When you send out a status report, you want to include information that is both relevant and easy to understand. If your status report includes too much information or is arranged in a way that is difficult to read quickly, you are wasting your boss's time by not being efficient or effective in your reporting. Consider these three qualities of better status reports to improve your reporting and share information more effectively.
Keep It Relevant
With every status report you create, you have the opportunity to include lots of different types of information. This makes relevance one of the top qualities of a good status report. Think about the information that is important to your bosses, then create better status reports by only including that information.
For example, if you are presenting a status report on product sales to your office's finance department, it is important to include the number of sales and the profits earned. It is less important to include information on which days the sales were made. That information is likely irrelevant to your finance department and is more suitable for the marketing and analytics departments, thus belonging in their status reports.
Learn what information is relevant to your status reporting by asking questions. Ask project team members what information they think belongs in the report, and ask your bosses what information they need to see. Use the answers you get to write better status reports that include only the most relevant information.
Organize for Readability
If your charts, graphs or data columns are difficult to understand, people often miss the message. Create better status reports by learning how to effectively display information in charts, graphs and lists. Remember: if your bosses and clients cannot quickly and easily read your reports, you are wasting their time. Presenting information in a way that is easily understood is an essential part of status reporting.
Include a Plan of Action
It is not enough to simply present information; to create better status reports, you also need to explain what you and your project teams are going to do with this information going forward.
For example, if you are presenting a status report on a series of project tasks, you need to explain how your team is working to get late tasks back on track. If you are presenting a status report on project finances, you need to explain how you are going to continue to work to keep your project on budget.
Use these top qualities of good status reports to learn how to create better reports for your bosses, clients and teams. The more you put these core assets into practice, the more effective they are for everyone who reads them.
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