Weekly Report – Team Lead/Manager

The job of the team manager is to aggregate reports from team members – not filter. I believe that filtering is the job of the director and above. Corrections such as clarifying, correcting typos and merging redundant items are acceptable.

The report must clearly and concisely communicate team accomplishments, plans, critical issues, planned absence. At the same time, the report should be complete and detailed by providing detailed accounts of individual activities of each team member. Let’s take a look at an example.

You can download this example in PDF format here.

Weekly Report Sample for a Team Lead

Step-by-Step Instructions

The weekly report is aggregated by opening each individual report in sequence and cutting-and-pasting text from each section to the corresponding section in the team weekly as explained below.

  1. Highlights

This section lists accomplished work and good news. Normally, the manager compiles the contents by simply cutting-and-pasting items from individual contributor reports. Make sure that the work is accomplished – not work in progress.

Incorrect Correct
Measuring product performance Product performance report released
Working on module debug Module debug finished

Reporting accomplishments makes the report clear and concise by de-emphasizing routine details. Also, focusing on accomplishments demonstrates to your team by way of example that the manager and the organization itself are result-oriented.

Note that each item in the highlights section specifies names in parenthesis of who accomplished that work. The biggest contributor is named first. Specifying names positively motivates achievers by showing their names prominently.

Encourage the use of hyperlinks, such that reports and documentation can be easily accessed by anyone reading the report.

  1. Unexpected Problems

This section is for bad, unexpected news. Normally, the manager simply cuts-and-pastes Unexpected Problems from individual contributor reports.

  1. Critical issues

This section alerts the upper management about issues that require immediate attention. Similar to highlights and unexpected problems, the team manager typically compiles this section by cutting-and-pasting critical issue items from individual contributor report. The manager should also add any items of his own when appropriate.

  1. Individual Activities

The first three sections of the report together comprise an executive summary. The individual activities section goes into comprehensive details that the upper manager is not expected to always read – at least not right way. For example, this section can be useful for the team manager or director to find out which team member is overloaded, who has free time and should be assigned additional project, who performs well and which task and who has difficulties. We will discuss purposes for this section at length in a later article.

The team manager compiles the individual activities section by cutting-and-pasting “This week” sections from individual contributor reports. In addition, the team manager should also include his own individual report in the “This week” and “Next week plan” sections, especially when the manager is contributing individually part-time.

Again, encourage the use of hyperlinks, such that reports and documentation can be easily accessed by anyone reading the report.

  1. Next week plan

This section servers several purposes:

  • gives the team lead an understanding about what to expect over the next reporting
  • serves as acknowledgement of work requests to team members. If someone was requested to do something with some urgency, that request should be reflected in the next week plan.

Similar to the the section above, the manager cuts-and-pastes text from “Next week plan” sections of individual contributor reports and adds his own item as well.

  1. Planned absence

Here the team lead aggregates planned absences from team member reports and adds company holidays. The purpose is to avoid surprise staff absence at the most inopportune time.

Addressing Team Report

The team report should be sent to

  1. Your upper manager(s) and project manager(s) if applicable
  2. Your team
  3. Leads of collaborating teams interested in receiving your teams’ reports

You should not send reports to

  1. Temporary personnel
  2. Staff who has tendered resignation
  3. Recipients prohibited by corporate security regulations
  4. Individual contributors of collaborating teams without their manager’s permission
  • Collaborating team’s lead himself should forward your weekly to that team. Sending your weekly directly to other manager’s direct reports without that manager permission sometimes may be perceived as a violation or reporting structure.

Individual reports should be attached to the team lead weekly. These attached reports may be helpful in case of a mistake or omission in the weekly by providing the original issue information.

Team Report Writing Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Diplomacy

Do not use reports as blame press. Write and edit the unexpected problems and critical issues sections with extra care. Do be diplomatic – avoid mentioning names when reporting negative news. For example, if firmware team is lagging behind with their firmware release: “Need firmware release“, rather than “Firmware team has not released firmware”.

  1. Brevity and clarity

Do report concisely yet clearly. Do edit highlights, unexpected problems and critical issues copied from individual contributor reports to make them easy to understand by the top management.

  1. Completeness and Fairness

Take your time to write a report. Don’t miss anything and be fair.

  1. Language

Do you use English when working with international multi-language teams. Another suitable common language could be used, however English is strongly recommended in any case – imagine that new team members will join later who don’t speak the language you chose for reporting and they need to read old reports. See Troubleshooting Weekly Reports for more details.

  1. Revised reports

Do avoid sending modified weekly reports after publishing the original. Sending a revised report is acceptable if the original contains a substantial mistake, especially if you made the mistake yourself. This shows that you strive to be fair, objective and thorough. In case when a team member sends his report late, don’t wait for it. See the article about Troubleshooting Weekly Reports for more details.

Weekly Report – Individual Contributor

This posting begins a series of commentaries dedicated to weekly reports. Weekly reporting is a common kind of organizational activity, which managers might be taking for granted. Let’s ask ourselves and ponder for a moment – exactly what purpose weekly reports serve? How can we perfect our weekly reports?

Perhaps the first thought that comes to mind to answer the first question is – weekly reports are used to monitor progress. Are there any other reasons? I believe there are eleven more important purposes served by weekly reports.

Weekly reports is an important management tool. The larger the team or organization, the more important it is to practice excellent reporting. I will address this topic in considerable detail and provide a number of ready-to-use templates for download. Specifically I would like to provide and discuss

  1. A sample of individual contributor’s report
  2. A sample of team lead/manager’s report
  3. 12 purposes a weekly report serves
  4. Variations on the “basic” report
  5. Advice on troubleshooting common problems associated with weekly reports

I hope that after reading these commentaries you will critically consider your own weekly reports in a new light – and perhaps take a step to redesign them for better efficacy.

Let us start by reviewing an example of what I consider the “basic” weekly report for an individual contributor. You can download PDF of the sample report here.

Weekly Report Sample for Individual Contributor


  1. Start by filling out “This week” section. List all activities you have performed
  2. Copy items reporting finished work from “This week” section to “Highlights”

In this section, make sure to state accomplishments, not status of activities. Do not write about work-in-progress. Definition of accomplishment varies – it could be a report having been published, module design finished, test passed, release made, etc. You may also include “good news”, which designate welcome developments. For example product performing better than expected, significant customer order received and so on.

  1. If applicable, write unexpected, unwelcome news in the “Unexpected Problems” section
  2. If applicable, fill out the “Critical Issues” section.

Any message(s) placed in this section are meant to receive immediate and full attention from your manager.

  1. Fill out “Next week plan” section

Be specific and list everything you think you will be doing. If someone requested you to do certain work next week and you agreed, reflect that request in this section to confirm that you have accepted the request and will be taking care of it.

  1. If applicable, fill out the “Planned absence” section

Alert your managers and colleagues to your planned absence as early as possible

  1. Be diplomatic, professional and courteous in your writings. Weekly reports should not be used as blame press.

Keep your reports clear and complete. To help your colleagues access resources easily, embed hyperlinks to all relevant documentation, publications or reports.

Submit your report on time. If you are out of office, consider submitting your report before departing.

  1. Address your report to the team lead/manager.

It is acceptable to copy other team members, however consider that your colleagues may not want to be flooded with redundant emails if your report will be incorporated into the team lead’s weekly.

As you can see, the individual contributor’s report exemplified above aims to communicate weekly status in a clear fashion. Items of high importance – highlights, unexpected problems and critical issues – are set apart and placed at the top for immediate manager’s attention. You may notice that the top of the report now looks like an executive summary. Yet, such filtering for purposes of clarity does not come at the expense of completeness. The “Individual Activities” section provides a comprehensive account of everything that happened throughout the reporting period.

At the end of this posting I’d like to give an example of reporting activities clearly. Consider these two items

  • 55 test passed
  • 55 tests out of 230 passed (+5 this week)

The first formulation reports status, not progress. Progress is the amount of work between now and one week ago. To understand the progress the reader must retrieve the last week’s report, which could says something like “50 tests passed”, and compare the status then to the status now.

The second formulation reports status (55), progress (+5) and also puts these number into perspective (230 total). Do you think reader will appreciate this particular wording? Perhaps so.