Project Management Templates Every Project Should Use

Starting a project but not sure where to start? Project Management Templates are a great place to start

Not sure how you should be documenting your projects? Try using these Click Here!

Project management templates offer a simple and effective way to simplify your project management process by providing a great starting point. This article lists some of the benefits and project management templates every project should include.

 Project Management Templates Advantages

There are hundreds of project templates and documents that can be used depending on the type, size and complexity of the project and in may cases, it is simpler and easier to use or adopt project management templates when starting a project. Templates provide a great starting point and ensure you at least cover the basic requirements for managing a project. Project management templates are designed and in some cases pre-populated with standard project information and required project information.

By using standard project management templates as part of your required project management documentation, you will save a considerable amount of time in the early stages of a project

Basic Project Management Templates 

This depends heavily on the stage, type, size and risks associated with the project, but at the very least I recommend the following as a great starting point, these are documents that I believe every project should include.

  • Project Charter
  • Project Management Plan (PMP)
  • Risk Management Plan
  • Risk Register
  • Issues Register
  • Change log
  • Estimating template
  • Requirements Matrix
  • Quality Management Plan
  • Quality Register
  • Gantt chart

Project Charter

The Project Charter is a high level document that initiates the project and authorises the project manager to initiate the project. A project charter will normally include:

  • Statement of work
  • Identifies key stakeholders
  • Project objectives
  • High level risks
  • Assumptions
  • Constraints
  • Budget
  • Target completion date

Project Management Plan

The Project Management Plan or PMP is the overarching document that combines all the individual project plans and outlines how each will integrate and be managed as a whole. Think of the PMP as a business plan for the project and like a business plan, quite often it is the project planning process itself that gives the greatest benefit than the document.

Risk Management Plan

A Risk Management Plan is simply a document that outlines the rules of how you will manage the risks of the project. It will often reference the organisations risk appetite, to ensure alignment with the business and possibly aligned to a best practice or international standard such as ISO:31000. Here is my approach to Risk Management.

Risk Register

The Risk Register documents all identified project risks and tracks the status of each risk during the life of the project. A typical risk register includes:

  • Description of risk
  • Summary of impact
  • Risk category
  • Likelihood rating
  • Impact rating
  • Mitigation strategy
  • Risk owner
  • Status of risk

Issue Register

The Issue Register documents and tracks issues that occur during the project’s lifecycle. It is an important tool to capture lesson learnt that can be incorporated into future projects. A typical issue register will include:

  • Description of issue
  • Date occurred
  • Impact analysis
  • Category
  • Deliverable impacted
  • Lesson learnt
  • Reference to Risk Register item

Change Log

Projects are unique in nature and not everything can be known about the project during the planning stage. This means that now matter how good your project planning is, change is inevitable. There is nothing wrong with changes in a project, as long as there is a robust change management process for which to manage it.

A great document when implementing change management is the Change Log. This document logs every change that occurs on the project, including:

  • Scope changes
  • Budget changed
  • Schedule changes
  • Key stakeholder changes
  • Process changes
  • Any other deviation from the baseline plan

Estimating Templates

Just because every project is unique, doesn’t mean that costs should not be as accurate as they can be and estimating templates are a great way to standardise the way your estimate your projects. The common project estimates are cost and time, which can all be estimated on the one template.

Requirement Matrix

A project involved a number of stakeholders and each stakeholder has a list of requirements that they see are a requirement for the project to be successful, keeping track of the requirements, which can easily grow to the thousands on larger projects can be a challenge. Enter the Requirement Matrix, which is a simple spreadsheet that tracks each stakeholder requirement, ties it to a deliverables and an approval date. Common attributes of this template are:

  • Stakeholder
  • Requirement description
  • Deliverable or Scope item reference/function spec etc
  • Date complete
  • Approval Signature
  • Reference document

Quality Management Plan

There are two elements relating to quality in project management:

  • Project Quality and
  • Product Quality

Project quality is the quality of the project management process, how well it was followed and captures the variances of the projects baseline metrics.

Product quality is the quality of the product or deliverable that the project sets out to deliver, it ensures that each component is fit for purpose and suits the relevant best practice and standards for the specific product.

We generally see construction and engineering projects document quality of the project reasonably well however project quality is not as well defined.

Quality Register

The quality register is simple a repository that tracks all of the project quality requirements and documents the status of each quality function, a typical quality register should include:

  • Scope Item or Deliverable
  • Description of quality criteria
  • Pass metric – which should be measurable
  • Tolerance (+/- 10% etc)
  • Test date
  • Test result
  • Document reference

Gantt Chart

Ahh, the humble Gantt chart has been the go to tool for many would be project managers. In my opinion, it is a great tool to represent the project activities and upper management just love seeing a highly detailed Gantt chart with pretty colours. Honestly though, it does little but display information graphically and many spend too much time on this one tool expecting it will bring the project in on time…

Use the tool as it was designed, as a graphical analysis tool to assist in identifying constraints and as an overview document.

Advanced Project Management Templates

In my opinion the project management templates and documents listed above are the absolute basics that every project should have. If you want to get more advanced, and I suggest you do! I would suggest you include the further following project management templates and documents.

  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement plan
  • Communication plan
  • Work breakdown structure
  • Scope management plan
  • Integration plan
  • Standard monthly report

This list is by no means exhaustive, it is designed as a starting point and should be modified for the needs of your business and customised to the types and size of projects that are typically managed.

If these project management templates and tools can be incorporated into your projects, over time, you will find improved project success will follow. These project management templates, once created will form the basis of your basic starting pack for all future projects of similar scope and size. The effort now will bring dividends in the future.

Have any other project management template or document that you think I should have included here? Let me know what it is and why in the comments below.

We design bespoke project management templates for companies as part of our project management consulting services, but the templates listed here are a great starting point for creating your own!

Don’t know where to start? Download over 7000 project management templates Click Here!

Yours in Getting Projects Done!


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Who Wrote This Article? ...(It was: Chris O'Halloran)

I'm "Chris O". I've managed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects since the inception of my career. I love helping others figure out the intricacies of project management on any scale. Come find me on twitter or google+

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