5 Ways to Improve Your Project Reports
It’s no secret that quality project reports play a critical role in effective project management. They’re not only essential to enabling project team members to make well-informed and confident decisions, they’re also necessary to satisfy increasing demands from clients for accurate and timely project data. Despite the growing significance placed on quality project reports, organizations continue to struggle with delivering consistently accurate and timely reports.
So, how can you improve the quality of your project reports and strengthen your reporting processes?
1. Get out of Excel. As project complexity intensifies and clients become more demanding, you can’t afford to manage projects in Excel. Although it provides incredible freedom and flexibility, Excel is also responsible for an incredible amount of data inaccuracy and lack of consistency.
2. Consolidate Your Data Sources. Projects are growing larger and margins are decreasing. As a result, project teams are forced to accomplish more with fewer resources. You can no longer afford to track and manage a project in 15 spreadsheets and five different software systems, nor can you afford the time and cost associated with personnel constantly aggregating and consolidating data. You must reduce the number of spreadsheets, systems and tools used to track and manage your project.
3. State What Date is Included or Excluded. This may seem really basic, but it’s also one of the biggest issues we frequently discover during our consulting projects. Teams build comprehensive reports, issue them to clients, but then fail to reference items that are included or excluded from the data set. For example, while working on a claim document recently, we discovered the owner team was making critical financial decisions based on a key report being issued by its EPC contractor that repeatedly excluded a major cost account. The owner team never noticed this important fact, because the 28-page report failed to clarify this exclusion which was not clearly evident in the lengthy report. The solution? It’s simple – clearly identify any major inclusions or exclusions in the report header.
4. State The Data Range. Another basic reporting concept that often gets overlooked is failing to note the date range in your report data set. You never know who will pick up your report and make assumptions or conclusions based on its contents if you don’t clarify what is included and the date range on which the report is based.
5. Spend More Time Reviewing Reports. The techniques and tools available for developing a high-quality report have drastically improved over the years. However, making time to review and validate report data has become less of a priority in recent years. This decrease is the result of mounting pressure on project teams to track and report on a growing list of areas. Reports are being issued last-minute, and project team members typically have just enough time to catch their breath before they start compiling information for the next reporting cycle. Following the advice in nos. 1 and 2 above is a great start to addressing problems created by these time constraints. But requiring managers be held accountable for report integrity is also a necessary safeguard to prevent diminishing report quality and timeliness. Issuing blatantly inaccurate and untimely reports is never justified. Always make it a priority to set aside the time necessary to focus on preparing quality reports.
To learn more about how Cloud EPC enables organizations to deliver accurate and consistent project and enterprise reports, please contact us at 800.909.5181, or request a demo to see first-hand how Cloud EPC can simplify and improve your reporting process.