Project Management

5 Tips to Use Project Reporting for Stakeholder Engagement

Project reports are an important part of the life of a project. They keep stakeholders in the loop on things such as milestones and costs. That said, just data dumping onto every stakeholder isn’t an effective means to communicate with those invested in the project. In a post for the Association for Project Management, Fran Bodley-Scott explores five tips for using the project report as an engagement tool:

  • Be clear about what you want to achieve each time you communicate.
  • Make it easy for stakeholders to receive your intended message.
  • Provide what they need to know, not what they don’t need to know.
  • Change the format to wake people up.
  • Evaluate and review your approach.

Set the Stage to Engage

An important aspect of communication is clarity, and that should be taken into account when creating a progress update. In this regard the project report should drive toward particular results, such as being a reminder or an encouragement to those involved. But in order for this to work, the intended message must be easily accessible. The top of the email should contain a brief description that can be further explained with information later in the email. Expecting someone to skip ahead to later in the report for something that can be easily addressed in the beginning is unnecessary for those looking for important information.

Speaking of important information, the presentation of the information is just as important as the clarity of the message. Having the same format for each message becomes too routine and increases the chances of losing people’s attention. Switching this up with new email subjects, or taking more extreme measures like turning it into a video, can make a big difference. And ultimately, Bodley-Scott says to swap generic email questions to some like these to help evaluate how your approach is faring:

  • “did my report address your concerns?”
  • “do you have the information you require to approve my choice of supplier?”
  • “were you able to view my video report and did it cover the necessary points?”

If you’re not seeing the outcomes that you need, such as decisions made or feedback provided, then ask how you can improve the way you provide information.

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