How to wrIte a Monthly Progress Report (+ Free Templates)
Keeping stakeholders engaged is easily done through monthly reports. A monthly report template is handy when you need to create a high quality report.
There are 3 types of monthly reports:
1) Often a monthly status report is provided to the supervisor as an update of employee’s plans and activities. Most probably, it will also go to the manager of the supervisor as an input to his own report. It also serves as documentation of employee’s work history, and it’s a good reference during annual performance reviews.
2) Monthly project report. This type of report does not require as many details as a weekly project report does, but it provides a higher-level view of the developments in the project. Stakeholders would usually be interested in tracking the budget, expenditures, the quality of project outputs, and the risks, challenges, and issues affecting the project.
3) On the other hand, contractors also provide a monthly progress report to give the client a head’s up on where the project is, at the moment. Because of their setting, the client and the contractor might not see each on a regular basis. The client himself might not have enough time to monitor the developments of the project. In this situation, a monthly project status report also serves as a vital medium of communication between the contractor and the client so the report should be as detailed as possible.
- How to Build a Monthly Report: Best Practices Part 1
- Monthly Report Downloads: Sample Templates Part 2
- How to Make Status Reporting 10x Easier Part 3
- Additional Sources Part 4
Here are some tips on how to come up with a monthly status report which will effectively communicate the project developments to the top management, the stakeholders, or the clients:
- Provide a short description of the project that is brief yet concise. It does not need to be too detailed as its primary purpose is just to remind the management and the client of what this project is all about. They may be busy individuals, but their minds are very sharp that they can easily remember things.
Project managers should also keep this in mind and that they need to practice honesty, transparency, and integrity in reporting since top executives can be surprisingly sharp in remembering even the smallest, most trivial details.
- Presenting related data may be easier through tables, graphs, and charts. Visual presentation makes reporting easier since readers can immediately see trends through the use of lines and bars. However, do check first whether the data to be presented graphically or in a tabular form will accurately represent the trend that the executives need to see.
- Do not use too many technical terms or concepts in the report. If it is unavoidable, make it a point to define them about the project, to make it more readable. Abbreviations should be spelled out the first time it will be used in the report, followed by its abbreviated form, so that the readers will be guided on what it means.
- Good formatting of the report increases readability. Using a single type and size of font throughout the whole report creates a consistent Emphasize different sections and subsections of the report by making the text bold or underlining them. It shows that the following portion is distinct from the previous one and it signifies that a new topic or area is coming up.
- Allow time to make the report. Cramming is not a good thing, especially in report writing, when the primary goal is to capture the development and progress of a project. The project manager or the writer of the report may need to sift through various details and information to come up with a comprehensive report.
What Does a Monthly Report Contain?
Last Month’s Activities
The employee may include a short recap of what he has done during the past month to show the continuity of his work or his developments. He may also note here some of pending tasks from the previous month, as a background on what he accomplished for the reporting month.
Accomplishments for the Month
This is, probably, the most important section of the monthly progress report as it provides the substance of the report.
Plans for the Next Month
It is also useful to provide information on what an employee intends to accomplish in the following month.
Issues and Concerns
Any problems impeding an employee’s progress should be made known to his supervisors, and a section on it in the progress report is an excellent venue for such.
It is important to keep in mind that the report should be free from any errors, grammatical or typographical, and it should also be noted that how the report was presented reflects the personality and professionalism of its writer.
Monthly status reports also help the team and the company reflect on what they can accomplish during the month and determine which among the initiative made are producing positive outcomes.
Valuable and action-oriented, monthly status reports should also state the next steps for the project, team, or company.
Enterprises or organizations may have a standard format or template for a monthly status report which asks for a particular set of information about the project or performance targets that the management would inform with.
If there is none, here are some guidelines to create a monthly status report that will clearly reflect all the accomplishments in a given month.
Provide Necessary Information That Will Identify Why the Monthly Progress Report Was Made.
This information might consist of the name of the project, the concerned team or unit in the organization where the report originated, and the relevant.
The name of the employee who made the report may also be included and the date when it was made. It is also important to state the goal of the project or the performance target.
Write a Brief Summary of What the Project or Performance Goal Is All About.
The recipients of this report might be receiving a multitude of monthly reports from different project teams and department and might not easily remember what each one is about.
It is an important step to make sure that the readers were reminded of the project and for them to quickly process the information contained in the report.
The Most Significant Content Is the Accomplishments of the Team’s Project Development.
Compare the progress of the project versus the timelines planned and state whether the project is on track, ahead or behind schedule. If there are delays or if the project is lagging behind, it is equally important also to provide an explanation for such.
Provide Details on the Tasks Performed by the Team for the Month.
Individual contributions can be in it if it’s worth noting, but limit it to the most notable.Briefly discuss the issues and challenges faced by the team during the month, as well as the team’s course of action, if it was resolved already. If problems persist, state the reason why, especially if the top management needs to make a decision about it.
Support the Details Presented in the Monthly Status Report.
This is done by providing documents such as statistics, financial information, related reports from team members and other departments, as an attachment to the report.
Try to keep the report within one to two pages: enough to update the readers about the project, and not to take too much time from the users.
Monthly Report Template: Free Download Section
Free online tools for work:
1. Fluxes.com — Free Project and Task Management Software
2. Status.net — Software for Daily and Weekly Status Reports
How to Make Status Reporting 10x Easier
How to configure status reports on status.net:
- Create a “Monthly Status Report” applet — customize our preset forms or easily create a new form in minutes.
- Setup reminders if you want your team members to receive automatic reminders when their reports are due.
- Configure who will submit reports by choosing the “Participants” tab.
Step 2: Users will click the “Open Submission Form” button to fill in and submit the report.
Data such as the report type, date and name will be added automatically.
As soon as a new status report is added, participants with “View” rights can view it in real time.
- Set the applet as “Team-wide” if you want all team members to view each other’s status reports.
- Alternatively, you can make every participant to view his/her own reports only. Manager/stakeholders will view all reports.
- Add, remove, and assign new team members at any time.
Step 3 (Optional): Generate a report and export it to PDF.
(Skip this step if you share status reports online and don’t print them.)
Click “Generate Report”.
- Make reporting easier with auto-fill:
Fields such as date, name, report type, and formatting are inserted automatically by software.
- Consolidate reports automatically:
Reports created by your team members can be consolidated easily.
- Save time with auto-layout:
No need to spend hours in Word or Excel perfecting the report’s layout because it exports your updates into a beautifully crafted file with a couple of clicks.
- Peace of mind with auto-reminders:
No one forgets to fill in their status reports because status.net sends timely reminders according to the schedule you chose.
- Decrease time and effort spent on monthly, quarterly, and yearly reporting thanks to powerful filtering and export features.
- Optionally, enrich reports with the latest updates automatically added from web apps your team uses (such as popular free task management software Fluxes.com, and other project management tools, version control systems, support systems, financial applications, etc.) by connecting these apps to your status applet.
- Quick sharing:
Status reports can be either
– exported to files and printed, or sent by email;
– shared with the manager online (in real time);
– shared online (in real-time) as company-wide or team-wide status reports, i.e., all team members share their progress with each other — spend less time on meetings.
Sign up now to make status reporting easier for your team.