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If you use Excel, you can create a project schedule with almost no learning curve by downloading Vertex42's free Gantt Chart Template.
For complicated project management activities, you may need a tool such as Microsoft Project.
While planning a project, you may also want to use a yearly calendar or project budget worksheet. Gantt Chart Template Pro is a spreadsheet, just like the free version, except that it is unlocked and includes quite a few other features that make it more powerful. Unlocked - The pro version does not use password protected sheets, so you have access to all Excel features. Color-Coding - The XLSX version lets you choose different colors for the bars (default=blue, r=red, k=black, o=orange, y=yellow, p=purple, g=green, 1-6 = theme-based accent colors).
Create timeline charts quickly and easily using our new Timeline Template ($19.95 when purchased separately).
This Event Schedule is great for scheduling classes or presentations for workshops, conferences, and seminars. Download a pre-populated project schedule for 3 different sample projects: (1) Home Construction Project Schedule, (2) Custom Software Project Schedule, (3) Website Development Project Schedule. Analyze your project schedule using the critical path method (CPM) with our CPM spreadsheet ($14.95 when purchased separately). I placed answers to most of the questions that I get asked in a Help section within the GanttChart worksheet.
You use Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) numbering to organize your tasks in an outline form, as shown in the image to the right. To indent the text in the Task column, you can modify the cell formatting to include an indent (shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Tab), or add spaces before the text. In the professional version, you can choose which set of inputs you want to use for defining each task by copying and pasting from a set of sample rows at the bottom of the worksheet.
You use different methods within the same worksheet as shown in the image below (the inputs have green backgrounds). Working Days (default): The Pro version lets you define the duration of a task by entering the start date and the number of work days (excluding weekends and holidays). End Date: Choosing the end date can be useful when you have a deadline that forces you to complete a task by that date.
Also notice that in the professional version, the Start and End dates are formatted to show the week day.
Even though the time-span displayed in the chart area is limited by the number of columns, the slider bar lets you scroll through a project that spans many months and years. So, we've added a new feature where you create dependencies by referencing the WBS number of up to 3 Predecessor task(s). Not everyone wants to use this approach, so the Predecessor columns (D-F) are hidden by default. In the pro version, a worksheet has been added where you can list holidays and other non-working days that you want to exclude. We've begun using our blog as a place to provide answers to common questions and other technical support for Gantt Chart Template Pro. Templates help you kick-start the thinking process and guide you to filling out the proper content for documents and reports. Whenever I'm stuck in a project and not sure how to document issues, deliverables or other concepts, I start hunting for a template. Professional project managers usually accumulate tens or hundreds of templates based on their experience in multiple projects. There are many templates out there which you can use - you should pick few key ones that work for you and stick with them. If you're in a project with a LOT of meetings or workshops scheduled, it is very difficult to visualize who goes to which meeting and when. You should use the Project Calendar template whenever there are a lot of meetings with multiple participants. Tip: A nice thing to do is to attach a little "What Is Expected Of You" write-up within the Project Calendar, perhaps in a separate Excel tab. As a project manager, you are saddled with possibly tens or hundreds of issues or action items (in various categories) at any one time.
You need to track the issues in a log and mark out who is the owner and what the due date is. I use the Project Status Report for management meetings where I have to give updates on how the project is progressing.
The Project Status Report template is useful whenever you want to give an update on how things are moving in the project.
The Scope Change template should be used whenever you detect a change in scope in the project. If, however, you're looking for some industrial strength project management templates, I suggest you don't go for free ones. Ia€™ve written a practical, easy-to-read guidebook that will help you find your best path to Project Management a€“ one that leverages your unique skills, experiences and career background to your advantage. A manager's job is 100 times easier and more rewarding when his or her employees are performing like a well-oiled machine.
Claim your FREE copy of Office Communication Toolkit: 10 tips for managers on active listening skills, motivating employees, workplace productivity, employee retention strategies and change management techniques! Learn more about the four steps of active listening, as well as five bad habits that impede effective listening, in Office Communication Toolkit.
Let people know if this assignment takes precedence over any other projects they’re working on now. Setting a deadline earlier than necessary (because you don’t trust your employees to meet the real deadline) creates more problems than it solves.

Obviously, some of those bosses are wrong … and that can create major problems for workplace productivity. Access practical scripts on how to respond to seven common employee complaints in Office Communication Toolkit.
When good employees leave for greener pastures, it makes a manager’s job much more difficult. Thoughtful employee retention strategies are useful not just for retaining people to avoid the high cost of recruitment. And companies that tolerate poor performance will drive away top performers who are unhappy working in such an environment. The solution: Approach workers about their performance problems in a fair, problem-solving manner. Find the six rules of engagement for confronting poor performers in Office Communication Toolkit. To get people to accept change, the first step is to understand what, from their perspective, they feel they’re losing.
View these one-on-one chats as a continuation of new-employee orientation and a way to gain fresh insight into your department and the organization. Sign up for Business Management Daily's free Office Communication Toolkit report below and access an Adecco report with 13 simple ideas you can implement today to become a more effective manager! Arguably, the most important thing to understand about management coaching is that it is a collaborative process.
This is usually more difficult than it sounds and when these responsibilities are confused the coaching system tends to break down and the parties become frustrated and annoyed with one another.
The main skills required by the coach involve focusing on goals, active listening, asking non-leading questions, and giving non-judgmental feedback. One description of coaching is that it is a 'goal-focused conversation.' This means that even when the conversation begins with the coachee talking about a particular problem, the focus of the discussion should be quickly moved on to what a solution would look like and how it could be achieved.
However, the whole point of the exercise is to get the coachee to use their own creativity and initiative. One of the functions of management is to reward good performance and correct poor performance. The challenge is to avoid putting the coachee on the defensive whilst drawing attention to the fact that they ought to think about how things could have been done differently, perhaps with a better outcome. The main skills required by the coach involve focusing on goals, listening, asking non-leading questions, and giving non-judgmental feedback.
But, if you want to create a simple project schedule quickly and easily, you only need basic Excel skills to use this template (such as knowing how to copy and insert rows). Or, use a formula to color-code your project's tasks based on the task owner or the urgency. For details on this new feature, see the blog article Creating a Gantt Chart with Excel is Getting Even Easier. When you buy this template, you are buying it for your entire team, not just a single computer or user. Planned Dates in the Gantt Chart - Read this article if you are interested in comparing your current project schedule to your original plan, within the same gantt chart. Each is a separate file, and there is no automated means of transferring information from one file to the other. It contains over 100 useful tutorials and is currently priced at $19.95 when purchased separately. You are welcome to contact me if you have other questions, but please take a look through the Help first.
You could enter your own WBS numbers manually, but we have included formulas so you do not need to update the WBS numbers every time you insert a new row.
This is a critical feature for a project plan when you are using dependent tasks, because if the schedule changes, and the start date changes to a Friday and requires 3 work days to complete, you want to make sure that the new schedule has this task ending on the next Tuesday, not Sunday. Some projects use 7-day work weeks, or require Saturdays or Sundays to be work days, so this option allows you to handle these cases. This helps you avoid starting or ending on a weekend, without having to consult a calendar. Normally, if you want to make a task start after the completion of another task, you would enter a formula for the Start date like =enddate+1 or =WORKDAY(enddate,1,holidays), where enddate references the End date of the Predecessor task. If you reference the WBS using a formula as shown below, the reference will remain correct even after you insert new tasks.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about the pro version of the gantt chart. If you want to create a task that will automatically precede (start before) another task by a certain number of work days, you can use a formula for the start date such as =WORKDAY(reference_date, number_of_days, holidays), where "number_of_days" is a negative number of days and "reference_date" is a reference to the start date of the task you want to precede. It sets out the scope or work, key assumptions and dependencies, stakeholders and their roles and responsbilities. Before your project gets deep into details, you should use the Project Charter as a way to showcase project scope and benefits. This instructs meeting participants on the input they're expected to provide during the meeting and helps them prepare beforehand for a more fruitful session. It contains information like why the change is required, what is the business justification for it and how much it will cost to implement the change. Furnish it to the user and refuse to consider accepting the change request unless all data has been provided in the template.
I hope the above has helped you understand what free project management templates are available out there. But when that machine runs slowly or breaks down entirely, a manager's job becomes exponentially harder. They can’t be aware of the urgency or priorities of a project unless their supervisors tell them.

You’ll minimize the chance of this occurring by setting up a progress report schedule when you assign the project. They send off subtle hints that, if you’re listening, you can act on before the good employee walks out the door. Yet most managers assume that their relationships with their employees are running smoothly. Managers can prevent this syndrome by doing what they can to make their own pasture the greenest. The last thing a manager wants to do is restart the process all over again because that new hire just stood up and walked out the door after three months. This means that the coach and the person being coached (referred to as the 'coachee' or the 'client') are working on creating changes together. A good coach assumes that the coachee knows more about their own situation than they do, placing the coachee in a better position to develop the insights and ideas needed to create the desired changes.
The coach will need to make a conscious effort not to assign blame for the problem and not to simply stipulate their preferred solution to it. This is especially true if you have a lot of expertise in the area being discussed because your overriding temptation is to simply tell someone how to do it.
If you tell them what to do, you not only take away a learning opportunity, you also reinforce the idea that they should come to you for guidance rather than working things out for themselves.
However, coaching often means avoiding pronouncing judgment in favor of giving specific, observational feedback that helps people examine their own performance and come up with a better approach in the future. This Coaching Agreement Template will help you to formalize the relationship between the coach and the coachee so that both individuals understand their responsibilities.
The main functional difference is that the completion status of each task is displayed as a progress bar in the % Done column rather than changing the color of the bars in the chart area. That isn't too hard, but you can't tell by just looking at the chart that there is a dependency defined.
You can also enter the WBS number manually if you want to, as long as you enter the number as text. But, you can copy and paste the WBS, Task, and Task Lead, and that will give you a good start. This is done by including labor costs broken down by employee and the number of hours spent on each task.
Typically I carry the document with me and visit all my stakeholders (carrying out very intense conversations, especially during the initial weeks of the project).
This way, every participant is absolutely clear on when he or she has to turn up for a meeting. You also have items like what has been achieved, milestones completed and remaining, as well as key issues which need management attention. For users who are trigger happy and request changes to a system you're delivering, the mere sight of the scope change form and the stuff they have to fill in - might make them think twice.
Requesting changes will result in delays or extra resource cost so they should be avoided where possible. Business Management Daily, publisher of Office Manager Today and The HR Specialist, has compiled these 10 tips for managers on how to maximize their office communication skills and bolster workplace productivity. Provide the employee with new responsibilities, cross-training opportunities or exposure to influential mentors. Consider ways to provide opportunities for employees to improve on their skills or learn new skills they can use in their jobs.
Recognizing a job well done isn’t an expensive proposition, but it will mean the world to your employee. By recognizing their changing needs, you show sensitivity to what’s going on in their lives.
By allowing employees to develop and implement their own ideas, you’ll keep them passionate about their work.
The weeds are those poor performers and negative employees who stifle the good attitudes and high performance of their co-workers. Listening and responding to people’s reactions is just as important as explaining the reasons for change. Workers are happier about change if they feel they have the skills and abilities to succeed after the change.
New features include customizing the work week and highlighting the End date when a task is overdue. For example, you could add a column for indicating the number of people associated with each task, the budgeted cost, actual cost, etc. This same technique will work for making a task start N days after another date (using a positive number_of_days). So the next time you have a project issue, make it a habit to immediately record it down onto the issue log. This builds loyalty and helps bring stability to their personal lives, which means they can focus better at work. They decide which leaders they can trust based on how their fellow employees, company vendors and customers are treated.
The faster you can help someone move through the learning curve, the faster they will accept the change.

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