Use our free task tracker Excel template to help start a to-do list, a task list, or to start managing a project. It includes planned and actual columns to help measure project progress as you go. Tracking has never been easier than when using this template.
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Why You Need a Task Tracker Template
If you don’t know where your task is, then you can’t say if your project is on schedule or not. All the planning in the world is useless if you haven’t set up a mechanism to track those tasks and know if the work is being completed or if team members are falling behind.
First, let’s review terms. A task can be a to-do list of items. They are typically small, one action items that are required to accomplish a problem. In task management software, tasks are line items in a project plan with start and end dates added to build a project schedule.
Tracking tasks is simply part of management. Think of it as a process by which you can follow a task through the lifecycle of your project. It involves more than just tracking, of course, but also planning, testing and reporting.
A task needs tracking from all sides, which includes its status, priority, time, human and financial resources assignments, recurrence, notifications, etc.
To begin with you have to become aware of the various states of a task. They are as follows:
All of these states can be followed as you track a task, which is where our free Excel template comes in handy. It’s a repository for all that information and more. All of this information contributes to comprehensive task management.
For more information on task management, task tracking and software solutions, watch the informative video below. It shows you how to track your tasks online with your team in a real-time environment, where data is fresh and everyone’s work is transparent.
How to Use a Task Tracker Template
But back to using this template: it’s easy to use. It’s fairly self-explanatory, but a brief walk-through the process is never a bad idea.
What’s the Name, Description, Dependency and Who’s Assigned to It?
The first three columns are where you name the task, describe it and note if there are any dependent tasks linked to it. You will also want to add the team member who is assgined to execute the task. Someone has to take ownership of that job and be responsible, though the buck stops with the project manager. Don’t forget to write a short description of the task in order for both the team and stakeholder to be able to see at-a-glance what the task essentially is.
What’s the Priority, Start and End Dates?
The next column address the priority of the task. This is usually broken up into three divisions: critical, high, low and medium. The priority column is a way for you to decide which tasks are most important and which could be left aside if time doesn’t permit them to be completed. It gives you an opportunity to organize your tasks and manage them for maximum productivity. Then you can add the start date, the end date and the actual date the task is completed.
What’s the Status and Any Notes?
The status column is to see if the task is still being worked on or if it has been completed. Open means its still in play, while closed means it’s done. Finally, you’ll want to have a column in which to collect any notes that may come up over the course of completing the task.
How to Update & Share Your Task Tracker Template
You can’t track tasks if those tasks aren’t being updated. Your team makes status updates, which keeps you aware of where they are in the project. If you’re using this template, the team can add those status updates to the Excel document. Or maybe, if you have a large enough staff, a project assistant or coordinator can handle that work.
Whoever is assigned to own that task, the first thing you’ll have to do is make sure that everyone has a copy of Excel. Then an updated document can be saved with a title that includes the date to indicate that it’s the most current iteration.
You can have one person authorized to make sure that the most current template is circulating. You certainly don’t want the project manager to work from old data. Another solution is to use Google Sheets, so the document is shared by everyone on the team and whoever opens it will be seeing the most recent version. Or, you can try project tracking software, like ProjectManager.com, so you don’t have to deal with templates and old versions because everything is live and updated in real time.
How to Import a Task Tracker Template in ProjectManager.com
When you move your static template to our collaborative online software that’s where the rubber hits the road in project management. Our tools allow you to view and report on a team’s progress and track their tasks in real-time. Teams can update their tasks as they finish them as long as they’re online, and everything is collected in one place to ensure that no bad intel corrupts the progress of your project. It’s all a part of our task management feature.
If you have our software, what you need to do is go to the main menu within ProjectManager.com. There, on the upper right-hand corner of the page, you’ll find a drop-down menu. Scroll down until you find import, and click on it.
This will bring you to a new page, the import page, where there will be several options for you to import various reports to your project management software. Here you’ll also have the option to filter your content as you see fit.
It’s simple and easy. You can view your document, share it with the team or stakeholders, as well as save it as a PDF, Excel, CSV or Office document.
How to Track Projects & Tasks in ProjectManager.com
With your task tracking template now fully integrated into ProjectManager.com, you can easily create a Gantt chart in which to have a quick, at-a-glance view of the progress of various tasks. If those tasks are dependent, then you can link them to avoid delays further down the line.
The duration bar that connects the task’s start date to its deadline will become more shaded in as the task gets done. Now you can see at a glance whether the project task is progressing as planned.
But there are more in-depth tools that give you greater insight into if your task is on schedule. A real-time dashboard shows the progress of the overall project across six project metrics. Data is automatically calculated for you and displayed in easy-to-read graphs and charts.
There’s a metric on progress that looks at the different parts of your project and if they’re on track. You can also view tasks and see which are in progress, complete or not started. For a bigger picture there are graphs on cost, workload and more.
Generate reports on the overall health of the project, variance, status and more. Reports can be easily shared or printed out. More importantly, you can quickly filter the reports to show just that information which your stakeholders are requesting.
Because our software is cloud-based, the data you collect is up-to-date. If a stakeholder has a question, you can just filter the report in the presentation and show them up-to-the-minute data.
Stakeholders aren’t the only people on the project being served by our tool. Teams are not going to need all the nitty-gritty included on the Gantt. They want to know what tasks they have to do and when they’re due. The kanban board view is a visual representation of workflow, with cards being tasks and columns the different phases of production.
Cards can be prioritized, so teams know what to work on when. Managers can add descriptions, tags to make them easier to find in a search and teams can even comment to facilitate collaboration. Managers can also use the kanban for transparency into the process and clear up any potential bottlenecks before they become problems.
Those are just two project views. There’s also a calendar view, which is more than just a place to collect dates, and a task list. Both these views update with all the other tools as new statuses are filed. They also have the same features as the other views, so teams can work how they want.
Other Templates to Help with Project Tracking
We have dozens of useful templates that are free to download on our site. Several of them can be used in congress with the project and task tracking template to give you more control over your project. Take a look at the few we’ve chosen below.
If you’re looking for a high-level view of the project to catch any issues, so you can resolve them before they sidetrack the project, you’re going to want to use the project management dashboard. This template looks at tasks, costs and more to give you a picture of the project as it’s progressing. It is often your first defense against scope creep.
What do you do if you get a request from your stakeholder to change something, or the dashboard reveals an issue that requires changes to your budget or schedule? The change log template is the perfect tool to identify and then track the progress, so you can be sure that it’s implemented. You can even choose a team member to take responsibility on getting it done.
Part of any project plan is a risk management plan. If that potential problem becomes a real one, then you need a risk register template to define each risk, note its priority to the project and potential impact. This template not only helps you prepare to mitigate risk, it gives you the tools to respond to risk..
There’s a lot of information on the topic of project and task tracking on the ProjectManager.com blog, which posts videos and articles every week. It’s a great resource for the “accidental project manager” as well as the experienced one. Here are a few of the more recent and relevant articles on the subject that add some depth and understanding. You can always dig deeper on the site if you want more to read or see.
ProjectManager.com is not only a great software solution for tracking projects and tasks, but for managing every aspect of your project. It’s an online, cloud-based tool that fosters collaboration and makes sharing information easy for a more effective project. Collaboration is the oil that greases the wheels of teamwork and drives the project home to a happy and successful conclusion. Try ProjectManager.com today with a free 30-day trial.
(This post was updated September 2020)