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How To Create a Timeline in Project Management

Oct 25, 2022
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Few things are as puzzling as tracking project tasks on a spreadsheet or a messy to-do list. You should make your work much easier with a project management timeline as a project manager.

A project timeline can help you visualize your tasks and activities in an orderly manner. However, creating a project management timeline can be tricky.

You don't have to worry though! We will show to create a project timeline without any help.

But first...

What Is a Project Management Timeline?

A timeline is a project management tool that provides a view of the activities that make up a project. It displays the activities chronologically with their starting date, deadline, deliverables, milestones, and task dependencies.

Additionally, a project timeline ensures that all team members get an overview of the entire project for better time management and efficiency.

Creating a Successful Project Timeline in 6 Simple Steps

The process of creating a project timeline doesn't have to be complicated. Our team has researched extensively to develop the simplest and most effective method for making project timelines.

Step 1: Start With the Project Brief

A project brief summarizes all the information the stakeholders should know. It should include your objectives, goals, risks, milestones, vision, budget, and timeframe. Remember to be as concise as possible.

Step 2: Project Scope Statement

Your project scope includes all the tasks you will execute from the beginning of your project to the end. You don't have to arrange them in any particular order yet. Just ensure you don't skip any step.

Let's assume you want to design a new flyer for your business. Your project scope will be similar to this:

  • Create concise content
  • Add visually appealing images
  • Add a CTA
  • Choose a suitable flyer size
  • Make it press-ready
  • Find an online printing company
  • Decide on the printing and shipping time

Additionally, you should reduce complex tasks into smaller tasks. This will make them easier to understand and manage. We can break down the second step on our list to make it simpler:

  • Hire a photographer for a product photoshoot
  • Select the best images
  • Ensure the pictures suit your flyer's overall design

Step 3: Estimate the Duration of Each Task

Assign tasks to your team members and set a duration for each task. Ensure that you give everyone sufficient time to complete their tasks while maintaining a reasonable time frame for the entire project.

Add Visually Appealing Images

  • Hire a photographer for a product photoshoot (3 days)
  • Select the best images (4 hours)
  • Ensure the pictures suit your flyer's overall design (2 hours)

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Step 4: Identify Task Dependencies

Task dependency is a situation in which a team has to complete a certain task until it completes another. Such tasks are called dependent tasks.

In our project timeline example, your flyer must be press-ready before you send it to the printing company.

By identifying dependencies, you can avoid delays and guarantee the smooth completion of the project. Allocate resources required for priority tasks and notify the team members executing them.

Step 5: Add Milestones

Milestones allow project managers to monitor progress and keep their teams motivated. You can add milestones to your project timeline in the form of deliverables, events, etc.

Note that milestones are different from deadlines. They are more like signposts that show your progress on your project journey.

Step 6: Complete Your Project Management Timeline

Your project management timeline is finally coming together. You can create a project timeline in different ways.

Depending on the resources available, you can choose between using project timeline software, project timeline templates, or a spreadsheet. After that, you can start entering the necessary information such as the project, timeframe, tasks, dependencies, and key milestones.

Need a problem-solving tool? Download our who, what, when, where, and why template.

Step 7: Share

After creating your project timeline, remember to share it with the stakeholders. This step will be easier if you create it using project management software or a project timeline template.

Advantages of Using Project Management Timelines

A project timeline helps project managers in several ways. See some of them below:

  • It improves communication by giving the entire team a clear idea of what's to happen.
  • It makes it easier to control and monitor project progress
  • It prevents delays
  • It ensures that everyone follows the project plan in the right order
  • It makes projects trackable

Download a Free Project Timeline Template

You can create project timelines in no time by downloading project timeline infographics. All you have to do is to download the template and enter your project's details. At Simple Slides, we offer a free project timeline template to new members.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are a timeline and a Gantt chart the same?

A timeline and a Gantt chart aren't the same. A timeline provides a high-level overview of the entire project, while a Gantt chart enables managers to control workflows and assign tasks.

Can I create a project timeline with PowerPoint?

Yes, you can create a timeline in PowerPoint for the web.

Where can I download a project timeline PowerPoint template?

You can download a project timeline PowerPoint template from Simple Slides.

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