In NIH land (and apparently at NSF) the annual Progress Report functions as the application for the next non-competing interval of support. The NIH ones are short, 2 pages, and you have to squeeze in comments about progress on the project goals and the significance of the findings. So there isn't a lot of room for all the data you have generated.
Science Professor indicates that she involves trainees in the preparation of progress reports.
I was asked to do this when I was a postdoc and I have continued the tradition with my postdocs. As you will surmise, I always think it a good idea to train postdocs in the grant-game. How much were/are you involved with progress reporting as a postdoc, DearReader?
Prof-like Substance's post was asking how seriously to take the NSF progress report. I have always taken my NIH ones pretty seriously and tried to summarize the grant progress as best I can. (Yes, I rewrite the drafts provided by the postdocs - thus is training after all.) One benefit is that when it comes time to write the competing renewal application you have a starting point all ready to go.
For the noob PIs... Don't sweat it. I've only once had a PO so much as comment on the Progress Report. In that case this person was, IMO, clearly out of line since we were right on target with the grant plan. More so than usual for me. And the PO also was misunderstanding the science in a way that was a little concerning for that little subarea of the IC...but whatevs. I made a response, the PO backed down and the project went on without further kvetching from this person.
So how about it? Do you involve your trainees in writing Progress Reports? Have you had any responses from POs on these? How seriously do you take them?