Throughout the life of a project, you must report on a wide variety of information. This information will be compiled into different reports and passed along to managers, investors, clients and other stakeholders. From there, reports can be used to make project decisions and adjustments.
Using project report templates, like a weekly status report template, ensure these reports are created quickly and effectively.
Why Create Project Reports?
No matter how thoroughly a project is planned, the unexpected is bound to happen. Project reports document these changes, whether good or bad, and inform future strategies. Without regularly completing project reports, valuable information and insights is missed out on.
Status reports are an example of how reporting directly impacts a project, in both the short-term and long-term. These weekly reports outline many details about a project, and using a weekly status report template can save you from leaving gaps in the information. Project report templates also keep these reports consistent and organized throughout the life of the project. Disorganized, or “messy” project reporting is a major pitfall.
Using a project report template ensures you’re getting the most from the data and presenting it to stakeholders in the right way.
Free Project Report Templates
Regardless of the project report, the document must convey information concisely—but that doesn’t mean the data should suffer. The challenge is providing information in the most efficient way. A project reporting template strikes the balance between too much detail and oversimplified reports that are useless to stakeholders.
Project reporting templates make reporting easier and data more straightforward. Each of the following free project report templates is designed for a specific purpose and focuses on different information.
1. Weekly Status Report Template
A weekly project status report does exactly what one would think — documents specific information during a project. These reports should be created throughout the life of a project in order to illustrate changes, whether than be successes or failures. A weekly status report is the first step toward understanding if a project is going smoothly.
Our weekly status report template covers all the bases and presents information efficiently. This template includes major details such as an executive summary, project milestones, issues, risks and past and future projections.
This status report template also ensures the information is presented in a way that makes the most logical sense. The executive summary defines the project and discusses goals and projections. It doesn’t make sense to present potential risks and changes to stakeholders before they’re hooked on the executive summary.
2. Project Dashboard Template
A project dashboard is one of the most widely used project management tools. Our dashboard template is a visual tool to view the project’s current status, health, calendar and more. It’s a great complement to our weekly status report template.
Project dashboards can also be detrimental to productivity if they’re overcomplicated and difficult to navigate. We naturally assume it’s best to include every piece of information on a dashboard. Really, this is a one-way ticket to an unusable dashboard.
A dashboard should include tasks, task lengths, costs and workload, but it shouldn’t necessarily illustrate the minutiae of them. Use this free project dashboard template to keep it simple without needing an oversaturated dashboard.
3. Project Progress Template
A project progress template helps project managers compare actual progress against the projections and estimates included in the project plan. A progress report is a critical project management tool that works for both tracking and reporting.
4. Risk Register Template
As the project continues, new risks are bound to crop up. There’s no way to foresee every potential risk during the project planning phase, so reporting on new issues as they appear is required. This way problems are identified before they happen and you gain a better understanding of what to look out for in future projects.
A risk register should include each potential risk and the impact it could have. It should also categorize the risk and describe what steps were taken in order to avoid it.
While many of these risks will never become reality, it’s crucial to document and plan for them. Projects without risk registers walk the tightrope with no safety net. They also don’t inform future projects. Keeping a running list with this risk register template turns risks into references for the future.
5. Change Log Template
A change log is similar to a risk register. However, in a risk register, these are potential risks. In a change log, these are actual changes that took place. A change log template is where major changes in the project, what actions were taken to resolve them when the matter was resolved and other details will be listed.
Why not add this information to a weekly status report? Because these are specific, unusual circumstances throughout the life of the project that need to be in one location.
A change log template organizes the information about changes and what steps were taken to address them in one chronological list. Remember, a project report template is supposed to be a point of reference for project managers experiencing changes in future projects. An organized change log shows what responses worked in the past and what didn’t.
6. Project Closure Template
At the end of the project, it’s time to wrap up and get stakeholder sign-offs with a project closure template. This report is the final sprint in the marathon of managing a successful project. Without this final push, all the hard work up to this point loses value.
A project closure report includes documentation of everything needed to complete the project, as well as any outstanding items that have not been completed. This report should summarize objectives, criteria for completion, successes, failures and lessons learned. It should also provide information about time spent, budget, scope and schedule.
A project closure report sometimes asks for abstract information. Listing all the major takeaways from a project sounds challenging, but this free project closure template makes it as simple as following a checklist.
The Value of a Perfect Report
All too often, projects are managed without reflecting on the successes and failures of past projects. The best projects are informed by past reports and create reports with the future in mind. Using project reporting templates means each report created is part of a larger reference for the future.
Whether reporting on agile projects, programs, products, or managing any other type of project, there is a template that will benefit your reporting and end results. This can mean simplifying your workflow and improving deliverables.
Take Project Reporting Further with ProjectManager
Using project templates is an excellent first step in the project reporting process, but templates can only take you so far.
Fortunately, you can take project reports even further by using them in combination with project management software. Online project management software such as ProjectManager has the ability to create and share automated reports with the most current data. Take a free trial of ProjectManager and see just how much we can improve your project reporting experience.
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ProjectManager is a cloud-based software that allows you to manage projects and create reports from anywhere. Import your project in minutes and create reports with ease. The ProjectManager dashboard shows an easy-to-navigate overview of your project, and our reporting tools give you the power to report on the information with the click of a button. See for yourself by taking this 30-day free trial today.