Project Management Templates

Continuing our journey into project management and following on from the earlier introduction, I’ve put together a couple of useful project management templates for convenience, better organisation and support on your next projects.

There are several project management tools out there which could assist you in structuring a project but depending on the company you work for, your current role and length of the project these might not be readily available at your disposal. What is important to note is that such tools are only as useful as the person who uses them. If you put in the effort to understand the processes and structures you will find out that these tools will complement the way you work and assist you, not the other way around.

These templates follow my previous article on project management and rely on Richard Newton’s ‘Project Management Step by Step: How to Plan and Manage a Highly Successful Project’.

We structure the article first with a high-level overview of the templates and direct links to download them and continue with a more detailed description of the offering.

 

Title Brief Description Link
Project Dimensions A project has a goal, deliverables, quality standards to adhere to, a start date and an end date, a budget and associated risks. These are useful metrics to clarify at the initial stages of starting up a project and this template becomes the starting point to assist you in understanding your project. The five dimensions of a project are: scope, quality, time, cost and risk.

Download

Project Definition You cannot start a project without knowing why you need to do it. This is accomplished by creating your Project Definition which will serve as the driving and motivating force for everything else that follows. The process can be simplified by answering the questions on the project definition template.

Download

Project Plan A project plan helps you understand how long a project will take and how much it will cost, you can use your project plan to explain the project to other people. It allows you to allocate work to different people in the project and it serves as the basis to manage and complete your project.

Download

Project Report As the project progresses you need to establish a way to collect information from your team members as the work progresses. Once you consolidate all of the information you are in a position to update your customer regarding the current status of the project.

Download

Project Issue Log As the project progresses, issues arise that if not dealt correctly have the potential to hinder the success of a project. These should be documented and addressed in an “issues log” to ensure that they are handled correctly. The project manager should review this log daily and during the weekly review meetings check with the issue owners to ensure that these are being resolved.

Download

Project Risk Log During the initial planning session of the project you identified potential risks that could hinder the success of our project. These risks should be reviewed and monitored weekly to ensure that they do not become issues that need to be dealt with.

Download

Project Change During the life-cycle of a project it is not uncommon for variables in the original project scope to change. When changes do not happen in a controlled way, they threaten the time-line and budget of a project or even divert the deliverables from the project scope resulting in an end goal that does not meet the requirements of a client.

Download

 

Project Management Templates: Detailed Descriptions

Project Dimensions [Download]

A project has a goal, deliverables, quality standards to adhere to, a start date and an end date, a budget and associated risks. These are useful metrics to clarify at the initial stages of starting up a project and this template becomes the starting point to assist you in understanding your project. The five dimensions of a project are: scope, quality, time, cost and risk.

The five dimensions of a project are: scope, quality, time, cost and risk.

  • Scope of a project is understanding what needs to be done/produced in a project.
  • Quality of a project depends on the type of the project and what it will produce.
  • Time of a project is the period required to start and end the project.
  • Cost are the resources required to complete a project.
  • Risk is of not meeting the requirements of the dimensions.

Project Definition [Download]

You cannot start a project without knowing why you need to do it. This is accomplished by creating your Project Definition which will serve as the driving and motivating force for everything else that follows. The process can be simplified by answering the questions on the project definition template.

  • Why do you want to do this project? This is a short, concise statement telling you why you want to do this project and what you want to achieve once the project is completed.
  • What will you have at the end of this project that you don’t have now? This will give you an understanding at what the delivery of the project would be.
  • Will you (should you) deliver anything else? Sometimes when you are doing a project, it gives you the opportunity to work on additional items beneficial for the client, or company. These can be listed here but be cautions not to expand the project in a way that becomes unmanageable and out of scope.
  • Is anything explicitly excluded from the project? Do you need to explicitly exclude something from the project? This will help narrow the scope of the project and not let it get out of hand.
  • Are there any gaps or overlaps with other projects – or changes to the boundaries of your project? Sometimes when a project is initiated there could be someone who has performed something related already, or your project is dependent on the output of another project, or your project might need to be integrated with a bigger project.
  • What assumptions (if any) are you making? At the beginning stages of planning a project you need to make assumptions in order to narrow down the time-frame and cost of the project. These should be listed here and would serve as the baseline of your project risks.
  • Are there any significant problems you are aware of that you must overcome? Here you can list problems/challenges you expect to face in the project
  • Has the customer, or the situation, set any specific conditions on the way you do this project? A project is done to deliver value to some stakeholder, whether this is the company, an individual within the company, a customer, etc. Here you would need to list the constraints that the stakeholder imposes.

Project Plan [Download]

A project plan helps you understand how long a project will take and how much it will cost, you can use your project plan to explain the project to other people. It allows you to allocate work to different people in the project and it serves as the basis to manage and complete your project.

To produce the project plan there are six activities involved. The first step would be to divide the project into its individual component tasks. The next step would be to estimate the length of time that each task would take, followed by ordering the tasks in their correct sequence. Once this is nailed down you need to determine the resources you would require meeting this plan (people, money, equipment, services) and determine the costs for each. When the time and costs are known you need to evaluate the resources that you have available at your disposal and take this into account, refining and finalising the project plan.

Breaking the project plan into actionable steps you can use the below as a guideline:

  • Step 1 Brainstorm a task list
  • Step 2 Convert the task list to a skeleton plan
  • Step 3 Estimate times, add dependencies and delays
  • Step 4 Add in who will do what
  • Step 5 Build the plan into a schedule
  • Step 6 Work out costs
  • Step 7 Add in contingency
  • Step 8 Add in milestones
  • Step 9 Review and amend
  • Step 10 Review the plan with your project customer

Progress Report [Download]

As the project progresses and depending on the size of the project team you would need to establish a way to collect information from your team members as the work progresses. Information may come verbally on day-to-day interactions with the team, but you should also setup more formal, short, weekly meetings with your project team to keep track of the process, keep the team updated and to resolve any issues that may arise.

Following these meetings, you are in a position to update your customer regarding the current status of the project. You would need to consolidate all the information you received from the project team and provide the key information back to the customer.

  • What is the current overall project status. Are things on track? If not, what will be done in order to bring the project back on track.
  • An overview of what was done last week and what will be done next week.
  • Any decisions required to be made by the customer

Project Issue Log [Download]

As the project progresses, issues arise that if not dealt correctly have the potential to hinder the success of a project. It is the project managers responsibility to be able to deal with them and navigate smoothly in their presence.

As the project manager you must establish communication venues to ensure that all the members of the project team report any issues that may arise. These should be documented and addressed in an “issues log” to ensure that they are handled correctly.

The project manager should review this log daily and during the weekly review meetings check with the issue owners to ensure that these are being resolved. A growing list of issues not getting resolved is a sign that a project is in trouble.

Project Risk Log [Download]

During the initial planning session of the project you identified potential risks that could hinder the success of our project. These risks should be reviewed and monitored weekly to ensure that they do not become issues that need to be dealt with. You can find a non-exhaustive list with potential project risks here. [4]

Project Change [Download]

During the life-cycle of a project it is not uncommon for variables in the original project scope to change. When changes do not happen in a controlled way, they threaten the time-line and budget of a project or even divert the deliverables from the project scope resulting in an end goal that does not meet the requirements of a client. You control changes by incorporating a change management process. Once changes are identified they should be documented and signed off by the customer before implementing them as they have the potential to impact the whole project.

References

[1] Richard Newton (2006) Project Management Step By Step How to Plan and Manage a Highly Successful Project Pearson Education Limited

[2] Anna Mar (2016) 130 Project Risks available at: https://management.simplicable.com/management/new/130-project-risks