Status reports provide qualitative communication with managers and present all necessary information in a form of a concise summary. The summary is the very first part of the report, while the main section focuses on specific details, such as the budget of the project, challenges, and accomplishments. However, the whole paper must be cohesive and clear. If your report is informative yet concise, managers will appreciate it for sure.
Gather Information on the Budget and Schedule
Usually, the budget, as well as the schedule is the most important section of status reports. Managers always need information on when the project must be completed, and what budget is required. We suggest considering the key goals of the project and dividing them into smaller goals. This will simplify the whole process of analyzing data.
List Significant Accomplishments
The main message of the status report must provide managers with an understanding of what works good, and what needs to be improved. We suggest starting with accomplishments, paying special attention to all specific details and numbers that can illustrate the progress.
As for the problems, you have to provide suggestions on possible solutions. Brainstorm on this issue and describe as many options as you can so that managers can choose the best ones.
Write a Title
The title of your report must indicate the name of the project and the period that the report covers. In case you’re working on several reports simultaneously, make sure that their titles are formatted in the same way. Before you start writing the report, get acquainted with formats used in your company.
Make a Draft
Start with a summary. This part is extremely important, since managers are often too busy to read the entire report. Your summary must deliver all important information in a concise form so that managers can get a grasp on your project from the very first glance.
Create a proper structure of your report, breaking it into several sections. Big blocks of text are hard to read and so to understand, so take your time and create a convenient structure of short paragraphs. Devote one section for accomplishments, another one for challenges, and write possible solutions in a third part.
Finalize the Report
You have to take into account personal preferences of your manager. If he or she considers certain issues especially important, you have to address these issues properly. If you want to write a really successful report, check out previous reports that were appreciated by your manager and get some ideas regarding style and structure.
Don’t forget that some managers love visual elements. Good charts and illustrations help understand dry statistics faster and better. However, include such elements only in case you’ve been asked to do it, or if they may improve your report considerably.
Many people underestimate the importance of proofreading. If you’re one of them, we suggest reconsidering your approach because correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation will add value to your report. First, get rid of all unnecessary words and sentences, making your report concise and informative. Think about the language. It must be formal because slang words may push your managers to the conclusion that you’re trying to hide something under the informal mask.
Check your report on mistakes but don’t rely solely on grammar checkers. We suggest finding somebody who is familiar with all grammar rules. Read your report out loud and make sure that all sentences sound natural. If you feel difficulties with some segments of your text, this means that it’s written not clear enough, and you may want to rewrite it.
Finally, submit your report on time. First of all, managers are busy people, so they have to find time for your report. They likely have defined a particular day in their schedule, and you must plan your work according to it. Such a situation may be even more complicated in case your project is just one of several projects that your manager works on. If you deliver it with a delay, this may lead to other delays.
Always clarify dates of reports with your managers. Usually, these dates are determined by the length of the project. Long projects often require monthly reports, while short projects may imply weekly reports, or even a couple reports a week.