The project management report is an essential document in project management.
This document allows the project manager to document the start, ongoing and final stages of a project.
A project manager’s credibility can be destroyed if project management is poorly monitored; the project management report is the ideal way to present accurate information, rather than guesswork or conjecture.
What information should be included in a project management report?
The purpose of the project management report is to keep all stakeholders updated on the progress of the project and to identify any problems and risks that may have arisen.
Details may vary from project to project, but all reports should include the following information:
The aim is to provide a high-level snapshot of where things are at in a given moment.
Stakeholders want to be able to see the status of the project at a glance and so the report should clearly identify the following:
– An assessment of progress against the project plan: is the project ahead of schedule or behind?
– A summary of tasks completed and the to-do list: overall, is task completion on track?
– A summary of actual costs compared to the project budget: is the budget being overspent, or is it in line or below expectations?
– An overview of the risks associated with the project and any problems identified: has the project’s risk profile changed and does it require action?
How to write a project management report
In short, a project management report is a summary overview of the current status of the project; it is a formal record of the status of a project at a given time.
The project report is therefore useful for
- Identifying problems
- Mitigating risks
- Realising the overall project objectives
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, this document may be weekly or monthly and is provided to all project stakeholders to keep them up to date on the progress of the project and any urgent challenges that may need to be addressed.
Most project management reports are made up of a single page but may have appendices or links to further information for anyone wishing to go into more detail.
Tips on how to write a project management report
- Data as focus: the purpose of project management reports is to provide processed data to those who need it so that they can be properly briefed and make appropriate and informed decisions. It is important that reports present solid data that stakeholders can examine and thus get an idea of the big picture.
- Short and simple: project stakeholders do not want to get lost in too many superfluous details, so the document must provide an accessible overview of the project status. If you create a ten-page document every week, most probably no one will read it completely and the project manager will only waste time editing the document, to the detriment of the actual project.
- Concise and avoiding technical jargon: not all stakeholders will be familiar with the acronyms or technical terms of the project, so the document must be written in a language that everyone can understand.
- Graphical and visual: charts and diagrams will bring the data to life, making it much more accessible. The use of colours can also help to show the status of the project, like a kind of traffic light. A project management software offers several report templates to choose from.
- Honest about progress: if the project is behind schedule or over budget, it is better to present this clearly. After all, the sooner a problem is identified, the sooner it can be solved and the project can get back on track.
- Provide context: do not just say that a deliverable will be delayed by two weeks, but specify for example: how will this impact on the rest of the project and what actions have been taken to resolve it? Stakeholders need to know how significant the problem really is.
- Highlight any action points and simplify activities for project stakeholders: if a client, team member or stakeholder needs to do something, the document should clearly identify what is required, by whom and when.
In conclusion, a well-prepared project management report is an excellent tool for assessing progress against the original plan and keeping everyone in the loop It will also assist in effectively managing the project and keeping it on track.
Project management software can not only help the project manager in this case to easily create outstanding reports, but it can take all the relevant data and encapsulate it in an easy-to-understand format with just one click.