4 Steps to Create Meaningful Reports

  1. Getting ready! Setting up your data.
  2. What data is best? How to choose what data is meaningful.
  3. Which route to take? Pros and Cons of the various reporting options available.
  4. What goes where? How to best layout your reports.

Very often, when asking a client what reports they would like to see out of Project Server or Project Online the answer is, “What reports can I have?” or “Can you show me some examples?” Project Online is an extremely powerful tool and can allow you the ability to generate some great reports. However, we first have to have meaningful data to report on.

My garage is every man’s dream and every woman’s worst nightmare. I have two vehicles torn literally completely apart that I’m restoring, parts carefully placed and labeled on a full wall of industrial shelves, two fresh motors on engine stands awaiting installation, and I pride myself on owning every tool that I have ever needed. My wife will often say, “When are you ever going to use this?” in hopes of finding something she can discard. I always assure her that it’s meaningful, has a purpose, and one day will be in its place. This is a lot like setting up your data in Project Online. Everything needs a purpose. If you’re creating and storing data but have no plans for it, then what’s the use of saving it? Only setup attributes that are meaningful and that you have a plan for.

Now that you’ve seeded your data, what’s the best way to choose what data to place where? It’s important to think about the data you’ve got to report on and group it in a report or reports in a way that’s meaningful. For example, you wouldn’t place a table with all contractors that are inactive on a report or all open Issues and Risks for a project. Think about the data that you have, and group it in a way that’s clear and concise without making a 40-page report. There’s a balance between meaningful and information overload.

There are a handful of options when it comes to reporting in Project Online and each has its Pros and Cons. In the webcast, we will look at the options available and discuss each in detail.

Laying out the reports is the final step and if you’re very OCD can drive you crazy! Maybe I want a bar chart. No, I think a pie chart. I’ll use blue. Wait, green…definitely green. Arial or Calibri? 10 point or 11 point? The key here is to focus on how the report is to be distributed. Will it be viewed on a mobile device? In Excel? Exported to PDF? Landscape or Portrait? Often times the report can dictate the layout.

On June 29th we will walk through some examples and explain how to plan your layout without losing your patience, or hair.