Between tracking multiple deadlines, collaborating with cross-functional teams, and balancing resources, keeping a project on track can feel impossible. But it doesn’t have to. A project timeline template gives your team visibility into every project step and any potential roadblocks. Learn how.Create your template
You know how the beginning of a project feels—all that excitement and potential. All the possibilities for what the project could become. You have a vision and a high-level plan—but now what? How do you turn that vision into actionable steps that will get completed on time and turn your project into a reality?
You can do it with a project timeline template.
A project timeline is an overview of all project steps, including project tasks, milestones, and deliverables, in chronological order. These charts visually represent every point in a project from start to finish, so your team can see upcoming next steps—and any potential bottlenecks.
The early stages of project planning can feel overwhelming. It can be hard to know how all the pieces of your project fit together and how you’ll keep everything on schedule and headed toward success. Luckily, project timeline templates do the heavy lifting for you.
Project timeline templates are templatized, reusable resources that break down the different phases of your project at a high level. An essential project management tool, project timeline templates act as the foundation for a project’s schedule by providing a visual timeline of the project's next steps. Once you’ve created a basic project timeline template, you can easily duplicate it for future projects—from product launches to event planning—and adjust the structure as needed. Go from overwhelmed to organized in one simple step.
Put away the printable timeline charts. Step back from the timeline makers and disorganized infographics. You don’t need another downloadable worksheet—you need a digital project timeline template.
A digital project timeline template does more than show you upcoming project to-dos—a lot more. When created in a project management tool, project timeline templates act as your single source of truth for all project work. Reusable templates simplify project planning and completion by aligning your cross-functional teams on upcoming tasks and providing the visibility and accountability needed for the project to stay on track.
Other benefits of building an editable project timeline template include:
Align all project components in one place
Provide visibility for your team and project stakeholders
Visualize your workflow, including current tasks and upcoming to-dos
View potential roadblocks before they happen
Understand resource management at-a-glance
Shift due dates as priorities change
Sync calendars across cross-functional teams
Assign and re-assign tasks to team members
Keep track of completed tasks and upcoming to-dos
Add task dependencies, so all team members know how work connects
Set project milestones to track major progress points
Keep the entire lifecycle of the project on track
Sick of tracking project progress with disorganized spreadsheets and manual to-do lists? We don’t blame you. Digital project timeline templates can end that disorganization and create a reusable foundation for all your projects.
All project timeline templates should start with the same basic components: project phases and tasks. Once you’ve built out your basic timeline template, you can customize it for upcoming projects by building out the phases with to-dos, assigning tasks to owners, and adding deadlines and dependencies.
And remember, despite their name, project timeline templates don’t always need to be viewed as a timeline. Sometimes seeing things mapped out in a timeline chart is the best way, but other times it can be more helpful to view it in a grid style or a Kanban board. Choose the view that works best for your project.
To build out a project timeline for a specific project, follow these steps:
Determine your goals for the project, keeping them SMART and attainable.
Outline the project timeline from planning to execution.
Develop project milestones as checkpoints for task completion or benchmarks for when a new phase launches.
Build out your project to-do list with any task, big or small, that you’ll need to complete for project success.
Finalize each task, adding due dates and owners.
Add task dependencies to any task that relies on a previous task’s completion.
Share with the team for visibility and accountability.
Adjust as needed, shifting due dates as priorities change.
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.
Project Brief. A project brief is a way to communicate important details and dates to your broader project team. Make sure your team can easily access your project brief by putting it in a central source of truth like Asana.
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.
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.
Dropbox. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.
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.
Zoom. Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.
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.
The simple answer? If it’s a project with a start date and an end date, a timeline template can help keep it on track. You can adjust digital project timeline templates to work for many different timeline types, including event timelines, marketing timelines, creative timelines, and more. From launching a new product to tracking the progress of a social media campaign, timeline templates act as a roadmap that keep your project deliverables on track.
Gantt charts are visual tools that allow you to map out your project’s upcoming steps and see the timeline at a high level. Similar to a Gantt chart, project timelines let you see your project from a bird’s-eye view, including when each task will happen and how long they’ll take. However, digital project timelines and digital project timeline templates tend to be more flexible than traditional Gantt charts, which are often created in spreadsheets like Excel or Google Docs and are more difficult to maintain and update.
Typically, the project manager—the person in charge of overseeing the project and coordinating work between teams—creates and manages the project timeline template. In addition to overseeing the project’s progress at a high level, the project manager is also responsible for assigning project tasks, scoping project resources, facilitating cross-team communication, and defining and tracking project KPIs. But make no mistake—project timeline templates provide visibility and accountability that’s useful for the whole team, not just the project manager.
Create your basic project timeline template—the one you’ll duplicate and use across multiple projects—before any project planning has started to remove the upfront work of crafting a timeline once the project kicks off. Then, build out and customize the project timeline during the project planning phase, once you’ve determined the start and end dates of the project and when you’re building out the project to-dos and assigning tasks.You should have a fully fleshed-out project timeline when the team is ready to work on the first project task.
Putting together a project timeline template can feel daunting, especially if the project spans weeks or months. To make sure your project timeline template helps—not hinders—your project’s progress, make sure to:
Look at available resources at the beginning of your project and allocate them accordingly.
Collaborate with other team members when building out the timeline, to ensure due dates and deliverables are realistic.
Break down your project into digestible, doable phases using milestones.
Check in regularly and update deadlines as needed.
Add task dependencies, so it’s clear to the whole team how each part of the project connects.
Review project scope and progress at a regular cadence and adjust accordingly.
Create your project timeline template in a project management tool for ease of use and functionality.
Complex work, simplified. Organize project tasks, deliverables, and milestones into one cohesive schedule. Learn how to create a customized project schedule template in Asana.
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