Managing a project is no small feat and a project timeline can be vital to ensure your team stays on track with their tasks and timings. The thought of creating a project timeline may seem daunting, but with our comprehensive guide and project timeline templates, My Product Roadmap can make it easier for you.
What is a project timeline?
A project timeline depicts the chronological order of tasks that must be completed. Project managers and other departments alike can view a whole project with ease, seeing how far along they are in the process. A project timeline should show the beginning and end of a project as an overview. There are numerous parts that makeup a project timeline, which we will discuss in depth so you can create a timeline that ensures your project runs smoothly.
Why should I create a project timeline?
The more you plan, the higher your chances of success. A project timeline requires in depth scheduling as you map out what is required within your project. They allow you to spot key elements such as potential obstacles and dependencies when creating your timeline. You can increase the likelihood of achieving your project goals.
How is it used?
Project timelines are used in a number of ways. For example, they are used by project managers to organise tasks, present deadlines, link tasks and create a manageable workload for the project team. By clearly illustrating when a task needs to be done by, how long it should take and who should complete it, all involved can easily use the timeline to work collaboratively at the right pace.
Benefits of a timeline for your project
The importance of a project timeline is ultimately that it keeps everyone on the same page, from stakeholders to project managers. More specific benefits of a project timeline includes:
- Provides focus - by showing an overview of your project, where you are and where you need to be at a single glance
- Collaboration - keeps everyone aligned as the most successful project timelines are open and accessible to everyone involved
- Accompanies your project plan - the timeline connects all aspects from your plan into a linear schedule
- Aligns goals - as everyone can see the next step and overall goal (the end of your timeline), individuals can also see their contribution to the goal and success of the project
- Prevents bottlenecks - project timelines highlight dependencies between tasks, so you can avoid potential setbacks and delays
- Add changes - an interactive PowerPoint timeline can be easily amended as things crop up during the project process, you can then plan accordingly.
What should a project timeline include?
To create a project timeline you must include several key features:
- Scope - what is your project trying to accomplish? Your scope statement should outline the tasks and deliverables and is an overview of everything you need to consider for your timeline.
- Deliverables and work breakdown structure (WBS) - separate your tasks into smaller workloads with what each one needs to achieve. This will help you create a chronological order of when things should be completed.
- Dependencies - to help you establish the order of tasks, you need to identify any role that depends on another being completed first.
- Time - estimate task duration - how long would you expect each task to take? Remember to make reasonable estimates and feel free to ask for guidance from the department who will be carrying out the task if you’re unsure.
- Resources - assuming you have more than one project running at a time, you need to realistically consider your resources. A task may take a day if everyone is solidly working on it, but with other factors to consider the work may have to be spread over 3 days in order to maintain other projects.
- Milestones - milestones are vital to track progress throughout the project. By completing task deliverables you can ensure your team is on the right track to complete the project successfully, rather than being caught out at the very end.
Project timeline examplesAt My Product Roadmap we provide a range of project timeline templates. From 5 phase timelines to 15, we have a template for every project length.
For any project with a timescale of a year, this template graphic is ideal. You can clearly showcase your goals and estimated task durations to colleagues and stakeholders alike. As with all our professional PowerPoint templates, every part is editable so you can easily create a timeline to your needs. This template showcases monthly progress throughout the year and the circle progress indicators can be changed as and when needed, to illustrate where you are in your task.
This six-step project timeline features floating nodes to present progression of your project over time. All markers can be easily edited and colours changed to represent your personal branding or preference. With a clear visual of each milestone, you can track progress with ease.
This 9 phase timeline template enables you to not only save time, but present a project plan that stands out. The interlocking hexagons present how your project will progress over time, whilst emphasising the importance of the chronological order and dependencies.
Save yourself some time with our project timeline templates and present a timeline that is sure to impress stakeholders and help your team accomplish milestones and reach deliverables in the most effective way.