Overview. This progress report describes the work to date on the development of a database system for a large state agency. Notice that there is little or no reference to a technical document (such as a user guide or reference for the database system) to accompany this project. In most technical writing courses, your task will be to report on your status for completing a technical report of some kind.
Formal report format. Norice that this progress report is a standalone formal report without cover memorandum. Although some assignments may not require a cover letter or memo, it is a necessary element in the workplace. Otherwise, it's a relatively long document that lands on the recipient's desk unannounced!
Introduction. The introduction to states the purpose of the document and provides some overview of what will be contained in the report. Notice too that there is a scope statement—some indication of what the progress report will not cover.
Background. This section gives a rather detailed narrative of how the project got started and how its staffing changed over the following months.
Description of the project and its objectives. In this section, the writer describes the needs for the project—the problems that the project is intended to address—and then the goals and objectives of the project. While it might seem unnecessary to repeat details like these that the recipient already knows, it can be a useful way of doublechecking to ensure that all parties are on the same wavelength regarding the overall purpose and scope of a project. And, if there are any new people in the recipient's organization, they need this information to understand the context.
Schedules and specific status areas. The heart of any progress report is its summary of the status of each component or phase of the project. in this report, you find the project broken out into two areas—phases and requirements—but without much direct indication as to their relation. It would be helpful for this writer to indicate the connection—if the "requirements" are essentially the work of the first, for example.
Work completed/current/remaining. It's a common organizational approach in progress reports to discuss the completed/current/remaining aspects of each phase or aspect of the project. This gives the client a more specific view of what's going on—and in a much more organized fashion. As a writer of progress reports, you could invert this approach: the main headings could be something like "Work Completed," "Current Work," and "Work Planned" with subheadings for the specific phases or aspects of the progress.
Schedule chart. With a project this complex, a table detailing the individual phases and each one's completion dates is a good idea.
Conclusion—overall appraisal As typical with progress reports, this one ends with an overall appraisal of the project. Although this set of example progress reports generally affirnm that their projects are going well and will complete on time, there is nothing at all inappropriate about pointing to problems. The progress report is a place for you to go on record as to problems or potential problems that may affect the success of the project.
That completes the comments for this example.