How to Use Project Templates

ProjectManager.com

Project templates are a great way to start managing your project, as Jennifer Bridges, PMP, explains in this video. Learn how to integrate templates into your project management practice and your tools.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

Here's how to use Excel and Word project templatesIn Review – How to Use Project Templates:

Jennifer started by saying she thinks templates are a great resource to help streamline processes and improve efficiency. Whether they’re Excel spread sheets or Word documents, templates are a great resource for anyone managing a project.

She noted that Word documents are great for when you’re taking your initial steps to project planning and communications, while Excel spreadsheets lend themselves more to tracking and reporting on a project.

But these static and standalone documents really start to show their worth when incorporated in your online project management tool. You can import them and they can then run on your computer. There are several ways to integrate downloadable templates into your PM tools.

If you import these documents into your online PM tools, you’re going to find that you’ll be saving time and money. Why is that? Jennifer has four answers to that question.

  1. Online tools provide consistency. Everyone on your team will be using the same templates, so your processes will be streamlined. You won’t have to translate data from one person’s documents into anothers.
  2. Online tools allows off-line options, too. You can easily export your online data into offline spreadsheets. Or even download your word documents, too. 
  3. Online tools give you the ability to mobilize quickly. Store all your templates in one centralized location, and create new templates based on project plans you have in place. This allows you to quickly start up new projects in minutes, without having to manually create new projects task by task every time. Additionally, your whole team has access to the same plans and documentation, so they can all start working easily and quickly.
  4. Online tools can update status changes in real-time. This is the real difference between using templates downloaded on your desktop and importing your templates into your online tools and using them collaboratively with your team. Every time a document is updated, it’s updated for everyone across the organization. And every time a project template is edited, everyone can see the changes. All the data is updated in real-time, so there’s no time lost by having to communicate new project updates to everyone on the team.

Templates are a great tool, but the technology has advanced to such an extent that they are now merely a stepping stone to a greater tool, that being online project management software.

Pro-Tip: If you’re looking for a set of Excel and Word templates that can help you plan, execute and monitor every phase of your project, there are many templates here for free download.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription:

Today we’re talking about how to use project templates. And I just can’t say enough about project templates. We’ve actually done several whiteboard sessions on what some of these templates look like in detail, but this whiteboard session is just intended to show you why they’re so important and how to use them.

So let’s look at templates. They can be something as simple as Word documents or Excel spreadsheets. So when we use Word documents, and those templates are great for planning, so think of your project plan, think of your team roster, or your team agenda, or your meeting minutes, and they’re great for communications.

Excel spreadsheets are great for data and tracking and reporting, so think of data manipulation. So with these templates, all of these can be maintained online in your software tool.

So let’s look at once they’re in the tool, the templates whether you can import them or run them on your computer. So you can import them into your software tool, and there are pros and cons of that.

So the pro is that when you import them, they’re readily available, you can reuse them easily, and you can also have other team members review them and provide input, even modify them if they need to. The con is…well, I can’t really think of too many cons unless maybe you’ve imported an incorrect version.

But you can also run these…export these from the tool and run them on your computer. The pro is, say if you’re traveling or out of the office, then you have them on your computer that you can access. The con is that it’s more difficult if you need your team members to review them or provide input.

So here is a favorite mantra that I heard from one of my team members that I’m adopting. Use templates until you can lose templates. Meaning that once you have them incorporated into your online software tool, then you can lose using the templates.

So here’s why you wanna use a template. By using a template, it provides consistency not only among this project but also among your other projects as well. It allows online and offline options like we just showed, and you could see the pros and cons of that. It allows you to mobilize quickly.

Meaning, if you have templates, they’re already outlined and a lot of that information you can reuse and just substitute or edit the information that’s changed for a specific project. And then you can maintain…these are maintained online, and they also provide you access real-time.

So if you need a project management software tool for your templates, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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