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Activity Reports

Summary:

These resources describe two workplace genres, an activity report and a postmortem.  It discusses the purpose of an activity report and a postmortem, as well as how to work with these genres effectively. 

Contributors:Kyle P. Vealey
Last Edited: 2015-01-15 04:10:09

What is an Activity Report?

Depending on the organizational context, an activity report can go by a number of names: work log, progress report, project update, or status report. Taken as a whole, activity reports are a form of workplace communication that describes, in clear and concise terms, a project’s progress. While these activity reports are often short, informal messages sent by inter-office memo or email, they are an essential document for communicating, collaborating, and cooperating in the workplace.

The purpose of an activity report is not to persuade an audience or argue a particular position; rather, they aim to keep employees and managers informed about past, present, and future tasks. These types of reports are either requested by a manager or fellow employee or can be circulated to inform coworkers of any progress or obstacles encountered while working on a project. 

Key information in an activity report

1. Project information

Any activity report should include key information that identifies the project, all members of the team, and the most up to date status on project’s progress (i.e., “we are just beginning the project,” “we are half way through producing the deliverable,” or “we are putting the final touches on our work”). 

2. Project tasks

In addition to these identifying details, activity reports should articulate project tasks that have been completed, tasks currently underway, and what tasks are needed to complete the project in a timely manner. This information should communicate what each team member is working on so as to expedite the reader’s communicating of questions or concerns.

Your description of completed tasks, current activities, and responsibilities going forward should inform your reader of the project’s timeline and its estimated time of completion.

3. Describe any challenges

Activity reports should identify any challenges encountered, with particular reference to possible actions that can mitigate or avoid these obstacles in the future. Describing these difficulties will also provide reasoning for the project’s timeline and whether it is maintained or modified. Keeping managers and fellow employees in the loop on difficulties also provides an opening for you to ask for additional resources, time, or help on the work going forward.

4. Tone, style, and length

Although activity reports circulate in workplace environments through informal channels, it is important to write them in an appropriate and a professional tone because fellow employees and managers alike will read them.

Use clear, concise, and concrete language in discussing the progress of a project in order to avoid ambiguity on its current status. 

Finally, keep activity reports brief. As they are informal messages that, hopefully, require no immediate action, you want your reader to skim through its contents quickly and efficiently. Using brief lists and avoiding excessive detail while using concrete language will ensure that your activity report effectively communicates your project’s status.

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