. If a client, team member or stakeholder needs to do something, then clearly identify what’s required, by who and when.
Project Management Reporting: Conclusion
A well-prepared project management report is an excellent tool for keeping everyone updated. Plus, it will help you to effectively manage the project and keep it on track.
For more information and advice on project management, check out our project management workbook .
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Integrated Project Portfolio Management
Project Reports: 9 Types And How to Create One
A pivotal tool within the crucial discipline of project management is the project management report, a window into a project’s health and progress.
With many such reports available, it’s important to define which ones to utilize during different project management stages .
In this article, we dive into project management reports to explore their significance and role in propelling projects forward.
We will navigate through 9 necessary report groups, from foundational project status reports to advanced strategic alignment reports.
Table of contents
What are project reports, what are the key elements of project management reports, what are status reports, what are budget reports, what are risk management reports, what are resource allocation reports, what are stakeholder reports, what are quality assurance reports, what are change management reports, what are time-tracking reports, what are project portfolio management reports, how to create a project management report, what are the best practices for creating project reports, what software to choose to streamline project reporting, from data to decisions: harnessing the potential of project management reports.
Let’s start by exploring the fundamentals of project management reports.
Project reports are tools that help project managers, business analysts , stakeholders , and team members understand how well a project is advancing and whether it’s on track to meet its goals.
At their core, they gather data from various sources within a project and provide analysis in a structured format.
These reports offering a snapshot of the project’s health by highlighting key indicators such as milestones achieved, tasks completed, budget utilization , and potential risks.
Understanding project reports is essential before delving into their fundamental elements.
Project management reports are a synthesis of data, analysis, and communication.
Here are the essential components typically found in project reports:
Having explored the key elements of project management reports, let’s now focus on the various types.
What types of project reports exist?
Project reports come in diverse formats, each tailored to fulfill distinct information needs.
Below are the various project management report types, where we will explore how they illuminate different facets of project progress and performance.
Let’s start with project status reports.
Among the project management reports, status reports are the bedrock of project oversight.
These offer a real-time snapshot of a project’s advancement, achieved milestones, ongoing tasks, and potential roadblocks.
Status reports are a vital communication tool for keeping stakeholders informed and aligned.
Several main formats emerge within status reports:
- Progress reports: Comprehensive view of completed and ongoing tasks, highlighting achievements, deviations, and upcoming tasks.
- Milestone reports: Detail pivotal milestones, completion, delays, and overall project impact.
- Task status reports: Specify tasks, including status, assignees, dates, and challenges.
- Task dependency reports: Highlight task interdependencies , aiding sequence, and bottleneck management. These can be depicted through a Gantt chart .
- Activity reports: Breakdown of day-to-day actions, tracking micro-level progress and alignment with goals.
- Work completed reports: Retrospective view of time-framed accomplishments, revealing trends and improvement areas.
Next, let’s explore another crucial aspect of project management: budget reports.
Budget reports provide a comprehensive overview of a project’s financial health, offering insights into budget allocation , expenditures, and potential discrepancies.
Budget reports ensure that projects stay on track financially and that resources are optimally utilized.
There are several formats within the domain of budget reports:
- Budget allocation reports: Detail initial budget distribution across project elements.
- Cost analysis reports: Show a breakdown of actual expenses compared to budget.
- Expense tracking reports: Real-time view of ongoing expenditures.
- Variance reports: Highlight budget deviations and identify causes.
- ROI reports: Analyze project’s financial returns, meeting objectives.
Pro tip: We’ve created a project budget template to streamline your work.
Moving from financial insights provided by budget reports, we now shift our focus to the proactive identification offered by risk management reports.
Risk management reports emerge as a vital tool to identify, assess, and mitigate potential challenges that could impact project success.
These reports provide a comprehensive view of project risks, enabling proactive measures to steer the project toward its objectives.
Within the domain of risk management reports, several main formats are noteworthy:
- Risk identification reports: Catalog potential risks, impact, and likelihood.
- Risk assessment reports: Evaluate risk severity and prioritize based on impact.
- Risk mitigation reports: Outline strategies, action plans, and prevention.
- Risk tracking reports: Monitor mitigation progress and risk changes.
- Issue resolution reports: Address project issues, nature, impact, and resolution.
Pro tip: We prepared a variety of risk management document templates for project managers: risk assessment , risk management plan , and risk register templates. Utilize these to enhance your project’s risk management processes.
From assessing potential pitfalls in risk management reports, we’ll now explore the efficient utilization of resources through resource allocation reports.
Resource allocation reports serve as compasses guiding personnel, time, and assets distribution to maximize productivity and minimize waste.
They provide insights into how resources are utilized and help optimize allocation for optimal project outcomes.
Several main formats come to the forefront within resource allocation reports:
- Resource utilization reports: Provide a snapshot of resource usage, identifying efficiency adjustments.
- Workload distribution reports: Balance tasks among hybrid and remote teams , preventing burnout.
- Resource forecasting reports: Predict future resource needs and prevent disruptions.
- Resource allocation analysis reports: Align resource distribution with project goals .
- Capacity planning reports: Forecast long-term resource availability and timeline realism.
Pro tip: You can use our resource allocation plan template to ease your resource management .
Having covered efficient resource allocation, we now pivot to the communication and engagement aspects in stakeholder reports.
Stakeholder reports serve as bridges that connect project teams with those invested in the project’s success.
These reports provide insights tailored to stakeholders’ needs to foster understanding, alignment, and collaboration.
Several main formats of stakeholder reports are:
- Executive summary reports: High-level overview for senior management.
- Progress snapshot reports: Real-time project status snapshot in the form of a dashboard.
- Performance highlights reports: Showcase KPIs and achievements.
- Major milestone reports: Chronicle significant milestones.
- Project health reports: Assess overall project condition.
- Investor reports: Focus on financial health and alignment.
- Stakeholder engagement reports: Demonstrate stakeholder involvement.
Pro Tip: We have prepared over 200 Power BI reports in PPM Express. Utilize them to enhance your workflow efficiency.
From stakeholder engagement, we now turn to maintaining standards and performance through quality assurance reports.
Quality assurance reports guide projects toward excellence by evaluating processes, deliverables, and outcomes.
These reports provide insights into the project’s adherence to established quality standards and facilitate continuous improvement.
Several formats within the domain of quality assurance reports are:
- Quality control reports: Assess deliverable quality against standards.
- Process evaluation reports: Examine workflow efficiency and consistency.
- Audit reports: Review for compliance and accountability.
- Performance evaluation reports: Track progress against KPIs and OKRs .
- Lessons learned reports: Capture insights and improvements.
Next, we will explore the adaptive change management process through reports.
Change management reports are navigational tools for addressing shifts, modifications, and adaptations within a project’s scope, requirements, or objectives.
This is done by providing insights into managing, communicating, and integrating changes to ensure project success.
Within change management reports, several main formats emerge:
- Change impact reports: Outline consequences on scope, timeline, and resources.
- Change request reports: Document change requests and rationale.
- Change communication reports: Ensure transparent communication.
- Change implementation reports: Track execution and adjustments.
- Change evaluation reports: Assess outcomes and continuous improvement.
Pro tip: If you’re searching for an ideation and innovation management system, PPM Express offers native functionality for collecting customer feedback and overseeing its future implementation.
Moving from monitoring change initiatives, we look at how to effectively managing project schedules with time-tracking reports.
Time tracking reports serve as navigational tools for monitoring the allocation and utilization of time within a project.
These reports provide insights into time spent on tasks and how to exercise better resource management and project efficiency with proper time management .
At the forefront are several formats within time-tracking reports:
- Time log reports: Provide a detailed task-time breakdown.
- Weekly time sheets: Summarize weekly time allocation.
- Time allocation reports: Balance team workload.
- Time analysis reports: Identifie patterns and inefficiencies.
- Overtime and time-off reports: Manage work-life balance and availability.
From monitoring project schedules, we move on to assessing portfolio -level advancement through reports.
Project portfolio management reports serve as navigational tools for overseeing and optimizing the collective performance of a portfolio of projects.
These reports provide insights into resource allocation, risk exposure, and alignment with organizational goals.
Several main formats emerge within PPM reports:
- Portfolio overview reports: Summarize portfolio status and progress.
- Resource allocation reports: Provide insights into resource distribution.
- Risk exposure reports: Assess portfolio risk vulnerability.
- Financial performance reports: Analyze financial health and impact.
- Strategic alignment reports: Evaluate project alignment with goals.
Pro tip: We have compiled a comprehensive guide to PPM reports to simplify preparing analytics.
Having explored the various types of project management reports, let’s now dive into creating these informative documents.
To understand the process of crafting a comprehensive project report, let’s select a project status report as our foundation.
Let’s break down the process into practical steps using a hypothetical software development project as an example:
- Define purpose and audience: Start by understanding why you’re creating the report. Determine how the overview of the project’s progress will benefit the project manager , team members, and upper management. Tailor the report’s content accordingly to meet their needs and expectations.
- Gather relevant data: Collect information from various sources like project management tools, team meetings, and individual updates. Use a project portfolio management tool like PPM Express to ease the data collection and visualization. Capture data on completed tasks, ongoing activities, and any challenges faced, and ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information.
- Introduction: Briefly explain the project’s goals and why they matter.
- Project overview: Highlight the project’s scope, timeline, and key milestones.
- Progress updates: Detail tasks that are finished, ongoing, and overdue.
- Resource utilization: Provide insights into team members’ workloads and availability.
- Risks and challenges: Identify potential risks, their impacts, and mitigation strategies.
- Recommendations: Suggest solutions for overcoming challenges and maintaining progress.
- Visualize data: Incorporate visual aids for better comprehension. Use a Gantt chart to represent the project timeline and task dependencies . Use a bar chart to show completed, ongoing, and overdue tasks. Visuals can help stakeholders grasp complex information more easily.
- Provide insights: Don’t just present raw data—interpret it. For instance, you might explain that the project is on track with 70% of tasks completed. Emphasize achievements like the backend development phase completion and address potential delays in UI design due to resource limitations. This contextualization adds depth to your report.
Congratulations! Your report is ready.
Pro tip: You can leverage 200+ ready-to-use reports created with Power BI by PPM Express for your convenience and easy start. Additionally, access ChatGPT prompts that can assist you with project reporting from our extensive ChatGPT prompts library designed for project managers.
Once you understand the process of creating project management reports, let’s uncover the key best practices for crafting effective and impactful reports.
Effective project reports require careful understanding and adherence to best practices to ensure clarity, accuracy, and value for stakeholders.
Here are a few best practices when creating project reports:
- Clear objectives: Define the report’s purpose and outcomes clearly.
- Audience understanding: Tailor the content to meet the intended audience’s needs.
- Relevant data : Use accurate and relevant data from reliable sources.
- Concise communication: Present the findings succinctly with plain language.
- Visual aids: Utilize charts and graphs for more transparent data representation.
Pro tip: Seasoned project managers are eager to share best practices as you pursue certification. Uncertain about your choice? Explore our comprehensive list of project management certifications to find the right one for you.
From mastering best practices, we now turn our attention to selecting the right software for efficient streamlining of project reporting.
In the digital age, leveraging software solutions is essential to streamlining project reporting, enhancing collaboration, and ensuring accurate data management.
Here are five groups of software that can help in efficient project reporting:
- Project management software: Smartsheet , Microsoft Planner , and Monday.com offer built-in reporting features, allowing you to track task progress, assign responsibilities, set deadlines , and generate reports on project status, team workload, and milestones. Don’t know how to choose from all these options? We have an article on how to make the right choice.
- Business Intelligence (BI) tools: Power BI , Tableau, and QlikView provide advanced reporting capabilities to help you create interactive dashboards and visualizations, enabling stakeholders to easily explore project data and derive insights.
- Time tracking tools: Toggl and Harvest focus on tracking time spent on tasks and resource allocation. They can generate both individual and team productivity reports, helping you assess resource utilization and project efficiency.
- Integrated project portfolio management software: PPM Express offers end-to-end solutions for project and portfolio planning, execution, and reporting. It also consolidates data from various projects and platforms like Azure DevOps and Jira, enabling high-level portfolio reporting.
- Collaboration and communication platforms: Microsoft Teams , Slack, and Google Workspace enhance communication and document sharing by facilitating real-time collaboration, making it easier to gather information for reporting and ensuring everyone stays informed.
Now that we’ve explored software options for streamlined reporting, let’s discover how to leverage project management reports in making better decisions for your project.
In project management, data is key to informed decisions and successful outcomes. Project management reports bridge the gap between raw data and actionable insights, offering a roadmap for navigating projects toward achievement.
Project management reports transform data into valuable intelligence:
- Clarity amid complexity: Reports simplify intricate project details.
- Timely course corrections: Identifies deviations and aids interventions.
- Data-driven decision-making: Empowers informed choices.
- Transparency and accountability: Fosters collaboration and responsibility.
- Continuous improvement: Analyzes data for future enhancement.
To fully harness the potential of project management reports, consider trying out PPM Express, a comprehensive solution designed to streamline project reporting and portfolio management.
Take the first step towards making your data work for you by signing up for a trial of PPM Express today.
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Project Report: What is it & How to Write it?
We all know – the struggle of creating project reports is real! It is a complicated process that can either build or destroy your entire project.
No matter how extraordinary your project idea is, or how wonderfully one of your projects performed, creating a compelling project report isn’t easy.
The risk of analyzing the wrong data, taking the wrong path, or drawing up the wrong conclusion – it’s always, always lingering upon you.
So, if you’re standing on the edge, knowing you need to craft a project report, but also feeling a little uncertain about how to begin – you’re at the right place.
In this article, we will tell you what a project report is and the things that you need to include in it. We will also tell you about a tool that will help you write one in no time. Let’s roll!
What Exactly is a Project Report? (Definition)
A project report is a written document that encapsulates all the essential information related to a particular project – from goals and objectives to analysis and recommendations.
This report helps you transform a business idea or plan into a productive venture, without any confusion or chaos. Along with defining the strategies for project execution, it helps you implement them properly.
You should always create a well-detailed project report. Why? Because you can’t dive into starting a project without giving much thought to your goals, your plan of action, your strategies, and the big picture.
Still not convinced? Well, let’s explore a few more reasons why you need to spend your valuable time creating this one report.
Reasons Why You Should Create a Project Report
Yes, creating a project report is a crucial part of starting or managing a project, but not for the reasons you might think. Most people assume that a project report is meant to raise money for a particular project, or get a sponsor. It is true, but that’s not the only use of a project report!
In short, it’s not just about the funding. The process of writing a project report and putting it together is much more valuable. When you’re writing a project report, you discover and understand what it’s going to take to make your project successful. It gives you clarity about your ideas.
After all, before you can explain your ideas and strategies to your friends or investors, you should be able to explain the idea to yourself!
Secondly, spending a little time on planning and creating a project report would drastically reduce the risk of losing money and making silly mistakes. Of course, you could jump right in and start the project without a plan, but you’d be more likely to waste time, money, and resources.
Lastly, creating a project report increases the chances of your project being successful. Over the years, several studies have proved that companies who plan are much more likely to be successful, get funding and achieve their goals – in comparison to the companies who don’t plan.
Excited to create project reports? We know you are! So, without further ado, let’s learn how to actually create an amazing project report.
Read more: Project Timeline: What is it & How to Create it? (Step By Step)
How to Create a Good Project Report? Follow these Steps!
Step 1. set the objective.
First things first, you need to figure out why exactly why you’re writing the report and what’s your end goal. Do you want to describe something to your team or do you want to persuade the upper management?
Once you set a clear purpose and objective, it would be easier for you to stay focused while writing the project report. The result? You would be able to write a much better and more engaging report!
Step 2. Understand The Reader
A formal annual report would be very different from a status report, right? So, while writing your report, always keep the reader in mind. This way, the reader would become more receptive to your ideas.
Basically, tailor your language, data, and graphics according to your audience. Don’t forget to consider their communication style, for instance, how they write emails and structure their documents.
Step 3. Know The Format
Before you start writing the project report, don’t forget to check the format and type of the report. Is it a formal, informal, technical, annual, financial, or fact-finding report?
Also, confirm if any project report templates are available within your organization, or if there is a specific structure that you need to follow while writing the report. This would save you a lot of time in the long run!
Step 4. Collect All The Facts & Data
By backing up your arguments with facts and data, you can solidify your project report. Moreover, you should also cite sources such as case studies, interviews, and articles.
Including data, facts, and figures in your project report is most crucial when you are writing it to persuade someone about the project, or when you’re giving a status report.
Step 5. Structure the Report
Once you are done with understanding the nitty-gritty of the report and collecting all the data, it is time to structure it. Generally, a report has four elements:
Executive Summary: Even though this is the first part of the report, it’s written once the report is finished. As the name suggests, this part comprises a brief about what’s written in the report.
Introduction: In this section, you need to provide a context for your report and the scope. In addition, you also need to outline the structure of the contents and mention all the methodologies you’ve used.
Body: In this part, you have to put your writing skills to work. This is undoubtedly the longest part of your report and it should include everything from data & analysis to recommendations.
Conclusion: This is where you need to compile all the elements of the report in a clear and brief manner. You should also mention the next steps and actions that you want the readers to take after reading the report.
Step 6. Edit & Review
Spend some time formatting your report and making it enjoyable to read. No one likes to read long blocks of text, so use formatting, visuals, and lists to break them up.
Remember, the first draft of the report can’t be perfect! So, do not forget to edit and revise the content until you’re sure that it is error-free. You can also ask a colleague for a review!
So, now that you know the basics of what a project report is and how to create it, let’s check out some really cool use cases of project reports.
Read more: Performance Report: What is it & How to Create it? (Steps Included)
A Few Use Cases of Project Reports
1. project health report.
A project health report outlines the problem areas or any other risk involved with your project. It helps you find out any problems before they happen – which ultimately saves you time and money.
2. Project Summary Report
As the name suggests, a project summary report gives you a quick peek at your project. It’s a concise report that covers all the key highlights of the project, including completed and upcoming tasks.
3. Project Status Report
A project status report can be used to share the status of your project, in line with the original project plan. This report gives the stakeholders information about the project’s performance, updates, and developments.
4. Project Time Tracking Report
This report helps your team and all the stakeholders to understand the time allocated for each task in a more efficient manner. It’s a useful report to gauge your team’s efficiency and the areas that need improvement.
5. Project Tracking Report
This report gives you all the numbers, metrics, and other data that you can use to measure your project’s progress. It also covers your project’s status, team performance, and more.
6. Project Performance Report
A project performance encapsulates the progress of your project, the budget, and a breakdown of allocated resources. It helps you monitor the status of your project, and whether it’s headed in the right direction or not.
Phew! Creating project reports can be a complicated and cumbersome process. Luckily, we have something to make your life easier. Whether you need need to create basic project reports or super complicated ones, Bit.ai is just what you need.
Create Project Reports & All Other Documents On Bit.ai
Bit.ai is the easiest, most convenient way to create project reports and every other kind of document that exists on Earth. With Bit, you can create project reports in no time. Just focus on the content because Bit is going to handle every other aspect of your report – from designing to formatting.
1. Stunning, Fully Responsive Templates: Whether you want to create a sales project report or an annual report – there’s a beautiful template for that on Bit. With over 90 pre-built and fully responsive templates , Bit has turned the painful task of creating reports a walk in the park.
2. Design Automation: Writing projects reports isn’t easy. It takes so much effort that you end up having no energy to make the report look appealing. Luckily, Bit solves that problem for you with its design automation feature. With just one click, you can change the look of your entire document, its layout, and color too!
3. Interactive Documents: Bit lets you add PDFs, charts, videos, maps, surveys/polls, charts – basically all kinds of rich media in your documents. Right now, there are over 100 rich media embed integrations on Bit! So, why give someone a boring, static project report they’ll never open when you could turn it into something much more engaging?
4. Real-Time Collaboration : Project reports are important documents, and creating one on your own is a little difficult. That’s why this feature of Bit is the best. Using Bit, you and your team can collaborate on the reports in real-time, no matter where everyone is located. You can co-edit, make inline comments, access version history, chat via document chat, @mentions, and much more!
5. Smart Workspaces : Organizing and managing all your project reports can be a pain, but Bit is here to take the pain away. Bit lets you create as many workspaces as you want around different teams and departments, invite guests into the workspace, and manage everything much more efficiently!
6. Tables: It’s better to show all the data and figures in your project reports via tables. This way, everyone who reads your report would be able to grasp the complex figures in a quick glance. On Bit, you can create wonderfully designed and fully responsive tables with the click of a button. The colors of these tables automatically change according to the colors of your document’s theme!
Creating project reports is at the core of every business. It is essential for evaluating the feasibility of your ideas and plans, and for proving that your strategies are working.
Yes, we know you have a thousand other things to do when you are running a business, but creating project reports should always be one of those things.
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How to Write a Project Report: Step-By-Step Guide [+ 4 Free Templates]
By archtc on December 26, 2017 — 21 minutes to read
- How to Write a Project Report: Step-By-Step Guide Part 1
- Project Report Templates: Free Download Part 2
- Additional Resources Part 3
- How to Dramatically Reduce Time You Spend Creating Reports Part 4
At some point during the implementation of a project, a project report has to be generated in order to paint a mental image of the whole project. Ultimately, a project report must maximize the insight gained with minimal effort from the reader. Apart from describing its results, it must also explain the implications of those results to the organization and its business operations.
How to Write a Project Status Report:
The most common type of project report, a project status report provides a general state of the project to its stakeholders. It quantifies work performed and completed in measurable terms. It compares this with an established baseline to see if the project is on track or; if adjustments have to be made if the project is behind its schedule. It keeps everyone on the same page and manages each other’s expectations.
Project status reports are accomplished to serve the following purposes;
- to keep an updated flow of information in relation to the project’s progress
- to immediately address issues and concerns that may come up at any point of the project’s implementation or duration
- to document reasons for changes and adjustments made to the original plan for the project
- to monitor fund utilization and to ensure that the project expenses are still within the budget
- to serve as a basis for decision-making and addressing problems
- to keep track of the team’s performance and individual contributions
- to act as a uniform procedure for communicating project development to the stakeholders.
Status reports are most effective when they follow a standard form with predefined fields that need to be regularly updated. Doing so will save time and provide consistency and predictability of the information the stakeholders will receive about the status of the project.
WHAT TO INCLUDE
For a status report to be comprehensive, it must include the following elements:
Summary/overall health of the project, facts on the project progress, target vs. actual accomplishments, action(s) taken, risks and issues, keys to an effective project status report.
- Submit the report on time . A status report is time sensitive and sending it late defeats the purpose of such a report.
- Giving complete but inaccurate information is just as bad as giving accurate but incomplete information . Since stakeholders rely on the status report for a heads-up on the project, and its content is used as the basis for decision-making, it is critical that the report provides both complete and accurate information.
- Do not cover up bad news or adverse reports as these are all part of the transparency of the status report . Keep in mind that being open with the stakeholders, whether the project is sailing smoothly or not, will benefit both the team and the client, since any problems there are will be immediately given attention and solved.
- Be proud of the team’s accomplishments, after all, this is what the clients and the stakeholders will want to know about .
- Anticipate questions from the clients or stakeholders and be prepared to answer them .
- Be familiar with the culture of the organization and respect the information hierarchy they observe . There are instances when the CEO wants to be the first to know about the contents of these reports before cascading it to his downlines. On the other hand, middle managers will want a head start on these reports so they can also anticipate and prepare for any reaction from the top executives.
- Craft the status report in such a way that there will be no information overload . It should contain necessary information that the stakeholders need to know. Lengthy reports will consume not only the writer’s time but also that of the reader. Too many details also give an impression of micro management.
All projects, or any activities of business, face risks. It is just a matter of how an organization identifies, assesses, analyzes, and monitors these risks. With a Risk Register, an organization is equipped with a tool to better respond to problems that may arise because of these risks. It helps in the decision-making process and enables the stakeholders to take care of the threats in the best way possible.
A Risk Register, also called an Issue Log, is iterative because it will be updated periodically depending on how often the team identifies a potential risk. It may also be updated if the characteristics of the existing potential risks change as the project progresses.
The Risk Register document contains information about the following:
- Risk Category: Grouping these risks under different categories is helpful. Doing so will provide a way to make a plan of action that will address most, if not all of the risks falling under the same category, saving time, effort, and resources.
- Risk Description: Provide a brief explanation of the identified potential risk. The description can be done in a variety of ways depending on the level of detail. A general description can be difficult to address while giving too much detail about the risk may entail a significant amount of work. Three factors to consider when making a risk description are: the way these risks are going to be managed, who will handle them, and the reporting requirements of the person receiving the risk register.
- Risk ID: Assign a unique identification code to each risk identified to track it in the risk register easily. Create a system of coding in such a way that the category to which the said risk belongs is easily identifiable.
- Project Impact: Indicate the potential effect of the assumed risk on different aspects of the project such as budget, timelines, quality, and performance.
- Likelihood: Referring to the possibility of the risk occurring, the likelihood can be expressed qualitatively—high, medium, low—or quantitatively, if there is enough information available. Whatever criteria are to be used, assign a number—with the highest value corresponding to that which is most likely to occur.
Using the table above, the identified risk can be ranked this way:
- Risk Trigger: These are the potential risk events that will trigger the implementation of a contingency plan based on the risk management plan. This plan should have been prepared prior to the development of a risk register.
- Prevention Plan: This enumerates the steps or action to be taken to prevent the risks from occurring.
- Contingency Plan: On the other hand, the contingency plan determines the steps or action to be taken once the risk events have occurred. This program also contains the measures to be taken to reduce the impact of such risks to the project.
- Risk Owner: The person responsible for managing risk, and the implementation of the prevention and contingency plans, it can be anyone among the stakeholders—members of the team, a project manager, or project sponsors.
- Residual Risk: Sometimes, a risk cannot be entirely eliminated after treatment. Part of it may linger throughout the duration of the project, but once it has been treated, it can be considered as a low-level risk.
Keys to an Effective Risk Register
- The first risk register must be created as soon as the project plan and the risk management plan has been approved . This initial risk register must be integrated into the project plan.
- Active risks during a particular period must also be included in the project status report .
- Risk management is an iterative process which is why the risk register must also be updated from time to time . Updates can be made when new risks are identified or there have been changes in the risks already in the register.
- The numerical value assigned to the likelihood and severity levels must remain constant throughout the duration of the whole project .
- Likewise, any terms used must be defined, and this definition must be utilized consistently .
Project Closure Report
As the end of a project, a Project Closure Report signals its culmination. Its submission officially concludes a project and implies that funds and resources will no longer be needed, and everything will go back to its status prior to the implementation of the project.
This process is critical as it will officially tie up all loose ends and prevent confusion among stakeholders.
This particular type of project report summarizes information on the project results, the criteria used to measure the effectiveness of the project delivery process, and the feedback from the stakeholders. Each performance metric includes an assessment and a narration of how the team performed on such metrics.
This performance metric describes how the team utilized the budget in carrying out the project effectively. Under this performance metric, the following aspects are measured:
Budget variance, explanations for key variances.
Describe how the team implemented the project within the expected time frame and schedule.
Overall Project Duration
Schedule variance, the explanations for key variances, change management.
This metric refers to the team’s ability to handle and manage changes throughout the project’s implementation effectively. It is measured through the following:
Total Number of Changes
The impact of the changes, the highlight of changes, quality management.
This particular metric refers to the team’s ability to observe and comply with quality standards during the project’s implementation.
Total Number of Defects Identified
The explanation for resolved defects, risk and issue management.
This metric deals with how risks and matters that occurred during project implementation were handled and resolved by the team. Key points to include are the following:
The impact of the Risks and Issues to the Project
Human resource management.
This refers to the team’s ability to carry out the project effectively.
Project Organization Structure
This metric looks at how the stakeholders participated in the project.
Under this metric, communication throughout the duration of the project is assessed.
Communication Management Plan
- Summarize essential feedback collected . Describe the method by which these comments were gathered and who was solicited for feedback. Also include how they responded to each question and briefly discuss which items received great responses from the participants and which ones got few answers.
- Take note of common themes or trends of feedback gathered .
- From the feedback gathered, also take note of any opportunities from this feedback and discuss how these opportunities can be applied to future projects, or in the organization itself .
- Give a brief discussion of what the team learned when carrying out the project . Among these learnings, discuss which ones can be applied to future projects and how it will impact not only those future projects but also the whole organization.
Other points of interest may not have been captured in the Project Status Report and may be included in the Project Closeout Report. Some of these factors include:
Duration and Effort by Project Phase
Benefits realized, benchmark comparisons, keys to an effective project closure report.
- The closure report is mostly a summary of all efforts related to the project . It is important to ensure that all highlights of the project have been properly documented so that retrieval of these reports is easier and all efforts will be acknowledged.
- Emphasize the high points the project delivered, how efficiently it was done, and what has been learned from the process.
- If there are notable variances during the project implementation, make sure to provide a fact-based explanation on it . In addition, the impact of this difference must also be described.
- A critical point in a project closure report is establishing the link between the project performance, the lessons learned, and the steps that will be taken by the organization for its continuous improvement . Aside from the project deliverables, another valuable output of a project is the learnings derived from the process and how it will be translated into concrete concepts applicable to the business processes of the organization.
A little bit different from the types of project reports previously mentioned, an Executive Summary is a distinct kind of report which uses different language. It is a high-level report which aims to provide a bigger and deeper understanding of the project—how it will benefit the organization and how it will fit into future business strategies. It is written with a busy executive in mind, someone who has a lot of important things to do and may find reading a lengthy piece of prose a waste of precious time. Factual and objective, this particular type of project report must be able to provide a realistic status of the project, as business executives understand that everything may not go according to the plan.
Some may confuse an executive summary with an abstract but, in reality, they are clearly distinct from one another and serve a different purpose.
An abstract is usually written for academic or scientific papers. It is written with a topic sentence which, generally, gives an overview of what the article is about. It is, then, supported by two or three supporting sentences which support the main idea of the topic sentence.
An executive summary, on the other hand, is composed of different sections discussing almost every significant aspect of an undertaking. It consists of sequentially arranged key points supported by conclusions and recommendations. Check our in-depth article on how to write an effective executive summary .
Things to Remember in Writing Project Reports
Here are some of the principles that need to be observed in writing an effective project report;
Write for the reader
The report should have a structure, ensure that the report is evidence-based and is supported by data, make it as objective as possible.
There is a clear distinction between facts and opinions . These should never be used together, especially if the report is dwelling on a failed project. The report becomes subjective if it reflects personal opinions of the writer. Make it objective by eliminating all parts which are not based on facts and real events. If it is really necessary to include a personal view or opinion, make sure to explicitly identify it as such. A separate section of the project report may be devoted to the writer’s personal opinion to keep the rest of the report unbiased.
There are a number of ways project reporting helps an organization, a team, and even the project itself and here are some of them:
It tracks the progress of the project
It helps identify risks, it helps manage project cost, it gives stakeholders an insight on how the project is performing, project report template: free download.
Click Here to Download Project Status Report XLSX
Click Here to Download Project Update Report DOC
Click Here to Download Project Update Report 2 DOCX
Click Here to Download General Project Report DOCX
Templates on ProsperForms:
Edit and use this template
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