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Published September 2nd, 2020
What is a Progress Report?
A progress report is a vital document that outlines tasks, activities, and milestones that would describe in detail how far you’ve gone towards executing a plan or completing a project. In a nutshell, a progress report can serve as a monitoring tool for managers to determine a project's status on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis more efficiently.
This article discusses:
- Difference between a progress report and a status report, and some examples;
- Major challenges when creating a progress report;
- A digital tool that can be used for more effective reporting and
- Free progress report template to help businesses create comprehensive progress reports efficiently
Oftentimes, these two terms were interchangeably used. Although both types of reports aim to communicate how tasks are progressing, these terms mean totally different things. A progress report focuses on events, accomplishments, or whatever that have happened through time, while a status report stresses what is true or accurate at a specific time. A progress report can act as a historical record as it tells a story from nothing to 50% progress. Hence, it is used for reporting tasks that take a longer time to finish. This type of report is useful for project managers in a construction site. A status report, on the other hand, focuses on the current condition, including issues, problems, and potential risks.
Progress: We got 50,000 visits last month
Status: We are currently at par from the goal of our monthly visit
Progress: We finished working on the building’s foundation
Status: We are on day 72
Progress: We spent $30,000 last week
Status: We are currently $1,000 over budget
Creating a progress report is beneficial to any organization. It helps prevent confusion about what needs to be accomplished. It serves as a point of collaboration between teams to reduce task duplication and working in silos. Also, a progress report can help improve transparency and evaluation of the project. However, establishing a progress reporting system in your workflows can be challenging. Here are major challenges that you should overcome when implementing a progress report:
#1 Unclear purpose of doing a progress report
Progress reports should not be done only to find out who did not finish the tasks. Its ultimate goal is to communicate the progress of a project clearly and understandably. This could include critical tasks that need to be accomplished, important information that is expected, and issues that require urgent attention. In addition, progress reports should not be used as the only source of information, but should also provide feedback.
#2 Paper-based reporting is cumbersome
This has been a major concern with any paper-based type of reporting. This process consumes a lot of time and effort from the key persons who provide the necessary details to the one who communicates the progress of a project to the stakeholders or leaders. Also, it can be an unproductive thing to do when the bottom line of every progress report is only to show the summary of what was accomplished.
#3 Lack of reporting structure
Creating a systematic reporting structure not only helps in collecting insightful information across an organization but also guides key persons in decision-making and providing actionable solutions.
#4 No accurate deadlines
Deadlines are so important when it comes to progress reports. Setting accurate deadlines helps progress reporting become habitual or culture. This also helps the members of the organization to strengthen their sense of responsibility and be self-evaluative.
#5 Lengthy reports
Avoid writing narratives or long essays when creating a progress report. Beware of putting irrelevant information. Some may find it more essential and informative when they create lengthy progress reports. Maintaining it with clarity and brevity would increase the value of the report. Also, remember to include all the vital information such as challenges, plans, milestones, recommendations, and other accomplishments.
Get rid of the inconvenience of a paper-based system when creating progress reports. Spend less time creating and gathering information about your project’s progress and spend more time communicating it and providing real-time solutions. Go digital by downloading progress report templates for effortless turn over of reports and recordkeeping. With iAuditor by SafetyCulture, the key persons can:
- conduct daily reporting with the use of a mobile or tablet devices anytime, anywhere;
- With Analytics, get an instant view of all significant data in one place;
- capture unlimited photo evidence, annotate, and add notes of accomplished tasks or potential risks and problems associated with the project;
- schedule progress reporting by assigning actions to appropriate team members of the organization;
- generate comprehensive reports as they complete the progress reports;
- instantly share completed reports with business owners or any member of the organization;
- keep all progress reports securely in the cloud.
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Progress Report Template
This progress report template can be used to track the progress of a plan or project across all industries. Document significant events, processes, and completed tasks. Attach photos and notes to provide further details to the report. Schedule progress reporting with your team by assigning an action to them. Complete the report by affixing your signature. Note: This can be customized to adhere to your business needs and requirements.