Before you can plan for your project you have to have the right tools to collect the data you need in order to formulate a strategy. You know there are a lot of balls to keep in the air, regardless of whether the project is big or small, so think of these tools as safety nets that make sure you don’t lose track of anything essential.
Think of all the things you have to process, from scheduling to resources and defining tasks and milestones along the way to a successful project completion. The days of Post-It notes and notebooks filled with scraps of paper are long gone. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.
Visit our Templates Page and you’ll find Excel and Word templates for creating all the project documents you need to manage your project. Are you interested in free project management Excel spreadsheets? Here are eight essential PM templates you can download and use right now, including two new templates we’ve recently added!
A Gantt chart is a visual tool that helps you see at-a-glance the scheduling of tasks and their dependencies over the lifecycle of a project.
While it’s true a Gantt chart can be overly complex in Excel, especially when you are in need of more advanced scheduling features like task dependencies and resource allocation, they remain a vital part of any project manager’s toolkit. That’s why we recommend using online Gantt chart software to help plan tasks and projects collaboratively with your team. Online Gantt chart tools integrate into project management & planning software, so it can update in real-time. This allows for easy drag-and-drop changes and can be color coded to customize as you need.
But to quickly make a Gantt chart from your task lists, download this free Excel Gantt chart template for an easy way to create a project schedule. Just add tasks and deadlines to visualize how long your project will take.
The need for a status report is obvious. If you don’t have good intel on what is happening in the project, then you are managing blind. You have no idea if you’re on track or if resources are being blocked.
With this free Excel status report template, you have a tool to greatly improve your project communications, both with stakeholders when you’re delivering a presentation, but also with team members.
It’s up to you to decide on the frequency of the reports. But with a status report template a lot of the busy work that can pull you away from a project is already done, giving you greater access to the information you need.
Tracking the project is crucial to ensure that it remains on schedule. That means also keeping tabs on the work at a task-level.
This free project and task tracking template can help as a task to-do list, and it includes columns for the planned and actual duration of the project in order to know what’s working and what needs more attention.
Once you integrate your project and task tracking template into a project management software system, you can then produce Gantt charts to get a clear visual on the project, as well as get that data delivered to your dashboard to note progress in real-time.
Risk is a part of managing a project. The job involves being able to anticipate what risks are likely to occur and then formulating a response to get the project back on track. That’s where this free Excel risk tracking template comes in.
First, it allows you to list all the possible risks you believe may happen over the course of the project. Next you can define how it will impact the project. You determine level of the risk and assign it an owner, so that someone is responsible to keep an eye out for it.
Now you have a plan in place to resolve that risk quickly, and a document that can be shared so risk is never given a chance to blindside a project.
Issues are when something is happening right now in your project. So, what do you do when this happens? You track those issues and resolve them with the help of this free issue tracking template.
The first thing, of course, is identifying those issues as they occur. This is the document in which you can collect that information. The issue tracking template serves you by making sure every step of the way, from identifying to resolving the issue, is documented.
Of course you will want to share the issue tracking template, and you can with this free Excel template, but only as a static document. In a project management software program, that information is easy to collect and share, as well as edit in real time.
A project can have a great plan, but without the financial backing to pay for it nothing can happen. That’s why a project budget, as tedious as it might be, is one of the most important phases of getting a project on track to a successful completion.
With this free Excel project budget template you can literally see when you’re in the red, because it’s color-coded. And this document, more than just one that is crucial to the start of a project, is also a way to track that budget across the lifecycle of the project.
This template has room to cover all your costs, from easy ones to collect — such as labor and materials — to ones that change or carry over from project to project. Budgets are estimates, but with this free template those numbers will be more accurate.
Team members need to have a way to track their work through the tasks they are assigned, and a simple timesheet can provide an easy way to keep them on schedule as well as give you the needed information to know where they are in their tasks.
The free Excel timesheet can calculate cost per hour and includes vacation and overtime columns, to accurately note the time spent on and off the project. But project timesheets are useful for a number of different purposes, so this is a handy tool.
When you manage timesheets with online project management software, then the rubber hits the road. You’ll be able to filter columns and customize reports, easily share in an email, PDF or Excel and CSV file. Plus your team can submit timesheets based on actual tasks in the system, and you’ll get alerted by email when they do.
The project dashboard is what keeps you in the driver seat as you travel through the lifecycle of the project. It allows for you to monitor the project, tracking the task status, budget and more in one place.
From this free project management dashboard you create graphs and charts that give you a visual and easily digestible look at your task and workload management, as well as cost. It’s a sure way to stay on top of a project generally and know where you have to drill down into specifics.
You can add more power to your PM dashboards when you use online project management software. That way, when team members are updating statuses on tasks, the dashboards are populating with real-time data. That makes it even more like the dashboard on your car, and just as efficient at getting you from Point A to Point B. This way, you always know where you stand.
Get all the features of these templates and more when you use ProjectManager.com. All of these tools are available in our award-winning software to help you plan, track and report on your project in real-time. ProjectManager.com has repeatedly been ranked #1 in project management by Gartner’s GetApp. See what it can do for you by taking a free 30-day trial run.