When presenting reports for your project the last thing you want is for them to be dull, boring, and unclear. You want your stakeholders to be engaged and left with no questions. In a post for Project Management Tips, Elizabeth Harrin discusses three basic layout elements that will make your reports the cream of the crop:
Simple, yet Effective
Instead of looking down at a laundry lists of paragraphs, using subheadings will allow you to break big chunks of texts into smaller sections. This can be done by using a cell in Excel or within a table cell in Word too. Subheadings allow you to make it easier for the stakeholder to work out where they are in the content and pick out the most important points.
Next, who doesn’t love color to add some pizazz? Not only will it make your report aesthetically pleasing, but the use of color will allow you to draw attention to key parts of your report. Harrin says on using color:
If you can’t use colour, or know [it’s] viewed in black and white at least use a colour code like RAG (Red, Amber, Green, which shows if your project is on track, in trouble, or irrecoverable). You can put your headings in colour, or use a background fill to highlight the project status section in red, yellow or green, for example.
You can also use colour in a different way: through incorporating images into your reports. Often an image will tell a clearer story than a long piece of descriptive text.
In regards to using lists, the less text you use the better. No one wants to be handed a text-heavy report. Be concise. Bullet points or numbered lists are your best friends, as they will save your stakeholder time when reading.
Clear reporting will benefit you in so many ways. Using subheadings to point out the important sections, color to emphasize, and making lists will stop chores from feeling like a chore to consume. You can access the original post here: http://pmtips.net/blog-new/the-3-layout-elements-that-will-make-your-reports-sparkle