Find a Project Timeline Template for Any Project

As projects become more complex and deadlines become shorter, project managers feel pressured to start working on tasks immediately. On the contrary, good project management suggests that these are occasions where they should spend time planning the project. Poor planning provides opportunities for scope creep or inefficient resource management. But the planning stage does not have to take too much time.

Using a project plan template, teams can quickly clarify objectives, schedule milestones, assess risks, calculate resources, and identify dependencies. To make the plan more visible for all involved, project managers should create a project timeline.

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What Is a Project Timeline?

A timeline is a line with dates, events, or activities displayed in a chronological order. A project timeline is a document that chronologically shows a list of tasks, activities, and milestones, with dates, duration, and dependencies. It provides an overview of the entire project from start to finish. Successful projects depend on following the timeline or work plan, so project managers and teams do their best to keep the project schedule on track.

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PM Software With Timelines

Project management software that allows you to create timelines is highly useful. Here are our top selections for timeline project management software.

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Examples of Project Timeline Template

Project timelines provide many benefits to project teams, making it a vital project management tool. It helps organize tasks, show when work should start, and display deadlines and dependencies.

Gantt Chart Project Timelines

A Gantt chart is a popular project timeline in the form of a horizontal bar chart, where the bars describe the duration, start date, and end dates of each task. The project timeline can also highlight the different phases of a project, milestones for each phase, and responsible person for each task or task owner.

Read also: Best Gantt Chart Software for Project Management in 2021

Work plan project timeline

Gantt charts are not the only types of project timelines. A work plan project timeline template divides the project into the different phases. For each phase, the work plan lists the itemized planned activities and expected outcomes.

Work plan timeline

Milestone-Focused Project Timeline

A milestone-focused project timeline is a high-level project view focused only on important periods, project stages, and milestones during the course of the project. The timeline can mention only general description of tasks or activities with limited details.

Stage-Focused Project Timeline

Another high-level type is a stage-focused project timeline. This type of project schedule template shows the major stages or phases of the project in longer time periods such as weeks or months with little to no other details.

Stages timeline

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Steps to Create a Project Timeline

Project timelines are valuable documents in project plans. At a glance, all stakeholders can see a clear breakdown of the work schedule as well as the critical path without getting lost into the individual task details. By creating a project timeline, project managers help ensure to keep the team on track, promote transparency and accountability, and provide the big picture when all the pieces connect.

Here are the steps to creating a project timeline:

  1. Define project goals: Identify the key milestones and deliverables that make the project successful
  2. Identify all stakeholders: List the names of all the persons involved who will need to see the timeline
  3. Determine the final deadline: Mark the final date and make sure to include contingencies
  4. Write a project scope statement: Put in writing the goals, milestones, deliverables, tasks, and boundaries of the project
  5. Identify task dependencies: Find out which among the tasks are dependent on other tasks to start or end
  6. Estimate task duration: From the final deadline, estimate the time and duration for your team to complete the task and still meet the deadline
  7. Set milestones: Identify the important dates that mark the end of a phase or the completion of a vital part of the final deliverable
  8. Organize your project schedule using a project timeline tool: Choose an application that is easy to use and update a visible project timeline for all involved

Read also: Timeline Templates: How to Use Different Project Timeline Templates

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Project Timeline Use Cases

Project timelines are applicable in a variety of industries and objectives. Here are some real-world examples where companies use project timelines to plan and schedule their tasks to achieve milestones and business goals.

Customer Appreciation Event Planning

Create a timeline for the event you planned for your customers. Identify the team members, their tasks, and the sequence of events before the big day.

Event planning timeline

Product Development Timeline

Make it easy for sponsors and stakeholders to approve your idea. Show the different stages that the product will go through, the activities, and important milestones over time, from conception to launch.

Product development timeline

High-Level Construction Timeline

Project timelines can also have vertical layout especially when you want to fit them on printed paper. This construction plan timeline for a hospital allows you to identify the major stages, important start dates, and general details for each stage.

Construction timeline

Aside from project applications, people use timelines marketing campaigns, clinical trials, and legal court cases. Project timelines take the form of horizontal bar charts, but timelines also appear in chronology charts and vertical bar charts.

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for and Bridge24. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.