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1. "Top 5 Must-Have Project Reports Every Project Manager Needs"

What Is Project Reporting?

Project reporting is one of the key responsibilities of any project manager depending if you are a senior, junior or only PM on a project. Project reporting consists of creating different types of reports to track project schedules, project budgets and project progress to keep project stakeholders informed.

No matter if you’re a journeyman or an apprentice in the project management field, it’s likely that you’ve made a project report, either by hand or with reporting tools. However, you may not know that there are several different types of project management reports, or how to specifically address those reports to particular audiences. In this blog, we’ll provide an overview of the most commonly used project reports, including examples and sample project reports you can download.

What Is a Project Report?

A project report is a document that provides detail on the overall status of the project or specific aspects of the project’s progress or performance. Regardless of the type of report, it is made up of project data based on economic, technical, financial, managerial or production aspects.

Common Project Report Types

Outlined below are the more common types of project reports that are nonetheless crucial to the successful running of a project.

1. Project Status Reports

“Can I have that status report in an hour?” It’s the kind of question project managers hear a lot. Maybe it’s from the project sponsor, your project office manager or a colleague.

This is the most common type of project report and the one that you probably find yourself working on most regularly.

You can produce status reports weekly or monthly–and during some projects, you may end up producing daily status reports during the implementation phase. The frequency depends on where you are in the project and how much there is to say. There’s not much point in reporting daily if your tasks all take over a week, as you won’t have any progress to report from day to day.

2. Project Progress Report

One of the most important project reports you’ll generate over the course of executing a project is the progress report. It’s a report that updates the information about your project, specifically if it’s meeting the baseline set by the schedule and budget. It’s another way to inform your stakeholders about where the project is at that time.

You want to be specific when making a progress report. Note the data, and then write a brief introduction that includes the title of the project, contact info, a summary of the status of the project and general information about the schedule, cost and expected completion of the project.

3. Risk Reports

Many PMs report on risks at least monthly, and the report is normally the output that comes after a risk review meeting. Of course, you can update your risk register at any time, and you should be encouraging all project team members to contribute risks to the log whenever they feel something needs recording.

The risk report should include a summary of the risk profile of the project, but how you present this is up to you. A good approach would be to only include the details for the risks that have the potential to create the most problems for your project. Then, include a statement on the lower-level risks, perhaps summarizing how you’re managing them.

4. Project Budget Report

The project budget is the amount of money you can spend to complete your project. When you’re making a budget, you try to make the most accurate estimate possible. The last thing you want is to have to request more funds from the project sponsor. At best, you’ll have to adjust the scope and schedule of your project.

To make sure you’re meeting your budget, you need to use a project budget report. The budget report captures your spending over a specific time period of time so you can compare what you planned to spend against what you actually spent. It’s a powerful tool to track your budget and keep to it.

5. Resource Reports

How do you know who is doing what and when? You could go through the entire project plan and work out the resource allocations by hand. That would take a lot of time. Or you could use your project management planning software to work it out for you. Most software tools, whether they’re standalone Gantt chart software or fully-featured project tools with integrated timesheets, will have the option to create a resource report.

The resource report shows you the breakdown of which project team member is allocated to which task on which day. They can also be used to pinpoint over-allocation problems – where a team member is allocated to more than one task. Obviously, they can’t work on two things at once, so if you don’t pick up these problems, you’ll find that your project plan slips behind schedule. Use the resource report to ensure that you don’t have clashes for individuals and reschedule those tasks as necessary.

6. Project Closure Report

Projects don’t end with the delivery of your product or service, on time, within budget and meeting the quality standards of your stakeholders. There are documents that need signing off, teams to be released and more. That’s called project closure.

To ensure all these administrative tasks are completed, you need a project closure report. Project closure is the final project deliverable, and senior management uses it to judge the success of the project. It records the final sign-off from the project sponsor and launches activities such as best practices for future projects. This process is required for all projects, regardless of their size.

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