The primary function of a project report is to deliver the snapshot status of the project progress. The clearer the report, the better it is, as it would provide the sponsor, the team, the management, and the stakeholders with the latest updates of the project. Moreover, the project manager is obliged to ensure the clarity of every report.
In general, there are two formats of a project report: in visuals and writing. Whenever possible, always include visuals, which can be in the forms of graphs, charts, tables, graphics, and others. Include different colors to emphasize different variables. In short, if it can be delivered as a visual, why do it any other way.
Written reports are used when describing situations, such as compare-and-contrasts, conclusions, and descriptions. Be as straightforward and as concise as possible, preferably in 300 words or fewer, per incident reported. Make sure to be consistent with the formats, fonts, headlines, colors, and numbering.
While any documentation with reporting value can be used as a project report, there are at least seven common types of reports. Each report is presented in its most practical format, which can be in visuals or writing. Moreover, each type of report serves its function, which can be used independently or in conjunction with other reports.
A timesheet is a report of employee attendance. In this case, the project team members’ attendance report. It is usually presented in a table of the project name, team member’s name, date, and hours of attendance columns. The function of this type of report is to review the productivity level when it is compared with other reports, which include activity and completion information. Include a brief conclusion at the end of the timesheet to explain the significant issues.
An expense report usually includes information on various project-related expenses, such as travel expenses, supplies, equipment, rents, independent contractor fees, and others. The function of this report is to review the project costs up to a certain milestone. Whenever needed, include a description on discrepancies.
Project Status report
It is a more comprehensive type of report, which is illustrated with visuals to describe works completed, schedule variance, cost variance, risks, issues, changes and decisions. Present the report short and simple.
Project Workload report
This report helps you visualize your team utilization and workload distribution within your selected projects. The report displays each resource’s assignments and also their time-offs distributed across calendar days. This is often a color-coded report that helps quickly identify over allocation issues and drill-down to fix them.
Portfolio report provides overall “big picture” status information of ongoing project status and progress indicators like budgets, workloads, and actuals. This report should be capable of roll up of projects by reporting on projects by organization, customer or project type. Portfolio reports enable executives to use project data to make business related decisions and drive strategy.
Include important milestones or deliverables of a project and report them to the sponsor and the management every time a new milestone is achieved. Include percentages or visuals to better deliver the information. Also, include information on the expected delivery dates.
Task Completion report
Task completion report should be developed to show the sponsor and the management that the project is progressing well. Create a summary of the project plan and include the latest completed tasks information in comparison. Update it frequently and report it weekly to ensure transparency of the project.
Project Tracking report
A project tracking report helps managers stay on top of things providing visual cues and alerts on the progress of their projects. These reports help them monitor planned v/s actual costs, effort, progress and deliverables and take preventive measures to steer the project in the right direction.
Project reporting is an important part of project management. Ensuring that a report is delivered in the clearest manner possible is key to ensuring smooth project execution that results in satisfactory deliverables.
Author: Nikhil Daddikar, Co-Founder, Celoxis Technologies
About Celoxis: Celoxis is world’s leading online PPM software, rated among 3 best project management software tools in the world and is deployed by more than 2000+ customers globally, from mid-sized enterprises to Fortune 100 companies, across industry verticals. To know more visit www.celoxis.com.