Project Managers are tasked with building elaborate project plans and breaking them down into executable tasks. Project plans are the soul of a project and if not dealt with the required due diligence can wreck the project.
No wonder PMI emphasizes a lot on the Initiation and Planning phases.
Building project plans and outlining the work breakdown structure into granular actionable tasks requires covering multiple perspectives
- Project period
- Meeting project objectives
- Identifying resource needs
- Keeping within budget
- Plan vs task alignment
This also means the project manager must be skilled enough to understand the nature of the project and its impact upon completion.
Thus the added pressure to cover all tasks the project may entail, estimate in terms of time and resources and ensure proper task to resource alignment to meet delivery timelines.
Now building project plans for every other similar project would be a time-consuming affair that would prove counterproductive.
The alternative is to have the baselines carved out of the experience and turn them into reusable project templates.
Understanding the role of Project Templates
The project template is an efficient way of performing a robust task breakdown structure. It must be capable of accommodating all the key elements of your execution plan.
- Task Title & Description
- Task type
- Estimated Hours
The whole exercise of breaking down your project into meaningful chunks becomes a lot easier and accurate with project templates.
First off, you can decide and define the key Milestones or task groupings that the project can be adequately broken down to.
And then start listing all relevant tasks, subtasks, and sub-sub tasks under each of these task groupings.
This way you get a fair idea of the complexity of the project & the skills and effort required to accomplish it.
Remember, the idea is to develop an all-encompassing plan that is easy to manage, execute, analyze and measure.
By the time you are done defining your project template –
- you will have a solid 360-degree view of how things would flow
- possible hiccups you may run into
- allow sufficient room to accommodate ambiguities
Orangescrum’s Automated Project Template
Orangescrum offers a very robust project template feature with automation that turns your statics project plans into active & actionable task lists ready for execution.
Project Template is a feature that allows you to have your project plans defined for your most common projects. You can create as many custom project plans as you need and reuse them forever.
It is often seen that the maximum of our projects has an over 40-70% overlap among projects. Thus we are required to recreate the same set of tasks repetitively and manually.
But not with the Orangescrum Project Template.
You can define:
- Milestones of your projects
- All tasks under each of these milestones
- Subtasks and sub-sub tasks under each of your relevant parent tasks
- Add users to the relevant milestones, tasks, and subtasks
- Assign the right priority, type and estimated hours for your tasks
Project Template comes in handy during project creation.
You will see a Project Template dropdown field on the “Create Project” form. All templates created by you would be listed here to choose from.
The beauty is the moment you create the project, all the subsequent milestones, tasks and subtasks get created automatically with the project. Thus you save a lot of manual efforts and time.
Moreover, there is an added piece of automation for your project templates.
Mindful of the fact that each of your tasks defined in these templates needs to be updated with the respective start and due dates.
Hence, during the project template creation, there are fields to enter “Starts after Days” and “Ends after Days”. This is where you define when the first task would start once the project is created and the ends after a field are basically for you to enter the duration of the task from start to finish.
Now, when you are on the create project form and have selected a project template, you will see a “Template Master Date” field. This is the date from when your first task of the template would be worked upon.
E.g. you are creating a project say on the 1st of Jan. And you have selected the Template Master Date to be 15th Jan. And the first task of your chosen template has the start after days =2. So the start date of this first task becomes 17th Jan and if an end after days is 3 days, the due date becomes – 20th Jan.
Thereon, all tasks of your template get updated with their respective start and end dates. And you have a live project ready to execute!
Benefits of using Project Templates
Over time, you become a seasoned project manager to appropriately perform task breakdowns and have something to fall back to in the form of your past project templates.
And when you review completed projects and analyze the tasks that were completed, couldn’t be completed or exceeded estimates you are well equipped to chart out realistic task breakdowns for future projects.
Overall, your project success rates would increase because of
- time and efforts saved from manual and repetitive task breakdowns
- develop a better understanding of your team’s execution capabilities
- proactively identify task gaps and can streamline future projects
- skill requirements for specific project types are clearer
- increased clarity around tasks execution
- visibility around task dependencies
- improved awareness of the teams’ roles and responsibilities
- team’s productivity rises
Ambiguities and process gaps are plugged efficiently leading to more close-knit project execution with higher accuracy around key project management metrics such as
- total tasks vs closed tasks
- count/trend of overdue tasks
- resource utilization
- planned vs actual hours
Orangescrum Project Template enables higher collaboration and productivity across the project team leading to timely project delivery.
It makes, a Project Manager’s role far less challenging yet successful.
Build your next project plan with Orangescrum’s automated project template.