Best Practices for
Project Reporting

Can you relate to this?

Tuesdays and Thursdays had quickly become my least favorite days for the duration of a project.

Per my project manager’s request, those were the days when our subcontractors would receive their outstanding document deliverable reports to their inboxes, for which I always had to follow-up on by phone. Luckily with a report subscription sent directly to their inboxes, sending them the information was easy. Unfortunately, gaining their participation to complete the outstanding paperwork was not.

This story is just one of the many that construction personnel share; finding best practices to report pertinent information to a project’s stakeholders.

So, what’s the best way to create those reports? Well, that’s an easy question to answer, because it revolves around having the right tools in place to share the information.

Yet while having a good reporting system is a powerful tool, what’s is even more important is to first ensure that the information being reported is accurate.


Why Accuracy Comes First

Cost management software is critical to ensuring that a current budget, forecasted projection or an estimated budget being reported is accurate. Quality control, document management and any other software are equally as important to increase the success of a project. Why?

Without these tools the report created is essentially useless and the stakeholders reviewing the report will not be receiving an actual prediction on the health of a project or a portfolio of projects. Once these systems are in place, however, you can then feel confident when sending out your reports.

Now, the next question to ask is what qualifies as pertinent information to each individual stakeholder?

Not everyone involved on a project will care about the same metrics, values or information. A CEO is different from a project manager and an owner is different from a subcontractor. Their needs do not align, and different reports are required to meet their individual desires.


Getting the Right Data to the Right Person

While an executive will typically want a high-level portfolio overview with charts and overall project totals with the ability to scrutinize lagging projects, a project manager will need the specific values of a single project with the ability to go in-depth to head off any potential issues. With these different information requirements in mind, it is critical to have the information pool to a single source of truth.

Once we have all our project data pooling to one source of truth with the ability to run different reports to all the stakeholders and ideally with the option to customize them, what kind of a report to run will be entirely up to the end user reviewing the data.

An outstanding RFI report might use a more tabular reporting format with items awaiting action to be completed. This reporting can have in-depth knowledge as to the when the RFI was to be completed, whose court the ball is in, and notes as to why it is may still be outstanding.


Providing the Option of Visual Reports

For those preferring a more visual report, a Power BI or similar program that can provide images of graphs and charts might be preferred. Why? Because then there is the option to simply send a PDF snapshot of the report or even allow access to the software to navigate and interact with the report. These visuals are useful in that at a quick glance the end user can get an idea as to those items needing immediate attention.


Whatever the preference, it can be beneficial to gain the insight of the end user to be able to prepare the easiest report to review and understand. Not everyone “sees” things the same way, and what seems easy for you to understand may not be so for others.

With the construction industry catching up to the technology era, the information required for your best reports is not always easily compiled. Spreadsheets, notepads, and multiple point solutions are also often still used. Therefore, it is important to find suitable software to gather all this project information in one location. Once this system is in place, it is easy to create these reports for distribution.

Now when my reports were sent out to subcontractors, there is no manual labor on my part to create the reports. I knew the information they were receiving was accurate because I utilized a reliable software to house the correct documentation.

Information is an invaluable tool and receiving accurate, timely reporting on a project’s performance or a portfolio’s health is instrumental to the success of a company. Regardless of the details being presented, the right report can allow the end user unique insights into a more predictable outcome.

Ready to take a deeper dive? Schedule a one-on-one consultation to find out how InEight can help you succeed in your construction digitalization journey.

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