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.
What is a timeline?
A timeline is a chronological order of events. In most cases, it is a line with dates, events or actions. 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.
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 way to benefit from timelines. They are a good way for displaying historical events and depicting 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?
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.
It is a perfect timeline for any project.
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.
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.
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.
GanttPRO Gantt chart timeline
Professional project management software eases the process of timeline making. This is the case with GanttPRO Gantt chart software. It includes Gantt chart timeline templates where it is so easy to add, delete and drag tasks and milestones.
GanttPRO Gantt chart timeline visualizes progress of any project. Users are able to create tasks within seconds. It is simple to set their start and end dates and relate tasks to each other with dependencies. So, as you see, here there are all 4 key timeline elements – tasks, dates, durations and dependencies. All these features GanttPRO offers in a free timeline maker template.
It doesn’t matter how big your project is, what industry it belongs to and how many members take part in it. A Gantt chart timeline perfectly visualizes project events. Managers don’t even have to calculate dates and durations. A timeline automatically does it to simplify all work on a project. Moreover, if any change in a project occurs, there will be no problems to edit your Gantt chart timeline at any time.
Wrapping it up
Projects are different. But a timeline is a common feature for all of them. A working 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.