Reporting Project Progress Using the Highlight Report

Reporting Project Progress Using the Highlight Report

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the highlight report. The PRINCE2 term given to a project progress report. This is, in part because they tend to describe a project in the present rather than forecasting its state when it should be completed.

And because they often say very little about who takes what action.

The Highlight Report

Diagram of the project control cycle: plan, do work, measure progress, identify issues and risks, and take corrective action.
The Project Control Cycle

Perhaps this is the result of the project manager blindly following process. Believing the highlight report is something that should be prepared and not a consequence of the project control cycle.

Or is it simply a lack of project management maturity in some organizations?
So, what is the purpose of the highlight—or progress or status—report?

Put simply, project reporting is there to show to the sponsor and senior stakeholders that the project is on track to deliver the expected benefits. Of course, in the real-world things rarely go to plan, so the report is likely to say something about slippage, cost overruns, resource issues, scope etc.

However, before I look at the content, I need to discuss a couple of things: project planning and progress checking.

If you’re not controlling these, then you’re in trouble and the highlight report won’t save you.

The project is out of control!

Keeping the Project Under Control

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