Overview. This progress report focuses on the status of a project to write a guide for constructing mycological growrooms (yes, mushroom rooms!). This guide will be marketed by a publishing concern that deals in horticultural topics.
Cover letter. If you've read about progress reports, you know that they can be formatted as business letters or as separate reports with cover letters or memos. This one uses the separate-report approach with a cover business letter. Visualize the progress report bound (probably stapled, considering its brevity) and paperclipped underneath the cover letter.
Business-letter format. Notice that this cover letter has all the standard elements of the business letter: heading (sender's address, logo, and date); inside address (recipient's name and address); subject line; salutation (the "dear sir" line punctuated with a colon); and signature block with enclosures indicated.
Separate report format. This is the first page of the progress report proper. As with any report, it has a fully descriptive title, centered at the top of the page. As with any report, it makes use of page-design features such as headings, lists, tables, and so on.
Introduction. The introduction to the progress report proper is a complete introduction—it does not assume that readers have seen or read the introductory information in the cover letter just preceding. Although this duplication may seem wasteful, keep in mind that the cover letter might get detached from the report as it is routed through the recipient's organization—and some readers may just skip the letter altogether.
Notice that this introduction includes some background on the project. Again, this might seem obvious—the client requested the project and is paying for it. Still, the progress report might get routed to individuals in the recipient's organization who are not aware of the project. Also, rehearsing the project details is a good way of ensuring that the two parties are on the same wavelength as to the scope, purpose, and nature of the project. Included in this introduction is an overview of the contents of this progress report. Always give readers some form of simple roadmap of where they are about to go in the following pages.
Audience. The writer describes his assumptions about the readers of the handbook—specifically in terms of their knowledge and skills. He states that readers must know something about growing mushrooms but nothing about setting up a facility like this one. He also defines the minimum construction skills he assumes in his readers. The client—the organization for whom the handbook is being developed—is given an opportunity here to request changes. Maybe the client would prefer that no mushroom-growing experience be assumed in the target audience. The progress report provides an opportunity for this clarifying process between client and supplier to take place.
Description of the project. In this section, the writer describes the finished product that he is developing. More detail would be good here—total pages, binding, types of illustrations, page size, and so on.
Outline. Good idea to include an outline—one more way that the client can get a sneak preview of the project and request alterations now rather than when it is too late.
Bibliography. Not strictly necessary for a progress report of this sort. Check with your instructor to see if it is a requirement for your progress report assignment.
List of figures. Although this is not a strict requirement of progress report, it's not a bad idea—it's another way of giving the client a good view of what the finished product will look like. And, if the client thinks certain key graphics have been left out, this is the forum that allows that process to occur.
Detailed status information. As you know from reading about progress reports, you must divide your work on a project in some way—such as completed work, current work, and planned work. In this case, the writer reports on the three aspects of his projects—developing the actual plans for the growroom, creating the drawings, and developing the text. Notice how he subdivides each discussion into work completed and work to be done.
Conclusion—overall appraisal. As typical with progress reports, this one ends with an overall appraisal of the project.
That completes the comments for this example.