How to Write a Business Progress Report in 2023? 8 Examples and Ideas

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Table of contents

Here’s a common misconception about business progress reports: their primary purpose is to give people a basic update on your current project. Contrary to what their name implies, progress reports are actually not meant to simply state what you did or didn’t do in the previous period. 

But if this is true, then what on earth are they supposed to do? So much more. 

Instead of being the kind of executive that lazily lists basic info in their reports, we’re going to explain how to write well-structured documents that are truly beneficial to everyone in the company. We’ll include business progress report examples in our article, so keep reading if you need advice and examples for your next business review.

This article will cover:

What is a Progress Report in Business?

Why is a progress report important, progress report frequency, progress report types, progress report format.

  • How Do You Write a Business Progress Report

Progress Report Writing: Best Practices

Progress report examples.

  • How to Automate Business Reporting with Databox

Exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a report on the progress of a project, business goal, or a business as a whole.

Of course, making the report clear, eye-catching, and actionable goes without saying, but what else does it need to be?

While it can cover many topics, its main purpose is stakeholder engagement. You’re writing it for managers, leadership, and other interested parties. So keep in mind who you’re writing it for and whose point of view you’re catering to. This should help you structure it and present it in a way that’s relevant to their interests.

Related : Business Report: What is it & How to Write a Great One? (With Examples)

Again, the concept isn’t complicated. Stakeholders need to be informed about the progress of ventures they’re a part of. Progress reports give people an overview of how well things are going and whether something needs to be addressed so the company could fulfill its goals. It can be made to impress stakeholders by how well you’re handling your part of business, but mostly you should keep it honest and point out both good and bad aspects of a plan. 

If something has gone wrong or has the potential to go wrong, there are people who need to know about it. The circumstances don’t matter, and being honest is the best way to conduct business. If workers and stakeholders don’t know what’s going on, that means they can’t react and adjust their plans accordingly. Basically, don’t use progress reports to cover for your mistakes — own up to them if you’ve made them, and try to present solutions. That will get you much more respect than misleading people.

In addition, a progress report lets people know when a certain project or a milestone will be completed. This includes predictions and estimates. Other people from the company or clients can adjust their plains to take the timetable into the account or step in to help if they need something done more quickly.

Learn more about the benefits of progress reporting straight from the pros in our roundup.

The reporting frequency depends on a variety of factors, including team and project size, project scope, the type of common activities, etc. Daily and weekly reports are usually done at the team level, while quarterly and annual ones are usually submitted to upper management, clients, and stakeholders. Monthly reports can fall into either category.

  • Daily progress reports – These are short progress reports meant to update the team manager. There’s not much detail; they’re just an overview of completed tasks and any problems that may have come up. Most teams don’t even need them.
  • Weekly progress reports – These are more expansive versions of daily progress reports. Still contained between managers and team members, they’re broader in scope and can include more detailed information. In addition, weekly progress reports can be used to plan the agenda for the upcoming week.
  • Monthly progress reports – The end of the month is an excellent time to update the business as a whole about a department’s progress. It’s best to deliver it as an overview and to shine a spotlight on top performers.
  • Quarterly progress reports – This is the time for quarterly business reviews . While the report focuses on big picture goals and doesn’t go into detail about specific tasks. It’s often useful to build several such reports and tailor them to specific audiences.
  • Annual progress reports – Annual reports are THE progress reports you need to focus on. They’re usually scheduled near the end of the year and are aimed at the leadership and major stakeholders. The focus is on big achievements, lessons learned, and plans for the next year.

Related : Sales Report Templates For Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Statements (Sourced from 40+ Sales Pros)

Progress reports can be categorized according to their purpose and format. Not every team, company, or project will need each type of business report . Since reporting is very time-consuming and can even waste time if not done well, consider each business report type carefully and determine do you need it and how often you need to build them. 

  • Timesheets – Daily progress reports can be replaced with simple timesheets. You can use a simple table to have workers record the time spent working on particular tasks or turn to specialized software. This method saves time and ensures the management doesn’t have to deal with the minutiae of tasks in progress unless it’s necessary.
  • Expenses – Monitoring project overhead is a great way to ensure you’re on track with the budget. They allow you to compare budgets with results and actual goals achieved during implementation. There’s no reason to have these reports at anything less than a monthly or even quarterly level.
  • Project portfolio – This type of report shows how various elements of a project interact. It relies on high-level data and is used to improve workflows, project processes, and ROI.
  • Resource workload – Resource reports break down the project- or business-level resource assignments. This covers materials, staffing, and other types of resources. They’re primarily used to assess resource allocations and determine how to best utilize existing ones and plan for the acquisition of new ones.
  • Overall project status – This is what most people think of when they imagine a business progress report. It’s a bird’s-eye view of the project(s) that shows the overall situation. It focuses on overarching goals, milestones completed, and any issues that came up along the way.

PRO TIP: Monitor Your Sales Team’s Performance in One Dashboard

Smart Sales Managers know that to achieve your monthly and quarterly goals, you have to monitor your team’s sales performance on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. To do that, you need an actionable dashboard that summarizes both team and individual sales rep metrics and allows you to:

  • Understand the current sales pipeline.
  • Track sales rep performance.
  • Compare team results to revenue goals.

If you use the HubSpot CRM, you can benefit from the experience of our sales experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing some of the most important metrics for monitoring your sales team performance. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in sales reports, and best of all, it’s free!

hubspot_sales_overview_dashboard_template_databox_preview

You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.

To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Get the template 

Step 2: Connect your HubSpot account with Databox. 

Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.

The format depends on the exact type of the report and the target audience. It’s a good idea to pick a reporting template that covers all the basic information and presents it in a way that aligns with your goals.

Names, Dates, and Departments

Department goals, top-level progress overview, progress breakdown.

Don’t forget to include the reporter’s name, essential dates (when the data was collected and the reporting period, for example), the department submitting the report, and so on.

Goals are an essential part of a business progress report. Remind the readers what your department is doing and what it’s aiming to achieve in the designated period. It’s also a good idea to cover why are certain projects in focus and what are the benefits of success.

Related : Goals Based Reporting: Everything You Need to Know

Every report needs to include an overview of how goals and projects are doing. It’s best to display them using charts or graphs with percentages. You show milestones achieved, overdue projects, and any issues you came across that are slowing things down.

This is similar to the above point, but it goes into more detail. This segment will cover each project the department is working on, what are their objectives, and what have they done to accomplish them. Bar graphs and pie and line charts are excellent for this. Don’t forget to include actionable tips on how to improve performance and overcome any difficulties.

How Do You Write a Business Progress Report?

If you’ve never written a progress report, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. A business progress report needs to be written in such a way as to produce effective results with actionable tips and insights. It helps track a department’s progress and lets stakeholders know if there’s anything that needs their special attention

  • Follow the PPP Method

Keep Your Progress Reports Concise and Focused

Do not avoid writing about problems, stick to relevant topics and kpis, make progress reports regularly, the basics: following the ppp method.

PPP stands for Plans, Progress, and Problems . This method tracks these indicators and helps you understand the project’s performance. Plans are short-term and long-term goals and objectives. Cover them in broad strokes and leave room to add or explain more things later when you have a more coherent idea of what your report is going to look like.

Progress reports need to brief your coworkers, the management, and other stakeholders about how the project is going. Going into detail is usually counterproductive and can make the whole thing too bloated.

Provide the additional and supporting information, but ensure the focus is on brief information points that will help everyone understand where the business stands and actionable insights that can improve it.

Mistakes are progress too, especially if you learn from them. The third P in PPP stands for problems, and you need to include them in the report. This can help you identify issues and concerns and even potential solutions. In addition, people involved need to know about pitfalls you’ve encountered and may be able to offer advice on how to deal with them. 

Related : 13 Biggest Bottlenecks That Keep Your Business from Growing

Even if the problem was solved, including it will help stakeholders understand what you had to do to overcome it, why some resources may have been reallocated, and what can be done to avoid such issues in the future.

This ties into the conciseness point. Focus on what’s really relevant to the intended audience . Executives usually don’t have the time for nitty-gritty details and issues outside of their scope of operations. Respect their time, and develop multiple different reports tailored to different audiences rather than building one huge report.

As we mentioned, the frequency of progress reporting depends on a lot of external factors. Still, it’s important to be consistent and provide everyone with regular updates.

While making a progress report can be time-consuming, it actually saves time in the long run as it ensures everyone knows the status of projects and what needs to be done to reach the next milestone.

Most proper business progress reports don’t need to be made any more frequently than once a month. 

Every progress report is different, but there are some universal rules that are broadly applicable for most of them. They should be clear, easy to understand and follow, and include actionable advice.

Here are some basic tips: 

Be Clear and Concise

Explain industry-specific language, number and title projects, stay formal, include visuals, be transparent.

  • Make Sure Everything Is Dated

Include Company and Department Goals

Discuss problems and progress, share it wisely, make it easy to access.

We mentioned it before but it bears repeating. Making your business progress report snappy and understandable will do wonders for everyone involved. Don’t forget to include a summary, because, odds are, there are people who won’t have enough time to read anything else. 

As a rule, don’t overuse technical jargon; but when you must use industry-specific language, make sure to explain it. You can have a section with bullet points explaining them or cover it in brackets next to the terms used.

Organize your report into clear segments. Each project should be both numbered and titled. While you want to give a general overview to the audience, projects should be distinctly labeled and easy to follow.

This goes without saying. A progress report is not the place to show your witty side. While you don’t have to be stiff, stay formal, direct, and respectful.

Data is the backbone of your report. It can be used to show progress or setbacks and, you need to ensure every information you’re presenting is backed up with reliable data. Also, think about how the existing data points shape your report and how you can display it in an eye-catching way .

Related : How to Analyze Data: 30+ Experts on Making Sense of Your Performance

This is a must. No one wants to read reams of text these days and most people don’t have the time for it. Visuals make the report clearer and easier to understand and they can actually save time. A single dashboard with clear graphs showing progress and key information can explain the situation better than a full page of dense text.

Transparency is incredibly important if your report is to be productive and show everything clearly. You need to highlight to everyone who’s contributing that progress reports must be transparent. Hiding setbacks or mistakes behind fluff or cherry-picked data will do more harm than good.

Make Sure Everything is Dated

Date every important piece of information and provide the timeline for the project. Mark due dates, task deliveries, report dates, etc. This will make it easier to extract useful metrics and better understand the resources available at that time.

People outside of your department may not know about specific goals you accomplished or are still working towards. If they explain how you reached certain milestones or how they affected the project you’re working on, include them; but be mindful not to clutter the report with excess information that isn’t relevant to people receiving it.

Related : Content Marketing Goals: 15 Ways to Set, Track, & Measure Your Efforts

This is the main purpose of the report. It’s there to show the progress that did or didn’t happen. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and start a discussion with clients or stakeholders. They may want some more detailed information and can help you by providing input or advice that’s specific to their industry.

Consider who needs to see the report and make it with that in mind. Is it just the client’s management? Other stakeholders? Is it an internal report? Does someone need to review it? Tailor the report with the audience in mind and ensure everyone who needs it has access.

Double-check who can see what information as not all people may be cleared for the entire report. Make multiple versions of the report if necessary and make sure each version gets to the right address.

You can send a link to a completed report in an email and ensure everyone who needs to has access. In addition, make sure the specific reports are easy to find. Figure out what people looking for a report might be searching for and make it easy for them. This will save a lot of time and allow clients, coworkers, and management to access them at any time.

Databox offers a large library of progress report dashboards that come pre-built with the most common metrics and KPIs tracked across different departments. All you have to do is pick a template, connect your data sources, and the visualizations will populate automatically.

Sales Report Examples and Templates

Marketing report examples and templates, project management report examples and templates, financial report examples and templates, ecommerce report examples and templates, saas report examples and templates, customer support report examples and templates, software development report examples and templates.

Sales progress reports allow you to track sales performance from a variety of data sources, including Pipedrive , Salesforce , HubSpot CRM , and more. 

Sales Report Example

This Sales Overview Dashboard will provide you with a visual snapshot of monthly performance by the sales team by providing information about sales performance KPIs, productivity KPIs, and other important metrics. You’ll be able to understand the current sales pipeline and compare team results with revenue goals.

Marketing reports cover the important metrics related to your marketing efforts and present them in a clear and visually-pleasing manner. From social media and Google Ads to SEO, you can find the right template for anything you’re looking for.

Marketing Report Example

You can use this Google Analytics landing page SEO dashboard template to get a comprehensive overview of your on-page SEO by monitoring which pages need to be updated and optimized, which ones are performing well, and which search queries generate the most traffic.

A project management report will provide you with an overview of your project and allow you to monitor employee performance or client behavior. It should support integration with project management software like Jira and Harvest and provide you with the most relevant metrics for all of your projects.

Project Management Report Example

A well-made Jira Dashboard Template will give you all the information about custom Jira metrics instantly. You’ll be able to track value points by project, issue status, resolved issues, team’s response to issues, and tasks completed.

Financial reports will provide information about profit and loss, revenue, expenses, and cash flow. A good dashboard should support both pre-built and custom integrations and allow you to understand the state of your finances at a glance.

Financial Report Example

This Quickbooks dashboard template will provide you with full insight into your business’ cash flow, sales and expenses, and bank accounts entered in Quickbooks. You’ll be able to measure the financial health of your business, track credit card purchases, and more.

Ecommerce reports can cover every aspect of your online sales performance, from the store overview and ecommerce sales to paid ads for ecommerce.

Ecommerce Report Example

Using this free Shopify store dashboard template will give you a quick overview of your online store’s performance. It covers metrics like discounts, abandoned checkouts, net sales, new customers, orders, gross sales, and more. You’ll be able to discover how well is your online store functioning and what you can do to improve it.

SaaS reports can identify trends related to churn, growth, revenue trends, and MRR. A customizable dashboard will allow you to develop an eye-catching and simple report that will bring the most relevant metrics into focus.

SaaS Report Example

Using Databox’s Profitwell Churn Overview Dashboard makes it easy to track the top sources of churn for your SaaS business. You’ll be able to learn where your company is losing recurring revenue, whether customers are churning delinquently or voluntarily, and where you should spend your time addressing it.

If you want your customer support service to run smoothly, you need to use proper reporting in order to identify any weak points that might need attention. You can use customer support templates that focus on the help desk, support tickets, help documentation, customer success, or build your own version that caters to your needs.

Customer Support Report Example

HelpScout for Customer Support dashboard template will help you monitor responsiveness and handling time across the support team. The integration with Help Scout Mailbox allows you to better understand the service team’s performance and to find ways to improve it.

Software development reports can help with the optimization of processes and ensure your team, tools, and goals remain aligned. Databox templates that focus on reporting about databases, IT metrics, DevOps, and app stores help you visualize the overall progress of projects you’re involved with and are fully customizable, allowing you to build your own custom interconnected reports.

Software Development Report Example

The MySQL dashboard template can be used to pull data from proprietary databases and showcase it alongside data drawn from services like Google Analytics , Salesforce , and Mixpanel . You’ll learn how many active connections you have in MySQL and be able to track monthly sales transactions.

hubspot_sales_overview_dashboard_template_databox

Automate Business Reporting with Databox 

Building individual progress reports can be a time-consuming chore. Gathering all data points, collating information from a variety of tools, coordinating efforts with other people involved… the effort can add up. That being said, progress reports are incredibly valuable, as they identify pain points in the project workflow and can kickstart company productivity.

Fortunately, Databox templates can make the process much simpler and quicker. You can tick pretty much every checkbox we mentioned in this article and make your progress reports better than ever. From visualizing data from multiple tools to custom data calculations, you’ll be able to make better business forecasts and enjoy peace of mind with automated notifications and reminders. The software even allows quick access to dashboards and reports on multiple devices – from your desktop, phone, and TV, to your wrist.

Sign up for Dat a box for free now to finally decrease the time and effort spent on monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting. You’ll have more time to deal with other tasks and foster better cooperation both within the company and with clients and stakeholders.

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Progress Report: What is it & How to Write it? (+Examples)

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Picture this: You're a project manager juggling multiple tasks, deadlines, and team members. Keeping the balance between different tasks is hard but very important.

Enter the progress report, your secret weapon in conquering chaos and ensuring smooth sailing.

But what exactly is a progress report, and how do you craft one effectively? In this blog post, I'll demystify progress reports and guide you through the process of writing one.

From daily progress reports to weekly progress reports, using practical progress report templates and a tried-and-true format.

What is a Progress Report?

A progress report is a vital tool in project management , designed to keep different types of stakeholders informed about the ongoing status of a project.

It's a concise document highlighting current achievements, challenges, and goals, allowing the project manager to track progress and make necessary adjustments.

Project progress reports are one of the most important types of project management reports . They help maintain transparency, communication, and accountability within a team, ensuring everyone is on the same page. They also provide valuable insights for decision-makers, helping them gauge the project's overall health and success.

Here's what you can expect to find in a typical progress report:

  • Project Overview: A brief summary of the project's objectives and scope.
  • Current Status: A snapshot of where the project stands regarding completed tasks, milestones reached, and overall progress.
  • Challenges and Issues: Any technical difficulties, resource constraints, or personnel issues.
  • Next Steps: The immediate tasks and goals on the horizon and how the team plans to tackle them.
  • Progress Report Format: The layout of the report can vary depending on the organization's preferences or industry standards.

Writing a progress report can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. You'll create a valuable document that keeps everyone informed and aligned by breaking it down into manageable sections and using clear, concise language.

Embrace the progress report writing skill and watch your team's productivity and communication soar.

Why are Progress Reports Important?

Why is a progress report important?

Progress reports play a vital role in project management, serving as a communication tool to keep stakeholders updated. Let's delve into why progress reports are crucial for the success of any project or business.

Transparency and Accountability

Progress reports eliminate ambiguity and promote transparency. By regularly sharing project updates with stakeholders, the project team is held accountable for their work. This accountability ensures everyone is on track to meet the project milestones and objectives.

Identify Potential Issues Early

Progress reports help identify potential problems before they escalate. Team members can spot bottlenecks, delays, and other issues by examining project data and analyzing the progress report.

Early detection enables the team to take prompt action and prevent these issues from derailing the project.

Effective Decision-Making

Armed with accurate and timely information from progress reports, project managers and stakeholders can make informed decisions.

When a project progresses smoothly, management can allocate resources more efficiently or plan for future phases. On the other hand, if a project encounters challenges, swift decisions can be made to reallocate resources or change course.

Maintaining Momentum

A progress report's important aspect is maintaining momentum. When team members see their progress documented and shared, it fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

This positive reinforcement encourages teams to keep pushing forward and maintain their productivity.

Improved Communication and Collaboration

Progress reports facilitate better communication and collaboration among team members. By sharing updates and insights, the entire team stays informed, reducing the chances of miscommunication or misunderstandings.

Moreover, progress reports provide a platform for team members to ask questions, provide feedback, and offer support.

Performance Tracking

Business progress reports, such as quarterly, monthly, or annual progress reports, help track performance over time.

By comparing past reports, management can gauge the business's overall health and identify trends or patterns. This historical data can inform future strategies and drive continuous improvement.

How to Write a Progress Report

Step 1: define the purpose.

The first step in writing a progress report is understanding its purpose. Progress reports inform stakeholders about the project's status, including what has been accomplished, any challenges encountered, and future planning. This allows project managers to keep everyone in the loop and make informed decisions.

The purpose of this monthly progress report is to update the management team on the project's status. It presents an overview of completed tasks, in-progress tasks, upcoming tasks, and any challenges faced during the reporting period. This report will also provide insight into key performance metrics and future planning .

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Determine who will read the progress report. Is it for higher-ups, clients, or team members? Tailor the language, tone, and level of detail accordingly.

Step 3: Set the Timeframe

Decide the reporting period – weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Choose a timeframe that best suits your project's pace and stakeholder expectations.

Step 4: Collect Information

Gather data on tasks completed, team members involved, and any obstacles faced. Consult previous progress reports, project documentation , and team members for accurate information.

Step 5: Organize Content

Break down the report into logical sections. Here’s what we suggest:

  • Summary: A brief overview of the report's contents.
  • Completed Tasks: List tasks accomplished during the reporting period.
  • In-Progress Tasks: Describe ongoing tasks and their current status.
  • Upcoming Tasks: Outline tasks scheduled for the next reporting period.
  • Challenges: Discuss any obstacles encountered and how they were addressed.
  • Key Metrics: Highlight key project performance indicators and progress towards goals.
  • Future Planning: Discuss plans for the next reporting period and any adjustments needed.

Step 6: Write the Summary

Craft a concise summary that provides a snapshot of the report. Mention key achievements, challenges, and plans for the future. Keep it brief but informative.

This progress report covers our team's accomplishments during Q1, with a particular focus on the completion of the website redesign and the initiation of our social media marketing campaign. We've encountered some challenges in coordinating with external vendors, but we've implemented solutions to overcome those obstacles .

Step 7: Detail Completed Tasks

List all tasks completed during the reporting period. Include the following information:

  • Task description
  • Team members involved
  • Start and end dates
  • Any relevant metrics (e.g., hours spent, budget used)
  • Task 1 – Implement a user login system.
  • Team members: Jeff and Sarah.
  • Start date: January 1st.
  • End date: January 15th.
  • Metrics: 98% successful login rate.

Step 8: Discuss In-Progress Tasks

Outline ongoing tasks, their current status, and expected completion dates. Explain any delays and their impact on the project timeline .

  • Task 2 – Develop a mobile app.
  • Current status: 70% completed.
  • Expected completion date: February 15th.

Step 9: Describe Upcoming Tasks

Identify tasks scheduled for the next reporting period. Provide details such as:

  • Assigned team members
  • Estimated start and end dates
  • Dependencies on other tasks
  • Task 3 – Launch marketing campaign.
  • Assigned team members: Anas and Mark.
  • Estimated start date: February 16th.
  • Estimated end date: March 1st.
  • Dependencies: Completion of mobile app development.

Step 10: Address Challenges

Discuss any challenges encountered during the reporting period. Describe how they were resolved or any plans to address them in the future.

  • Challenge 1 – Unforeseen technical issues causing delays.
  • Resolution: Increased resources and adjusted project timeline to accommodate the additional time required.

Step 11: Present Key Metrics

Highlight key project management performance indicators and progress toward project goals. Use visuals like charts or graphs to make the data more digestible.

  • Metric 1 – User registration rate.
  • Current status: 500 new users per week.
  • Target goal: 1,000 new users per week.

Step 12: Plan for the Future

Discuss plans for the next reporting period, including any adjustments required. This may involve reallocating resources, revising timelines, or redefining objectives.

In the next reporting period, our focus will shift to improving user retention and engagement. We plan to implement new features based on user feedback and optimize the onboarding process.

Step 13: Proofread and Revise

Review the report for clarity, accuracy, and readability. Ensure all information is presented in a clear, concise manner.

Step 14: Submit the Report

Submit the progress report to the relevant stakeholders, ensuring they have ample time to review and provide feedback.

Example Progress Report Template

Use this template as a starting point for your progress report:

By following these steps and guidelines, you'll be well-equipped to write an effective progress report that keeps stakeholders informed and drives project success. Clear communication is key to maintaining momentum and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Examples of Progress Reports

1. business progress report.

Business Progress Report

A business progress report helps track company growth, accomplishments, and areas for improvement. It includes:

  • Revenue and sales figures.
  • Market trends and competition.
  • Operational efficiency.
  • Employee performance.
  • Goals and milestones achieved.

2. Quarterly Progress Reports

Quarterly Business Review

These reports offer a snapshot of a project or business every three months. They cover:

  • Major achievements.
  • Challenges faced and solutions.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Updated project timeline.
  • Budget status.

3. Monthly Progress Reports

Monthly progress reports provide more frequent updates on projects or departments. They highlight:

  • Accomplishments and setbacks.
  • Progress towards monthly goals.
  • Resource utilization.
  • Issues and risks.
  • Action items for the upcoming month.

4. Project Status

Project Status Report

Project status reports focus on a specific project's progress. They showcase:

  • Project documentation updates.
  • Completed tasks and upcoming deliverables.
  • Risks and issues encountered.
  • Team members' performance.
  • Changes to project scope or timeline.

5. Personal Progress

Personal progress reports help individuals track their growth and development. They include:

  • Personal goals and objectives.
  • Achievements and lessons learned.
  • Skill development and training.
  • Performance feedback.
  • Areas for improvement and action plans.

Best Practices for Writing Progress Reports

Progress Report Template

Know Your Target Audience

When you create a progress report, start by identifying your target audience . Project stakeholders, team members, and future decision-makers should all benefit from your report.

Write in such a way that it is easy for them to understand. Avoid technical jargon and explain industry-specific language so everyone stays on the same page.

Reporting Frequency and Dates

Establish a reporting frequency for your progress reports. Whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, maintain consistency. Include report dates and the expected completion date of the current project to provide a clear timeline.

Stick to the Project's Scope

Focus on the project's scope and stay within the project's purpose. Don't digress or include unrelated details. A concise report ensures that readers remain engaged and informed.

Review Previous Reports

Refer to the previous report to identify any changes or developments. Highlight the work completed, project deliverables , and any updates to the project plan. Doing so will maintain continuity and keep stakeholders informed about the department's progress.

Prioritize and Organize

Arrange project priorities logically, focusing on the most critical aspects first. Organize the information in a clear, easy-to-follow format. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points for better readability.

Be Transparent About Problems

Don't shy away from discussing problems or challenges. Addressing issues helps stakeholders understand the project's status and any hurdles that may affect successful completion. Offer potential solutions or workarounds to demonstrate proactive thinking.

Back Up Progress with Relevant Data

Use relevant data to support your progress. Figures, charts, and percentages can provide a quick overview of the project's status. Make sure your data is accurate, up-to-date, and presented in an easy-to-understand format.

Highlight Team Member Contributions

Acknowledge team members who have made significant contributions to the project. This recognition boosts morale and encourages continued excellence.

Include Future Projections

Discuss what's next for the project, such as upcoming tasks or milestones. This helps stakeholders understand the trajectory of the project and anticipate the work ahead.

Keep it Simple and Actionable

Present complex ideas in a simple, easy-to-understand language. Break down complicated concepts into manageable chunks. Offer actionable insights and practical takeaways, so stakeholders can quickly grasp the project details.

Establish a Database

Create a database to store all progress reports. This repository helps stakeholders access past reports and provides valuable insights for future projects. It also ensures that information is preserved and easily accessible when needed.

Proofread and Edit

Before sharing your progress report, proofread and edit for clarity, consistency, and accuracy. This step ensures that your report is polished, professional, and easy to understand.

Progress Reporting FAQs

A progress report is most valuable when you're working on a long-term project. It's a way to keep stakeholders updated on progress and share important insights.

The primary purpose of a progress report is to provide a clear and concise overview of a project's status. This includes: – Communicating progress toward goals – Identifying potential issues and solutions – Demonstrating accountability and commitment to the project – Providing a step-by-step guide of completed tasks and upcoming work – Offering visual aids, like charts and graphs, to illustrate data A well-crafted progress report keeps stakeholders informed and fosters collaboration. It's also valuable for maintaining momentum and motivation throughout the project.

Writing Progress Reports Does Not Need to Be Hard

So, you've reached the end of this blog post. You're now equipped with the knowledge and tools to make progress report writing a breeze. Remember, it doesn't have to be a daunting task.

Keep it simple, stick to the facts, and let your progress shine. Talk about what you achieved, any challenges you faced, and how you overcame them. Use a clear, concise, structured format to ensure your message is easily understood.

To simplify the process, check out our guide on project reporting tools .

Ask yourself:

  • What are the key takeaways from this period?
  • How can I best communicate the status of the project?
  • Are there any challenges that need addressing?

Considering these questions will make your progress report informative, actionable, and engaging. And don't forget, practice makes perfect. The more progress reports you write, the easier and more efficient the process will become.

Explore Further

  • Essential Components of Project Management
  • Best Project Management Software 2023
  • The Inspiring History of Project Management. How Did It Begin?
  • 9 Essential Roles In Project Management

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Martin luenendonk.

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

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Progress Report: How to Write, Structure, and Make Project Progress Visually Attractive

Picture this: Days or weeks into a project, your supervisor asks for a progress report.

Depending on your experience with writing progress reports, you might respond with readiness, anxiety, or confusion. Where do you begin? How do you know you’ve created a satisfactory or even amazing final report? Fear not—the expert team here at Piktochart is here to help.

In this progress reporting guide, we’ll not only give you top tips on how to write a successful report but additionally provide you with progress report templates and checklists to keep you focused on the important stuff. We begin, of course, with the all-important question anyone from a newbie to even a seasoned professional might have: “What is a progress report?”

Table of contents:

What is a progress report, why is a progress report important.

  • How to write a progress report
  • How to structure a progress report
  • Free progress report templates you can edit right away

Progress report checklist

In case you prefer watching over reading, feel free to check out the video summary of this blog post:

A progress report is exactly what it sounds like—a document using simple and straightforward language that explains in detail what has been achieved and what else is needed for project completion. Essentially this document is a status update before the final report, outlining tasks completed by a team member, project manager, or team, along with what else needs to be done.

W hether you need to provide daily progress reports or even quarterly progress reports, this asset outlines the activities you’ve carried out, the tasks you’ve completed, and the milestones you’ve reached vis-à-vis your project plan .

Depending on the scope and complexity of the project, you might need to give a progress report weekly or monthly or for every 25% project milestone.

In terms of audience, a progress report is typically written for a supervisor, colleague, or client. Progress reports can be written from the perspective of one person as well as an entire team or department.

Throughout your career, you’re likely to be creating more reports than you can count (challenge for you: count them and find how many resources you’re using!).

Perhaps you find yourself spending more time crunching data and plugging numbers into graphs than actually working.

Reports don’t have to be as time-consuming as they often are. Progress report templates are time-savers! Get your free Piktochart account so you can follow along as we share more templates below.

We also tapped into the brilliance of Kevan Lee of Buffer in this interactive content experience to help you with your progress report projects.

Dive right in here, and learn some reporting hacks from Kevan .

Sometimes it might feel like writing about your progress in detail is redundant, especially when you’ve been regularly communicating with your supervisor, teammates, and client throughout the course of the project. Like any project manager, you probably think there are more important things to work on.

But this type of professional report is actually quite useful for several reasons.

1. It gets everyone on the same page

Each person who receives a copy of the report will know what has been accomplished and what is remaining. This prevents confusion about what has been or has yet to be done. Additionally, it provides proof and data about the respective project that can be cited and sourced if and when questions arise in the future.

2. Writing progress reports facilitates collaboration

This is especially important when different teams or departments work together. Knowing what another team is prioritizing helps prevent working in silos and also reduces task redundancy. Additionally, progress reporting helps a team identify areas where it can offer help or collaborate with others.

When teams can track progress on where other teams are on the project timeline, project managers get a better idea of the current status. They can reassign resources to make sure everyone is on track to hit the deadline for the current project, which can be tricky if you’re managing remote teams .

If you’d like to learn more about how you can work together with your team on a report, sign up for a free Piktochart account and try our online report maker .

3. It improves transparency and accountability by providing a paper trail

When you submit your report, you’ve placed on record that you’ve accomplished a task or explained why your results were different than expected. Once the document has been accepted, it becomes part of the project’s official documentation.

So, just in case someone accuses you in the future of failing to accomplish a task or not reporting a problem, you can point to the progress report as proof that you did so.

On the flip side, if your project ever gets nominated for an award, you can be sure validators will come seeking documents that explain how the entire thing was accomplished.

4. It improves project evaluation and review

Next time you plan for a project, your team can examine documents, including progress reports, of previous projects to find out what was done right, what went wrong, and what can be improved.

Previous reports can shed light on systemic issues, loopholes, and other causes of delay or failure—both internal and external—that must be avoided or resolved.

5. It provides insights for future planning

When the supervisor knows what tasks have been accomplished, he or she can focus on monitoring progress toward the next stages of the project.

When a report shows that delays have occurred, the supervisor is able to investigate the problems that hindered progress and take steps to prevent them from happening again in the future.

The supervisor will also be able to adjust the project timeline if absolutely needed or instruct teams to double down.

Ultimately, all the valuable insights from the project documentation can increase the chance of success for future projects.

Here is a progress report format example:

monthly report template

How to write progress report s

Have you ever found yourself stuck tapping your pen or staring at a blinking cursor, unable to begin writing?

Writer’s block is not an unusual experience when creating progress reports, especially for those whose jobs typically don’t involve drafting a long document or creating a formal report.

One reason people may find it difficult to write these reports is the thought that they’re not ‘writers.’ Yet, this is simply a negative mindset.

Reports don’t require sophisticated language—in fact, the simpler, the better.

Here are some writing tips on progress reporting:

“Piktochart is my go-to tool when I’m looking for a way to summarize data that is easy for our upper management to review. Piktochart provides me with the tools to display data in a creative, visually appealing way.” – Erica Barto, Selection, Testing & Assessment Specialist at Valero Energy Corporation Create a report, presentation, infographic, or other visuals online with Piktochart. You don’t need any graphic design experience to make professional visual content. Sign up for free .

1. Think of it as a Q&A

Before you start worrying about your reporting frequency and whether you should provide monthly reports or weekly reports, take a step back and focus on the purpose of the report itself.

In essence, the reporting process comes down to Q&A; you’re answering key questions about your progress. Imagine your manager, colleagues, or client asking you their most important questions, and you’re simply providing them with answers on the project status.

For example, let’s say that you’re organizing a weekend fair with food stalls and music and that you’re put in charge of food concessions.

The project plan might require you to have secured letters of intent (LOI) from at least 10 businesses by the end of the first month.

Your progress report would then outline the companies or entrepreneurs who have sent LOIs, including a description of their businesses and plans for their food stalls. If talks are in progress with other businesses that haven’t yet sent LOIs, you can include that and explain when they’re expected to send in their letters.

On the other hand, if you haven’t met your target, you’d have to explain why but also narrate the efforts you have exerted and the expected timeline for achieving the desired results.

roadblock, solution, timeline, problem solving

2 . Use simple and straightforward language

This doesn’t mean you can’t use technical jargon.

For example, if you’re in the construction business, you don’t have to avoid using terms like “tender” or “variation” or “risk management.”

But otherwise, speak plainly. Use clear and concise language.

One misconception in business writing is that complexity impresses. In truth, it only causes confusion. Fact is, being able to speak plainly about your subject indicates that you understand your subject matter inside out.

Let’s get specific. One thing that makes business documents dreary is the transformation of verbs into nouns—just like I did there.

If we had to rephrase that to keep the verb, we’d write, “transforming verbs into nouns.” It sounds simpler and gets to the point.

an infographic about how to transform verbs into nouns, tips for writing a progress report for project managers

3 . Avoid using the passive voice where possible

Sometimes, you can’t avoid using the passive voice in formal documents that prohibit the first-person point-of-view. But when done well, it helps to make your progress reports more relatable.

Going back to the food concession example, a passive sentence would read: “Research on potential food concessionaires was carried out.”

To make that sentence active, give it an actor (which is the team in this case), as in: “The team researched on potential food concessionaires.”

4. Be specific

A study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience found that when you use concrete words, you tend to engage both the left and right parts of the brain, while the right region tends to remain unstimulated by abstract words.

While the jury is still out on exactly how word meanings are represented in the mind, we can agree that the phrase “a merry sound” doesn’t stir the imagination as much as “tinkling bells”.

“A hot day” doesn’t activate visual imagery as much as “a melting popsicle” does. When a reader’s mind is stimulated by words, it’s less likely to drift off.

melting popsicle, imagery

Taking the previous example, “researched on potential food concessionaires” doesn’t evoke a visual image. Meanwhile, “built a list of 50 potential food concessionaires” is more concrete, especially when you add details of what food items might be sold.

5. Explain jargon if needed

This depends on who will be reading your progress reports, and if you’re using very specialized jargon that only members of your team would be familiar with.

For example, in a report written by a construction team addressed to the project manager , construction jargon could be used as the recipient obviously understands it.

6. Spell out acronyms when they first occur in the document

Don’t assume that every single person reading the report will understand all the acronyms you use without you spelling them out.

For instance, in construction work, SWMS should first be spelled out as “safe work method statement”. ‘Pre-starts’ should be spelled out as ‘pre-start checks’. So in your report, it would look like this: “safe work method statement (SWMS)”, then all subsequent references are free to just be SWMS.

7. Stick to facts

Avoid providing an opinion, unless it’s part of the project.

For instance, your task might be to analyze data and offer your interpretation and prediction. In that case, you can offer your speculation and point of view, as long as you have evidence to back you up.

8. Use graphics to supplement the text

Avoid writing down a long series of numbers in a sentence. Try using different types of graphs , tables or charts, especially when dealing with a series of numbers.

Here at Piktochart, we have many progress report templates, and the hiring progress report below is a great example.

hiring progress report template

When using graphs or charts, try out several types to determine which ones best present your data. You might use a bar graph , pie chart , line graph , or even scatter plot . When doing so, though, spend time distinguishing different data sets from the others by using labels and colors.

Don’t worry if this sounds daunting—there are plenty of software that can help you visualize data , including the most basic examples, MS Excel and Numbers for Mac.

How to structure progress report s

You may still be wondering about the exact process of how to write a progress report. Armed with all of these practical tips, how do you put the report together?

First, it depends on the type of report, as well as the intended reader. A progress report may be written daily, weekly, or monthly. It may be written for an individual or a team.

As you’ll see in the examples below, the main parts of a progress report are:

1. Introduction

This part provides an overview of the contents of the progress report. It’s best to write this after you’ve completed all the other parts of the report. That way, you’ll be able to provide an accurate summary.

Keep it short and simple. One or two paragraphs will do.

2. Accomplishments

Numbers and details are your friends, especially when writing this section of the progress report. The accomplishments you write should correspond to your goals.

milestones reached in a progress report

What were your goals for the period covered by the report?

This could be a goal for the day, week, month, or quarter. On the other hand, it could be a team goal, too.

Be concrete when writing goals. For instance:

goals for next month in a progress report

Avoid providing too much detailed information. The simpler this section is, the easier it is for stakeholders and the project team to see the project priorities.

4. Roadblocks

Explain what situations, if any, prevented you from achieving your goals, or may have hindered the project’s progress.

But don’t stop there. Be proactive and present an action plan and timeline for resolving the roadblocks. Include details, such as funds, materials, and human resources you may need to implement the solution.

Progress reporting templates you can edit right away

To guide you better, here are progress report template examples that are visually attractive and highly readable.

These templates are available if you sign up for a free Piktochart account . Once you log in, use any of the templates below and edit the elements and text to make it your own.

1. Daily progress report s

A daily progress report includes your goals for the day, as well as your accomplishments the previous day. It also explains challenges encountered in performing tasks and achieving goals.

Another section under the daily report is ‘lessons learned’. These need to be directly related to the day’s tasks and challenges, as well as to the previous day’s accomplishments.

daily progress report, report template piktochart

2. Weekly progress report

Weekly progress reports provide a week-by-week breakdown of what has been accomplished and what tasks remain to be completed.

Just like a daily report, a weekly progress report may include challenges and lessons learned. Examples are included in the templates below.

To get a better idea of this, let’s go back to the events example:

  • Many potential vendors were attending a week-long industry convention; couldn’t book meetings.
  • Potential vendors didn’t read the entire email.

example of challenges

Lessons Learned

  • Consider industry events when planning a timeline for contacting clients
  • Introductory emails must be short and have readable formatting

example of lessons learned

3. Monthly progress report ing

A monthly report is necessary for projects with longer durations. The report may provide both monthly and quarterly data on project progress.

cover of a monthly progress report template

4. Team progress report s

Team progress reports provide information on both team and individual milestones and progress status. Now this one is more complicated, simply because it involves several people who may have worked on different tasks.

It’s not enough to just let one person make the report. Of course, one person can do the typing, but everyone must provide input and feedback.

One way to keep a record of different team members’ input is to keep track of edits they have made.

To do this, simply enable tracking of changes on a Word document, or on Pages for Mac users. When working on a collaborative tool like Google Docs , click the pencil icon on the top-right part of the window, and choose “Edits become suggestions” on the drop-down menu. Here’s what that looks like:

suggesting mode google docs

On the other hand, team members can insert comments or questions. Again, you can do this easily on a Word document, as well as on software that let you comment on shared documents, like Google Docs and Piktochart .

Here’s what it looks like in Piktochart (learn more about this feature in our guide to annotated comments for teams ):

Here’s one example of Piktochart’s many team project report templates .

team progress report, template piktochart

One last thing… You’ve finally finished typing up your report—breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t hit ‘send’ just yet.

Go over it at least once (better to do it more than once, especially if it’s a team report). Re-read the article, edit the content as needed, then ask a teammate to proofread with a fresh pair of eyes.

checklist for reports, tips for creating reports, report checklist

Finish your progress report on time

Be more accountable and efficient with your progress reports using Piktochart’s professional-looking and editable progress report templates.

Report header template showcase

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How to Write a Progress Report (Sample Template)

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  • PPP - Plans, Progress, Problems

With over 10 years of experience, Weekdone has provided tens of thousands of teams from startups to Fortune 500 with a simple goal-setting, status updates and progress reporting tool . This is why we developed  Weekdone .

Weekdone is your solution for connecting managers and employees through real-time updates, e-mail reports and social newsfeed.   Tr y it here ! It’s free forever for small teams and offers a free trial for larger ones! Read about the benefits here .

Falling efficiency, lack of focus, no drive. Said the team leader who doesn’t have good reporting software

The perceived negative qualities listed above come and go in companies over time. But shouldn’t we try to avoid them? Or, at the very least, take control in situations where we have the ability to do so? I think so!

Just like our bodies need to fight spring fever with the right mix of nutrients, we should give our organizations proper treatment when productivity falls below a critical level.

We’re not so arrogant, calling our service a ‘company doctor’ – but there is a simple cure out there for those of you looking to save your organization from this lack of efficiency. The cure is of course, the reason you’re here – progress reports!

Imagine if you were able to automate the process of transferring weekly status updates into a combined report at each week’s end. Sounds awesome, right? Weekdone helps you do that and so much more. It’s a status reporting tool for teams and a software that automates some of your most time-consuming management tasks.

Screen shot of Team Compass status reporting software.

The information in these reports help managers track team and individual’s progress while observing both company and team goals.

However, not many are familiar with the benefits of progress reporting.

So, let’s fix that too!

Progress reports used by teams encourage engagement and transparency. It’s been said that having a specific place to check in your progress increases the probability of meeting a goal by 95%.

For managers, progress reports offer concrete information about your employees’ contributions. It encourages the exchange of ideas and opinions. Truthfully, it is a very simple form of two-way communication. With some guidelines and basic understanding of the format, everyone can file an excellent report on their own.

Progress Report – The Basics

The foundation of every good progress report is a “PPP methodology”, something the  Weekdone is built on. This stands for Progress, Plans and Problems. It may seem overly simplistic, but there is a deep framework hidden underneath.

PPP is “rich in stuff, low in fluff”. Cleve Gibbon

Gibbon’s thought is shared by the likes of Emi Gal (CEO of Brainient) and Colin Nederkoorn (CEO of Customer.io), both of whom use PPP to organize and streamline their respective enterprises.

Even companies like Skype, Ebay, and Facebook picked up on the benefits of PPP.

So, what does PPP mean exactly?

Progress Reports

  • Progress. Progress lists employee’s accomplishments, finished items, and closed tasks. This category gives a good assessment of how much work has been done.
  • Plans are the tasks you plan to accomplish over the course of one week. At Weekdone, we recommend setting these 3-7 plans on the Friday prior to “their work week”. All of the items listed under Plans are potential items of Progress. However, leave room for changes and accept that your Plans are not set in stone. Also consider, that these should ultimately help drive your Quarterly team goals forward.
  • Problems. Problems lay out challenges and pitfalls. Some people leave correcting mistakes for last, but it is highly recommended to do this throughout the project.

When you keep in mind these three things, you already have what it takes to write a simple report. Should you choose to try Weekdone for free , these 3 categories are the ones in the default weekly status update form. *Which you can change and customize the titles of, if something else resonates more to you 🙂

Who, How and What of Progress Reports

Furthermore, if you really want to succeed in communicating the details and nuances of progress reports, you should always have these three questions in the back of your mind: who, how, and what?

The key part of progress reports is your team. Michele Puccio, Sales Director of Arrow,  says that they helped him “stay connected with the team”. This is why your immediate focus should be on your colleagues and team dynamics.

Reports need to be concise and focused, so you should understand what your colleagues want. To help yourself with this task, ask a few questions:

  • How are the readers connected to the project?
  • Do they know the details and goals of the project?
  • Are the readers comfortable with technical language?

Next, consider the tone of writing. Managers and executives may not understand the intricacies of employees’ conversational style. Use longer, comprehensible sentences but also try to refrain from writing essays. Ideally, there should be 5-7 keywords per sentence.

Do's and don'ts for writing plans for progress reports

Take a look at a sample report for further guidelines and inspiration. Remember that the modern world is metrics-driven, so figures are more important than descriptions.

Instead of: “ we need to increase the output ” Try: “ we need to increase the output by X% ”.

Concrete goals are more inspirational and, at the same time, more attainable.

The one mistake people tend to make when writing a progress report is avoiding writing about mistakes altogether. The purpose of progress reports is to objectively identify key difficulties and concerns and help them along the way. Even if the problem was already addressed, it needs to be put into writing to help avoid making the same kind of mistake in the future.

Secondly, keep in mind the relevance of your writing. Explain how every individual item connects and compares to Progress.

Keep It Simple

Even when progress seems small and changes are minimal, keep updating your reports. It enables transparency on all levels and can help assess challenges so you can plan your next actions accordingly.

Going back to our interview with IT distribution company, Arrow , Michele Puccio shares this example of how progress report influence your performance:

“In the beginning of the week, you decide to call 5 new customers. You write it down and have it under your nose. By the end of the week, you will call 5 new customers. You have made the commitment, communicated it to the rest of the team, and now need to honor this.” Michele Puccio

Progress report templates are made to save time for everyone, so it is illogical to spend most of your workday on writing them. This can be easily aided by reporting tools. Many teams use Google docs or emails to do this.

That being said, it is better to use tools that are specifically developed with progress reports in mind and allow you to automate the process of writing them. Availability and accessibility are key for an excellent progress report .

do's and don'ts for writing progress reports deadlines

The key to progress reports is regularity. Progress reports need to be done at least on a monthly basis, though weekly is encouraged. With a notification system integrated in Weekdone, you ensure that everybody remembers to send their reports in time.

Try Team Compass for automated weekly progress reports.

Implementing Progress Reports

1. make sure to explain benefits to employees.

This one seems a bit obvious, but going ahead without explaining employee benefits risks employee buy-in later. You need to explain the ‘whys’ to everyone. Some easy benefits to sell include: employees having a voice within the organization, and raised productivity and focus on new plans. To find out more about selling the benefits to your team, we recommend drawing from this infographic .

2. Make sure that communication goes both ways

Create a culture that allows discussions to be held from both sides and allow team members to provide feedback to their superiors as well as the other way around. Making a culture that encourages feedback as the default model improves overall company communication and makes progress reports more meaningful to employees and managers alike.

3. Spend less time in meetings by using progress reports as a substitute

Use progress reports (and other tools like our Weekdone ) to decrease the amount of time wasted at meetings by encouraging frequent updating through the web and mobile-based services. If your status meetings stay in one place, you’ll save countless hours every month by writing instead of speaking.

4. Sign up with an online tool that offers you ready-made solutions

It may sound a little promotional, but online tools can make the implementation process so much easier. Progress reporting can be done via e-mail, word document or spreadsheet, but the challenges are far greater and you risk not having all of your information in one, easily accessible place. Combing through Google docs and emails is a colossal waste of time,  after all.  One of the advantages online tools have is that they automatically remind your team to fill their form, compile the received information, and then present it to you in a way that’s both appealing and fun.

Implementing progress reports with a tool

1. make the progress report meet your needs.

Using a ready-made template does not mean that you have to adjust to its specifications. Actually, these tools are flexible enough to meet your standards and needs. What is more, they provide you with even better ideas that might have been missed otherwise.

2. Write down Objectives and Key Results

Before inviting your whole team, make sure you have set up Objectives. The goals that need to be reached in a certain period and key results that help the team achieve these. Try this management technique used by LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. For a more in depth understanding of OKRs, feel free to check the Weekdone step-by-step guide to OKRs .

3. Invite your team

After you have set up all crucial information, it is time to invite your team. Send them an automatic e-mail to sign up.

4. Contacting product support to give a quick demo for everyone

Explaining this new tool to everyone on the team might be a challenge. Especially when you are not too familiar with it. No worries, that is exactly why product support people are here for. Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question. There are only dumb answers. Don’t be afraid to contact the support for additional materials, demo or whatever is on your mind.

Sign up for free Weekdone team management software trial to implement best practice based progress reporting in your team. Set structured goals to align activities throughout your organization via leading OKR software . Track weekly plans and progress. Provide feedback and move everyone in a unified direction. Try it now !

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How to Write a Professional Progress Report 

By Daleska Pedriquez , Jun 28, 2022

progress report

The first time I had to do a professional progress report, I panicked. I always thought I was an organized, big-picture person. I thought I had each step of the project, each stakeholder’s task mapped in my mind. But I found myself at a loss… 

I didn’t know where to begin my report or what to include. So I did some research and asked my co-workers for advice. 

I’m glad I did because they shared some useful tips on  how to use visual communication  in a progress report. They also pointed me towards a ton of templates to use as a starting point.

Now, I’ve filled out countless progress reports and learned some valuable lessons along the way. So, gather around everyone! I’ll show you the magic of using progress reports for your business, including how to incorporate data visualization.

(Most importantly, you’ll find a generous list of templates you can use with our  report maker  to get the job done!)

Click to jump ahead:

What is a progress report, why are work progress reports important, how do you write a progress report, 3 tips to write great reports, faqs about writing a professional progress report.

Let’s start with the basics. A progress report includes a detailed description of the current status of a project, as well as forecasts for the future. You can use this type of report to share insights on project status and performance. You may also project results and timelines based on the milestones your team has achieved and the challenges you’ve faced so far.

These reports often contain a summary of communications between a team member and a project manager. This helps stakeholders get a snapshot of how a project is progressing. 

Keep in mind: a progress report may be for your team alone, your company as a whole or your board of executives. Depending on the audience, you may want to include more or less granular information.

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This may seem obvious, but reporting on progress is key for keeping your team on track. Consistent  project updates  will ensure everyone is working on the right tasks, at the right time. These reports also provide an opportunity for reflection…

What’s going well? What isn’t? Do the project objectives still make sense? Do they need adjusting? By taking the time to reflect  before  a project is finished, you’ll be able to catch any problems, adjust and increase your chances of success. 

Sounds good? But wait, there’s more… 

Here’s a closer look at the benefits of creating a professional progress report: 

Improves team collaboration 

As I mentioned, progress reports are all about keeping teams on the same page. Generally, everyone on your team would receive a copy of the report. That way, everyone can see what’s done and what remains to be done. 

This is also a good way to keep your team motivated during long projects. By reporting on everything that’s been accomplished, they can see just how far they’ve come.

In the initial phases of a project, your progress report may be as simple as a timeline. This type of report works well during the planning stages, too. For example, check out this weekly reporting template: 

progress report

You can customize this template however you need. Style the text, swap out the colors, add in your logo and voilà… you have a professionally branded report.

Guides decision-making throughout a project

Again, if you wait until the end of a project to reflect, you may miss opportunities to course-correct along the way. No  project plan  is perfect. There will always be unforeseen circumstances. A task that requires more time. A team member that drops out of the race… 

A progress report can help you deal with these hiccups. By proactively checking in on a project, you can make decisions about the best use of resources. Or even, whether you need to switch lanes entirely! 

Creates a detailed audit trail for all projects

While a progress report  isn’t  an audit, it does provide a record of all the work undertaken during a project. In other words, it’s useful if you or your company need to create an audit trail using project execution records.

Of course, progress reports are also useful if you’re answering to execs, giving updates to your fellow execs or simply referring back to the next time around. 

progress report

Take this quarterly project status report as an example. Using this template, you can share a high-level overview of a project with a simple progress bar featuring a clear percentage, or swap in any chart to depict progress. With Venngage’s editor, you just have to double-click on the chart and input the appropriate value.

Promotes transparency and accountability

Transparency and accountability are buzzwords in business, but with good reason. Without transparency, there’s no accountability. And without accountability, well, your project is going to be a slog. 

Progress reports are a great way to maintain transparency and accountability throughout a project. Not only can you see exactly who’s done (and doing) what, but you can also highlight the allocation of funding and resources, as well as results. 

progress report

Now that we’ve talked about the perks of using a progress report to  visualize your company’s projects , let’s dig into the good stuff. Here’s how to write a detailed progress report: 

Determine your report’s objectives

Of course, your report will have different objectives depending on the format. If you’re putting together a weekly report, those objectives may be tasks accomplished. You may also include notes about roadblocks or problems solved. 

A monthly or quarterly report will likely look at larger milestones instead and give a broader overview of the progress made on a project. This type of regular project evaluation may also compare progress to previous months. 

progress report

Pro tip: while designing in Venngage, you can create a new color scheme, or use one of the many automated color palettes available. If you’re on a business plan, you’ll also have access to  My Brand Kit , which allows you to upload logos, choose fonts and set color palettes. Then, you can easily apply your visual branding to every design.

Collect all your data

Once you’ve established your objectives, you can gather the necessary data to report on them. 

For example, with a weekly report, you may need to check in with your team members to get a status update on their tasks. With a monthly report, you may be able to pull results, in addition to a broader status update. 

Whatever claims you include in your report, just make sure you can back them up with data. If you’re saying a project is 90% complete, that percentage should be calculated based on real numbers, not estimates. 

progress report

In general, you’ll share a broader progress update on the first page of your report. Then, the following pages will show the supporting data. 

Perform a detailed data analysis

Now for the fun part. (Yup, I’m a data nerd.) 

Analyzing your data is the logical next step. I like to start by organizing my data into buckets. For example, I might have a bucket for tasks accomplished, outstanding tasks, blockers, budget and key learnings to date. 

Often, I’ll include a bucket for outstanding questions. And I analyze all of the above to identify patterns and make informed predictions.

Once you have all this information, make a note of which pieces of data can be visualized. Graphs, charts and other visuals help simplify complex data and reduce the amount of text you’ll need in your report. (More on visualizing your data in just a sec!) 

progress report

Pro tip: when creating a report in Venngage on a  Business Plan , you can collaborate in real-time with your team members and invite them to work on a design. You can also leave comments and get feedback, right on the platform. Alternatively, you can share your design online, via email or download a high-resolution PNG, PDF or interactive PDF. 

Outline and edit your report

Ah, the outline. I create an outline for everything I write, whether it’s a blog, business plan, or yes, a progress report. In my experience, it’s the best way to avoid writer’s block. With a detailed outline, you’ll never get stuck staring at a blank screen again. 

At this point, you know your objectives. You’ve collected and analyzed all your data. All that’s left is to  turn it into a story . 

I like to start with objectives and work my way backward. In my outline, I’ll cover objectives on the first page. Each one gets its own heading with supporting data underneath. I’ll also include a high-level description of my project on the first page. 

I like to organize the following sections by objective, too. This creates a natural hierarchy while keeping goals and objectives top of mind. 

progress report

Nail down the length of your report

Keep in mind that you don’t want your report to be the length of a bible! No one has the time or attention span for that. Here’s a quick rule of thumb: a progress report should be around two to three pages.

This should give you enough space to state your objectives, present supporting data, showcase progress and make any predictions. If your outline is more than three pages, have another look and see what you can trim. As all good writers know, sometimes you have to  kill your darlings . 

Design your report using visuals 

A picture is worth a thousand words — there’s a reason we’ve all heard this saying a thousand times! 

Engaging visuals  are the perfect way to turn dry data into meaningful, digestible statements. But you don’t have to create these visuals from scratch or hire a designer for that matter. By starting with one of  Venngage’s templates , you can simply customize the visuals to suit your needs.

progress report

For example, this project management status report template includes several images, charts and icons. You can swap out the images with your own or browse over three million high-quality, royalty-free photos to find something suitable. 

You can also change the icons to reflect your data. With Venngage, you get access to over 40,000 icons with thousands of diverse options to reflect a range of skin tones and cultural backgrounds. Plus, you can change the  charts to best represent your data . 

By using visuals in your design, you’ll break up walls of text and make your report both aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand. In the end, this will help you improve communication and impress any stakeholders involved. 

With Venngage’s  report maker , the design process is quick and easy. And best of all, you can do it all yourself — exactly the way you envisioned.

Related : 5 Best Report Creators for Businesses in 2022

Get feedback from your team 

Before sharing your final report, consider getting feedback from your team. 

They may have additional insights to share on a project’s progress. They can also help spot faulty data and prevent any embarrassing retractions down the line. This is also just good for morale. The more involved your team feels in a project, the more invested they’ll be. 

Finalize your report

Last step: proofreading.

Make sure to double-check everything, from spelling and grammar to project details and data visualizations. This step ties in with my point above. Getting a second pair of eyes to proofread your report is always a good idea. 

When you’ve been staring at something for weeks, it can be hard to catch mistakes. Your team members can look at your report with fresh eyes and share fresh insights.

progress report

In the data-heavy example above, a misplaced comma or rogue denominator could make all the difference. So don’t skip that final once over! At the end of the day, the goal is to create a report that’s as accurate as possible.

I’ve talked a lot about how to use visuals to create an engaging, full-featured progress report. But what about words, you ask? 

Keep these three quick tips in mind to breeze through the writing part, too: 

  • Stay focused

And I mean hyper-focused. 

Remember the first step in this guide: determine your report’s objectives. By staying focused on your objectives, you’ll avoid unnecessary tangents. Plus, you’ll have a lot less editing to do when it comes time to kill your darlings! 

If a point doesn’t tie back to your objectives, skip it. This will give your entire report a sense of direction. It will also help your team members digest and retain the information.

  • Discuss your objectives in a balanced manner

If you have multiple objectives, make sure you give each one its due. 

It’s true, one objective may be more important than the other. For example, you might dedicate more real estate to outlining project tasks than predicting future progress. Just make sure to weigh positive and negative data fairly. 

You don’t want a rose-colored report, so to speak. This will set unrealistic expectations and be more harmful than helpful down the line. Instead, use all the available data to share a balanced perspective in your progress report. 

  • Use a consistent reporting style

Reports are no place for flowery language. 

To make your report as effective as possible, use straightforward, simple language. Make sure to define any acronyms or technical terms at the beginning of your report. And remember the three Cs while you’re writing: be clear, concise and compelling.

progress report

What are the three types of progress reports?

There are three types of reports based on the time span they cover:

  • Weekly: These reports typically cover a team member’s individual progress and how it affects the entire project.
  • Monthly: These progress reports typically provide a broader overview of a project, including team member progress, methods and projections. Monthly reports are usually data-dependent and require more visuals than weekly reports.
  • Quarterly: These detailed reports cover a three-month period. Quarterly reports include a lot more data and will require more visuals to make them digestible and engaging as a result. 

What are the qualities of a good progress report?

The qualities of a good progress report are: 

  • Comprehensiveness: Provide a total overview of a project using clear objectives, simple language and a balanced ratio of text and images in your layout.
  • Data-backed: Make sure your report includes accurate data that you’ve double-checked for any discrepancies.
  • Rich in visuals: Leverage engaging visuals to break up the text in your report and turn your data into a compelling, easily digestible story.

Write a detailed professional progress report and achieve your goals

I know from personal experience that writing a progress report can be daunting at first. 

But with these tips and templates, I’m confident you can do it. So go ahead, give it a try.  Create a beautiful, raise-winning report  with Venngage for free. Just remember to clearly define your objectives first… and don’t skimp on visuals!

Status.net

An Outstanding Business Progress Report [Free Template Download]

By archtc on August 26, 2017 — 2 minutes to read

Writing a Business Progress Report (+ Free Template)

A business progress report provides an overall indication of the business health of a company. It analyzes the progress of the outlined business goals and projections made at the start of a year. It commonly presents itself to top management and business investors.

Also, it acts as a medium of communication among units of an organization as it conveys essential information that serves as a basis for coming up with business strategies and critical decisions.

  • Business Progress Report: 5 Key Points Part 1
  • Business Progress Report Template Download   Part 2
  • Additional Resources Part 3
  • How to Dramatically Reduce Time You Spend Creating Reports Part 4

Here are 5 key points in coming up with a business progress report:

The Organization May Opt to Form a Team to Come up with a Business Progress

Decide on the major highlights and determine its overall objective, reflect any shortcomings.

Be transparent in reporting about those areas where progress have been slow to the company. It is important to convey this information to the top management and to the investors to give them a heads up on the real situation of the enterprise.

Make Your Report Easy to Read and Understand

Create clearly-labeled subheadings for each indicator or topics it addresses. Information within the business progress reports should be easy to find as executives and investors may not have time to read the whole length of the report.

If Applicable Ask Someone to Check the Report and Provide Feedback

Business progress report: free download section.

business progress report

Click Here to Download Business Progress Report Template DOCX

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You can also use the following templates on ProsperForms :

weekly project status report form template

Edit and use this template

weekly status report form template

Additional Free Templates

  • How to Write a Smart Project Progress Report + Free Template Download
  • How to Write a Weekly Progress Report + Free Template Download
  • How to Write a Business Development Status Report + Free Template Download

IMAGES

  1. Best Progress Report: How-to's + Free Samples [The Complete List]

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  2. Free Progress Report Template for Projects (Word Download)

    business plan progress report example

  3. FREE 10+ Business Progress Report Samples [ Development, Project

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  4. 50 Professional Progress Report Templates (Free)

    business plan progress report example

  5. 50 Professional Progress Report Templates (Free)

    business plan progress report example

  6. 19+ Progress Report Templates

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VIDEO

  1. Business Progress Technique || Professional Business Plan

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Business Progress Report in 2023? 8 Examples

    A business progress report needs to be written in such a way as to produce effective results with actionable tips and insights. It helps track a department’s progress and lets stakeholders know if there’s anything that needs their special attention. Follow the PPP Method. Keep Your Progress Reports Concise and Focused.

  2. 50+ Essential Business Report Examples with Templates

    1. Annual Report Templates. An annual report is an all-encompassing document that allows you to reflect on your company’s past year, including: Your company’s mission statement. Your company’s growth (financially, product-wise, culture-wise) Your statement of income and cash flow. Your various business segments.

  3. How to Write a Business Progress Report? 8 Examples and Ideas ...

    Support. Blog Dive into every things business analytics, KPIs, and Databox.; Case Studies See how other commercial are enhancement performance with Databox.; Podcast: Versification & Chill Drive predictable growth every year with lessons von proven B2B leaders.

  4. Progress Report: What is it & How to Write it? (+Examples)

    A progress report is a vital tool in project management, designed to keep different types of stakeholders informed about the ongoing status of a project. It's a concise document highlighting current achievements, challenges, and goals, allowing the project manager to track progress and make necessary adjustments.

  5. Progress Report: How to Write, Structure, and Make It Visual

    1. Think of it as a Q&A. Before you start worrying about your reporting frequency and whether you should provide monthly reports or weekly reports, take a step back and focus on the purpose of the report itself. In essence, the reporting process comes down to Q&A; you’re answering key questions about your progress.

  6. How to Write a Progress Report (Sample Template) - Weekdone

    Progress lists employee’s accomplishments, finished items, and closed tasks. This category gives a good assessment of how much work has been done. Plans are the tasks you plan to accomplish over the course of one week. At Weekdone, we recommend setting these 3-7 plans on the Friday prior to “their work week”.

  7. 13 Progress Report Templates To Always Keep on Hand - Visme

    12. Business Progress Report Template. Here’s a standout template, among other progress report examples. You can use it to update clients about the project and business. This business report template also works for tracking the progress of work across teams of all sizes. Make sure to feature hard-to-miss details and discuss how to strengthen ...

  8. How to Write a Professional Progress Report - Venngage

    Here’s a quick rule of thumb: a progress report should be around two to three pages. This should give you enough space to state your objectives, present supporting data, showcase progress and make any predictions. If your outline is more than three pages, have another look and see what you can trim.

  9. An Outstanding Business Progress Report [Free Template Download]

    Business Progress Report: Free Download Section. Click Here to Download Business Progress Report Template DOCX. ProsperForms— receive reports from your team members on autopilot. 100+ forms available: reports, logbooks, requests, etc. or build your own. View and manage data on Timeline and Dashboard screens, generate consolidated PDF reports.