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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.

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Research Progress Report

how to write a research progress report

Progress reports . You heard of them, you may even think they are useful or useless. You may also think that as a student, you don’t have to write them. However, this is not always the case. A research progress report is nothing short as one of the necessary reports you need to make. When it comes to writing reports, a lot of students may feel the need to complain due to the fact that writing reports can be boring or simply a waste of time. What they don’t know is that giving a report is useful for their professors, especially when it is used as a way to know the progress of their performance, school projects, or research activities. So take a good look at these examples to help you out with your research progress report.

10+ Research Progress Report Examples

1. research progress report template.

Research Progress Report Template

  • Google Docs

2. Summer Stipend Research Progress Report

Summer Stipend Research Progress Report

Size: 31 KB

3. Biomedical Research Progress Report

Biomedical Research Progress Report

Size: 150 KB

4. Research Performance Progress Report

Research Performance Progress Report

Size: 76 KB

5. Weekly Research Progress Report

Weekly Research Progress Report

Size: 103 KB

6. Printable Research Progress Report

Printable Research Progress Report

Size: 681 KB

7. Research Fellow Progress Report

Research Fellow Progress Report

8. Human Research Progress Report

Human Research Progress Report

Size: 117 KB

9. Editable Research Progress Report

Editable Research Progress Report

Size: 113 KB

10. Candidate Research Progress Report

Candidate Research Progress Report

Size: 290 KB

11. Annual Research Progress Report

Annual Research Progress Report

What Is a Research Progress Report?

The progress of your research . Whether that progress will be a lot or not as much. The report consists of the detailed progress you give to your superior or for students’ cases to their professors on how their research assignment or research project is going. In addition to that, a research progress report not only consists of the exact progress, but it also consists of what you have been doing, how the research is going, and of course the information you are going to be giving or the evidence whether positive or negative. Everything is written there. A research progress report is a document that clearly states what it is supposed to state.

How to Write a Research Progress Report?

To write a research progress report , there are a lot of ways to do so. Regardless of how you plan it out, draft it out and finalize it, there are still some things you have to think about when you want to proceed. Here are some tips that will get you started with your research progress report.

1. Write the Title of Your Report

The title of your report should at least be about what your research is about. It does not have to be something too fancy that the whole point of the report is lost or too obvious that would make the report redundant.

2. State the Achievements That Have Been Done

Any achievement that has been done or recorded should be written down, no matter how minuscule or large these achievements are. Progress is progress and it should also be recorded.

3. State the Name of the Researchers

The researchers names should also at least be a part of the report, especially if it is a group research. It is always best to add the names of the people involved in helping you with the progress of your report or the progress of your research. Give them some credit.

4. Give the Expected Publication for the Research

There are some who may be asking for the expected publication of your research . If this were the case, at least give the expected date of the research; however, as for the report, when you are done writing it, you should immediately check if you have everything written for it to be presentable.

5. Add the Statistics and Evidence to Support Your Report

The statistics and evidence to support your report should also be present. The reason for having to add evidence for a progress report is to show your professors or your superiors enough to compare the previous progress reports to the current report, regardless if there is any progress or the lack of it.

What is a research progress report?

A research progress report is a document that summarizes the progress of a research made by students. In order for their professors to know the exact ongoing of their research, the students are tasked to write about what is going on with their report and how far are they to achieving it.

Are there other ways to write a research progress report?

There are other ways, but the most common is writing it in an essay form. Of course, you can also fill out a form that states a research progress report form. But it is usual to present it in paragraph form in order for your professors to see the details of the statistics given.

Is a research progress report short or long?

A general research progress report is expected to be a page long. However, this would depend on how much progress you have made throughout your research and how much reports you have done in order to compare from your previous ones.

We are taught to write progress reports while we are still in school, so when we are out there in the real world, we are able to understand the reason and the purpose of writing these kinds of reports. A research progress report is simply just another kind of progress report that we are taught to write. It helps your teachers know where your progress is at the moment and how long are they going to expect your research project to be completed.

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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 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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  • About Grants

Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)

The RPPR is used by recipients to submit progress reports to NIH on their grant awards. This page provides an overview of the annual RPPR, the final RPPR and the interim RPPR and provides resources to help you understand how to submit a progress report. 

Types of RPPRs

Progress reports document recipient accomplishments and compliance with terms of award. There are three types of RPPRs, all of which use the NIH RPPR Instruction Guide .

Annual RPPR – Use to describe a grant’s scientific progress, identify significant changes, report on personnel, and describe plans for the subsequent budget period or year.

Final RPPR – Use as part of the grant closeout process to submit project outcomes in addition to the information submitted on the annual RPPR, except budget and plans for the upcoming year.

Interim RPPR – Use when submitting a renewal (Type 2) application. If the Type 2 is not funded, the Interim RPPR will serve as the Final RPPR for the project. If the Type 2 is funded, the Interim RPPR will serve as the annual RPPR for the final year of the previous competitive segment. The data elements collected on the Interim RPPR are the same as for the Final RPPR, including project outcomes.

Submitting the RPPR

Only the project director/principal investigator (PD/PI) or their PD/PI delegate can initiate RPPRs. For multi-PD/PI grants only the Contact PI or the Contact PD/PI’s delegate can initiate the RPPR.

Signing Officials typically submit the annual RPPR, but may delegate preparation (Delegate Progress Report) to any PD/PI within the organization on behalf of the Contact PD/PI. Additionally, a Principal Investigator (PI) can delegate “Progress Report” to any eRA Commons user in their organization with the Assistant (ASST) role. This delegation provides the ASST with the ability to prepare Annual,  Interim and Final RPPRs on behalf of the PI. However, only a Signing Official (SO) or PI (if delegated Submit by the SO) are allowed to submit the Annual, Interim, and Final RPPRs.

Follow the instructions in the RPPR User Guide to submit the RPPR, Interim RPPR or Final RPPR. The User Guide includes instructions for how to submit your RPPRs in the eRA Commons, how to complete the web-based forms, and what information is required. Instructions for completing the scientific portion of the report (see the elements below) may be found in Chapters 6 and 7.

The following resources may help with RPPR initiation and submission:

Annual RPPR Due Dates:

  • Streamlined Non-Competing Award Process (SNAP) RPPRs are due approximately 45 days before the next budget period start date.
  • Non-SNAP RPPRs are due approximately 60 days before the next budget period start date.
  • Multi-year funded (MYF) RPPRs are due annually on or before the anniversary of the budget/project period start date of the award.
  • The exact start date for a specific award may be found in grants status in eRA Commons.

Interim and Final RPPR Dues Dates:

  • 120 days from period of performance end date for the competitive segment

The RPPR requests various types of information, including:


What were the major goals and objectives of the project?

What was accomplished under these goals?

What opportunities for training and professional development did the project provide?

How were the results disseminated to communities of interest?

What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals and objectives?

publications, conference papers, and presentations

website(s) or other Internet site(s)

technologies or techniques

inventions, patent applications, and/or licenses

other products, such as data or databases, physical collections, audio or video products, software, models, educational aids or curricula, instruments or equipment, research material, interventions (e.g., clinical or educational), or new business creation.

Participants and Other Collaborating Organizations

Changes/Problems (not required for Final or Interim RPPR)

Changes in approach and reasons for change

Actual or anticipated problems or delays and actions or plans to resolve them

Changes that have a significant impact on expenditures

Significant changes in use or care of human subjects, vertebrate animals, biohazards, and/or select agents

Budgetary Information (not required for Final or Interim RPPR)

Project Outcomes (only required on Final and Interim RPPR)

  • Concise summary of the outcomes or findings of the award, written for the general public in  clear and comprehensible language, without including any proprietary, confidential information or trade secrets

This page last updated on: November 2, 2022

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Writing a progress/status report

By michael ernst, january, 2010.

Writing a weekly report about your research progress can make your research more successful, less frustrating, and more visible to others, among other benefits.

One good format is to write your report in four parts:

  • Quote the previous week's plan. This helps you determine whether you accomplished your goals.
  • State this week's progress. This can include information such as: what you have accomplished, what you learned, what difficulties you overcame, what difficulties are still blocking you, your new ideas for research directions or projects, and the like.
  • Give the next week's plan. A good format is a bulleted list, so we can see what you accomplished or did not. Try to make each goal measurable: there should be no ambiguity as to whether you were able to finish it. It's good to include longer-term goals as well.
  • Give an agenda for the meeting. Some people like to send this as a separate message, which is fine.

The report need not be onerous. It can be a few paragraphs or a page, so it shouldn't take you long to write. Minimize details that are not relevant to your audience, such as classwork and the like, in order to keep the report focused; you will spend less time writing it, and make it more likely to be read.

Writing the progress report has many benefits.

Writing the report will make you more productive, because it will force you to think about your work in a manner concretely enough to write down. Any time that you spend organizing your thoughts will more than pay itself back in better understanding and improved productivity. When a project is complete, it is all too easy to forget some of your contributions. You can look back over your progress reports to remember what was difficult, and to think about how to work more productively in the future. You may be able to re-use some of the text when writing up your results.

Writing the report will make your meetings more productive. When you have a weekly research meeting, the report should be sent 24 hours in advance, to help everyone prepare. (Two hours is not an acceptable alternative: it does not let everyone — both you and others — mull over the ideas.) Don't delay your report because you want to wait until you have better results to report. Instead, send the report on schedule, and if you get more results in the next 24 hours, you can discuss those at the meeting.

Writing the report will give you feedback from a new point of view. The report enables others outside your research project to know what you are doing. Those people may respond with ideas or suggestions, which can help get you unstuck or give you additional avenues to explore. It also keeps you on their radar screen and reminds them of your work, which a good thing if you don't meet with them frequently. (For PhD students, a periodic report to the members of your thesis committee can pay big dividends.)

Writing the report helps explain (to yourself especially, but also to others) how you spent your time — even if there isn't as much progress as you would have preferred, you can see that you did work hard, and how to be more efficient or effective in the future.

If your meetings are more frequent than weekly, then the progress report should also be more frequent. If your meetings are less frequent, it's a good idea to still send a progress report each week.

Important tip: Throughout the day, maintain a log of what you have done. This can be a simple text file. You can update it when you start and end a task, or at regular intervals throughout the day. It takes only a moment to maintain the log, and it makes writing the report easy. By contrast, without a log you might forget what you have done during the week, and writing the report could take a long time.

Back to Advice compiled by Michael Ernst .

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  • Writing Tips

How to Write a Progress Report

How to Write a Progress Report

  • 6-minute read
  • 28th September 2021

A progress report is a business document that provides updates on a project’s progress toward meeting a goal. Typically, you’ll provide a progress report for a supervisor/manager, team member, or business client to summarize a project’s status and what still needs to be completed or improved.

But how do you write an effective progress report for your business’s projects ? In our guide below, we set out the typical structure of a progress report.

1. Header Information

A progress report should start with a header that includes key details about the report and the project. Typically, this will include the:

  • Reporting period and/or the date of submission.
  • Name(s) and position(s) of the report’s recipient(s).
  • Name(s) and position(s) of the report’s author(s).
  • Subject or title of the report/project.

This will help the recipient to understand the contents of the report at a glance.

2. Introduction

The introductory paragraph of a progress report should outline the purpose and timeframe of the project, plus any other important details or insights. 

You can also include an overview of what the rest of your progress report will cover.

3. Work Completed

The next section of your report should be titled “Work Completed.” Here, you can provide a chronological list of the project tasks that you have already completed and their corresponding dates. You can also include key findings from those tasks.

4. Problems Encountered

The next section should outline any problems encountered in the project so far. You should then explain either how those problems were solved or how they will be solved, and whether any extra help will be required to do so. You will also need to mention if those problems prompted any changes to the project.

5. Future Plans

To highlight the goals for the remainder of the project, the next section of your report should outline any future project tasks with their corresponding dates or deadlines, anticipated problems, and/or ideas for the project as you move forward.

End your progress report with a brief summary of key completed tasks, ongoing tasks, and major issues encountered. You don’t need to go into too much detail here, though. Stick to the essential details.

5 Tips on How to Write a Progress Report

We also have some helpful tips you can use when writing a progress report:

  • Adapt the structure – While the structure outlined above will work for most projects, you can adapt it to suit your requirements. For instance, for a complex project with multiple goals, you may need to break it down into sections, detailing the progress, problems, and plans for each objective.
  • Choose an appropriate frequency – For ongoing progress reports, think about whether to schedule daily, weekly, or monthly updates.
  • Write clearly – Make sure to write clearly and concisely . Keep your sentences simple, straightforward, and easy to understand.
  • Know your audience – If you’re writing a report for someone outside of your organization or team, explain any industry-specific language you use.
  • Keep it professional – Make sure to use a formal tone , avoiding colloquial terms and phrases, slang, contractions, and other informal language.

Finally, to be sure your report looks and sounds professional, have it proofread. You can try our proofreading services by uploading a trial document for free today!

Example Progress Report

To see what a progress report might look like, check out our example report below:

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Date: September 24, 2021 To: J. Seymour, Head of Planning From: A. Boleyn, Planning Assistant Subject: Migration to new planning software

Since November 2016, Exemplar Inc. has used the PlanULike package to manage the company’s everyday operations. However, when we expanded to new territories in July 2021, the limitations of the software became evident, especially with regard to currency conversions when budgeting for projects in Europe. As a result, in August 2021, the decision was made to migrate to new planning software. This report covers the progress in this project made up until September 24, 2021.

Work Completed

  • August 30 – Research completed into available planning software packages. The PlanZone software is selected based on its flexible budgeting capabilities.
  • September 6 – A timeline is developed for installation and implementation of the new software package, with an initial deadline of September 30.
  • September 10 – Head of Human Resources, Jack Thacker, begins developing in-house instructional materials for the new software.
  • September 18 – Software is acquired and installed. Provisional version of internal training program is developed and tested with key staff members.
  • September 21 – IT department identifies software compatibility problems with older hardware in operations department. New equipment purchased.
  • September 24 – New computer hardware installed. After testing, training program is extended to heads of department in planning and operations.

Problems Encountered

The key problem encountered thus far has been a compatibility issue between the new software and some of the company’s existing hardware. Head of IT, Simon Robinson, reports that this was due to PlanZone including graphical features that Exemplar Inc. does not use and had not been factored into the initial planning.

Due to speedy delivery and installation of new hardware, this has not significantly affected the timeframe for the migration. But the unexpected expense does mean that the project is now significantly over budget.

In addition, the testing of the in-house training program took longer than anticipated to complete. Key staff are now familiar with the new software, but the deadline for company-wide training has been extended to November 15, 2021.

Future Plans

The improved training program will continue until November 15, 2021, when all relevant staff are expected to be familiar with the new software, after which all operational planning will use PlanZone, and the PlanULike systems will be deprecated by November 30, 2021. Due to exceeding the budget allocated for this project, a meeting will be scheduled for heads of department to discuss how the extra expenses may impact budgeting for other projects.

The company has acquired and installed new planning software (PlanZone), which is projected to enhance project planning and ease operations in new territories. However, unexpected hardware and training issues have slowed progress. Deadlines for the migration have thus been extended. Meanwhile, implications of the extra expenses will be factored into budgeting for upcoming projects.

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Blog Business

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.

Return to Table of Contents

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!

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How to Write a Progress Report: Full Guide

Table of contents, what is a project outline.

In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know to create a progress report and the perfect reporting structure for your business.

We'll help you build a business case for introducing progress report writing into your workflow, as well as share optimal reporting timeframes, how to write them, and how to structure progress reports with your team. We'll close out with some best practices for writing progress reports, and help you find your feet in this massively beneficial working style.

What is a progress report?

First up, we're guiding you through a progress report, but what is it? The spoiler's in the name "progress," which means 'forward or onward movement towards a destination'. Since most projects usually have a final target destination, the journey getting there has to be described in some way to apprise other people of the status.

A progress report is a type of business writing designed to update someone on various tasks of someone else . It's written for managers, project stakeholders, leadership, or company-wide updates. It doesn't merely show progress or successes but also drawbacks, obstacles, and recommendations for improvement.

Reporting project progress is a formal, documented, and structured way of keeping people in the know. There are many types of progress reports out there, email wrap ups, memos, PDFs, business letters, project summaries , Google docs, and the list goes on.

Progress Report Template

Why are progress reports important for business?

If your team members aren't big on report writing, this section of the guide will help you build a formal case to introduce progress reporting to your workflow— time to get away from lost email chains or messy PDFs.

Whether you're a manager looking for ways to get a better overview of your team, or you're a team player looking to increase business efficiency— the below is why creating a working progress report is so essential for any business.

1. Align your team

Staying in sync as a busy team with lots of subtasks can be painfully difficult sometimes. Especially with a distributed workforce, important information gets lost in a mass of slack messages, email chains, and 1-1 catch-ups. It can get really overwhelming when juggling holidays, sick leaves, and meetings with external stakeholders.

Project progress reports effectively summarize your teams' achievements, milestones covered, and challenges encountered in one place. Use a progress report as a one-stop-shop for any team member that needs an update on a particular project or initiative. Progress reports eliminate the need for managers and team members to repeat themselves, allowing everyone to catch up quickly on their schedule.

2. Showcase wins

Progress reports are a fantastic tool for managers and leadership to credit and acknowledge an individual's efforts and progress towards company goals. When annual or bi-annual reviews come around, these progress reports can serve as the backbone for someone's performance record and enable a fair assessment of work ethic based on factual progress rather than feelings, bias, or solely major projects.

At the same time, reporting progress on a project gives employees an opportunity to celebrate their wins and have a notch on their belts when promotions are in consideration.

3. Give stakeholders updates on projects

An easy win, and an obvious point but certainly not one to be overlooked. The primary aim of writing progress reports is to give stakeholders the updates they need and bring them up to speed on the status of everything . The stakeholders can be anyone in the business or externally. They just need to be known by the reporter when writing the report, so the reporter can include the necessary information they know a particular person will require.

4. Document work for future reference

If a business is ever looking to repeat a project or strategy, your progress reports are essential for learning and improving processes. These reports allow a company to optimize a strategy or process based on learnings. Writing a progress report on projects regularly is an excellent way of documenting workflow and in the future, the workforce will have a solid and practical reference point to draw ideas, motivation, and innovation from.

5. Identify common roadblocks

While a progress report primarily highlights the positive advancements in the project, it's also important to highlight the bad - roadblocks. These can come in many forms; maybe it's technology, maybe it's a vendor, maybe it's team capabilities or a particular team member. Managers should collate progress reports and identify common roadblocks that need addressing.  In doing so, they'll work towards making the business an operationally smoother workplace.

When to write a progress report

A progress report can be put together at many different times, depending on the goal of the report. Different types of companies and businesses would tackle progress report writing differently. A crop progress report in agriculture can be written weekly or quarterly according to the stages in farm processes, but a sales report aimed for a year cumulative target might have to be written as frequently as everyday. Here's a breakdown of the different types of progress reports according to frequency and how to create them.

Daily progress reports

These progress reports are short, straight-to-the-point, and usually between a manager and a team member. There's no spectacular detailing here, just a quick overview of daily tasks achieved, any problems that came up, and progress made towards larger goals. A daily progress report should be delivered at the same time everyday, preferably at the end of work to summarize the day's activities, or at the beginning of work hours to relay the previous day's progress.

Weekly progress reports

This type of report is best between a manager and a team member. It should dive into what a team member had planned to achieve at the start of the week, what they eventually achieved, and how they were able to pull things off.

The weekly progress report is best delivered on a Friday afternoon, so managers and team members have time to chat it over and make an action plan for the following week.

how to write a research progress report

Monthly progress reports

Monthly progress reports are usually reasonably detailed, written to update a small business or team on a particular individual's or department's progress towards goals. Writing a progress report every month is a great opportunity to highlight particular individuals who worked exceptionally hard in the month and give other departments an idea on how your team is performing.

Quarterly progress reports

Every business - well, every serious business - sets quarterly goals and KPIs. It's extremely important to follow up on those goals in an appropriate period of time. Quarterly progress reports can be of two kinds. First, there's the in-depth one that is usually several pages long and goes into details about everything that is achieved by the company in the past quarter. It highlights all the major wins, obstacles, and team member's opinions on workflow improvement. The second one is simply an overview, a brief report that checks whether the key performance indicators and OKRs (objectives and key results) are being met. Progress report comments are super-useful in explaining or summarizing sections of information in quarterly reports, to help the reader grasp the ideas quickly and efficiently.

Annual progress reports

The final report of the year is the ultimate progress report. The annual project progress report has to be as detailed as possible, and it's often such a big deal that it's printed out and handed out to every company member. It's a central knowledge base for everyone to stay apprised of the company's progress in the past year. This report is usually aimed at company-wide or towards leadership. What did your department achieve across the entire year? What can you celebrate, what lessons have you learned, and what are you hoping to change for the next period?

How to write a progress report

Progress report writing can be tricky, especially for someone doing it for the first time. Also, it's common knowledge that project reports might be different for different companies. A construction progress report might need to be more pictorial and diagrammatic, and in this type of report, it's okay to be technical. A sales project report, however, should be concise and easy to understand at a glance. Follow these steps to ensure your reports are as legible as possible.

Be clear and specific

It's not always going to be easy keeping off technical jargon in project progress reporting, but you must try to keep it simple with language and sentence structure; it can be the make or break of any progress report. Try to use short sentences and proofread any report before submitting them. Most times, the readers of the reports are too busy with other things to have the time for dramatic writing. The report can be detailed and in-depth without being complicated.

Explain industry-specific language

Sometimes, it will be entirely impossible to keep the jargon out when writing progress reports. If you're reporting for people outside of your team, then it's important to explain any abbreviations or lingo that may only be common knowledge within your department; it prevents miscommunication.

Number & title projects

As a general rule of thumb, get a reference number and title to every project you cover; this will help people discuss them online afterward.

Stay formal

An informal report remains limited to peers only. To report project progress in a formal environment, an appropriately toned report gives a manager the option to keep it to herself or to share it with a broader audience with no need to amend. Avoid doing the double work of writing a scrappy report and having to write another one when the higher-ups want a peek.

how to write a research progress report

Progress reports step-by-step

The following is a step-by-step guide to creating useful progress reports. Learning how to write a progress report is a process, and the more you write, the better you become at organizing your details into clean, easy-to-understand sections.

Follow this 8 step format for progress report writing to ensure you include all the important details:

1. Place identifying details at the top

The first step to creating a killer progress report document is to title your report by placing the identifying details at the top of the page. Each report must be clearly distinguished from all the others for easy documentation. Untitled reports seem rushed with little attention to some of the most important details.

These details should be written in clear, bold fonts of varying sizes. They include:

- Title of the report - Date of submission - Department/division - Reference number - Handling/supervising officer

2. Project details

Following the identifying details of the report are the details of the project itself. It doesn't matter how many progress reports are submitted in a period of time; the details of the project must be included in each one. The higher-ups probably have a long list of reports being submitted by various departments, so they'd always require a refresher of what each team is working on.

After the title, you should write one or two sentences generally describing the project. After this, you can list out the details of the project. The best practice in a working progress report would be to put the information in a tabular form. These include:

- The project name/title - Project ID - Starting date - Expected date of completion - Current status - Team members involved - Project manager - Supervising officers

3. Summary of the report

This should be a short paragraph between 100 and 150 words, briefly describing the project details and current status of the project. It gives an overview of everything that's currently going with the project, and it's written for the sole purpose of providing a quick glance-over within the report. Do not include any negative details or complaints here - keep it short and simple.

4. Core activities

Following the summary is an in-depth description of all core activities going on within the scope of the project, you have to describe the sub-tasks and how the teams are getting on with their roles. Tabulation is also a great way to represent this information.The table labels include and are not limited to title of the subtask/activity, small description, relevant dates (start and expected completion), current status, team member assigned, and relevant file links. Progress report comments from the supervising officer can also be included here. The overall section is already a detailed input, so keep all secondary details brief and straight-to-the-point.

5. Current quantifiable results

This is an optional table, especially for projects that are still beginning and are yet to yield reports. When writing progress reports for ongoing projects, this section can be written as a list of or a three-column table containing the name of the task holder, subtask name, and brief details of the result achieved. Make sure the results are mentally quantifiable and reasonable. If there's nothing to write, leave this section undone and don't bother with fluffy or unnecessary information. Doing this will essentially reduce the transparency of your report.

6. Challenges encountered

Most times, teams would encounter problems and obstacles with implementing the overall project plan. When creating progress reports, it's important to make a section where you outline the challenges encountered in a list, and highlight the subtask(s) where the problem actually occurred. Describe how this has affected the completion of the project or the overall results as a whole.Hot tip: Avoid using strong negative language here. You can describe in detail but keep the tone professional.

7. Recommendations and suggestions

If you need to consult members of your team for their input in this section, great idea! Here, you're required to recommend improvements that could possibly fix the problems outlined above or improve the situation. This is best written as a list. You can expand briefly on any point that needs further details. Ensure to mention how your suggestions directly affect the results.

8. Concluding paragraph and signatures

In progress report writing, the conclusion is simply a re-hash of everything discussed in the report. The trick is to compress all the information into one to two sentences, or a maximum of three. Let it quickly capture the main point of that report, how it intertwines with the previous report and your expectation for the next report.

Also, leave a couple of lines for your signature as the project manager and another for the supervising stakeholder.

Best practices for writing a progress report

Writing a progress report in project management is a solid sign of dedication and commitment from any team or division. Even if it's not a company-wide mandate to write these reports, sometimes, it's actually useful to write them for in-team benefits. It keeps everyone motivated and inspired. We'll close this guide out with some best practices for creating your progress reports and introducing them to your team's workflow.

Whether you're putting together a business progress report, a research progress report, or any other - here are 13 tips to help it really stand out:

1. Use data

Where you can, always use data to showcase progress or lack of it. Think about ways you can generate data with the progress reporting tools you have and display the data in a clear way; always try to show movement toward the greater goal.

2. Use visual aids if necessary

Don't be afraid to support your report submission with visuals. There's no point in wasting paragraphs of text explaining a situation when you can explain it with a screenshot. Writing a progress report isn't merely about passing information but also engaging the reader to absorb your headway with a project. If there are any stonewalls, your visual aids make them easier to identify.

3. Be transparent

Transparency is invaluable if you want your reporting structure to be productive and positively contribute towards moving forward. Highlight to staff that progress reports call for transparency. No one needs to hide behind fluff or try to optimize the status of a report for fear of looking bad. Address every project as it is. There's no need for fluff pieces or grossly unnecessary information. If your report is too short and there are not enough details to create a solid progress report document, you can ask for an extension or simply turn in your document the way it is. As long as you stay honest and write appropriately, you'd have successfully done your job.

4. Make sure everything is dated

Due dates, report dates, task deliveries, the lot. Earlier in this article, we mentioned how these project progress reports would be the backbone of research for any similar project in the company's future. If you date everything, someone can dive into systems to pull metrics they may need from correct dates, and better understand the tools and talent the company had at that particular time.

5. Include company and department goals

If your progress reports are for inter-departmental use, then it's useful to share the goals that you personally, or your department, are working towards. Double-check what you can and can't share with human resources if you’re ever unsure. In doing so, you'll give the reader greater insight into your logic and actions.

6. Discuss problems and progress

Every report is a platform for discussing problems and progress. When writing progress reports, kick conversations off via the content you provide and ask any questions you'd like answered from the reader. Write in a cordial, formal, and neutral tone.

Tip: Your reader is there to help you, no matter what role they're in within the company; you'll be surprised by the innovative ideas you can get from other departments. 💡

7. share it wisely.

Think wisely about who needs to see this document, especially the special progress report comments included by a top-level supervisor. Is it more than management? Perhaps other departments or even external stakeholders, like funding agencies, will benefit from reading this report. Try to identify those who need the report before writing it and then share it so that everyone has easy access.

8. Structure storage

You can store reports, no problem. However, think of the architecture around your report storage system. Try to build a map to guide people through reports and how they're stored. You want people to find a report quickly.

Figure out what someone needs to search for reporting project progress at any time, or the path they need to follow. This process will save a lot of time in the future and empower employees to use the reports at any time, not just when they're first delivered. That's a wrap!

9. Add a call-to-action

This is a great opportunity to get instant help for the reader or your superiors. Call-to-actions are useful when there are uncertainties, confusions, or problems with the project. These could include task differentiation, unclear milestones, or shortage of funds. A call-to-action could be asking the superior to supply clarification or some feedback in an email or a communication channel. You could also ask for a budget review or anything else your team might need to follow through to the successful completion of the project.Note that when writing a progress report, you should still limit the use of CTAs to extreme necessities.

10. Get all hands on deck

Always consult your team members when working on progress reports. If you're the team leader, you can invite everyone to pitch in and submit informal reports of their personal progress with milestones in the project. If you're a team member assigned the role of progress report writing, you could reach out to everyone individually for their input.

One of the best ways to write a solid progress report is to include the personal overviews of the members of the team pushing the project forward. This may not exactly be possible with frequent progress report schedules, such as daily and weekly, but with longer timelines, team members are invaluable to the process.

11. Ditch the passive voice

Let's be honest - a lot of your superiors don't have the time to read all the reports that come their way. Using a lot of passive voice while writing a progress report reduces readability and most times, the reader will not engage with the content.

Instead of writing: "We were instructed by our manager to restart the milestone..." You can write: "Our manager instructed us to restart the milestone..."

While you won't always be able to avoid the passive voice, make a solid effort to report actively. You can check out the Grammarly and Hemingway Apps for passive-to-active voice detection and correction. Also, progress report comments should never be re-written to the passive voice. You may correct and edit grammatical/typographical errors, but do not rephrase or entirely rewrite.

12. Keep the length optimal

A tricky line to walk.

If your progress report is abnormally short, no one will take you seriously. If it's too long, you can be certain your managers aren't going to read it. They'd probably skim it and move on to something else. It'll be really hurtful to spend so much time working on a lengthy and detailed progress report only to have it skimmed and dumped - also, it's simply not efficient.

It's important to keep the length of your report reasonable. If you can fit everything you have to report into one page, go for it. This also depends on the frequency of the report. If it's a daily progress report, keep it as short as half a page. A weekly progress report can be longer, quarterly reports can be a couple of pages while the annual report is the only one where it makes sense to have several pages in the document.

13. Always edit and proofread

Obviously. It's important to maintain great writing standards to communicate efficiently and impress your readers. No one will enjoy reading a report with grammatical and typographical errors. Always read through your report at least twice and use software such as Grammarly to pick the less-subtle errors out.

Enjoy Progress Reporting with Slite

Slite isn't just any regular project management tool, it's a robust and feature-packed collaboration platform that can super-charge your team's organization to the highest levels of efficiency. It's amazing how much difference the right tool can make in your operations.

Slite has tons of amazing pre-developed templates for all project management activities. Our template for progress report writing will certainly take the tedium and unnecessary boredom out of updating statuses at any frequency. It's available for free download when you sign up on our app, and you should enjoy our templates' useful new features. Below are some of the most awesome things to love about Slite:

1. Doc collections

Organizing documents can easily become a mess. Slite has a super-sweet doc collection feature, stacking them into well-organized color-coded lists with zero room for annoying sidebar clutter. We provide an easy filtering and sorting feature, quick cycling and embedding features, and you can reference your docs anywhere within the app. You can also arrange into column types and choose different views for each team! The doc is a really helpful feature when writing a progress report. All documents relevant to the current project can be easily sorted and referenced in your report.

2. A range of super-useful collaboration tools

This is why Slite is an absolute breath of fresh air. Slite has a wide range of super-useful features and extra tools to make collaboration easy for your team: - Communication tools - Quick decision updating tab - Quick reactions - Doc embeds for progress reports - Rich-text formatting - Quote and reply function

3. Vast integration range

Slite external app integration allows you to directly import documents from applications such as G-docs or Evernote. There's no hassle switching between docs. Slite integration also accommodates applications such as Slack, Google Drive, Miro, Pitch, Github, and social media applications. If the details you need to write your progress report are stored in another application, Slite makes retrieval easy and straightforward.

Manage Progress Reporting with Slite

If you’re looking to build a progress report into your team’s work schedule then we’ve already done the heavy lifting for you.Use Slite's free progress report template , and build on it.Hopefully, you’re walking away from this guide fully-equipped to introduce progress reporting to your business and start benefiting from this fantastic process— continuing to make great things happen.

Ask by Slite - Strop searching, start asking.

Christophe Pasquier is Slite’s co-founder and CEO. Chris’ goal is to help teams do incredible work in better environments, by helping them embrace remote work and async communication. He currently lives in Berlin with his wife and baby Noé. Find him @Christophepas on Twitter!

Working remotely? So are we since 2016. Slite may be the right communication tool for you!

Managing projects remotely discover our list of the best softwares to use in 2021..

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Writing Progress Reports

Stacey Corbitt

Chapter Overview

It may seem like technical writing – indeed, many kinds of professional business writing – must be huge undertakings involving much effort and endless detail. With all the emphasis on being complete, accurate, and collaborative, do you wonder whether you can develop enough skill during college to compete as a writer in a technical or other business position? You may be hoping there’s an engineering or other professional position out there where you can stay under the radar and do your job without having to write anything important.

There is good news on this matter, and then there is great news.

First, the good news: virtually all entry-level professional positions present opportunities to practice writing in a variety of situations and for multiple types of readers. Writing in technical fields, as you may now realize, can require significant time commitment and collaboration, as well as various other “soft skills.” As a result, employees working to gain experience in the field may be tapped frequently to complete writing tasks.

Do you wonder exactly how the preceding paragraph is good news? Consider the great news: the day-to-day business of technical writing is largely short, direct reporting for specific purposes and audiences. While short reports aren’t necessarily easy to write, they do offer opportunities to practice crafting clear and concise documents. The progress report is one of several standard forms of short reports. This chapter aims to help students understand how to plan and write progress reports that meet the needs of their assignments as well as the standards of professionalism required by their fields of study and work.

What is the audience and purpose of a progress report?

Progress reports are typically requested and reviewed by one or more stakeholders in a project. Stakeholders is a general term for people who have a business interest in the subject project and may need progress reports because of fiscal, legal, financial, or other responsibility for the work in question. While progress reports may be required by the person or group at the next level of responsibility above your own, the readership and reach of your periodic progress reports can be greater than you know, sometimes applying to the top tier of an organization.

Put simply, stakeholders use progress reports to communicate about work on projects, including levels of completion and delays alike. These reports provide a number of opportunities for communication, including but not limited to

  • reporting early research findings
  • notifying stakeholders about problems
  • discussing potential changes in planned work, schedule, and other project factors
  • evaluating work completed

As with all technical writing opportunities, careful characterization of the audience and the context in which the report will be used is crucial to successfully achieving the purpose of a progress report. In addition to these standard considerations, other specific questions a writer should ask in preparation for writing a progress report include the following:

  • Has the requestor specified a form you must use? If so, do you have the most up-to-date form and specifications to follow?
  • What is the date of expected delivery for this report? What is the expected frequency of reporting? For example, do you need to report once weekly, or more or less frequently?
  • Is supporting documentation necessary? If so, how should you include it?
  • Is there an oral presentation component required with this report?
  • Have you set aside enough time to complete this report and obtain a peer review?

In a word, the key to writing efficient, clear progress reports is preparation . Always take the time needed to ask these practical questions about the rhetorical situation in which you will be writing a progress report for any project.

What is the necessary content for a progress report?

Depending upon the information you collect through the questioning activity outlined in the previous section, the specific content your project progress report will need can vary. In general, though, you might think about the content required in a progress report in a specific way: that is, part of the content comes from the past; part of it discusses the work you are doing today; and the third part of the content represents the project’s future.

Activity: begin drafting a progress report

Begin with an individual or group project in which you are currently involved, whether for your writing course or another class. Proceed by making notes in response to the following directions.

  • Next, a brief discussion of the work you are doing today or this week will address the present tense portion of your discussion.
  • Third, from the same point of view in the present moment, look ahead of you at all the project-related work you want to address between now and the next reporting milestone. Write a quick description of what plans you have for the project’s future, using the future tense to describe what you and your team will begin, what you will complete, and so on.
  • Finally, build a draft timeline that displays the entire list of tasks for your project, whether completed, ongoing, or to begin at a point in the future. You may consider developing a Gantt chart , like the one presented in Figure 11.7, shown below and adapted from Exploring Business, published by University of Minnesota (2016) .

Gantt Chart for Vermont Teddy Bear feautring the activities of cut fur, stuff and sew fur, cut material, sew clothes, embroider T-shirt, cut accessories, sew accessories, dress bears, package bears, and ship bears

Use the notes you have prepared in this activity to complete the Homework at the end of this chapter.

What are the important stylistic considerations for a progress report?

If you put yourself in the position of the typical audience for a progress report, you can identify the characteristics that are most important for that reader’s use of the document. As you know, writing that is clear, concise, complete, and correct is vital to the success of any technical document in reaching its audience and accomplishing its purpose. With regard to progress reports, particularly those written in business, one additional quality critical to success is brevity . The progress report is an ideal demonstration of writing that should include only significant details and nothing extraneous. To the extent a progress report for your work can be accomplished in one single-spaced page, do not make it longer.

Use active construction

Because they constitute a direct communication from the writer to one or more identified readers, progress reports are frequently presented in one of the common business correspondence formats: namely, an email, memo, or letter report. Correspondence is a genre of writing that lends itself to the use of personal pronouns like I , we , and you in particular. Being able to use a first-person voice with personal pronouns gives writers an advantage toward writing progress reports: personal pronouns make it easier to use active constructions.

Using the active voice, or active construction , essentially means that you construct sentences and passages in which the following characteristics are evident:

  • The subject performs the action of the verb rather than receiving the action of the verb.
  • The use of forms of “to be,” also known as state of being verbs, is minimized.
  • The emphasis of an active sentence is on the subject and verb, rather than on an object.

Consider the following examples:

Notice that the nouns first written in each sentence – my sister, the carpool, and my glasses – are all receiving the action of the verbs in the sentences.

Notice also that each of those verb phrases includes a form of to be : was bitten, is being organized, and have…been seen .

Finally, notice that the same word follows the verb phrase in each sentence – by – creating a prepositional phrase that indicates the noun or pronoun performing the action in each sentence.

Now examine the same three statements below, written in the active voice:

Notice the change in arrangement of words in each statement. You can identify the subject that appears at the beginning of each sentence; followed by the verb or verb phrase that indicates the action being performed by the subject; and finally the direct object of the sentence that receives the action of the verb. The numbers in parentheses in both sets of examples indicate the total number of words in each sentence.

What are your thoughts about converting sentence construction from passive to active for purposes of being clear in a progress report? Discuss the question with a partner in class and make some notes about your observations. Do you think the active construction has advantages over passive construction? Does active construction have disadvantages?

Near the beginning of this section, you read “… personal pronouns make it easier to use active constructions.” Do you think that statement is true? Discuss why or why not.

Stick to the facts

Your goal is to write an excellent progress report by making your work clear and complete while keeping the document brief. In the previous section, you practiced revising sentences from passive to active construction, a tactic that increases clarity while usually decreasing overall sentence length. Another useful practice in writing short reports – particularly those for the workplace – is to resist sharing your opinions, suggestions, and other unrequested content. Concentrate on reporting the facts and responding to exactly what the reader has requested.

What organizational structure should be used for a progress report?

Recall that one of your earliest tasks in preparing to write a progress report is to discover what information you must report and whether a specific form is required. In the event these details are not part of the assignment you receive, you may need to determine the clearest and most efficient way to organize the body of your report. Consider the following possibilities.

As is the case with structural considerations for any technical report, the most important point in choosing an organizational pattern is to make that pattern clear to the reader. Keep in mind that the structures delineated in the previous table are intended to guide the development of the body of your report in the event you do not receive specific guidance from the project manager or your instructor. Similarly, you may have to decide whether the report should be submitted as a letter, a memo, an email, a presentation, or another format that may be preferred by your reader.

In her 2019 book Technical Writing Essentials: Introduction to Professional Communications in the Technical Fields , author Suzan Last provides the following suggested outline of elements to include in a progress report generally (pp. 178-179):

Progress Reports: a Structural Overview

1. Introduction

Review the details of your project’s purpose, scope, and activities. The introduction may also contain the following:

  • date the project began; date the project is scheduled to be completed
  • people or organization working on the project
  • people or organization for whom the project is being done
  • overview of the contents of the progress report.

2. Project status

This section (which could have sub-sections) should give the reader a clear idea of the current status of your project.  It should review the work completed, work in progress, and work remaining to be done on the project, organized into sub-sections by time, task, or topic. These sections might include

  • Direct reference to milestones or deliverables established in previous documents related to the project
  • Timeline for when remaining work will be completed
  • Any problems encountered or issues that have arisen that might affect completion, direction, requirements, or scope.

3.  Conclusion

The final section provides an overall assessment of the current state of the project and its expected completion, usually reassuring the reader that all is going well and on schedule. It can also alert recipients to unexpected changes in direction or scope, or problems in the project that may require intervention.

4.  References section if required.

Chapter conclusion

Progress reports are an ideal example of workplace technical writing for science and engineering students to study. Progress reports represent short, clear documents with a specific purpose. These reports use typical business correspondence formats to communicate detailed technical information to a known audience. A successful progress report’s other characteristics include

  • sentences constructed in the active voice
  • factual information without opinions, speculation, or extraneous content
  • an appropriate pattern of organization

Use the notes and project schedule you prepared in the Activity earlier in this chapter to write a progress report for your current research project. Address all of the following considerations, but do not use this list to organize your report:

  • Confirm with your instructor the required report format – email, letter, memorandum, or presentation
  • Determine the appropriate organizational pattern – chronological, priority, or topic – for the body of the report
  • summarize and evaluate research findings to date
  • present the project schedule
  • problems, changes, delays, and questions

Last, S. (2019, January 1). Technical writing essentials . BCcampus OpenEd: University of Victoria. License: CC-BY-4.0 . https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/technicalwriting

University of Minnesota. (2016, April 8). Exploring business . University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 . https://open.lib.umn.edu/exploringbusiness/

Mindful Technical Writing Copyright © 2020 by Stacey Corbitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write a Progress Report

Last Updated: May 11, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Ksenia Derouin . Ksenia Derouin is a Business Strategy Specialist, OBM, and Artist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With over ten years of professional experience, Ksenia works with wellness and social impact sector solopreneurs and organizations to support their business strategy, operations, marketing, and program development. Her mission is to support business owners in building thriving businesses and creating impact so that they can achieve a sense of purpose, career fulfillment, and financial independence. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 438,898 times.

Progress reports are an important part of project management, whether it's your dissertation or a project at work. You'll need to use these to keep your supervisors, your colleagues, or your clients updated about the project you're working on. You'll be focusing on what you've accomplished and what still needs to be done.

Beginning the Process

Step 1 Figure out what your purpose is for the proposal.

  • Progress report for a research program or project is going to be slightly different than for a project at work. In this case you are more likely to need to cite information and are less likely to need to consider things like cost (although not always).
  • A work report for a client is going to read somewhat differently than for a superior at work. You'll need to consider why you're writing this report for them.

Step 2 Consider your audience.

  • How are your readers connected to the project? How will the outcome of the project affect them? (The connection and how they're affected is going to be different for your superior than for the client, for example.)
  • Consider what decision your readers are going to need to make after reading the progress report (what support, money, time are they investing, for example.
  • Consider the information your reader is going to need to know to oversee and participate in the project effectively. What technical aspects of the project will they need to know. Are they comfortable with technical jargon?

Step 3 Decide on the best way to communicate with your audience.

  • A progress report could be a brief oral report at weekly or monthly staff meetings.
  • It could be periodic emails to colleagues.
  • It could be formal or informal memos to supervisors.
  • It can also be formal reports for clients or government agencies.

Step 4 Check with your supervisor.

  • When it comes to information for a client or government agency, or thesis review board, you err on the side of formality.
  • No matter the formality or informality of your tone you want it to be clear, focused, and honest.

Writing Your Report

Step 1 Decide how you want to present your material.

  • You might choose to do a bulleted list. It's a very clear way to present the material and it's easy to skim and still get the needed information. However, it can be a slightly less formal way of writing a progress report so it might be better to use it for memos to supervisors and emails to colleagues.
  • You may also consider adding in graphs or tables. This might be especially good if you're writing a progress report for a project in which you're trying to get funding, or show why you deserve the funding you've been given.

Step 2 Consider using subsections.

  • Adding subheadings to your can make this even clearer, because it lets your readers or audience know what to expect in each subsection. If there is material that they are particularly interested in they'll be able to jump right to that part.

Step 3 Write the heading.

  • The heading should include the date, when the report was submitted, the name and the position of the recipient, the writer’s name and position, and the subject of the report.

Step 4 Write the introductory section.

  • Make sure to include: the purpose of the report, introduce the project, remind that this is an update on the progress of the project.

Step 5 Do the body of the proposal.

  • Specify tasks that have been accomplished since the last report and what tasks are ongoing.
  • Discuss problems that you’ve encountered, issues that need to be addressed, and potential solutions for those problems and issues.
  • Address changes that have happened and why they needed to be made.
  • You can also include things like personnel changes, difficulty in obtaining material, what cost overruns you may have encountered, any delays or problems with technology or security.
  • It also helps to provide a timeline of the project with any relevant due dates.

Step 6 Address what is next for your project.

  • You really do want to make sure say whether the deadline for the project has changed or not.
  • Avoid sugarcoating any problems for your audience, but don’t alarm them unnecessarily or promise anything you can’t deliver.

Step 7 Add in total hours worked.

Avoiding Common Difficulties

Step 1 Make sure you stay on topic.

  • For example: if your project is about reigniting a local, nonprofit arts organization, it might be tempting to go off into a discussion of the deplorable state of arts funding, but it won't really help detail how your project is coming along.

Step 2 Keep it simple.

  • Depending on who you're writing the report for you might be cut down to a specific page limit. A good rule of thumb is to keep it as short as possible, while making sure that you fit in the appropriate information.

Step 3 Try to avoid being too vague.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Try to judge your supervisor's style. She may have a preference for the types of reports she likes to see. Some may want to see more lists or bulleted information; others will like to know as little as possible to get by. Still others may prefer as much information as possible, no matter how many pages it takes. Thanks Helpful 36 Not Helpful 10
  • Be specific throughout the progress summary, but try not to be overly wordy. Thanks Helpful 18 Not Helpful 6

how to write a research progress report

  • In order not to be caught unprepared when it's time for a progress report, it's a good idea to record information as you go along so it's easy to put all the information together. Thanks Helpful 8 Not Helpful 6

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Write a Weekly Report

Expert Interview

how to write a research progress report

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about improving your business, check out our in-depth interview with Ksenia Derouin .

  • ↑ https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/technicalwriting/chapter/progressreports/
  • ↑ https://pressbooks.pub/coccoer/chapter/progress-reports/
  • ↑ https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/feptechcomm/chapter/2-audience/
  • ↑ https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/technicalwriting/chapter/figurestables/
  • ↑ https://www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents/c6_p10.html

About This Article

Ksenia Derouin

To write a progress report, start by deciding how you want to present your info, like with a bulleted list or a graph. You can also add subsections to your report, which can help keep things clear and easy to follow. Then, write your heading across the top of the paper and include relevant details like the date and subject of the report. Below that, add an introduction using italics to give a brief overview of the report. Next, include details in the body, like specific tasks you worked on, and conclude it by addressing what’s next for your project. To learn why considering your audience can help you write a progress report, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a Solid Progress Report for Project Success


Progress reports are like project status updates that help everyone involved understand how things are going. Writing a solid progress report is crucial for keeping your project on track and ensuring its success. In this guide, we’ll break down the process of creating a great progress report, making it easy for you to communicate your project’s progress effectively. We have also included progress report templates for you to get started right away.

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What is a Progress Report

A progress report is a document that provides an overview of the status, advancements, and achievements of a project or task. It typically outlines what has been accomplished, what is currently in progress, and any challenges or obstacles encountered. Progress reports are commonly used in various settings, such as work, education, or personal projects, to keep stakeholders informed about the project’s developments and to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the current state of affairs.

Progress Report Templates to Keep Track of Project Progress

Daily Progress Report Template

Project Status Report Template

Project Status Summary

Project Dashboard Template

Project Status Summary Template

Why You Need to Use a Progress Report

A progress report promotes a culture of collaboration, accountability, and continuous improvement in project management. Here are several reasons why a progress report is important.

Clear communication: Keeps everyone on the same page by sharing what’s happening in a project.

Tracking achievements: Highlights what has been successfully completed, boosting team morale.

Problem-solving: Identifies and addresses challenges, helping to find solutions and stay on track.

Decision-making: Provides real-time information for informed decision-making during the project.

Accountability: Holds team members responsible for their tasks and deadlines.

Learning and improvement: Creates a record of progress, facilitating learning for future projects.

Efficiency: Keeps the team working efficiently by preventing confusion and misunderstandings.

Collaboration: Encourages collaboration and coordination among team members.

Key Components of a Progress Report

The following components of a progress report collectively provide a comprehensive view of the project’s progress, challenges, and future plans, enabling effective communication and decision-making.

  • Introduction : Brief overview of the project, including its purpose and objectives.
  • Work completed : Summary of tasks or milestones achieved since the last report.
  • Work in progress : Description of current activities, tasks underway, and their status.
  • Challenges and issues : Identification and discussion of any problems, roadblocks, or challenges faced.
  • Achievements : Recognition and celebration of significant accomplishments and milestones.
  • Upcoming tasks : Outline of the next steps, tasks, or milestones planned for the future.
  • Timeline and schedule : Review or adjustment of the project timeline or schedule, if necessary.
  • Budget overview : Overview of the project’s financial status, including spendings and any budget changes.
  • Recommendations : Suggestions for improvements or changes to improve project efficiency.
  • Conclusion : A brief summary and conclusion, often including an overall project status assessment.

Challenges of Creating and Using a Progress Report

While project reports are handy for keeping track of project progress, they can pose some challenges.

Time-consuming: Writing a progress report can take time away from actual project work.

Communication issues: Making sure that everyone understands the report may be challenging.

Data accuracy: Getting accurate information for the report can sometimes be difficult.

Overlooking details: Important details may be unintentionally left out.

Balancing detail and brevity: Finding the right level of detail without making the report too lengthy can be tricky.

Tracking complex projects: Managing and reporting progress for complex projects may pose a challenge.

Ensuring regular updates: Getting everyone to consistently update progress can be a hurdle, especially in dynamic work environments.

Best Practices for Creating an Effective Progress Report

Creating an effective progress report involves following some best practices:

  • Keep your report clear and straightforward, avoiding jargon or overly complex language.
  • Highlight the most important information, emphasizing achievements and addressing challenges.
  • Use a consistent format and structure for easy comprehension.
  • Submit reports on time to make sure that the information is relevant and up-to-date.
  • Provide enough detail to convey the message, but avoid unnecessary information that may overwhelm.
  • Use charts or diagrams to visually represent data and trends for better understanding.
  • Include potential solutions when discussing challenges, promoting a proactive approach.

Create Your Next Progress Report with Creately

Simplify the process of creating progress reports and streamline project management, communication, and improve overall project success with Creately ’s visual collaboration platform.

Task tracking and assignment

Use the built-in project management tools to create, assign, and track tasks right on the canvas. Assign responsibilities, set due dates, and monitor progress with Agile Kanban boards, Gantt charts, timelines and more. Create task cards containing detailed information, descriptions, due dates, and assigned responsibilities.

Notes and attachments

Record additional details and attach documents, files, and screenshots related to your tasks and projects with per item integrated notes panel and custom data fields. Or easily embed files and attachments right on the workspace to centralize project information. Work together on project documentation with teammates with full multiplayer text and visual collaboration.

Real-time collaboration

Get any number of participants on the same workspace and track their additions to the progress report in real-time. Collaborate with others in the project seamlessly with true multi-user collaboration features including synced previews and comments and discussion threads. Use Creately’s Microsoft Teams integration to brainstorm, plan, run projects during meetings.

Pre-made templates

Get a head start with ready-to-use progress report templates and other project documentation templates available right inside the app. Explore 1000s more templates and examples for various scenarios in the community.

Comprehensive shape libraries

Create any visual aid from flowcharts to timelines with comprehensive shape libraries for over 70 types of diagrams including icons. Illustrate or make annotations easily with freehand drawing and format text without leaving the keyboard with markdown shortcuts.

Progress reports are indispensable in project management. They foster communication, accountability, and a culture of continuous improvement. Make use of the progress report templates we have provided to track your progress and stay organized.

Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

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Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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How to write an effective progress report

how to write a research progress report

As someone who has written hundreds of progress reports, I know that writing a good progress report can keep people in the loop about how your project or product is moving. Additionally, it helps build trust by actively letting everyone know how things are going, what may have changed, and where you may need support. It can be a very helpful tool.

How To Write An Effective Progress Report

Getting started with writing progress updates can be a little tricky. There are some key steps you’ll want to navigate to ensure that your progress reports are effective, helpful, and meeting the needs of your team and stakeholders.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a progress report is, why they’re important, the elements of a progress report, and more.

What is a progress report?

A progress report is a document, usually in the form of a weekly email, that lets key stakeholders and team members who are involved in your project stay up-to-date on how things are going.

These updates can include the progress from this week, whether or not the project is on track, and if any additional leadership support is necessary to keep the project going smoothly and eliminate blockers or challenges.

Why are progress reports important?

Progress reports are important because they help build trust in the project team by keeping stakeholders in the loop with clear communication. A good progress report ensures that stakeholders don’t sit and wonder how a project is going.

Another benefit? They can help you spot issues and elevate them before problems stack up and take your project off course. You can also use a progress report to escalate blockers, or potential blockers, to the stakeholders who may be able to assist you in clearing them. Need approval before you move forward with a key part of the project? You can outline that in your update and let everyone know to expect this before it happens.

Progress reports also help keep a pulse on the pace of the project. If you know that you have important dates coming up, knowing that you have a regular time you’ll need to check in on the progress of the project can help you know if you’re on schedule.

If things start to get off track, you’ll be able to course-correct easier. And, since a progress report keeps your stakeholders in the loop, there are no big surprises to anyone if something doesn’t go according to plan.

What’s included in a progress report?

The first important thing is to really understand what your stakeholders want to see in an update. Are there particular parts of the project they might be concerned about and want more detailed insights into how that part of the project is going? If so, you may want to come up with a list and build your outline from there.

A comprehensive progress report typically includes:

  • A summary of activities completed by the team
  • What progress was made, and how the team is tracking toward their goals
  • What challenges there were, if any
  • Action items and any next steps

Activity summary

In the activity summary, you can be as detailed as is helpful to communicate to stakeholders. Ask if your stakeholders want either an in-depth or high-level summary of the work that was completed by the team.

how to write a research progress report

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how to write a research progress report

For example, some stakeholders want to be able to see each individual item the team completed. Some stakeholders think that a high-level summary of features is enough information. You can customize the level of detail in your activity summary for your stakeholders and team.

Progress update

Your activity summary and progress updates might sound similar, but activities are usually more task-oriented while progress is usually either an outcome or progress toward a specific outcome.

For example, let’s say that your progress update outlines that your engineering team spent time writing code for a new feature this week. Your progress report may include details about customer feedback about the new feature that your UX designer gathered.

Challenges and obstacles

While it may not be easy to talk about challenges or difficulties during a project, your stakeholders will want to know what challenges came up, how they were handled, if they’ve changed the timeline of the project, and if the team needs any help.

A great way to talk through the challenges section of your progress report is to follow a simple format:

  • A brief description of the challenge encountered. This should be no longer than 2–3 sentences.
  • A brief outline of how the challenge was addressed
  • A clear statement of whether or not the challenge is still being resolved
  • A clear ask for help, if help or support is needed

For example, here’s how this might sound in an actual progress report:

Dealing with API challenges with VendorX

This week, we had an outage in production due to a breaking API change that was made by VendorX. The customer impact was that our app was unavailable for 30 minutes. Customers saw an error message. To resolve the issue, we reached out to VendorX tech support and let them know the issue was impacting our app. They were able to resolve it, and our customers no longer have this issue.

Next steps and action items

At the end of the progress report, you’ll want to give a brief description of what the team plans to do next on the project to keep momentum. This can include the upcoming tasks or activities the team intends to tackle and how this keeps the project moving forward.

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If you are dealing with a challenge, this section may also include the challenge’s impact on progress and how you may need to plan accordingly.

If you’re thinking that sounds like a lot to keep up with, there’s a great way to make it easier — use a template.

Using a template to make progress reports that are quick and easy to read

Progress report templates are easy to create and iterate over time as the needs of the project change. Templates can make writing your progress report faster and easier. Another key benefit of using a template? It’s easier to ask for help from your teammates to help fill in the key details because you can ask them to fill out key sections.

Templates also help your stakeholders know what to expect each week. By sending the same format each week, it can make it easy to know where the relevant information they need will be located in the progress report.

Here is a very simple template on Google Docs that you can use as a weekly progress report. Go to File > Make a copy to download it and, as we’ll go over next, you can customize it how you like to fit the needs of your project:

Progress Report Template Example

Tips for customizing a template

Progress reports aren’t one-size-fits-all. In fact, they should be customized to fit the needs of your project! Here are some tips to help customize a generic template:

  • Make sections clear — Clearly outline the sections of your progress report, and let everyone know what you’ll be addressing in each section. Remember the key sections: activities, progress made, challenges or blockers encountered, and actions and next steps. You may want to include other sections, but you’ll want to include at least those four
  • Include other sections as needed for your project — Depending on the type of project, you may also include area-specific updates. If you are building a new software product, you may also include an update on KPIs or customer feedback. If you work on an engineering team, you may need to update on code quality or test coverage metrics. Remember, this is for you and for your stakeholders to communicate, so customizing it to everyone’s needs is important
  • Add some fun — Maybe you highlight new learnings, a fun fact, or a customer research anecdote as a part of your update
  • Use emojis — Another way to make sections stand out is to add emojis. On a Mac, you can use Control + Command + Space to pull up the emoji keyboard. On a Windows machine, you can use the Windows Key + Period . Add emojis to your sections to add a little fun, and make each section’s purpose stand out visually. Adding an emoji can help visually call out sections. You can also use emojis for whether or not something is on track by using colors and color coding.
  • Make updating and reading metrics easy by using tables  — If you’re reporting on a lot of metrics , make those easy to update by utilizing tables when and where you can. On the left side, include the name of the metric. On the right, include the number. Voila, an easy-to-read and easy-to-update metrics table

Once you’ve got the template, where do you store it? Ideally, put the template where you can quickly and easily access it and send it. Do you use a document repository like Sharepoint or Confluence? You can create a page that you can duplicate and edit. If you use something like Notion, you can save the page as a template that you can quickly and easily apply to any page within Notion.

Another thing to consider is how you plan to send the update each week. One option is to link to a document repository that has all of the updates linked and just schedule an automated email to send to key stakeholders with a link to the homepage. Another option? Copy and paste the text from your update into an email and link to older updates that live elsewhere.

When to update your template

If you feel trapped using a template, know that you can customize them and change them over time. As the project changed and evolved, so did our progress updates. It’s okay to change them! In fact, sometimes it’s necessary. So how do you know when it’s time to change your template?

  • You regularly get questions from stakeholders about aspects of your project that are not answered in the current template
  • The project has taken on a completely new direction but you haven’t updated your progress report to capture these new aspects of the project
  • You’ve added another team or aspect to the project but their work is not reflected in the template

All of these are signs that it’s time to update the template to include more or different information. This can be a great time to pause and ask your stakeholders what new information would be helpful for them to read about in the progress report.

Incorporating progress report comments

Your stakeholders may have follow-up questions or comments about your progress report. This is great news because it means that your stakeholders are involved and staying up to date! Of course, they may have positive feedback or negative feedback. How do you handle either situation?

Handling negative feedback about your progress report from stakeholders

You’ve sent out the progress report, and you’re excited to hear all of the positive comments on how much progress the team is making. Then the comments start rolling in, and they are disappointingly not positive. How do you address negative comments from stakeholders?

There is negative feedback about the formatting

Sometimes, stakeholders may have negative feedback about how the progress report looks instead of commenting on the contents of the report itself. This can be a good thing — they have an interest in the process!

Take their feedback into consideration and potentially make updates to the template to make incorporating their feedback easier from week to week. If there’s a way to make the report easier to read, make those adjustments. If data is missing that would help make decisions — and if the data is available — consider adding it to subsequent progress reports.

There is negative feedback about the progress being made

Sometimes, stakeholders will have questions or comments related to how quickly the project is moving or the challenges the team is encountering. Here are some steps on how to handle this when it comes up.

  • First, try to understand where the stakeholder is coming from. Are they curious about why a challenge arose? Are they concerned about the progress so far? Are they nervous about missing a critical deadline? You may need to reach out to that stakeholder to understand their concerns or feedback better so that you know how you can help
  • Once you understand where the concern is coming from, now you can work to address the stakeholder’s feedback or criticism. If they address a challenge that has come up, it may be a good time to escalate the support you need in clearing the blocker. If they’re addressing that it seems like the project is off-track, reiterate what you or the team are doing to ensure that the project stays on track
  • Sometimes, negative feedback occurs because someone is missing context or does not have all the information. In this case, it can be helpful to ensure that the stakeholder understands

Handling positive feedback about your progress report

When you get positive feedback about the progress you’re making, this is a great time to share that feedback with the entire team and celebrate. There are ways to incorporate this kind of feedback into your team’s rhythms.

One way is to surface positive feedback at a daily standup or weekly team meeting, letting them know that the leadership team or external stakeholders are happy with the progress are cheering you on. If appropriate, inviting a stakeholder to a team meeting and letting them know they’re excited about the progress can be a fun addition.

Conclusion and key takeaways

Progress reports can help keep your stakeholders in the loop, build trust, and keep them up to date about what’s happening within your project. Remember that good progress reports adapt and change as you get feedback from your stakeholders and as the project needs change. Templating your progress reports can help you save time and allow others to contribute as you assign segments to other members of the team.

Remember that you can also keep it fun by adding your touch to it. If negative feedback arises, incorporate what you can. And when positive feedback comes up, remember to pass it on.

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What Is a Progress Report And How Can You Make Them More Effective?

What is a progress report and how can you effectively manage your progress reporting process as projects become bigger and more complex?

At ScrumGenius , a tool to facilitate and automate status reporting and reduce communication overhead, we understand the value of a great reporting process.

As your company and teams grow, your projects also increase in scope and complexity. Various types of reporting, previously done ad-hoc, need to be more systematic and standardized to be manageable.

If you’re a manager, keeping track of progress reports from increasingly larger projects through email can quickly become overwhelming. How can you get meaningful information from your progress reports? Moreover, how can you prevent delays in progress report submission, especially when your team is distributed?

In this article, you'll learn:

  • What a progress report is 
  • Why a progress report is important
  • Best practices on structuring progress reports, from using the PPP methodology to setting deadlines
  • Progress report format and template
  • Why you should automate and standardize your progress reporting process

As you will read, automating your progress reports can drastically reduce the time spent in meetings, help you get meaningful answers, and make your reporting process much more efficient. 

What Is a Progress Report?

A progress report is a document that shows the progress that your team is making towards completing a project.

Progress reports give an overview to either a supervisor, a manager, a team leader, a colleague or a client on:

  •  The status of the project
  • The milestones achieved
  • Responsibilities of each employee or team member
  • The issues faced by various team members
  • ...and other important factors that affect project completion

This report is essentially a project management mechanism to prevent issues before they happen, to ensure that the project will be finished on-time, and to keep those involved informed of the project's progress.

How often the progress report should be submitted (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) will heavily depend on the project's scope and complexity.

In general, you want your progress reports to provide meaningful insights. Setting a daily reporting schedule for a long-term project may lead to progress reports with surface-level answers.

Therefore, you may want to set a reasonable schedule and give a progress report template with standardized questions on project progress and key issues. 

Giving these questions in advance will encourage your team members to think about their responses more thoroughly before handing in the report.

Why Is a Progress Report Important?

The importance of progress reports lies beyond keeping track and managing your different projects happening simultaneously. Progress reports also provide valuable insights on how your team can finish projects more effectively.

Aside from giving an overview of the projects taking place, a well-structured progress report template also allows the project manager to identify key issues affecting the team's productivity and a project's progress toward completion.

These insights can then be fed into a knowledge base, which contains best practices on how to manage and execute future projects.

With the ScrumGenius progress report template, you can effectively track each team member's blockers. You can also see how often they report these blockers affecting project completion.

Of course, a progress report also helps foster collaboration. Simply put, knowing about each other's tasks helps prevent people from doing the same things and reduce task redundancy. 

Best Practices On How To Write a Progress Report

1. treat a progress report like a q&a.

A simple way to start learning how to write a progress report is by treating the progress report format as a question and answer sheet on the project's progress. You need answers on the progress, the blockers and the next tasks to do that lead to project completion. Nothing more. Nothing less.

2. Include questions on progress, plans and problems (PPP)

PPP is a management technique for status reporting that focuses on project progress toward completion. Questions related to PPP lead to specific and meaningful answers, instead of generic ones with unnecessary details. It's used by many people at Skype and Apple to get useful and relevant project facts.

As Cleve Gibbon puts it, PPP is "rich in stuff, low in fluff." Here's what each P means:

  • Progress - These include milestones, goals achieved, finished tasks and validated items  that contribute to project completion.
  • Plans - These include things to do, short- and long-term objectives, and other plans that affect project completion.
  • Problems - These are blockers and issues that affect project completion.

Each P should have answers with 3-5 items. If your team is having a hard time filling out the progress reports because they're too frequent, you might want to change the frequency they're submitted. 

3. Allow meaningful completion of the progress report

An often-neglected aspect of the progress reporting process is ensuring that the information acquired is at a high quality. Two things help achieve this: setting the right schedule and encouraging specific answers.

Setting appropriate deadlines is key. People doing long-term projects that last for a year or more may not want to submit daily progress reports. A wrong schedule might lead to unsatisfactory answers. That said, make sure that you set actual dates for submission. Otherwise, people may always put them as a last priority task.

Moreover, you should encourage formulating specific answers. For example, this can be emphasizing for answers to include relevant metrics, instead of vague descriptions. This helps you track progress more meaningfully. 

4. Use section headings to make reading and writing simpler

Add section headings in your progress report format to make the process of writing and reading the report a lot easier. When learning how to write a progress report, section headings help you focus on providing valuable information about the progress, in itself.

The purpose of a progress report is to give clarity on the progress of a project, not to describe every single aspect about what's currently happening in the project.

Plus, the project manager reading the project will have an easier time reading and remembering key elements in it.

ScrumGenius Progess Report (2)

With ScrumGenius, the progress report templates are structured in such a way that each progress report has clearly-defined headings.

5. Use simple and straightforward language

Learning how to write progress reports means using a progress report format with a language that's clear and straight to the point. Unless your project requires you to use jargon and technical language, keep your sentences simple, straightforward and easy to understand. 

Progress Report Format Template Example Using PPP

Progress report using PPP

Using PPP, a progress report format structure should have the following sections:

  • Introduction - This helps understand what project this report is about. Simply ask what they're working on to start the progress report.
  • PPP section - This is the main body of the progress report, and it should give enough information on the overall status of the project. As you will read in the next section, ScrumGenius allows you to have an overview of the goals and blockers reported in the status reporting process to derive important insights from.
  • Anything else to add? -  This section may also provide more holistic comments on how this project is being done.

How to Facilitate Your Progress Reporting Process Through Automation and Standardization

As your projects become larger in scope and complexity, you will need a status reporting tool like ScrumGenius to track and manage your progress reporting process.

Relying on standard communication tools like email and manually sending your team members follow up can quickly become unmanageable. Not only that, manually sifting through progress reports can take time from getting more meaningful work done.

1. Standardize and iterate on your progress report template to gain meaningful insights

To identify patterns affecting project completion and other important project management insights, you will have to standardize the sections/questions in your progress reports. This means sending out the same progress report questions on a project for your team members to answer.

Having progress report templates means that your team can invariably produce answers within the PPP framework. It also allows you to identify outlier responses affecting project progress. With ScrumGenius, you can create custom progress reports or choose from various templates. 

Custom progress report

Some team members might have run into blockers that you need to urgently address. Or someone might have found a way to more efficiently finish their tasks. Either way, these can be important project management insights for future reference.

Plus, using a template will save you and your team previously spent on formulating a structure for these reports.

2. Automate progress reporting submission

Manually doing check-ins and follow-ups via email or chat is not only cumbersome, but it's also not sustainable in the long-run as your teams grow bigger and your projects more complex.

Set teamwork on autopilot. With ScrumGenius, you can automate your whole progress reporting process by setting automatic regular deadlines on submitting progress reports.

ScrumGenius is integrated with all major chat platforms including Slack, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams. Depending on the schedule you've set them, a bot will automatically send them these questions for people to answer within a window of time.

Configure schedule

You can also set the check-in reporting window to cater to different time zones. Read more about this here . This is especially important for globally-distributed teams.

3. Have an overview to see your team's overall progress on various projects

Having an overview of the progress reports helps you identify various patterns affecting project completion. ScrumGenius has a dashboard that allows you to see:

  • Participation - How many completed the progress report.
  • Goals - How many participants reported their goals and progress.
  • Blockers - How many participants are experiencing blockers.

Progress report team insights

This overview can help you deduce important insights on the aforementioned metrics. For example, you can see what the participation rates are for the various submission windows and act accordingly. 

4. Spend less time in meetings by using progress reports

Some studies suggest that executives spend up to 23 hours per week in meetings . With ScrumGenius, our clients have reported a reduction in meeting times by up to 300% ( read the case study here).

Our status reports have provided valuable information that has helped meetings become more efficient and focused. 

5. Create a knowledge base for your project managers, teams and new hires

Finally, these project management insights can contribute to building a knowledge base. This is a great way to set up best practices on how to manage and execute future projects more effectively.

It will also be a great resource for new hires to figure out the best processes for your company and how to achieve key metrics that they're supposed to hit (based on past successes).

Take Your Progress Reporting Process To The Next Level With ScrumGenius

A progress report allows you to get important information on project completion. ScrumGenius is a simple, yet powerful, tool that can improve your progress reporting process through automating and standardizing these reports.

Once activated, the ScrumGenius bot sends reminders to your team at a specific time each day to fill out their progress reports.

If you want to make your progress reporting process more efficient, try out ScrumGenius today.

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Memos and Progress Reports

Determining your audience and purpose.

Like e-mail messages, memos are common in many workplaces. A memo may serve as an informal proposal to pitch a new idea to a supervisor or manager. It can also provide a quick, concise way for scientists to brief each other or their supervisors about the status of a project.

As with e-mail, carefully consider who will be reading your message and what you hope to convey before you prepare your memo. For example, if you are writing a memo to propose a new project to your supervisor, you must explain why the project is necessary and worthwhile. If you are updating your reader on the status of a project, you may need to focus on how much the project has cost so far and when you think it will be completed. Then, when you begin to prepare your memo, ask yourself: Why am I writing this? Who will read it, and what will interest them the most? Answering these questions will help you determine the appropriate tone and structure for your memo.

A progress report is a specific kind of memo that summarizes recent and future work on a specific project. The exact content and format of a progress report may vary, but the purpose is the same: to let your audience know if the work is going smoothly, where you have encountered problems, and whether you are able to keep to the initial plan. Progress reports may also explain whether you can finish the project on time and within budget.

Choosing your tone

Memos are less formal than scientific papers or lengthy technical reports, but they should still show a respectful and professional tone. Unlike e-mail messages, memos should remain formal even if you know your audience well. The goal of a memo is to convey essential information quickly, so you should not distract your audience even if you are only trying to be friendly. For this reason, memos typically do not include greetings or closings.

Choosing your tone carefully is especially important if you need to deliver bad news in your memo. For example, if you are updating your manager to tell him or her that your project is running behind schedule, you should be forthright and honest — do not adopt a tone of false cheerfulness or optimism. It is your professional responsibility to explain the situation exactly as it is, not to withhold bad news to keep your audience happy. If you have bad news to deliver, express your dismay using words like "unfortunately" or phrases like "I regret to tell you that . . . ", and explain how you will solve the problem.

Memo or report structure and content

The format of a memo is often similar to that of an e-mail message. (Note, however, that if your organization has a set format for memos, you must follow that format.) Both e-mail and memos feature certain information in their headers, but unlike e-mail, memos do not include a salutation or a closing. As with e-mail, the body of a memo may include headings, subheadings, or bullet points to highlight important information — although too many bullet points will make the most important ideas difficult to identify. If you mention colleagues in a memo, send them a copy of the memo and list their names next to "cc:", just as you would include them in the "cc:" line of an e-mail. In addition, if you need to include another document (such as a preliminary budget or a detailed timeline) as an attachment, note this in the memo and include the title of that document.

The most important part of the progress report is the introduction. Here, remind the audience what the project is and why it is important. Explain who is affected by the project, when the work began, and when you expect it to end. Finally, outline in specific terms the overall status of the project so readers can see at a glance where you are and what you have left to do.

The body of your progress report should open by noting the current status of the project. Provide an outline of what parts of the project you have already completed: What important tasks have you finished? What decisions and discoveries have you made? Next, describe what work you still have to complete. Use chronological order to show your audience what steps are yet to come and how long you think those steps will take.

Even though it seems counterintuitive, you should also describe any problems that have arisen during the project. Your audience needs to know if something went wrong along the way, and they will want to know how you responded. If you solved those problems, explain how. If you did not solve them, show that you have at least one solution in mind. Think about what problems might arise, too. This will show your audience that you have thought carefully about the project and how you will complete it.

End your progress report by summarizing the current status of the project, good news, and key problems. State again whether the project will be completed on time and on budget.

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Progress reporting 101: how to review your projects in 5 steps

Projects tend to take on a life of their own—twisting and turning with each new development, milestone, and lesson. 

But as you collaborate with more stakeholders and journey further into the heart of a project, the details can become overwhelming, and you may begin to lose sight of where you’ve been and where you need to go. This is where progress reports have a vital role to play.

Last updated

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how to write a research progress report

This guide teaches you what a progress report is, and when and how to create one, so you can update stakeholders, solve problems, plan your next steps, and learn from past projects .

Add insights to your progress reporting

Use Hotjar to understand how customers interact with your website and product to add detail and direction to your progress report.

What is progress reporting?

Progress reporting is an ongoing study into the development of a project, usually for the team members involved. It focuses on events and tactical details, like progress drivers and anticipated roadblocks, to assess what your project has achieved and where you’ll take it next. 

For example, imagine a design manager creating a progress report for a homepage redesign project. They’ll use the progress report document to share insights from the product management team and summarize recent discussions to give everyone the same context moving forward.

A status report is another performance reporting type that the design manager could use, but it isn’t interchangeable with a progress report. While a progress report is an ongoing study of the project for the team, a status report is a snapshot of current progress for stakeholders.  For example, while the homepage redesign progress report contains hands-on details for the design team, a status report for this project would tell the C-suite that the team completed its first two milestones ahead of schedule. 

Progress reporting is vital for project management because it consolidates information and identifies the next steps. The benefits of progress reporting include:

When to create a progress report

If progress reporting is an ongoing look at your project, when and how often should you create a progress document? There are two options. 

Create a progress report at regular intervals

Regular progress reporting—like weekly for shorter projects or monthly for more significant initiatives—helps when you have many stakeholders or the project moves quickly. For example, cross-functional collaboration benefits from a regular recap and check-in since not every person will be in every meeting or work session. 

Create a progress report after milestones

Alternatively, projects with smaller teams benefit from progress reporting after milestones rather than on a consistent cadence. For example, a one-person social media team would check in with their marketing manager as they complete phases of a new campaign or feature launch.

How to create a progress report in 5 simple steps

While progress reporting benefits a wide range of roles and projects, the basic structure is always the same. Here’s a 5-step progress report template to follow. 

Step 1: clarify goals and timeline

First, you need to briefly explain the project to give context to the rest of the report. Clarifying project goals and timelines brings priorities to the surface to make it easier for stakeholders reading the report to catch up.

Details to include:

Project summary: a brief overview of the project

Product objective: your immediate product goals and the long-term initiative they support. Think of these as objectives and key results (OKRs).

Milestones: the main tasks you've already completed or still need to complete for a high-level understanding of the project scope

Timeline: the progress you've made in the project’s reporting period

To illustrate the first step in progress reporting, let’s use the homepage redesign example from earlier. The design manager leading the project says their team is updating the website’s homepage to reflect rebranding and increase engagement. Then, the manager lists the major milestones, including wireframing, prototyping, and testing over a 3-month period, which they’re halfway through. 

Step 2: consider stakeholders

Reading a progress report that has nothing to do with you is confusing at best and boring at worst—so be sure to tailor your document to its audience. 

Determining who’s going to see and use the report influences what details you need to include. For example, a C-suite leader cares more about customer activation progress than a debate over whether the homepage banner should be cerulean or cyan. 

Project owner: who’s in charge of the project

Team: who’s on the team, and their role in the project

Report prepared for: who will read the report and if they had a particular motivation, question, or concern

Definitions: stakeholders might not know certain cross-functional terms. For example, your graphic designers probably haven’t reviewed a Google Analytics glossary in a while.

In our example homepage redesign project, the design team needs effective cross-functional collaboration . Throughout the project, they’ll work with the product team to test design effectiveness and with the marketing team to create copy and imagery for their target audience. Since the design manager knows this, the progress report needs to have insights across groups and summarize discussions different functions may miss. 

All together now! 👯

Effective collaboration and communication can make or break a project, whether you work with one other person or five other functions. Asynchronous communication in a shared document for project updates or new ideas is a must. Here at Hotjar, we’ve also established rules for what gets a meeting.

Every meeting requires an owner (usually the organizer) whose duties include the following:

Establishing a clear objective and agenda: what’s the purpose of the call, who’s attending, and why?

Listing relevant data and required reading so all participants can prepare

Documenting the meeting’s output and actions to share with the team on an agreed-upon channel (e.g. email, Trello, Discourse).

Learn more about our strategies and tools for better collaboration .

Step 3: share recent updates 

Progress reporting is an ongoing process, so you need to reference developments about questions or concerns stakeholders brought up in the previous report. If this is your first progress report, compare progress to any assumptions you had. 

Problem resolutions: any prior issues you resolved and how you did it

Answers to questions: queries from previous progress reports that need to be addressed

New insights: an overview of new data, metrics, priorities, or lessons that impact the project

Testing results: results and learnings from A/B tests or customer interviews  

For example, the design manager would include a screenshot of their data dashboard to provide a summary of how the first prototype of the homepage redesign performs. The progress report would also have notes from a cross-functional meeting that answered a previous question about the customer journey .

how to write a research progress report

Hotjar’s Dashboard presents key sessions and user behavior data in charts and graphs so you don’t have to switch between multiple analytics sources

Step 4: identify drivers and blockers

Your progress report is the place to consolidate all your important Slack messages, meeting outcomes, and personal notes as you work through the project. 

Documenting what’s helping and hindering the project gets everyone on the same page, helps you prioritize the next steps, and creates a record you can learn from and reference in the future. 

Product experience (PX) insights: data that reveals how customers interact with your product or website to understand the project’s impact

Delays: anything that slows the project down

Questions: team questions or unknowns

Progress drivers: details that positively impact the project (so you know what to do more of next time!)

Upcoming events and milestones: what you’ll work on next

Let’s go back to our homepage redesign project. In this step, the design manager reminds the team they’ll be out on vacation next week and that there’s an upcoming meeting of designers, product managers, and marketing folks to watch customer recordings together . The meeting’s goal is to get new perspectives on the response to the new page design, and the team needs to document the results to include in the next progress report.

Bring your progress reports to life with product experience insights

PX insights help you break out of your team silo and get an outside perspective from the people you’re trying to help—your customers. 

Hotjar (hi, that’s us! 👋) is a product experience insights platform that adds data-informed decision-making to your progress report. Hotjar gives you:

Heatmaps (free forever) to uncover where website visitors pay the most attention

Recordings to see exactly how customers interact with your product

Surveys to learn what customers love and hate about your product

Feedback to get real-time thoughts on your design

Interviews to hear how customers describe their goals and preferences

Funnels to learn where and why customers drop off

Plus, adding context to your progress report with PX insights increases stakeholder buy-in with tangible results, gets new team members up to speed, and creates a knowledge base of your efforts to reference in the future .

how to write a research progress report

Hotjar's tools give you a new perspective on your customers’ experiences

Step 5: list the next steps

Your progress report becomes actionable when you summarize what you’ve learned and create an action plan. 

As you create subsequent progress reports for a project, you can assess whether the tasks you'd initially set out to do were indeed the ones that took up your time. This information lets you rework future planning or rein in a project that’s straying off course. 

Tasks: deliverables needed, timeframes, and who’s responsible for what

Follow-ups: meetings to schedule or stakeholders to loop in

For example, with the progress report, the design team recognizes the need to follow up with the marketing team for the homepage’s new copy. They also need to review comments the website development team left on the first version of their homepage wireframe.

If you’re only ever focused on implementation, you’ll waste time and budget on tactics without knowing if they actually delivered growth or not. You should be constantly evaluating performance data, both qualitative and quantitative, to inform your efforts. Then, by packaging this data up in monthly, quarterly, or annual performance insights, you can use the reports to increase your organizational impact.

Use customer insights to support your progress reports

Progress reporting supports projects by clarifying what has happened and what will happen. But you need the right insights to understand project progress and decide what to do next. 

As much as confident teammates and company veterans may think they know what’s best, you need to learn from customers to create for customers . When you prioritize customer empathy and curiosity, you create an accurate and impactful progress report.

Rather than relying on assumptions or guesses, teams need to use customer and PX insights—information that helps you test and correct as you work through a project. This customer-driven data helps you focus on what matters and get results, preventing you from going too far down a path to nowhere.

Progress reporting FAQs

Progress reporting is an ongoing study into the development of a project, usually for the team members involved. It focuses on events and tactical details like progress drivers and anticipated roadblocks. The goal of a progress report is to assess where the project has been and where you’ll take it next. 

For example, imagine a design manager creates a progress report for a home page redesign project. They update the design team on insights from the product management team and summarize recent discussions to give everyone the same context moving forward. 

What are the benefits of a progress report?

A progress report lets you: 

Consolidate the main takeaways from recent collaboration , which means everyone is on the same page

Review project and product planning regularly to make continuous adjustments that keep you close to your customers and goals

Work through issues and questions with your teammates and stakeholders

When should you use a progress report?

There are two scenarios you can use a progress report:

At regular intervals , like weekly or daily progress reports for short projects or a monthly progress report for larger initiatives. Use this method if you have a lot of stakeholders or the project moves quickly. For example, a cross-functional collaboration benefits from a regular recap and check-in.

After milestones , like when the team is stuck or after you complete a significant task. Use this method if the project has fewer stakeholders, like a one-person team checking in with their boss as they complete phases of the project or as part of a product roadmap .

How do you create a progress report?

Clarify goals and timeline : what is the project and when will you work on it?

Consider the stakeholders : who’s involved?

Share recent updates : what have you done so far?

Identify drivers and blockers : what’s helping and hindering the project?

List next steps : what will you do next?

Trend report

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how to write a research progress report

How to Write a Progress Report (+ Best Practices)

Master the art of progress reports with our guide. Discover what progress reporting is, how to write one, and how Motion simplifies the process.

how to write a research progress report

Running a business can be like spinning plates: something always needs your attention.

Have you ever felt lost in tasks, meetings, and deadlines? You’re not alone.Many wish for a clearer way to see how things are going and share that with our team.

This guide is your answer.

We'll tell you about the in's and out's of progress reporting, give you progress report templates (ideas) and give you some tips on making the most out of progress reporting.

What is a progress report?

A progress report is like a photo album for your business tasks. It shows what's been done and what's left to do from a project plan or action plan.

Imagine you launched a new product last month. In your monthly report, you'd note how many were sold, any feedback received, and plans for the next month. These can be daily progress reports or weekly progress reports for fast-moving projects or quarterly progress reports to review bigger goals.

While it's great to celebrate wins, progress reports must also highlight areas that need attention — think setbacks or roadblocks that cause project teams to fall short of targets.

The bottom line is that progress reports give a clear picture of where you are, helping you make better decisions for the future.

Why are progress reports necessary?

Imagine setting out on a journey without a map or compass. Without direction, it's easy to wander aimlessly.

In the business landscape, progress reports serve as your map and compass, guiding the way and showing how far you've traveled.

Here’s how they help:

  • Enhancing communication:  A vital lifeline in any business is clear communication. Through progress reports, teams can connect, ensuring everyone is aligned. Consider a marketing team launching a new campaign. Without regular updates, the sales team might miss opportunities to leverage campaign material.
  • Clarity:  By documenting what's been accomplished and what’s ahead, there's less guesswork involved. For instance, if a supplier knows a project is ahead of schedule, they can prioritize deliveries accordingly.
  • Proactive management:  Highlighting bottlenecks isn’t just about pointing out flaws. It’s about finding solutions. By understanding where roadblocks exist, resources can be channeled to tackle them effectively.
  • Setting expectations   and ensuring accountability:  When everyone knows the goals and their role in achieving them, there’s a shared sense of purpose. It's like being part of a relay race where each member knows when and how to pass the baton.
  • Building trust and transparency : When team members, stakeholders, customers and investors have visibility on  project progress , confidence grows.

Progress reports aren’t just documents — they’re tools that knit teams together, strengthen strategic goals, and pave the way for business growth and success.

Key components of a progress report

Every part of your progress report has a specific job. Each section offers a different insight, so no details get lost, and the big picture is kept in your sights.

Here are the key components explained simply:

Executive summary

The  executive summary  provides a snapshot of the entire report. In 1 - 2 paragraphs (at most, a page), briefly explain the main takeaways.

For example:  "In September, we surpassed our sales target by 12% but faced unexpected shipping delays."

Goals and objectives

Your  goals and objectives  set the direction of your report by stating what you aim to achieve.

For example:  "Our objective was to increase website visitors by 10% this quarter."


Accomplishments  are where you celebrate what was achieved during the reporting period — these are your “wins.”

For example:  "Successfully launched two new products, resulting in a 15% revenue boost."

Challenges and obstacles

Your  challenges and obstacle s detail the roadblocks you faced and the steps taken to overcome them.

For example:  "Encountered supply chain disruptions due to weather, leading to a week's delay in product delivery."

‎Next steps and action items

The  next steps and action items  outline the roadmap for upcoming tasks or strategies.

For example:  "Plan to initiate a marketing campaign in the Northeast region by next month."

Metrics and data

Metrics and data  offer concrete numbers to back up statements, grounding your report in facts.

For example:  "Website traffic increased by 8%, with a notable 20% growth in returning visitors."


And finally,  recommendations  where you propose future actions based on the insights from the report.

For example:  "Considering the rising demand for eco-friendly products, suggest allocating more budget to our 'Green Line' next quarter."

Understanding a progress report’s components helps you give it depth and value. It’s what transforms it from a simple recap to a structured and insightful reflection which can help shape future strategies and tactics.

How to write a progress report

Writing a progress report is like telling a story of your work. Let's break it down step-by-step to keep it simple and clear.

Step 1: Understand and tailor to your audience

Think about who’ll read your report. Different readers have different needs. A CEO might want the big picture, while a team leader wants detailed  project status  notes.

For example, if you’re an engineer writing a report for non-technical stakeholders, you’ll want to avoid the “rocket science speak” as they may not understand.

And if technical topics are unavoidable, use metaphors and analogies so they grasp the essentials without feeling lost.

Step 2: Begin with a clear executive summary

The executive summary is your report’s highlight reel. In just one or two paragraphs (depending on the report, a page), it offers a snapshot of the main events, achievements, and challenges.

People may only read part of your progress report. At the very least, they’ll read the executive summary, so you’ll need to deliver highly relevant information quickly.

Start by outlining the primary objectives and how well they’ve been achieved. Following that, highlight  key milestones  but also acknowledge major hurdles. And finally, end with your most critical recommendations.

Step 3: Adopt a consistent and clear format

Choose a layout and be consistent. If you start with what happened in January, February should come next. Use headings, bullet points, and tables so they’re easy to read (and highlight the important details so they stand out).

‎Step 4: Include visuals to enhance understanding

Graphs and charts can impart information faster than words. Make sure they're clear and related to what you're saying. For example, a chart showing how sales changed every month can be more effective than just writing about it.

Step 5: Stay objective and fact-focused

Avoid “option statements”. Instead, ground your report in measurable outcomes. Rather than saying something like "sales were good," add specificity with a statement, "sales increased by 20%." This adds credibility and gives your readers a more precise evaluation of progress.

Step 6: Review, refine, and edit

No report is perfect on the first draft — review for clarity and precision.

Ask a colleague to read your report so they can point out confusing or boring parts. Make sure your data is current, and double-check the facts. Remember, an error, no matter how small, can undermine the entire report’s credibility.

The do’s and don’ts of progress reports: best practices

Progress reports walk the fine line between simplicity and comprehensiveness. Knowing what to include and what to skip can sometimes be tricky. Below is a curated guide to ensure you hit the right notes every time.

Do's of progress reports

Be honest and transparent about challenges:

  • Don’t hide the truth. If there was a setback, share it. It’s how teams learn and grow. For example, if a marketing campaign didn't achieve its targets, state it directly, then offer the next steps to improve.

Clear language:

  • Use straightforward words and avoid complex phrases. Instead of writing, "The project encountered insurmountable challenges," simply state, "The project faced tough challenges."

Stick to facts:

  • Use numbers and evidence. If sales increased by 10%, say exactly that. Precise data is more impactful than vague claims.

Regular updates:

  • Keep a consistent schedule, whether it's weekly reports or monthly reports. Regular updates keep everyone in the loop. Imagine a teammate working on a project, not hearing any updates, and suddenly being told there are drastic changes.


  • Your report should cater to the reader's needs. For instance, while a tech team might appreciate detailed technical data, others might prefer a summary of results.

Don'ts of progress reports:

Avoid jargon:

  • Technical or industry-specific terms can confuse some readers. If explaining a new software update, don’t sign off the coding specifics. Instead, focus on its benefits and changes.

Skipping details:

  • While brevity is good, leaving out vital information isn't. If a project is delayed due to a vendor issue, it’s essential to mention it so everyone understands the hold-up.

Over-optimism without data:

  • Being positive is good, but not without evidence. Don’t claim a project is "highly successful" unless you have data to show it.

Lengthy reports:

  • Be concise. A report that drags on may lose the reader's attention and cause them to miss important details. Aim for clarity and brevity.

Submit without proofreading:

  • Mistakes reduce credibility. Before delivering your report, double-check for errors. A report with errors can make readers question its accuracy.

Effective progress reports combine honesty with clarity. They present data transparently, cater to their audience, and are free from fluff or errors. Adopt these best practices, and your progress reports will always be on point.

Making progress reporting effortless with Motion

Managing tasks and keeping up with progress reports can be challenging. Motion offers tools and features that simplify these processes so you can focus on writing reports and other  high-value tasks  instead of relentlessly  organizing your calendar.

Here’s how motion can help:

Seamless task management for accurate updates

Staying on top of tasks is a top priority for any business, and accurate reporting helps you do that.

Motion's AI-assisted algorithm provides a streamlined system that effortlessly aligns your tasks with your reporting needs.

  • ‎ Simplified prioritization:  With Motion, business owners can effortlessly determine which tasks need immediate attention, helping report what’s been accomplished and what’s next.
  • Adaptive scheduling:  If unforeseen changes occur, Motion readjusts your tasks so your progress report always reflects the current state of affairs without manual fiddling.
  • Unified task view:  See all your tasks at a glance, big or small, so nothing is missed in your report.

Meetings that drive progress

Effective meetings can be the backbone of productive teams, and their outcomes can greatly influence progress reports. Here’s how Motion’s AI-assisted scheduling features help change how you plan (and run) your meetings.

  • Optimized meeting schedules:  Motion  schedules your meetings  at the most productive times, ensuring every team huddle results in actionable takeaways, enriching the content of progress reports.
  • Clear action points:  Post-meeting, Motion can help list  clear action items  that feed directly into what needs to be reported and acted upon next.

Team transparency for cohesive reports

A team moving in harmony can produce comprehensive reports that reflect both individual achievements and collective progress. Motion gives a bird's-eye view of team activities, making report compilation seamless and easy.

  • Real-time team overviews:  Get a quick snapshot of what each member is working on. This helps you create detailed progress reports that reflect both individual and collective achievements.
  • Proactive alerts:  Motion's notifications alert you well in advance of potential roadblocks or missed deadlines. This makes progress reports reflective and anticipatory tools (handy for recommendations in progress reports).
  • Streamlined workflow:  By reducing the manual effort in  task management , Motion gives you more time to focus on analyzing progress and strategizing rather than just documenting it.

Harness the power of Motion

Navigating progress reports becomes a breeze with Motion by your side. It's the bridge between tradition and innovation for businesses.

Ready to experience the difference?

Dive into a free trial of Motion  and watch as it transforms your reporting process (and productivity).

how to write a research progress report

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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 !


  1. FREE 15+ Sample Project Progress Reports in PDF

    how to write a research progress report

  2. Research Progress Report Sample

    how to write a research progress report

  3. Final Research Report

    how to write a research progress report

  4. Research Project Progress Report Template (3)

    how to write a research progress report

  5. Infographic: 6 Steps on How to Write a Progress Report

    how to write a research progress report

  6. 12+ Research Progress Report Templates in PDF

    how to write a research progress report


  1. How to write the Monthly Performance Report for Teachers


  3. Report Writing

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  5. Lecture 12 : How to write a REPORT in 12th English board exam

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  1. 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.

  2. Research Progress Report

    Here are some tips that will get you started with your research progress report. 1. Write the Title of Your Report. The title of your report should at least be about what your research is about. It does not have to be something too fancy that the whole point of the report is lost or too obvious that would make the report redundant. 2.

  3. Research Report

    A progress report provides an update on the progress of a research project or program over a specific period of time. Progress reports are typically used to communicate the status of a project to stakeholders, funders, or project managers. ... Overall, the timing of when to write a research report depends on the purpose of the research, the ...

  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. Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR)

    There are three types of RPPRs, all of which use the NIH RPPR Instruction Guide. Annual RPPR - Use to describe a grant's scientific progress, identify significant changes, report on personnel, and describe plans for the subsequent budget period or year. Final RPPR - Use as part of the grant closeout process to submit project outcomes in ...

  6. Writing a progress report

    Writing a progress/status report by Michael Ernst January, 2010. Writing a weekly report about your research progress can make your research more successful, less frustrating, and more visible to others, among other benefits. One good format is to write your report in four parts: Quote the previous week's plan. This helps you determine whether ...

  7. How to Write a Progress Report

    You can also include an overview of what the rest of your progress report will cover. 3. Work Completed. The next section of your report should be titled "Work Completed.". Here, you can provide a chronological list of the project tasks that you have already completed and their corresponding dates.

  8. How to Write a Professional Progress Report

    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. Progress Report: Full Guide

    In progress report writing, the conclusion is simply a re-hash of everything discussed in the report. The trick is to compress all the information into one to two sentences, or a maximum of three. ... Whether you're putting together a business progress report, a research progress report, or any other - here are 13 tips to help it really stand ...

  10. Writing Progress Reports

    Determine the appropriate organizational pattern - chronological, priority, or topic - for the body of the report. Include an Introduction, body, conclusion, and references (if appropriate). In the body section, address the following items: summarize and evaluate research findings to date. present the project schedule.

  11. Progress Report: How to Write, Structure, and Make It Visually

    In this video, we give you tips on how to write a progress report. You will also find progress report templates, checklists, and different types of reports, ...

  12. PDF Progress report template

    1. Abstract. Present the background of your research project, list its main goals, describe the methods to be used and the expected results as well as their impact for the field and beyond. 2. Progress to Date. Present the research work you have undertaken since your last progress report, describe the results obtained (including publications ...

  13. How To Design A Progress Report: Write, Structure, and Make it Visual

    How to Write a Progress Report. Writing an effective progress report involves several key steps: Begin with a clear objective : Understand and state the purpose of your report. Collect and analyze data : Gather data on what has been accomplished, what is in progress, and any challenges faced. Use tools effectively : A Calendar Maker can ...

  14. PDF Reporting your successes: Writing an Effective RPPR and More

    NIH IMPAC II Database: Comprehensive NIH-Wide grant information, including applications, payments, specific aims, progress reports, publications, etc. RPPR: Progress report module. Review Module: Reviewers and review staff interact to submit scores. xTRAIN: Trainee appointment module for T32 and R25.

  15. How to Write a Progress Report (with Pictures)

    Make sure to include: the purpose of the report, introduce the project, remind that this is an update on the progress of the project. 5. Do the body of the proposal. The body of proposal, whether it's broken into sections and subsections, is basically just a more detailed version of the introduction.

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    Best Practices for Creating an Effective Progress Report. Creating an effective progress report involves following some best practices: Keep your report clear and straightforward, avoiding jargon or overly complex language. Highlight the most important information, emphasizing achievements and addressing challenges.

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    Here are some tips to help customize a generic template: Make sections clear — Clearly outline the sections of your progress report, and let everyone know what you'll be addressing in each section. Remember the key sections: activities, progress made, challenges or blockers encountered, and actions and next steps.

  18. How Do I Make Progress Reports More Effective?

    1. Treat a progress report like a Q&A. A simple way to start learning how to write a progress report is by treating the progress report format as a question and answer sheet on the project's progress. You need answers on the progress, the blockers and the next tasks to do that lead to project completion. Nothing more.

  19. Memos and Progress Reports

    End your progress report by summarizing the current status of the project, good news, and key problems. State again whether the project will be completed on time and on budget. Like e-mail ...

  20. Progress Report: What It Is And How To Write A Great One

    Step 1: clarify goals and timeline. First, you need to briefly explain the project to give context to the rest of the report. Clarifying project goals and timelines brings priorities to the surface to make it easier for stakeholders reading the report to catch up. Details to include:

  21. PDF How to Write an Effective Research REport

    Abstract. This guide for writers of research reports consists of practical suggestions for writing a report that is clear, concise, readable, and understandable. It includes suggestions for terminology and notation and for writing each section of the report—introduction, method, results, and discussion. Much of the guide consists of ...

  22. How to Write a Progress Report (+ Best Practices)

    Step 2: Begin with a clear executive summary. The executive summary is your report's highlight reel. In just one or two paragraphs (depending on the report, a page), it offers a snapshot of the main events, achievements, and challenges. People may only read part of your progress report.

  23. How to Write a Progress Report (Sample Template)

    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.