Section I Report Writing

“I am sorry to write such a long letter. I did not have time to write a shorter one.”

Winston Churchill.

A project report is likely to fall into two broad categories as follows:

  1. Recording data and information, such as a progress report
  2. Investigation into a specialized topic, such as a problem‐solving investigation.

The first impression that the reader will receive will be formed by the appearance of the document. Unless you are constrained by a specific format or house style, you have a choice in the design of the document: the layout, the typefaces, line spacing, and colours used. The writing style will then begin to have an impact when the reader finds the document clear and easy to read. Make sure that any diagrams or illustrations are explained and support the text.

Use special classifications such as Confidential sparingly and only when it genuinely applies.

Make sure the report is dated.

1 The Report Objective


All reports have a purpose, so state the objective clearly right up front. Express the topic clearly and describe the problem. Explain why the issue is important enough to merit a report. Is the report presenting information that requires a decision to be made, or is it requesting approval of the recommendations?


Choose a clear, complete, and concise title for the report and title page.

2 The Reader


In the same way that you should consider your audience in making a presentation (see Section G Presentation ...

Get Effective Project Management now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.