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Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, Sixth Edition by Robert K. Wysocki

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Establishing Your Progress Reporting System

After project work is under way, you want to make sure that it proceeds according to plan. To do this, you need to establish a reporting system that keeps you informed of the many variables that describe how the project is proceeding as compared to the plan.

A reporting system has the following characteristics:

  • Provides timely, complete, and accurate status information
  • Doesn't add so much overhead time as to be counterproductive
  • Is readily acceptable to the project team and senior management
  • Warns of pending problems in time to take action
  • Is easily understood by those who have a need to know

To establish this reporting system, you can choose from among the hundreds of reports that are standard fare in project management software packages. Once you decide what you want to track, these software tools offer several suggestions and standard reports to meet your needs. Most project management software tools enable you to customize their standard reports to meet even the most specific needs.

Types of Project Status Reports

There are five types of project status reports: current period, cumulative, exception, stoplight, and variance. Each of these report types is described here.

Current Period Reports

These reports cover only the most recently completed period. They report progress on activities that were open or scheduled for work during the period. Reports might highlight activities completed, as well as the variance between scheduled and ...

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