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Preparing a Fourth-Year Design Project Progress Report|
A presentation overview designed for students
Written November 2000,
William Sitch, B.Eng. (1999)
The progress report is the second written requirement of the fourth-year design project. This report presents the status of your work and should make reference to your proposal, show clearly how much progress has been made, make a prediction as to how the rest of the project is likely to develop, and state any variation from the project proposal that now seems necessary.
This introduction to progress reports, with emphasis on the fourth-year design project, is as follows:
Understanding the Purpose of your Report|
The progress report not only details the work you've performed and the work you have yet to perform, but it also addresses the clients' concerns about the schedule, quality, and components of the project. Much like the proposal, you must use the progress report to convince the client that your project is still worthwhile.
A progress report that clearly spells out your achievements will be useful in persuading the client that you will achieve the intended goals by the specified deadline. Even if achieving the original objectives is no longer possible, the progress report offers an opportunity to propose a slight change in focus or to request additional support.
If the progress is satisfactory, the client will continue support of the project (and of you!). If progress is not satisfactory, a project may be canceled or assignments redefined. Even though it seems advantagous to 'bend' the truth about what has been achieved and what can be achieved, remember that you will be evaluated on the accuracy of your progress report when the project comes to completion.
Guidelines for Writing the Progress Report|
While smaller projects may allow an informal memo or even a phone call to act as a progress report, the scope of your fourth-year design project calls for a full report. Doublespace your work, use a 12-pt font, and follow the guidelines found in your copy of "A Guide to Writing as an Engineer".
You should aim to include everything within two pages, but complex projects may require a third page. Including a cover letter is optional, and would essentially be "summary" section outlined above.
Components of the Progress Report|
Progress reports typically have the following contents and
organization, although the specific requests of your audience may
Of course, other sections may also be required: for example, a summary of financial data on the project or the results of product testing. When you plan and write progress reports, be alert to the needs and expectations of your audience.
Miscellaneous Advice for your Progress Report
Natasha Artemeva also has a handy Checklist for evaluating progress reports. It's available at http://www.carleton.ca/~nartemev/ChecklistWritProgrRep.htm. Evaluate the quality of your own work!