Project managers are in charge of more projects, in different stages of evolution, at the same time. Therefore, when the deadline is tight and the pressure is high, it is easy to become inconsistent in planning new projects and adjust the projects already running. The project management templates prevents inconsistency, saves time and effort.
Important sections in project management templates
Products and production process may differ significantly from niche to niche. However, the product plan has a series of features which must be mentioned irrespective of the product type or company’s field of activity. Whether custom-made or general, the project management templates should contain the following information:
- Plan introduction – familiarizes the reader with the plan and lists shortly the content of the present project management plan. The introduction can also contain the project scope, but most project managers prefer to list it in a separate section immediately after the introduction;
- Deadlines and milestones – this section details the milestones designed for the project, lists the dates for each milestone and presents the steps which need to be made in order to reach a certain milestone. Some project management templates choose to connect deadlines and milestones, while others deal with the two separately;
- Project responsibilities – every department involved in the production process must know their responsibilities in order to best perform their duties;
- Communication schedule – it is important to keep the sponsor updated on project progress. A communication schedule will show the sponsor your consideration and solid intentions;
- Budget management – a successful plan must detail the costs associated with different production stages;
- Risk management – every project involves risks, which must be clearly stated in the project plan; solutions for possible issues associated should also be given. This section also features the employees/departments in charge with solving possible issues.
Common pitfalls when using project management templates
There are multiple advantages of using project management templates for project planning. Designed by specialists in the domain, these templates offer cost effective, time and effort saving and consistent solutions for a proper project planning. However, their positive effects may be shattered when the templates are not used properly. The pitfalls associated with the usage of these management tools are centered on improper choice or usage of the pre-made templates.
The project management templates are rather varied. From free samples on the internet to custom-made templates, these templates are easy to access, download and use. However, before actually settle for the right one, it is essential to determine if it addresses all issues mentioned above as well as your company’s specific. Do not choose your template based solely on one product, but rather have an ample view of the type of products you plan/supervise and choose a template which can comply with their requirements.
- Over customize the templates
Customization is possible and even recommended in most cases. However, over-personalizing the templates may result in deleting important parts, altering the structure or even changing their purpose. It is advisable to choose the project management templates which best suit your type of projects and tweak them subtly in order to obtain the perfect template.
- Changing the templates too often
Consistency is essential when working as a project manager who is handling numerous products at the same time. Therefore, constantly changing the templates and experience may disrupt the normal flow of the work and create confusion in the parts involved.
A strong and capable manager is the one who can carefully plan the entire production process and break the large tasks into smaller bits that employees can easily complete. The project management templates ease their job by offering insight into what and how the information should be put down. Hints and advices resulted after years of research may help even first year project managers plan their projects perfectly.