How a Timeline Creator Can Help Your Product Stay on Track

When you’re managing a product, there are a variety of tools and processes that help you track your product like a timeline creator. Tools and processes can vary depending on the industry you’re in. However, one thing that’s constant across companies and industries is the use of a product timeline.

A timeline shows what you’re going to accomplish, when you’re going to do it, and where you are status-wise at any given moment. Knowing how to create a timeline was an essential skill in the past. Today, it’s all about having the right timeline creator to help you create, manage, track, and present your timeline to stakeholders and executives.

Finding the right timeline creator can make product management easier and more streamlined. A robust platform offers more than timeline creation. You’ll want to find one that lets you create, collaborate, plan, and communicate. You should also be able to share, track, manage, and present your product in uniquely visual ways to different audiences.

For this article, we’ll focus on the timeline creator and how it can help your product stay on track.

Use milestones

Milestones give everyone involved in the product a clear view of the product start. They also show key dates along the way the product needs to hit to stay on target and how tasks are connected. For some stakeholders and clients, they find it difficult to read Gantt charts, the traditional method for tracking products. A best-in-class timeline creator presents milestones in a highly visual way that makes it easy to understand a product’s flow.

Milestones include the key dates in your product. Use a milestone to set a deadline for a task, feedback, or a deliverable. Milestones can also help you protect cut-off dates to manage your product and keep it on track. Finally, milestones let you know when key phases of the product are complete and new phases begin.

Plan your milestones

Use your timeline creator to plan your milestones. As mentioned earlier, a robust platform lets you plan your product from the beginning. You can capture the data and resources needed to establish tasks, deliverables and milestones. In addition, you can create milestones easily in a platform and assign dates, tasks, responsibilities, and control points that are easy to recognize.

For example, a milestone could be “Client supplies feedback on Phase II deliverables” or “Completion of prototype.” Your milestones should signify major segments of work completed and end dates for each.

Create a baseline

A baseline is a snapshot of your timeline at the beginning of the product. You’ll compare your timeline as it progresses against your baseline to see if the producy is on track or slipping in any of the key areas. Since product timelines are dynamic, you can refer back to your baseline to see how your timeline has changed over a given period of time.

Should your product fall behind, it’s easy to find where the slip occurred when you compare your progress to your original baseline.

You may want to create a new baseline if your product changes significantly. For example, if your scope changes, new tasks are added that change your deliverables and milestone dates. In addition, if any other approved changes create a new timeline, you’ll want to create a new baseline.

Share your timeline

Your timeline will change; it’s inevitable that challenges and issues crop up that impact it. A timeline creator offers an easy, intuitive way to share your timeline with team members, stakeholders, and management to keep everyone updated on changes, progress, and achievements.

Also, a comprehensive planning platform allows everyone involved to comment directly on the timeline, collaborate on ideas, share files and information, and email directly from the program. This level of collaboration is a key component of keeping your product as close to “on track” as possible.

You can also customize your timeline for a particular audience. If you’re sending a timeline to executive management, you can tailor it to a high level overview of key milestones and deliverables. If you’re sharing a timeline with stakeholders, you can include more detail about specific tasks and individuals and teams responsible. You choose the level of detail that your intended audience needs to see.

 

Final thoughts

A timeline creator is a handy tool to help your product stay on track. A fully integrated planning platform offers much more functionality. Take planning, collaborating, measuring, and tracking to an entirely new level.

Platforms like Hutwork excel in offering a powerful engine to accomplish every aspect of a product plan. Easily create timelines, from initial planning, creating milestones and a budget, to tracking performance and deliverables along the way. With everything available in an easy-to-use dashboard, Hutwork puts the power of the plan at your fingertips.

Visit hutwork.com to learn more about this leading planning tool and to see the difference a comprehensive platform can make in tracking your product’s success.

Danny Ball

Co-founder & CEO at Hutwork. I’m working hard every day to ensure visual planning is at the forefront of today’s fascinating ideas. Click here to check us out on twitter.

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