By conducting frequent, but relevant and appropriate status reviews, including the stakeholders in the process and presenting fact-based information, you will help to avoid any unpleasant project surprises.
To make the reporting process run smoother, project managers should consider these elements when preparing their reports:
Timeliness: This is all about the reporting cycle, the aspects of "when" and "how often" you report. Pick times that will most benefit the stakeholders.
Fact-Based Information: Validate information before it's reported to the stakeholders and produce trustworthy reports that others can base critical decisions on. These steps help gain stakeholder confidence and contributes to the overall success of the project.
Relevance: Know whom you are reporting to and what information is relevant to that stakeholder.
Appropriateness: Be aware of any sensitive information that should be presented only to specific individuals.
Presentation: Spend a little time identifying the medium - such as handouts, e-mail, verbal, telephone -- as well as the method -- free form, discussion-based or single-person, etc -- for the report.
Knowledge: When you don't have the full details on information to be presented, invite a direct resource that produced the result to the presentation.
Audience: Focusing on specific individuals or groups allows you to provide relevant and appropriate information.
By considering all of these elements, you can present a clear picture of the project's status to the necessary attendees.