A project and its development is composed of many factors and aspects. You have your team members, a leader, sponsors, other stakeholders, certain resources, plans, software and so on. These aspects hold their own, specific importance and relevance to a project and play a significant role in its failure or successful completion.
In the same way, project reports are an unavoidable and essential part of projects. In this article, you will learn about what exactly reports are, how to write and follow a detailed project report format and what the different types and styles of project report writing exist.
What is project report writing?
A project report comes as part of all business projects. A detailed project report is a formal record stating, clarifying and recording various aspects of the project and keeping them for future reference, if needed. There are many types of project reports and each serves their own purpose.
A report helps to gather all thoughts, processes and creations together in one place and documents the project. It is important in the sense that some reports summarise how you successfully completed a project, what processes were used and worked so that in the future you can easily go back and repeat the successful process.
Generally, the format of a project report sets out in a clear way specific and important information to all involved in the project. This is beneficial as it serves as a reference point rather than the sometimes unreliable ‘word-of-mouth’. Information typically found in project reports available to team members and all other stakeholders include the following:
- The specific topic and goal of the project
- Any inquiries made and the outcome that has be reached or will be reached
- The project explained in a Global context
- Plans set out and the implemented process
- Resource information
- Any techniques used to reach the project’s end goal
- Challenges and risks faced as well as any potential bottlenecks or risks and their solutions, if applicable
- What was learned from the project and its development
- Personal project experience
Online Project Management Report: habits and app usage
How to write a Project Report?
There are many different styles and formats that a project manager can follow when writing a report. Reports vary in format, from the report format for new business ventures or a mini report format all the way to a final evaluation report format. Design and style wise-there is a lot of choice. However, the most fundamental part of a detailed report is its content. In this case project managers cannot pick and choose what they write, but rather must follow a set of guidelines and include specific information in the report that they are writing.
First and foremost, evidence and proof play a key role in project reports and cannot be overlooked. If a project manager makes a certain statement in the report, there must be evidence such as budgets or receipt, for example, to back up any claims.
Project report writing has little to do with creative writing skill, however good writing skills are essential in informative reports. They are being read by other people who hold a stake in the project and its outcome and therefore the way in which they are written, whether they are easily read and understood or not, holds major significance. Language should be kept simple and lucid. Specific attention should be paid to how the project summary and recommendations are written as these are the sections most commonly read by senior-level managers. Remember to keep in mind your audience when you are writing a report!
Time is money. Senior managers and other stakeholders to a project require that reports are written up and filled out efficiently and effectively wasting as little time as possible. In addition to that, having the reports accessible and stored in one, safe place is also highly valued. This is something that Sinnaps, the online project management software, also values and understands. Any documentation or reports to do with a project can be easily stored on the cloud and accessed by those involved in the project. Sinnaps automatically generates a project report in PDF format keeping it safe and accessible.
Sinnaps also allows projects to be exported onto an Excel spreadsheet. This in itself can be used as a form of report that can be distributed across all stakeholders of the project. The export is an editable Gantt-Chart and also includes a status summary of the sub-tasks and activity objectives planned in the project.
A project exported onto an Excel spreadsheet
A project report acting as an overview to the planned project generated with Sinnaps online project management software includes information such as the following:
- The people involved and their roles.
- What completion dates have been missed and which have not yet been finished.- Doing Late
- The activities that are in line with what was initially planned.- Doing OK
- The activities that are finished.- Done
- The activities that have yet to come and how they will be completed.- To Do
Within a Gantt-flow of a project using Sinnaps, the section reports can be accessed from the bottom of the planning panel. There are three report options: imputed resources, planned resources and spent resources.
With a planned resources report, Sinnaps gives us the option of sorting resources by activity, by typology or even alphabetically. In addition, grouping mode can be selected as well as specific dates. Resources can be sorted alphabetically, by consumption or by cost, by clicking on the corresponding column holder.
Sinnaps also for the configuration of a report according to specific needs. A particular resource or activity can be deactivated. If a red cross appears,, that data will not be recorded or added to our report. Sinnaps allows for reports to be automatically generated as well as being customisable.
A spent resources report helps with the control and monitoring of resources. In the case of grouping the resources spent per user, data on their consumption can be seen, when they were spent and a description of how or why they were spent.
Sinnaps gives us the option to group the resources by activity in which they have been spent, by the type of resource, alphabetically, or user-specifically.
All reports made with Sinnaps can be generated within a specific time period as well as across the whole lifetime of the project.
Project Report Sample
There are numerous elements to a detailed report. The format for report writing is important to have solidified and consistent. Not all reports are the same. Structuring your document well is crucial, especially when a report is over 100 pages long! A consistent and formal style is what you should be looking to develop and follow. Clear headings and a logical order of content which allows for faster navigation are also essential to include.
A reliable project report sample that can be used and followed by project managers is the following:
- Begin with the report’s title.
- Include a signed statement.
- Table of contents or Index.
- A succinct introduction.
- What you are investigating.
- The plan. Describe and explain it.
- What the tasks and activities to be completed are.
- Decisions to be made.
Project Report PDF
Sinnaps allows you to generate different types of report to help keep track of the project’s status. You can access the reports in the lower section of the planning panel. There are three report options: planned resources, assigned resources and project. Click on the project report you need and a full report format will be generated.
Sinnaps writes up the reports using all the available project data. Images which can serve as data tabulation of the Gantt-flow planning chart will also be included. They are normally included at the bottom of the report as reference. Better yet, it will only take a few minutes! The result is easy, a printable detailed report in PDF format ready for you to use.
The report will include: the people involved and their roles; those who have missed their date and haven’t finished – Doing Late; those who are in line with what has been planned – Doing OK; those finished – Done; and those that are outstanding or whose planned implementation date has not yet come – To Do. All of this comes with the corresponding start and finish dates.
Sinnaps generates reports automatically
NB: Users can access the various reports depending on the plan they’re on. Users who aren’t Team Members won’t be able to obtain the report first hand, but it’s there for the use of PMs and Team members at all times.
Project Status Report
A report serves project managers and all those involved in a project in prioritising and organising all that has been done in a project up-to-date. Regular and consistent project status reports are important in project management as they help document the development of the project and keep everyone updated on the project’s status. There are a few specific things you’ll want to remember to include in the format of a project report regarding a project’s status:
- An executive overview: This should include the most important information of the project such as the project identifiers, a general project summary and the project’s current health and percent completeness.
- Milestones and deliverables: How many milestones and deliverables have been completed successfully and any issues that have arisen with milestones. The planned start and planned finish should also be included for comparison purposes against the actual start and actual finish. Online project management software such as Sinnaps makes this task easy as it updates all those involved in a project with a weekly overview of how your project is doing compared to your initial plan along with constant percent completeness updates.
- Issue, risk and change management: Any identified risks or issues should be included so that help and support can be provided. With these problems identified, the project team can prepare to manage these risks in an appropriate way and request any needed changes with a based argument as to why the current process may face risks.
- Team progress: This section will summarise how the team are completing the project and working towards reaching its goal. The tasks scheduled initially and those completed should be compared as well as the tasks that are to be completed and how this will be executed.
Project Progress Report
The format of project report writing varies across the board slightly, but generally all reports include their own specific information. Progress is described as the ‘movement toward an improved or more developed state, or to a forward position.’ This applied to project management creates what is known as project progress; how is the project moving along and developing?
Progress reporting is a very significant activity in project management. Progress can be linked with any aspect of the project such as budget progress, resource progress, schedule progress and project scope progress. The project manager, along with input from team members, issues these progress reports and circulates them to several different people involved with the project and concerned with its progress such as:
- Any project sponsors
- Budget holder/s
- Senior users
- Other stakeholders
- Team members
As with all other types of project reports, project progress reports should be easy to read and understand, brief and focused on the key points. Two pages is a general rule of thumb and report format for project progress should include:
- The date of the report.
- Overall status of the project or a description of what stage the project is in.
- Project summary.
- Key issues. This would describe any problems or bottlenecks the team is experiencing.
- Any risks that have been identified.
- The tasks left to complete and the next planned steps of the team.
- Decisions that need to be made.
- Key dates in the future.
- Budget update and how the project is doing in terms of keeping in line with the initially proposed budget.
- Spend to date.
A project progress report allows anyone reading to become aware of the project’s progress and development. This is beneficial in the sense that help, where needed, can be identified and given.
The report also serves as an update for people that may not be as directly involved as team members. This update helps to motivate and involve important people to a project and makes sure that they stay committed.
Communication is key to the success of any project. Reports serve as an effective source of communication for all involved. Face-to-face, some people may be unlikely to communicate bad news about the project, to ask for help and generally may just be poor communicators. This could hinder the project severely and is something that reports such as the project progress report help to avoid.
Regular and consistent progress reporting creates a written record of a project’s’ life. These records are very valuable to companies and their project teams. They can be looked back on later to decide on how to improve future project development.
Using a PM software such as Sinnaps, your reports will be stored safely and easily on the cloud-based app itself. Each project has its own folder, therefore, everything is organised and accessible during the project itself or on a future date in order to learn from a previous successful process or to not make the same mistakes again!
Industrial Project Report
Industrial reports are a little more complex and detailed than their business report counterpart. Legality can play a bigger issue. Overall, they tend to include more data tabulation and are longer. The project report format for engineering, for example, may be very difficult to read and understand by some not involved in the engineering industry.
Generally, they follow a similar structure to business reports. More technical vocabulary is used and the report is a more complex read as often it is dealt with by experts or professionals of a certain field. The appendix plays an important role where references and evidence is included for the readers of the report to understand the reasons for the recommendations or conclusions of the report. An acknowledgement section is also often included to refer to the supports of the industrial project and any funding received.
As with all reports, however, a well-structured format and a readable report for your audience is essential to the reports effectiveness and usefulness to the completion of the project.
Business Project Report
A business project report is a little different to that of an industrial report. Essentially it acts as a road map for the enterprise to be successful and can be referred to on ‘future journeys’ so that past mistakes won’t be repeated. It breaks down whether the business will need extra financing or resources and helps to identify potential risks and bottlenecks. These reports help those involved to be forewarned and ready. The project report format for new business ventures is quite important in getting the project itself off the ground.
A SWOT analysis is often carried out in the initial reports. This helps to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business or a project. A detailed SWOT analysis is very valuable to a project as it allows for evaluation prior to action and helps to minimise risk. A detailed report should include an analysis such as this.
Data tabulation is key in business project reports and serves as that all-important evidence and proof about which we already learned. You should remember to include this in your project report writing format consistently. They aid in understanding the report and what is being said. It also adds to the overall format of the document and makes it look more professional and organised.
As we have mentioned many times before, projects are complex, full of variables and unforeseen events for which teams must plan and prepare thoroughly. Organisation is essential if you want your project to end well. Reporting is a tool that is key to developing organisation and consistency. Online project management software such as Sinnaps understands this and has developed an online app which allows you and your team to efficiently keep and update all records and reports to do with your project in a clear and safe place. Get to writing a report and storing it safely with Sinnaps cloud based project management software today!
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