Ensuring progress reports are effective and informative is essential at all stages of a project. Not only does it foster enhanced communication and awareness of the status of a project, but it allows for increased or renewed focus on both current and potential problem areas to prevent these types of issues from escalating.
In addition, effective progress reports help to provide guidance in achieving the overall objective of a project for both the project team and management. Therefore, ensuring your project reports supply the right information is a key element in making projects both large and small an overall success for your company.
1: Establish A Project Report’s Purpose
Without knowing and understanding the purpose of an individual project report, it is difficult to provide the correct and precise information required. Using a project report to determine who has completed what tasks is not a good way to judge the overall status of a project.
Also, what might be clear information for one person might be less clear for another. Establishing what information is required and the purpose of the report goes a long way to making sure that the right information is delivered and proper bi-directional communication is established and effective.
2: Establish A Clear Progress Report Structure
Imagine a large number of different status reports all using varying structures and how easy this can derail effective communication between the different levels. Without a clear progress report structure that details how the progress reports should look (what types of information to include etc), it would be like using a rumor mill to design and implement a project. With all members of the team following the same format and structure, information can be gleaned and the right focus applied so there is less of a chance of miscommunication or delays. This also means establishing deadlines for timely report submittal as well as making sure that the reports are concise and clear.
3: Don’t Email. Instead, Use An Online Reporting Tool
Submitting progress reports via email is an excellent way to produce miscommunications as well as miss or lose the reports in the mix of everyday business. Project teams and management get upwards of hundreds of emails per day and even with attachments, it is quite possible that the information is lost among this plethora of incoming information. Using a progress reporting software tool ensures that information is collected and available in one location for quick retrieval Everyone from large companies to small businesses can benefit from the numerous progress reporting software available and it is far more effective and efficient than using traditional email.
By switching from email to a progress reporting tool and ensuring the structure and format of your progress reports correspond to the clearly defined purpose of a progress report, your project team, and management can benefit from having clear, concise information at each level of a project so the right focus and resources can be applied to make your project a success.