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Writing Constructive Project Reports: Main Tips

Writing Constructive Project Reports: Main Tips photo

Published: | Categories: Blog

Managers write reports all the time. Reports help them summarize and provide updated information to the board, give instructions to the team or just systemize everything to make sure that it functions correctly. There are different types of project reports depending on the goal and each one requires specific addressing to the audience. Let`s have a look at all of them and point out the main elements that make a good project report.

Project Management Report Types

There are 4 main reporting types to discuss: status, risk, executive and resource. All of them need special attention and a specific writing style.

  1. Status project reporting. A project manager often hears a phrase that sounds like «Hey, can you give me a status report? I need some updates». It can come from a client or a colleague and its main goal is to get current status of the project. This is the most common type of reporting: you can write daily, weekly or monthly reports describing the stage you are at right now. The frequency depends on the specific client and project and also on how much there is to say about the progress. Now when you know how often you are going to do that, there is some point in making it faster and easier. Some companies have special software for such purposes but if you don`t, just create a standard template you can edit each time. Having most fields already completed for you can save you time for more important things that need your attention and give you an opportunity to quickly provide these reports whenever needed;
  2. Risk reports are usually done monthly as a result of the risk review meetings. It should contain a summary of possible risks on the project, all details that need special attention and ways to avoid or lower those risks. You can do such reports in a spreadsheet format which is probably the easiest way to provide numbers and dates;
  3. Executive reports are those you write to the board of the company to update them on the current status. It will have a different level of detail compared to other types and here you have to think high level. The company board would like to read about the important things they can help resolve, for example, a summary of the budget, have you or have you not completed the milestones and why, etc. Before providing this report, make sure it is formatted for reading easily on the road from a smartphone: here a complicated spreadsheet or lots of graphics is not a good fit. Convert your report to pdf so people can download it quickly;
  4. Resource reports are the last but not the least type of reporting. It helps to understand who is doing what, when and how. Just look through your project and define responsible people at each position: it will show the breakdown of which team member, on definite task, on a particular day. Creating such reports, you can make a Gantt chart to systemize the information and make it look appropriate and easy to understand.

Resource reports can pinpoint distribution problems when one person is working on more than one task and thus understand why the project is slipping behind schedule.

Project managers use these reports to find and resolve conflicts between team members and assign/reschedule each one to a specific task. They can also be useful for planning: you know when the project should be finished or when a person finished all the tasks so you can pick them up for the next thing/project to be done. Overall, it is probably the most useful type of reporting for a project manager which is really worth spending time on.

Project managers have to deal with a massive amount of information, resolve or avoid conflicts, assign people and distribute tasks between them, control the team’s work and write reports. It is a constant balance between the board, client and the team – each of them wants you to give them information, and very fast. It may be hard at first but when you automate at least the last part (your reports writing), you can find more time for more important tasks or have some rest preparing for another meeting. We recommend you to use special automatic software to create project reports or make your own templates created to make your work easier. No matter what you choose, be ready for lots of writing and numbers.