Projects can be complex, but a project chart helps you visualize all the moving pieces. To track all your deliverables and milestones in one place, learn how to create a reusable project chart template.Create your template
Goals, budgets, milestones, communication plans—starting a new project can feel overwhelming, even for the most seasoned project managers.
But luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch every time. A project chart template gives you a blueprint to use every time you start a new endeavor, so you don’t have to worry about missing steps and putting your work at risk.
A project chart is a visual representation of your project plan. It lays out everything you need to accomplish in one place and illustrates how each deliverable fits into your overarching project timeline. Also called Gantt charts, project charts are typically formatted as horizontal bar graphs.
Project charts use taskbars to map out the start dates and deadlines of each project deliverable, while connecting lines help visualize any task dependencies. These charts can also include key project milestones, as well as the team members responsible for each task.
A project chart template (or Gantt chart template) is a reusable guide that lets you quickly set up a project chart for any new initiative. It provides a blueprint for all the steps you need to successfully plan, execute, and deliver your project. That means you don’t have to start from scratch or worry about missing critical steps when starting a new project. Your template provides a map, so all you have to do is plug in the specifics for your current initiative.
As a project manager, you need more than a static Excel spreadsheet to keep track of project deliverables. You need a living, breathing document that dynamically updates as your team completes tasks—so everyone can see how work is progressing over time.
Creating a digital project chart template means you can spend less time updating documentation and more time working to achieve your project goals. And thanks to project management software, you don’t have to make a separate project plan and chart. Instead, they’re the same document visualized in different ways.
When you create a project chart template in a project management tool instead of a static document, you can:
Visualize your project plan and store project information in one place.
Rearrange your chart and update due dates and statuses if priorities change.
See how your project is progressing in real time.
Easily share your project schedule, status, and deliverables with stakeholders.
Avoid duplicate work, since your project chart can double as a project plan.
Collaborate on project deliverables in the same place you track them.
Ensure you’re not missing any key project steps.
Attach relevant documents, images, or spreadsheets.
An effective project chart template is easy for stakeholders to navigate and provides plenty of contextual details. Ideally, your project chart template should have functionality that allows stakeholders to click into each task and access more detailed information if they need to. That way, your chart isn’t just a way to visualize tasks—it’s also a single source of truth where everyone can access key project information.
Here’s how to build your project chart template:
Break your project chart template into sections for each project phase—project initiation, planning, execution, performance, and project closure. This gives stakeholders an at-a-glance view of what stage your project is in. Plus, it helps your team understand the different project phases and ensure they’re allocating sufficient time for each one.
Pre-fill standard tasks you want to include for every project, but leave room for additional deliverables. Your project chart template should lay out the key steps that every project should take—like creating a project brief and defining project goals. That way, your template provides a roadmap to follow for every new project. Since all endeavors are a bit different, your team members can add additional deliverables as needed when they use the template.
Map dependencies between tasks. Dependencies are tasks that rely on the completion of a different task. Building dependencies into your template helps you schedule tasks in the right order—so you can avoid bottlenecks and make sure your team has the resources they need to start each assignment.
Create milestones for key moments like project kickoff meetings or product launch days. Milestones give your team checkpoints to aim for through the project management process, so you know when a phase has been completed or when a new phase or activity is launched.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dropbox. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.
Hubspot. Create Asana tasks automatically using HubSpot Workflows. With HubSpot Workflows, you can use all the customer data in HubSpot CRM to create automated processes. This integration enables you to seamlessly hand off work between teams, for example, when deals or tickets close in HubSpot.
Lucidchart. The Lucidchart + Asana integration seamlessly embeds diagrams, flowcharts, process maps, and wireframes into your Asana project. Important project context lives right where you need it: in Asana. Teams can have easy access to all the right information as they work—without switching between different applications.
A project chart is a useful tool to visualize the task list and timeline for your entire project. When you create a project chart template, you can easily create a project chart for each new endeavor and ensure you follow the same steps every time. That means you and your stakeholders always have a standardized roadmap to follow—so you don’t have to worry about missing critical steps like approvals, testing, and hand-offs. This makes it easier to collaborate and align with stakeholders. Plus, it ensures that all of your team’s projects meet the same quality standards.
Your project chart template will provide a blueprint for every new project, so it should include a set of standardized steps you want each of your team’s projects to follow. For example, you could create steps for essential tasks like setting goals, stakeholder analysis, approvals, and testing. Your template should also have space where you can add more specific deliverables for each new initiative.
First, decide on a standardized set of steps that each new project should follow—that’s the backbone of your project chart template. To keep things organized, you can divide tasks into categories according to their project phase (like initiation, planning, execution, and delivery). Then, plot out each project task on a timeline according to its start and end date. You can also include space to track additional information like dependencies, milestones, or task owners.
Every time you start a new project, duplicate your project chart template and fill in the details for your particular initiative. Add specific project deliverables, update task due dates, and indicate any dependencies between tasks. You can also fill out your project chart alongside key stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page about deadlines, deliverables, and task owners.
A project chart and a Gantt chart are essentially the same thing—a visual diagram used to plan projects. The only difference is that a project chart can be formatted in different ways, while a Gantt chart is always formatted as a horizontal or stacked bar chart. Project managers used to (and still do) create Gantt charts with Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or via PowerPoint presentations. However, modern project management software now allows you to quickly visualize your project deliverables as a Gantt chart—without all the effort of drawing your Gantt chart yourself.
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