Do you need a better handle on your project management, but lack the time to create a whole new system?
The good news is there’s an easier way to keep your projects running smoothly: by using project management templates in Google Sheets.
Find the right one and your projects and team members will stay more organized, never miss a deadline or deliverable, and sail right in (or even under) budget.
To take advantage of all these perks, I’ll show you:
- Why Google Sheets is the way to go
- My top 15 (free) project management template picks
- Four tools every PM needs to elevate their sheets and streamline their new systems
But first, you should know why Google Sheets is the smart choice for your project management templates.
Why bother using Google Sheets?
As I touched on in this guide, Google’s suite of office tools like Docs and Slides rivals the Microsoft Office lineup in many ways.
If you’re not using Google Sheets already, here are a few reasons why you should start today:
1. It’s completely free. You don’t need to pay anything to use Google Sheets, including the templates I’ll be sharing later in this guide.
2. It’s extremely accessible. Using Google Sheets, you can log into your account and view your spreadsheets from anywhere in the world -- as long as you have internet access, of course.
Since your sheets are saved and stored in the cloud, you can save your work on your desktop at home and pick up right where you left off on your laptop while you’re traveling.
You’ll be able to access and work on your spreadsheets on any device that supports Google Sheets, either through your web browser or via their mobile app.
3. It’s easy to use. Google Sheets’ simple toolbar on top is comparable to what you’d find in Microsoft Excel, minus a few extra features.
You can also easily open your Microsoft Excel files in Google Sheets.
So even if you and your team members are used to working in Microsoft Office, you shouldn’t have any trouble making the transition.
4. It’s better for collaborating with your team in real time. Check out the bright blue ‘Share’ button in the top right corner of this image of a blank Google Sheet:
Click that button and you’ll be able to share the link to that spreadsheet with anyone on your team, including your shareholders.
But they can also collaborate with you in the same document in real-time as well.
Did I mention they can do this from anywhere in the world too?
So if your office in New York is working with its London division, you won’t have to wait five hours to see changes within the doc.
As long as your team can handle the time difference, everyone can access the sheet as needed, giving you a faster way to edit your plan and make updates.
Bonus: Check out my comparison of Google Slides vs PowerPoint vs Keynote to learn everything you need to know about the ins and outs of these software tools.
5. Sheets comes preloaded with free useful templates. Our final huge perk is that Google Sheets has loads of free templates to use, which makes getting started pretty easy.
When it comes to project management, the templates in Google Sheets can help your project stay on track, on budget, and extremely organized.
Certain templates may also give you a way to hold your team accountable.
So let’s talk about the best ones you need in your project manager toolkit now.
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15 free Google Sheet templates for project management
Since I’m as equally obsessed with organization as you are, I’ve broken down these 15 free templates into three categories based on how they can help you:
- Stick to a deadline
- Manage your team
- Stay on budget
Feel free to use one (or more) of them to ensure your next project is a huge success.
Templates to keep your projects on schedule
Good project managers know how to keep their projects and team members moving along a timeline.
So instead of getting overwhelmed with a stack of project deadlines for your next project, opt for one of these Google Sheets templates to stay on schedule and keep your head on straight:
#1: Google Sheets Gantt Chart Template
A typical Gantt chart consists of horizontal lines and a timeline of when certain milestones will be completed on a project or production schedule.
And this Gantt template from Google has all those traits.
You’ll notice this template includes:
- Information about each stage of the project, including subtasks involved within phases
- Assigned task owners
- Start dates
- Due dates
The different phases of the project are also mapped out in color-coded 3-week blocks of time for additional organization.
If you like Gantt charts but you’re looking for a broader timeline scope, you may like the next template more.
#2: Project Timeline Template
With this free project timeline template from Google’s gallery of options, you’ll have a visually appealing and easy to understand way of mapping out all the important details of your project.
As you see in the image above, this template is similar to a Gantt chart in style and shows your target milestones, goals, budgets, project scope, and so much more at a quick glance.
But what if you need less of that intel and more of a countdown to your project deliverables?
Try this next template.
#3: A Condensed Project Timeline Template
Consider this template an abbreviated version of the project timeline template just before it.
You’ll have the same information conveyed, but there will be more emphasis placed on schedule than the details of the project.
Another interesting feature with this project timeline, as compared to the one before it, is that it also includes a duration column so everyone working on the project can get a better gauge of how long each stage may take.
This definitely comes in handy no matter which type of project you take on.
And as we’ll discuss next, projects aren’t the only thing you can plan and organize on a free Google Sheets template.
#4: Event Marketing Google Sheets Timeline Template
New product launches and other important events should have a clear plan of action in place just like your projects.
And with this template, it’s just as simple to plan everything you need pre-launch to make your new product or event a hit.
This template lists everything from traditional marketing for your product or event, such as local advertising and PR, to modern versions like content marketing and banner ads to cover all your bases.
Plus, you’ll also score the added benefit of color-coded phases to the right, which helps keep everything organized and on schedule.
You’ll also see those same benefits with this next template.
#5: Project Tracking Google Sheets Template
This project tracking template is another one from Google’s gallery, which means it comes with a professional, clean design that intuitively knows everything you need.
You can track your deliverables, projected costs, and set tasks to high, low, or medium priority.
There’s also a status key to keep everyone on your team in the loop.
Now, if one of your projects happens to be planning your company’s corporate retreat or booking your VP’s travel plans, this next template can be clutch for maintaining order.
#6: Travel Planner Google Sheets Template
This simple travel planner makes the entire task of travel planning a breeze.
You can keep all your important information in one central location and then share it with as many people as you need.
Plus, everyone will have access to it on-the-go, which is especially useful during traveling when you’re hopping from one temporary workstation to the next.
So while this first set of templates keeps your projects moving along on schedule, the next set will help you keep track of your team.
Templates to help you hold your team accountable
It’s important everyone on your team knows who’s responsible for what.
With these templates, you’ll have built-in accountability for every project your team collaborates on:
#7: Team Roster Template
This team roster Google Sheets template is perfect for new employees trying to figure out who works where, but it also works well for projects too.
If you’re spearheading a project spanning multiple departments, this template can give your team every point-of-contact to reach during each phase.
As an added bonus, you can also use it as a staff directory so your team has a handy resource to refer to.
And for readers in need of a Project Charter template, the next one has your name on it.
#8: Project Charter Google Sheets Template
This user-created free template designed by Matt McCarty helps you create a project charter within minutes.
Basically, it has all the information you need to start your project on the right foot and get the approval of every stakeholder involved, including:
- The project title
- Problem or opportunity worth solving or capitalizing on
- Project scope
And thanks to its professional design, you’ll come across as polished, organized, and capable.
This next template may help you optimize your workload if you’re low on resources like time or teamwork hours.
#9: Resource Timesheet Template
Don’t stress out the next time your project resources are spread thin.
This handy map will help you determine where your team’s hours are going and if anything needs to be adjusted.
The extra tabs at the bottom (not pictured) can also help you connect your billable costs to each task. Now you can see how profitable your team’s time is as well.
Speaking of costs, the next set of templates is designed to not only help you understand your project budgets but also to help you stay under them.
Templates to keep your project within budget
Another common role for project managers is handling and organizing finances.
So if you need a financial snapshot of your business, or you’d like to see how a project is adding up in expenses, these templates may be just what you’re looking for.
They can help you organize your finances, eliminate unnecessary expenses, and give you an idea of where you stand in the P&L columns:
#10: The Ultimate Business Dashboard Template
Without a tidy system, you could have a costly mess on your hands as a PM.
Fortunately, this template developed by Lon McGowan can be your lifesaver.
In the first tab labeled ‘Data’, you’ll be able to lay out your:
- Employee breakdown
- Income statement
- Balance sheet
And the second tab, ‘Dashboard’, lets you plot your revenues and profits, as well as your sales and marketing ad spend plus return on investment (ROI).
This allows you to quickly compare your profitability over the course of the year.
And if keeping tabs on your team’s expense reports is driving you nuts, your sanity needs this next template.
#11: Expense Report Template
Rather than having your employees send over their own crazy versions of an expense tracking sheet, use this template to create a universal system.
The cool thing about this expense sheet is you can send it out digitally to save paper or print it out to distribute and collect. Either way leaves you with a paper trail to refer back to.
Simply ask your team members to duplicate (or print) the original each month so a log is automatically generated.
These next templates will help you plan how to spend your budget.
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#12: Budget Planning Template
Though the official title of this template may be geared for family budget planning, it can easily be renamed and used as a budget planner for your business.
So if this is another task on your PM to-do list, all you have to do is change the expenses from ones pertaining to household expenses to those pertaining more to your business.
When you do that, you’ll wind up with a realistic snapshot of where your budget spend is really going.
The next template will help you break down your monthly budget even further.
#13: Monthly Budget Tracker
Another one that can be used for both personal and business purposes, this Google template is also visually stunning and really easy to use too.
Another bonus with this sheet is that it automatically generates bar charts based on the information you input.
This can help you and your shareholders understand all the aspects of your finances.
Once you have your monthly totals tallied, you can then pop them into this annual tracker to see how you’re trending for the year.
#14: Annual Budget Tracking
Fair warning: If you’re going to use this for business purposes, you’ll need to change the name of a few of the expenses to ones that make more sense for your brand.
Finally, the last task you may be asked to manage when it comes to projects is contractor timesheets.
#15: Weekly Timesheet
Fortunately, this weekly timesheet created by Google has your back.
In the same way you’re going to ask your team to use the expense report we discussed earlier (template #11, in case you forgot), you should also have your contractors follow suit.
Not only does this create an organized system, but it also makes sure there are no discrepancies on either party’s end.
Don’t forget to ask your contractors to duplicate each sheet on a new tab so everyone has a running tally and a log to refer back to, should you need it.
The awesome perk each of these templates share is the ability to be customized and branded to suit your needs.
There are also a few more ways you can enhance your templates…
Tools to enhance your project management templates
Google has a comprehensive how-to guide on creating your own dynamic project templates.
In that treasure-trove of wisdom, you’ll also learn how to add advanced-level features to your Google sheets and templates.
Here are my favorite standouts:
1. Add task descriptions to pieces of the project that require additional details and elaboration. This keeps everyone on the same page.
2. Set up progress tracking to help quickly distinguish between tasks that have been completed and ones that have yet to be done or assigned.
3. Add notifications to alert you whenever a status change takes place or if there’s been an edit to your sheet. Then you won’t have to waste time constantly checking in on it.
4. Create drop-down lists within cells to add a list of teammates, job descriptions, or anything else your team or stakeholders need to know.
Though they may seem small, these four tips will upgrade a standard Google Sheets template to an impressive one you and your team will rely on for everything.
Start using these free Google Sheets project management templates today
It doesn’t matter if you need help staying on schedule, corralling team members, or sticking to your budget, you’ll have a better way of managing your projects from start to finish with the right spreadsheet.
With this list of 15 free templates in your PM toolkit, you’ll always have a Google Sheet ready to handle whatever your project demands.
And when you also add those four upgrades we discussed, you’ll take your spreadsheets to the next level without much effort on your end. It’s a total win/win.
If you want to get better acquainted with Google's software tools, then check out this course on how to be more productive with Google Drive. If you are thinking of sharpening your skills as a project manager then check out GoSkills library of Project Management courses.
Want to go beyond Google Sheets? Check out this ultimate list of free project management templates, and if you are looking for more handy templates then check out the best Excel templates and the best free PowerPoint templates too!
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Morning Devan, I have a manufacturing business and created a simple spreadsheet that I need to have some sorting functions.Are you able to assist
Hi Devan, That's a great list of tools/templates! I also created a project management Google Sheets template for Q&A. This template provides a structure for workers to ask experts questions about a project. I created it specifically for translation projects — to allow linguists to ask writers about the meaning of the text. But it can really be used for any kind of project. As people ask questions, the spreadsheet becomes a knowledge base. We've used it for years. Here it is: http://bit.ly/QnATool Or if XLSX is your thing, http://bit.ly/QnAToolXLSX . Enjoy! (If you'd like to include it on your list, let me know, and I can write up a short intro for you like the other templates in your article have. You can reach me on Twitter at @DarrenTJansen )