Whether you're fighting fires, running a factory, developing a curriculum or coaching a sports team, you periodically assess how close you are to reaching the stated goals. When the people governing or funding a complex project want to know how things are going, they need an interim report. An accurate interim report provides the information they need make good decisions about the next steps. They need to determine whether to continue, revise the goals, shut it down or add more resources.
Analyse the data you have gathered and summarise it succinctly and accurately. The spreadsheet and word-processing programs are likely to be very helpful here. Also get a financial statement and compare current spending to the resources allotted.
Begin to write a draft of the interim report using the following organisation: one-age summary; a brief description of the progress; staffing; evaluation thus far; and finances. In the progress section, include any adjustments you will make due to delays or deviations. This would be a place to use the spreadsheet either as a table or as a bar chart comparing the projected benchmarks with the actual results. Your purpose is to provide stakeholders with adequate information so they can decide to continue the project as it is, to tweak it, to do a major remodification or to stop it.
Some medical research studies have stopped partway through due to an interim report that found significant health implications for the control group or the study group. A principal or school board may decide to take action if the interim report found that a new curriculum was significantly improving student performance.
Complete the remaining sections. The staffing section may report whether the number of personnel is sufficient or whether the skill set in the staff is adequate. Adjustments could be made to add or change staff. The evaluation describes the progress and any challenges in evaluating the quality of work completed to date. The financial report, also typically in a spreadsheet, shows the costs to date compared to budget to date, allowing the stakeholders to make any necessary changes. Finally, write the summary. This one-paragraph to one-page section goes at the front and provides a thumbnail of all the section findings.
Review and self-edit interim report for reasoning, grammatical and punctuation errors.
Provide a draft copy to one or two key stakeholders for any corrections they may have about factual errors in the data.
Complete the final version of the interim report for distribution.
Ask the granting or funding body if it has any desired format or style requirements.
Do not let stakeholders change the substance of your analysis when they review the draft. Their review is only to discover factual errors.
Tips and warnings
- Ask the granting or funding body if it has any desired format or style requirements.
- Do not let stakeholders change the substance of your analysis when they review the draft. Their review is only to discover factual errors.
Things you need
- Original project agreement with goals, procedures, time lines and budget
- Data about activities completed to date, including quality indicators
- Financial reports
- Charter of institution
- Mission statement
- Note-taking materials (pad and paper or tablet computer)
- Computer with spreadsheet and word-processing capability
- Printer and paper