Standard Types of Project Reports to Simplify Reporting
October 11, 2012
Best practices of reporting
There are various report types and formats that organizations use to explore the current state, gaps, and achievements within one or across multiple projects. All those reports compose part of the reporting process and help understand the health of business in terms of project performance.
However, each specific kind of report takes some time and effort for development, reading, analysis and follow-up. Obviously it would be much faster and cost-effectively for a company if standard types of project reports could be implemented in the reporting process. Several standard report formats would definitely simplify the process, while minimizing waste of time and effort and avoiding misunderstandings between managers and performers.
According to best practices of project management, the following types of report are regarded as standard and suggested for use in most projects, regardless of size, nature and purpose:
- Status summary
- Risk register
- Issue log
- Executive summary
This standard report communicates the general state of the project to the stakeholders. Its purpose is to provide the parties with a standardized summary of the current situation for further analysis and decision making.
The report highlights the effort made and the accomplishments obtained to date. Project managers use it to track the state of the key constraints (Scope, Time, Costs, & Quality) and to understand the current health of the project. The Status Summary report also provides insight into the further steps of the current project stage, describes the roadblocks to be removed, and includes key performance metrics for the stage.
A person who writes a standardized Status Summary report should be well skilled and be able to adequately appraise the current situation within a given project stage. Ideally, he or she should get appropriate training from a certified training provider, for example the Development Company, in order to obtain appropriate knowledge required for carrying out the simplified reporting process.
This standard report provides summarizes the risks that have been identified, analyzed and assessed at the project planning phase. The document demonstrates how the risks occur and develop during project implementation and what corrective actions (learn more in this article) are taken to prevent risk occurrence.
Risk Register explores an idea of general project state in terms of the risks addressed and the risks remaining unsolved. This standardized reporting document can be used in the development of a Status Report template.
The Issue Log report contains a summary of the issues affecting the project and shows how the management team deals with risks that have either come to occurrence or an unexpected event raised. The document helps decision makers review the state of current issues and understand the relationships between the issues and risks.
The standard report type tells the reader what’s being actively done to address the issues. It highlights priority per issue and describes how to solve the problems (or how the problems have been already solved).
The Executive Summary report is a strategy-wide standard type of project report that provides a sound understanding of the current state of work, the expected benefits the project is going to deliver, and how the project fits into the existing business strategies. This standardized reporting document also explores how the project deliverables will eventually improve and contribute to the bottom-line of the company.
The Executive Summary report is composed of objective data, with reference to the key points and actual performance measures. The document is submitted to business strategists for review, analysis and further decision making. It communicates the basis for understanding the current situation and developing solutions that could move the project back or forward to the point where it should be.