Project Reporting for the Accidental Project Manager

Not everyone who finds themselves tasked with leading a project has formally studied project management. If that’s you? Don’t worry. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, gives you the tools you need for proper project reporting. (This is a great refresher, too, even for the pros.)

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!


In Review: Project Reporting for the Accidental Project Manager

Jennifer noted that there are those who haven’t been trained to lead projects, but still find themselves thrown into that position. If that’s you, now what? One thing is for certain: your boss will need you to know how to report on the progress of that project.

But rather than run for the hills, think of reporting as a great tool that helps to keep your project on schedule and under budget. Project reporting is critical for the project’s success because of the following:

  • It keeps everyone on the same page
  • It provides a means for team collaboration
  • It is a source for effective communications
  • It becomes your means to build or destroy your credibility

That said, Jennifer offered advice on how to hit the road running:

  • Get an online tool
  • Ensure the data that is entered (either by you or a team member) is accurate
  • Create reports to appropriate detail
  • Use dashboards (good ones let you see the project data in real-time)
  • Know that people want reports and you need reports!

With this knowledge, Jennifer explained, anyone given the responsibility of taking a project from concept to completion will be able to drive that work to a successful conclusion.

Pro-Tip: Okay, so you know Jennifer said you need an online project management software tool, but which one? And, even more fundamentally, do you really need one? Read 5 Reasons to Switch to an Online Software Tool and decide for yourself.

Thanks for watching!


Well, today, we’re talking about project reporting for the accidental project manager. And I feel like at some time, we’ve all been there before when our boss walks in and says, “Hey, here’s your new project.” And you’re thinking, “Huh?” Maybe you’re not even a project manager. How could that be? And you find yourself managing this project.

Well, project reporting can be very empowering for the project manager. And here’s why. The project reports are critical for your project’s success. They give you insights into where you are in the project. You get to see, are you ahead of schedule? Are you behind schedule? Are you over-budget? under-budget? Have you completed things or not completed things? So it gives you great insights.

It also keeps everyone on the same page because people are looking at the same data and information. And it’s very powerful for decision-making, identifying risk, and letting everyone know where you are.It also provides a means for team collaboration. By looking at the same data, you can get people who are critical for certain decisions to get together and use that data to collaborate on things. It could be even thinking of new creative ideas on how to get something done or, again, identifying and resolving risk.

The project reports become the source for communication. You want to use the reports to communicate everything about your project.The project reports can also become the means to build or destroy your credibility. If those reports aren’t accurate, relevant, or in real time, then your stakeholders, executives, and your team can lose trust in you.

So here are some things you want to look at, the best practices for how to get on your feet quickly when you find yourself in that role as the accidental project manager.Well, first of all, you want to get an online tool, and you want to get it fast.You want to ensure that the data that’s entered in there by your team member and all parties is accurate, relevant, and real time. Otherwise, the people looking at and assessing that information, it can create chaos and have people doing things at incorrect times.

You also as a best practice want to create the reports at appropriate level of detail. For instance, your stakeholders and executives aren’t going to want the same level of detail that your team members do. And your team members are more concerned about the task and information dependencies that impact them to get their work done.

You want to use dashboards, graphs, and colors because a picture does paint a thousand words. And if you have images that people can look at, it helps them have a more quick at a glance about what’s happening on the project.You also want to dispel the myth that people do not want reports. They really do want those reports, again, at the appropriate level of detail that they need, because they use those for decision-making for the tasks that they have to do. So the thing is they do not want the wrong reports.

So project reporting is very valuable to you as an accidental project manager. And if you need a tool that can help you with your project reporting, then sign up for our software now at

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