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How To Write a Business Progress Report
F. John Reh
A progress report consists of a header, an executive summary, a description of the smaller components, an indication of when the next report is due. You would write the report following this template and then send it to your boss or another reporting superior as designated.
The header contains identifying information for the report. You will enter the title, the date on a which the report is published, the stoplight status of whatever you’re reporting on (red, yellow green), and the overall metric, perhaps percent complete, plan versus actual. Note: A progress report such as this is most often used for projects, but can also be used to report on other things. For example, if you have been assigned the task of reducing the number of hours per drawing for an engineering firm you would use a progress report to show your progress in reducing the number of hours per drawing.
- Title: Project X Progress Report
- Date: May 30 20xx
- Status: Green
- Percent Complete: 63 actual, 59 plan.
You write the executive summary last. This is the summary of all of the major points listed below in the body of the report. Depending on your audience, sometimes the executive summary is limited. That depends on your audience, the number of people receiving the report and their levels within the organization. An executive summary is targeted to those senior managers who may not have the time to read the entire report. If your report is directed to your immediate supervisor , it is expected that he or she will read the report and the executive summary may not be needed.
However, if this is a report that is widely distributed to many executives throughout the organization, it may be necessary to include an executive summary for those individuals who do not have the time to read the entire report.
Progress of the Component Pieces
This is the main body of the report. In this section of the report, you detail your progress in all of the component areas of the project. You list your progress and accomplishments regarding all of the metrics during this time-period. You show what your plan is for the next time-period. And then you list not only the blockers but also what efforts you are taking to clear them. Finally, the section will show what additional assistance is needed from your boss or another recipient of the progress report.
The body of the report is followed by in the summary section. It includes fewer details than the progress reported in the previous section. You would include the same information, metrics, accomplishments, plan for the next period, and any blockers, but provide fewer details for each category. For example, the summary might be a single sentence, like “all deliverables are on time,” while the progress write-up in the previous section might say “Deliverable A, due on xx/xx/xx will be delivered three days early.
Report Y will be delivered on time on xx/xx/xx. And report C, delayed for two weeks while waiting for the graphics, is now expected to be delivered on its revised due date of xx/xx/xx.”
Next Report Due Date
Here you list when the next report will be sent out. If this is a weekly report, for example, you would show the next report due date as one week following. For a monthly report, you would show the date next month when the report would be sent out. People who receive the report will expect these data to be as accurate as the data in the reports.
Your progress report consists of the optional executive summary, the reporting of the progress of all the components within the project, the detailed summary, and the timeline. Make them as accurate as you can.
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Tips for Writing a Business Trip Report
A business trip report can be one of the most easy and routine ways that a company keeps track of its business travel details, expenses, responsibilities, and rewards. It’s especially important in big companies with lots of employees to track, and it can be crucial in small business who need to make sure that the efforts expended with pricey trips really pay off.
For the business traveler, the business trip report does not have to be your enemy; in fact, it can be a tool that shows off your hard work and what an asset you are to the company that employs you. Simply get in the habit of composing them, and it will become second nature.
Start by bringing along a small notebook with you on every single business trip. Dedicate one entire small notebook to each trip, or use one to last for several endeavors if your trips are short and easy to track. This will be an important part of preparing to write a business trip report later on. Make sure it’s one that you are able to take in your pocket or purse. The important thing is that you should be able to have it with you at all times. Also get in the habit of carrying along a pen.
You need to jot down everything that is required as part of the trip report; individual companies will have different requests. Generally, track all expenses, even the unexpected. This should be done even if everything is done by the company credit card. You may not be able to access the credit card files while you are doing your report so it’s best to be over-prepared than under-prepared. If personal expenses are covered, also jot them down.
You also want to track the time that you spent actually working (for example, in meetings or business lunches), the time you spent on travel itself, and the time spent doing other business-related things along the way. If you are given any gifts from the potential client or partner, be sure to record what the gift was and the value of the gift (if it’s known).
Now, once you have carefully made notes of your expenses along the way, you can begin writing your business trip report as early as the first day you arrive home. Your boss will likely explain the timeline of when the report is due, but exceeding expectations by doing it upon arrival is always a good thing.
First, you need a proper heading for your business trip report. Be sure to include your name and the names of colleagues that also came along as fellow travelers on the trip. Write down the names of clients or partners that you saw during the trip. Write down the exact dates of the trip. Also be sure to include the date that you are writing the report. If the report is a specific memo to one person, address it properly. If the trip had a particular mission or point, such as to land a big client or to attend a certain conference, be sure to include that in the heading. The point is that the report should be very easy to identify and read.
Next, include a summary that goes in more depth about your trip. Summarize the key things that you did for the company on the trip. Also summarize your victories and defeats. You may want to use the sandwich approach for this. If you had two successes and one failure on the trip, start off by stating a good thing that you did, then include the negative, and conclude by focusing on a new positive things that also occurred. It’s a subtle but wise way to keep things more focused on what went right and what you were able to accomplish, while also being honest about your setbacks.
You want to then include an itemized list of expenses and gains throughout the trip. After listing expenses, you then want to make a bullet point list of all the reasons that trip was successful and necessary. Although the written summary is nice, there also needs to be an organized way for the busy executives to process the report to help with future business trips.
Be sure to follow your particular company’s policies regarding business trip reports. Each and every company will have its own requirements and formats. These are the basics if no other format is given or preferred. Trust yourself and keep thorough records for the most effective business trip report.
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