Performance Reports in Project Management

Today we will discuss performance reports.

Monitoring and controlling is 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.

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, progress 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 reports, earned value reports, forecasting reports, variance reports, 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 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 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 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:

Summary

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