How to Create a Project Timeline & What is it

A project timeline is a visual representation of your project schedule, which includes all the tasks you need to complete in order to achieve your goal. It shows how long each activity will take and when they need to be completed by in order for the project to be successful. A good project timeline should include all of your milestones and deliverables while also keeping track of any dependencies between tasks or teams.
In this blog we will teach you how to create a project timeline and how Cirkus can give you and your team a clear visibility on each project.

What is a project timeline?

A project timeline is a visual representation of your project. It shows the start and end dates of each phase, as well as the resources needed to complete those tasks. A timeline also displays dependencies between tasks, which can help you determine whether they need to be completed together or separately.

Finally, it shows where delays might appear and project managers will be able to determine where delays can occur within a schedule and how long they would affect every other activity on that schedule if they were not resolved immediately before moving forward with them.

Gantt Chart vs. Project Timeline

Gantt Chart: A Gantt chart is a bar chart that shows the start and end dates of tasks, their durations, dependencies, and sequencing. It’s useful for visualizing the schedule for your project.

Project Timeline: A project timeline is a line chart that shows all of your work in progress (WIP) at any given time throughout your project development process. It displays when each item was created or added to WIP, how long it took you to complete each item and what stage they’re currently at in their lifecycle (e.g., under design).

Why is it important to create a project timeline?

The first reason is that you can see all your tasks in one place. This makes it easy to track progress and see what needs to be done next.

The second reason is that you can see the dependencies between tasks, which allows you to determine if they can be done concurrently or if they need to be done in sequence. This will help keep things on track and prevent delays down the line when multiple people are working on different parts of the project at once, especially when there are deadlines involved!

The third reason is that it allows people who don’t have a lot of experience with creating timelines an easy way out by letting them focus more on actual work than figuring out how long each task should take based off trial-and-error testing methods (which would likely result in wasted time).

The benefits of a project timeline

You can see the whole project at a glance. A good project timeline will show you the big picture and all of the details at once. This allows you to get a bird’s-eye view of your project, while still being able to zoom into specific areas if needed.

You can see progress on your projects in real time. While creating a timeline is important so that you know where everything stands at any given moment in time, it also allows you to see whether or not your team is progressing as planned by comparing today’s date with yesterday’s date (or last month). If there is no change or improvement over time then something needs fixing!

You’ll know if things are going well or poorly before they become serious problems later down the line; this gives everyone involved plenty of time before things go off course which makes fixing them much easier than if they weren’t caught until later down road when things start getting out control. 

Watch this video to learn the benefits that using a project management tool like Cirkus can give you while creating a project.

Different Types Of Project Timelines

There are several different types of project timelines. The most common ones are:

  • Gantt Chart: It’s a bar chart that shows the tasks, their start and finish dates, duration and dependencies between them.
  • Critical Path Method (CPM): A schedule planning technique used to determine the shortest schedule for a given project or program by identifying critical tasks that must be completed on time before subsequent tasks can begin.
  • Earned Value Management (EVM): A performance measurement method used in project management which measures actual cost against planned cost to determine whether you’re spending less than expected or more than expected on any given task or activity within your project plan timeline

How To Create A Project Timeline

Follow these steps to create on how to make a project timeline successfully and giving the right information to your team.

1. Define the scope of your project

Creating your project scope plan should be your top priority before starting any project. When you’re defining your project scope statement, it’s important to understand that this is an exercise in setting goals. 

Goals are crucial for helping you stay motivated and focused on what matters most. They also help you avoid getting caught up in other people’s expectations and ideas about what success looks like. Your goal should be ambitious but realistic and achievable.

2. Define your deliverables

When you create a project management plan it is very important to define your deliverables. Deliverables are the tangible results of your project, which will be delivered to the client at the end of each phase. Examples might include:

  • A new website design
  • An advertising campaign for social media
  • A report about what happened during an event or conference

3. Define your tasks

A task is a discrete piece of work that needs to be done in order to achieve the project’s goals. It can consist of multiple steps, but it should be measurable, actionable and time-bound. A good task will have a clear start date and end date, with no ambiguity around when it will be finished or how long it will take you (or your team) to complete it. 

The more you can identify what needs doing as tasks, the better your chances are at being able to create realistic timelines for them later on in the process!

4. Estimate the time needed to complete each task

You can estimate the time needed to complete each task by adding up the total amount of time required to perform all of its sub-tasks. People sometimes underestimate the amount of time needed to implement projects, particularly when they’re not familiar with the work that needs to be done.

For example, they may not take into account unexpected events or last minute high-priority work. Not having this in mind will likely have negative consequences further down the line.
This is why it’s important to estimate time accurately if you want  your project to be successful!

5. Determine the availability of your resources

Now that you have an idea of what the project will entail, it’s time to determine how much time and resources are available. First and foremost, ask yourself: Do I have enough people on my team? If not, consider outsourcing some tasks or hiring new employees or their multitasking skills.

Second, think about whether or not any of your current staff members are already working on other projects at this time and if so, how much time off do they need in order to complete them? You’ll want to keep track of all these things so that when it comes down to crunching numbers later on in the process, nothing falls through the cracks!

6. Determine your projects' important milestones

Milestones are important because they show progress. They also help you to measure your progress and track it over time, which is helpful for planning future projects and gauging their success.

If you’re working on a large-scale project, milestones can be used as checkpoints along the way so that everyone involved knows where they stand in terms of completion and whether or not they need to take any action before moving forward with other parts of the process.

7. Build your project management timeline!

A project management timeline is an important part of the planning process. It helps you keep track of your tasks and deadlines, but it can also be a useful tool for managing your team’s workloads.

When building your project schedule, there are a few things to consider:

  • Make sure that the software you choose is easy-to-use and accessible by everyone involved in the project (including clients). You don’t want to spend hours trying to figure out how something works.
  • Don’t forget about accessibility when choosing a platform–your team members should be able to access their calendars from anywhere at any time so they can see what’s coming up next on their plate without having to check email or log into another app first.

    Cirkus accommodates all devices and is available on macOS, iOS, mobile web and as a web app.

Example of a Project Timeline

There are many strategies that project managers can use to create a project timeline. Here’s an example of the Gantt chart methodology, where tasks are laid out chronologically in such a way that it’s easy to see which elements will overlap and which steps can’t begin until prior tasks are completed. It’s pretty simple and easy to understand, but it has all the necessary components for creating your own timeline.

Create your own timeline using Cirkus

Cirkus will allow you to see each project’s timeline and it will make it very easy to collaborate and to keep everything on track. Download Cirkus to get started! 

Here is a project timeline template in Cirkus:

Conclusion

In conclusion, we hope that this article has helped you better understand the importance of creating a project timeline. We know that it can be a daunting task and there are so many factors to consider when building one, but if you follow our tips above then we promise your project will go much smoother and Cirkus will help you achieve your goals!

By Carla Molina Whyte

February 7, 2023

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