6 TIPS to create a successful reporting

January 25, 2022

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Information overload : management tools, Business Intelligence tools, CRM, emails… It is not the data that is missing!

But the real challenge today is to be able to use all this information wisely to help teams manage their activity and track their strategy plan.

Reporting seems to be the right TOOL to give sense to data to make the right decisions.

To make it a truly attractive tool used by all the teams, here are a few tips to implement your reports and engage the team.

What is a report?

Reporting is  a document that present in a clear way data centralized and collected over a specific and recurring period that can be analyzed and used by teams.

The goal is therefore clearly that teams can easily see and understand data and information with a synthetic and visual vision, to facilitate decision-making .

Reporting is a real tool to support teams in managing and measuring their activity performance.


Why do we need to do Reporting ?

Reporting is a real asset for a company. Far from serving as a “control” tool, it essentially aims to meet the following objectives :

  • To be analyzed for strategic decision making
  • Evaluate the collective performance on projects or goals
  • To guide managers and teams in achieving their goals by quickly highlighting potential risks
  • Unify communication and provide insight into goal progress
  • Transmit strategic or operational information within and accross departments
  • Share objectives and give more meaning to the work to employees who can see the progress of their work and participation in collective objectives
Reporting structures data in a clear and accessible way.  It displays information in various representations to make its content more actionable.
Its format and frequency depends on organization, managers and teams needs. Reporting interest and use also varies by user :
  • The manager – to evaluate the Teams performance and make decisions based on objective justifications
  • The team member – to easily track his work progress and priorities against objectives
  • The management team – to refine strategy and identify major risks
  • The executive team – to have KPIs for business performance
Thus, far from being a means of “accountability”, reporting is useful to the entire organization, to the hierarchy, which is thus kept informed of progress, but also to the teams, which can extract analyses and lessons for their activities.
In any case, no matter who uses the reporting, they must be able to understand the data and analyze the situation at a glance without further processing, otherwise the reporting loses its interest.
The analysis of the reports must lead to actions plan and concrete questions (“what happened? Why? what decisions should we make? what are the next steps? …) on the results.
Reporting is thus a valuable tool to master goal realisation

How to build your reporting ?

Reporting is built in 3 essential steps:

6 tips to implement your reporting


Tip #1 – Using Reporting to achieve a goal

This first step is one of the most important in the process. To be truly effective, reporting cannot be improvised.
To be honest, figures and chart analysis is not always easy to digest, and even more so if it is not adapted to your target’s needs.

Quality and useful reporting to teams begins with a reflection on its goal.

A reporting without precise objective that does not answer a request will be a nth unread email in mailbox.
Your reporting should contain the information you want for 1 goal and 1 target. To choose your indicators, you should also define your target audience.
The 3 fundamental questions to ask are:
  • What goals do you want to drive with the report? (Ex: Master the Customer project deadline Increase sales in a region…)
  • Who is this reporting for?  Your team?  to The Management? To other business units?
  • How will your Team use it?

For example, if your reporting is for a specific project, you need to define the project group’s member objectives and the needs upstream to ensure that the objective is being met, and thus establish indicators to track these elements. Don’t hesitate to involve the team in setting goals to increase the commitment and usefulness of your reporting to your organization.


Tip #2 – The right frequency

To succeed in reporting, it is necessary to specify the period over which the data must be collected: over a week, a month,a quarter or even a year…
To choose the right frequency answer the following question:

When will the observed performance allow you to take action?

The reporting frequency is therefore dependent on its purpose. The different frequencies give you distinct benefits.
  • Weekly: a report every week to follow up on a team activity, on the project performance for more operational monitoring.
  • Monthly: for a more trend-increasing objective, the figures and performances of last month and  to quickly identify the improvement points for next month.
  • Quarterly: this is the ideal interval for a thorough analysis of the strategy and, an interesting help in setting strategic objectives.  The same applies to a half-yearly or annual report.

    Good to know:

    It is important for monthly reports to have notions of evolution over time and to be able to make comparisons with the previous report.

    Tip #3  Indicators useful for big picture and decision making

    Include only indicators that can trigger targeted actions and facilitate decision-making. Any other indicators are superfluous


    Clear and concise are the watchwords in choosing your key indicators!

    Too much reporting, kills reporting. This tool, which is essential for driving, can be double-edged. With information overload, we quickly tend to want more KPIs, more and more reporting, the reports become heavy, and too detailed, and basically useless because we no longer know which one is relevant and why? Beware of the time