A new project at work marks the beginning of another great corporate adventure, goals, deadlines, deliverables, and innovation. One thing that stays common across all the projects is excessive planning. It doesn’t matter how big or small a project is! Without proper planning, teams can’t meet the desired goals, and hence, deliverables are hampered. It is the accurate project planning and timeline that helps the team to accomplish tasks and get the work done.
Managers often leverage a project timeline template to boil down multiple tasks and project management milestones into a single space. Timeline offers an easy, visual-rich way for teams to comprehend and discuss project-related tasks. It also enables managers to plan efficient project workflows, ensure smooth communication, and lead teams & stakeholders towards project success. Thus, encouraging the team members to stay focused on the end goal.
A timeline is a visual representation of project events and workflow in a chronological fashion. A typical timeline features the tasks, durations, dependencies, stakeholders, and deadlines for corresponding tasks. Thus, we can say that a timeline is critical for every project development cycle. It makes the team accountable, clearly defines the responsibilities, and defines what is to be done & by when it should be delivered.
For any project manager or team leader, a timeline is a vital tool as it helps them record efforts, find potential gaps, and showcase progress over time. Stakeholders can have a birds-eye view of project deliverables in a segregated, sprint-wise fashion. Thus, providing a high-level view of the events of the past, present & future.
While creating a project plan or presentation for stakeholders, the PowerPoint timeline template is one of the most powerful visualization tools that can help managers showcase data related to project schedule, roadmap, strategy, execution, key milestones over time. You can easily compile big & complex chunks of information related to project goals, teams, workflow & precisely showcase the data in the form of intuitive and easy-to-understand timelines.
What are the components of a timeline?
- Clearly defined set of tasks and objectives
- Expected duration of tasks
- Dependencies between objectives
- Relationship between stakeholders
- All deadlines, milestones & dates
An efficient timeline sets out milestones of the business plan. It depicts the number of team members, number of locations, sales targets, net revenue, and other metrics. By leveraging a visual-rich timeline for starting and finishing tasks, teams can stay on track. Project teams can avoid pitfalls, confusion and cater to project goals in a timescale-based fashion. Thus, we can say a timeline provides a holistic visual framework that clearly defines the task relationship & expectation.
Now that we know how valuable timelines are! Let’s move ahead and understand how to create a timeline in PowerPoint.
Determine The Scope:
When it comes to creating a timeline for your presentation, the primary step is to determine the project’s scope. In simpler terms, managers need to calculate the total amount of work that will go into the project, overall objectives, deliverables, resources, timespan, and cost. It is often advised to create a project scope statement before jumping to creating a timeline of events. The practice ensures that all the resources are thoroughly devoted to the project goals over its lifespan.
You can also consider including a WBS or Work Breakdown Structure. A WBS is an effective document that helps in identifying project requirements. The document talks about all the deliverables and features related to the end product. Creating a Work Breakdown Structure helps in eliminating confusion or misinterpretations. It is then we can effectively identify what is to be done and how to allocate the best resources.
Identify Tasks & Dependencies:
Once you have got the scope and work breakdown structure ready, it’s time to make a comprehensive list of tasks. As per the understanding with the stakeholders, managers can divide the tasks into different categories, phases, sprints, or milestones. Tasks can be divided into categories such as Research, Development, Testing & Documentation. A timeline also helps organizations identify dependencies.
A dependency is when a task can’t be finished until a different task is done. Now, managers can connect with team members, leads and identify task dependencies. This step is critical to project planning since deadlines and estimations can only be provided once we have tasks and dependencies at our disposal. Once the tasks and their relationship is available, we can move forward and calculate the duration of each task.
Use PowerPoint Template:
Rather than creating a timeline from scratch, presenters can use ready-to-use PowerPoint templates and get their hands on professionally designed, corporate-friendly presentations. A timeline template promotes clear business communication for everyone. Managers can use readymade templates and ensure easy access to project information such as daily tasks, goals, man-hours, backlog, deliverables, and more. A template makes the job easy as you only have to populate the slide with the desired metrics.
Not to forget the flexibility it brings aboard! PowerPoint templates such as Flat Timeline, Matrix Timeline & N-Step Navigational Infographic are 100% editable, feature a consistent design & saves a lot of valuable time. Presenters can actually focus on project analysis and fostering teamwork rather than worrying about the presentation design. Since these templates are highly customizable, any modification in the middle of the project plan can be easily accommodated without altering the entire timeline.
The End Line:
When it comes to achieving easier project tracking, improved team collaboration, better resource allocation, and enhanced team motivation, a timeline plays an irreplaceable role. Through efficient timelines, projects can be accomplished that too within the desired budget.
As you read this piece, a majority of managers out there are using timelines for breaking down gigantic projects into smaller chunks, determining the milestones, required resources, and workflow, respectively.