Four Excel-based templates that will make project management easier

Want to work smarter, not harder, when planning and managing work projects? Here are four Excel-based templates that will make project much management easier.

Whether you’re a newbie or someone who has already spent years in the project management field, we can all agree that project managers don’t have it easy. Aside from having to manage projects amid unpredictable events and make sure they’re completed on deadline, you also have to deal with people, finances, and stakeholders’ expectations.

And it’s not just professional project managers. If you run your own small business, you’ll need to include ‘project management’ in your skillset if you want to keep things on track smoothly – especially if you’re planning launches with lots of moving parts, or that include a number of people.

Luckily there are some tools that can make your job easier – and ensure your projects run more smoothly. So read on for four Excel project management templates you may find useful.

1) Gantt Chart template

The Gantt Chart is one of the most popular project management tools. It is basically a bar chart that allows you to visualize the project schedule in an easy-to-understand way.

Creating a Gantt Chart from scratch can be painstaking. But the good news is – you don’t have to. Smartsheet has a ready-to-use Gantt Chart Template that you can download for free.

To start using the template, all you have to do is input the required task data (task title, task owner, start date, end date, duration time) into the spreadsheet and the template will automatically create a comprehensive visual overview of the project based on the predetermined timeline.

The interactive capabilities of this template will make it easier for you to track the progresses made at every stage of the project.

2) Project status tracking template

As the project manager, one of your responsibilities is to keep track of your team’s progress. You need to always stay on top of things and ensure that every aspect of the project is going as it should.

Tracking the status of your project/s would be a lot less complicated if you do it in Excel. In fact, ExcelTemplates has a versatile Project Status Tracking Template that you can easily customize to suit the requirements of your business or industry.

The Project Status Tracking Template is very easy to use and requires almost no learning curve at all. You only have to fill in the spreadsheet with the required information and set the priority level for a specific task – high, medium, or low. As the project moves forward, you can update the status of each task according to its stage of completion.

With the Project Status Template, you and your team can have a clearer overview of the timeline of all the tasks involved in the project and how each one is related to each other on the project’s timeline as a whole.

3) Action plan template

The best project managers have a system for successfully leading their teams – and most of these systems involve “action plans.”

Just as the name suggests, an action plan is a plan of action that explains the strategy and the steps that need to be taken to complete a task successfully.  A well-thought-out action plan allows you to visualize all the things that need to get done and the steps you have to take to accomplish them in the most efficient way possible.

You can use the Work Action Plan Template from ExcelTemplates to lay out all the tasks, action steps, risks, and goals relevant to your project. To use the template, identify your goal on the top of the page and then fill out the Strategic Action Descriptions column with all action steps associated with that goal.

On the next columns, indicate the Party or Department Responsible, Resources Required, Potential Hazard, and Desired Outcome associated with the specific action step.

4) Earned value management template

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a project management technique used to measure the progress of a project in relation to its budget and costs. EVM are crucial for identifying problems in the project early on and anticipating costs based on the current rate of progress.

Vertex42 has a free EVM Template that can help you objectively measure your project’s performance index. The template may look intimidating at first glance, but it’s relatively easy to use.

To run an earned value analysis with the template, start by adding tasks to the Planned Value Table and enter their Total Budgeting Cost( TBC). After that, enter the same set of tasks in the Earned Value (EV) and Actual Cost (AC) spreadsheets.

At the end of each period, enter the % Complete for each task on the EV spreadsheetto calculate the cumulative EV and the corresponding costs incurred each period on the AC spreadsheet to calculate for the AC. Finally, transfer the cumulative EV and AC to the Report Spreadsheet to perform an earned value analysis.

These are just some of the numerous project management templates that you can find and download for free online, allowing you to work smarter, not harder, and become a more efficient project manager with Excel.

Photo by Bahman Adlou