Presentation Template Series 4: Progress Report

October 12, 2020

Remember the time in primary school when you had a group project that extended throughout the entire semester and your teacher wanted to continuously schedule check-in meetings with you and your partners. Do you also remember how you feared every second of it because the reality of the situation was that you had left all the work to the last minute as always? So what to do? Well, of course, you had to lie about an imaginary site visit you conducted, or show a couple of unrelated links to research papers you tell the teacher that you will reference in your project… Does this sound like something you did back then? I sure did.

You probably already know that this just doesn’t fly in the real world. In business life, many people will want to check in on your progress. If you don’t believe me, refer to these examples:

  • An investor wants to hear on how the startup that they invested in is doing
  • A supervisor wants to learn the latest updates on how the employee’s project is going
  • A professor is looking to hear the latest findings from your faculty research
  • A political representative is sharing the progress they have achieved in their term

So what exactly is a progress report? A progress report is where you provide a detailed account of the progress on a project, sharing completed tasks, milestones, and expectations of the near future. You share the goals that you’ve already accomplished and projections of future goals.

Say you started creating your progress report deck. What should be in it? Let’s outline it for you.

  1. An Introduction: This is where you can share your name, the name of your project, company, and finally the dates of your project.

  2. Recent Updates & Change: Has the project scope been changed since you last met? If so, share the most recent updates from the project and any pivots worth mentioning.

  3. Meeting targets: Will you hit the quarterly targets? Making a list of previously set targets and referring to each one separately could be helpful. Provide data, use tables for visuals! Use checkmarks even to show how much of your targets you are meeting.

  4. Challenges: Do you have any roadblocks. Did you already skip some obstacles? Looking ahead, what could be difficult?

  5. Overcoming challenges: What are your plans for resolving these roadblocks? Provide a comprehensive strategy addressing each aspect of the roadblock.

  6. Schedule: When you are looking at your long-term timeline, are there any changes in the schedule? If so, provide a brief description as to why this is necessary.

  7. Highlights: Address what you have accomplished so far. What targets have you met already? How are things looking up for your project?

  8. Expectations: What are you expecting from this project in the coming week? Or, the next month? What are your projections as to progress? Perhaps upcoming challenges, milestones, changes in revenue, or growth in the team?

  9. Risks & Slippage: What will be difficult? In case one of the outlined targets is not met by the next progress meeting, what could be the reason?

  10. Closing: Open the floor to questions. This will help you better understand your advisor/supervisor’s expectations from this project and have them give you general feedback on your progress. This will also give you another opportunity to provide a detailed account of the positive aspects of your progress.

Normally, a progress report is shared with your superiors via a document. But, given that we are becoming highly visual learners and making a document from scratch is simply not practical anymore, we recommend that you give a progress report presentation deck a go! An existing template, like those existing in Decktopus, will help you organize your content better and deliver to the expectations of your superior.

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