Uploaded by Raj Singh

Project end report

Document outline
Project Report
project name
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At the end of a project or piece of work there is generally a requirement to
provide the client with a detailed account of what happened, how it happened and
with what results. More often than not this comes in the form of a formal written
report, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It may be preferable to provide the
same information via a PowerPoint presentation, or maybe a facilitated workshop.
The very best time to establish what the client will want is at the beginning of the
project – in the Entry phase when scoping the requirements.
This guide concentrates on the written report and although the client may not
know what s/he wants in precise detail it is useful to get a steer in terms of
length, content and style so that their expectations can be managed. The
template below illustrates the style of a generic report and its main headings.
Further headings are suggested in annex 1.
Based on the client’s steer the report is an opportunity for the consultant to
deliver the right piece of work at the right time. It is an opportunity to ‘sell
yourself’, sell your ideas and your company in a professional and convincing
manner. If all goes well, then there is a good chance that you could win more
business and that your good reputation is passed on to other potential clients. If
things don’t go too well then the consequences are likely to be somewhat
different, so time spent on producing a good report is a good investment.
How to start
The start can’t be soon enough, and a good tip is to write the report in stages as
the project unfolds. At the very least it is advisable to collate information and
data on an ongoing basis and allocate it to relevant parts of your draft report.
These ‘parts’ could be the phases of the consultancy cycle or of the project.
Some consultants use a mind mapping approach to help plan the report and its
content. In this method the project title would be placed in the centre of the mind
map and all the relevant phases, headings and sub headings populated around
the outside.
There maybe a report template that has to be followed, again a good time to find
out is in the Entry phase. Templates are both good and bad. They are good
because a clear structure is set out and the style is therefore a given. They are
bad because there can be a temptation to manipulate the content to fit the
template, or worse, invent something simply to fill the space.
Whatever method is selected it is important to allocate sufficient planning time
and to develop a clear understanding of what the overall purpose of the report is.
Remember, the aim is to get the right message(s) across to the client whilst
managing their expectations. Do they like lots of words, or would they prefer
more diagrams/charts/pictures? Know your client and/or audience!
Think about the cover sheet, font style and size, paragraph numbers, page
numbers, line spacing, colours, indents, headers and footers, referencing system,
annexes and so on.
If possible and appropriate it can be useful to establish the proposed circulation
or distribution of the report. Knowing who might read it and what it might be
used for can inform the content and style.
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Typical contents
This is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive.
Cover sheet
Contents page
Executive summary
Detail to be included in each section
Cover sheet
Title of project, dates, author, client, logo
Contents page
The amount of detail to be included here often depends on the length of report.
As well as outlining what’s in the report, the purpose of the contents page is to
make it easy for the reader to navigate the document. If submitting in soft copy
then hyperlinks can be very helpful here.
If the report is full of acronyms and jargon then a simple alphabetical list in table
format will operate as a dictionary for the reader. It also reduces the number of
times that the full version has to written as the abbreviated version will suffice.
Executive Summary
This should be a short summary of the whole project/assignment. Five key points
as a guide:
a. Keep it short.
b. It must be self contained. This means that it must summarise
everything within the piece of work.
c. It must satisfy the reader’s needs, or meet expectations. So, write
about the essential issues of the project, give details of the methodology,
the main findings, main conclusions and recommendations.
d. The Executive Summary must be in line with the thrust and emphasis of
the report itself.
e. It should be objective, precise and easy to read.
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This section is used to aid understanding of why the piece of work was
commissioned in the first place, what caused the project to be launched, where
the need emanated from, what has been tried before and with what results.
Explain what the purpose or aim of the project is. The scope or Terms of
Reference can sometimes be included here. Essentially, what is to be done and
why. Objectives could also be listed in this section.
Having described why and how the project came into being, and then what is to
be done, this is the time to say how it will be done. Typically in a management
consultancy piece of work this would involve elements such as interviewing,
running workshops, conducting surveys, undertaking desk research, running a
pilot, mapping processes and so on.
This section provides an account of what has been discovered in terms of findings
and results. Everything should be based on actual data and information, so it
must be a factual representation. What has been found out from gathering the
data and information?
If the methodology was based on a series of workshops, say how many were
planned and how many ran. If questionnaires were issued, what was the return
Make sure the findings answer or inform the purpose of the assignment, there
should be clear links to the purpose and aim.
This is where judgements and views about what has been discovered can be
detailed. What can be inferred or deduced from the findings? Conclusions must be
fact based and they should link back to the objectives. Indicate whether the
objectives have been met and to what degree.
Options should flow from the findings and conclusions; there should be a logical
connection. These can be displayed in table format, and should describe each
option and then its advantages and disadvantages.
There should be no surprises here, as everything should come from the work
undertaken, i.e. methodology, findings, conclusions etc.. If there is a priority
order of recommendations then make this clear. Each one should be fact based,
relevant, practical and achievable. Also indicate the implications of the
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recommendations – how much it will cost, how long it will take, what impact it
will have on staff/resources/infrastructure.
Here is an opportunity to relegate the detail to annexes, rather than overload the
main body of the report. For example, include here a copy of any questionnaire,
records of interviews, spreadsheets, project plan, workshop agendas, minutes of
meetings, process maps etc..
Make sure there are clear links between the annex and the relevant page /
section of the main body of the report.
Other headings to consider
Benefits (Financial and Non Financial)
Risks and Issues
Next Steps
Other aspects to consider
Level of detail
Version Control
Review/Destruction Dates
Signature Block
Headers and Footers
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