How To Write a Performance Report (With Steps and Examples)
In business, it's important to know how a team's work and efforts are doing, and performance reporting is a tool to help you compare your initial projections against results. Performance reports can guide businesses to continue their strategies, adjust others or change direction completely. If you're interested in a project management career, knowing more about performance reporting can help you develop professional skills and qualifications. In this article, we explore what a performance report is and what gets included in one, the importance of using performance reports in business and the steps to take to create your own performance report.
Related: Learn About Being a Project Manager
What is a performance report?
A performance report is a valuable business tool that shows a digital compilation of analysis, projections, revenue and budget to help a business get an overview of how it's performing. Performance reports often feature graphic elements, like charts, graphs, tables and statistics to offer a visual balance with the text-based report. It acts as a comparison of how business results and performances are against a business's baseline. You collect and share project information, communicate the status and progress of a project and forecast future projections to stakeholders and leaders through performance reports. There are several types of performance reports, like:
Forecasting report: A forecast report states upcoming expectations and projections for a project, often predicting future performance across specific parameters. Leaders can use this to track and allocate resources effectively with forecast reporting.
Status report: This report summarizes the state of a project at a given time and offers leaders a look at budgets, project scope, time, costs, quality assurance and end completion date.
Progress report: A progress report describes what you have accomplished on a project since the previous report.
Trend report: This report reviews performance over time to see if there are positive or negative trends. You often use trend reporting for specific time periods, like monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
Earned value report: An earned value report applies earned value management techniques for project scope, cost and schedule, often also included in status reports.
Variance report: This report documents the differences between planned progress and actual progress of a project or performance.
Read more: 6 Types of Performance Reports for Projects
What is the importance of performance reports in business?
Performance reports in business are important because they tell you if you are doing well, looking at every aspect of the company versus each division. By continuously assessing goals and results, a business can readjust or change course. Here are some key reasons using performance reporting in business is critical for these key reasons:
The reports serve as benchmarks. Because a performance report contains baseline data, it serves as a benchmark to compare against, helping you know if new projects, marketing, budgeting or other company-wide efforts are working.
Performance reports are the foundation of other reports and documentation. Businesses comply with industry and government regulations, which often include sharing public reports about a company's business dealings. Internal performance reports often are the basis of preparing external reports and documents because the work is already gathered.
They allow you to monitor employee performance. To compile a comprehensive performance report, you include data from employee performance, often elements like sales and revenue generation or cost savings efforts. Comparing employee goals against what they achieved can help you give guidance, feedback, motivation and encouragement. It also serves to strengthen a team and create cohesiveness.
They enhance communication. Performance reports improve communication across a business by sharing transparent information and with customers and consumers by learning what company strategies they react or respond to.
The reports increase business efforts. Performance reports done continuously offer real-time analytics, show you if the business is doing well or has room for growth. It can lead teams to reassess, change the course of action or adjust goals and strategies to increase the chance of profitability.
What to include in a performance report
You include the work results of other processes in a performance report to offer a comprehensive look at how the business is doing. A performance report can include a variety of elements, including:
Timeframe of performance report
Past performance analysis
Customer acquisition rates
Synopsis of changes approved
Status levels of risks and issues
Market share and market ranking information
Variance analysis results
Work completed during the reporting period
Work pending completion by next reporting period
Liquidity and solvency ratios
Additional information relevant to the report or asked for by stakeholders
Other elements that go into performance reporting are:
Project management plans
A project management plan outlines the information and baselines for all future comparisons for a project to spot deviations, trends and progress. A project management plan has a broad scope, often including all project aspects, like cost, schedules, technical and quality parameters and departments and leaders involved.
Work performance information (WPI)
Work performance information composes all the project details, like:
Budgets and costs
Schedules and backup dates
Work performance measurements
You use work performance measurements to determine project activity measurements that help you evaluate and compare progress to what teams outlined in the project management preparation stage. The most common metrics to use are:
Planned versus actual technical performance
Planned versus actual cost performance
Planned versus actual schedule performance
Budget performance reports
Because budget performance reports include information about financials and funds required to finish a project and the total project cost, you often include it in all performance reports to help leaders and stakeholders make fiscally responsible decisions.
Organizational process assets
You often use organizational process assets in performance reporting, though which ones can vary depending on the report or project. Some common ones to include are:
Company report templates
Policies, procedures and regulations that explain measurement indicators or which ones to use
Variance limits, often designated and defined by a company, organization or industry
How to create a performance report
To create a performance report of your own, consider following these five steps:
1. Organize your data
Collaborate with teams to collect the relevant data you need for your report. This may vary from company to company, project to project or report to report.
2. Follow a template
Whether you write your own or use professional templates through software options, outlining your report is a good start, making it easier to plug in the related data and information. If using suggested templates, only include the elements relevant to your report. Many performance and business reports include:
Organized sections and paragraphs for an easy read
Suggested next steps or solutions
Contact information of the report creator
3. Write the report
Write a thorough and well-done performance report and get started early to meet deadlines. Keep notes as you write and be sure to take breaks to avoid fatigue, especially if the performance report is long. In many circumstances, a team of people works together on building elements of the performance report. For example, the sales team may write a section related to revenue projections, sales completed, sales pending and future sales forecasting numbers. A project manager typically assembles all portions of the performance report gathered or written by other departments or colleagues.
4. Proofread before sharing
Be sure to proofread your report entirely a few times. Consider printing a paper copy to help you look for any spelling, grammar, punctuation or formatting errors computer spellcheck may miss. Depending on the size of your report, you may share it with a team of colleagues to review. Double check all figures, data and numbers as well.
5. Monitor continuously
You can determine how frequently you update and share performance reports based on your business, a specific project or a goal. Consider setting up a consistent cadence, like daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually—whatever best matches your needs. The important part is to monitor the company's performance continuously to stay up to date with metrics and resolve any potential issues.
Example of a performance report
Here is a sample performance report for a small lawn care business:
Review of 2021 seasonal marketing strategy for Blades of Grass Mowing, LLC
Report conducted by:
December 10, 2021
As a local, teen-run sustainable energy lawn care business, establishing effective marketing on a small budget to compete with established lawn care companies is challenging. This report summarizes the marketing efforts, both print and digital, and results over the 2021 seasonal service period of April through November.
Results from research
Teams created three new social media accounts, with a minimum of weekly postings on each.
Growth across platforms reached 100 followers or more within the first month, though we attained fewer gains each subsequent month.
Six new seasonal client contracts came from initial social outreach.
New logo refresh and rebranded mailbox flyers doubled our seasonal client base by 55%.
Our established new discount offerings provided value-added incentive to the customer far beyond our competitors, while only costing a collective $900 from our budget.
Our end-of-year customer satisfaction survey had a 100% completion rate with an average score of 90% satisfaction rating.
Our research showed customers found value in supporting a local teen-run business versus well-established area companies and found our service exceptional and our rates competitively priced. Our presence on social media profoundly impacted our customer growth, while also establishing future leads through engaging content, likes and shares. Social media also allowed networking within the lawn care community to further our level of expertise from other experienced professionals.
Hire a part-time digital marketing director for more content creation
Establish an 85% or higher customer retention rate next season
Create a website to build a digital footprint and expand growth
Customer satisfaction survey results
Ad hoc information from lawn care community resources
Explore more articles
- How To Become a Paralegal in 6 Steps (With Salary)
- 21 Different Types of Evidence (And How They Affect a Case)
- How To Become an Electrician
- Integrity in the Workplace: Definition and Examples
- How To Identify and Address Inappropriate Comments at Work
- How To Insert PowerPoint Slides and Presentations Into Word
- How To Write an Internship Thank-You Letter (With Templates)
- How To Write a "Please Disregard My Previous Email" Message
- Percentage of Sales Method: Definition, Steps and Examples
- What Is a Rewards System? (Plus Types and Tips to Use)
- Adaptability in the Workplace: Benefits and Importance
- 51 Effective Call-To-Action Examples (And Why They Work)