Consider the Audience
Most readers are not fully informed about all aspects of the project. They may have walked through the laboratory or visited the construction site, put they probably did not see the whole project or understand everything they did see. To understand the progress made to date and the problems that  are  anticipated, readers must fully grasp what the project involves. If the report goes only to your immediate supervisor, you can assume that he or she probably knows technical terms related to the project. The supervisor, however, does not know the details – of what has been done and what still needs to be done – so you will have to supply those. If the report goes a greater distance from you, you should assume that the readers do not know the technical details and perhaps not the technical concepts. In other words, you must go into as much detail as necessary to inform your specific audience.

Research the Situation
To plan the project, you must select the categories that you need to use to discuss the project. Usually two major categories are budget and schedule, but many other categories are possible. Sometimes those categories can reflect criteria explained in the original proposal or report. Sometimes you will have to devise additional categories, depending on your audience’s knowledge and interest in the project.

Use Visual Aids
Visual aids are as effective for progress reports as for any other type. If you need to use a table, graph, or illustration, do so.

Follow the Usual Form for Progress Reports
Progress reports usually follow the form shown in the outline below. You need to provide three sections: Introductory, Work Completed, and Work Scheduled, Sometimes you will have· to add special sections .

I  . introduction
A. Purpose of report
B. Purpose of project
II. Work Completed (July I-July 31)
A. Installation of cut-to-Length line
1. Conveyor system
2. Crane
B. Installation of banding line
1. Hydraulic system
2. Expansion of banding area
III. Work Scheduled (August I-August 31)

Same second- and third-level heads as in Work Completed section.


An initial progress report contains a brief introduction and a body that describes the work. In the introduction, you can help your reader, who might be reading several such reports, by supplying statements on the purpose or the report and the purpose of the project.

Writing the Introduction

Begin by stating the purpose of the report. A single sentence can name the project, define the time period covered by the report, anJ tell the purpose: to inform readers about the current status of the project. Mention the project’s objectives and scope, and nal!le the major work areas. This statement gives the readers an overview of the project and is, in effect, a preview list for the body of the report. If subsequent progress reports are written state the report’s number in the series ..

Writing the Work Completed Section
In the Work Completed section, specify the time period; and divide the project into major tasks. Second-level heads will identify these tasks in this and subsequent reports. The naming of these major tasks should be comprehensive, allowing these same heads to appear consistently in subsequent reports. On the other hands third-level headings (“Conveyor system,” and so on, in the outline above) should be sequential, and these will change as the project moves forward.

Writing the Work Scheduled Section
The Work Scheduled section again specifies the time period and repeats second-level ancL third-level heads from the Work Completed section. The. heads help readers grasp the continuity of work in major project areas. If readers. require a more detailed chronology of future work, divide this section into two parts:

Work Scheduled for Next Report Period
Work Proposed for Future (Dates)


Second and succeeding progress reports maintain continuity and refresh the reader’s memory by adding one new section, a summary of work completed prior to the present reporting period:

I. Introduction
II. Summary of Work Previously Completed (Dates)
III. Work Completed (Dates)
IV. Work Scheduled (Dates)

The new section contains the same heads for major’ tasks (second-level, that have appeared in earlier reports but condenses the information. To prepare this section, you examine the Work Completed sections of your previous progress reports and write a capsule version of them.

Adding Special Sections
Sometimes other sections need to be added. If readers want specific information on some aspect of the project that they particularly want to control, you should provide that information. Budget; or any other item of special concern, can easily be given a main heading of its own and a thorough accounting.

Progress reports update readers on the sta•tus of projects during a specific time period. These reports explain the project’s goals, then describe the work already completed and future work scheduled. If necessary, writers explain s.pecial problems encountered in the course of the. project.

progress report follows. Notice the sections it contains and how it explains material to the supervisor who knows in general what is going on.


1. Your instructor may require a progress report approximately midway through your writing of a longer project, such as a manual or a recommendation report. The progress report should be 350 words in length, aimed at a reader who is less knowledgeable than you. You can use as an example the model in this chapter (p. 327), which describes progress on a recommendation report. Notice the informal format and the writer’s use of heads to cJanfy the report’s organization.

2. Write a progress report on one of the following hypothetical situations You may have to supply some data.
a. The Upper Room Computer Consultants are installing a computerized inventory
system in Q branch of Grover’s Fashions for Men, a retail store. Send a progress report to James Tanner, a vice-opresidentof Grover’s. The facts follow The ‘electrical workis finished in the store: several new lines and outlets have been installed. The Super Meatcomputerized cash registers are back-ordered from Boe Supply; they will not be in for two weeks. The programmer has finished tthe inventorysurvey and has assigned codes to all brands and items of clothing. The training booklet for the clerks has been written; the manual to. the system program will not he completed until after the programmer is finished. Training sessions will begin next were Uppr R06m will install a computerized
cash register for training that is operated in the same way as those that will be installed. Tht! new bar code t9,9s are m. Upper Room will hold a one-hour training session with clerks to explain now to use the tags.

                             b. Bain Americana will sporsor t~ American Folk Craft Exposition in Dallas, Texas, April 1-4. Write a progress report from the Exposition Manager, Jerome Ookeby, to the Bain Board of Directors. Explain the work completed and the work remaining: selectiny artists, creating publicity, and organizing equipment for the display. . Of 27 weavers’ and 12 potters who applied to exhibit in the ‘exposition, 15 weavers-ano 8 potters were selected. Each submitted three pieces of original work. Other applicants included 97 watercolorists, 20 lawn decorators, .191.trlnketmakers, and 76 food suppliers. Of these, 21 watercolorists, 6 lawn decorators, 11 trinket makers, and 15 food suppliers were accepted. A public relations firm – Mjork, Bjork’, and Johnson – was hired in January. The firm has set up an entire campaign) including handbills (done in a Grandma Moses motif), newspaper ads, TV and radio spots, feature stories, and posters. The posters and handoills are distributed. The radio and TV ads will begin two weeks te fore the event and run three times a day on KTIZ TV and KOOO FM 1G 1. The feature stories wil! focus on the methods used to create the pots and weavings and on the authentic designs the artists are using.

Each display artist must furnish a booth. Each artist must supply a drawing of tne booth, complete with requirements for electricity and water. The exposition has received 26 descriptions so far. Each artist is assigneda space based on electricity/power needs. The committee rejected the designs three booths because of inadequate safety small size: These artists must resubmit a design or lose their $500 entrance fee.

Progress Reports

Progress Reports


Progress reports inform management about the status of a project. Submitted regularly throughout the life of the project, they
let the readers know whether work is progressing satisfactorily, that is, within the project’s budget and time limitations. Firms who win contracts through external proposals must provide regular reports on  progress to their clients. On the internal level, departments often furnish reports to managers on ongoing projects involving research, construction, and installation.
As with.all writing projects, you must plan the progress report. You must consider your audience, research the situation, use visual aids, and
follow the us form for this type of report.