Performance Reports in Project Management

Monitoring and controlling are an essential part of project management that help you keep the project on track. For this purpose, you need to know the status of the project and the planned progress of the project.

After comparing these two reports, you can find out where your project stands and if any corrective action is required

These reports are part of work performance reports.

The project stakeholders are always interested in work performance reports. A glance at these reports makes them aware of the project’s health.

What are Work Performance Reports?

Work performance reports organize and summarize the information collected and present it to the stakeholders. They aid in understanding the direction the project is going and how it will perform in the future.

The 6th edition of the PMBOK Guide defines performance reports as: “Work performance reports are the physical or electronic representation of work performance information intended to generate decisions, actions, or awareness.”

Work performance reports depend on work performance data and work performance information.

Work performance data is the raw data of the project’s status. In other words, it is the current (“as of now”) status of various project parameters, such as how much work has been completed, how much time has elapsed, and the cost incurred so far.

With work performance data on hand, you can create work performance information.

Work performance information is the information that you derive with the help of work performance data; for example, status, forecasted estimates to complete, etc.

Once you get all this information, you will compare the planned performance with the actual performance and prepare a report for management’s review. This report will also include forecasting.

Performance reports show the stakeholders the status of the project and its performance against the planned baselines.

Examples of work performance reports include status reports, progress reports, trends report, earned value report, forecasting report, variance report, etc.

In the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide, work performance reports are an output of monitor and control project work and inputs of the following processes:

  • Manage Team
  • Manage Communications
  • Monitor Risks
  • Perform Integrated Change Control

Importance of Work Performance Reports

Work performance reports are a great communication tool for project managers to communicate project status and progress with project stakeholders.

Work performance reports show stakeholders how the project is going, the forecast analysis of what they should expect if the project is continued in the same way, or what additional funds, resources, or schedule extensions may be required to complete the project if there is any deviation from the baselines.

These reports help management review the status and progress of the project and make a decision on a future course of action.

Content of Work Performance Reports

The content of performance reports include, but are not limited to:

  • A percentage of the work completed during the reporting period
  • The balance of the work to be completed
  • Costs incurred during the reporting period
  • The balance of funds available
  • The balance of time available
  • Significant risks that have occurred or passed without occurring
  • Major remaining identified risks
  • Variance analysis (schedule variance and cost variance)
  • Performance indexes (schedule performance index and cost performance index)
  • The forecasted funds required to complete the remaining work (ETC)
  • The forecasted time needed to complete the remaining work
  • A summary of major approved change requests during the reporting period.

The Format of Work Performance Reports

Work performance reports should be prepared in the format defined in the communication management plan; they can be a detailed report or just a summary.

For example, the reports can be text-based, tabular, graphical, or a combination of these.

The format of the performance reports may be any combination of these formats:

  • Burn Down Charts
  • S-Curves
  • Bar Charts
  • Histograms
  • Tables
  • Run Charts

Summary

Work performance reports have an important role in project management. These reports allow all stakeholders to be aware of project performance and keep them up to date with the project manager. You can show your stakeholders that the project is not progressing as planned and corrective action is needed. This is helpful in getting stakeholders to buy in and the project manager can complete the project with minimal obstruction.

This topic is important from a PMP exam preparation point of view. Please understand it well, as you will see a few questions from this topic on your PMP exam.

What kind of work performance reports are you using in your project? Please share your experiences through the comments section below.

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Speak Your Mind

  • Work Performance Reports as an input in Manage Communication could
    help in updating Stakeholder Engagement Plan for better communication.
    Discuss.

  • Thanks for the information. Can you kindly elaborate In which process group is WPD is generated, WPI is generated and WPR is generated. I was of the opinion that:
    WPD gives WPI which is converted into WPR. But since WPR is input 4 processes, I wish to see their coorelation.
    Thanks

  • Thanks Fahad for sharing valuable information. I would like to highlight in your blog that you have mentioned WPR has located as input to 3 processes. Actually, totally is 4 processes as fourth one is Perform Integrated Change Control process.
    I think from my standpoint, this WPR has to be a key input to Monitor SH process because need SH to provide appropriate action after recieve WPR.

    Regards,

  • Thank you for taking the time and explain those terms to the forum, you have helped me to fill out the knowledge gap I had on those subjects, I remember at the beginning I was so worry of memorising the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs of every process… PM is about to build the puzzle, understand every piece until at the end you get understanding of the all.

    Thank you!!

  • Hi Fahad,

    Your blog posts are very userul, I have also purchased your 400 sample exam questions that I intend to take during this week.

    I have one fundamental question that I would like to get clarified with you. My question is about the difference between “control processes” in respective knowledge areas and “Monitoring & controlling” process.

    (1) The processes such as Control Scope, Control Schedule, Control Cost compares data against the corresponding baselines and raises change requests for any deviation. These change requests are sent to “Perform Integrated Control”.

    (2) While the same control processes provide “Work performance Information” to “Monitor & control” process. This process also compares the data against performance baseline and raises change request. This information is also sent to “Perform Integrated Control”.

    I am quite confused about the operations of these control processes and “Monitor & control work”. Will you be very kind to clarify this question to me? I might have understood it wrongly.

    • Monitoring and controlling is a phase which happens throughout the project life cycle. Under this phase, if you are managing scope, you will use techniques mentioned in the control scope process, if you need something in schedule, you will use control schedule process, etc. All these are part of monitoring and controlling process group.

      • Hi Fahad,

        Thanks for your response. I was more specific about “Monitor & Control Project Work” process than the process group itself.

        Because all these control processes feed in data ( Work Performance Information) to “Monitor & Control Project Work” process. Both of these ( control processes and Monitor&Control process) seems to be doing similar job. That is comparing against baselines and generating change request

        Hence, I wanted to know the difference between them. Thank you

        • Hello Vijay,

          Please refer to the page 87 of the PMBOK Guide fifth edition. You will see that output of all controlling processes is work performance information and it is an input to monitoring and controlling process.

          • Dear Fahad,

            Yes. I am aware of it :). That’s the reason I got bit confused. After performing the controlling ( which gives raise to change requests), the work performance information is an input to ‘monitoring and controlling process’.

            Again, ‘monitoring and controlling process’ analyses work performance information and creates change requests for any deviations. Isn’t this a duplicate effort?

            Do you understand where I am coming from?

    • Status is the current status, performance report shows your current status vs planned status and how are you performing.

      Trend report shows if you continue to perform with current performance, what will be your performance in the future.

  • Hi…in manage communication process ,we can find the statement creating project information…but wpr is created in m&c process..what this statement means?what we are actually creating in manage comm?

    • As per the PMBOK Guide fifth edition: Manage Communications is the process of creating, collecting, distributing, storing, retrieving, and the ultimate disposition of project information in accordance to the communications management plan.

      Please refer to the page: 297.

  • Fahad, this is the best description of data, information, and reports I have come across in the months I have been studying for the exam. They are very detailed, providing all around importance, content, and purpose for the project data, information, and reporting. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  • Hi, it is a good illustration. Here is some information if u can clarify please:
    Reference to your illustration of WPI and WPD; WPD-the work performance data in the PMBOK Guide: Output of the Direct and Manage Project Work. and input to various M$C processes (M&C PG)
    WPI- Work Performance Information in the PMBOK Guide: Input to Monitor and Control Project Work

    As per my understanding WPI is raw data which is current status of project activities analyzed and compared to the actual baseline values to generate WPI which is Input to M&C processes to generate WPR. The question is where does this analysis takes place??
    So it seems like WPD and WPI are both the input to M&C PG to generate WPR . Am I right??
    Thanks.

  • Hi Fahad

    Work performance report is an input to Control Risk process and Work performance data is an output of the same process

    Also it is mentioned in page 351 of PMBOK that “work performance report takes information from performance measurements and analyse it to provide project work performance information…..”

    does that mean that work performance information is derived from work performance data? please clarify

      • Hi Fahad

        thank you for the quick response. i have gone throught the blog regarding WPD and WPI

        Please ignore the previous query of mine as it has some errors. I have reworded it as below:

        “Work performance reports” is an input to Control Risk process and “Work performance information” is an output of the same process

        Also it is mentioned in page 351 of PMBOK that “work performance report takes information from performance measurements and analyse it to provide project work performance information including variance analysis, earned value data and forecasting data.”

        does that mean that work performance information is derived from work performance reports?

        please clarify

        • Work performance report is the compilation of all project information including the work performance information.

          Put more simply, you can say that the performance reports are super-set of work performance information.

  • Sir,

    Why work performance report is an input for control risks,control procurement and not for other controlling process like control schedule,control cost & control scope?

    • Please read the PMBOK Guide, it explains why it is an input and what information is required from the performance report in these processes.

  • Hello Fahad, thanks for such a detailed explanation about Work performance data/Information and how its used to define the performance reports. The concept is crystal clear now. I also like the way you put forth why and where they are inputs and outputs. Thanks for taking the time and your blog is very helpful for people like me who are appearing for the exam next month. I also bought your exam questions and will write you a note once I finish them. Thanks again Fahad.

  • THANKS FOR THE VALUABLE EXPLANATION, APPRECIATE IF YOU PRESENT SOME EXAMPLES ON PERFORMANCE REPORTS AND HOW IT CAN BE ANALYZED.

    • Thanks Khaled.

      Regarding the examples on performance report, you can find it your organizational process assets. These reports includes information about how much you much you have completed vs how much you should be completed, etc. This helps you analyzing project performance.

  • A very good information/data which can be used in our works. We wish Allah give you a sound health to serve your family and us.Any way thanking you very much.

  • Thanks Sir, great job for clarifying the differences among work performance data, work performance information & performance reports. Thank you

  • Terrific job at clarifying the differences among work performance data, work performance information & work performance reports. Thank you

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