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10 Best Project Plan Templates (Excel, Word, PDF! FREE Download)

Project Plan Templates

Project management is one of the most important skills in the arsenal of any leader and a well-designed project plan template can make that manager’s life ten times easier.

Project plan templates might not be the most glorious aspect of project management. After all, learning about them is akin to finding out how a sausage is made. The end result, when it comes to a project, is almost far prettier than the journey there.

That being said, project plan templates are an essential part of any long or short-term project. That is why, in this post, we put together some of the best free project plan templates you can find on the internet.

We also drafted up some project planning templates of our own to help serve as a roadmap for you as you are designing your own.

Alongside free project plan templates, which you can download instantly, we will also talk about some of the tools you can use instead of project management templates such as project management software.

The right tools for the job.

Picking the right project management software can make all the difference in the productivity of your projects. Every organization has different needs and the right tools to match them. If your organization uses Microsoft Teams on a regular basis, then you might want to give Teamflect a try.

As a fully integrated project management solution, Teamflect covers all your project management needs without you or your team having to leave Microsoft Teams once. Agendas for project check-ins? Task management? Goal setting? End of project reviews? Teamflect has you covered!

Curious if this is the right project management tool for you? You can try it out for absolutely free, without signing up, with no time limits! Just click the button below and see how Teamflect can help manage your projects!

Lead your project teams through Microsoft Teams!
No sign-up required.
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So…What is a project plan template?

So, what exactly is a project plan template? Well, in the simplest of terms, think of it as a blueprint for your project.

It’s a pre-designed framework that outlines the essential components and structure of your plan. Instead of starting from scratch every time you embark on a new project, you can simply whip out one of these bad boys and get a head start.

That being said, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all project planning template that you can apply to every single project and get effective results.

Every organization is different. Every leader is different. And of course, every project is different. Most importantly, every leader’s project management style is different.

That is why the best way to go when it comes to using project planning templates is to customize one based on your management style and the requirements of the specific projects you are working on.

What are the different types of project plan templates?

The way we create templates certainly evolved in the past years. Just as we discussed in our article on goal setting templates, there are many different types of project planning templates.

We are not talking about the difference between Excel project plan templates and Word project planning templates. The differentiating factors in these project planning templates are their core goal setting methodologies. So here are the basic types of templates for project planning:

Traditional project plan templates

There is nothing wrong with going with the classic. It is classic for a reason! Traditional templates follow the traditional waterfall methodology, which involves a sequential approach to project execution.

They are suitable for projects with well-defined requirements and a linear sequence of tasks. Traditional templates are typically made up of sections for project goals, milestones, timelines, resources, and risk management.

Agile project plan templates

Agile templates are designed for projects that require a more flexible and iterative approach. To learn more about Agile goal setting as a methodology, you might want to read our article on OKRs and Agile.

Agile project and goal setting templates are commonly used in software development and related industries that benefit from adaptive planning, yet they are becoming more and more prominent in other industries with each passing day.

Agile templates focus on shorter planning cycles, collaborative teamwork, and continuous feedback. They often include sections for sprints, user stories, backlog management, and team collaboration tools.

Industry-specific project plan templates

Out of all the different types of project planning templates, this is the one with the broadest definition. Yet the title is rather self-explanatory.

The term project isn’t equal in every single industry. For that reason, you will probably find that project plan templates used by construction companies are quite different than project planning templates used for game design.

10 Free Project Plan Templates

1. Minimalist Project Management Timeline Template

Project planning

Detailed templates for project planning are all well and good. But what if your team doesn’t need everything mapped out for them?

After all, every project manager has their own way of doing things. Every team responds to a different kind of leadership. For those looking for a simpler, more minimalist approach, this project planning timeline template is perfect! It guides the project team without micromanaging them!

2. Project Kickoff Plan Template

project plan template

If you start a project strong, you will more than likely finish strong! That is why it is an absolute must to hold project kickoff meetings and when you do, make sure you fill out this project plan kickoff template.

Designed in an open-ended manner, filling out this detailed project plan template will make you think carefully about the scope and background of your project!

3. Gantt Chart Template

project plan template

Illustrating the amount of work completed across a designated amount of time is the bread and butter of project management.

All the fancy project management lingo aside, this absolutely stunning pastel Gantt chart template will not only boost your team’s productivity, but also be one of the prettiest things in your shared folders!

4. PDF Project Plan Template

Project planner

Not every project planning template needs a fancy design and pretty pastel colors. This PDF project planning template may not be pretty but it packs a punch.

Featuring a completely open-ended design and key features such as Milestones, Resources, and Timeline, this is one project planning template PDF you shouldn’t mind printing out and passing around!

5. A simple Excel project plan template

project plan template

This simple Excel project planning template has everything you might need from a basic project planning form.

With interactive formulas and a GANTT chart off to the side, it does exactly what it is supposed to do. While the design is a bit crowded, the Excel project plan template here never feels overwhelming.

Download Here

6. Agile Project Plan Template

project plan template

This excel project plan template reflects Agile goal setting methodology perfectly. It is a great project planning tool for organizations practicing Agile.

What sets it apart from other project management templates is its emphasis on “sprints”. This reflects the iterative approach that comes with Agile. Another benefit of dividing the template into sprints is that it instantly makes it less complicated and easier on the eyes.

Download Here

7. Blank Project Plan Template

Project plan template basic information

Sometimes less is objectively more. This simple template by Replicon is a testament to that. While lacking the flare of the previous templates on this list, it provides project managers with an Excel project plan template that is simply a blank canvas.

And sometimes, that is exactly what you need. It also has well-thought-out columns that divide each task inside the project into achievable chunks.

Download Here

8. Hubspot’s Project Plan Timeline Template

project plan template

While this isn’t an Excel project planning template like the rest of them, we have to hand it to Hubspot for designing an incredibly descriptive and effective Word project plan template.

Their emphasis on the timeline and scheduling side of project management, alongside the descriptions and explanations that preceeds each section really drives this template home.

Download Here

9. Hubspot’s Weekly Project Plan Excel Template

project plan template

Sticking with our good friends over at Hubspot, this is another one of their project management templates, this time with a focus on weekly schedules.

This basic project plan template for Excel is a great way to map out your project’s journey across multiple weeks.

Long term project action plan templates are always welcome but it is nice to see a template that focuses on the short term through weekly schedules.

Download Here

10. Industry Specific: Game Design Project Plan Template

gaming project plan template

Project Overview

  • Project Name: [Insert project name]
  • Project Duration: [Specify the start and end dates]
  • Project Objectives: [List the main goals and objectives of the project]

Scope Definition

  • Game Concept: [Provide a brief description of the game concept and genre]
  • Target Audience: [Identify the intended audience for the game]
  • Key Features: [List the main features and mechanics of the game]
  • Platforms: [Specify the platforms on which the game will be developed and released]
  • Design Pillars: [Clarify the central design pillars of the game]

Milestone Plan

  • Milestones: [Break down the project into major milestones]
  • Deliverables: [Specify the key deliverables for each milestone]
  • Timeline: [Provide estimated start and end dates for each milestone]

Resource Planning

  • Team Members: [List the members of the game design team]
  • Roles and Responsibilities: [Define the roles and responsibilities of each team member]

Task Breakdown

  • Task List: [Break down the project into smaller tasks]
  • Dependencies: [Identify task dependencies and relationships]
  • Duration: [Estimate the duration for each task]
  • Assignments: [Assign tasks to team members]

Quality Assurance

  • Testing Strategy: [Define the testing approach and methods]
  • Test Plan: [Create a plan for conducting various testing phases]
  • Bug Tracking: [Establish a system for tracking and managing bugs]
  • Feedback Mechanism: [Set up a process for gathering and incorporating feedback]

Project Closure

  • Documentation: [Ensure all project documentation is complete and up-to-date]
  • Final Delivery: [Prepare the final deliverables and handoff process]

Using Project Management Software

two people making one on one meeting with meeting page features

Project plan templates aren’t the only tools available to those looking to make project management easier. There are some incredible project management tools out there. For those using Microsoft Teams, the best project management tool has to be….

Teamflect

Teamflect is the best Microsoft Teams project management software available today. With complete Microsoft Teams integration, Teamflect takes the existing project management capabilites that Microsoft Teams has and dials them up to eleven! As an all-in-one performance management system, Teamflect lets users exchange feedback through custom feedback templates, assign tasks, set goals, and create incredibly detailed meeting agendas!

Use the best project management tool for Microsoft Teams!
No sign-up required.
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What are the 5 phases of project management?

One of the best ways to structure a project management plan template is to follow the 5 phases of project management as an overall guideline. While we have an entirely separate article on this very topic, let’s go over the phases of project management that you can include in your project management plan right here:

Project Phase 1: Initiation

This is the starting phase where the project’s value and feasibility are measured. Those involved in the project and invested in its success perform market research, identify the project’s purpose, goals, and overall scope, and consider if the project should be undertaken.

This is where the project team decides whether the project is getting the green light or not. Key activities include defining the project at a high level, identifying who actually has a stake in this project, and of course, the necessary research in the form of market research, feasibility studies, etc.

Project Phase 2: Planning

Often considered the most critical phase, the planning phase of a project plan involves setting goals, defining roles and responsibilities, developing schedules, and planning resources and budgets.

The planning stage of a project is about creating a roadmap for the team to follow, detailing what needs to be done, by whom, and by when. There are plenty of tools available to assist in the planning phase such as task management platforms.

Project Phase 3: Execution

The execution phase of a project plan is where the planned activities are carried out. The project team has to coordinate people and resources, as well as integrate and perform the activities of the project in accordance with the project management plan.

The project plan templates in this page can help teams stick to the project management plan made during the second phase of project management.

Project Phase 4: Monitoring

Not a separate step or phase but in fact a concurrent one, monitoring takes place at the same time as execution. As the project plan is being executed it should also be monitored carefully in order to make sure the execution is aligned with the project management template being followed.

The monitoring phase can also help ensure that the project doesn’t overreach when it comes to the use of resources.

Project Phase 5: Closing

The final phase of a project plan is where the project team wraps the entire operation up. A project evaluation review is conducted to make sure the team has learned from the challenges they faced throughout the completion of the project.

This review also helps ensure that the project plans made in the future reflect all the best practices and learnings gained from this particular project management experience.

Written by Emre Ok

Emre is a content writer at Teamflect who aims to share fun and unique insight into the world of performance management.

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