Successful project managers work smart. They build skills, train hard, and use the right tools. No wonder they often get things done using project management templates. These ready-made forms not only make it easier to monitor tasks and track progress, but they also help accelerate, standardize, and improve the entire project management process.
Because each project has many aspects, project documentation covers a wide range of areas. In fact, there are templates for just about any stage in the project lifecycle, from inception to completion.
Project management templates serve many purposes. They can help teams set goals, assign tasks, manage expenses, monitor progress, stay on schedule, and move a project from one milestone to the next.
Project-related documents are created using different authoring tools such as Excel, Microsoft Project, Google Sheets, and PowerPoint. Fortunately, you don’t have to recreate these documents from scratch. If you want to be more efficient, ready-made forms and project management templates can definitely help.
Here are 30+ of the most useful free project management templates that can help you organize tasks, save time, and tick off all the items in your checklist.
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These handy templates will save you precious time when running your projects.
30+ most useful templates in project management
To help you find the template you need easily and quickly, we’ve organized the list into common categories.
- Project Charters & Project Plans
- Project Tracking and Reports
- Budget Management
- Gantt Charts/Timeline
- Tasks Checklist/To-Do List
- Timesheet Tracking and Work Schedules
- Issue Tracking/Change Request
- KPI Monitoring
- Team Management
- Communication Plans
Project charters & project plans
Project success depends on a clear and complete understanding of goals, priorities, roles, and timelines. To achieve this, all stakeholders must be on the same page at all times. Having a full grasp of their specific functions, stakeholders should also possess a top-level view of the project as a whole. Core documents such as project charters, plans, and overviews will help you get this done. These documents formalize the project’s foundation by defining its objectives, scope, component tasks, stakeholders/teams, schedules, sign-offs, and other relevant information.
- Project Overview (Evernote)
- Strategic Planning (Evernote)
- MDM Project Charter Template (Matt McCarty, Google Sheets)
- Project Charter (Danilo Cho, Word)
- Project Charter (NYU, Word)
- Project Charter (MyPMLLC.com, Word)
Project tracking, timeline, and gantt charts
Projects need to be constantly monitored once they are underway. Tracking forms and report templates give project owners, leaders, and customers the visibility they need to assess the progress of the project as well as the challenges and opportunities it currently faces. Among other things, project tracking templates help determine whether everything is going according to plan, schedule, and budget. Project tracking and reports also enable managers to take remedial actions well before major roadblocks occur.
Project timelines and schedules may be created using simple tables, but complex documents with multiple variables should be built as Gantt charts instead. Such sophisticated documents provide greater detail by showing specific milestones and their summaries, component tasks and deliverables, task owners, start and due dates, dependencies, and other relevant information.
- Management Dashboard (SmartSheet, Excel)
- Project Timeline (Smartsheet, Google Sheets)
- Project Tracking (Smartsheet, Google Sheets)
- Project Tracking (Vertex42, Excel)
- Project Schedule (Vertex42, Excel)
- Project Timeline (Vertex42, Excel)
- Project Timeline Template (Google Sheets)
- Gantt Chart (Smartsheet, Google Sheets)
Besides being good practice, staying within budget serves as a yardstick for assessing a project’s health and success. Of course, it also says a lot about the skill and resourcefulness of the project manager.
The following documents help project leaders track and manage project-related expenses. They also enable managers to create resource allocation and cost strategies that drive both efficiency and productivity without breaking the bank.
- Monthly Budget (Google Sheets)
- Expense Report (Google Sheets)
- Project Budget (Evernote)
- Detailed Project Budget (Vertex42, Excel)
Task monitoring & to-do lists
Essentially, a project represents the desired outcome when a set of related tasks is completely delivered. Simply put, a project is the sum of its component tasks. This is why project managers diligently monitor the progress of each deliverable, especially those with significant dependencies. And this is why task-tracking templates and to-do lists are crucial to a project’s success.
Such documents enable managers to set priorities, clarify role ownership, assist struggling stakeholders, and ensure that no major roadblocks will emerge down the line. The following templates will help you hold each member of the team accountable and ensure that deliverables are met on time, within budget, and on par with expected quality standards.
Timesheet tracking & work schedules
Good time management leads to excellent project results. It helps form a well-organized team that runs on schedule and achieves success predictably like clockwork. So use these templates to optimize the two most valuable resources a project has: talent and time.
These documents will help you plan schedules, track time, and ensure that your team’s pool of talent never goes to waste.
- Daily Planner (Evernote)
- Weekly Time Sheet (Google Sheets)
- Weekly Planner (Evernote)
- Weekly Timecard (Vertex42, Excel)
Issue tracking & change requests
Things don’t always turn out as planned. But don’t panic when this happens. Track the project and log all the relevant stuff that did not meet your expectations. Make everyone aware of the challenge and deploy the right resource to fix the issue. If doing so is not enough, you can initiate change and recommend a better alternative. These issue-tracking templates and change request forms are just the right tools to set everything right.
Never let project performance become a guessing game. Stay on top of the situation by having visibility and control over all the facts on the ground. After all, projects have specific benchmarks against which team and individual performance can be measured. These metrics allow for the accurate assessment of the project’s overall health and whether it remains on schedule, within budget, and aligned with expectations. This KPI monitoring template can help you track relevant metrics and keep the project running according to plan.
KPI Tracker (Smartsheet, Excel)
Getting everyone on the same page can take some effort, especially if you’re managing a project that involves several departments. These templates clarify the structure, accountabilities, and interdependence of all teams in the project. They can also serve as ad-hoc directories to quickly identify and connect with stakeholders.
The success of a project depends on an effective communication system. Not only should messages be clear, but they should also reach all stakeholders in a timely, efficient, and powerful way. Remember, collaboration and conversation enable project management professionals to take the right action, fix issues, and build better solutions.
These templates will help you keep everyone updated and always on the same page. Use dashboards to provide a bird’s eye view of a project’s status and performance. Create informative and actionable meeting notes to establish clarity and move teams forward. And always cap a completed project with a post-mortem “lessons learned” session.
- Management Dashboard (SmartSheet, Excel)
- Meeting Agenda (Evernote)
- Meeting Notes (Google Docs)
- Meeting Notes (Evernote)
- Post Mortem Presentation (Microsoft, PowerPoint)
- Post Mortem Analysis Template (Canadian government, Word)
If you hate challenges, you’ll never love project management. To succeed in the field, you need to handle a lot of moving parts — from timelines and budget to quality control and issue handling. Managing a project takes skill and discipline, but fortunately, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.
The processes, practices, and documentation in project management have become standardized over the years. As such, you can find plenty of document templates to meet every-day requirements.
These templates include some of the most commonly used documents in project management. You can download the documents to your device or make copies in your cloud storage. These can always be repurposed by every team in your organization. Remember, you can customize or fine-tune any of the documents listed here to fit your specific project or operational environment.
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