Managing a project is by no means an easy feat. Many moving parts can make it complicated to stay focused on the tasks and keep stakeholders up to date on the project status.
This is why project reports are a useful tool for project managers. These reports can be used to provide direction for team members, offer status updates for partners or management teams, and successfully manage risk mitigation – to name just a few!
Let’s take a closer look at the many objectives, components, and examples of project reports.
Project Report Objectives
Every project report starts with a solid project report objective. Your objective should provide precise direction for the rest of the report. Consider what purpose you want your project report to serve. Are you describing new risks or explaining project delays? Or will your report focus on persuading management teams or stockholders to invest additional funds into the project?
A thorough understanding of your objective will help guide you in writing the report and make the purpose of the report clear to all stakeholders.
Here are a few examples of project report objectives:
- Requesting approval for a new project
- Tracking the progress of the project
- Identifying and managing risks
- Managing costs and budgets
- Requesting financial assistance
Project Report Components
Your project report will be bursting with essential information about your project. Although the content of your report will differ depending on the type of report you’re creating, keeping your report organized will make it easy for the reader to follow along without missing any critical points. Organize your data and content into sections that allow all stakeholders to quickly reference.
Consider including some of the following project report components:
The first section of your report will likely include an executive summary. The brief overview should provide all the essential takeaways from the report, allowing the reader to understand the report's contents without having to read through all of the project details.
This component includes real metrics that track your project’s progress. It offers an overview of the project's status and budget while identifying risks or issues that may have emerged. Helping project management and other stakeholders reflect on the project schedule and make amendments as needed.
Risks and Risk Management
What risks have developed that may affect the quality, timeline, or budget of your project? How will you control these emerging elements? It’s inevitable that all projects will face risks, so it’s how you intend to manage those risks that’s important to the project team and stakeholders. Include a detailed analysis of the risk, your proposed solutions, and how these new elements will affect the project as a whole.
Are your financials where they need to be for the current status of your project? Will more capital be required to reach your goals effectively? Provide a detailed overview of the allocation of your budget including materials, labor, and operating costs.
Reflect on your project goals. Is the project behind, ahead, or on schedule? How will any changes to your timelines affect your budget or resources? Include an overview of tasks that have already been completed and a comprehensive schedule of remaining tasks.
Resources may include materials, machinery, or even funding required to complete your project. Provide a detailed summary of your current resource allocation. What are detrimental resources for your project running low? Are there any excess amounts?
Is your team completing tasks efficiently? Are there any skill or knowledge gaps that need to be addressed? Compare your team’s performance to your initial goals to identify the group’s progress.
What’s the takeaway from your project report? Your conclusion should tie together your report's various components and guide your reader on any next steps or actions required.
Project Report Use Cases
There are several common use cases for project reports in project management. These include:
Project Status Report
A project status report is used regularly throughout a project to communicate the project’s progress in conjunction with the original project plan. The status report of a project provides all stakeholders with updates on the project’s development and performance. Your status report may cover issues or risks that have emerged and include your amended project plan.
Project Tracking Report
A project tracking report offers real numbers, metrics, and other key indicators that measure the project’s overarching progress. This comprehensive report covers all aspects of the project, including project status, tasks, project team performance, and how much of the project has been completed.
Project Performance Report
Performance reports provide an overview of the project’s progress, a breakdown of resource allocation, and costs to date. Your performance report will help monitor the project’s current direction and forecast how well it will perform.
Project Health Report
A health report offers an analysis of any problem areas or risks within your project. Completing a project health report can help identify any potential issues before they occur, saving you time, money, and resources.
Project Summary Report
A project summary report provides a quick snapshot of the project’s status. Along with tasks completed and a summary of financials, the brief report should include any key highlights or milestones and a glance at upcoming scheduled tasks.
Project Time Tracking Report
Project time tracking reports help the team and all stakeholders better understand the time allocation for each task. It’s a useful tool for project managers to gauge their teams' efficiency and identify what areas need improvement.
Project Report Examples
Not sure where to start with your next project report? Consulting the right project report example can help you gain the direction you need.
Click here for a status report example.
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