Want to save time and improve consistency across projects? Then you need project management templates. A good set of project management templates will make your work easier and more efficient. This article shares 41 such template.
Why Do You Need Project Management Templates?
Think of the last project you had to manage. What documents did you have to create at launch?
There would be a project charter and a communication plan, of course. You’d have a broad project plan, a work breakdown structure, and a Gantt chart. You would also have a risk register and a plan to tackle all upcoming issues.
Creating all these documents from scratch would waste a monumental amount of time.
This is why every project manager usually has a trusted arsenal of project management templates.
Using templates not only improves your efficiency, it also brings much-needed standardization to your project management process. Instead of creating documents on an ad-hoc basis, you can have a single template for every function that can be used across the organization.
Borrowing pre-made templates can also ensure that you use best practices in your planning and reporting. If a template has proven to be successful in one organization, there is a good chance it will be useful in yours as well.
There are a number of project management templates online, but few centrally organized resources. To help you out, we collected templates from dozens of websites, curated the best ones, and shared them below.
How to Use Project Management Templates?
Unsurprisingly, most PM templates are made in MS Excel. A few text-heavy ones use MS Word. To use these templates, simply download them from the links below. Direct file links are marked specifically. In some cases, you will have to give up your email address in exchange for the file (marked as “Email/Registration required”).
Once downloaded, edit them with your own details and export in your chosen format.
If you don’t have Excel or Word, you can use LibreOffice as an open-source alternative.
Alternatively, upload the file to your Google MyDrive account.
Google will convert the file and you can open it in Google Sheets (for XLS files) or Google Docs (for .Doc files).
To make the searching process easier, I’ve organized the templates into different categories below.
1. Project Charter
As we pointed out earlier, the first step in developing an integrated project plan is to create a project charter.
This is an important document that outlines the scope, objectives, and stakeholders involved in the project. It documents everything the project needs and its expected outcomes.
The project charter also doubles up as a business case document. In case you need to convince stakeholders of the importance of a project, or outline the goals to your team, you will turn to the project charter.
Whether you are using one of the project charter templates below or creating one from scratch, there are a few elements you should always include:
- Project title: Start with the title. Make sure it is specific enough to make identification easier. A good template to follow is this – “[Project Type] to [Project Objective] for [Project Client/Product]”. For example, “Inbound Marketing Campaign to Increase Marketing Qualified Leads for Apple Corporation”.
- Executive summary: Include a high-level summary of the project, its purpose, and its stakeholders.
- Project objectives: Explain the “why” of the purpose in greater detail. Be very specific about the outcomes you seek. It’s a good idea to include specific numbers or at least a range. Don’t say “increase traffic”; say “increase website traffic by 200% in 6 months”.
- Business objectives: Use this section to describe how the project fits into the business’ broader strategic goals. For instance, if you’re running a campaign to increase traffic to a website, describe how the higher traffic would help the business in achieving its goals.
- Project requirements: Explain the project’s requirements in terms of resources – both tangible and intangible – at a high-level.
- Project scope: Use this section to answer the question: “What is the project meant to accomplish?” Focus on both long and short-term goals & objectives, but briefly.
- Key deliverables: Briefly list the key deliverables at different milestones.
- Project schedule: Give a high-level overview of the project’s estimated schedule. You don’t have to be accurate down to the day, but a broad explanation of key milestones will help.
- Project budget: Give a high-level description of the project’s budget. You can break this down by resource requirements if you want to go into more detail.
Besides the above, you can also include a list of project stakeholders, roles, milestones, risks, and the completion/success criteria for the project.
Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. You can expand or shrink the charter based on your own needs. For most projects, however, including the above will be enough.
Project Charter Templates
Here are a number of project charter templates based on the guidelines above:
1. CDC project charter template
It might surprise you to learn this, but the CDC offers a number of high-quality project management templates for free. They don’t look particularly good, but they have fields for all the necessary data. This project charter template also includes detailed instructions on how to use it.
Download: CDC.gov (Direct link, Word)