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Format of Progress Reports

By Deborah Robinson,2015-02-12 08:26
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Progress Reports You write a progress report to inform a supervisor, associate, or customer about progress you've made on a project over a certain period of time. The project can be the design, construction, or repair of something, the study or research of a problem or question, or the gathering of information on a technical subject. You write ..

    Progress Reports

    You write a progress report to inform a supervisor, associate, or customer about progress you've made on a project over a certain period of time. The project can be the design, construction, or repair of something, the study or research of a problem or question, or the gathering of information on a technical subject. You write progress reports when it takes well over three or four months to complete a project.

    Functions and Contents of Progress Reports

    In the progress report, you explain any or all of the following:

    ; How much of the work is complete

    ; What part of the work is currently in progress

    ; What work remains to be done

    ; What problems or unexpected things, if any, have arisen

    ; How the project is going in general

    Format of Progress Reports

    Depending on the size of the progress report, the length and importance of the project, and the recipient, the progress report can take the following forms:

    ; MemoA short, informal report to someone within your organization

    ; LetterA short, informal report sent to someone outside your organization

    ; Formal reportA long, formal report sent to someone outside your organization

    Organization

    The original proposal for the project determines the structure: make use of original milestones or the timeline. With this in mind, the simplest structure is as follows:

    1. Introduction

    As always, first indicate the purpose of the report and its intended audience. Clearly define the time period covered in the report (see also titles). Then, explain the project's objectives and summarize the major issues.

    2. Progress Summary

    This is the substance of the report. You want to discuss work done, work in progress,

    and work to be done. You might just use these as subheadings to structure the section. This would be a project-tasks approach. Other approaches are time-periods or a combined approach.

    ; Project-tasks approach: Focus on the tasks. Defined milestones can logically organize your discussion into this kind of structure. Also if you are working on a number of semi-independent tasks at the same time, this approach will work well.

    ; Practically every project breaks down into individual tasks

    ; Time-periods approach: Focus on time: the previous period, the current period, the future. If a timeline (or deadline) is more important than milestones, then use this approach. Also, use it for projects with a simple linear structure.

    A progress report usually summarizes work within each of the following:

    ; Work accomplished in the preceding period(s)

    ; Work currently being performed

    ; Work planned for the next period(s)

    ; Combined approach: The two above approaches could be combined if, for example, under previous work, you break down what you have done by individual tasks. Or, under the tasks, you focus on what part is complete, what part is in progress, and what part is yet to come.

    Your project (and sometimes your sponsor) will determine which of these three you use. If the problems encountered or changes required are time-related, then use the time-periods approach to your advantage; likewise, if the problems or changes relate to specific tasks then use the project-tasks approach. Another item that may be included here is a summary of financial data. This last item could be contained in a table or appendix, or an independent section.

    Progress report A Progress report B Progress report C

Task 1 Work Completed Topic 1

     Work completed Task 1 Work completed

     Current work Task 2 Current work

     Planned work Task 3 Planned work

Task 2 Current Work Topic 2

     Work completed Task 1 Work completed

     Current work Task 2 Current work

     Planned work Task 3 Planned work

Task 3 Current Work Topic 3

     Work completed Task 1 Work completed

     Current work Task 2 Current work

     Planned work Task 3 Planned work

    The following illustration shows an example of the project-tasks approach with

    subheadings for time periods; the one after that shows the time-period approach

    with subheadings for report topics.

    Brine Drainage Tube Modifications

    During this period, we have continued to work on problems associated with the brine drainage tubes.

     Previous period. After minor adjustments during a month of operation, the drainage tubes and the counterwasher have performed better but still not completely satisfactorily. The screen sections of these tubes, as you know, are located at variable distances along the height of the washer.

     Current period. The screen portion of the brine drainage tubes

    have been moved to within 5 feet of the top of the pack. So far, no change in counterwasher performance has been observed. Production statistics at the end of this month (February) should give us a clearer idea of the effect of this modification.

     Next period. Depending on the continued performance of the

    screen in its current position in relation to the top of the pack, we may move the screen to within 3 feet of the top of the pack in the next period of testing. Although the wash ratio was greater with greater screen height, the washing efficiency seems to remain relatively constant as the production vs. compressor KW data for all screen locations so far has seemed to follow the same linear curve.

    --------------------------------------------------------- WORK COMPLETED

    As of this time, I have completed almost all of the research work and am putting the sections of the final report together. Here is a breakdown of the work that I have done so far.

Development of the Bottle

    In the development section of my report, I have written a technical descrip- tion of a typical PET soft-drink bottle. It is very complete and gives the reader a good idea of what the product should look like and able to accomplish.

Favorable Properties

    The section of the report describing the properties of PET is finished. I have chosen four physical properties that many raw materials containers are tested for, and I have shown how PET withstands these tests.

Manufacturing Processes

    For the section on manufacturing processes, I have done research to help me recommend one particular production method for PET bottles. Here, I have described this chosen method and have explained exactly how a plastic bottle is produced on an assembly line.

Economics

    I have finished work on half the economics section of this report. So far, I have written an econimic comparison of the use of plastic and glass bottles.

     PRESENT WORK

    Right now I am mainly involved in determining just which areas of my report are lacking information. Also, I am continuing my work in locating financial information on PET bottles.

Manufacturing Processes

In the manufucaturing section, I am currently . . .

    3. Problems

    As noted in the opening, snags are expected. Don't hide from them; explain what they are and how they might affect key areas of the job (such as timing, price or quality). If the problem occurred in the past, you can explain how you overcame it. This is least serious; in fact, you look good. If the problem is in front of you (now or in the future), explain how you hope to overcome it, if you can.

    4. Overall Assessment of the Project

    Since a progress report is not about a finished work, the conclusion needs only to give your professional opinion of how the project is going. Being unrealistically optimistic is as inappropriate as being unduly negative. Beware of promising early completion: a single

    setback can gobble up much time. Likewise, don't overreact if you are behind schedule. You may also gain time along the way. Far more significant for the engineer is to explain anything that may change the expected quality of the final product. Keeping in mind your purpose can help you focus here: your goal is to enable the manager or sponsor to make informed decisions.

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