Managing different projects successfully is the key to success for any business either big or small. This is precisely why project managers need to aim to make their reports as effective as possible at achieving the aims set for them.
However, it is not always possible to create a report that will truly achieve its purpose (e.g. informing the audience, getting the project off the ground, finding funding, solving issues, etc.) Hence, here’s how to write an effective project management report.
1. Know Your Target Audience
First of all, you need to decide who your audience is – that is, the audience is the report. Who will be reading it? Will these be your teammates working on the project? Or will these be executives at your company? Or will these be potential funders of the project?
Knowing your target audience is the first step to understanding how to write your report in a way that will connect specifically with that audience. Moreover, your target audience could also determine some very important decisions you make regarding the characteristics of your report (e.g. format, structure, research).
2. Choose the Format and Type
Once you know who your audience is, you will need to choose the format and type of your report. For instance, if you will be addressing your teammates, you might want to make your report longer and include specific tasks that need to be performed.
On the other hand, if your report is meant to be read by potential funders, then you will likely need to focus on the resources and budget required to complete the project. These details will influence the kind of format and type of report you choose to write.
3. Set Goals for the Report
The next step is to set goals for your report. Keep in mind that these are goals that the report needs to accomplish – not the goals of your project. Depending on your target audience and the format and type of your report, it will need to achieve very specific goals.
For example, if you are addressing your teammates, then the primary goal of your report will likely be to inform them about the project and how to complete it. If you are addressing executives in your company, then the primary goal will be to inform them about the progress of the project or to pitch the project in the first place and get approval for it.
4. Incorporate Data in Your Report
In case you need some more preparation before you start writing your project management report, then this is the time to perform the research and data gathering. A good way to gather relevant data in reference to your project is by using a project management tool such as a virtual Kanban board that will also track your project team’s Kanban metrics. You can then use these data to share your progress, your average response time, and your team’s overall productivity during a time period. Don’t forget to sort the data you collect and only use what you actually need for the report.
5. Create an Outline for the Report
Now, you will need to create an outline for your project management report before you start writing it. This outline will guide you and help you include all the points you want to have in your report. In most cases, the overall structure of the report will include:
- Executive Summary – The summary that is included at the very beginning will have the key points or highlights of the report either as a paragraph or as a bullet-point list.
- Introduction – The introduction will need to introduce the topic of your report (i.e. the project) and give any relevant background information.
- Body – In the body of the report, you will include most of the information on the project such as the project milestones, task lists, the latest updates, etc.
- Conclusion – The concluding part can be short because it is necessary to summarize what you talked about and also make any relevant propositions.
6. Keep It Short and Simple
Keeping your report short and simple is the best way to ensure that it achieves its goals. Most people don’t have a lot of time to read these reports, so it’s best to make them as concise as possible.
On the other hand, if you need to inform your teammates about the smallest details of the project, then you can make your report as long as you consider it necessary. Including even the tiniest details could be critical for successfully completing the project.
7. Avoid Using Technical Jargon
When writing your report, try to avoid using technical jargon. Not only does this make your report more difficult to comprehend, but it can also make it unreadable, especially for those who are not familiar with the terms.
If you need help writing your report, you can hire professional writers and editors. They will make sure that the readability of your report is good and that there is no unnecessary technical jargon.
8. Proofread and Edit
Once you have written your project management report, carefully proofread and edit it. Finding these errors is essential for making your report look professional. Moreover, it is an official document, so you should treat it seriously.
9. Add Supporting Visuals
Lastly, don’t forget to add supporting visuals to your report. These will help to make the text livelier and will help your audience visualize certain statistics you use or the processes you describe. You can add graphs, pictograms, tables, illustrations, and so much more. You can even take the key parts from the text and include them as quotes here and there in a different font and in a larger font size.
At the end of the day, how good your report is will directly depend on the way you write it. With thorough preparation, you will be able to present your project’s success and achieve the results you want to achieve. Utilize the tips in this article to start creating more effective project management reports.