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4 Steps for a Must-Have, FACTual Reporting Environment

July 31, 2014

Every team needs great reports. Successful and effective reporting is essential to advancement efforts. Your team’s report framework may be different than others, but you should have some set principles. I’ve written about the critical importance of great reporting for operations efforts.

The look and feel of reports should be similar in font, format, etc. to make users more comfortable.

The look and feel of reports should be similar in font, format, etc. to make users more comfortable.

A simple way to determine if your team’s reporting environment works is to determine if it is FACTual. In this approach, reports should be:

  • Formatted. Users trust data (and experiences overall) that are consistently delivered. Just as a brand promise helps ensure that, say, every Coca-Cola will taste the same as the next (and apparently make the consumer happy), the report consumer should trust the facts and understand the familiar formatting.
  • Accurate. Users must receive accurate reports. In addition to reports relying on tested programming to yield consistent results, “accurate” reporting also requires that all users share common definitions and understanding.
  • Complete. Reports (and the reporting environment) must contain all records and details expected by the user and defined in the parameters of the report. This principle requires that data be reported from a central, comprehensive source.
  • Timely. The ideal reporting environment requires that information be readily available. In the absence of timely reporting, many offices will resort to highly inefficient, hybrid reporting solutions that increase room for error and inconsistent formatting.

Want to see how your reporting environment stacks up? Check out my “confidence calculator” to test whether your reporting environment is FACTual.

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