How to Create Progress Reports for Projects & Businesses?
Different formats of reports are available for projects. A progress report is one such format that presents the current status of a project in quite a detail. It helps to know and clarify if the objectives as planned have already been achieved or not, what progress has been made compared to original expectations if expected timelines have been adhered to etc. This report provides a detailed assessment of all aspects related to business needs and plans including financial benefits, strengths, weaknesses, popularity and more.
Financial Benefits: It explores how far the benefits match with the actual results with regards to sales & profits during an ongoing project or venture/project;
Strengths: What good employees can be promoted in your organization on account of their performance in various fields like Marketing, Business Development, and Finance etc. This report also serves as a tool to know the weaknesses of your organization which can be worked upon to improve your business and profits.
Progress Report vs. Performance Reports: It is the difference between Progress Report and Performance Reports.
The performance reports are mainly about work that has been completed during a certain period/time frame whereas Progress Reports are more focused on the current position along with expected outcomes & plans. This makes it clear by comparing both reports what have been done by an organization which helps management take appropriate decisions with regards to its ongoing progress stage. So, in short, we can say that Progress Reports are focused more on “forward” action plans while Performance reports focus more on “backward” action plans.
This report can be prepared in either written or graphical form with trend charts, pie charts and other graphical representations to make it more appealing & easy to understand for the reader/audience. This all depends on your audience who will be reading it; usually, managers prefer presenting graphs to long paragraphs of reports. For example, if you are required to prepare a progress report for your boss then just present him with few slides containing actual results against planned goals and short explanations about what has been done during this time frame along with expected outcomes up to date along with plans & ideas etc., instead of writing everything down as it is done in the coffee table style.
Preparation & Structure of a Progress Report:
The easiest way to understand how to create progress reports for different projects and businesses is by keeping the format the same for all kinds of the report but with just slight changes in the content depending on which kind of report you are preparing. The presentation can be in any format like Microsoft Word Document, PowerPoint Presentation, PDF etc., depending on your choice, but make sure that you maintain consistency throughout your report by keeping the font styles (size, bold/italics etc.), colour codes used for categorization (management plan red colour while financial plan blue colour etc.) and other aspects (table headers, report sub-headers etc.). The way it is presented can give a very good idea about the quality of your reports if you are not keeping consistent.