You are aware of the energy and promise at the start of a project. All of the potential outcomes for the project. You have a vision and a comprehensive plan, but what should you do next? How do you translate your concept into concrete steps that will be finished on schedule and make your project a reality?
Making use of a project timeline template is possible.
What is a project timeline?
A timeline provides a chronological summary of all project activities, including tasks, deadlines, and deliverables. These visual representations of a project’s progress from beginning to end enable your team to see future next actions and any potential bottlenecks.
The timeline offers a powerful method for displaying the duration of a project and the key tasks involved. In addition, a timeline view makes it simpler for everyone to comprehend when the project will begin and end.
A project timeline is a graphic representation of significant tasks and milestones arranged chronologically with dates next to them. The project is finished once all the tasks and milestones have been accomplished. The project’s work plan divides the bars into smaller, more specific tasks. Typically, related tasks are grouped on the timeline, which can also show relationships between distinct tasks and milestones.
Once a timetable has been authorized, it can also show how each activity and milestone has progressed against what was anticipated. Most timelines use a linear scale, meaning that if one bar is twice as long as another, it will take twice as long to finish. However, the scale often ranges from weeks to months and depends on how long the job will take. An illustration of a project timetable is a Gantt chart.
What is a project timeline template?
Project planning can seem overwhelming in its early phases. Knowing how all the parts of your project tie together and how you’ll keep everything on track and moving in the right direction might be challenging. Fortunately, project timetable templates take care of the tedious work for you.
An excel template and rudimentary formatting abilities are typically required to piece together a project timeline template. The next step is allocating tasks to team members and committing to deliver by the predetermined deadline. But as time passes, the timeline unravels. Higher priorities take precedence, and deadlines pass without much being accomplished.
Project timeline templates are reusable, templated tools that provide a high-level breakdown of the various project phases. Project timeline templates are a crucial tool for project management since they give a visual timeline of the project’s next milestones, which serves as the basis for the timetable. Once you’ve made a basic project schedule template, you can quickly replicate it for additional projects, such as event planning or product launches, and tweak the structure as necessary—one step from overloading to being organized.
Benefits of a project timeline template
When presenting a project’s high-level strategy to stakeholders, team members, vendors, clients, etc., a timeline helps the project manager. It is a straightforward tool that may quickly show everyone concerned if they are on, ahead of, or behind schedule.
Visualizing pauses, gaps, job overlaps, and periods is quite simple. In addition, a timeline is a great tool for comparing P and A when displaying a project’s status (Plan vs. Actual).
Put the downloadable timeline diagrams away. Remain apart from the jumbled infographics and timeline producers. A digital project timeline template is what you need—not another worksheet that can be downloaded.
A digital project timetable template accomplishes more than just listing forthcoming project tasks. Project timeline templates are your source of truth for all project work when generated in a project management platform. By coordinating your cross-functional teams on future tasks and supplying the visibility and responsibility required to stay on track, reusable templates simplify project planning and completion.
Creating an editable project timeline template has other advantages, such as:
- Align all project elements in a single location.
- Give your team and project stakeholders visibility.
- See your workflow in action, complete with ongoing projects and impending tasks.
- Recognize potential obstacles before they materialize.
- Quickly comprehend resource management
- Adapt due dates to shifting priorities
- Cross-functional teams should sync their calendars.
- Tasks can be assigned and changed to team members.
- Observe completed chores and upcoming to-dos.
- Add task dependencies, so everyone on the team knows how the work interacts.
- Establish project milestones to monitor significant advancements
- Keep the project on track throughout its entire lifecycle.
How to use a project timeline template
Are you tired of using unorganized spreadsheets and paper to-do lists to monitor project progress? Not that we blame you. This disorder may be eliminated with digital project timeline templates, which also provide a reusable framework for all your projects.
Project phases and tasks should be the foundational elements of all project timeline templates. The phases of your basic timeline template can be filled out with to-dos, tasks can be given owners, deadlines and dependencies can be included, and the template can then be customized for new projects.
Additionally, keep in mind that despite their name, project timeline templates aren’t always best used as a timeline. Sometimes using a timeline chart to visualize something is the best option, while using a grid or a Kanban board can be more beneficial. Select the viewpoint that best suits your project.
A project timeline should be kept straightforward and adhere to the rules listed below:
- Sort comparable assignments by colour.
- Clearly show the timeline at the top.
- Provide all the backup plans for any task.
- Give any two tasks’ dependencies a brief description.
- A rhombus and a task by a bar should represent a milestone.
What should a project timeline contain?
The following points should be included in the timetable:
- The project’s primary tasks. It is optional to portray the tasks that threaten the critical path differently, such as a different colour. However, each team’s or group’s tasks should be grouped, and all be the same colour.
- Contractual, Deliverables, Gates (Go/No-Go), and Third Party Deliverable milestones should also be covered.
These procedures should be followed to create a project timeline for a particular project:
- Establish your project goals, keeping them realistic and smart.
- Describe the project’s timetable, from planning to completion.
- Create project milestones to serve as checkpoints for work completion or launching points for new phases.
- Add any task, no matter how minor or large, to your project to-do list to ensure success.
- Calculate the time needed to complete each task, considering the project budget and resources.
- Complete each task by giving it a due date and an owner.
- Any job that depends on a prior activity’s conclusion should include task dependencies.
- For accountability and visibility, share with the team.
- Change as necessary, moving deadlines to reflect shifting priorities.
- Guidelines for working with timelines
- Always consider the resource availability, including full-time, part-time, etc.
- Take into account team project holidays. The crew may occasionally be spread out across several regions. Cover all the involved nations and states.
- Make basic validations by determining whether using various resources in planned tasks makes sense. For instance, if you have two resources and 20 days, you need to be able to do your project in two weeks or ten weeks.
- Always make sure that the employees performing the activities assess their labour.
- Make any assumptions you made clear so that everyone may understand how you came to a particular timeline.
- Always include a backup plan, so you must have something to fall back on if something goes wrong. 10% to 20% of the project’s budget should be set aside as a buffer, depending on its size.
Before it is distributed to everyone, check the timeline. To understand obvious problems, it is helpful to gather feedback by presenting it to top management or project teams.
It is a good idea to run the details by a senior manager before sending them out. It is critical to comprehend the management’s perspective on the project. You can also gain insight from the project sponsor or delivery by displaying your timeline.
Recognize the concurrent projects that are being worked on. This will assist in locating any cross-project dependencies, such as those involving environments, resources, etc.
How do you keep a project on schedule?
The next stage is to sustain the plan after it has been communicated. The outcome will be a P vs. A (Plan vs. Actual) report that provides a high-level overview of the project’s performance. The timeline can be maintained in one of two ways:
Each task on the timeline is divided into smaller, more specific tasks, and its completion rate is regularly updated.
Each task makes a small contribution to the overall completion percentage, which is shown in the timeline.
The projected percentage is usually linear. Thus, if a task was supposed to take 4 weeks but just 1 week has passed, 25% should have been finished. There can be a problem if the total percentage is lower than 25%. (even if it is higher, it could indicate that the team has overlooked some tasks).
A P vs. A report is produced after updating the timeline with the actual%. Every status meeting should start with the presentation of this report, which can then be used to discuss problems, threats, and opportunities.
The key benefit is that the task’s outcome reflects all the effort made.
The drawback is that maintaining a current detailed plan takes a lot of work.
Every task on the timeline includes a KPI that counts the number of authorized deliverables.
For instance, if the task is to write 20 documents, the KPI will track how many of those 20 documents were prepared and approved. If five were authorized, then 25% would be the KPI. This % will be shown in the report and is accurate. The key benefit is that it is easy to measure and maintain.
The drawback is that the KPI will display 0% even if 20 documents are nearly finished because none of them was authorized.
Features of Project Timeline Template
Following are the features of the Project Timeline Template.
View in time. The Gantt-style project view Timeline View can show all your tasks in a horizontal bar chart. You may view dependencies between tasks in addition to each task’s start and completion dates. You can readily see how the parts of your strategy come together with Timeline View. Additionally, it’s simple to spot and resolve dependency problems before they arise when all of your work is visible in one location, allowing you to complete all your tasks on time.
Project Summary. A project brief is useful for informing your larger project team of crucial information and deadlines. Put your project brief in a central repository, so your team can readily access it.
Milestones. The important project checkpoints that milestones signify. You may communicate your project’s progress to your team and other stakeholders by creating milestones. Celebrate the small goals to the main project goal at milestones.
Dependencies. Task dependencies indicate that a task is waiting on another task. Recognize when your job is impeding the work of others so that you can set priorities accordingly. Teams using collaborative workflows can see the tasks they are still awaiting from others and easily plan when to begin working on their piece of the project. The assignee will be informed when the first assignment is finished so they may begin working on their dependent task. It will also let you know if you need to change the due date for your dependent work if the task on which your work depends gets rescheduled.
This makes it simple to distinguish between the many task phases or types. In addition, simply adding or removing rows from the spreadsheet’s data table will add or remove tasks.
The primary organizational functions, such as Marketing, Design, Testing, Manufacturing, Finance, Sales, Quality Assurance, Legal, etc., are another typical technique to organize work within a project timeframe.
You should specify at least a few important milestones for each project timeline. Through the data table, you can change the milestone names and dates. You can display multiple milestones using the template. It is possible to add more, but you would need to design the new data series yourself (you can’t just add rows for additional milestones like you can for tasks).
What steps are needed to create a timeline?
The actions listed below must be taken to capture a timeline:
We have all of the necessary information, so when establishing a timeline, this is an excellent place to start. The engineering, testing, interface, and other sections need to be converted into groups of tasks in the timetable.
They must be added to the timelines of their respective groups to guarantee that all of the obligations are carried out. In addition, their predecessors should be prominently marked to clarify how the contractual obligations will change if a certain task is delayed.
An initial draught should be presented to the team after the first two steps are finished. Their suggestions result in a priceless, feasible plan that is agreed upon by all parties.
The last step is getting the plan approved after finishing the first three processes. Finally, the strategy must be distributed to everyone after receiving approval, which is a crucial stage. Again, multiple channels should be used to spread the word about the strategy (E-mails, meetings, large printouts, etc.).
How should a project timetable be made?
A timeline can be created using a variety of programmes and platforms. Excel, for instance, allows us to construct a template that looks like this:
The group or team names should appear in the right-most column, with the top rows displaying the timeline (Years > Months > Weeks) (HW, SW, Testing, etc.).
Then, each task should be divided into multiple cells, with each cell denoting a week’s worth of work (unless the project takes years, each cell represents a month’s worth of work).
A task should have 5 cells if it is expected to take 5 weeks.
For ease of visualization, each group or team needs its colour. To make them stand out, the milestones should only take up one cell and be coloured differently.
What elements should a project timeline contain?
There is an unexpectedly wide range of project timelines. The optimal template for you depends on your needs, your preferred method of data visualization, and the level of detail you desire. The intricacy of various templates varies for these key capabilities:
Planning: Project timelines assist define your project’s boundaries by outlining the number of phases, scope, and resources needed. They provide a clean place to organize all the tasks involved in your project.
Chronology: Your timeline should show the project’s activities in a time-based manner, matching up dates, events, and actions with tasks, subtasks, and due dates. You can start planning how much time you will need to finish the project by counting the necessary actions.
Visualization: Project timelines, which display past, present, and future steps, offer a helpful visual for monitoring and reporting progress. Ensure images are simple to understand if you plan to utilize your timeline to update stakeholders and clients.
Resource management: After determining all necessary tasks and due dates, you can use your timeline to allocate people to them. Here, usability is key; certain timeline designs are more logical and simple for project task scheduling than others.
Frequently Asked Questions about Project Timeline Template
Project managers can use an Excel project timeline template as a visually appealing tool to schedule and track the advancement of projects. To ensure timely project delivery, use the template to create a visual representation of your project’s objectives, requirements, and tasks.
Is there a timeline template in PowerPoint?
Click Smart Art on the Insert tab. Choose a timeline design from the list of available options, like this Basic Timeline in the List section. A text editor opens next to it to make it simple to add words to the graphic on the slide. Dates and descriptions should be entered in the text editor before hitting Enter.
What is the perfect way to show a project timeline?
Charts and timeframes for projects. Making a timeline or Gantt chart of your project schedule is one technique to visualize a project plan. With timeline management, you can arrange project information in a bar chart to demonstrate when each job or deliverable in your project must be finished and how long each task will take.
What does a project timeline look like?
A project timeline, an illustrated list of tasks or events grouped chronologically, allows project managers to check the whole project plan in one place. A project timeline resembles a horizontal graph with each job’s name, start date, and finish date.
What key elements should go into a project timeline?
Project plan components you shouldn’t ignore
· Describe the business case and the needs of the stakeholders.
· List of specifications and project goals.
· Scope statement for the project.
· A list of the deliverables and their approximate due dates.
· A detailed project schedule.
· Risk evaluation and management strategy.
· Tasks and obligations that are clear.
What are the four 4 parts of a project description?
Include measures that can be used to measure success. Set objectives that are realistically achievable, given the resources at your disposal. Relevant: Your organization’s mission should be in line with your goals. Time-bound: Specify interim and ultimate due dates for each objective.
What is a project outline?
Your project’s outline serves as its blueprint. It’s how you picture your project developing as work is done. For example, your project plan outlines the project team members, the resources you’ll need, and how you intend to meet project deliverables.