Time’s up. You need to present what you’ve achieved so far in the project.
Except you can’t because your files are spread between five different programs and the person reviewing it doesn’t have permission to view half of them.
This wouldn’t be a problem if you had a project report template to follow.
That’s why this post will show you what a project status report is, how to use awesome tools like Filestage to present everything in a single view, and even provide a premade project report checklist to follow to create perfect reports every time.
Let’s get stuck in.
What is a project report?
Project reports can make or break your review process and, by extension, your entire workflow for efficiently getting things done.
Put simply, project reports are a way to present a project for review while including as much information as possible while keeping it easy to understand. This should allow the reviewer to deal with everything without having to search for extra information or require much background knowledge.
These reports can be in almost any format, including:
- Anything that lets you present information for the project
They’re usually aimed at higher authority figures such as managers, bosses, stakeholders, and so on. Having said that, it’s a solid method for presenting items for peer review too, since it will save your team time and confusion when trying to see the bigger picture.
It makes communication easy and simple while still presenting the key facts that matter.
What makes a good report?
Project reports are difficult to give hard-and-fast rules on because they’re so widely applicable. They can be used in reference to practically any project in any sector and during any stage of completion.
So what makes a good report?
Clear communication makes it easy to review
Through a combination of careful presentation, language choice, and the level of detail, project reports are designed to hit that sweet spot between not providing enough information and overwhelming the audience.
The amount of detail matters because you don’t want to drown the audience in unnecessary information. They need to be interested enough to pay attention, which can mean eliminating the more peripheral details to save space.
In terms of language, the same principle applies. You’re not writing to show off or impress the audience – your results should be enough to do that alone. Write for clarity and be as concise as possible.
Filestage makes a great platform for presenting your project for review for this purpose. The presentation is simple, with a full view of the project and the ability to leave comments on it directly to include extra information.
Using Filestage also means that any reviewers don’t need to have an account in order to see the report and make or reply to comments. This eliminates another stumbling point in the way of a quick and effective status report.
Set out the game plan
The person (or people) reviewing the project won’t always have in-depth knowledge of what’s being discussed. However, they shouldn’t need to in order to get the full picture.
As such, any good project report will clearly cover the following:
- What progress has been made since the last report
- Any problems encountered and whether or not they were predicted beforehand
- Whether unforeseen issues could have been seen coming and how
- How these issues were dealt with (or will be going forward)
- What the plan is for the next phase of the project
- Any resources that will be needed for this next phase
Again, all of this information needs to be set out a clearly and concisely as possible. Reviewers won’t have (and shouldn’t need) the time to check every last detail in a blow-by-blow account of what’s happened, so you need to boil it down to the bare essentials of what they need to know.
If something has gone particularly well or someone working on the project has performed beyond expectations be sure to include this. The extra recognition can serve as a great motivator to continue the good work and can affect the overall timeline.
Equally, if something hasn’t gone to plan or unexpected problems arose this also needs to be covered. It isn’t the goal of the report to place blame for mistakes but the reviewers need to be aware of the overall status and whether any additional resources or an altered deadline should be put into practice.
Have a documented project report template
As with any task which is performed more than once, it pays to have a set project report template set up. This will allow you to consistently produce reports in a standardized way, which makes them both easier to write and review.
Project report templates can be set out with detailed instructions on how to set up and complete each task, meaning that you’re never left confused or wasting time wondering what to do next. Checklists can then be run from your template to track your progress as you create the perfect report.
Your free project report template
Don’t feel like you have the time to set up a project report template of your own? Not sure where to start?
No worries. We have a premade project report checklist for that very purpose.
This template can be added to your Process Street account at the touch of a button. Better yet, it’s completely free to get and use. All you need to do is sign in.
The template itself is ready-to-use but can be edited to your needs without a hitch. This also makes it great to use as a framework to build a more personalized template, as the base information is already there and doesn’t need typing out.
Want to get even more out of your project reports and make it even easier to create and send them to the people reviewing your work? Why not let a robot deal with the busy work for you?
Automate small tasks (for project reports and more)
Business process automation is truly amazing. With it you can pass off all of your repetitive tasks and focus on the work that actually needs human thought to solve.
While it’s usable in practically any situation in any business, let’s stick to our project report template example for now.
Let’s say that you’re using Filestage to house your project document for review. You’ve imported the file, made your comments, and now all that’s left is to email a link to everyone who needs to review it.
Instead of manually opening your email account, typing the addresses of all of the reviewers, copying in the link, then sending the email, you can hand off the task to Zapier. This will automatically detect what you want to do and who the link needs to be sent to and take care of the whole thing, letting you focus on more important work.
All you have to do is set the task up once in Zapier.
Without drowning you in all of the options, all you need to do is:
- Create a new Zap in Zapier
- Set Process Street as your “Trigger” app
- Set it to detect when the “Send the review link” task is checked
- Select Gmail (or your native email app) as the “Action” app
- Tell Zapier to send a new email when the Trigger is detected
- Set it to send to everyone entered in the “Reviewer Email” form fields from your checklist
- Make the body of the email include the Filestage review link from the checklist
Altogether, this will mean that all you need to do is run through the project report checklist in Process Street and leave your comments on the project in Filestage. After that’s done, Zapier will automatically detect and send the project review link to whoever needs to see it.
Good work doesn’t have to be hard work
Having documented processes might sound like a pain at first but the long-term benefits of this are huge. Not only can you perfectly execute your processes every time no matter who is performing it or how much experience they have, you also save a huge amount of time for every checklist that’s completed.
They don’t take over your current practices – they enhance them by providing guidelines which eliminate any confusion and allow each run to be tracked effortlessly.
Combined with excellent tools like Filestage, this lets your team effectively perform all of their duties without any of the usual stumbling blocks which ruin their motivation and flow. If a problem occurs, all you have to do is alter the process to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
Simple, efficient, effective workflows. Who doesn’t want that?
Ben Mulholland is an Editor at Process Street and winds down with a casual article or two on http://benjmulholland.com/.