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Free Excel Project Plan Templates: Which One is Right for You?

When it comes to managing projects, having a well-structured plan is crucial for success. And what better way to create a project plan than by using an Excel template? With the wide array of options available, you can find a free Excel project plan template that suits your specific needs. In this article, we will explore different types of free Excel project plan templates and help you determine which one is right for you.

Basic Project Plan Template

The basic project plan template is ideal for small-scale projects or beginners who are new to project management. This template provides a simple and easy-to-understand layout that includes sections for tasks, start dates, end dates, and progress tracking. It allows you to list all the necessary information in a clear and concise manner, making it perfect for those who prefer simplicity.

Gantt Chart Project Plan Template

For more complex projects that require detailed scheduling and visual representation of tasks, a Gantt chart project plan template is a great option. This template allows you to create timelines with dependencies between tasks, helping you understand the critical path and identify potential bottlenecks. With its intuitive design, the Gantt chart project plan template provides an excellent overview of your project’s progress.

Agile Project Plan Template

If you follow an agile methodology like Scrum or Kanban, an agile project plan template can streamline your workflow. This template focuses on iterations or sprints rather than traditional timelines. It includes sections for backlog management, sprint planning, task assignments, and progress tracking. The agile project plan template enables teams to collaborate effectively and adapt to changing requirements throughout the project lifecycle.

Resource Planning Template

Managing resources efficiently is essential for successful project execution. A resource planning template helps you allocate resources effectively by providing an overview of their availability and workload. It allows you to assign resources to specific tasks or projects while ensuring that they are not over or underutilized. This template is particularly useful for projects that involve multiple team members or external resources.

In conclusion, finding the right Excel project plan template can significantly enhance your project management efforts. Whether you prefer a basic layout, a visual representation with a Gantt chart, an agile-focused template, or a resource planning tool, there is a free Excel project plan template available to suit your needs. Consider the size and complexity of your project, as well as your preferred project management methodology when choosing the most appropriate template. With the right template in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to plan and execute your projects with ease.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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Book description

Table of contents.

  • Definitions
  • The Purpose of Planning
  • Planning and Scheduling in the Project Management Process
  • Planning, Scheduling, and the PMBOK® Guide
  • Applied Strategic Planning Model
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Enterprise-wide Project Management
  • Program Management

Project Management

  • Material Resource Planning
  • Line of Balance
  • WBS Development Steps
  • Work Package Definition
  • Step 2: Defining the Activities or Tasks—The Basic Building Blocks
  • Activity Characteristics
  • Networking Procedures
  • Use of PM Software for Network Development
  • Elapsed Time versus Work Time
  • Effort-Driven Versus Fixed-Duration Activities
  • Activity Duration Estimation—PERT
  • Activity Duration in Critical Chain Project Management
  • Resource Tables
  • Resource Histograms
  • PDM and CPM/PERT Calculations
  • Calculating Critical Path and Float
  • Setting Standard Milestones
  • Establishing Check Points and Performance Measures
  • Rolling Wave
  • Step 7: Establishing the Baseline Schedule and Budget
  • Preparing the Project Plan
  • Resource-leveling Heuristics
  • PERT Probability and Monte Carlo
  • Step 4CC: Identify the Constraint—Critical Chain
  • Step 5CC: Exploit the Constraint
  • Step 6CC: Subordinate Non-critical Chain Path
  • Project Management Maturity Models
  • Planning and Scheduling Process Review
  • Planning and Scheduling Checklist
  • Bibliography

Product information

  • Title: Project Planning and Scheduling
  • Author(s): Gregory T. Haugan
  • Release date: December 2001
  • Publisher(s): Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • ISBN: 9781567264579

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Practical Guide to Project Planning

Book cover

Practical Guide to Project Planning is filled with project documents and templates ready to use for planning and managing project. It explains project analysis and modeling techniques so these documents and templates can be used for effective project management. In addition, the book is also a guide to best practices that comply with the PMI's PMBOK® Guide.

Throughout the book, a real-world, practical project plan is used to explain all management issues related to a project, including scope, time, costs, quality, human resources, communications, risk and procurement.

  • 1 st edition / 2008
  • ISBN13: 9781420045048
  • ISBN10: 1420045040
  • Dimensions: 8,5 x 11 in
  • Language: English

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Introduction to Project Planning

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About this book

When you are about to start a project, organise an event or launch a new product, good planning is vital. It is the basis of all good projects. It looks simple, but it isn’t. Written by the APM Planning, Monitoring and Control Specific Interest Group, this concise guide describes how project planning overlaps and integrates with the many individual project management disciplines and how it is at the heart of successful project management.

Download sample chapter

Paperback: 246x189mm, 38pp, 2008 Author: APM Planning, Monitoring and Control Specific Interest Group Publisher: APM ISBN: 978-1-903494-28-8 Price: £7.50

This book is well structured to provide a step by step process to successfully conducting an audit review. Each chapter is clearly set out to take you through the process. The approach, environments, governance and risk checklists provided at the end are a particularly useful summary of the key questions to ask.

A Guide to Assurance of Agile Delivery  is useful not only for assurance professionals but also for project managers delivering agile projects. It gives succinct guidance on the key items required for good governance and successful outcomes using an agile approach.

A star rating of 5 for a straightforward concise book which delivers the information required in a clear format.

Christine Burt

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APM is proud to support RNIB Bookshop , where learners with a visual disability can access large print and braille books free of charge. 

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Project management

8 project management books that absolutely belong in your library

Ben Brigden - Senior Content Marketing Specialist - Author

To stay at the top of their games, project managers must constantly evolve and learn about new trends and techniques within the industry. 

There are a ton of online courses and classes you can take to do this. But another resource that will keep your skills sharp is project management books.

Books are a great way for project managers to go deep on planning, product design, marketing, and growth to improve their work. The hard part is figuring out the best project management books to read to stay on top of changes and innovations. 

Well, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and found eight of the best books written by experienced project managers and innovators:

Want to know why these product management books made our list? Let’s get reading:

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1. The ONE Thing

By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan 

The first project management book on our list earned its top spot because it is a Teamwork.com favorite. 

The ONE Thing is a book about decluttering your work life. It teaches you how to get more done, build momentum within a team to achieve goals, and create a less stressful working environment.

Overall, the book's concept is simple: project managers and companies should focus their energy on one thing at a time instead of trying to multitask. Using this mindset, project managers can center their attention on single tasks (like scheduling, budgets, or missed deadlines) and be more productive in the process. 

The book is also worth reading because it works backward. It asks the reader: what do you want to achieve in the next decade? What about the next five years? 1 year? Month? Week?

By working backward, it's easier to understand what you want to achieve in the long run and what practices you can put into your working life today to get there.

You should pick this book up if you: Are already managing projects, but you get distracted and overwhelmed. This book will help you focus on tasks and narrow down what's important not just in your daily work life—but for your career, too.

Boost productivity across your team

Make your team more productive by cutting down on unnecessary meetings and replacing them with quick and focused messages. Stay on topic, make decisions faster, and create tasks right from your dedicated Teamwork.com Chat channels.

Try Teamwork Chat for free

2. Project Management for The Unofficial Project Manager

By Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood

Blog post image

This project management book is for the newbie project managers who are just getting started in the industry.

It covers all of the basics: from starting a project to executing, monitoring, and eventually signing off once everything is completed. The book is easy to digest and mixes commonly-used project management language with real-life examples so you can see how scenarios should play out once you get started.

This book is also aimed at employees who occasionally manage projects or tackle projects solo, showing you how to keep everything organized while simultaneously juggling other work. 

There are also some really helpful tips for motivating your team, leading effectively , and creating formulas for planning every project in your funnel. 

You should pick this book up if you: Have never planned a project in your life, or have been designated the unofficial pick for organizing and delegating tasks to your team. The book is a simple, no-nonsense guide that’ll show you the project management ropes while making sure you can still concentrate on your other responsibilities.

3. What the Heck is EOS?

By Gino Wickman and Tom Bouwer

Blog post image

Another Teamwork.com favorite— What the Heck is EOS? is a practical guide for teams who are struggling to integrate EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) into their companies.

This project management book tackles the basics: 

What is an operating system?

What is EOS? 

Why is my company using EOS?

What are the EOS foundational tools, how do they impact me, and what’s in it for me? 

This book has made it onto the list because it eliminates jargon and explains what EOS is like in everyday language. Everyone from your design team to your marketing and content folks can read this guide and get a real understanding of EOS tools and processes. 

Not only are there quick summaries at the end of every chapter (helpful for those skim readers), but it also has progressive chapters that project managers will find helpful for motivating and engaging their teams. 

For example, it offers tips on how to ask employees for feedback in order to gauge happiness levels, identify pain points, and motivate creativity. The authors note that simple suggestions can spark conversations and encourage team members to come forward with new ideas and challenge their current working processes. 

Once the ideas start flowing, project managers can use the team’s insights to improve workflows and break down internal barriers that may be impacting productivity. 

You should pick this book up if you: Are a project manager looking for a better way to engage with your team and onboard new hires. This book explains how to help employees understand why your company uses EOS and how to spark conversations about improving it too.

4. The Lazy Project Manager: How to be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early

By Peter Taylor

Blog post image

We’re not encouraging laziness, but what we are advocating for is working smarter—not harder. 

In The Lazy Project Manager: How to be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early , Peter Taylor makes his case for project managers to leave behind traditional workflows and switch to more focused, productive processes. 

He argues that "lazy" people have the edge over workaholics because their mindset is focused on a work-life balance. Using this analogy, Taylor outlines that project managers should concentrate on only putting effort into tasks and projects where it really matters so they can train their brains to work smarter. 

Blog post image

Key techniques, like the Conscious Competence Model, Moltke’s character types, and stakeholder matrices, are used to show project managers that they can work less by mastering certain principles.

You should pick this book up if you: Are an experienced project manager that's looking for ways to sharpen your skills and cut down time spent on non-productive tasks. Thanks to practical examples, the book illustrates how PMs can be more productive and achieve a better work-life balance. 

5. Product-Led Growth: How to Build a Product That Sells Itself

By Wes Bush

Blog post image

Do you feel like you’re running on a project manager hamster wheel?

If the answer is yes— Product-Led Growth: How to Build a Product That Sells Itself is the project management book for you. 

Written by Wes Bush, it includes many of the mistakes that he carried over from his project management background into the world of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). He decided to write it after he woke up one day and started questioning why he had spent $300k () on promoting a whitepaper—with limited success. 

It covers everything from project development to customer frameworks, pricing strategies, and product sprints. It's obvious from the title, but the book also has a product-led approach. Bush shows project managers how to grow their business around a product and keep customers by giving them a stellar experience. 

You should pick this book up if you: Want a book that tells you (with real-life examples) exactly what you need to do to build a product-led company. It has examples that outline "do this, don't do that," and there are even scripts included to help create email and landing page assets to start converting customers.

6. Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos

By Darrell Rigby, Sarah Elk, and Steve Berez

Blog post image

You probably know agile project management is an uber-popular methodology, but have you really mastered it?

In Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos, authors Rigby (a thought leader at Bain & Company), Elk, and Berez explain that Agile is only powerful if project managers implement it correctly. That, the authors say, is no easy task.

The project management book challenges what the authors say are common misconceptions among project managers:

Agile isn’t the best solution for every project

Agile isn’t a band-aid for companies having organizational problems

That said, the authors note that project managers can only truly reap the rewards when they master the basics of agile. Thus, the book makes a case for why every project manager should master agile. 

Done well, they argue that Agile processes encourage teams to be innovative while staying productive and efficient. 

You should pick this book up if you: Are a project manager who hasn't seen the real change that agile promises. You will learn where you are going wrong, what projects you shouldn't use agile to solve, and how to master and scale these techniques within your team.

7. Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business

By Sunil Gupta

Blog post image

If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it's that teams need to adapt to change quickly.

In Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business, Harvard Business School Professor Sunil Gupta lays out why he thinks companies should be open—and encouraged—to transform their brands to suit the digital age. 

He uses a ton of examples to make his case, for example: 

Instead of denying technology, John Deere transformed its farming machinery to include data analysis and encourage innovation. 

The New York Times expanded its newspaper operations and is now hugely profitable on its online platform. 

These examples represent businesses that would've been doomed had they not reimagined themselves in a new, digital way. 

The book outlines every lesson Gupta has witnessed studying Fortune 500 companies—telling you what worked, and what didn't. You will learn how to adapt your business model to build a digital strategy and stay on top of innovations in your industry. Instead of getting left behind, you will learn how to be a frontrunner.  

You should pick this book up if you: Are struggling to keep up with the changes and innovations within your industry. The book includes a framework and roadmap to build and maintain a digital strategy and keep pace with your competitors—even when they're moving quickly. 

8. The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights

By Douglas R. Conant

Blog post image

The last project management book on our list focuses on leadership skills for project managers. 

We chose this particular leadership book as it's written from an interesting perspective—the author (Douglas Conant) was fired from his job. Instead of giving up, he reflected on what was holding him back from reaching his true potential. 

During his discovery, he realized that he was doing leadership all wrong. So, he came up with a path that he—and others like him—could use to improve their leadership skills. The path has six steps: 

Reach High: Envision

Dig Deep: Reflect

Lay the Groundwork : Study

Design: Plan

Build: Practice

Reinforce: Improve 

Conant says leaders can use these steps to manage their teams and transform their companies effectively. The book is also practical: you can use it as a manual and copy the lessons and exercises Conant uses to breathe life into your team. 

Be warned: several reviews say that project managers shouldn’t pick up this book if they’re looking for a quick fix. There are no shortcuts—just hard work. 

You should pick this book up if you: Want to learn a lasting, transformational strategy for leading your team. The book encourages leaders to be reflective and honest about what they need to improve and then build a framework that brings out the best parts of their management style.

Want to learn more about how Teamwork.com can help your project management efforts with trusted software? See for yourself with a free 30-day trial !Blog content here

Ben Brigden - Senior Content Marketing Specialist - Author

Ben is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Teamwork.com. Having held content roles at agencies and SaaS companies for the past 8 years, Ben loves writing about the latest tech trends and work hacks in the agency space.

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