Project managers always have a lot on their plate and are usually juggling 10 different things at the same time. Besides skill, experience, and discipline, a project manager needs to have access to the right tools.
Spreadsheet software is almost a staple in every project manager’s arsenal. However, a good project management template that takes care of all your project management needs usually takes time to design and perfect.
The good news is, you don’t have to take so much trouble. There are a number of templates available, both free and paid, that can help you take care of multiple facets of project management.
In this tutorial, we will discuss where you can find good project management templates to use with Google sheets, and suggest 5 of the best free Google Sheets project management templates that you can download and start using right away.
What is a Project Management Template?
Project management consists of a number of disciplines that need to work in tandem. The project manager needs to ensure that the project is executed efficiently and is completed without a hitch. Some of the project management disciplines that need to be taken of include work schedules, timelines, budgets, quality control, and more.
A project management template can give you the basic bare-bones required to accomplish some of these tasks quickly. They are usually well-formatted and designed (preferable with all necessary formulae in place) so that you only need to download and start entering the details at once.
With the help of color-coded tasks, Gantt charts and heatmaps, they also give you visual insights into the process, so that you can detect problems even before they occur and address them in a timely manner.
What Do You Need in a Good Project Management Template?
A good project management template helps you keep track of project timelines, delegate and track work, and monitor progress. It also lets you color-code and categorize tasks, letting you understand the status of work at a glance.
If you have a good project management template, you can use it to create teams, set goals, create roadmaps, stay on top of schedules and move projects from the start to the finish line.
Why Use Google Sheets Templates for Project Management?
Google Sheets templates are excellent tools to help you accomplish your project management goals. The template gallery includes some well-designed templates meant to be used for some common tasks. For example, there are templates to let you schedule work, keep track of project deadlines, prioritize tasks and even ensure that your project does not go over the budget.
It’s true that there are a number of options available online from where you can get ready-to-use project management templates. However, a good number of people prefer to use Google Sheets templates, and here’s why:
- They are free to download and use
- The templates are user-friendly
- Worksheets on Google Sheets are always shareable, so you can collaborate with others from your team over the data.
- You can use the data in the templates to build reports, share online, make presentations, and more.
How to Find Project Management Templates in Google Sheets
There are two ways commonly used to find free Google Sheets templates:
- Using the Google Sheets In-built template gallery
- Using Google Sheets add-ons
Using Google Sheets In-Built Template Gallery to Find Templates
Google Sheets has a large gallery of professionally designed Google Sheets templates. These include templates for calendars, invoices, time sheets, budget tools, Gantt charts, and more.
To find project management templates from this gallery, follow the steps shown below:
- Open Google Sheets (by entering the location sheets.google.com on the location bar of your browser).
- Click on ‘Template Gallery’ on the top right.
- You should now see a wide range of Google Sheets templates to select from.
The templates in the gallery are organized under different titles. So, you will find a group of templates for Personal use (like Annual Calendar, To-do list, etc.), for education (like attendance, grade book, etc.) and many more. You can also see a group of templates under the title ‘Project Management’, as shown below:
Note: You can also open a new template directly from your worksheet by navigating to File->New->From Template Gallery
Using Google Sheets Add-ons to Find Templates
Another way in which you can get free Google Sheets templates is by using Google Sheets add-ons. An add-on is an external application that lets you add to the functionality of Google Sheets.
For example, there’s no built-in menu for Mail merge. But you can use an add-on that provides the tools required to perform a mail merge in Google Sheets.
To install an add-on, follow these steps:
- Select Add-ons->Get add-ons from the Extensions menu.
- This opens the Google Workspace Marketplace, from where you can select a wide range of add-ons to install.
- Type ‘Templates’ in the search bar and press the return key.
- You should now see a number of add-on options for additional template galleries.
- Select the add-on you like and click the Install button.
- Then follow the subsequent instructions to install the add-on to Google Sheets.
- Once your add-on is installed, you can access the templates by selecting the add-on from the Extensions menu.
Note: Each add-on has a different set of templates, so you can browse through a few of them till you find the ones that you like and need.
Some useful template add-ons include ‘Templates Gallery for Sheets’ (by Vertex42) and ‘Template Vault for Sheets’ (by Spreadsheet123).
Click here to find more amazing Google Sheets add-ons that you can install.
5 Useful Google Sheets Project Management Templates
There are a number of project management software and templates available, both paid and free, that can help overwhelmed project managers stay on top of their game. Some of these include those from Unito and Clickup.
However, if you’re looking for a free project management template that you would like to customize to your own requirement, then a Google Sheets template should be good enough.
Here are 5 free (and useful) Google Sheets Templates that we believe can be excellent tools for project management:
1. Gantt Chart
The Gantt Chart template is made available in the Google Sheets gallery by SmartSheet. A Gantt chart helps you break down your project schedule into a sort of timeline, where each activity is presented in the form of a bar.
The position and length of a bar marks the start date, duration, and end date of the task. So, using a Gantt chart you can clearly visualize the project schedule, see the points where activities overlap, and estimate the minimum time within which you expect to deliver the project.
The Google Sheets Gantt Chart template lets you represent each project as a set of tasks and then subtasks, so that you can create schedules for each individual task. You can also divide each sub-task further into ‘phases’.
The template also lets you display the percentage of work done on each task in the form of a heat map, so you get information on all moving parts in the project at a single glance.
(Click on File -> Make a Copy)
2. Project Timeline
The Project Timeline template is also from SmartSheet. It helps you break down your project into broader and then finer steps.
This is one of the best Project plan templates in Google Sheets. It’s an excellent tool that can help you in both the planning and execution phases of your project.
Simply jot down what you broadly wish to accomplish each week into project ‘phases’. Then you can further break each of these phases down into bite-sized tasks and plan what you want to accomplish on a day-to-day basis.
Finally, you can use the grid to create a Gantt chart to display how you would like each task to progress (either day-wise or week-wise).
You can use this same template to also track the work progress and ensure that you’re well on your way to meeting important deadlines.
(Click on File -> Make a Copy)
3. Project Tracking
The Project Tracking template (sometimes also referred to as Project Tracker template in Google Sheets) allows you to keep track of the project tasks, deliverables, time as well as project costs. It’s almost like a project dashboard where you have all the necessary information pertaining to the project in one place.
Using this template, you can get a gist of the state of each project as well as individual tasks at a glance.
It has all the necessary formulas and calculations in place, giving you one less task to do. It also allows you to prioritize tasks, so you can focus on the more important ones. It will also help you feel less overwhelmed knowing that certain tasks can wait for later.
(Click on File -> Make a Copy)
4. Project Budget
The Project Budget template is available on the Vertex42 Template Gallery (you can get this from the ‘Template Gallery for Sheets’ add-on).
This template helps you keep track of both income and expenses, from both internal and external sources of funds.
It also helps you clearly see how much your actual spending strays from your budget. Besides keeping track of project costs, this template can also be used to provide a detailed budget/expense report.
(Click on File -> Make a Copy)
5. Action List with Ranking
Finally, a project always consists of multiple actionable items. There’s usually so many actionable items involved in a project that it’s difficult to keep track of them and easy to lose focus.
A good project manager is one who can separate the more important tasks from the lesser important ones. So, ranking of tasks is very important.
The Action List with Ranking template also comes from the Vertex24 Template Gallery.
This template lets you rank actionable items on a scale of 2 to 6 and display the ranks in the form of a heat map. This lets you know at a glance which tasks rank higher and need to get done immediately.
You can also use this template to color-code tasks based on their level of difficulty and value, so you and your team members know exactly what you’re dealing with. Besides this, the progress bar is quite a handy tool that lets you visually gauge how much work has been completed and how much work is still left.
(Click on File -> Make a Copy)
Note: These templates are editable, so you can further add bells and whistles to them as you need to, or remove parts that you don’t need. You can choose to add or remove any formulae or further color-code parts of the sheet to provide more visual insights.
Can you use Google Sheets for project management?
Yes, you can use Google Sheets to take care of different aspects of project management. You can also use free or paid project management templates to make your work easier.
How do I create a project management plan in Google Sheets?
You can use project management templates and applications to help you create a project management plan in Google Sheets.
How do I use the Project Timeline template in Google Sheets?
To get the Project Timeline template (a great Project Management Timeline template), simply navigate to File->New->From Template Gallery. This opens the Template Gallery. Scroll down to find the Project Management section, under which, you should find the Project Timeline template. Simply click on the thumbnail of the template and it should open in a new browser tab.
A successful project manager works smart, not hard. In today’s tech-driven world, one can’t get anywhere without using spreadsheet software. Templates make this one step easier by freeing you from the effort of building a whole project management spreadsheet from scratch.
We strongly recommend you give the free Google Sheets project management templates that we discussed in this tutorial a try. We also encourage you to explore and find other templates and add-ons that you think you might need. They are certainly going to help you keep a clear head, improve productivity, and finally deliver a great project.
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