I wrote this blog post on performance reports a few years back based on the fourth edition of the PMBOK Guide.
Now the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide has arrived, and there are many changes in this new version of the guide.
The concept of performance reports is also not untouched by these changes. Therefore, to keep this blog post relevant, I am updating and aligning it with the current version of the PMBOK Guide.
If you go through the fourth edition of the PMBOK Guide, you will see that in this edition report performance was a process itself, and performance reports were an output of this process.
If you dig further, you will find that the report performance process was input to the following processes:
- Manage Project Team
- Distribute Information
- Monitor and Control Project Work
- Monitor and Control Risks
- Administrative Procurement
And now in the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide, there is no more report performance Process; performance reports are now an output of the Monitor & Control Project Work process, and input to the following processes:
- Perform Integrated Change Control
- Manage Project Team
- Manage Communication
- Control Risks
- Control Procurement
I hope you now understand the changes in performance reports between both editions of the PMBOK Guide.
Okay, now we come to the topic.
However, before you start reading further, I strongly suggest you go through my other blog post on work performance data and work performance information, because performance reports are based on these two elements.
From the previous discussion you have seen that performance reports are an output of the Monitor & Control Project Work process, and input to various managing and controlling processes.
As the name suggests, performance reports have various information pertaining to project parameters, and updates on the project’s progress.
The fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide defines the performance reports as follows:
“The physical or electronic representation of work performance information compiled in project documents, intended to generate decision or raise issues, actions or awareness.”
In other words, you can say that the performance reports organize and summarize the information collected through work performance data and work performance information, and represent it to the stakeholders in such a way that they can understand the direction the project is going.
Performance reports show the stakeholders the current status of the project and its performance against the planned baselines.
If the stakeholders see that the project is not progressing as planned, they may decide to take any corrective action, such as if any extra funds or resources are required, or any time extension is needed to complete the project, etc.
Performance reports can be given to stakeholders in a format desired by them and decided in the communication management plan. They can be a detailed report or just a summary.
The content of the performance reports includes, but is not limited to:
- Percentage of the work completed during the reporting period
- Balance of the work to be completed
- Cost incurred during the reporting period
- Balance of funds available
- Balance of time available
- Major risks that have occurred, or passed without occurring
- Major remaining identified risks
- Results of variance analysis: e.g. schedule variance and cost variance
- Performance indexes: e.g. schedule performance index and cost performance index
- Forecasted fund required to complete the remaining work (if the project cost is overrun or underrun)
- Forecasted time required to complete the remaining work (if the project is delayed or ahead of schedule)
- Summary of major approved change requests during the reporting period etc.
The format of the performance reports may be any combination of these formats:
- Burndown Chart
- Bar Charts
- Run Charts.
With this information on hand, stakeholders are very well aware of the project health, and can make a decision based on these objective data and analysis.
So you see how important the performance reports are to project management. This is a very important communication tool for the project manager to keep all stakeholders on board.
Before I conclude this blog post, let’s summarize all the concepts for the last time.
Work performance data is a collection of raw information of the project’s status. On the other hand, work performance information is a comparison of various performances, like cost and schedule, etc. Work performance data and work performance information are the basis for the performance reports.
The performance reports are the reports given to project stakeholders to make them aware of the current status and the forecasted progress of the project.
The performance reports show stakeholders how the project is going, the forecast analysis of what they should expect if the project is allowed to keep going in the same way, or what additional funds or resources may be required to complete the project if there is any deviation from any baselines (e.g. cost and schedule baselines).
Here is where this blog post comes to an end. If you have something to share, you can share it in the comments section.