4 Effortless Steps to Create a Timeline

A visual timeline makes a project manager’s life easier. You can share it with executives for a high level overview of milestones and progress. In addition, you can collaborate with your team on responsibilities and drill down to tasks. Timelines give you a tool to see how your project stands as a whole and where it might be at risk of slipping.

Here are 4 effortless steps to create a timeline to help you manage your project.

#1: Create a plan

Collaborate with management and stakeholders to determine the project duration and a high-level overview of milestones and deliverables. Then it’s time to get together with your team and fill in the details.

You need to know the tasks necessary to accomplish milestones and what’s needed to pull together deliverables. Then use that information to plot due dates and assigned individuals for each task. Using your high-level overview, you can work backwards from milestone and deliverable dates. Thus, you can determine how much time you need and when you need to accomplish each task.

Consequently, this is when a project planning software tool can help streamline the process and make it easy to collaborate through an online platform accessible to everyone.

#2: Determine your timeline layout

You’ll choose a layout and data points depending on with whom you’re sharing your timeline. For executive management, you might show only a few key milestones and progress to date.

For stakeholders, you can show the deliverables due and who’s responsible for each one. You can also share more detailed timelines that includes progress and budget to date.

Part of determining a layout is deciding on the scale. Again, if you’re presenting to upper level management, show the entire project timeline from start to finish. But if you’re sharing your timelines with team members, you can concentrate on a specific period. This allows you to show the individual tasks assigned.

#3: Create your timeline

Instead of manually adding tasks and milestones to project timelines in Excel, PowerPoint, or Word, use a project planning tool that automatically pulls your tasks and their due dates to create an interactive timeline.

A project planning tool allows you to start from the initial planning stage to collaborate with team members and stakeholders. You can then automatically create a project timeline based on your tasks and due dates. You can easily set or change milestones, assign due dates and tasks to individuals, and even input your budget and track its progress.

Project planning and timeline software offers an interactive way to collaborate and track what needs done, who’s responsible, and how close to budget you are.

#4: Share your timeline

A timeline creator integrated in project planning software is a dynamic platform that your team can access to keep abreast of status, and you can easily share a link to timelines created specifically for different audiences, like executive management and stakeholder departments.

Trying to create timelines in other software not tailored for this task, like Excel or PowerPoint, requires manual work on your part (think hours of work). And even then it may not share well depending on how it’s formatted.

Using timeline-specific software, sharing is as easy as a click. No need to worry about formatting a file to send via email; rather,  your intended audience can click a link in an email and go directly to your timeline.

Final thoughts

A graphical representation of the milestones, deliverables, and even your project’s budget is an eye-catching way to show your project in a single glance. And using a project planning software platform makes creating a timeline an easy and accessible task for anyone.

Finally, follow these four effortless steps, and create timelines to help you stay on task, on budget, and on target with due dates, milestones, and deliverables. Add clarity and visual appeal to any project with your timeline.

 

The Hutwork difference

Hutwork is the only team collaboration, timeline creating, planning software platform that lets you plan, communicate, and track your progress easily. Use our fun timeline creator to customize your layouts with filters, milestone types, and so much more.

Check out www.hutwork.com today to see the difference a comprehensive road mapping and planning tool can make in your next project.

Chris Ball

Hi, I'm a Co-Founder at Hutwork. I'm responsible for making sure everything ticks! Click here to check us out on twitter.

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