Waterfall project management template

Streamline your linear project process with a waterfall project management template. Break down your project into clear, sequential phases and actionable tasks that map to your project’s milestones and end goal.

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Think about the last time you made a cup of coffee. To brew the best cup, you probably followed a set of sequential steps—measuring your beans, grinding the coffee, putting the coffee in the filter, boiling the water, pouring the water into the coffee maker, and so on. That’s because making coffee is a sequential activity, meaning you have to perform tasks in a certain order to be successful.

In project management, linear projects are projects that have to be completed in sequential order. To successfully complete these projects, you need to take a linear project management approach. One methodology that maps out project phases in sequential order is waterfall project management. 

A waterfall project management template helps you templatize your linear project process, so it’s easy to plug in your information and get started on a new project—without worrying about missing any steps. 

What is waterfall project management?

Waterfall project management is a project management methodology that divides work into distinct, sequential phases. Each phase can only begin after you've completed the previous stage and all corresponding tasks. This methodology is perfect for projects with defined tasks, milestones, and an end goal. Typically, industries with defined production processes, such as manufacturing, construction, or software development, use waterfall project management. 

What’s the difference between waterfall project management and agile project management?

Waterfall project management segments work in consecutive phases. In contrast, the agile methodology of project management is an iterative process that breaks down work into dynamic phases called sprints. Unlike the waterfall methodology, which is rigid and requires work to be completed sequentially, the agile methodology is flexible and useful for projects where tasks can be completed at the same time. If you’re completing a project using the agile methodology, check out our agile project plan template.

What is a waterfall project management template?

A waterfall project management template creates a reusable framework you can use for any linear project. This template breaks down the typical phases of the waterfall approach, which you can customize to complement your project. Since the template is duplicatable, you can use it to create a repeatable process across all linear projects. 

With a digital waterfall project management template, you can: 

  • Break your projects into sequential steps, mapping a clear path from A to B.

  • View your project task list in a step-by-step linear timeline or Gantt chart.

  • Ensure your team meets project milestones, one task at a time. 

  • Create a reusable framework you can use for all linear projects.

  • Share the project timeline with stakeholders and keep them up-to-date on project progress. 

  • See where tasks stand and track which are at risk, so you can spot and mitigate roadblocks before they happen. 

  • Use custom tags to track essential project information like start and end dates, task status, dependencies, and project milestones.

What should your waterfall project management template include?

A waterfall project management template helps you standardize your linear project processes by providing a basic outline of the project phases. That way, when you have a new project, you can plug in your tasks and get to work, cutting down on upfront effort and ensuring you follow the same steps for every project. 

To start, divide your waterfall project management template into the chronological stages that your linear projects typically follow. While these phases might vary depending on your project type or industry, the phases of the waterfall project management methodology typically include some variation of:

  • Requirement gathering or analysis: This is the initial planning phase of the project when you compile a detailed project plan and determine essential project information such as project scope and timeline. Tasks in the requirements phase might include assigning team members to different deliverables and building a timeline for each stage. This phase also includes identifying project requirements and specifications. 

  • Design: The design phase is when the project team builds out the high-level design of the deliverable. In software development, the design phase might include wireframing, making decisions on functionality, and design revisions. In manufacturing, this could include product design. 

  • Implementation: In the implementation phase, your team begins developing the deliverable. Tasks in the implementation phase can include different development stages and reviews.

  • Testing: The QA team takes over during the testing phase, performing quality assurance tests to identify errors before the deliverable rolls out. Tasks in the testing phase often include performing different tests and recommending solutions. For software development, this could include running end-user testing and identifying bugs. In manufacturing, this could include testing the product under certain conditions, such as different types of weather.

  • Delivery or deployment: The deployment or delivery phase happens once your team completes and submits the deliverable. In software development, the deployment phase might include rolling out a software update; whereas in manufacturing, the delivery phase could include delivering the product to a customer.

  • Maintenance: The maintenance phase follows the deployment phase and involves continually monitoring the final product to identify and fix issues as they arise. In software development, the maintenance phase might involve fixing bugs that occur after deployment. In manufacturing, it might mean making repairs to the product. 

Asana’s integrated features and synced business apps level up your waterfall project management template by streamlining cross-team collaboration and simplifying the project monitoring process.

Integrated features

  1. Timeline View. Timeline View is a Gantt-style project view that displays all of your tasks in a horizontal bar chart. Not only can you see each task’s start and end date, but you can also see dependencies between tasks. With Timeline View, you can easily track how the pieces of your plan fit together. Plus, when you can see all of your work in one place, it’s easy to identify and address dependency conflicts before they start, so you can hit all of your goals on schedule. 

  2. Milestones. Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal. 

  3. Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization. 

  4. Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well. 

Recommended apps

  1. Dropbox. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.

  2. Microsoft Teams. With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.

  3. Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.

  4. Gmail. With the Asana for Gmail integration, you can create Asana tasks directly from your Gmail inbox. Any tasks you create from Gmail will automatically include the context from your email, so you never miss a beat. Need to refer to an Asana task while composing an email? Instead of opening Asana, use the Asana for Gmail add-on to simply search for that task directly from your Gmail inbox. 

FAQs

What is a waterfall project management template?

A waterfall project management template is a templatized version of a sequential project process. It streamlines your linear project processes by providing an outline of the project phases, which you can customize at the start of each project.

What are the benefits of a waterfall project management template?

Using a waterfall project management template standardizes your linear project processes, so you can plug and play every time you have a new project, cutting down on upfront work and ensuring your team follows the same set of steps. 

Who should use a waterfall project management template?

Waterfall project management templates are useful for teams that undertake linear projects. These projects have clearly defined steps and a set end goal. Manufacturing and construction industries originally developed the waterfall process, and it's often used in software development. 

What should your waterfall project management template include?

You should break down your waterfall project management template into sections for the typical phases your linear projects follow. In software development and manufacturing, these phases typically include requirement gathering, design, implementation, testing, deployment or delivery, and maintenance.

What’s the difference between a waterfall project management template and an agile project management template?

Project teams use waterfall project management templates when completing projects using the linear, sequential waterfall methodology. In this methodology, tasks are completed in sequential order. In contrast, teams use agile project management templates and sprint planning templates when completing projects using the more flexible agile methodology. In that methodology, tasks can be completed at the same time.   

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