The Only Project Plan Template You’ll Ever Need

If you have a complicated project, it helps to have a roadmap. That’s why I use a project plan template. In this guide, I’ll share my favorite resources. I’ll also discuss how I build a project plan template.

I’ll give you access to project plan template, and I’ll share nine of my favorite progress tracker spreadsheets. All of these are free to use.

My Favorite Project Plan Template

I use this project plan template because it’s simple enough to fit in one window, but it gives enough details to show the whole scope. Here’s where you can access it.

Here's my free project plan template for Google Sheets.

Access Template

You can get it for free. Just make sure you’re signed into a Google Account. Then, open my template and click “file” and “make a copy” to get one for your team.

How to Build a Project Plan Template

A project plan template needs several features. They help track the overall project and any required tasks that need to be completed. Note that this overall project planner doesn’t need to account for regular status updates.

I’ll share separate spreadsheet templates for tracking status below.

A project plan spreadsheet needs to cover the scope of your project, including all of the important tasks you need to complete. That mean’s it’s one high-level project-planning spreadsheet template.

Project Scope: If you’re planning a multi-part project, this plan should include every part. Don’t worry too much about weekly deadlines and the day-to-day stuff here. It’s a high-level overview of your project.

Project Milestones: Your project plan works like a roadmap for your whole project. It should include milestones that show your progress. Milestones are made up of multiple tasks, and it’s the project planner’s job to make sure everything stays on task.

Project Tasks: Milestones are the big stops along the way. Individual and team tasks are what get you to those milestones. Each task is assigned to one person. It’s that person’s job to make sure the task gets done. In my project plan template, you can choose a task name and assignee on each line.

A successful project plan template also keeps track of:

  • Overall Timeline
  • Duration of Each Task
  • Project Goals
  • Workflow
  • Challenges and Obstacles

These fit well into Google Sheets, because the project plan template allows for seamless collaboration. It’s part of the Google Suite, which means you can also tag coworkers, make comments, and ask questions.

Limitations and Assumptions

While I love using Google Sheets to plan projects, it has limitations. It’s no replacement for robust project management software. You’ll want to try Jira or Asana if you’re rolling out something for a larger company.

But this project plan template works wonders for a small team. It’s multi-faceted and (most importantly) built for Google Sheets. You can also copy the format for Microsoft Excel.

Note that this simple project plan can also raise challenges for international teams. You can avoid many of these issues by agreeing on a specific timezone for start dates and end dates. Google Calendar already adjusts for this when setting meetings.

Project Status Report Templates

We’ve talked a bunch about the high-level project plan. So how do you follow up on progress? That’s where you’ll want to use a project status report.

Here are a few of my favorite status report templates for Google Sheets.

1. Daily Status Report Template

Project status report template—Preview of a daily status report template in Google Sheets

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When managing a project, clear and consistent communication is paramount. Keeping your co-workers and clients well-informed about the project’s progress on a regular basis ensures that everyone is on the same page and allows for timely decision-making.

For projects that demand day-to-day updates and close monitoring, this daily project update template is a helpful tool to have in your arsenal.

Here, you have the option to include and customize the following essential details:

  • Project name
  • Client name
  • Reporting period
  • Contractor name
  • Team members
  • Report summary

There’s also a tasks table that allows you to add task descriptions, outline the next steps, and assign specific team members to each task.

2. Weekly Project Status Report Template

Preview of a weekly project status report template

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Time is one of the most valuable resources in business, and you want to save it whenever possible. While daily updates are essential for some projects, condensing a week’s worth of progress into a single report can be a game-changer in terms of saving time and resources.

Use this weekly status report template to offer your project team, clients, and other stakeholders an overview of your project’s progress throughout the week. Here, you can highlight key achievements, milestones, and potential challenges faced during the reporting period.

3. Monthly Project Progress Report Template

Preview of a monthly status report template

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Long-term projects require a different reporting approach to effectively track progress, manage risks, and showcase key milestones. When dealing with extended timelines and complex initiatives, providing updates at a more extended interval can offer a broader perspective on the project’s overall trajectory.

Instead of detailing every small risk and issue affecting the project, the Monthly Project Progress Report Template allows you to highlight the major problems that must be addressed. It also allows you to focus on more important milestones compared to reporting every small task accomplished.

4. Multiple Project Management Report Template

Multiple project status report sample template

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When providing a high-level overview, it may be necessary to report on the status of multiple projects simultaneously. This multiple project management status report template is an excellent tool for accomplishing that. Within this template, you can:

  • Indicate the summary of each project’s status
  • Present the current financial portfolios of each project, including expenditure, allocation, and forecasts
  • List the risks and issues encountered
  • Discuss any specific resources and support required to solve project challenges

This kind of spreadsheet contributes a major part to any successful communication plan. It’s a one-glance report that shows deadlines, budget, and overall progress.

5. Risk Register Template

Preview of a blue-themed risk register Google spreadsheet

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Risks are an inherent part of any project. If not identified and managed effectively, they can impede your progress and hinder project success. Utilizing a risk register template allows you to document, evaluate, monitor, and address these risks throughout the project’s lifecycle in a centralized repository.

When the time comes for reporting, it is also beneficial to present these details to your superiors in order to discuss appropriate solutions. To get started, access our project status update template for risks and leverage its features to:

  • Describe risk and discuss its potential effects on the project
  • Assign individuals to handle and monitor each risk
  • List suitable risk mitigation tactics to address each issue

Listing risks also allows you to create an action plan template. There, each task is associated with a specific risk and allows you to mitigate potential issues before they occur.

6. Resource Allocation Matrix Template

Preview of a sample resource allocation plan for a project

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You can also use a resource allocation matrix template so stakeholders can see the work breakdown structure. This is how your resources are divided into the key areas of the project. This matrix can also be beneficial in the following aspects:

  • Enhancing transparency and accountability regarding the handling and management of various tasks
  • Balancing resource division by checking areas with deficiencies and excess resources
  • Making informed decisions regarding resource handling based on data

7. Project Budget Template

Sample project budget spreadsheet

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Another aspect to focus on when reporting the status of your project is its financial portfolio. A project budget tracker template can be a valuable tool in this regard. It’s not the best way to focus on your project’s objective, but it’s an important resource for those keeping track of financials.

By using this template, you can:

  • Provide your clients with a clear view of the project’s financial health
  • Compare the allocated budget and actual expenses to check for cost savings and overruns
  • Adjust your budget based on variances found between expected and actual expenditures

8. Issue Log Template

Red-themed project issue log with priority labels

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An issue log template can be useful when you want to track and manage issues that arise during the course of your project. It allows you to document and monitor them, allowing for timely resolutions and effective project management.

This template is best used alongside a general project status report spreadsheet. By using it, you can:

  • Describe what the issue is all about, including who is accountable for it
  • Set priority levels depending on how urgent a problem is
  • Assign people to resolve a specific problem
  • Set target resolution dates and indicate recommended actions for each issue

9. Action Item Tracker

Action list template with JAM ranking sample

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For small-scale projects, staying on top of tasks and action items is crucial to ensuring smooth execution and timely completion. The Action Item Tracker is an efficient status report spreadsheet, providing a consolidated and easily accessible view of all tasks, their owners, due dates, and current statuses. I like this project planner’s template because it’s a bit like a habit tracker.

Check your print area, and you can also access it as a PDF printout at the office.

Conclusion

A project status report template can be a valuable resource when you want to accurately track and communicate the progress of your project with clients and team members. Are you ready to create your reports? Choose from my project planning template links above, add your information, and you’re all set. If you’re looking for something more powerful (gannt charts, anyone?), check out my project management templates.

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