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Creating a project plan is a critical first step when beginning any project. However important, it can be tricky, time consuming, and quite intimidating, especially when you have to deal with complex data and stress-inducing deadlines. An effective planning process and a good project plan template can make things easier for you.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a short guide for successful planning, as well as a free, downloadable project plan timeline template that you can use for simple projects or to communicate high-level data to key stakeholders. Let’s dive in!
A project plan is a document that defines your project’s scope, outlines its objectives, and addresses the activities and deliverables needed to reach those objectives. The plan can take the form of a spreadsheet, a table, or a visual timeline. The timeline layout will make it easier to understand at a glance and to communicate the schedule to team members, execs and clients.
Put simply, an effective project plan template will encompass details that answer the What, Why, When, and How of the project. Project plan examples can vary in terms of depth and complexity, but they typically include at least:
Now that you know what typical project plan examples include, it’s time to start creating your own plan. Here are the steps involved in successful project planning:
The free project plan template was designed for professionals who need to create visual, easy-to-understand plans for clients, execs and other project stakeholders. The template is a quick and simple alternative to complex project management tools, and it can serve as the starting point for any project.
Built as a native PowerPoint slide, this downloadable timeline template is easy to share and can be opened and updated by anyone who has the popular presentation tool. Thanks to its visual layout, the project plan example allows your audience to understand key data at first glance, being well suited for presenting to busy stakeholders.
In addition, the template can be used for more than laying out a project timeline. Being simple to update and adjust, it can also be reused easily throughout the life of the project to communicate progress at status meetings, planning reviews and on project scorecards.
The free project plan template can be edited just as you would any other .pptx slide, or you can instantly update it with Office Timeline, a lightweight project planning add-in for PowerPoint.
The Pro+ Edition of the add-in can help you update and customize this sample project plan with just a few clicks, or even create new project timelines from scratch in a matter of minutes. It can turn on features such as such as showing the duration and % Complete of each task automatically, updating dates and timeframes by drag & drop, or adjusting the timescale for easier calendaring.
You can use the free version of the add-in to make a simple timeline quickly, or you can use our 14-day trial to update this project plan template instantly, as it can import data from Microsoft Project or Excel right into it. This makes it easy to create project plan timeline slides quickly by using existing data from your primary project management tools.
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.