Project Timelines: Types and Key Elements

You won’t find any projects that have features in common. Plans are different even if they have the same tasks, dates, and deliverables. But there is one common thing. It is typical of all projects regardless of their complexity, number of members and industry. The point at issue is about timelines.

It is very important for project managers to develop skills to build an accurate timeline. It shows what phases are already in the past, what is in the progress now and what is supposed to be finished in future. It means it helps to be on projects’ tracks.

Project timelines

Timeline elements

Of course, it depends on a project. But there are typical elements that timelines should include in any case.

The key elements of a timeline:

  • Tasks that are to be accomplished in a project.
  • Dates of tasks.
  • Duration of tasks.
  • Dependencies between tasks.

Who will find timelines useful?

As we discovered, every project should be based on a timeline. So, if you want to succeed with your project regardless of its purpose and deliverables, it should include an accurate timeline. All tasks there will have start and end dates, milestones and project deliverables.

But project management is not the only sphere that benefits from timelines. They also help display historical events and depict biographies.

Types of timelines

There are different types of timelines. They may vary in lines (vertical or horizontal), states (interactive or static) and in other forms. To choose the one that will perfectly meet your needs, of course, you need to define what type of data you have and the best way to visualize it.

Let’s say a few words about them.

What is a Gantt chart timeline?

A Gantt chart timeline is the most popular and widespread type of timelines that is used for many years. That is why many project management tools have Gantt chart view where it is so easy to get a clear project picture.

Here there is a horizontal line that shows time periods. All events, actions, and tasks are labelled along this line. Thus, it is very easy to understand past, current and future assignments and actions.

Moreover, if tasks are dependent on each other, there will be no problems with visualization, either. As you see, all key elements are covered by a Gantt chart timeline making it a perfect timeline for any project.

Below is a good example of a Gantt chart timeline.

Gantt chart timeline

From this video, you will learn how to create your first project timeline in GanttPRO.

Chronology chart timeline

This is a chart where events are depicted in chronological order from left to right. So, it shows succession of actions and events.

It is a perfect timeline for events that serves as a historical timeline maker.

Historical timeline

Chart timeline with vertical bars

Usually this type reflects the time and some amount (for example, money) used over the time period. Thus, if a project is based on the financial gain or money raised, this timeline will show how much is gained or raised over a certain period.

It is a perfect timeline for finance teams.

Vertical bars chart timeline

Interactive and static timelines

Any timeline that is drawn or printed is a static one. It can’t be changed and it includes already formed pieces of information.

Timelines made with the help of timeline maker software are digital, therefore, interactive. It allows adding and editing data in them at any time.

Wrapping it up

Projects are different. But a timeline is a common feature for all of them. An efficient timeline should include tasks, their dates, durations, and dependencies.

If your goal is to accomplish your project with the help of a simply visualized way, then choose timeline maker software. It can be a vertical bar chart or chronological order for events depicting. But Gantt charts proved to be one of the most efficient ways to manage projects with timelines.

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