Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives
What is a project management report?
Project management reports describe the status and the progress a company project is making in a comprehensive, detailed form. The many departmental concerns of the company are summarized in their scope and presented into the project management report. Budget, scheduling and scope of operations are all presented with their key details emphasized.
Project management reports provide an excellent channel of communications that the whole project team and those in the executive positions can use for their advantage. Clients and other stakeholders can regularly monitor their interest on the project by means of project management reports and offer their own insights regarding their own requirements for the project. Project teams, on the other hand, can communicate the obstacles they are facing in specific areas of the project and thus provide a way for the whole team to take charge of the situation arising from that obstacle.
Various contingencies arise within the framework of the project as the project team works on the individual aspects of the project. Number one among these contingencies is the probability of cash being not on hand for a particular work to continue. It is the role of project managers and executives to ensure that money flows for the project’s continuance. This they do by keeping themselves open to the recommendations contained in project management reports.
Thus, project management reports enable managers and executives to keep a close tab on the operational expenses of the project and maintain the project within its allowable limits of resource consumption.
In scope and content, a standard project management report should include the following key points and sometimes even more depending on the required agenda:
- The financial overview that shows whether the project is within quota.
- The list of accomplished objectives under the main target of project accomplishment.
- The steps that the project team has taken for the resolution of specific issues.
- The historical data detailing the project’s progress. To check if the project can be accomplished on schedule.
Who does project management reports and why?
Beginning from the top, project management reports are used by project sponsors or clients to monitor their interest on the project and to put their own mental inputs to the work progress. They can also check their budgets against the project work’s progress and make sure that they have enough for its completion.
Senior executives manage the overall capacity of the company to undertake and finish job contracts by the regular consumption of data provided by project management reports.
It is then up to the project manager to implement the necessary changes to the work that his project team is doing when the need for such changes do arise as indicated in the project management reports.
How to do project management reports
There are many ways of doing project management reports. One recommended way of doing project management reports is shown in the step by step procedures detailed below:
- First, identify the audience. Different audience requires different data and they also sometimes require different methods of presentation. This is true with remote working teams who can only be updated remotely via the Internet or other devices.
- Approximate the length of the project management report. If the report is for the senior executives and the clients, then an overview detailing only the pertinent management issues are enough. People can have short attention spans when confronted with details that they do not need. Therefore, keep the report as short as possible yet still possessing valuable insights when presenting them to the whole project team and the executives.
- Outline the structure of the report with clearly labeled categories. Beginning from the start, which may be labeled as the executive summary, proceed to the other following categories:
- Introduction – An explanation of the purpose of the project.
- Methods – The operational and logistical content of the undertaking.
- Research – Additional relevant information that may have arisen in the course of the project’s progress.
- Accomplishments – A list of objectives reached which are under the main goal of project completion.
- Problems and issues – Difficulties that the team is facing in their work.
- The conclusion and its recommendation – The summation of the work progress and the recommendations to the issues that may have arisen.
With these steps, an effective project management report can be constructed by any project manager in due time.
Advantages and pitfalls of project management reports
Project management reports encompass the whole scenario befalling the progress of the project. Its summaries of the situations in all the departments of the project make everyone aware if their intervention is needed or not. From the client to the project’s team members, everyone can take account of the prevailing circumstances in the project and ascertain when and where his intervention may be needed. This highlighting of key issues within the project provides for timely solutions to be implemented.
Project management reports still suffer from human factors however. As with every reporting duty, human factors can play a role in the accuracy of the report’s content. Misreporting can sometimes occur when the truthfulness contained in the report comes into conflict with the interests of the reporter.
Project personnel often have a natural inclination for an image of competency on their part and sometimes, this can hinder truthfulness in the project management reports. The fear of having to answer for bad news in the workplace gets to them and prevents them from reporting what really is.
Best practices for project management reports
A few technical tips and tricks:
- Format the report to make the relevant facts and ideas plain to see.
- Test the project management report first on the project team members before finalizing it for the executives. The team members could contribute something or correct errors contained in it.
- Review for errors. The reputation of the reporter lies in his report so it is best to have no errors in it.
And for the principles in the best practice of project management reports:
- Concentrate on the main issues of the report. Avoid straying to off topics and issues that only becloud the interest of the audience.
- Be objective in the analysis of the report. Refrain from offering personal digressions that either exaggerate or overstate the significance of figures and data.
- Be simple, concise and to the point.
Why Teamreporter great tool for project management reports
Teamreporter is a web based email application that project teams (especially remote working teams) use for their regular progress and status initiatives. The reports that Teamreporter provides keep the team capable and efficient to handle different events that may transpire.
Individual reports from remote workers of the team are all collected and then summed up for everyone to see in their respective emails. An overview of the work progress is thus made available for the whole team on a regular basis for effective management of the project. In operation Teamreporter does the following:
- Creating questions that the team members will answer.
- Tailoring the questions to be asked to fit project needs
- Scheduling the sending out of email queries.
- Team members replying with their status reports.
- Upon receiving individual team member reports,scheduling of overall status updates to every team member.
- Adopting preset business scenarios.
- Prompting team members who forget their reports.
- Arranging an archive of team status reports
It has the following advantages:
- Ready in 5 minutes
- Free startup
- Accessible even to novice users and managers
- No IT software or hardware requirements
- Only email login required for team members
Simplicity and ease of operation can make Teamreporter stand out as a project management tool.
Alternatives to project management reports
The provisions for project management reports are basic to the company’s management programs so that the predicament of using alternatives becomes visible only in special situations.
Remote workers may access same value reports via their email, or converse with authorized personnel of the company through Skype and other Internet faculties.
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