Project planning and progress tracking is an essential part of any successful project, no matter the size. Part of ensuring success is communicating progress with project stakeholders. For small projects, simple meetings will suffice, but anything involving more than a couple of tasks and people typically requires some form of formal project documentation. While Microsoft Project is a great tool, not everyone uses it and while they have a “viewer” version, sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth the hassle. You may want to use a Gantter a free Microsoft Project alternative, sometimes I think it’s just easier to use Excel. While it’s not free – it’s certainly popular, easy to use and offers the ability to export and/or save as PDF files for easy sharing.
This is why I almost always create a project plan with a Gantt Chart using Microsoft Excel when embarking on a project. In this tutorial, I’ll walk through the steps I took to create a sample Excel-based project planning spreadsheet with a nifty gantt project schedule that shows who’s doing what, when and how complete the tasks are.
I’ve included some important features in this example. Most notably is the Gantt Chart schedule view of the project which automatically provides a view of who is performing what tasks on what date. The example includes logic to skip around weekends and non-working days as well as a separate column to track progress against tasks or goals.
If you’d prefer to skip the article and simply download the excel project planning template, you may skip to page 4 using the page links below to access the download link.
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