This might be an intuitive question but it seems that not much people knows it.

Should I repeat information from last report's executive summary or should I only write what happened the week before the report?

Let's say that there is a piece of information that is valid from last week's report, should I keep it or it is assumed that it has been read in the last report?

5 Answers 5


The best person to answer this question is the person or people who are receiving the report.

But I'd take a look at your methodology for generating this report. It sounds like you are generating this report weekly. Does it really need an executive summary? I frequently write reports that cover the previous month and they are typically one page of text that describe what happened in the previous month, plus a few charts showing data from this month or trends over time that come up to an extra two or three sheets of paper (4-6 pages). Reports that are so short probably don't need an executive summary as it's easy enough to read the report.

I'd recommend working with the people who receive this report to figure out how to improve it to best meet their needs.


I have two standard things I use to make status reports more effective; Trending and Graying Out.

Trending: Even on a simple dashboard the use of trending can help create context. Two most common ways I do this is a trending arrow and historical data.

  • Trending Arrow: Instead of a simple color box for status, I also provide a color arrow that points 45 degrees up, flat or 45 degrees down to show if this item is trending good (green), flat (green) or poor (red or yellow).
  • Historical Data: Showing trend over a few weeks can help executives to know if the data is good or not. Showing the results of a single development cycle tells you nothing really. Showing a trend line of bugs, work completed, etc. shows if things really are on track or not.

Graying Out: Sometimes data is still relevant, even though it is not new. The down side is this can make it so new information is hard to pull out. People see last week's data and assume no change, missing the new data. First off, always put new data at the top. Then any data that was in the previous report change the font to a gray that can still be read, while being different enough from the black. I'll often use a dark blue for new text and gray for old to create even stronger contrast.

I don't have any visual examples handy, sorry. All the ones I have contain proprietary data.

  • Can you edit your post and put the missing content :). Also do you have an example that I can see. A picture worth a thousands words.
    – OOzy Pal
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 4:43

As far as I know, there is no common rule for this and it depends on the recipient but my best-practice is to keep the information and put a "Last weeks info still valid:" or similar above.

Fore sure, newest / most relevant info should be on top, obsolete one should be deleted.

If you need to point out historic evolution, describe it rather than print the whole history.


It is customary to include a "Context" paragraph/slide, and if you maintain a clean Project Status Dashboard, then it is also usually possible to show the differential/trend in such a dashboard, such as [Green, December 7th, 2015 -> Green, December 14th, 2015]. We usually start executive meetings with just taking a snapshot from our project status dashboard because we know that the client executive usually doesn't login to access it.

The person receiving the report can then ask for more when that part is being walked through. Usually, it is just a function of how many other projects/programs they are handling and when the last meeting was.


In project management, the report is a deliverable that is given to your client. so it depends on his needs, and as i know , the weekly reportmust be short ,precise and clear,and we put just the events of the previous week .

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