A progress report is an opportunity for managers and other team members to sync up with a team player and get an overview of project plans, goals, and deadlines. It can serve two primary purposes:
1. Track an employee's success and performance
2. Track a department’s progress toward goals
A progress report can be created solely for the manager or an entire team, helping everyone excel. Keep this in mind when introducing progress reports to your business, and make sure employees know who they're addressing.
In doing so, project managers will receive a report sensitive toward business and personal information and avoid any awkward shares of opinions company-wide.
Pro Tip: Be clear on who the audience is with your progress report so the author can deliver with the appropriate information and tone.
A progress report usually operates with a PPP methodology. Some industry giants use this methodology, proving it to be a fantastic way to monitor work progress and lead the way in project management.
Let's break it down:
Plans— These translate to your reporter's goals, and projects to reach those goals. Whether you're requesting an annual report, quarterly, monthly, weekly, or even daily report, plans always need to be included.
Problems— Not everyone wants to hear them, but they require discussion. Problems include roadblocks, tech issues, timing, or any unforeseen occurrences that need attention.
Progress— The place where most eyes go to on any report. Progress is an opportunity for the reporter to celebrate their wins and share how much closer they are to an end-goal.
A progress report can do wonders for your team's motivation levels as well as ensure things stay on track. The report opens up a channel for communication, and sometimes on topics that an employee may not be comfortable bringing up— the problems!
Introducing a progress report to your daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly routine keeps everyone in the know on how the company is progressing towards pre-established goals and the efforts people are making to get there.
As a manager, you'll have a better overview of each team member and their work. You'll also begin to see larger amounts of cross-team collaboration, and mutual company-wide respect, as people get a better understanding of each other's tasks and responsibilities.
Pro Tip: If you're creating progress reports for the company, ensure they are stored in an accessible way so that people can easily navigate between reports and remain up to date on company-wide projects.
At Slite, we're taking the work out of your work. We've created this free progress report template for you to eradicate messy excel sheets or email chains among your project team. Allow people to discuss project progress openly and give them a platform to do it on.
This template is the bare bones of a reporting structure, so feel free to take it and make it your own. Add your brand's tone of voice, style, and consider filling in the company goals and personal goals ahead of distributing.
Again, keep in mind if whether you want this to be a daily report template or within another timeframe— this will affect the information you request and the goals you include.
Some people consider progress reports to be a form of micro-management— if introduced in the wrong way. Be conscious of how you introduce your reporting structure, especially if your team doesn't usually report on specifics.
Try to answer any foreseeable faqs in your brief, and follow these best practices to make sure it's a successful onboarding of your new process.
Before you ask someone to start writing these reports, make sure you're clear on who they're writing for. This audience will affect someone's attitude & tone in the report, the language & lingo they use—or don't— and will give them a better understanding as to why you're implementing this reporting process.
As a general rule of thumb, progress reports need to be minimal. Cut the fluff to excel and define deliverables successfully. Lead by example and introduce the process minimally. In doing so, you'll set the concise tone you want others to follow when reporting. Use report examples to make your point clearer, if necessary.
Try to introduce your reporting structure with some use cases and data to prove that it works. In doing so, your new process is more likely to be well-received and onboarded. Consider reaching out to your human resources department to get some employee engagement data you can use when introducing this project management style.
Remember, progress reporting is an opening for conversations. It is not a one-way street, and it's so essential to make this clear among your team. Let team members know that this is their opportunity to raise concerns, celebrate success, and have a transparent conversation on how they feel their work is going in this reporting period.
This method can be used as a daily progress report or across any timespan you feel is the best fit for your team and their work, so make space for the conversation it generates.
There are many benefits to introducing a progress report structure to your team. Lay these out to help build your case. If you have examples that are specific to your business, that's great; use them.
In general, the benefits of using status report templates are: eradicating poorly focussed catchups or cumbersome team meetings, better aligning entire team or even business, keep a record of employee progression and development, avoid messy word documents, identify room for improvement across the business and its tools.
Lastly, if you want your progress reporting to be documented flawlessly, and kept in place alongside the rest of your company knowledge, consider introducing the reporting structure with a knowledge base tool— psst. We're right here!
A knowledge base tool will ensure your entire business is aligned and will help centralize all essential documents. Eradicate the risk of losing docs among a mess of shared or private google docs of google sheets, unnecessary duplication, or knowledge sitting solely in people's heads.
Get stuck in with progress reporting today and watch your business engagement and productivity go from strength to strength.