Project Templates
April 14, 2020

How Do Project Templates Improve Business Performance?

By Brian McHale

Processes are the key to sustained project management success.

Think of it like this: if you’d found the winning lottery combination that works every time, you’d keep using it.

The same goes for processes.

So why not write down your process into an easy-to-follow project management template?

When you find the processes that work, you stick to them, and manage projects without hassle.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to use project management templates and improve your success rate.

Let’s take a look!


The Importance of Project Management Processes

If you’re a first-time or occasional project manager, chances are that you don’t have established processes for managing projects and teams.

Instead, you might be flailing a bit, and setting things up all over again every time you’re in charge of a new project.

This is completely normal!

Unfortunately, as you take on more projects, you’ll be wasting time by establishing projects from scratch.

It makes much more sense to establish processes and templates you can follow to plan, schedule, and manage your projects on autopilot.

Some of the key benefits of project management processes are:


Processes Keep Everyone on the Same Page

The project initiation stage is often hectic.

It feels like you have to do everything at the same time, and the more tasks you have, the easier it is to forget something important.

Processes will help you keep everything organized:

  • Identify expectations and goals, and apply relevant metrics to make sure you’re meeting them
  • Establish responsibilities
  • Monitor performance
  • Create a road map for project implementation.

Once you’ve established a process that works for your teams and your projects, managing projects becomes a matter of following the right steps.

For example, you could use a RACI matrix to establish responsibilities in the planning stage, and apply the template every time you’re starting a new project.

Project Management Templates


Create a Map to Project Success with Project Management Templates

When you consistently apply project management methods, you can identify risks early on, and overcome obstacles in your path.

When you consistently apply the same project management methods, you can:

  • Spot risks early on
  • Improve your performance
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Overcome obstacles in your path
  • Identify root causes of (potential) problems

If you can see the problems, you can easily optimize your processes.

Conversely, without a process that includes constants, you won’t know what you need to improve.

Consistency is key.

Project managers often rely on methodologies such as Agile and Scrum to make sure they’re managing projects in a consistent, understandable way.

In fact, projects that use Agile are 28% successful than traditional projects.

Finally, processes will help you improve the accuracy of your estimates.

So the next time you get a new project, you’ll know exactly how much work you need to get done!


Processes Help You Communicate with Stakeholders

Stakeholder support is everything in project management.

You need to manage your team and make sure they understand what their responsibilities are, and how their tasks contribute to general project success and goals.

You have to collaborate with your clients to make sure the end product meets the quality standards you’ve outlined in the project planning stage.

This is particularly important for projects that require multiple iterations (e.g. software development).

Collaboration is key.

Finally, you have to make sure you have top management’s support.

Project management processes help you create templates for stakeholder management.

You’ll understand who needs to know what, when to report to them, and how they want to receive the information.

Free Project Plan Template in Excel

Click to download our Free Project Plan Template in Excel to begin simplifying your project management.

How to Implement Project Management Processes

The benefits are clear.

However, many occasional project managers struggle to implement project management processes.

The number one mistake is trying to create complex processes for absolutely everything in one go.

It’s much better to start by creating project management templates:


Identify Your Processes

If you want to create your first template, you should first identify common processes in your projects.

Normally, these are processes such as:

  • Project planning
  • Stakeholder communication
  • Project (performance) monitoring
  • Task management processes
  • Closing.

Your list may vary depending on your projects.


How to Create a Project Plan Template

Your project plan will establish the foundations of your project, so you want to make sure you cover everything.

Your project plan has to include:

  • Goals – Why is the project being carried out? What are the clients hoping to accomplish? What are their expectations?
  • Scope – Which characteristics should the end product have for the project to be deemed successful? How much time do you have? What is your budget?
  • Milestones and deliverables – What are the big components of work (e.g. important features), and when do they have to be delivered?
  • Resources – What do you need to complete the project? Use a Work Breakdown Structure to identify resources.
  • Communications plan – Who needs to know what, and when?
  • Timeline – When do you plan on completing tasks?


Using Project Documents to Create Templates

We know you can’t reinvent the wheel – you’ve got too much work to do.

And that’s where project documentation helps!

Use the following documentation templates:


Creating a To-Do List Template Is More Important than You Would Have Thought!

Once you’ve planned out your project, it’s time to get to work.

As with anything related to projects, it’s important to have a task management process you can stick to and make sure you don’t miss anything important.

Your to-do list template should:

  • Focus on actionable items
  • Follow the Kanban board structure (label items as: Done, Doing, To-Do)
  • Contain start and due dates for each task
  • Organize tasks with priorities in mind
  • State owners of the tasks.


Use Tools to Supercharge Your Project Management Templates

Why do it manually when you can automate it?

Project and task management tools are one of the most important assets in your PM toolbox.

For example, Project Central allows you to set up, monitor, and successfully complete projects.

The tool will even help you manage tasks and monitor performance. It even integrates with Office 365!

Easily create project management templates

Your PM tool can also help you communicate with stakeholders.

You can keep your team members in the loop constantly and facilitate knowledge sharing, and report to clients and top management with just a few clicks.


KPIs, KPIs, and KPIs!

Finally, when you establish your processes and templates, it’s important to constantly monitor their performance.

This is best done with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Some of the most helpful project management metrics include:

  • Number of changes
  • Milestones and tasks completed
  • Project cancellation and change rate
  • On-time completion and planned hours vs actual time spent.

These metrics will help you improve your processes in the long term.

After all, when you can see it, you can improve it!

And there’s nothing like project management templates to help you become the best PM there ever was.

Get Started With Project Central

Sign-up for your free 14-day trial and see how Project Central can help your teams to plan, manage, and collaborate with Microsoft 365.

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