Best Practices: Project Reporting

Projects can fail for many reasons and one contributing factor can be ineffective project reporting. Implementing an effective project reporting system is one of the most difficult project management challenges because reporting requires coordinated information and integration from all project phases and construction activities – from concept to completion.

 Projects can require years of planning, design and construction.  These projects have a large volume of data and need project managers that are capable of supporting the regulatory, financial, management and owner reporting requirements.

Transparency and Accuracy

The first component of any project reporting is transparency and accuracy – to assist owners in making informed decisions and ensuring compliance with project requirements. Key elements to ensure transparency and accuracy in reporting include:
    • Ability to deep-dive into the detail
    • Minimize the level of redundant input and discrepancies
    • Limit the amount of manual adjustments needed
    • Ensure the relative size of variances

Clearly Defined Objectives and Purpose

Reports can have large volumes of data and can oftentimes be overwhelming if the data is not presented in an organized and meaningful way. Each report should meet the following elements:
    • Usefulness for decision-making
    • Usefulness and ease of understanding
    • Ability to satisfy regulatory requirements
    • Level of security and data integrity

Reporting Layout, Timing and Distribution

The report layout impacts the ability to communicate the underlying information effectively and is often as important as the information being reported. Here is a list of several summary and status reports that are common in projects:
    • Summary Management Report
    • Summary Cost Report
    • Risk Report
    • Milestone Schedule and Three-Week Look-Ahead
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