Project Reporting: Simplify It with the right tools
What do project managers do when a C-suite executive or a board member asks them to provide a project status report as soon as possible?
August 29, 2018

What do project managers do when a C-suite executive or a board member asks them to provide a project status report as soon as possible? Many panic and scramble to search for data in multiple places they stored it, or quickly have yet another meeting with their project team members to put a report together.

Project reporting doesn't have to be painstakingly difficult or cumbersome with the right planning and tools. Read on to learn more about how to make project management reporting simple, no matter who is asking.

Consider Your Audience

When it comes to the project reporting process, different audiences will favour varying types of reporting.

Your direct manager will likely want a high-level overview that shows project health and growth over time.

Board members, uninvolved in the day-to-day, may have different reporting requirements. Smart project managers will excel at presenting project progress in ways they easily understand. They’ll ensure board members have access to the overall project plan and set up standardized progress reports at regular intervals.

Investors may have a completely different mindset. For example, as potential project sponsors, possible investors of a startup will be considering the level of risk management involved. They will likely want complete and transparent reports that drill down project data on a regular basis, including:

  • Time to acquire a customer
  • Return on investment
  • Resource allocations for particular budgets, including staffing and technology costs

Different Types of Project Reporting

It's one thing to know that different audiences will expect various types of reports, but what are the common types project managers should expect? Here will we cover the most usual reporting variations, including project status reports, task status reports, milestone reports in progress and risk management reports.

Project Status Reports

Project status reports help project managers track progress towards goals and targets and measure actual versus planned project progress. These are best used on a monthly, regular basis to keep the project on track and provide insights on adjustments that team members may need to make.

Regular project status reports help update the estimated project length, monetary requirements and team labour needed to complete a project. Project managers should be careful to be optimistic and ambitious with status reports, but somewhat conservative with estimates so they don't appear to fall behind on their targets.  

Task Status Reports

Once all the project tasks are laid out with estimated timelines and deliverables on a project schedule, project managers must accurately report out on task progress, or completion percentage of each task, regularly.

For example, if you are planning a new product line launch and you have the goal of completing marketing collateral in a time frame of six months, you should demonstrate at least at a 50 percent completion status within three months to your project sponsor.

If you are far ahead of the timeline in marketing goals, but lacking in product testing, knowing where you need to realign resource allocation can be beneficial to overall project health. Many teams use different types of project reporting software to manage task completion.

Milestone Reports

Every project plan should have key milestones weaved in along the way. Reporting out on the achievement of milestones keeps the executive team and project sponsors informed, and helps motivate your internal team members for a job well done.

For example, if a startup has a goal to acquire 400 new active users in four months, each month they should be seeing at least 100 new active users. Employees should measure the churn rate and new user signups individually, and be able to report at least a 25 percent rise in actively engaged users monthly.

While milestone reports help team members and investors celebrate reaching targets, the information needs to be used to address where employees are falling short. If original milestones weren't realistic or certain team members are slacking, changes in the workflow may need to happen or duties may need to be reassigned.

Risk Management Reports

Any new business venture comes with potential risks. However, keeping a detailed, accurate project plan helps track and mitigate the most dangerous risks.

The main benefits of risk management reporting involve monitoring risks to gain the maximum amount of control over them and prescribing treatments for risks. Effective risk management reports will measure current status of key project deliverables against the original project schedule, including:

  • Current and year-to-date costs incurred
  • Progress towards major project deliverables
  • Allocation and usage of internal and external resources

Make Project Management Reports Simple With the Right Software

Traditionally, many companies have used GANTT charts in an Excel spreadsheet to flesh out a project. While GANTT charts can be helpful to plan out a project schedule and timeline, they aren't dynamic.

The charts are tedious to make and difficult to update. After a project manager creates the chart, they may store it on the organisational Sharepoint page, but that doesn't mean project progress is being actively tracked. And, if the date of one task changes, it affects the rest of the project timeline. Every scheduled completion date needs to be updated manually every time there is a change request.

Successful companies use smart project management software that makes project reporting easier, so team members can focus on getting important work done. Samewave is social performance management software that gives organisations automatic project reports in real-time, no matter where they are.

With Samewave, businesses have the advantage of using a streamlined, all-in-one project communication tool. Project information is tracked and measured seamlessly, making it easy for everyone to see who is responsible for certain tasks, increasing accountability across the entire team.

Stunning, easy-to-read project dashboards give managers and project sponsors the ability to view progress towards project goals and targets at a moment's notice. Project reports can be created, downloaded and sent to invested stakeholders with a few clicks.

If you're interested in simplifying project reporting, download Samewave today and introduce it to your team to spend less time making cumbersome reports and more time doing what matters most to your business.

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