The 8 Types of Project Management Templates

Gantt chart Stock

When it comes to project management, there are a lot of plates you need to keep spinning, and a lot of things you'll need to keep in mind. These include:

  • Who does what (the various roles within the project)
  • What are the deliverables (what are the phases, and the tasks within)
  • What are the criteria (deadlines, budget, quality of the product)
  • What are the priorities (what you must, should, could, and won't do)
  • What are the risks and dependencies (what can go wrong, and what needs to be completed before the next steps)

With this much to keep in mind, it's reassuring to know that project management software can help with each and every one of these important aspects of a project. This page includes 13 templates that can help you with everything from managing your deadlines to remembering who's in charge of what.

There are dozens of project management platforms on the market, each with many of the template types we'll discuss here. However, all of the templates on this page are what we've found to be the absolute best, as well as all being included on a free plan or trial, meaning you can try them out yourself.

Without further ado, let's look at the best project management templates on the market.

1. Product Brief Templates

What Is a Product Brief Template?

This is the most basic template on this list – so much so that you possibly wouldn't even need a project management software platform to make one. A product brief is basically a bird's eye view of the project as a whole.

ClickUp, one of the leading project management platforms, describes a product brief as a “short formal document that describes your entire project. Created during project planning, it:

– Gives the project sponsor, team and key stakeholders a clear overview of the project scope and its deliverables
– Outlines what work will be done in the project (i.e., the project plan)
– Defines the project budget”

Like we said, you might not need a project management platform to make a product brief, but some brief templates (like ClickUp's below) can help you understand what needs to be included. This can be more helpful than just staring at a blank page.

ClickUp's Product Brief Template

Looking at ClickUp's product brief template, it includes everything you'd want in a product brief. This includes things like the project's context and objective, guidelines on how to define the success of the project, and design considerations.

It's a very visually pleasing document, with the ability to tag individuals within the copy. It can also be heavily customised to suit your team and project's needs, and can be exported as a PDF for external viewing.

ClickUp Product Brief

2. Action Plan Templates

What Is an Action Plan Template?

While a product brief is a broad look at the project as a whole, an action plan is a step-by-step breakdown of how the project will go, and what the project will need to succeed. These can include:

  • Tasks
  • Deadlines
  • Owners
  • Milestones
  • Resources needed

Much like a product brief, you wouldn't explicitly require a project management software to create one of these, but it makes it a lot easier. For example, newcomers to project management might not realise how important tracking milestones will be, but if it's mapped out beforehand, it can help manage some stress.

monday.com's Action Plan Template

As is the case with a lot of monday.com's offerings, this template is visually engaging, easy to use, and a great way of getting a quick visual representation of the coming weeks ahead.

monday Action Plan

Wrike's Action Plan Template

Wrike's action plan template isn't too different from monday's, but it is a lot less visually busy. Instead of listing every piece of pertinent information, it instead gives each task a very simple card that only lists the task, its progress, its due date, and a photo of the individual responsible for its completion. If you have a lot of tasks on the go, this might be a better option, as it would look a lot less cluttered if you had dozens of cards.

Wrike Action Plan

3. Creative Brief Templates

What Is a Creative Brief Template?

As the name might suggest, a creative brief is a tool specifically for the more creative pursuits, like marketing or advertising campaigns. A programming team likely wouldn't need one of these.

In essence, a creative brief is like a product brief, but externally facing. For example, it will map out the kind of audiences you're looking to hit, what you know about them, the profiles of your demographics, and an overall understanding of your stakeholders.

Miro's Creative Brief Template

Shown below, Miro's approach to a creative brief covers everything you'd want from a creative brief. It covers the basics that any brief would need to, like goals and due dates, but also looks at the core target audience and content format. This is a great template for projects that are slightly more subjective than a software launch.

Miro Creative Brief

4. GANTT Chart Templates

What Is a GANTT Chart Template?

GANTT charts are up there with the most popular and iconic features within project management software. Any decently sized project is going to have multiple steps and moving parts, and a GANTT chart is a great way of tracking these steps.

A GANTT chart is, in essence, a visual representations of many aspects of a project. These aspects include:

  • Tasks and their owners
  • Timelines and deadlines
  • Dependencies
  • Milestones
  • Resources needed/used

Here are our top 7 favourite GANTT charts.

ClickUp's GANTT Chart Template

As one of the leading project management platforms, ClickUp has a great GANTT chart within its many features. It comes in two forms, one being a standard, fully-featured Gantt chart, and the other being a simple, more watered-down chart that can help newer users get to grips with the concept.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the interface is very clean and easy to read, meaning you won't have to waste time navigating to the information you need.

ClickUp Gantt Chart
Note

We're using ClickUp as the sole example here because it ranks #1 on our page of the best GANTT chart templates. To check out our other favourites, read our article!

5. RACI Chart Templates

What Is a RACI Chart?

RACI stands for “responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed.” This chart is a basic way of understanding the responsibilities and hierarchy associated with a certain task or phase of the project.

Project management software will usually offer a RACI chart, and due to there only being four settings (one for each letter of RACI), they're very easy to set up and read.

monday.com's RACI Chart

As you can see in monday.com's RACI chart below, you'll be able to tell at a glance when it comes to who's attached to what task. And with the colour-coded status, it's easy to see what still needs to be done.

The one possible problem is that, at a glance, the RACI status is shown only by a photo, not by a name, so it might take a second or two to figure out who is designated to each responsibility.

Monday RACI Chart

Wrike's RACI Chart

Wrike has its own version of the RACI chart. As you can see from this chart, it offers a bit more data at first glance, but that means it's slightly harder to get specific pieces of information out when you're in a rush. Still, it's easy on the eyes and includes all the names of the individuals involved.

Wrike RACI

6. User Research Sessions Templates

What Is User Research?

If your project results in a product that is going to be used by multiple customers (like a software feature), then it can be hugely beneficial to constantly be checking in with the intended audience and seeing how they're reacting to certain features and aspects of the project.

Project management software with user research templates will allow you to store all of these reactions and sort them based on positivity or the certain feedback given (like the amount of times a certain feature is praised or requested).

Asana's User Research Sessions Template

Asana's user research sessions template includes a lot of structure. You can set goals, like “can the user navigate the toolbar with ease,” and then track customer responses through their own quotes. These observations can be marked with tags like “will fix” and “positive feedback” in order to sort the important comments out from other noise.

Asana User Research Sessions

Miro's User Research Sessions Template

Miro's user research sessions template allows various points and questions to be placed easily on a virtual whiteboard. This is a very free-flowing system, as the sticky notes that comprise the system can be placed anywhere, and don't have to follow any kind of structure. This means it can be very customised by your team, but if you're after a specific structure, Asana's probably a better pick.

Miro User Research Sessions

7. Tasks List Templates

What Is a Task List Template?

While an action plan includes everything relevant to a project, like budget, resources, and deadlines, a task list is a lot simpler and exactly what it sounds like – a list of tasks alongside who is allocated to each task and when it has to be done by.

While everyone involved in a project will find a resource like this to be useful, this is particularly useful for the workers themselves, who can use the task list to anticipate what is coming up in their pipeline, and plan accordingly.

monday.com's Task Lists Template

As is usually the case with monday.com's offerings, the layout and interface here is eye-catching and engaging. The colour-coding for overdue projects and task statuses is a great visual way of showing what's left to be done, and as the task list fills with green, it's a great boost to morale.

monday.com Task List

Notion's Task Lists Template

Notion's task list template takes the form of a Kanban board, which is essentially made up of columns that signify the stage that each task is in. A basic example of these columns would just be “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Finished,” but users can add their own steps like “In Review” or whatever else suits their team's workflow.

Notion Task List

8. Roadmap Templates

What Is a Roadmap?

A roadmap is an overall view of the project, but instead of being a static object like a product brief or an action plan, a roadmap is fully interactive and allows you to mark your progress as the project goes on.

Unlike the action plan, there shouldn't be too much information on a roadmap. The goal, the owner, the progress, and the deadline are the only real pieces of info you'll be able to get from a roadmap, so it's a great tool to quickly asses the status of a project as a whole.

ClickUp's Roadmap Template

As you can see below, ClickUp's roadmap includes the exact information you'd want pertaining to each task. For example, they're sorted by “complete,” “in progress,” and “planned,” and even have priority flags and time estimates. You can see how checking this every morning would be a great way to get up to speed on a project.

ClickUp Roadmap

monday.com's Roadmap Template

monday.com's roadmap is a bit simpler than ClickUp's, but it still comes with all the information you'd want in a quick glance. Progress bars, statuses, owners, and even subtasks that make up larger tasks (for example, if you were painting a house's interior, the subtasks would be made up of the various rooms that needed to be painted).

monday.com Roadmap

Project Management Templates : Should You Use Excel or a Project Management Software?

All of the resources and templates here could, in theory, be replicated on a spreadsheet or word document, but these systems are not made expressly for these purposes. For example, recreating a GANTT chart on a spreadsheet could work fine for a bit, but the second things need to be moved around, it could get a lot trickier than it needs to be.

To this end, it's a lot better to use a project management platform that is dedicated to making these processes as smooth and usable as possible. Not to mention, you would need various separate sheets and documents to keep all of this in order, whereas it can be done in one spot within a project management platform.

As you may have been able to tell from the frequency at which they appeared in this article, our favourite project management platforms are monday.com and ClickUp. During our research, they received some of the highest scores in usability, reasonable pricing, the amount of features on offer, and customer satisfaction.

Read more about monday.com here.

Duncan Lambden
Duncan Lambden Senior Writer

Duncan (BA in English Textual Studies and Game Design) is an Australian-born writer for Expert Market. His articles focus on ecommerce platforms and business software that allows small businesses to improve their efficiency or reach, with an emphasis on invoice financing and customer relations. He has written for Website Builder Expert and Tech.co, and has been featured in Forbes. In his free time, Duncan loves to deconstruct video games, which means that his loved ones are keenly concerned about the amount of time he spends looking at screens.