Reporting and Management
The project plan and budget are the primary tools/reports that the project manager can use to manage
The project plan is the key to effective management of the project. The project plan identifies the
scope of the project, broken into phases and tasks; the timing for each task; and the lead responsible
party. It may also include the budget, although the budget may be a separate document. The project
plan is a living document – it is updated regularly to show the percent of the project that is complete.
While the project plan illustrates progress of the tasks in terms of timing and percent complete,
budget reports demonstrate the use of financial resources. Periodic budget-to-variance reports
will allow the project manager to make sure that spending is on track. It is important to use
accrual accounting methods for these reports to avoid any unnecessary surprises down the road.
Project status reports are an excellent tool to provide a snapshot of progress on the project as reflected
in the project plan and budget. A good status report is no more than a page in length and provides
information such as tasks completed since last update; upcoming meetings and tasks; questions/
issues/risks; and timeline and budget updates. A sample status report is attached in the Appendix.
Assess Risks and Take Action
Every project has risks. It is important at the outset of the project and on an ongoing basis to
project the potential risks. First, identify each risk and evaluate its probability of occurring
and its impact on the project development if the risk were to occur, such as impacts on
scheduling, costs, or people. What could go wrong with the project? What are the most significant
dependencies? For example, key people could become unavailable, necessary data could be unavailable,
or the other party could back out of part of the deal. For high probability and high impact risks, a
preliminary mitigation plan should be developed to protect against those risks. Routinely monitor
those risks and control them by taking the appropriate remedial action when necessary. Evaluating
risks periodically throughout the project and taking action where necessary will keep the
project on track and minimize extreme variances in the project’s scope, cost, or schedule.
Quality assurance must be built into the work plan, including internal review and QA review. The
nature of quality review will depend on the nature of the project. For example, QA for a major
transaction might include pricing review of the margin, finance review of the revenue recognition, and
operations review of the delivery terms.
A sometimes overlooked aspect of quality management is a post-project assessment, discussed more
fully below in the section of this Guide discussing the final Review phase of project management.
As discussed above, developing a communications plan is a key part of the planning process for the
project. Part of administering the project includes making sure that communications are made
according to the plan so that all stakeholder stay in the loop. As the project unfolds, it may be
appropriate to amend the communications plan, for example to add to the audience, change the
frequency of communications, or make other appropriate changes.