Managing projects of any scale is a challenge. Whether you are a startup CEO or a project lead in a large international company, project management represents an essential part of your workflow. However, not all businesses see the value of project management.
According to Finances Online, only 22% of organizations use project management platforms such as Ora in their day-to-day workflow. Likewise, 44% of project managers use no software whatsoever, leading to 9.9% of every resource dollar being wasted due to less-than-optimal management.
One of the things that can improve your performance and subsequently lead to better end-product quality and stakeholder satisfaction lies in project management report writing. Project management reports can effectively inform all stakeholders of the project’s current status and help identify potential bottlenecks before they cause downtime or pipeline issues. But how can we write project management reports, and what value lies in their standardization within your business model? Let’s find out.
- Structure your Report
- Standardize your Metrics
- Keep it Simple & on Point
- Include Empiric Data
- Visualize your Results
- Double-Check before Submission
- Spark a Discussion
- A Standard Affair (Conclusion)
Why Project Management Reports Matter
Let’s start by discussing what the role of project management reports really is. Project management reports serve the role of informing all relevant stakeholders (managers, team members, clients, investors, etc.) of the project’s current status. The complexity and frequency of these reports vary depending on the project.
Likewise, their content should closely resemble the initial project management brief, which was used to start the production process. It’s good practice to create a solid template for your project management reports via academic writing companies and use the same structure throughout different projects.
This will make storage and indexing of reports smoother over extended periods, as you will know how to find relevant data in a streamlined fashion. On top of that, frequent reliance on project management reports in your production pipeline can lead to several crucial advantages:
- Active tracking of any one project’s current status
- Early identification of potential production errors
- Transparency and professionalism among relevant stakeholders
- Ability to learn from past projects through retroactive data analysis
- Efficient cost management and minimized margin for project failure
How to Write a Project Management Report
1. Structure your Report
As we’ve previously mentioned, it may be smart to structure your project management reports going forward. This will allow every manager or writer to simply fill in the blanks and store the report for future reference easily. Some of the sections you should include in your report’s structure are as follows:
- Project title and serial number (for indexing)
- Project manager and team members
- Project client and investor/sponsor (if there are any)
- Start and expected end date of the project
- Date of the report’s publishing
- Field on KPIs and milestones (more on that below)
- Field on the project manager’s review
- Field on current costs against available budget
- Field on additional comments
Including these fields in your project management report’s structure can significantly improve the writing efficiency and speed for future reports. Likewise, it will make scanning and subsequent analysis of any report easier as each document will follow the same structure.
2. Standardize your Metrics
Every project has metrics associated with its production pipeline. For example, if you work as a design agency, a metric, or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can be “X of social media posts designed”. Different industries will naturally require various KPIs which will represent the project’s current performance in an objective manner.
It’s pivotal to set measurable KPIs during the planning phase of your project for the sake of better tracking and evaluation. Those same metrics should be used in project management report writing and commented on by the project manager. Having an overview of numeric metrics from report to report will significantly improve the performance of individual teams, given the clear direction they have acquired.
3. Keep it Simple & on Point
Given that project management reports are standard affairs once your project enters production, you should keep its contents simple and on point. Don’t retread initial project briefing information past the first report and focus on new findings and updates for your stakeholders. Make it a habit to use approachable vocabulary and avoid niche terminology so that anyone can understand what you are writing.
If you don’t have anything new to say in a scheduled project management report, you can postpone it until you have sufficient data to share. The report exists to make production easier, not hinder it with bureaucracy – write your reports only when there is something to say.
4. Include Empiric Data
It’s always a good idea to share your findings about customer expectations, industry trends, and other relevant data in your reports. Such information can cause your project to shift focus to more profitable solutions before it is too late to do so.
According to Project Management Works, 30% of projects fail due to poor communication, and 23% do so because of poor resource forecasting. Be on the lookout for changes within your industry and use research and statistics published by reputable sources in your project management reports.
5. Visualize your Results
You should strive to streamline your reports’ readability as much as possible to enable different individuals to comprehend their content. Since some of your stakeholders may not be fully familiar with industry terminology and provided descriptions, you may want to refer to visualization.
Data visualization can significantly improve your project management reports’ approachability for clients, investors, and third-party readers. You can rely on tools such as Canva to create rudimentary graphs and charts for your reports and improve their legibility as a result.
6. Double-Check before Submission
Your project management reports should be free of any statistical, grammatical, or formatting error to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. Even a simple spelling error can cause problems for your report’s legibility, especially if you rely on acronyms and niche terminology.
Pass your reports through a tool such as Hemingway Editor before you call it a day and your reports’ high degree of quality will remain intact. Make it a habit to double-check all of the information contained within a report before you submit it for review by third-party readers.
7. Spark a Discussion
Lastly, use the concluding section of your project management report to spark a discussion with the reader. Anyone with access to the report will likely have an opinion on it, so it is vital that they share it with the team.
This can lead to further improvements in your production or detection of hidden errors that remain undiscovered. Engage your reader and ask them for feedback and opinions on the project’s production so far – you might be surprised by the results.
A Standard Affair (Conclusion)
Consult your coworkers on their performance, comments, and future projections before you write the report. Just like day-to-day workflow, report writing is a team effort, and everyone involved in active development should be asked for an opinion. Even though reports are a type of standardized documentation, their writing is crucial for successful project management.
Author's Bio: Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting and ghostwriting services. Currently, she blogs for Essayguard. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.