At some point during the project implementation, the manager has to create a project report that helps reflect how things are going with the project. Eventually, such a document should provide the fullest insight for the reader with the minimum effort. Along with describing the outcomes, this paper has to explain the significance of these outcomes to the business and its operations.
The problem is, not every project manager knows how to craft such a paper. However, this skill can be developed and improved quite fast.
There is no single appropriate way to complete a report. There is plenty of accepted methods, formats, and reporting types used depending on the industry, company, and even the person working on it. To come up with an effective report, you should just keep in mind the basic principles.
Things to remember when writing a project management report
- Decide the objective. Devote enough time to figure out the purpose of the document. Think about whether you need to describe, recommend, explain, or persuade. By having a clear objective, you will stay more concentrated, thus making the reader more engaged.
- Write for the reader. You have to create a document for other people. You have to be familiar with the terms and concepts that the team and the whole organization uses. If you are not sure if all the readers understand specific terms, you should define them in the preliminary parts of the paper. Also, it is recommended to consider the personal communication style of your audience. You should note, for example, how they write emails, or structure documents, and reflect their preferences. By using this technique, you make the reader more receptive to your ideas.
- Structure your report. There are multiple types of reports, but all of them have one common thing: each of them should have a clear and comprehensive structure. Organize your paper, dividing it into several sections so that your reader can quickly identify the most relevant sections that they want to learn first. Typically, any report consists of the following elements:
- Executive summary. You should work on this part after completion of the rest of your report. Written last, but not the least important, this section is usually read first. Your reader will use this summary to decide how much of the paper they want to read. So try to make it as brief but precise and up to the point as you can.
- Introduction. Provide a context for the document and its outline. Identify its scope and mention any methodologies used for creating it.
- Body. This part of the report is the longest and must include background details, analysis, discussion, recommendations for consideration, and probably some other details depending on the type of the report.
- Conclusion. In this section, bring together different elements of the document briefly and comprehensibly, and identify further steps and actions you want the readers to take.
- Support your project with reliable and strong evidence. Use graphs, tables, and charts to make the paper interesting and reliable for your audience.
- Make your report objective. You should not provide any personal opinion in this document. This is especially important when a report is dwelling on a failed project. To ensure the paper is objective, you should eliminate every section that is not based on facts. If there is a necessity to provide some personal opinion, you should explicitly identify it as such. You can even write a separate section devoted to your own view on the situation to keep the rest of the document unbiased.
Now, as you know the most important things to consider in project reporting, look through some successful examples to come up with a good paper. You can also use a template to make the task even easier.