Top 5 Types of Project Reports

Most companies have enough reports to go around for everyone on your team to have at least two or three of their own. But, every report takes time to put together, time to maintain, time to read, and time to act upon.

It’s your job as a project manager to get to the heart of what is important for project stakeholders to know. To accomplish this below are the: Top 5 types of project reports.

Entire forests could be destroyed if we printed out all the various reports we receive each day to manage our projects. Many reports end up being either auto-forwarded to the Trash bin or they are manually deleted them any time they show up in the Inbox.

Focus on what’s important by zeroing in on these top 5 types of project reports:

Report 1: The Project Status Report The Project Status Report does just that…it provides the general status of the project. This mid-level report should be detailed enough to answer questions about the current health of the report yet not-so detailed that people who read it are lulled to sleep with trivial details. This report should answer the following four questions:

  1. Where do things currently stand with this project?
  2. What are the next steps on this project?
  3. What obstacles are in the way of this project coming to completion?
  4. What are the key metrics about this project?

Report 2: The Risk Register The risk register, or summary of the risk register, is another vital report you want to create. Risks are always lurking in the background of any project just waiting to knock it off course. The risk register identifies those risks, quantifies the potential negative impact they could have on a project, and then offers mitigations plans for each of the identifies risks.

A summary of the risk register could feed directly into the Project Status report as one of the key metrics. For example, you could show the total number of risks that are still open on a project and categorize these by severity. This will give the reader of the report a good indication as to the general state of risk that is associated with each project.

Report 3: The Issue Log The issue log report is your way of dealing with risks that have either come to realization or an unexpected event occurred. For example, the risk may have been that a particular key resource could find another job and delay the project. The Issue is now that the project is delayed because that resource did find another job. Or, an issue may be an unexpected event such as a coding issue on a software deployment that brought the software to a grinding halt.

This report should show what is ACTIVELY being done to address each issue and prioritize them by area of impact on the project. This can range from “Showstopper” to “Minor Cosmetic” and will then serve as the marching orders for everyone to follow in order to get the project back on track.

Report 4: The Executive Summary The Executive Summary is a very unique report that is written in a different language than the reports mentioned above. The Executive Summary is a high-level report that can provide a solid understanding of the project status, benefits it will yield, how the project fits into future strategies, and ultimately improves the bottom line of the company. This is written in the mindset of a busy executive who has moments to spend on one of many projects and initiatives that are under their purview.

Keep this report objective and factual. Paint a realistic picture as executives know that everything does not always go as planned. They just want to know that you have a plan for how to corral the project back to where it belongs.

Report 5: Whatever you Want This is not meant to be a flippant statement. What it is meant to be is a reflection on reality. The reality is that it is hard to have just the right report for every company, project, circumstance, or audience. It’s up to you as the project manager to combine the best aspects of each report and come up with whichever one works for you. You’ll learn over time which pieces of information are relevant on a report and get the most action and reaction from those who read them.

Make sure this report is easy to generate week after week. You want to spend more time working on what the report tells you rather than working on the report itself.

 

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