In a perfect world, projects run smoothly and your team’s workload is perfectly balanced. But as any project planner knows too well, you’re bound to hit at least a few bumps in the road. If you don’t factor in a cushion for holdups, you’ll find yourself in a “hurry up and wait” cycle or asking yourself, “What happened to that project?”

So how can you organize and prioritize? Top project planners plug their project into a Gantt project planner to help them visualize the timeline of the project. They can see where unexpected waves might come crashing down and prepare strategies to ensure smooth sailing.

In the past, you might have used a tool like Excel to build a Gantt chart and visualize your project. However, as projects become more complicated or alter course, it’s difficult to maintain this manual method.

Enter Wrike’s Gantt chart, where you have mobility, flexibility, and agility to adjust your Agile Gantt chart and project tasks in real time — in one place. Online Gantt charts like Wrike’s pick up where Excel lets off.

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A quick introduction to Gantt charts

Gantt project planners have been around for a long time in one guise or another. Over the years they’ve undergone many changes, driven by the need for improved project management efficiency. Here are key milestones in their evolution:

  • Manual era: In the early stages of project management, Gantt charts were manually created on paper or using rudimentary software tools. These charts provided a visual timeline for project tasks but were static and required significant effort to update.
  • Excel revolution: The introduction of Excel brought a significant change in the creation of Gantt charts. Project managers could now create and edit Gantt charts digitally. However, these charts were still relatively static and could be challenging and time-consuming to update, especially for complex projects.
  • Project management software: The advent of dedicated project management software provided a more dynamic and interactive approach to creating a Gantt project planner. These tools allowed for real-time updates to Gantt charts, improving their adaptability and usefulness in fast-paced environments.
  • Online Gantt Charts: The latest evolution in Gantt Project Planners is the shift to online platforms, like Wrike. These solutions allow project tasks to be adjusted in real time, in one place, enhancing the agility and flexibility of project management. They also facilitate better team collaboration (especially in the remote era) by providing an easily accessible, shared view of the project timeline.

Online Gantt charts

Modern Gantt charts let you oversee, adjust, and share project information in one space. They allow both you and your team to visually understand how the flow of the project will work, who you need to collaborate with, and what everyone’s responsibilities are. Online Gantt charts like those in Wrike should help you:

  • Improve project management: Visualize every project step! With Gantt charts, see where you might need to add a cushion, link task dependencies, and set progress milestones.
  • Adjust your plans: When you build your project plan Agile Gantt chart online, you can easily adjust dates and timelines as you hit speed bumps. Other tasks automatically adjust around your changes.
  • Communicate easily: When you adjust assignees, dates, or project duration, your team is automatically notified. You have all the project information in one place so people can quickly get caught up and monitor progress. Excel sheets don't offer this functionality and are easy to get lost in the shuffle. 

Wrike's Ready-Built Project Management Templates

Wrike's ready-built project management templates offer a wide array of benefits designed to streamline and enhance your project planning process. Used regularly, they can deliver:

  • Efficiency: Templates save your teams real time and valuable effort. Instead of starting from scratch, you can use these templates as a base, significantly reducing the time required to create a comprehensive project plan. You can then customize the templates to suit your specific project requirements.
  • Consistency: By repeatedly using Wrike's templates, you can ensure consistency across all your projects. This consistency makes it easier for team members to understand project plans, as they become familiar with a standard format. It also enhances the professionalism of your project documentation.
  • Best practices: Wrike's templates incorporate project management best practices. They are designed with a deep understanding of successful and proven strategies, ensuring that your project plans are not just well-organized but also effective in the real world.
  • Versatility: Wrike has built a library of templates for project management tasks such as product launches, complex projects with phases, and professional services management. This range of templates means that whatever your project, Wrike has a template designed to manage it effectively.
  • Collaboration: Wrike's templates facilitate better team collaboration. With clearly defined tasks, timelines, and responsibilities, team members can easily understand their roles and how they fit into the broader project. Moreover, any updates or changes are immediately reflected in the shared project plan, ensuring everyone stays on the same page.

Wrike's ready-built project management templates are more than just a convenience; they are a powerful tool that can significantly improve your project management process, leading to better project outcomes.

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Wrike’s most popular project management templates

Interested in finding out what templates might work best for your industry? Lucky for you, we've done some of the legwork for you. Here are six templates you can easily use in Wrike. These free project management templates, are created with sample folder names and stages but feel free to play around and customize them to suit your needs.

1. A Simple Project Scheduling Template

Even with a simple project, having a visible timeline is a game changer. Calendars, Excel, and email are great tools, but between planning, scheduling, and communicating, you can easily lose track of important tasks and drop the ball. No matter how straightforward a project can seem, you’ll find people can still get confused around roles and expectations.

With this Wrike template, everyone involved can easily track progress, see next steps, and have all the project information they need in one place. While a simple project might lull you into a sense of security, having a tool like Wrike and processes in place helps your projects run smoothly every time.

Includes: 1 Project - 5 Sample Tasks

Download our Simple Project Scheduling Template


2. Complex Project With Phases Template

As projects become more complex, quality is at risk. With so many cooks in the kitchen, opportunities for bottlenecks and misalignment abound — and building a Gantt chart in Excel won’t save you. The time it takes to manually update and manipulate it prevents it from being as sustainable or helpful as a real-time Gantt chart in a project management tool. When there are so many stakeholders and multiple phases, you need to be able to track progress and get everyone aligned — not just visualize data.

This template makes it effortless to collaborate internally and externally. Shift due dates easily and Wrike automatically updates stakeholders. Seamlessly break down project phases and tasks with dependencies. You get the bird’s-eye view and a highly agile tool that adapts as your project develops.

Includes: 1 Project - 5 Folders - 10 Sample Tasks

Download our Complex Project With Phases Template


3. Professional Services Management Template

Your main goal as a professional services team is to deliver high-quality work on time and within budget. In addition to managing the project, you need to translate your efforts into value the client can see.

Wrike’s Gantt template for service professionals provides clients with a clear timeline and an overview of due dates, and helps them understand the division of responsibilities. Setting expectations at the start of the project helps you align and avoid speed bumps. The template makes tracking and reporting billable hours a breeze.

Includes: 1 Project - 4 Folders - 4 Sample Tasks

Download our Professional Services Management Template


4. Product Launch Template

Product launches can feel daunting, but breaking them up into smaller bite-size tasks within the phases can keep all your internal and external stakeholders aligned and motivated. The 3 main phases of a product launch are pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. Each phase has key tasks, but all the information needs to be in one place so that everyone can collaborate effectively.

This template helps you plan and prioritize the tasks needed to make each phase successful. It keeps information organized but ensures no one suffers from information overload. With assignees, assignments, and conversations all in one place, you can ensure accountability. Cross-functional teams have one process to work through and a timeline to keep their projects on track, and your product launch is out of this world.

Includes: 1 Project - 3 Folders - 19 Sample Tasks

Download our Product Launch Template


5. Go-to-Market Plan Template

Introducing your product to the market involves many moving pieces. Analyzing the competition, crafting messaging, aligning internal and external stakeholders — it’s a lot to juggle.

This Go-to-Market Plan Template breaks GTM into phases and tracks progress across a dynamic, interactive timeline. This lets you prioritize marketing campaigns, easily spot schedule conflicts, visualize deadlines, and reschedule. Stakeholders are automatically notified of any changes  so everyone is kept the loop. If you were to use disconnected tools like IM chats, email, and Excel, team members could quickly fall behind and key tasks may get lost.

Includes: 1 Project - 5 Folders - 31 Sample Tasks

Download our Go-to-Market Plan Template


6. Event Management Template

Anyone who has planned events knows that it never goes according to schedule. You need an online Gantt chart that’s adaptable as all the pieces come together. On top of that, events require many cross-functional teams to collaborate. Excel, calendars, and emails just aren’t up to the task. Multi-team coordination for events calls for a more holistic solution.

This template goes beyond a basic checklist and keeps everyone on the same page on key party plans. Coordinate schedules, manage due dates, assign tasks, and track progress.

Includes: 1 Project - 5 Folders - 10 Sample Tasks

Download our Event Management Template


Power up your next project with Wrike

Are you already using Wrike’s Gantt project planner software and library of templates to deliver faster, more efficient work? Check out these articles for more Gantt project planner tips and tricks:

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