An end of project report is used by project managers and their team at the end of a project to determine how the project performed. Whether your end of project report is as short as a single page or long enough to fill a three-ring binder, the purpose of the report is the same:
- Document what the project team delivered
- Provide a project evaluation in terms of work quality
- Evaluate budget and schedule performance
Since the purpose of an end of project report is to evaluate how a project performed, be honest and be objective.
What Should an End of Project Report Include?
Although the end of project report can take a number of formats, including a formal presentation, an entry in a project management tool, or a document that can be passed around to different stakeholders, each of the below should be included in an end of project report:
- A description of the process by which the project was approved, and the business case for undertaking the project.
- A summary of the project execution, including whether the project met its objectives.
- Details of the project’s budget performance and timeline performance.
- A list of factors that affected the project results.
- If possible, a description of the financial impact or other benefits the project will provide.
- Attachments or appendices containing summaries (or the full text) of important project documentation, such as the scope document, project plan, test results and final approval/acceptance.
Why is an End of Project Report Necessary?
If your project involves work for an external customer, your end of project report may be required by contract, especially if the amount or timing of a final payment will depend on the information in your report. Even when a final report is not specifically called for in a contract, internal and external stakeholders will likely be expecting one, so it’s best to deliver your report as soon as possible after your project work is complete. Your report will serve several purposes, including:
- Informing senior stakeholders, who may not have been actively engaged during any phase of the project, that the project is complete.
- Informing other departments or organizations that work is complete, and that no further resources will be needed for the project. This allows funding and employee availability to be released for use on other projects.
- Documenting any variances from the planned budget or schedule, along with explanations as to why the variances occurred. This can help you draft a more accurate project plan when you manage similar projects in the future, and can also help other project managers plan their own projects.
- Recognizing the efforts of the employees who worked on the project, especially those who contributed more than was expected of them. This type of formal recognition can go a long way toward building and maintaining employee engagement.
There’s no way of knowing who may eventually read your end of project report, or what they may need to get from it. That means that your report should include enough information so that even someone unfamiliar with the project will be able to understand the purpose, execution and end result of the project, without being overloaded with too much information.