Thinking of how to write a progress report? Looking for the world's most simple status report template? You could, of course, start using a simple progress report tool like Weekdone, but the basics apply also for other methods.
Let me share a secret: while there are tens of different uses of a weekly progress report, there is one key thing in common for all of them.
Let's look at how to create a weekly progress report for your own use, be it personal, team or company. You can use it to report to your boss, or vice versa, get an employee report back from your team members. Use it regularly on specific intervals – be it weekly or monthly – or just once to give an update on a project.
3 basic building blocks of a progress report
Thinking of it, whatever you are reporting a progress report always answers one key question: "Where are we standing now?"
To answer that we must look at both past, present and future. Because of that any progress report is built out of three categories:
- Progress: the past, what has been achieved already.
- Plans: the future, what are the goals, objectives and plans.
- Problems: what challenges have been encountered.
That's it. It's called the PPP. That's the foundation for the world's simplest progress report on which all variations are based on. You can call the sections differently: Done, To-do, Challenges or Last Week, Next Week, Open issues – it's still the same.
You can always add additional categories to Progress, Plans and Problems. In sales you could add a section for key leads and customer meetings. In marketing a section to describe specific campaigns and events. In development you could list proposed feature ideas and customer feedback.
Sample progress report template
So you think you need a sample template file to download for your progress report?
What you need are just the 3 words: Progress, Plans and Problems. That's your sample template. Nothing more, nothing less.
Add the 3 words of PPP as headings, and under each list by bullet points the items. Use whatever tool you're comfortable with: e-mail, Google Docs, Excel or a specialized nifty tool like Weekdone progress reports.
Really dying to have a download?
Here are our progress report templates.
Have a look at an example weekly team progress report generated by Weekdone weekly reporting service (it's free to try, so give it a go). The nifty part of Weekdone is how it has compiled personal single person reports into a company report. While adding a nice visual team dashboard and weekly progress charts, the foundation is still the proven PPP progress report process.
Writing a progress reports
The preferred length for a progress report you want someone to read is pretty standard as well. No more than 5-7 items under each category.
When adding items, keep something in mind: write everything thinking of how others understand it. You're not writing to yourself. Don’t use 1-2 word tasks like you would in a task manager. Use longer sentences, commentary, background etc.
Always think, if your manager or your co-workers will understand and learn something from what you wrote. Good wording is a key to successful status reporting.
Another thing common to most good progress reporting practices is regularity. We would all go crazy if we would need to write an employee report daily. Quarter or longer on the other hand is too long. So most good reporting practices use either a weekly or monthly paradigm.
With world around us spinning faster and faster, for most teams and companies a weekly reporting period is usually the best. It allows you to react quickly and use the max 5-7 items content length when reporting.
So why not implement a progress reporting practice in your team already today? Give Weekdone progress reports tool a go if you're looking to use world's best practices in weekly reporting and want to learn from the best. Sign up here.