The Almighty Progress Report: How and Why You Need to Use It
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Romeo and Juliet is one of the finest tragedies out there.
We all know the story, and we all know it ends very badly indeed—for pretty much every single character.
So, even though we know the ending, it still grips us every time. Why? Because Romeo and Juliet are this flipping close to making it out alive.
Their plan goes astray before either of them realize the other one is actually alive. And although it’s very tragic and upsetting for everyone involved, the whole fiasco could’ve been avoided with a simple tool: the humble progress report.
If Juliet and Romeo and good ol’ Friar Lawrence could’ve updated each other on the progress of their mission, then maybe fewer people would have ended up dead and distraught.
Your business is no different than the fates of the star-crossed lovers. Progress reports are essential. Here’s how and why you need to use them.
What Is a Progress Report?
Progress reports are as old as progress itself. They’re exactly what they sound like: a snapshot of the progress you’ve made on a particular project, scheme, or ill-fated elopement plan.
Progress reports are most beneficial on long-term projects but can be used for projects of any length and teams of any size. Basically, they serve to unify all elements of a project under one specific snapshot in time, and can be used to gauge the progression of the enterprise. Very simple, but also very necessary.
So, how do you actually go about using one?
How to Use a Progress Report
Progress reports can be useful in any business, regardless of whether you’re online or IRL. They can be utilized internally or externally, depending on the company.
Progress report usage varies across industries. Some companies like to draw them up on a weekly basis, while others prefer monthly, or even bi-monthly. Some businesses might only use them once a year, or for a very specific purpose, like cash flow management. In some cases, clients might request them (or demand them); in others, it might just be a practical necessity (looking at you, Friar Lawrence).
Any which way you use ’em, progress reports are pretty easy to get the hang of, technically speaking. But using them productively can be another story.
Why Is It Important to Create Progress Reports?
So that you don’t think your lover is actually dead! Seriously, Romeo and Juliet’s progress report would have literally been one sentence: ‘Faking it, don’t worry—catch you on the flip side, love J’. Sorted.
For most businesses the stakes aren’t usually that high, but progress reports are still an important and valuable tool to help companies gauge where they’re at.
In today’s ever-changing digitally governed world, that’s more crucial than ever. Without regular progress reports, projects and businesses would be totally at sea half the time, their ship directionless and their crew mutinous.
A progress report helps streamline both workflow and people, allowing managers to see the bigger picture while delegating specific tasks to the right employees.
Progress reports are also great for morale. Teams will work harder if they’re shown that their work is making literal progress. So as well as being an important logistical tool for projects, progress reports are also a great way to keep a team unified, motivated, and fulfilled.
How to Use Progress Reports in Productive
Many successful businesses utilize project managing tools to help them consolidate their info and streamline their workflow. Productive is one such tool, as part of Productive’s arsenal is progress reports.
Common progress report examples include tracking how companies and their employees spend their time, as well as those used to track and analyze profitability.
Productive offers several types of progress reports, depending on the type of progress you’re inclined to track. You can monitor the success of your business through time tracking, sales, profitability, events, cost rate, and general weekly reports. Utilize just one, or all of these—depending on how you want to chart your business. The weekly report is probably the most versatile, and one you’ll want to keep track of as your business grows.
You Can’t Stop Progress, So Get Your Reports
While progress reports are undeniably important, they are but one component of a successful business operation. They won’t do the job for you, but they will help you keep on top of targets and goals, while inspiring motivation among your employees.
The best part is that everyone can (and should use) them. Whether you’re a Montague, a Capulet, or a simple start-up business caught in the Verona crossfire, progress reports are the way forward. And you know what they say: you can’t stop progress.