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Project Overview Template

A project overview acts as a project manager’s elevator pitch to their senior management. If done properly, it effectively convinces the audience of the validity and value of the project in question and gets the green light for its launch.

To learn how to craft a convincing project overview that will make a strong case in favor of your project, here are a few essential related facts you need to know first. Moreover, you will also find a free downloadable project overview template that you can easily customize into a compelling graphic that will get buy-in for your project.

What is a project overview?

A project overview is a one-page high-level summary of your project and a crucial tool for getting any project off the ground. Highlighting any particular opportunity a project can produce, a project overview outlines the goals, objectives, criteria for successful delivery and potential risks involved in such an endeavor.

Compiled before a project begins, the project overview describes the main points of the project and acts as a reference source to ensure that all participants are working together towards the same end results.

Why create a project overview?

Giving the gist of a project in terms of goals and steps to achieve them, a project overview is useful in many ways:

  • It serves as a sales pitch to the organizational parties who have the authority to initiate a project.
  • It helps get the entire project team on the same page and up to speed by boiling all the involved work into a digestible format.
  • It provides project managers with an easy way to monitor the progress of their project and check whether they are on track with meeting all the expectations that were set.
  • It can serve as a valuable source of historical data for future similar initiatives.

How do you write a project overview?

When creating a project overview, here are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Keep it short – don’t delve into the particulars of a project. Your executives need to understand the reason behind your proposal easily and quickly.
  • Focus on the value that the project can create or the problems it can address.
  • Don’t get technical – stay away from using jargon since your project overview is geared to a non-project audience.

What should a project overview include?

A well-crafted project overview includes the following main sections:

  • Identifying details – project title, the name of its manager and executive sponsor, as well as who compiled the project data.
  • Business case – outlining the value of the project for the organization and listing its top benefits.
  • Reason for the project – addressing the opportunity or problem that calls for the project to be initiated; this section should explain how the project capitalizes on the identified opportunity or how it solves the outlined problem.
  • Goals and objectives – presenting the direction in which the project is headed.
  • Project scope – defining the body of work that will be undertaken to achieve the set goals. It requires a timeline that indicates all the major tasks and milestones to be covered throughout the execution of the project.
    You can easily create one such visual starting from a template like the one we offer on this page, or you can learn how to make a timeline using various office tools with the help of our step-by-step tutorials.
  • Deliverables – determining the desired end results of the project, along with the criteria and metrics against which the success of your project will be measured.

Using and updating the Project Overview Template

This free downloadable project overview template helps business professionals present the management framework for their project in a clear, effective way. It provides the visual support required to describe how the project will be managed and monitored throughout its lifecycle so that it is easily understood by the audience.

In projects with a high activity volume, information needs to be conveyed as simply as possible so that the most important aspects can be interpreted to allow efficient decisions to be made. Using the project overview template, managers can simplify large amount of data and effectively communicate the purpose, scope and objectives of a project so that all involved members work towards a common goal.

Offering a variety of colors and shapes to define milestones and tasks, this project overview sample ensures a clear structure and layout to any project presentation. Easily editable, it can be customized to fit specific requirements or updated to accommodate any occurring changes either manually in PowerPoint, or automatically using Office Timeline.

Office Timeline is a user-friendly PowerPoint plugin that helps project management professionals to quickly create impressive visuals describing the approach that will be employed to manage the project. For more complex project overviews that include subsidiary plans and overlapping stages, they can use Office Timeline Pro+ Edition to group tasks into categories or subdivide major events into phases. Able to import data from platforms like Microsoft Project, Excel, Wrike or Smartsheet and turn it into a neat timeline, the full application saves professionals even more time and effort in creating or updating a project overview presentation.

Successful project overviews give managers, team members and stakeholders an instant summary of the project’s core components, processes and deliverables. Office Timeline facilitates the communication of all these aspects between project participants through impactful visuals like this project overview sample. The project overview template helps the audience understand the status and progress of the project, view activity details directly and easily from an overall perspective, and gain the bases for effective decision-making. Once created, it can be updated, customized further and reused for future projects, which takes the hassle out of having to build a new project overview from scratch.

Updating your template is simple and fast.

Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly update any of these timeline templates or create your own project visuals. Easily change the texts, dates, colors, shapes and styles of your timeline, right from inside PowerPoint.

Free PowerPoint Timeline and Swimlane Maker