Every Friday, I check in; I send my trainer a screenshot of my running for the week and a photograph of the scales (weigh-in a la Biggest Loser). This is an accountability practice born out of way too much lockdown eating and drinking that had me veer off the rails in 2020, and now it’s just part of my weekly routine. Creating accountability in different parts of my life helps me stay on track. If you think about it, project reporting is another form of accountability. It allows us to lift ourselves out of the detail and focus on the important stuff of where we are going and how we are progressing.

The Importance of Reporting in Project Management

The simple act of creating a consistent time to report each week creates the opportunity to take stock and make the necessary adjustments (if needed). Adult learning is best enriched by reflection. Creating this space for reflection during the week, even if it’s on operational tasks, gives us the space to consider what needs adjusting and plan for those.

The Benefits of Project Reporting

The benefits of consistent reporting are many.

  • It creates pre-ordained, dedicated time for reflection on progress, building in a control and audit point for each week.
  • It tracks time, cost and scope and, when structured well, considers the impact on all of these areas of the project.
  • It identifies risk and allows for mitigation actions to be taken.
  • It creates visibility of the project for a group.
  • It also allows us to learn; that project reporting that identifies issues and corrective actions can be built into the next project or project phase.
  • Why is project reporting essential to project management?

When it comes to project reporting, our focus is on the timeline, risk, scope and therefore, budget, and of course, team effectiveness. This is not the ‘official’ list of project management items to be reporting, but to us, it’s the type of reporting that we have found most effective in staying the course.

The size and point in the project cycle dictate the complexity of communication and structure of the daily, weekly or monthly reporting. It’s important to adjust the frequency and audience of reporting throughout the project to keep the team aligned.

The Different Types of Project Management Reports

Below is a collection of the documents you’ll need to manage your projects. Each document contains valuable insights about the project.

Content Audience Frequency Purpose
Status report: snapshot weekly progress and articulation of issues and key decisions. Core project team and other business stakeholders (if required) Weekly or fortnightly depending on the project/ phase Keep stakeholders, and the project team informed about key aspects of the project
Stage gate/ monthly reporting: similar content to the weekly report summarized for a different audience Board or Steering committee Monthly, or as the stages of the project dictate Confirm progress before moving to the next phase
Risk report: type of risk, level of likelihood and impact assessment to the project Core project team and sponsor (escalate to Steering committee or Board if required) Fortnightly, monthly, or daily depending on the risk management need Align on management of risk, impact to timeline and required actions to mitigate and reduce.
Team availability: leave planned, % of capacity allocated to the project Core project team and sponsor Monthly Plan leave and absences and ensure coverage for activities
Timeline: detail of task and responsibility, duration, dependencies Core project team and sponsor Weekly Track progress in planning, manage availability and expectations of team members

Reporting is Learning too

Don’t forget that reporting is also a great way of testing your business outcome learnings. One of my favourite examples of reporting as a learning experience came from a recent client.

They have replaced their old very bespoke website with a new platform and, in the process, also set themselves up for better integration points, improving their inventory visibility and reducing the time and cost of their returns process. This business owner went from claiming to know nothing about eCommerce to describing a fully considered omnichannel marketing and sales plan in the space of 12 months.

He is responsible for his success; one of the great things that he brought to this project was curiosity and an openness to experimenting. Every day he tried new things, reporting and measuring what worked and what didn’t. He read widely and asked lots of people for input, filtered out what applied to them and what didn’t. He was prepared to back himself and his business to figure out how to navigate this space that he was unfamiliar with. He has built his digital confidence and sees this as just an extension of the physical store network.

A well-prepared Project Management Report is a great way to stay updated on everything going on. It assists you in successfully managing the project and keeping it on schedule while also helping you to share information with your team more quickly. We have seen that reporting is important both in projects and in life. Reporting gives us regular feedback about our progress, what is working and what is not. It also allows us to communicate our accomplishments and challenges to others. Good reporting can make the difference between success and failure in both our personal and professional lives. Over the past 10 years, I have come to realize the importance of effective communication and reporting in successful project management and delivery. 6R provides high-quality reports and offers coaching to help teams improve their communication and meeting practices. This makes 6R an invaluable partner in any project.

If you would like more information about our services, please contact me.