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Why Project Management Templates Are Essential

May 30 2010

The reason why project management templates are an essential tool for project managers is simple.  Using a template saves time and ensures uniformity of documentation.  Of all the tools available to project manager, templates are likely the most important and essential tool for project managers.

Tools are the means that help managers and the team members successfully plan, manage and execute the different tasks involved in each project.  The best project management tools are not very sophisticated. They include primarily templates, check-lists (milestone reviews) and planning software.

Given the wide range of project management tools available, the keys to selecting the right ones understand that different tools are needed along the different stages of a project life cycle, and knowing why project management templates are an essential tool for project managers.

During all phases of the project, Milestones Reviews and Business Plans take a leading role.  In the Initiation phase, the Project Charter, Business Plan, Project Framework (or Overview), and Business Case Justification are essential.  In the Execution and Control phases, an update of Risk Analysis and Score Cards prevail. During Closure, no special tool is needed.

Project Templates are available for:
• Business Plan
• Milestones Check-list Scheduling Tools and Methodologies:
• Gantt
• Pert
• MS Project
• Business Case Justification
• Project Charter
• Project Framework or Overview
• Risk Analysis
• Score Cards
• Team Building
• Project Communication Plan
• Project Management Templates
• Project Management Software Packages
The above list is only a small sample of the tools and templates a good project leader uses.
Templates can be used in almost every phase of a project.  From the initial brainstorming stage to the successful closure of the project, templates simplify the management of the process.

If providing business cases is a common occurrence it makes sense to develop a customized template.  A standard format for business case templates:
Title
Table of Contents
Executive or Project Summary
Mission Statement
Objectives
Needs Assessment
Technical Analysis
Project Work Plan
Financial Plan
Appendix

Typically, the Title, Table of Contents, Mission Statement, and Summary are added to the business case after the other sections are completed.  The information from the Objectives, Needs Assessment, Technical Analysis, Project Work Plan, and Financial Plan will help determine what goes into the other sections.
Successful project managers know that templates are not just time-saving. Templates provide uniformity to the project’s documentation.
Understanding why project management templates are an essential tool for project managers is a first step toward a successfully completed project.