One of the most common deliverables we produce as consultants are written reports. In public sector consulting, report types can vary widely, from open-ended “Blue Sky” reports (such as this program findings report) to more standardized, structured products (such as IT planning documentation). Each has its own unique challenges: for “Blue Sky” reports, it can be difficult to start with just a blank page, but on the other hand, it can be hard to work with the confines of a more prescribed report structure.
Regardless of report type, we always spend time up front with our clients to plan the report. This includes discussing timelines, content, and completing deliverable expectation documents if needed. Our next step is to work collaboratively with our clients to develop content and gather information, which can include:
- Facilitating focus groups, interviews, and hotwashes
- Conducting research on industry developments and/or best practices
- Fleshing out key messages and themes
As our information-gathering winds down, we shift to drafting the report. Throughout the drafting process, it’s important to establish a report review process so that everyone understands key deadlines, schedule constraints, and instructions. It’s also essential to build in plenty of time for ADA compliance and graphic design.
There are many steps to getting a final, polished report over the finish line – all of which help us meet or exceed our clients’ expectations!