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21 project management templates to organize any workflow

By Bryce Emley · February 6, 2024
Hero image with an icon of a Gantt chart for product roadmaps and project management

I recently went on a 20-hour road trip that involved stuffing three adults, two dogs, a baby, and two grandparents' worth of Christmas gifts into a Subaru Forester. 

While turning said compact SUV into Mary Poppins' handbag, I realized the only way to make it work was to abide by a structure I could replicate when we had to unload at hotels along the way.

That's what project management templates are to project managers: replicable systems of organization that keep everything efficiently structured.

If you're one of those people packing all those tasks and teams into a single, unified, potentially 4WD structure, these downloadable templates should help you set a workflow foundation.

What are project management templates?

Project management templates are structured workflows, documents, and other assets that can be iterated within business processes to make them more efficient. 

In our case, these are shareable spreadsheets that can be customized and inserted into processes across various project types. They give people (you) effective starting places for building out repetitive processes, so you don't have to start from scratch every time. 

While project managers in particular may use them most, other team leads could find them useful for iterative processes within HR, financial, sales, and marketing teams.

Project management template example

To illustrate, here's an example of a project management template in action:

A marketing executive for a software company uses a project plan template to start every new campaign proposal. This template summarizes the goals, tasks, timelines, and budget, so they can submit a structured proposal to get approval from stakeholders before kicking off the campaign.

Project management planning templates

These project management planning templates can be used for a wide range of project types. Use these for basic plan proposals, briefs, organization, and even management role descriptions.

1. Project management template

 Mockup showcasing Zapier's project management template

That's it; the search is over. If you're looking for a one-stop project management template, you can probably just stop here. This baby has it all: project names, color-coded priority markers, description fields, deliverable timelines and progress, and hour tracking. 

Best for: Effectively organizing multiple projects in one place

2. Project plan template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project plan template

For those who like to apply a little structure to new projects (generally a key characteristic of most project managers), this project plan template has you covered. Designed for general use, it's got fields for overall timelines, individual task timelines, goals, and resource expense tracking. 

Best for: Showing what you plan to do, how long it'll take, and how much it'll cost

3. Gantt chart project plan template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's Gantt chart template

If Gantt is your chart of choice, this is the template for you. This project scheduling spreadsheet visualizes your project, so you can easily see where tasks and phases stand at a glance. Just fill it in with your dates and task names, update the dates, and let the spreadsheet do the rest of the heavy lifting.

Best for: Visually tracking project progress and timelines

4. Project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project proposal template

For those who need a more formal, standardized method of kicking off projects, a template for a project proposal makes sense. By clearly laying out your project's timelines, budget, purpose, methodologies, and risks, you can help ensure stakeholder buy-in is—like the plastic topper holding suitcases and baby toys on top of a Subaru—secured.

Best for: Outlining project concepts for early buy-in

5. Business project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's business project proposal template

If you need a slightly less detailed project proposal for business use cases, this document should help. This simpler version of our project proposal template includes fields for an executive summary, multiple goals, a task roadmap, a schedule, a budget, and necessary resources.

Best for: Simplified project proposals for business use cases

6. Project brief template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project brief template

Whether you need a document to submit a project for approval or just like the clarity of starting projects with a concise summary, a project brief covers your bases. This simple project management template has only a few fields that give a very basic, high-level overview of a project that's either under consideration or underway.

Best for: Succinctly summarizing an upcoming or in-progress project

7. Agile feature rollout Kanban board template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's agile feature rollout template

Agile teams are their own animal, and they get their own Kanban board template to match. This highly detailed spreadsheet even has drag-and-drop functionality to mirror typical Kanban software functionality as projects progress through feature rollout phases. To use this one, check out more detailed spreadsheet DIY instructions.

Best for: Agile teams with structured feature rollouts

8. Construction project template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's construction project template

If you're looking to plan a construction project, try this template. A variation on the general project management spreadsheet, this one has simplified fields for timelines with day totals, cost estimates, and customizable dropdowns for assigning tasks to relevant contractors and personnel.

Best for: Planning projects in construction or with multiple contractors

9. Project manager planner template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project manager planner template

For team leads looking to lasso multiple projects and team members into a single, easy-to-review document, this project manager planner template could be your rope. (Pardon the rodeo metaphor—I come from a cow town.) This simple template can be organized by filters, like task, date, assignee, and project status, to give you an instant look at who's doing what, when, and for how long. 

Then, fill in the assignee block as you go to keep track of utilization by period. I recommend using this as a recurring template with a structured timeline: start it fresh by week, month, sprint, or project.

Best for: Organizing tasks and tracking team member utilization

Budgeting and financial templates

Though some of the project management planning templates above include fields for projecting budgets, they may not allow for the kind of granularity you need for more detailed budgeting or expense reporting. That's where these come in.

10. Project budget allocation template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project budget allocation template

For a more detailed look at the likely costs of executing a project, you'll need a project budget allocation template. This form is dedicated solely to communicating the estimated costs and allocated amounts for specific items within a project to give all stakeholders a more transparent financial picture.

Best for: Calculating and communicating budgets for specific items in a project

11. Resource management project plan template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's resource management template

When you're planning a project, you also need to plan for expenses. This resource management plan template can serve as your one-stop shop for all things project budget so you can break resources down into quantities and estimates.

Best for: Detailed estimates for individual resources

12. Timesheet template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's timesheet template

Most of these templates are for bigger-picture planning and documentation from the manager's perspective, but managers are just one piece of the project puzzle. This timesheet template should help your team members track the time they spend working on a daily basis.

Best for: Tracking individual working time

13. Timesheet invoice template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's timesheet invoice template

While the timesheet template is designed for general clocking in and out, this invoice is perfect for drilling into individuals' time spent on specific tasks, so you can stay on top of—and ideally under—budgets.

Best for: Individual time and cost logging by task

14. Project-based invoice template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's project-based invoice template

If you want your teams to submit time and incurred costs on completed projects and tasks without having to clock in and out manually, a simpler project-based invoice template is probably more your speed. 

Best for: Reporting the costs of completed projects and tasks

Sales and marketing templates

All the templates up to this point should be great options for generalists, but sales and marketing projects tend to have their own unique workflows. These templates may not apply to all project managers, but they should help sales and marketing managers and team leads stay on top of their projects.

15. Sales dashboard template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's sales dashboard template

As your completed projects stack up, it'll be worth your while to see how those projects are performing. This—quite frankly, very impressive—sales dashboard spreadsheet gives you a high-level, real-time view of individualized performance by team member. While it's geared toward sales performance tracking, it can also be formatted to show accrued expenses by individual, project, or team.

Best for: Visualizing accrued revenues or expenses

16. Social media calendar template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's social media calendar template

Take it from someone who gets anxious at the thought of social media posting: social media can be complicated. But it doesn't have to be if you use this calendar template to help align teams on content scheduling. This should help you get a clear picture of upcoming holidays and track posting patterns, so you can maximize your efforts with less anxiety. (I'll stick to making drafts and then deleting them.)

Best for: Organizing social media content schedules

17. Content calendar template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's content calendar template

If your content marketing operation tends toward robusticity, this is the template you didn't know you've been waiting for (and probably the last occasion I'll ever have for using the word "robusticity"). Use this template to keep all your content ducks in a row, whether you're recording podcasts, filming ads, writing blog posts, or even just hiring someone to do all the above for you.

Best for: Organizing content-related tasks and timelines

18. Marketing project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's marketing project proposal template

Sure, all project proposals have the same basic foundation: goals, timelines, projected expenses, slick color-coding, etc. But this marketing-specific project proposal template is specially formulated to help marketing team leads get buy-in, so they can prove the impact and import of their impending campaign.

Best for: Securing buy-in for marketing projects

19. Sales project proposal template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's sales project proposal template

Designed to flexibly include either B2C or B2B use cases, this sales-oriented project proposal template will help sales team leads prove viable ROI for their initiatives. Fill it out with pain points, timelines, and descriptions to show this sales project is worthwhile for all parties involved.

Best for: Outlining sales proposals with quotes

20. Marketing communication plan

Mockup showcasing Zapier's marketing communication plan template

Every great marketing campaign starts with one thing (along with money, personnel, time, software…): a plan. This communication plan template will set you up for success with an easy-to-follow reference document that aligns all team members on dates, projects, and contacts.

Best for: Creating a simple reference for aligning marketing teams

21. Annual marketing strategy calendar template

Mockup showcasing Zapier's annual marketing strategy calendar template

For those marketing team leads who like to think ahead—so, all marketing team leads—an easily editable calendar is your best friend. This spreadsheet is separated by tab to help you organize campaign timelines, project start and end dates, and relevant milestones, so you can ensure all projects line up with greater team goals and availability.

Best for: Organizing high-level annual strategy

Benefits of using a project management template

Can you manage a project without a template? Sure. But you can also try to cook Julia Child's coq au vin on your own—or you could just use her recipe.

The obvious reason for using any template is simplicity, but there's a lot more to gain than just time and effort. Here's why you should consider using a project management template like one of the above:

  • Workflow standardization: Incorporating standardized templates into workflows ensures all stakeholders know what to expect and keeps procedures consistent.

  • Scalability: As shareable and iterable assets, templates scale easily and ensure processes stay standardized as teams grow.

  • Improved organization: When you use templates with preset fields, you know every document is labeled, searchable, and includes the information you expect.

  • Transparency: With clearly outlined timelines, budgets, tasks, resources, and workflows, templates give everyone a clear idea of what's entailed in each element of their unique processes.

  • Automation: The best thing about templates is that they can be integrated with automation triggers, so they can be shared, filled, and delivered automatically.

Automating your project management templates

Now that you've got a truckload (compact-SUV-load doesn't quite have the same ring) of project management templates at your disposal, you can make them even more powerful with automation.

You can use Zapier to create no-code automations, so your Google Sheet template can talk to all the other apps you use. Here are some examples to get you started, but you can connect Google Sheets to thousands of other apps with Zapier.

Send emails via Gmail when Google Sheets rows are updated

Send emails via Gmail when Google Sheets rows are updated
  • Google Sheets logo
  • Gmail logo
Google Sheets + Gmail

Or you can use Zapier's simple project plan template to keep track of everything in one app.

Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works.

Templates alone can be hugely helpful when managing projects. But when you add automation to the mix, you can make them even more powerful, creating more structured workflows that seamlessly incorporate the tools your team depends on.

Related reading:

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Bryce Emley picture

Bryce Emley

Currently based in Albuquerque, NM, Bryce Emley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NC State and nearly a decade of writing and editing experience. His work has been published in magazines including The Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, and Modern Farmer and has received a regional Emmy and awards from venues including Narrative, Wesleyan University, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Pablo Neruda Prize. When he isn’t writing content, poetry, or creative nonfiction, he enjoys traveling, baking, playing music, reliving his barista days in his own kitchen, camping, and being bad at carpentry.


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