How to Write an Effective Project Report in 7 Steps (+ examples in Microsoft 365)

By: Shubhangi Pandey | Published on: Dec 1, 2022 | Categories: BrightWork 365 , Microsoft 365 , PM Best Practices , Project Reporting | 0 comments

How to Write an Effective Project Report in 7 Steps (+ examples in Microsoft 365)

Many project teams use the reporting tools in their collaborative project site to track work, identify risks and issues, and keep stakeholders informed about the project.

Simplify project reporting with Microsoft 365! [Watch Video]

Depending on the project and organizational processes, additional project reports with in-depth analysis and recommendations may also be required when a project ends.

Writing a report is a useful opportunity to evaluate the project, document lessons learned, and add to your organization’s knowledge base for future projects. Try these steps for writing better project reports.

How to Write an Effective Project Report in 7 Steps

1. decide the objective.

Take some time to think about the purpose of the report. Do you need to describe, explain, recommend, or persuade? Having a clear purpose from the outset ensures that you stay focused, which makes it easier to engage your reader.

2. Understand Your Audience

Writing a formal annual report for your stakeholders is very different from a financial review. Tailor your language, use of data, and supporting graphics to the audience .

It is also useful to consider the personal communication style of the reader, for example, how do they write emails or structure documents? Reflect their preferences where possible. You may need to develop a more formal or informal tone to your own natural style.

Adopting this technique will build rapport and make the reader more receptive to your ideas

3. Report Format and Type

Before you start, check the report format and type. Do you need to submit a written report or deliver a presentation? Do you need to craft a formal, informal, financial, annual, technical, fact-finding, or problem-solving report?

You should also confirm if any templates are available within the organization.

Checking these details can save time later on!

4. Gather the Facts and Data

  Including engaging facts and data will solidify your argument. Start with your collaborative project site and work out as needed. Remember to cite sources such as articles, case studies, and interviews.

5. Structure the Report

  A report typically has four elements:

6. Readability

  Spend some time making the report accessible and enjoyable to read. If working in Word, the Navigation pane is a great way to help your reader work through the document. Use formatting, visuals, and lists to break up long sections of text.

The first draft of the report is rarely perfect so you will need to edit and revise the content. If possible, set the document aside for a few days before reviewing or ask a colleague to review.

Automate and Streamline Project Reporting with Microsoft 365

Project reporting can often be a laborious and time-consuming task. Especially on a project where there are so many moving parts and different people involved, getting a clear picture of what’s going on can be quite difficult.

That is why we recommend moving to a cloud-based solution for project management and reporting – and you might have guessed it: we recommend Microsoft 365!

Why use Microsoft 365 for project reporting?

There are many benefits to using Microsoft 365 as the platform for your project management reporting, including:

Ways you can use BrightWork 365 for Project and Portfolio Reporting

BrightWork 365 is a project and portfolio management solution for Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform. Here five ways you can leverage BrightWork 365 and Microsoft 365 for more efficient project reporting:

Capture Project Status Reports in a few minutes

BrightWork project sites have a “Status” tab, where the project manager can capture what is going on in the project right now. This is not a status report, but rather a place for the PM to log what the status looks like at this time. It is not a snapshot, as it will be changing regularly, but the info here will become part of the status report once the PM chooses to create one.

how to make good project report

The Status Reports tab is where you can capture a snapshot of the project status at a point in time. It will bring in all the info from the “Status” tab, but you have the ability to add comments

how to make good project report

This will also create a new entry in the status report log, and create a Word document version of the report as well. This status report can also be emailed to stakeholders as needed.

how to make good project report

Track the project schedule with Gantt

At some point during project planning, you would have agreed the project plan and Target finish dates or deadlines for the tasks. The plan timeline is clearly laid out in the BrightWork 365 Gantt.

how to make good project report

Nevertheless, as the project goes on, some dates and timelines may slip. And when those dates are updated it will affect the actual finish date of the project.

Project stakeholders can compare the Target (initial) dates of the plan to the initial plan by viewing the project plan against the original baseline.

how to make good project report

Get High-Level Visibility into Programs and Portfolios

BrightWork 365 enables a hierarchy for your project management – with Portfolios being the highest level. For example a portfolio may house all the projects in a company. Portfolios consist of many Programs, are groups of projects put together based on some common criteria (maybe business function or geography). The Portfolio and Program areas show a snapshot of the status of the underlying projects, including KPI indicators, status, dates, type etc.

how to make good project report

Surface Risks and Issues across all projects

One of the most important elements for senior executives and project stakeholders is being aware of the project risks, but especially understanding any issues that arise quickly.

I’ve heard it said before that “Senior executives don’t like bad news, but especially don’t like bad news late.” In BrightWork 365, team members or project managers have the ability to flag tasks or log issues on a project, and escalate them to the program or portfolio level for full visibility.

how to make good project report

These reports are available directly from the navigation menu on the left hand side, so anyone can can view the current risks and issues without having to wait on a formal report, enabling quicker and better decisions.

Leverage Visual and Interactive Reports

The type and format of a report often depends on the audience. For example, senior executives often want the high-level details of a project. That’s where BrightWork 365 Power BI Dashboards come in.

BrightWork 365 pushes project data to visual and interactive Power BI dashboards. These reports give an overall summary of a program or portfolio, but can be filtered and sorted any number of ways as required. Again, the benefit here is that the dashboards are always real-time, and you never have to wait to understand.

how to make good project report

The reports also enable drill-down as necessary, in case you see an issue that requires further investigation.

Spend less time on your project reports with BrightWork 365

One of the major benefits of a tool like BrightWork 365 (or any collaborative project management tool really) is that it consolidates and centralizes all project information in one system.

As team members and project manager update the project data in the solution, it is readily available to be reported on, in real-time, and in the format that is appropriate for the audience – right with the solution.

Reports in BrightWork 365 are available on a push/pull basis. Some users may like to log in and view the dashboards with all the filtering and configurability built in. Others may prefer to have a status report emailed to them on a regular basis.

BrightWork 365 removes the busy work of project reporting and surfaces the right information, at the right time, in a format that is right for the audience.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness

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How to prepare a project management report

A project management report is an essential project management tool.

It provides a summary overview of the project’s status that you can share with stakeholders, clients and team members. Ideally, the project report is just a page or two long. And it ensures everyone can quickly assess what’s on schedule, and what’s lagging behind or is overdue.

Good communication, management, and organization are central to effective  project management . Regular project management reports help to ensure your project stays on track. And you can also use project reports to manage risk, as well as monitor budgets, and timelines.

Furthermore, the project report can double up as a record-keeping tool for past decisions and actions.

The frequency of your project management report depends on the project’s size and complexity. Monthly reporting is a minimum requirement for most projects, and many produce weekly status reports.

It’s also good practice to produce project management reports throughout the entire lifecycle of the project.

What information needs to be included in a project management report?

The report’s purpose is to update all  project stakeholders  on progress and identify any major issues that might have arisen..

The detail may vary from project to project, but all project management reports should include the following information:

Project milestones

Latest project update

Current project health

The aim is to provide a high-level snapshot of where things are at. Project stakeholders want to be able to see at a glance the project’s status. Make sure your project report clearly identifies the following:

An assessment of the project’s progress against the project plan: Is the project ahead or behind schedule?

A rundown on tasks completed and what’s next in the pipeline: Is overall completion of tasks on track?

A summary of actual costs against budget: Is the budget over or underspent?

An overview of project risks and any issues identified: Has the project’s risk profile changed requiring action?

Plus, any action points or to-do items that need attention.

Tips on how to write a project management report

Keep it short and simple.  Project stakeholders don’t want to get bogged down in too much detail. The report should provide an accessible overview of the project’s status. A weekly 20-page document will simply go unread.

Be concise, and avoid technical jargon.  Not all stakeholders will be familiar with the project’s acronyms or technical terms. Make it an easy read for everyone by using everyday language.

Make it visual.  Charts, graphs, and diagrams will bring the data to life, making it much more accessible. In Teamwork, project management reports are color-coded to show the status of whether it’s completed, active or late. This makes it easier for project stakeholders to see at a glance where things are at.

Be honest about progress.  If the project is behind schedule or is over budget, it’s best to be upfront. After all, the sooner a problem is identified, then the sooner it can be resolved and the project can move forward.

Highlight any action points.  Make it easy for project stakeholders. If a client, team member or stakeholder needs to do something, then clearly identify what’s required, by who and when.

Project Management Reporting: Conclusion

A well-prepared project management report is an excellent tool for keeping everyone updated. Plus, it will help you to effectively manage the project and keep it on track.

For more information and advice on project management, check out our  project management workbook .

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How to Write a Project Report: Step-By-Step Guide [+ 4 Free Templates]

By archtc on December 26, 2017 — 21 minutes to read

At some point during the implementation of a project, a project report has to be generated in order to paint a mental image of the whole project. Ultimately, a project report must maximize the insight gained with minimal effort from the reader. Apart from describing its results, it must also explain the implications of those results to the organization and its business operations.

How to Write a Project Status Report:

The most common type of project report, a project status report provides a general state of the project to its stakeholders. It quantifies work performed and completed in measurable terms. It compares this with an established baseline to see if the project is on track or; if adjustments have to be made if the project is behind its schedule. It keeps everyone on the same page and manages each other’s expectations.

Project status reports are accomplished to serve the following purposes;

Status reports are most effective when they follow a standard form with predefined fields that need to be regularly updated. Doing so will save time and provide consistency and predictability of the information the stakeholders will receive about the status of the project.


For a status report to be comprehensive, it must include the following elements:

Summary/overall health of the project, facts on the project progress, target vs. actual accomplishments, action(s) taken, risks and issues, keys to an effective project status report.

Risk Registers

All projects, or any activities of business, face risks. It is just a matter of how an organization identifies, assesses, analyzes, and monitors these risks. With a Risk Register, an organization is equipped with a tool to better respond to problems that may arise because of these risks. It helps in the decision-making process and enables the stakeholders to take care of the threats in the best way possible.

A Risk Register, also called an Issue Log, is iterative because it will be updated periodically depending on how often the team identifies a potential risk. It may also be updated if the characteristics of the existing potential risks change as the project progresses. 

The Risk Register document contains information about the following:

Risk Identification

Risk Analysis

Risk Evaluation

Using the table above, the identified risk can be ranked this way:

Risk Treatment

Keys to an Effective Risk Register

Project Closure Report

As the end of a project, a Project Closure Report signals its culmination. Its submission officially concludes a project and implies that funds and resources will no longer be needed, and everything will go back to its status prior to the implementation of the project.

This process is critical as it will officially tie up all loose ends and prevent confusion among stakeholders.

This particular type of project report summarizes information on the project results, the criteria used to measure the effectiveness of the project delivery process, and the feedback from the stakeholders. Each performance metric includes an assessment and a narration of how the team performed on such metrics.

This performance metric describes how the team utilized the budget in carrying out the project effectively. Under this performance metric, the following aspects are measured:

Component Breakdown

Budget variance, explanations for key variances.

Describe how the team implemented the project within the expected time frame and schedule.

Overall Project Duration

Schedule variance, the explanations for key variances, change management.

This metric refers to the team’s ability to handle and manage changes throughout the project’s implementation effectively. It is measured through the following:

Total Number of Changes

The impact of the changes, the highlight of changes, quality management.

This particular metric refers to the team’s ability to observe and comply with quality standards during the project’s implementation.

Total Number of Defects Identified

The explanation for resolved defects, risk and issue management.

This metric deals with how risks and matters that occurred during project implementation were handled and resolved by the team. Key points to include are the following:

The impact of the Risks and Issues to the Project

Human resource management.

This refers to the team’s ability to carry out the project effectively.

Project Organization Structure

This metric looks at how the stakeholders participated in the project.


Communication management.

Under this metric, communication throughout the duration of the project is assessed.

Communication Management Plan

Lesson Learned

Other Metrics

Other points of interest may not have been captured in the Project Status Report and may be included in the Project Closeout Report. Some of these factors include:

Duration and Effort by Project Phase

Benefits realized, benchmark comparisons, keys to an effective project closure report.

Executive Summary

A little bit different from the types of project reports previously mentioned, an Executive Summary  is a distinct kind of report which uses different language. It is a high-level report which aims to provide a bigger and deeper understanding of the project—how it will benefit the organization and how it will fit into future business strategies. It is written with a busy executive in mind, someone who has a lot of important things to do and may find reading a lengthy piece of prose a waste of precious time. Factual and objective, this particular type of project report must be able to provide a realistic status of the project, as business executives understand that everything may not go according to the plan.

Some may confuse an executive summary with an abstract but, in reality, they are clearly distinct from one another and serve a different purpose.

An abstract is usually written for academic or scientific papers. It is written with a topic sentence which, generally, gives an overview of what the article is about. It is, then, supported by two or three supporting sentences which support the main idea of the topic sentence.

An executive summary, on the other hand, is composed of different sections discussing almost every significant aspect of an undertaking. It consists of sequentially arranged key points supported by conclusions and recommendations. Check our in-depth article on how to write an effective executive summary .

Things to Remember in Writing Project Reports

Here are some of the principles that need to be observed in writing an effective project report;

Write for the reader

The report should have a structure, ensure that the report is evidence-based and is supported by data, make it as objective as possible.

There is a clear distinction between facts and opinions . These should never be used together, especially if the report is dwelling on a failed project. The report becomes subjective if it reflects personal opinions of the writer. Make it objective by eliminating all parts which are not based on facts and real events. If it is really necessary to include a personal view or opinion, make sure to explicitly identify it as such. A separate section of the project report may be devoted to the writer’s personal opinion to keep the rest of the report unbiased.

There are a number of ways project reporting helps an organization, a team, and even the project itself and here are some of them:

It tracks the progress of the project

It helps identify risks, it helps manage project cost, it gives stakeholders an insight on how the project is performing, project report template: free download.

project status report

Click Here to Download Project Status Report XLSX

project update report

Click Here to Download Project Update Report DOC

project updated report 2

Click Here to Download Project Update Report 2 DOCX

general project report

Click Here to Download General Project Report DOCX


Templates on ProsperForms:

project status report form template

Edit and use this template

monthly status report form template

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How to write a project report - guide & templates, table of contents, what is a project outline, what is a project report.

A project report is a document created for a team or company that ensures a project stays on track. The project report should describe progress, milestones, and roadblocks.

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Why is a project report important?

Project Reports are a core part of any project management process. There are a few key documents necessary for successful project progress, and a project report is undoubtedly one of them.

Alongside a project plan, a project report holds significant weight in justifying budgets, team members, tools, and other resources. In this article, we'll explore one of the two types of project reports any project manager needs to be able to write.Report number one is an ongoing project status report ; this report will be needed on more than one occasion throughout a project's life span and explores the overall progress of the project.

Report number two is a project completion report ; this report comes at the end of the project and wraps everything up.

We've also provided a range of project report templates that you can adapt to your project and project report type that you need.

2 types of project reports

A Complete Guide to Project Reports

Why write a project report in the first place.

This report is so crucial in keeping key players up to date - we'll explore who exactly you need to be writing for in the next point. A project status report is needed to give a summary of a project , significant changes, and to keep a record of the project's progress.

A project status report adds milestones and target reminders to the process. Without the report, many project teams will struggle to keep up the momentum on long term projects.

Who prepares project reports?

A project status report is typically prepared by insiders who are involved in its day-to-day workings. Usually this is the project management team, a body of project managers and department executives with general or specific knowledge of the project.

Who is a project status report for?

A project report will need to be written for different people; each stakeholder will require different information that's important to them - remember this when putting together the progress of the project. It's not a one size fits all situation.

You may be dealing with sensitive information that could damage relationships or even severe them if put in front of the wrong eyes. At the same time, you could be releasing information that isn't relevant to certain people; in receiving an onslaught of information someone may miss the data or info that is specifically important for their eyes.

Different people that need to see an ongoing project status report:  

When to write a project status report?

This largely depends on the timeline (or predicted timeline for that matter) outlined in your project manager reports . If your project is expected to run over a few years, it may be best to create quarterly project status reports. However, if your project is set to run around six months to a year, monthly is recommended.

For all of the help that project status reports provide, it's important to remember that they can be pretty time consuming to make. We've provided a sample project report in this article to make your job easier; however, it's still a process. Click here to view our project report sample gallery .

For all the time a project manager is putting into a status report, they're not putting the work into managing their team. Pick a regular period to deliver the report in and put it in the Gantt calendar. Be conscious of the time it consumes, and try to stick to the real-time delivery dates.

In doing this, you'll save a lot of time with unnecessary communication from different players. Questions like "What’s the status of XYZ?" "How's the budget looking for XYZ for the project?" can all wait for the regular report- leaving the team to focus on their job.

How to write a Project Report in 7 Steps

Step 1: define your objectives.

Clearly state the purpose of the report and explain why it is necessary. Defining your objectives and providing smart goal examples can help you stay focused while writing and keep those reading the report engaged and informed.

Step 2: Have Your Audience in Mind

When writing project reports, tailor the content and your tone of voice to the audience as much as possible. Use impactful graphics and important data to connect with the people who will be reading this report.

Step 3: Write the Outline

Before you start writing, first create a list of all the sections in your report. For more details, check "What to Include in a Project Status" below, or take a look at our status report templates .

Step 4: First Draft

After your outline and analysis, you can start a rough draft.  As the name suggests, it doesn't need to be perfect. If you are looking for a tool to help you put together project reports, try our document editor .

Step 5: Fine Tune Your Analysis

As time permits and new information comes in, fill in any data gaps or highlight any current or potential issues you find. Use the 'Findings' section to focus on the values, and make clear any limitations of the analysis.

Step 6: Recommend Next Steps

Once you have completed your data analysis, you will be able to propose actionable ideas towards the project's mutually desired outcome. The more solid your analysis and findings are, the more credible your project reports will be.

Step 7: Polish for Distribution

Before you send your report, proofread for grammar, spelling, and typos so that your final document looks as professional as possible. If you're sending the report in a group email, keep an eye on the file size.

What to include in a project status report?

Depending on who you're writing the report for, this will change. However, there are a few core elements to include for the project progress , despite who is reading the project report. ‍

Executive Summary

If you are wondering how to write a report about a project, start with an executive summary. Short overviews provide the reader with the essential takeaways from the report without having to read all the project details. Executive summaries are very helpful for those who need a quick glance at the project's general direction without wading through a lot of data.

Project Progress

In the project status report, the project's progress is tracked with real metrics. This provides an overview of the project's status and budget and also identifies potential risks and issues. This data-driven approach provides project management with feedback and enables them to make adjustments.

It's important to document all of the resources you had mapped out in your project plan . What do you have left still available? What have you used and found insufficient? Of what resources do you need more? This can include project management tools and physical resources like software or a PDF, but also human resources.

Timelines and targets

It's essential to give everyone an overview of your project timelines in these status reports, especially those that are outside of your project team and not using the project management software you're using.

At this point, be realistic with your timelines, not optimistic . Refer back to your Gantt calendar to help with this. Save your optimism for team meetings to spur your project team on in working more efficiently and hitting deadlines. In the reporting part, you need to be honest with your timelines and deliverables, both with the goals you have or have not hit and those you expect to be on time with or not.

Many players further down the line will be working on the information you provided in this section of the project reports, it therefore needs to be accurate so they can manage their workload and be available on the predicted date.

Notable changes

This can radically vary but needs to be anything notable that's happened and is no longer abiding by the initial project plan. If you're using editable report samples for projects rather than a PDF, you can go back and edit your project plan to accommodate changes.

However, it's not recommended. You can't guarantee that your team will continuously be referencing the initial project plan once they've got a clear scope of what they need to do for the entire project.

Funding & budgets

The project manager should use the time dedicated to a project status report to reflect his or her budget. Accounting skills are vital for a project manager's success, and being able to handle a large budget will come in handy when it comes to managing the overall funding of a project.

In this part of the report, give a clear overview of expenses, predicted expenses, and visually highlights where you were over or under budget in real-time. The team can learn from this, not only for future projects but even for next month's project management status report.

Team performance

Use goals and targets to quantitatively identify if the team is performing well. While doing this, it's essential to consider the hurdles they've had to jump along the way. Have they faced exceptional circumstances that were not planned? If so, how did they cope and react to these challenges?  

Risk management

This is the final part of the Project Status report and one of the most important skill sets for a successful project manager: Risk Management . A project manager needs to have a certain amount of hindsight at play in their everyday work and be able to give an executive summary of all risks.

In the project status report, give an overview of any predicted risks and try to display them tiered so that any reader has a clear overview of what the greatest risks are right through to very low-level risks, and what can be done to prevent them. Always have a Plan B and adapt it every time a project status report is created.

The risk management report is often best accompanied by a risk analysis meeting. Come out of your meeting with detailed meeting minutes and use your team's knowledge and perspective to give a comprehensive overview of all the risks at play.

Project status preview

Project Report Examples

There are several different types of project reports. Here are some project reporting examples of the most widely used types.

Project Status Report

A project status report is used to communicate the project’s progress and to ensure that all parties involved are kept in the loop. Project status report examples include updates to all stakeholders as the project progresses, amended project plans, and notifications of any issues or risks that have arisen.

Project Tracking Report

Project tracking reports provide real numbers, metrics, and other key indicators of the project's progress. Tracking project report examples include data concerning project status, tasks, team performance, completion rate and other metrics in a comprehensive report.

Project Performance Report

Project performance reports are a more specialized project status report. Examples include overviews of progress, resource allocation, and costs. Project performance reports help monitor the project's current direction and forecast its success. Using performance reports, the team can address issues that are holding the project back.

Project Health Report

Project health reports are an example of project management reports that help identify potential issues before they occur, saving the firm money, time, and resources. When project sponsors and supervisors are notified of risks, they can adjust strategy accordingly before problems manifest.

Project Summary Report

You are writing for busy people when you prepare a project management report. Examples of tasks completed and financials let them see important data quickly, then allocate their time to sections that directly concern them. A project summary report should highlight key milestones and point out upcoming tasks.

Project Time Tracking Report

Project time tracking reports can help project managers gauge their teams' efficiency and identify areas for improvement. For example, project reports can show which parts of the project are requiring more time to complete and reallocate resources from issues that are requiring less hours than expected.

‍ Best practices when writing a project report

Wondering how to write a report on a project effectively? Look no further, we've got you covered!There are a few things you need to remember when putting together a project report to help ensure it's efficient and supports the project's success.

Knowing how to write project reports successfully is largely dependent on honesty.

There is no use in hiding deliverables or viewing the truth through rose-tinted glasses. You're not creating a presentation to win someone over here; you're creating a factual report to make sure everyone has as clear an overview as possible.

Stay honest throughout your reporting, give accurate numbers (don't round up or down), and don't make excuses. Remain critical.

Give as much information as possible

This comes at your judgment, but the more relevant information, the better. A project manager will have a fantastic overview of a project and the current status. For that reason, they're the best person to put together a project status report.

However, a project manager shouldn't be afraid to let team members fill in parts of the report if they have a better overview of a particular task within the project. Assign different areas of the project report to different team members and then review everything before the report is submitted.

Write clearly

Clear and concise writing skills are so crucial in making sure your project report is understood. Don't view the project status report as something you just need to get done and delivered.

Review it, make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. You'll be surprised at what the power of a comma can, do. See? Make sure the read of your report is as smooth as your project management skills.

Celebrate success

For all of the faults, risks, and problems you report in your project status report, it's essential to document your successes. A project is a rollercoaster. There will be ups and downs and spirals and flips. Identify which of these are wins and celebrate them.

By celebrating success, you will lift the morale of the project team and remind the project manager of what has been achieved so far.

Write for aliens

A proper project manager report example will be accessible for a wide audience.You'll be writing a project plan for many people, many of whom will not have had direct exposure to your team, your company, or the task/s at hand. When we say write for aliens, we mean writing for someone who has no clue what's happening.

Even the simplest of abbreviations or presumptions can be interpreted as something entirely different by someone else. Leave no room for error or misunderstanding.

Don't be afraid to use visuals

Visual support is fantastic for getting your point across or displaying information more clearly in a project status report. Visual aids can break up the monotony of the report if there's a lot of copy, which will be a welcomed relief on the eyes of any reader.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and for a good reason, if you're struggling to get your point across, then look for an example of it online. Use visuals as a supporting example of what you're saying.  

Automate processes where you can

Despite each project having its own landscape, you can surprise yourself with the amount that you can automate in your reporting process. Learn how to make the most of excel spreadsheets and tool integrations to see how you can backfill or auto-populate data into your project report.

It's these small time-saving hacks that will make your project report more efficient and better looking in the future.

A Project Report Template

Use this project report sample as a starting point for your project reports. Adapt it to your company and project needs and share it with the right people to ensure your project stays on track.

Project Report Template

Clément Rog is working in our Marketing team from Lyon, France. He loves geography, playing legos with his son, and sharing convictions about marketing or design.

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Project Report: What is it & How to Write it?

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We all know – the struggle of creating project reports is real! It is a complicated process that can either build or destroy your entire project.

No matter how extraordinary your project idea is, or how wonderfully one of your projects performed, creating a compelling project report isn’t easy.

The risk of analyzing the wrong data, taking the wrong path, or drawing up the wrong conclusion – it’s always, always lingering upon you.

So, if you’re standing on the edge, knowing you need to craft a project report, but also feeling a little uncertain about how to begin – you’re at the right place.

In this article, we will tell you what a project report is and the things that you need to include in it. We will also tell you about a tool that will help you write one in no time. Let’s roll!

What Exactly is a Project Report? (Definition)

A project report is a written document that encapsulates all the essential information related to a particular project – from goals and objectives to analysis and recommendations.

This report helps you transform a business idea or plan into a productive venture, without any confusion or chaos. Along with defining the strategies for project execution, it helps you implement them properly.

You should always create a well-detailed project report. Why? Because you can’t dive into starting a project without giving much thought to your goals, your plan of action, your strategies, and the big picture.

Still not convinced? Well, let’s explore a few more reasons why you need to spend your valuable time creating this one report.

Reasons Why You Should Create a Project Report

Yes, creating a project report is a crucial part of starting or managing a project, but not for the reasons you might think. Most people assume that a project report is meant to raise money for a particular project, or get a sponsor. It is true, but that’s not the only use of a project report!

In short, it’s not just about the funding. The process of writing a project report and putting it together is much more valuable. When you’re writing a project report, you discover and understand what it’s going to take to make your project successful. It gives you clarity about your ideas.

After all, before you can explain your ideas and strategies to your friends or investors, you should be able to explain the idea to yourself! Home Page CTA

Secondly, spending a little time on planning and creating a project report would drastically reduce the risk of losing money and making silly mistakes. Of course, you could jump right in and start the project without a plan, but you’d be more likely to waste time, money, and resources.

Lastly, creating a project report increases the chances of your project being successful. Over the years, several studies have proved that companies who plan are much more likely to be successful, get funding and achieve their goals – in comparison to the companies who don’t plan.

Excited to create project reports? We know you are! So, without further ado, let’s learn how to actually create an amazing project report.

Read more:  Project Timeline: What is it & How to Create it? (Step By Step)

How to Create a Good Project Report? Follow these Steps!

Step 1. set the objective.

First things first, you need to figure out why exactly why you’re writing the report and what’s your end goal. Do you want to describe something to your team or do you want to persuade the upper management?

Once you set a clear purpose and objective, it would be easier for you to stay focused while writing the project report. The result? You would be able to write a much better and more engaging report!

Step 2. Understand The Reader

A formal annual report would be very different from a status report, right? So, while writing your report, always keep the reader in mind. This way, the reader would become more receptive to your ideas.

Basically, tailor your language, data, and graphics according to your audience. Don’t forget to consider their communication style, for instance, how they write emails and structure their documents.

Step 3. Know The Format

Before you start writing the project report, don’t forget to check the format and type of the report. Is it a formal, informal, technical, annual, financial, or fact-finding report?

Also, confirm if any project report templates are available within your organization, or if there is a specific structure that you need to follow while writing the report. This would save you a lot of time in the long run!

Step 4.  Collect All The Facts & Data

By backing up your arguments with facts and data, you can solidify your project report. Moreover, you should also cite sources such as case studies, interviews, and articles.

Including data, facts, and figures in your project report is most crucial when you are writing it to persuade someone about the project, or when you’re giving a status report.

Step 5. Structure the Report

Once you are done with understanding the nitty-gritty of the report and collecting all the data, it is time to structure it. Generally, a report has four elements:

Executive Summary: Even though this is the first part of the report, it’s written once the report is finished. As the name suggests, this part comprises a brief about what’s written in the report.

Introduction: In this section, you need to provide a context for your report and the scope. In addition, you also need to outline the structure of the contents and mention all the methodologies you’ve used.

Body: In this part, you have to put your writing skills to work. This is undoubtedly the longest part of your report and it should include everything from data & analysis to recommendations.

Conclusion:  This is where you need to compile all the elements of the report in a clear and brief manner. You should also mention the next steps and actions that you want the readers to take after reading the report.

Step 6. Edit & Review

Spend some time formatting your report and making it enjoyable to read. No one likes to read long blocks of text, so use formatting, visuals, and lists to break them up.

Remember, the first draft of the report can’t be perfect! So, do not forget to edit and revise the content until you’re sure that it is error-free. You can also ask a colleague for a review!

So, now that you know the basics of what a project report is and how to create it, let’s check out some really cool use cases of project reports.

Read more:   Performance Report: What is it & How to Create it? (Steps Included)

A Few Use Cases of Project Reports

1. project health report.

A project health report outlines the problem areas or any other risk involved with your project. It helps you find out any problems before they happen – which ultimately saves you time and money.

2. Project Summary Report

As the name suggests, a project summary report gives you a quick peek at your project. It’s a concise report that covers all the key highlights of the project, including completed and upcoming tasks.

3. Project Status Report 

A project status report can be used to share the status of your project, in line with the original project plan. This report gives the stakeholders information about the project’s performance, updates, and developments.

4. Project Time Tracking Report

This report helps your team and all the stakeholders to understand the time allocated for each task in a more efficient manner. It’s a useful report to gauge your team’s efficiency and the areas that need improvement.

5. Project Tracking Report

This report gives you all the numbers, metrics, and other data that you can use to measure your project’s progress. It also covers your project’s status, team performance, and more.

6. Project Performance Report

A project performance encapsulates the progress of your project, the budget, and a breakdown of allocated resources. It helps you monitor the status of your project, and whether it’s headed in the right direction or not.

Phew! Creating project reports can be a complicated and cumbersome process. Luckily, we have something to make your life easier. Whether you need need to create basic project reports or super complicated ones, is just what you need.

Create Project Reports & All Other Documents On is the easiest, most convenient way to create project reports and every other kind of document that exists on Earth. With Bit, you can create project reports in no time. Just focus on the content because Bit is going to handle every other aspect of your report – from designing to formatting. Project report creation tool

1. Stunning, Fully Responsive Templates: Whether you want to create a sales project report or an annual report – there’s a beautiful template for that on Bit. With over 90 pre-built and fully responsive templates , Bit has turned the painful task of creating reports a walk in the park.

2. Design Automation: Writing projects reports isn’t easy. It takes so much effort that you end up having no energy to make the report look appealing. Luckily, Bit solves that problem for you with its design automation feature. With just one click, you can change the look of your entire document, its layout, and color too!

3. Interactive Documents:  Bit lets you add PDFs, charts, videos, maps, surveys/polls, charts – basically all kinds of rich media in your documents. Right now, there are over 100 rich media embed integrations on Bit! So, why give someone a boring, static project report they’ll never open when you could turn it into something much more engaging?

4. Real-Time Collaboration : Project reports are important documents, and creating one on your own is a little difficult. That’s why this feature of Bit is the best. Using Bit, you and your team can collaborate on the reports in real-time, no matter where everyone is located. You can co-edit, make inline comments, access version history, chat via document chat, @mentions, and much more!

5. Smart Workspaces : Organizing and managing all your project reports can be a pain, but Bit is here to take the pain away. Bit lets you create as many workspaces as you want around different teams and departments, invite guests into the workspace, and manage everything much more efficiently!

6. Tables: It’s better to show all the data and figures in your project reports via tables. This way, everyone who reads your report would be able to grasp the complex figures in a quick glance. On Bit, you can create wonderfully designed and fully responsive tables with the click of a button. The colors of these tables automatically change according to the colors of your document’s theme!

Wrapping Up

Creating project reports is at the core of every business. It is essential for evaluating the feasibility of your ideas and plans, and for proving that your strategies are working.

Yes, we know you have a thousand other things to do when you are running a business, but creating project reports should always be one of those things.

Got anything to ask related to creating project reports or using Just hit us up on Twitter @bit_docs. We would be happy to help you out. Cheers!

Further reads:

KPI Report: What it is & How to Create a Perfect One?

Weekly Report: What is it & How to Create it? (Steps & Structure)

Project Objectives: What are they & How to Write them Effectively?

Project Documentation: What is it & How to Manage it?

Project Summary: What is it & How to Write it!

Formal Report: What is it & How to Create it!

Consulting Report: What is it and How to Create it?

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Top 9 Writing Checkers Every Writer Should Use!

How to Ace the New Hire Onboarding Process?

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how to make good project report

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how to make good project report

Create a Project report

With Project, you can create and customize striking graphical reports of whatever project data you want, without having to rely on any other software. As you work on the project, the reports change to reflect the latest info — no manual updates required! See a list of all reports and how you can use them.

Click the Report tab.

In the View Reports group, click the type of report you want and then pick a specific report.

For example, to open the Project Overview report, click Report > Dashboards > Project Overview .

Dashboard menu on the Report tab.

The Project Overview report combines graphs and tables to show where each phase of the project stands, upcoming milestones, and tasks that are past their due dates.

Project Overview report

Project provides dozens of reports you can use right away, but you don’t have to let that limit your choices. You can customize the content and the look of any of the reports, or build a new one from scratch.

Work with your report

Change the data in a report, change how a report looks, make your own report, share a report, make a new report available for future projects, more ways to report project info.

You can choose the data that Project shows in any part of a report.

Click the table or chart you want to change.

Use the Field list pane on the right of the screen to pick fields to show and filter information.

Chart Elements button

In the Project Overview report, you could change the % Complete chart to show critical subtasks instead of top-level summary tasks:

Click anywhere in the % Complete chart.

In the Field List pane, go to the Filter box and pick Critical .

In the Outline Level box, pick Level 2 . For this example, this is the first level of the outline that has subtasks instead of summary tasks.

The chart changes as you make your selections.

Project Overview report with Chart Data pane open

With Project, you control the look of your reports, from no-nonsense black and white to explosions of colors and effects.

Tip:  You can make a report part of a split view so you can see the report change in real time as you work on project data. To learn more, see Split a view .

Click anywhere in the report and then click Report Tools Design to see the options for changing the look of the whole report. From this tab, you can change the font, color, or theme of the whole report. You can also add new images (including photos), shapes, charts, or tables here.

Report Tools Design tab

When you click individual elements (charts, tables, and so on) of a report, new tabs appear at the top of the screen with options for formatting that part.

Table Styles group on the Table Tools Design tab

Drawing Tools Format tab. Format shapes and text boxes .

Picture Tools Format tab. Add effects to pictures .

Table Tools Design and Table Tools Layout tabs. Configure and tweak tables, like you would in other Office programs .

Chart Tools Design and Chart Tools Format tabs. Configure and tweak charts.

Say you decide that the % Complete chart in the Project Overview report needs a facelift.

% Complete Chart on the Project Overview report

Click anywhere in the % Complete chart, and then click Chart Tools Design .

Pick a new style from the Chart Styles group. This style removes the lines and adds shadows to the columns.

Chart Styles group on the Chart Tools Design tab

Give the chart some depth. Click Chart Tools Design > Change Chart Type .

Change Chart Type button

Click Column > 3-D Stacked Column .

Change Chart Type dialog box

Add a background color. Click Chart Tools Format > Shape Fill , and pick a new color.

Shape Fill color options menu

Change the bar colors. Click the bars to select them, then click Chart Tools Format > Shape Fill , and pick a new color.

Move the numbers off the bars. Click the numbers to select them, and then drag them upward.

Just a few clicks make a big difference. And we only scratched the surface of the formatting options.

Formatted % Complete chart on the Project Overview report

Click Report > New Report .

Pick one of the four options, and then click Select .

Give your report a name and start adding information to it.

New Report menu on the Report tab

Blank     Creates a blank canvas. Use the Report Tools Design tab to add charts, tables, text, and images.

Chart     Project creates a chart comparing Actual Work, Remaining Work, and Work by default. Use the Field List pane to pick different fields to compare, and use the controls to change the color and format of the chart.

Table     Use the Field List pane to choose what fields to display in the table (Name, Start, Finish, and % Complete appear by default). The Outline level box lets you select how many levels in the project outline the table should show. You can change the look of the table on the Table Tools Design and Table Tools Layout tabs.

Comparison     Sets two charts side-by-side. The charts have the same data at first. Click one chart and pick the data you want in the Field List pane to begin differentiating them.

Any of the charts you create from scratch are fully customizable. You can add and delete elements and change the data to meet your needs.

Click anywhere in the report.

Click Report Tools Design > Copy Report .

Copy Report button on the Report Tools Design tab

Paste the report into any program that displays graphics.

Tip:  You might need to resize and line up the report when you paste it into its new home.

You can also print the report to share it the old-fashioned way.

Use the Organizer to copy a new report into the global template for use in future projects.

See a list of all reports and how you can use them.

Compare actual work against your estimates with burndown reports .

Create a timeline of key tasks and milestones.

Set the status date for project reporting.

Visual reports allow you to view Project information graphically using enhanced PivotTables in Excel 2010. Once Project information has been exported to Excel, you can customize the reports further with Excel 2010 enhanced PivotTable features, such as filter slicers, searching within PivotTables, sparklines within PivotTables to show trends instantly, and OLAP write-back improvements.

Available visual reports

The report templates in Project 2010 are divided into six categories in the Visual Reports - Create Report dialog box, which you can access by clicking Visual Reports in the Reports group of the Project tab. The following sections provide descriptions of the visual reports in each category.

You can also create your own custom reports. Custom reports will appear in the category for the type of data used.

Task Usage category

The following table describes the visual reports in the Task Usage category. These reports are based on timephased task data.

Note:  Timephased assignment data is available in reports in the Assignment Usage category.

Resource Usage category

The following table describes the visual reports in the Resource Usage category. These reports are based on the timephased resource data.

Assignment Usage category

The following table describes the visual reports in the Assignment Usage category. These reports are based on the timephased data, similar to the data found in the Task Usage and Resource Usage views.

Task, Resource, and Assignment Summary categories

The following table describes the visual reports in the Task Summary, Resource Summary, and Assignment Summary categories. Summary reports do not include timephased data.

Create a visual report by using a template

Reports group graphic

In the Visual Reports dialog box, on the All tab, click the report that you want to create.

If the report that you want to create is not listed, select the Include report templates from check box, and then click Modify to browse to the location that contains your report.

Tip:  If you know which category contains the report, you can click that category's tab to view a shorter list of reports. If you only want to list reports that open in either Excel or Visio, select or clear the Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Visio check box.

To change the level of usage data included in the report, select Years , Quarters , Months , Weeks , or Days from the Select level of usage data to include in the report list.

Note:  By default, Project sets the level of usage data to what it recommends for your project's size. For most projects, this will be weeks. If you choose to include data at a more detailed level, report performance may be decreased. For best performance, if you are viewing multiple reports for the same project at one time, refrain from changing the data level. If you change the data level, the temporary reporting database stored locally must be recreated. If you don't need to include usage data in your reports, set the data level to Years for best performance.

Click View to generate the report and open it in Excel or Visio.

Edit an existing visual report template

In the Visual Reports dialog box, on the All tab, click the report that you want to edit.

Tip:  If you know which category contains the report, you can click that category's tab to view a shorter list of reports. If you only want to list reports that open in either Excel or Visio, select or clear the Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Visio check boxes.

Click Edit Template .

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, click the fields that you want to add or remove from the report, and then click Add , Remove , or Remove All to move fields between the Available Fields and Selected Fields boxes, or between the Available Custom Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes.

Fields in the Selected Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes are included in the report.

Click Edit Template to create the report with the modified list of fields.

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, some fields are identified as dimensions. It is important to select fewer than six dimensions for your report. If you select more than six dimensions, report performance is significantly decreased.

Not all fields are available in all reports. Some fields are only available in Visio reports, but not in Excel reports.

If you are unable to locate the field you want to include on the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, it may be stored in a different category of data. For example, many fields that you might think of as Task Summary fields are actually Assignment Summary fields.

Create a new visual report template

In the Visual Reports dialog box, click New Template .

In the Select Application section, click Excel to create an Excel template, or click Visio (Metric) to create a Visio template.

In the Select Data Type section, select the type of data that you want to use in the report.

To include timephased data, select Task Usage , Resource Usage , or Assignment Usage from the list in the Select Data Type section.

Click Field Picker .

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, hold CTRL and click the default Project fields that you want to add to the report in the Available Fields box.

Click Add to move them to the Selected Fields box.

Hold CTRL and click the custom fields that you want to add to the report in the Available Custom Fields box.

Click Add to move them to the Selected Custom Fields box.

If you have the English version of Office Project 2007 installed, you have the option to create a Visio template that uses U.S. units.

To remove a field from the report, on the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, click the field in the Selected Fields or Selected Custom Fields box, and then click Remove . To remove all default or custom fields from the report, click Remove All in the Select Fields or Select Custom Fields section.

Not all fields are available in all reports. Some fields are only available in Visio reports, and not in Excel reports.

When you have finished creating your visual report, you can choose to save it to the default template location (c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates) or to another location on your computer or your network. Templates saved in the default template location automatically appear on the Visual Reports - Create Report dialog box.

If you begin using a different language pack after saving a custom visual report template, the template remains available but is not populated. The original field names are not recognized in the new language and are not included in the report.

Export report data

You can select specific data to export within a category (OLAP cube), or you can export all project data as a reporting database.

Export data as an OLAP cube

In the Visual Reports dialog box, click Save Data .

In the Save Reporting Cube section, select the category that contains the type of data that you want to save.

Click Field Picker to modify the fields included in the list of data to export.

On the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, click the fields that you want to add or remove from the list of data to export, and then click Add , Remove , or Remove All to move fields between the Available Fields and Selected Fields boxes, or between the Available Custom Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes.

Fields in the Selected Fields and Selected Custom Fields boxes are included in the exported data.

Click OK on the Visual Reports - Field Picker dialog box, and then click Save Cube .

Browse to the location where you want to save the cube data, and then click Save .

Cube data is saved as a .cub file.

When accessing cube data with Visio, the .cub file cannot be stored on a network share.

Export data as a reporting database

Click Save Database .

Browse to the location where you want to save the database, and then click Save .

The data is saved as a Microsoft Office Access database (.mdb) file.

Project for the web offers two main options for reporting: Excel and Power BI Desktop. Excel reporting comes with Microsoft 365, while Power BI Desktop is licensed separately.

When managing a project in Project for the web, export your project to Excel allows you to:

Create reports and visuals

Send a file containing project details to external stakeholders

Archive copies of your project data for audit and compliance

Print copies of your project

Here's how to export your project:

Go to and open the project you want to export to Excel.

In the top right corner, select the three dots ( ... ), then select Export to Excel .

Screenshot of the menu in Project for the web showing the Export to Excel option

When you see the message " All done! We've exported [your project name]. " at the bottom of the screen, you can look for your new Excel file where you store your downloads.

When you open the Excel file containing your project, you'll see a worksheet named "Project tasks" that contains a summary of project-wide information at the top, including its name, project manager, and the start and finish dates, duration, and percent complete for the whole project. You'll also see what date it was exported. Under that, you'll see a table of all the information for your project.

More about Excel Report options

Import and analyze data

Create a PivotTable to analyze worksheet data

Ideas in Excel

Power BI Desktop

To get started,  connect to Project for the web data through Power BI Desktop , then open the Project Power BI template  and explore the reports it includes. 

Important:  You'll need a Power BI subscription (and a Project subscription in many cases) to use this reporting tool. See the following section for details.

To use Power BI reports on Project for the web data, you need to be a licensed user of Power BI Desktop or Power BI Pro. See Power BI Pricing for more information.

To build or customize Power BI reports on Project for the web data, you'll also need Project Plan 3 (formerly Project Online Professional) or Project Plan 5 (formerly Project Online Premium).


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How to Write a Project Management Report

A project management report is a summary overview of the current status of a project. It is a formal record of the state of a project at a given time. The exact form and details may vary depending on your company and project management office requirements. Many businesses have their own project management report templates their project managers adhere to.

Depending on the size and complexity of your projects, a project management report may be required weekly or monthly. It is provided to all project stakeholders to help keep them up to date with the progress of the project and any pressing challenges it may be facing. 

Most project management reports are single-pagers but may have appendices or links to more information for stakeholders who wish to delve into the details. However, project reporting can be much more in-depth in some companies and circumstances.

What is included in a project management report?

Project management reports should include the following key characteristics no matter which business, industry, or type of project the report is for:

Identifying project information:

Key metrics of project success:

Additional information to include:

Types of project management reports

Below is a list of the most important project management reports you may need to track and report on your project status.

Time tracking reports

Time tracking reports show what projects your team members are spending time on. This helps you improve project management and communicate adequately with stakeholders about a project's progress. Time tracking reports provide useful data to improve scheduling and resource management and boost revenue, especially in professional services agencies and companies.

Project status reports 

Project status reports communicate how a project is progressing within a specific period. This helps to keep stakeholders updated on the project's progress and any emerging issues with cost, scope, schedules, or risks. You can easily compare a project status report to the project baseline or project plan to assess how well it is doing. Project status reports typically include the work that's been completed, a summary of the project’s costs and schedule, a plan for what is to follow, and any issues and risks.

Project health reports

Project health reports provide a snapshot of the status of a project. This helps to share how well or poorly a project is doing. Project health reports show what's been done, what's on schedule, and what's overdue. They make it easy to communicate to team members and stakeholders about the overall health of a project. A project health report makes it obvious if you've stayed on track or deviated far from the project plan. It brings to the forefront the most important tasks to tackle to get a project back on the intended path. Different teams and companies may have unique ways of organizing their own project health reports. 

Project risk reports

Project risk reports identify and categorize risks in a project based on their severity and likelihood of happening. This helps prioritize issues and eliminate harmful risks before they cause irreparable damage or project failure. Project risk reports communicate problems to stakeholders so they can take action. The goal of project risk reports is to catch and identify project risks before they occur. 

Variance reports

Variance reports show how a project has deviated from the project plan or baseline. This helps compare how a project is doing with the project plan and reduce any chances of project failure. With a variance report, project teams can monitor actual and planned performances and ensure they are on track with the project scope, costs, and schedules. This helps mitigate risks and implement change management procedures where necessary. Variance reports also aid in planning for future projects.

Resource reports

Resource reports are helpful for managing available resources and planning a successful project. You can use them to adjust workloads and make decisions to make the project workflow more efficient and effective. Resource reports take costs, schedule, and scope of work remaining into consideration to make the best resourcing decisions for the project and team. It’s easy to see how much team members have on their plate and redistribute work to achieve the desired results and complete the project.

Tips for effective project reporting

When writing a project management report, it is essential to keep the following in mind:

Further reading

7 stakeholders to consult before starting a new project, stop projects from derailing with wrike’s new report templates, what it means to be a digital project manager, how successful teams use project management software, basic project management.

Advanced Project Management

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Project Management Reports for Beginners: Definitions, Types, and Best Practices

by Maricel Rivera | Updated Aug. 5, 2022 - First published on May 18, 2022

Image source: Getty Images

Report cards and book reports are just some of the reports you deal with as a student.

When you graduate and join the ranks of the employed, you come face to face with a whole new list of work reports : expense reports, compliance reports, meeting minutes, annual reports, feasibility studies , employee performance reports, supplier reports, and so on.

But what are reports for, exactly?

In a nutshell, reports are information-rich documents organized for a specific purpose and audience. They provide an overall picture of a situation. For example:

In project management, different reports have different functions, too. Project managers are responsible for them throughout the project’s life cycle . In this guide, we’ll uncover the common types of project management reports and some best practices to consider when writing them.

Here are 5 tips for writing a project management report:

Overview: What's a project management report?

A project management report isn’t exactly fun to do, but it's necessary to promote project visibility, keep everyone on the same page, manage stakeholder expectations , and minimize risks.

Project reports:

More importantly, they provide the information stakeholders need to arrive at the best possible decisions.

Types of project management reports

To ensure successful projects, project managers need to stay on top of key project aspects: scope, budget, schedule, resources, risks, stakeholders, etc. Reports help them do just that.

Here are some of the most common types of reports.

1. Status report

A project status report updates stakeholders on the project status -- how it’s progressing, essentially. It disseminates key information, such as:

A project status report takes many forms, including a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation or a document with graphs and tables generated by your project management software tool .

Project status report template

This project status report template is available as a free download on Image source: Author

2. Risk report

Risks are uncertainties that can affect a project one way or another. They should therefore be communicated in a timely manner. Risk reports are critical for project risk management and may include the following information:

3. Resource report

Every project requires resources. Without the right people or the right tools, moving the project forward will be extremely difficult. A resource management report helps project managers allocate the right resources to the right tasks at the right time.

They contain information such as:

4. Variance report

A variance report shows whether the project is advancing according to plan. It compares what actually happened against what’s supposed to happen (actual results vs. planned outcome), allowing you to gauge whether or not your project is on budget, on schedule, or within scope.

5. Budget report

The budget report is a cost management tool that provides essential financial information to keep projects within or under budget. At the minimum, they should contain:

By comparing the total amount spent to date vs. scheduled spend to date, you'll know right away if the project is on budget. If it’s not, these measures can get it back on track:

What needs to be included in a project management report?

Your report should convey what you want your audience to know, particularly if you want key stakeholders to perform an action. Project reports vary from company to company, and lengths can vary from one page to 10 pages or more, depending on what your organization requires.

These are some key elements to include:

How to create a project management report

There’s no one way to write a project report. The project report format or structure will depend on the report type and the details that go with it.

But even with automation doing the heavy lifting -- think project software systems producing colorful graphs and charts in just a touch of a button -- keep these general guidelines in mind when writing a project report.

Tip 1: Write with the audience in mind

Who will be reading your report? Are they familiar with industry acronyms or the common project management terminology your team uses to communicate?

Remember, the report is not for you. If the report is for an audience with not much experience in your field of work, ditch the jargon and write in plain language. Or use the first part of the report to define the terms you'll be using so your audience won’t have trouble following along.

Tip 2: Provide data to back up your report

You want your report to be credible. Back it up with relevant, accurate, and timely data. Use spreadsheets, charts, and graphs to help your audience visualize complex data. Visual information is easier to digest than pure text.

Tip 3: Structure your report

No matter which report type you’re creating, organize the information into sections or segments. Also, put the right information in the right sections. You want your readers to be able to quickly find what they’re looking for.

Tip 4: Make your report easy to read

When writing your reports -- or communicating in general -- clarity trumps cleverness. Clients and project executives receive numerous weekly or monthly reports. Make yours easy to read and understand.

Tip 5: Distinguish facts from opinion

A report describes the facts or an actual situation and should be devoid of opinion. However, certain reports may sometimes require your personal views. If that’s the case, label which part of the report is an opinion. Better yet, create a separate section for it.

Tip 6: Clarify your call to action

If you need stakeholders to do something, be clear about:

People are unlikely to act if they don’t know what to do next or what’s expected of them.

Effective communication with reliable project reporting

Project report preparation is a vital element of project communication management -- which means your reports have to be reliable, accurate, and created with their intended audiences in mind.

It can get stressful digging through mounds of data when a report is due, but with project management software such as Airtable and , all relevant project data can be contained in one centralized workspace -- which means no chasing down team members for updates.

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Our Research Expert

Maricel Rivera

Maricel Rivera is a software and small business expert writing for The Ascent at The Motley Fool.

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