What is Reporting in Project Management?
Reporting is an essential aspect of project management that involves the regular communication of project status, progress, and performance to stakeholders, including project sponsors, team members, and other relevant parties. Reporting is a way of documenting and communicating the project’s performance against its objectives, including timelines, budget, quality, and scope.
In simple terms, reporting means how information is presented to the concerned audience. While communication is about using tools – oral/verbal, written, or visual – to inform the audience, reporting means presenting information in a manner appropriate to the concerned audience. Reporting is more formal, succinct, and to the point.
For example, the weekly status reports of a project that are mailed to the client will contain the completion level of the project at the week’s end. It may also contain information related to the new issues that may have cropped up.
Table of Content
- 1 What is Reporting in Project Management?
- 2 Points to consider when reporting on a project
- 3 Data Collection for Reporting in Project Management
- 4 Information Distribution for Reporting in Project Management
- 5 Reporting Performance and Progress in Project Management
Points to consider when reporting on a project
In the case of reporting, the focus is invariably on the manner of presenting the information in a concise manner that is fit for the recipients. When it comes to reporting for its projects, there are several points to be taken into account. Some of these are as follows:
- Timing of Reporting
- Contents of Report
- Accuracy and Precision of Report
- Report Contents in a Logical Order
- Validation and Verification of Report
Timing of Reporting
This is the most important point of consideration as a report that comes after it was expected will lose its significance. For example, sending the status report of the first week at the end of the month has no value as further developments will already have taken place in the project.
Contents of Report
The contents of the report must have relevance to the intended audience; otherwise, the report will not have any meaning. For example, presenting a report on the number of testing defects found and presented to the human resource personnel has no value if it comes late; such a report will result in a waste of time for the one who prepared the report, the one who read it and, in the end, for the organization altogether.
Accuracy and Precision of Report
This is yet another important aspect that needs serious consideration. The beauty of a communicated piece lies in how accurate and precise the matter is; and when the form of information is as formal as a report, accuracy, and precision become all the more important. This is because the intended recipient of the report is supposed to act upon its contents; and without accuracy, that person cannot bring to the notice of the concerned authorities the action to be taken.
This will result in the wastage of time. Similarly, an imprecisely written report will also waste time because if the matter rambles than convey the intended meaning, the recipient will first take a few reads to make sense of it and, eventually, lose interest.
Report Contents in a Logical Order
A report should be organized with proper headings and subheadings. A logical report is easy to follow and, hence, will get prompt action.
Validation and Verification of Report
A report must be verified and validated before it is shared with the intended audience. This procedure needs to be followed without fail as action on the wrong information provided may lead to unpleasant consequences. This will result in the intended audience losing faith in the reporting party.
in this section, we will discuss how data is collected for reporting on its projects.
Data Collection for Reporting in Project Management
The following are the steps that can be followed for the collection of data:
- Identification of Data
- Identification of Means and Mechanism
- Verification and Validation of Data
- Distribution of Information
- Compiling the Information
Identification of Data
The first task is the identification of the data to be collected for each of the functions or departments in the organization. this practice enables the concerned authorities to take corrective and preventive actions timely, based on the data reports so generated. in general, the following functional departments are entrusted with the responsibility of identifying and collecting data.
- Marketing Department: This department will collect the metrics related to the number of proposals that are at the negotiation stage or in the pipeline, or the proposals on which no activity has been performed as yet.
- Networking Department: This department will manage the metrics related to server uptime, the number of machines deployed for particular projects, the configuration of machines, machine maintenance history, etc.
- Software Development Department: This department will maintain the metrics related to the number of screens developed, number of pages developed, number of defects found project effort variance, schedule variance, productivity, etc.
- Quality Assurance Department: This department will collect metrics related to process effectiveness, process compliance, the number of changes suggested by development teams, etc.
- Human Resource Department: This department will manage the metrics related to the number of persons deployed in projects, the number of persons deputed onsite, the number of persons returning from onsite, etc.
- Materials Management Department: This department will manage the metrics related to the quality of the materials received, materials found defective, materials requiring repair, etc.
Identification of Means and Mechanism
Once the first task has been executed, the next step is the identification of the means and mechanism through which the metrics will be collected and stored. Thus, to execute this step, a process-based approach is applied.
This involves the formulation of processes and templates, forms, and logs wherein the metrics will be captured by the concerned individuals and posted to the centralized recordkeeping system. This centralized record-keeping system is the core of the metrics collection process and may be maintained through VSS or CVS software or any other software.
Verification and Validation of Data
Once the collected data is posted to the central repository, it is verified and validated by the concerned departmental head. If any changes are considered essential, this person carries out the necessary changes.
Distribution of Information
The information is then floated to all the concerned entities either by mailers or by any other mechanism as decided in the weekly or departmental meetings.
Compiling the Information
Finally, the organizational metrics group takes in the data from all the responsible department’s centralized repositories. The group compiles the data and prepares a baseline report for the organization. This report is then utilized for various business activities.
Information Distribution for Reporting in Project Management
Distribution of project-related information first requires the implementation of a communication management plan so that the channels of communication, ethics of communication and the individuals to be informed are all pre-set.
For information distribution, all transactions that take place during the life cycle of the project are regularly documented in the form of reports, such as weekly reports or monthly reports, so that the information can be shared or distributed to the project stakeholders as and when needed.
Apart from weekly/monthly reports, this distribution of information can be done in the form of emails, status meetings, client meetings, review meetings, etc. Alternatively, the information may be made available on a central repository system, access to which may be provided to the concerned persons or departments (only). In other cases, the information may be floated around through the intranet or the organization’s website.
Reporting Performance and Progress in Project Management
Tracking and documenting performance to regularly produce reports is one of the demanding activities of any IT project. The progress and performance report of an IT project should cover the following key points:
- The name and code (if any) of the project
- The current condition of the project
- The percentage of work expected to be completed today
- The percentage of work completed today
- The number of days the project is running behind or ahead of the schedule
- The number of identified issues, decisions, or resources required
Reporting on project performance and progress keeps project stakeholders well-informed of the progress and resources used or to be used in achieving project objectives. This is crucial because if all those associated are not updated on the latest status of the project; they will not be able to attune their performance to the current requirements, which will complicate the project situation and lead to unnecessary delays in project delivery.
The performance and progress of a project under execution can be reported in client review meetings; weekly review meetings or on an event-driven basis. Alternatively, the information can be distributed through either brown-bag sessions or informal sessions among the concerned individuals.
Best Project Management Courses
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Best Project Management Tool
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