Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives
What are Reporting Tools?
Reporting tools are instruments that teams use to provide information and updates to other members and leaders of the team. These tools can be paper-based or web-based.
Who uses Reporting Tools?
Teams coming from various fields use reporting tools.
In the corporate world, office workers use reporting tools to inform their superiors on what is happening in the workplace. Some employees are advised to report on a timely basis, such as daily or weekly. Usually, the team secretary collates information from the members of the team and summarizes collated information as one.
Health allied professionals also use reporting tools to provide updates to the members of the team. Nurses and doctors may utilize these tools to let the team know the status of their patient or the adverse effects of a trial medication.
Why do Teams use Reporting Tools?
Teams use reporting tools for the following reasons.
The first reason is communication. Teams are also to send and receive information to and from other members of the team using reporting tools, without an issue of time and location. This way, there will be continuity in the activities of the team. With stable channels of communication, the team will be able to carry out its functions successfully.
Another reason is integrity of data. With the information in the reporting tools, teams will be able to correct any discrepancies in the information from previous reports. Also pending issues from earlier reports can be resolved with the new information in the current report. This enables the team to formulate concrete plans, develop dynamic strategies, and employ effective actions.
How to use Reporting Tools / Ways to use Reporting Tools?
The use of reporting tools offer essential and suggestive information about the performance, activities, standing, and progress of the team, the project, and the team’s affiliates.
Whether the report is paper-based or web-based, the content of the report is just the same. The information in the report should be complete, accurate, fresh, and organized. It will boost the team’s awareness for the project, allowing them to connect previous and current events. In addition, a complete report enables the team to set their future goals and actions.
Generally, reports also contain important facts about the team and the project, such as the team’s accomplishments, problems, and goals. With the reporting tools in the team’s arsenal, team members will be able to unleash their fullest potential, prioritize and resolve issues, and formulate goals.
Advantages of using Reporting Tools
Reporting tools are helpful to the team and the project for the following reasons.
The use of the reporting tools facilitates effective communication among the team. Aside from providing continuity of information between past and present reports, the team will be able to analyze information, make inferences and conclusion, and make critical decisions.
Regardless of location and time, team members will be able to send and receive information to and from other members of the team. This paints that virtual teams will be able to benefit with the reporting tools.
Disadvantages of using Reporting Tools
While the use of reporting tools can be suggestive to the team in various ways, there are also some instances in which they can of negative impact to the business team.
Paper-based reports contain information and updates to be sent to the team to be informed about the team and the business itself. However, preparing a black and white report can be tedious and time-consuming, which possibly cuts the time of the staff in doing their other tasks and responsibilities.
On the other hand, web-based reports require the power of a stable internet access. Without an internet connection, team members will not be able to send and receive information and updates to and from other members of the team.
Best Practices for using Reporting Tools
Using reporting tools helps the members and leaders of the team to be highly informed, updated, and aware of the standing and development of the team and the project itself.
In order to preserve the completeness and accuracy of information in the report, the members and leaders of the team may keep a small notebook where they can record events and information in a day. This way, team members and leaders will have a reference when they make a report.
With regard to the organization of the report, team members can use bullet points to list down details with no specific priority. Using bullet points is more favorable than using paragraphs and narratives. Along with the use of bullet points, the use of headings and subheadings help readers to be guided as they read the report.
Reporting tools may present both qualitative and quantitative data. While qualitative or descriptive information can be shown using paragraphs, quantitative or numerical data is best shown using tables, graphs, charts, and diagrams.
Why Teamreporter is a great Reporting Tool
Teamreporter is an application that uses scheduled report mails as a replacement to stand-up meetings. It can be used by small teams of four members for free and signing up for an account just takes about less than a minute.
Teamreporter’s interface is automated and user-friendly, allowing users to send and receive information to and from other members of the team easily and swiftly. Teamreporter will send them e-mail notifications, asking them to send important information, such as the team’s achievements, problems, and goals. Based on their responses, Teamreporter will generate a data summary, which will be sent to the team the next day.
Teamreporter is highly flexible, allowing teams to use it in any work flow or environment. Users can also change the structure of the questions as well as the schedule of the report e-mails in the application’s interface, allowing them to work more efficiently. In addition, team members and leaders can use Teamreporter along with the existing applications used by the team with either a web-browser or an e-mail.
Team leaders can also benefit from Teamreporter in various ways. They will be able to have a strong grasp of the team’s activities and performance, along with the status of the project. Also, leaders of the team will be able to use the information from the application in assessing and evaluating teams and members, enabling them to identify those who perform well and those who need further assistance. Moreover, team leaders can also use Teamreporter’s reports when they make their own reports or their training modules.
Alternatives to Reporting Tools
While reporting tools can be helpful to the team, there are alternatives that the team can take into account when doing reports.
The use of e-mail status reports is one alternative to reporting tools. Sending reports via e-mail is an efficient strategy to disseminate information to the team easily and quickly. With just one click, team members and leaders will be able to get information and updates about the team’s accomplishments, issues, and goals.
Another alternative to reporting tools is the conduct of status meetings. While e-mail reports and other reporting applications have the potential to deliver information and updates in an easy and quick manner, holding status meetings from time to time allows face to face confirmation of information within the team, keeping every detail complete and accurate.
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