Did you know that 70% of projects fail? This is usually because of poor planning and inadequate tools. As a project manager, having the right project management templates at your fingertips can be a game-changer, helping you fall in that other 30%.
In this article, I’ll provide you with 16 easy-to-use project management templates that will help you manage more effectively and streamline your processes for the best project outcomes.
Leveraging these tools can help everyone, especially beginner project managers, feel confident in their ability to plan, execute, and monitor their projects effectively.
What is a Project Management Template?
A project management template is a preformatted document designed to simplify and streamline the stages of managing a project.
These templates provide a useful framework for organizing, tracking, and communicating project information, enabling project managers to save time and effort while ensuring a standardized approach across their projects. They can be used for any level of project management, from simple projects to more complex projects.
Want to quickly reference a due date or timeline? That’s where the template comes in handy. When each project is outlined in the same way, every stakeholder can easily find the information they need to do their jobs.
Project management templates range from task lists and Gantt charts to risk management matrices and project status reports, being used across many different industries.
Worried it won’t fit into your workflow? That’s the best part about a template—they’re customizable. So use them in a way that works best for you and your style of project management.
16 Project Management Templates To Get Started With
Here’s the list of 16 easy-to-use project management templates for managing new projects more efficiently and effectively.
All of these templates are available through DPM membership, which comes with a bunch of other perks like our Slack community, mini courses & workshops, and more.
1. Project Checklist Template
A project checklist keeps track of tasks, milestones, and deadlines. It helps ensure that nothing slips through the cracks and it provides a clear overview of the project's progress. Quickly see what needs to be done and whether it’s been completed so you can prioritize tasks more effectively.
Use this checklist to make sure you’re covering all of the meetings, creating all of the right documents, and getting approvals at all of the right times.
2. Project Timeline Template/Project Plan Template
A project timeline (also known as a project plan) works as a visual representation of key milestones, deadlines, and dependencies within a project.
With one quick glance, anyone can see what is expected when and even who is responsible for those tasks. It also allows project managers to monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and keep things happening within the allotted time frame.
Our project timeline template covers everything you need to include—tasks, durations, and more—and shows you how to lay it all out in a clear and concise manner. This template is compatible with Microsoft Project and Smartsheet.
3. Gantt Chart Template
Gantt charts are great for showcasing tasks, durations, and dependencies in an easy-to-digest visual format. They help project managers allocate resources efficiently, identify critical paths, and track progress against deadlines.
They are especially fitting for managing complex projects with multiple moving parts. Simple Gantt charts can be used on both a personal and professional level, while the more complex ones are great for a birdseye view of a larger project.
4. Project Estimate Template
A project estimate is a detailed breakdown of the expected costs, resources, and time required to complete a project. The more accurate the estimates are, the better a project manager can budget, handle risk management, and set realistic expectations with stakeholders.
But it’s important to remember that a project estimate is just that, an estimate. True costs can’t be determined until the end of the project, so it’s important to be aware of the project estimate and costs at all stages of the project.
Check out our templates for both simple and complex project estimates. Both are Excel templates that are also compatible with Google Sheets.
5. Statement of Work Template
A statement of work outlines the project's scope, deliverables, timeline, and responsibilities. It can also be used as a contractual agreement between the project manager and stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding expectations and objectives.
It is typically outlined with detailed bullets so everyone involved knows what is expected of the overall project.
Our detailed template will save you hours of time, offering a fully detailed statement of work (SoW) ready to fill in—and the finished sample helps you understand how to use each section.
6. Project Status Report Template
Project status reports provide regular updates on the progress, challenges, and achievements of a project. They work as an effective form of communication tool to keep everyone informed and allow for transparency among stakeholders.
If a problem does arise, it’s easier to handle because it’s addressed in a more timely manner. Fixing things after the fact tends to take more time and effort than if it’s dealt with in the moment. That’s why project status reports are key to a project’s success.
Get our status report template, sample, email sample, and checklist here.
7. RACI Chart Template
A RACI chart (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) is a matrix that clearly defines roles and responsibilities within a project.
By defining who is responsible for each task, decision, or deliverable, a RACI chart helps avoid confusion and ensures that everyone is aware of what tasks they are responsible for. This helps improve overall project efficiency and keeps everything transparent.
Use our template to help team members, stakeholders, and clients understand who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed so everyone knows how work moves through the pipeline and how to communicate about progress.
8. Communication Plan Template
A project communication plan outlines how project information will be shared across team members and stakeholders. Will you be using Slack? Asana? Email? Without clearly defining communication and expectations, things can easily fall through the cracks. This can lead to a delayed project and increased expenses.
Get our template and gather and organize all the contact information and instructions you’ll need for proper project comms.
9. Project Brief Template
A project brief outlines the project's goals, objectives, scope, and constraints. It’s often used as a foundation for planning and decision-making throughout the entire project life cycle.
Anyone reading the project brief should have a clear understanding of what the project is, what is expected, its purpose, timeline, and projected costs.
Start briefing better with our project brief template.
10. Team Working Agreement Template
A team working agreement outlines the rules, expectations, and processes that explain how a project team will work together. It helps create a more collaborative and supportive environment, giving team members a way to resolve conflicts, share responsibilities, and work more efficiently. The better communication is among your project team members, the more successful your project will be.
Check out our team working agreement template here:
11. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Template
A work breakdown structure can be thought of as reverse engineering a project. By breaking down each stage of a project and organizing it by priority level, a project team can turn an entire project scope into manageable tasks and deliverables.
The WBS enables project managers to allocate resources, estimate costs and timelines, and monitor progress more effectively.
Check out our work breakdown structure template here.
12. Change Request Template
A change request is a formal proposal to modify an aspect of the project, like scope, timeline, or budget. If you need to add deliverables on top of what was already discussed and agreed upon, a change request can be used to ensure these new tasks are clearly outlined and expectations are set.
While a change request can be made at any time, that doesn’t mean a project manager has to accept it. It’s important to evaluate and prioritize change requests, so that only necessary and beneficial changes are put into place.
Easily and quickly manage changes with our change request template that helps you record the background, approach, scope, deliverables, assumptions, budget, dependencies, billing, and approvals for changes.
13. Prioritization Matrix Template
A prioritization matrix helps project managers evaluate and prioritize tasks and elements of projects based on their importance and impact. With stakeholders trying to include so many things within a project’s scope, this matrix can help them determine what needs to be done when and why.
Using this template is great for prioritizing the right project tasks to ensure everyone involved is working on the most critical aspects of the project.
The MoSCoW prioritization tool is one such matrix, and is meant to provide a diplomatic and quasi-quantitative way to get your stakeholders on-side with what’s within scope, what’s getting tackled first, what’s out of scope, and why.
14. Kickoff Meeting Agenda Template
A kickoff meeting agenda outlines the items to be discussed during the initial project meeting. It should be used to set the tone for the project and clarify expectations, objectives, and timelines. It helps establish a common understanding among everyone involved and also helps keep the meeting on task and on time.
Check out our kickoff agendas for both internal and client kickoff meetings, and make sure you don’t miss any key info in those all important kickoff meetings.
15. Sprint Planning Agenda Template
A sprint planning agenda outlines the tasks to be accomplished during the upcoming sprint. A sprint can be as long as you decide, but are meant to keep things moving quickly.
Each sprint planning agenda should include what tasks need to be done, what resources are needed to complete those tasks, and what the expected outcomes are. This will help the project manager ensure that the larger project is on time and within budget.
Use our agenda to guide your next agile sprint planning meeting—clearly present your plan for reviewing, backlog grooming, and planning the next steps with your team.
16. Resource Allocation Spreadsheet Template
A resource allocation spreadsheet helps project managers allocate resources effectively. It lists the resources needed for each task and the availability of the team members. Do you need 50 hours of time, and 4 team members to get the project done?
This spreadsheet can help you determine that. Once determined, it’s easier to ask for an increase in budget if needed, or some more helpful hands. This will also help prevent overloading or underutilizing team members.
5 Benefits of Project Management Templates
Project management templates offer numerous benefits for project managers, including:
- Increased efficiency: Templates provide a consistent framework for organizing and tracking project information, helping project managers save time and effort while providing a standardized approach to all their projects.
- Improved communication: Templates promote clear and effective communication among team members and stakeholders, facilitating collaboration and promoting transparency.
- Better planning: Templates provide a structured framework or roadmap for project planning, enabling project managers to identify potential project risks and bottlenecks early and take appropriate action to prevent issues down the line.
- Standardized approach: Templates ensure that project managers follow a consistent approach across projects, reducing the likelihood of errors and improving project outcomes. This includes a to-do list, a project schedule with start and end dates, project details, and project tracking milestones.
- Enhanced productivity: Templates help project managers and their teams prioritize tasks and stay on track, helping them work more efficiently and effectively.
Streamline Your Project Management With Templates
In today's fast-paced project management world, having the right tools at your fingertips is essential for success. By leveraging these 16 easy-to-use project management templates, even beginner project managers can streamline their processes, optimize their resources, and achieve their project goals.
From project checklists and Gantt charts to communication plans and prioritization matrices, these templates cater to the diverse needs of project managers across industries and project types.
Project management software, project management tools, and apps often offer their own versions of these templates, along with many other templates like to do list templates, project schedule templates, project tracker templates, project charter template, timesheet templates, and more.
So what are you waiting for? Download these essential project management templates today and take your project management skills to new heights for your next project.
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