When a company initiates a new project, it needs to be aware of how the project is progressing, what findings and decisions are being made by the project team, and what needs to be improved. In order to provide the company’s supervisors with such information, progress reports are usually written. Generally speaking, a progress report is an update on a project’s status. A well-written progress report is beneficial both for the company and for you. The company gets accurate real-time information and you can count on adequate staffing and financial assistance with the project you are working on.
Steps for Writing a Progress Report
- Write the heading of your progress report. This usually contains the date, when the report was submitted, the name and the position of the recipient, the writer’s name and position, and the subject of the report.
- Compose the introductory section. In this part, you must brief about the project. Then, you should provide readers with information about the project’s purpose, clarify its timescale, and remind readers about other important details.
- Write the “work completed” section. In this section, you must describe what work has already been done. One of the best ways to do this is to order the completed tasks chronologically. Make two columns. In one of them, specify dates and in another one, specify tasks you and your team were working on. Information about key findings should also be included in the “work completed” section.
- In the next section, specify the problems your team encountered while working on the project. Provide explanations of how you solved them or how you are planning to do it. Also, describe any changes caused by these problems and state whether any assistance on the project is required.
- Provide your supervisors with information about how you are planning to move forward with the project. Make an outline of future tasks that need to be accomplished during a certain period. Specify dates that will be deadlines for the tasks.
- Summarize your progress report. In the summary section, you should only give the most essential details about the completed and to-do work. Also include a short description of problems your team encountered and recommendations for their correction.
The topic of a progress report is usually determined by recent work you and your team have done. However, when composing a progress report, each time you schedule your work and outline tasks for the next period of time, you assign topics for your next reporting document.
Key Points to Consider
- Progress reports come in different formats, such as a brief verbal report, a periodic email sent to your supervisors, a memo, or a formal written report with a clearly-defined structure. Internal progress reports can be submitted in memo format, while reports from one external organization to another can take the form of a business letter.
- Progress reports not only inform supervisors about a project’s status, but they also affect the decision-making process. A company’s management may revise, adjust or change their decisions according to a particular situation with the project.
- A progress report should be project-centered, which means it should refer to the work done by your team and not to the plans or expectations of your supervisors.
- A progress report should be simple and concise. Avoid writing lengthy, dense documents. In most cases, a progress report is submitted on 2-3 pages.
- A progress report not only provides decision-makers with necessary information, but it also shows them what kind of specialist you are.
Do and Don’t
Common Mistakes When Writing a Progress Report
– Using expressive words and phrases to characterize the situation. Describing a project’s status as a “complete catastrophe” or a “giddy success” is too vague and won’t be of use for supervisors.
– Being irregular with sending progress reports to supervisors. Most likely, they will expect you to send reports in equal time intervals.
– Glossing over problems and understating their prevalence, hoping to solve them secretly. Always provide adequate and honest information about all issues that occur during the work on the project.
– Turning a progress report into a lengthy document. Don’t supersaturate the document with excessive details, research digests, calculations, and so on.
Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic progress report essay writing tips and rules, you can check out our progress report samples to link theory with practice.
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Samples for Writing a Progress Report
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WHAT IS A PROGRESS REPORT?
Every one of us at least once in a lifetime has faced writing and execution of documentation. Reports are also a part of this documentation, which can be requested from students on a specific point of studying or from employees on the certain spot of their professional activity. That is why everybody should know how it is important to write and finalize such work correctly.
A progress report is a document that informs a concerned party about the status of the certain project and the work that has been done on it. Such document, as it has already been mentioned, can be prepared both at educational facilities and at work, regardless of the profession. However, reports are less likely to be requested from students, especially ones pursuing degrees in humanitarian studies. They work on such kind of papers only when asked to review a certain book or article, or while writing a thesis paper. Meanwhile, the students of technical departments are more often involved in reporting, as they have to complete various experiments, lab or research works, and other practical assignments.
Project progress report writing is a rather extensive sphere with the inclusion of many nuances. After all, reports may vary according to the form and content. We will consider the most popular cases here and tell how to write a progress report when you are a student or an employee, and also define the central requirements for the reports of any kind.
THE COMMON RULES OF REPORT WRITING
Imagine that you have no idea how to do a progress report, and received the assignment to write one. And, even if you are given a structure to follow, you still do not know what style to use and how to present the necessary data. In such a case, you should know that all reports have to follow specific criteria, and you need to learn them before writing:
- Briefness. You need to state all necessary information clearly and laconically, using the simple business language.
- The document should begin with the accurately formatted title page (compulsory for large reports).
- Well-defined structure. Your paper should be logically composed. In the beginning, one needs to bring up to date indicating all indispensable data, in the middle the work's chief matters should be mentioned, and conclusions must be in the end.
- Sentences have to be short and properly built; there is no need in huge paragraphs. The usage of headings and subheads is also welcome. All the textual information must be easily readable.
- To develop the topic, if needed, you can create several attachments, for example, diagrams, illustrations, tables, etc.
- It is better to deliver reports in the separate document case.
However, note that these are just the basic criteria. All other depend on the main factors, such as the topic, subject, the sphere one is working in, or even the length of the paper. Therefore, before writing, it is always better to clarify as many peculiarities of documentation preparation in your facility or company as possible in order to consider all the necessary details and organize the working process correctly.
WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT
More often than not, headmen demand the activity reports (whether weekly or monthly) from their employees. How can it be possible to write this kind of paper in such case? Rely on the samples and templates, which are accepted in your company, or ask your supervisor or boss to provide you with the suitable progress report example. Also, note that it may be necessary to follow the recommendations presented below:
- The work progress report may not be written on the formsheet if it is accompanied by the letter or explanatory notes.
- If in the specified periods on time reports are being passed to the boss, you do not need to add the cover letter.
- The business trip reports should be 'supported' with the whole documentation package.
- Start writing with the introductory clause; describe the issue, tasks, and aims of the work done.
- If you need to provide reports only within substantial time periods, like once a trimester/year, it is absolutely necessary to add an abstract.
- The middle part of the document should list and develop all kinds of work performed; at that, do not forget about the completion period for every specific task. If present, mention the difficulties during the work performance or reasons, which have led to the improper accomplishment of working duties.
- The document should end with the conclusion where it is worthy to indicate the effectiveness of the work done in accordance with the tasks set.
The requirements to the reports in your company may sufficiently differ from the ones mentioned in the recommendations above. In such case, you should definitely follow the instructions given fully, ignoring the contradictory tips. However, the recommendations mentioned above are applicable in most cases, so if the ones you have been provided with are unclear, you can always use those, presented in the list.
STUDENT PROGRESS REPORT
One more type of reports is the student report with its subdivisions such as research, Ph.D., practical training, or academic progress report. The one that involves practical training in a certain company is the most widespread. Therefore, in order to show how to write a progress report for students, it is better to review all the tips on the example of the training reports.
The writing starts with the description of the company or firm where you have been working. It is crucial to point out the principal data: name of the company, its sphere of activity and main characteristics/features. Going forward, it is worthy to note aims and tasks. It would be more convenient to present them in bullets – shortly and precisely.
The next significant part, which should be depicted to the fullest extent, is all types of your activity during the training period. One of the most comfortable forms of writing this part is the following:
- mark all days of the training;
- describe each day separately;
- compose the micro conclusion.
At the same time, you can make a note of difficulties and indicate the reasons for their presence. The concluding part of the work demands to explicate everything new that you have learned during the training. In any case, write honestly; you do not need to think out the pigeon's milk - the experienced professor will notice the affectation at once. Let it be simple and sincere, but detailed and circumstantial.
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