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Need to keep your team engaged and projects on schedule? We have created a Project Plan spreadsheet template that has everything you need to organize, coordinate, manage, and plan your next project.

Our Project Plan template includes a project charter, stakeholder register, task list, triage matrixes, risk dashboard, and visualizations to track your progress, either with Kanban or the Agile project management framework.No matter your management style and project plan layout preferences, this template can be downloaded and fully customizable for your needs. Let's now review how to use this spreadsheet for your project management needs.

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Begin with the Fields tab, where the essential fields are organized according to what tabs reference them. Under Kanban, define the priority and stages that your project will reference. Under Charter, list the team members and the levels of interest and influence they will be assessed by. Under Risk, define the levels of likelihood and severity your organization uses, which also appear down below in the risk matrix. And under Triage, include the levels of urgency and importance, as well as impact and effort used in the triage matrixes, can be customized.

Set up the right structure and project kickoff

The Project Charter lets PMs add all the specific details related to this project's scope, leadership, budget, constraints, milestones and deadlines. Below the project charter, the project stakeholder register lists all the relevant roles, their contact information, whether they are internal or external, their level of interest and influence in the project, and any specific expectations or communication requirements. Did you know that PMs spend 90% of their time communicating? However, 47% of teams called meetings their #1 time-waster, so take their preferred communication requirements seriously.

At the bottom, the project budget calculations include the total cost, planned and actual cost, remaining budget, and percent used to date. These calculations get their data from the task list.

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Tasks list

On the Tasks list tab, enter all the tasks that make up a given project. Begin with the overall task inputs, including a custom ID, the task title, responsible team members, and work progress bars. These progress bars are editable, so PMs can track work progress as it's completed in real-time. Next, enter the start date, due date, and final finish date. The kanban and agile sections are optional fields to visualize your project planning timeline.

Now, enter the financials for each task. These include the baseline cost, the expected fair market value for the task; the planned budget, the amount of money set aside for this task; the actual cost, or the amount of the budget spent to date. Finally, there's the remaining budget, or the amount of money from your planned budget remaining. This is calculated by subtracting the actual cost from the planned budget. And if it is negative, that means you've gone over budget. The used percent is calculated automatically by dividing the actual cost by the planned budget. And the linear forecasted cost divides the actual cost by the work progress percentage to determine what the overall project will likely cost.

The financial data for all tasks are summed to define the overall project budget. These fields are meant to be updated in real-time as the project progresses.

For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance. So make sure to keep your task list up to date, so your overall project budget is up to date, too.

Last, you can define any risks associated with the task, and the levels of importance, urgency, impact on the overall project and effort required to pull it off.

These inputs allow all stakeholders to gauge potential risk areas to plan around and triage tasks based on their importance and impact. Don't forget, you can download and customize this project plan template right now!

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Account for risks and triage tasks to prioritize.

Under the Triage tab, triage tasks and determine which ones are most important. First, use an action priority matrix to analyze the impact of a task versus the effort required to prioritize work. Any tasks in the high-impact, low-effort quadrant are quick wins and should be completed first and foremost. Any task that's high impact and high effort quadrant are major projects that should be prioritized over the fill-in and thankless tasks below.

What if the goal is to prioritize tasks based on their level of urgency? The Eisenhower matrix below classifies tasks based on their urgency and importance. For example, any tasks that are both urgent and important are represented in the green box and should be "done" immediately. While those that are important but not urgent should be planned for accordingly, and those in the urgent but not important quadrant should be delegated to others to complete. Anything that's not urgent and not important? Delete.

This Risk analysis tab breaks out the probability, severity, and level of risk across each task. The charts visualize the individual risks that are the most likely to cause problems in the bar chart and the overall level of risk for this project with the pie charts. Each risk is labeled according to the task ID associated with each task on the Tasks list. To define these risks, enter their details in the risk description column, so team members know what's most at stake with each task. Analysis is power, and this tab is meant to forecast bottlenecks so you can be preemptive in your prescriptive actions to avoid bottlenecks, scope creep, or even worse outcomes before they occur.

Kanban or Agile

To visualize the project management timeline in real-time, we've provided both kanban and agile views. The Kanban board uses a stage system that color codes cards based on their priority level and includes a progress bar that shows how far along each task is. A work-in-progress limit at the top prohibits any particular stage from getting too overloaded. If a specific stage exceeds the limit to the number of tasks allowed in that stage, the excess tasks are added to that stage's respective queue column. Items in the queue are then loaded back into the stage when other tasks are completed.

While Kanban works with the Agile management framework, the Agile tab provides a simple Gantt chart visualization to display tasks by their sprints. The sprints are defined on the task list and appear first in numerical order, then in alphabetical order.

With all of these project management tools, you'll have everything you need to finish any project on time, every time. Remember, you can download and customize this Project plan spreadsheet right now to save time and hours of work. Now, if you want more project management tools to present your project-related insights with internal or external stakeholders, go check out our Project Plan presentation template explainer now.

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