Reports are essential tools in business. They play a crucial role in the startup, ongoing, growth, expansion, and even survival stages of a company. Through business reports, companies are able to document their progress over time. Reports also help build an audit trail of the past. These documents can become necessary when going to financial institutions or when seeking investors. Corporations produce annual reports for their stakeholders and for government agencies to comply with legal obligations. Reports are also helpful in decision making, whether making a substantial purchase, planning for expansion, or deciding to sell the business.
As businesses become more project-centric, the idea behind reporting is likewise followed and expected during project management. Project reporting is the act of producing formal and informal reports to communicate the status of the project. Reporting is usually done at regular intervals throughout the project. Stakeholders, sponsors and the project team agree on the frequency of the reporting. in general, project reporting helps manage the expectations of stakeholders. It also provide the status of the scope, time, and budget of the project.
Benefits of Project Reporting
Project reports are valuable tools to both project teams and stakeholders. It provides several benefits. Through these reports, all those involved are able to track the current progress of the project and compare it against the original plan. They can identify risks early on, and take corrective action. Reports make it easy for everybody to see expenses and manage the budget with more visibility. In fact, reporting increases visibility in all aspects of the project, including team performance.
With greater visibility from reports, the project manager can be in more control to act on progress, stagnation, regression, team performance, or quality of work. Project reports are sources of learning. With enough information, those involved can decide to stop what is not working, to continue doing what is working, and to consider reviewing the rest. Finally, reporting is a process that requires completeness and accuracy. It promotes thoroughness, and ensures all aspects of the project are covered.
Project reports take many forms, but the most important is the status report. The status report is an important project documentation that provides information about the progress of the project. In particular, progress is quantified and comes with details. With solid data, project managers can make informed decisions and justifications to make changes in the project plan. The regular flow of information from status reports enable managers to communicate effectively with their stakeholders. Therefore, keeping them in the loop brings down anxiety and builds confidence in the project team.
Elements of a Status Report
The contents of a status report varies depending on many factors: type of project, complexity, stakeholder expectation, and others. However, there are basic elements that should always be present.
Project data – These include, at the least, the project name, report date, and name of project manager.
Summary – Notably, this includes a brief description of the project. Also included are update of its progress; status of current schedule, budget, scope; percent completion; short overview of results; and next steps.
Actual Progress vs Planned Progress – Contains rate of completion in percentage, significant accomplishments, milestones reached, additional information on schedule, budget, and expenses. Visual indicators can provide information-at-a-glance.
Risks and Issues – For example, a description of any issue or problem encountered or being encountered. Also, corrective action applied or currently being applied, how to avoid them in the future, open issues that need higher level approval, potential risks and mitigating actions, and change requests.
Next Steps – Future action items and people responsible, upcoming milestones, and other scheduled deliverables.
Successful Status Reporting Tips
Project managers give the status report usually on a weekly basis. It is a very important project communication deliverable. Here are some tips to help project managers create a good project status report. First, create a report that satisfies all readers. Include high-level dashboard-style information for executives. Correspondingly, follow it with more details regarding what has been completed, in progress, next steps, and issues for those who have more time to read. Second tip is generate the report regularly and on schedule. Last, update the status report after a status meeting with any revisions and decisions made after the meeting.
Enhanced Reporting Capabilities with Bridge24
Today’s online project management software include task management, project tracking, and highly visual dashboards. However, most of them have limited reporting tools that can seriously affect the success of their project. Bridge24 is a project management application that enhances the reporting and exporting capabilities of Asana, Trello, Basecamp, and AceProject software. It has advanced report tools that has powerful filters, grouping and sorting features, including custom fields. Additionally, users have several chart options, which are interactive and drills down in one click. Bridge24 can automatically create popular charts and reports, and can even stack 2 variables in the same chart.
Bridge24 is a flexible reporting tool that increases project visibility. It also has additional views and quick exporting capabilities to various file formats. Take better control of your project reporting, and create status reports easily. Try Bridge24 today for free!