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How To Make a Risk Register Template
Project Management 10 min read

How To Make a Risk Register Template

Risk management is an essential process within any project management plan. An effective risk register can help project managers identify, assess, and prioritize potential risks, as well as develop plans to minimize or respond to them.  Creating a comprehensive risk register that suits your project's specific needs can seem like an overwhelming task, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be a relatively straightforward process. This article will guide you through the steps to create your own risk register template, ensuring that you have a solid foundation for managing risks in your project. Understanding the purpose of a risk register template Before we dive into the creation of a risk register, it's essential to understand why it is so crucial to the success of your project. The primary purpose of a risk register is to provide a single, centralized location where a project team can record, analyze, and manage potential risks associated with a project. A well-developed risk register can help you identify potential threats before they materialize, which provides an opportunity to work on mitigating strategies to minimize their impact. However, the value of a risk register goes beyond simply identifying potential risks. It also provides a way to track and document those risks, which can be useful for reporting and other project management activities. A well-kept risk register promotes transparency within the project team, which helps increase trust and accountability.  Key Components of an effective risk register An effective risk register will provide a strong foundation to mitigate risks effectively and ensure you can monitor the status of each. At a minimum, your risk register should include: A unique identifier for each risk: This helps to distinguish each risk from the others and makes it easier to track and manage them. A unique identifier can be a combination of letters and numbers and should be assigned to each risk as soon as it is identified. The potential impact of the risk on the project: For each project, it is essential to identify the potential impact of each risk, such as financial, schedule, or resource impacts. Doing so allows you to prioritize risks and focus on those that are likely to have the most significant impact on the project's success. The likelihood (probability) of the risk occurring: This helps to assess the probability of a risk materializing and allows you to prioritize risks accordingly. You can assign a probability rating to each risk, such as low, medium, or high, based on the likelihood of the risk occurring. The potential consequences if the risk does occur: In the case that a risk occurs, it is essential to identify the potential consequences, such as delays, increased costs, or reduced quality. Doing this helps you develop strategies to mitigate the risk and minimize its impact on the project. Recommended mitigation strategies to address the risk: Developing contingency plans, increasing resources, or changing project scope are suggestions that can reduce the likelihood and impact of risks on the project. Responsibility assignment for risk management: Identifying the person responsible for monitoring the risk, developing mitigation strategies, and reporting on the risk's status are ways to effectively manage risks and keep the project on track. Status tracker (e.g., open, closed, in progress): This helps to track the progress of each risk throughout the project’s life cycle and ensures that appropriate actions are taken to mitigate the risk.  Identifying and categorizing risks The risks you identify will depend on the specific project you are undertaking, so recognize that a software development project may have different risks than a construction project. To identify potential risks, consider the scope of your project and brainstorm potential threats based on your experience and knowledge. Try Wrike for Free Types of risks to consider Some of the most common types include technical risks, schedule risks, resource risks, business risks, and environmental risks. Once categorized, consider assigning each one a unique identifier to easily keep track of your risks. Here’s a breakdown of each risk category: Technical risks include systems failure, bugs, or software glitches that may arise during the project. Schedule risks refer to delays in project milestones that may cause the project to fall behind schedule.  Resource risks signify staffing changes, such as an employee leaving the project or a team member being reassigned.  Business risks can be changing industry regulations or market conditions that may affect the project's outcome.  Environmental risks, such as weather-related delays or natural disasters, may negatively impact the project's timeline and budget. Using a risk breakdown structure (RBS) Another useful tool for identifying and categorizing risks is a risk breakdown structure (RBS). This hierarchical framework typically begins with the project’s objectives. It then breaks it down into categories such as technical, schedule, resource, business, and environmental risks (described above). Each of these categories is then broken down into subcategories, and specific risks are identified under each subcategory. Assessing the probability and impact of risks Once you have identified and categorized potential risks, it's essential to assess the likelihood (probability) of each risk occurring and the potential impact it would have on your project. You might find it helpful to create a table that summarizes each risk's likelihood and impact, which can be used later to prioritize responses. Then, you can use this information to assign a score to each risk based on its potential impact and probability. For example, a risk with a high probability and a severe impact should be addressed immediately; risks with a low probability and a minor impact may not require immediate attention. Creating your risk register template With a firm foundation in place and knowledge of the various risks that you may encounter, it's time to design your risk register template. Here are some critical elements to include: Choosing the right format for your template Some popular options to consider would be spreadsheets, word documents, and project management software. The most important factor is to make your format easy to use and to have it meet the specific needs of your project. Also, consider the size and complexity of your project and choose a format that allows you to manage risks efficiently. If your project is a large-scale construction project, you may want to use project management software that allows you to track risks in real time. On the other hand, if your project is relatively small, a spreadsheet or Word document may be sufficient. Essential elements to include in your template Your template should include the key components mentioned earlier (unique identifier, potential impact, likelihood, potential consequences, mitigation strategies, responsibility assignments, and status tracker). Consider adding fields for relevant dates, risk history, and any relevant documentation. Including a field for relevant dates allows you to keep track of when risks were identified and when mitigation strategies were implemented. This information can be helpful in the future if similar risks arise in other projects or to analyze patterns and trends in risks across different projects and industries. Customizing your template for specific projects Every project is unique, and so are the risks associated with it. When creating your risk register template, make sure you customize it to your specific project's needs by modifying the fields you include or adding specific categories based on the risks identified in your project. If your project involves working in hazardous environments, you may want to include a field for personal protective equipment requirements. Similarly, if your project involves working with sensitive data, you may want to include a field for data security measures. Try Wrike for Free Leveraging risk register template in Agile project management  As Agile project management continues to be popular among teams for its flexibility and adaptability, integrating a risk register template in Agile processes can be highly beneficial. In an Agile environment where changes are frequent, a risk register helps in quickly identifying and responding to risks. It encourages iterative learning and continuous improvement, which are core Agile principles. As teams go through each sprint, they can update the risk register with new risks and changes to existing ones, making it a living document that evolves with the project. Utilizing risk register template in remote project management With the rise of remote work, managing risks in remote project management has become crucial. A risk register template can play a significant role in this context. It can serve as a centralized platform where remote team members can document and track potential risks. This can foster collaboration as team members can collectively brainstorm mitigation strategies and update the status of risks. Moreover, it enables transparency as all team members have access to the same information, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding potential risks and their management. Implementing the Risk Register in Your Project Management Process Now that you have a solid risk register template, it's time to begin using it in your project management process. Here are some key strategies to consider: Integrating the Risk Register with Other Project Management Tools Linking your risk register to your project schedule, milestone tracker, or other project management software would ensure that your risk register is not an isolated document, but rather an integral part of the project management process. Doing so also makes updates to the system easier, such as when you need to make changes that reflect those of other project management tools. Regularly Updating and Reviewing the Risk Register A risk register is only useful if it is kept up to date. Plan to review your risk register regularly and update it as new risks are identified, or existing risks are changed. Depending on the nature of the project, you might want to review your risk register weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Doing so benefits your project team, as they will be aware of potential risks and prepared to manage them. It will also minimize the impact of risks on the project. Communicating Risks to Stakeholders Finally, show that you care about accountability and teamwork by communicating risks (both potential and realized) to relevant stakeholders. This might include your project team, clients, investors, or other interested parties.  When you include stakeholders in the discussion, it deepens their understanding of the potential impact of risks on the project and allows them to provide input on risk mitigation strategies. It also helps build trust and confidence in the project team. Risk Register Template: A Key to Successful Vendor Management Effective vendor management is crucial for project success. A risk register template can significantly contribute to this aspect by tracking and managing potential risks associated with vendors. For instance, risks such as vendor delays, quality issues, non-compliance, or vendor bankruptcy can be documented and mitigated. The template can help in assigning responsibility for each risk, tracking progress, and communicating updates to all stakeholders. This proactive approach can not only prevent potential vendor-related issues but also contribute to building strong, transparent relationships with vendors. Risk Register Template and Its Role in Compliance In projects where regulatory or industry compliance plays a significant role, a risk register template is invaluable. It can help identify and manage compliance-related risks, which if not addressed, can lead to penalties or reputational damage. The template can track changes in regulations, potential impact, likelihood of non-compliance, and mitigation strategies. It can also assign responsibility for monitoring compliance updates and implementing necessary changes. Regularly reviewing and updating the risk register can ensure your project remains compliant at all times, thereby avoiding unnecessary setbacks. By extending the use of risk register templates to areas like vendor management and compliance, you can increase the scope and success of your risk management efforts. Try Wrike for Free Integrating Risk Register Template with Project Management Software  Integrating your risk register template with project management software like Wrike can streamline the risk management process. This integration allows you to automatically update risks based on changes in project variables. It also provides real-time visibility of risks to all stakeholders, enabling prompt and informed decision-making. Furthermore, it can generate risk reports that can be valuable in analyzing trends and making future project plans. Conclusion Developing a risk register template is an essential step in any project management plan. With a solid foundation, you can identify, assess, and prioritize potential risks, as well as develop plans to minimize or respond to them. Remember that the key to creating a useful risk register template is customizing it to your project's specific needs and updating regularly. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can confidently develop a risk register template and manage potential risks effectively. Efficiently manage uncertainties using Wrike's robust work management platform. Start your free trial today to minimize risk factors and ensure the success of your projects.  Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

How to Create a Project Planner Template
Project Management 10 min read

How to Create a Project Planner Template

If you're looking to manage your projects more efficiently and effectively, creating a project planner template is an excellent place to start. By outlining the goals, tasks, deadlines, and resources required for each project, you can keep your team on track and improve your chances of achieving success. Let’s take a closer look at the process of creating a project planner template from scratch. In the process of creating an effective project planner template, you might want to consider harnessing the power of a robust project management tool like Wrike to improve your efficiency and get better outcomes. To get a feel of how it can enhance your project planning, try a 14-day free trial of Wrike today! Try Wrike for free Understanding the importance of a project planner template Before diving into creating your project planner template, it's important to understand the crucial role it plays in project management. A project planner template helps you get organized, plan and schedule tasks, manage resources, and avoid delays caused by miscommunications or missed deadlines. A project planner template plays a crucial role in successful project management. It provides a structured format for organizing and tracking all aspects of a project, from tasks and deadlines to resources and budgets. By offering a clear visual overview of the project timeline and progress, it helps teams stay aligned and focused on their goals. It also aids in identifying potential bottlenecks or delays in advance, enabling proactive problem-solving. Furthermore, a project planner template streamlines the planning process, saving time and effort that can be better spent on executing the project. In essence, it's an indispensable tool for efficient and effective project management. Benefits of using a project planner template There are numerous benefits of using a project planner template, and here are just a few: Better organization and time management: Break down your project into smaller, manageable tasks, which makes it easier to stay organized and on track. Improved task delegation and progress tracking: Assign tasks to team members and track their progress in real time to ensure that everyone is working efficiently and deadlines are being met. Enhanced communication and collaboration: Having a central location for all project-related information allows team members to easily communicate and collaborate with each other. Efficient resource allocation and cost control: By having a clear understanding of the resources required for your project, you can allocate them more efficiently and control costs more effectively. Identification of potential risks and issues: Identify potential risks and issues early on, so you can take proactive steps to mitigate them. Key components of an effective project planner With these benefits in mind, let's explore the key components of an effective project planner. Your project planner template should include the following essential elements: A clear and concise project overview: Include a brief description of the project, its goals and objectives, and any constraints or limitations. A detailed project timeline or task list: Make sure to have all the tasks required to complete the project, along with their estimated durations and deadlines. Resource allocation plan: Outline the resources required for each task, including personnel, equipment, and materials. Risk and issue management plan: Identify potential risks and issues and provide a plan for mitigating or resolving them. Communication and collaboration plan: Outline how team members will communicate with each other, as well as with any stakeholders or clients involved in the project. Choosing the right format for your project planner template Planning a project can be an intimidating task, but having a project planner template can simplify the process. Once you've identified the key components, it's time to choose the format that works best for you. Here are a few to consider: Excel or Google Sheets Spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets are popular options for creating project planner templates. They are easy to use and allow you to customize your template easily. With these tools, you can track progress, set deadlines, and share the document with your team members. A popular go-to for small businesses and startups, spreadsheets are also great for budget tracking and resource allocation. Since they are widely used and understood, you and your team members can take advantage of this software and browse the many free templates online for inspiration. Project management software If you're looking for a more comprehensive option, project management software like Wrike can help you plan, track, and collaborate on every aspect of your project. Features such as task boards, Gantt charts, and collaboration tools make project management software popular among bigger teams with more complex projects.  This type of software is also a favorite among remote teams since it allows for real-time collaboration. Project management software can help automate certain tasks, such as sending reminders or updating progress, saving you time and increasing productivity. To help you visualize the effectiveness and user-friendly interface of Wrike, here's a screenshot that highlights the gantt chart view. We're sure you'll love how it complements and supports your project planning needs. Try Wrike for free Physical or printable templates While digital templates are popular, some teams may prefer a physical option that can be hung up in the office or printed out. A physical template is also a great option for visual learners who prefer to see the big picture. These are created using a whiteboard or a large piece of paper and can be customized to fit your specific project needs. They are also a great option for teams that prefer to work in a more tactile environment, as they allow for easy updates and changes. The Role of AI in Project Planning Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming an increasingly valuable tool in project management. AI can help predict project outcomes, recommend optimal resource allocation, and even automate certain tasks. Incorporating AI capabilities into your project planner template can streamline your processes and lead to more successful project outcomes. Leveraging AI in Project Planning Harnessing AI in project planning is a new frontier for most project managers. Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the project management landscape, offering unique capabilities that enhance project planning. AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data much faster than humans, identifying patterns and trends that can inform decision-making. In the planning phase, AI can aid in estimating project timelines and budgets more accurately.  By analyzing historical data from past projects, AI can predict potential bottlenecks or delays and suggest optimal allocation of resources. This helps in creating more realistic project plans that take into account various complexities and uncertainties. AI can also automate routine tasks, such as scheduling meetings or updating task statuses, freeing project managers to focus more on strategic aspects of the project. Furthermore, AI-powered chatbots can provide instant responses to team inquiries, enhancing collaboration and communication. Moreover, AI can play a pivotal role in risk management. By predicting potential risks based on past data, AI allows project managers to proactively address these issues in the planning stage itself. In essence, AI in project planning leads to more efficient processes, improved accuracy in predictions, and ultimately, successful project outcomes. As AI technology continues to advance, its role in project planning is set to become even more significant. Potential Drawbacks of AI in Project Planning While AI offers many benefits in project planning, it also comes with certain drawbacks. One of the main concerns is the high cost of implementing AI-based solutions. Small to medium-sized businesses may find the initial investment in AI technology prohibitive. Another challenge is the lack of human intuition and judgment. While AI can analyze data and predict trends, it lacks the human ability to understand the nuances and complexities of certain situations. It also can't replicate the emotional intelligence that human project managers bring to the table, which is crucial in team management and decision making. Data privacy is another concern. AI relies heavily on data, and mishandling of this data can lead to privacy issues. Businesses need to ensure they have robust data protection measures in place when using AI. Furthermore, there could be resistance from team members who might be uncomfortable with the idea of AI replacing certain aspects of their job. It's important to manage this change carefully, ensuring team members understand how AI will enhance, not replace, their roles. Lastly, like any technology, AI is not immune to errors. Incorrect data or coding can lead to inaccuracies in AI predictions, potentially impacting project planning. Setting up your project planner template In this section, we'll take you through the steps of setting up your project planner template. Defining project goals and objectives This is a crucial step that will help you to determine the scope of the project and identify what needs to be done to achieve your desired outcomes. Take the time to think carefully about what you want to achieve with your project, and be as specific as possible. If you're planning a website redesign project, your goals and objectives might include increasing website traffic, improving user experience, and increasing sales.  Identifying project tasks and milestones Once you've established your goals and objectives, it's time to identify the tasks and milestones you need to accomplish. This stage involves breaking down your project into smaller, more manageable tasks. You can use a detailed task list or a visual timeline to help you with this process. If you're planning a website redesign project, your tasks might include conducting user research, creating wireframes, and designing and testing the website. Estimating task durations and deadlines The next step is to estimate how long each task will take to complete and set realistic deadlines. Be sure to consider any dependencies between tasks when estimating task durations and deadlines so that your project stays on track. For example, if you can't start designing the website until the wireframes are completed, you'll need to adjust your timeline accordingly. Allocating resources and team members The final step in setting up your project planner template is to assign the necessary resources and team members to each task. When allocating resources and team members, consider each person's strengths and weaknesses before assigning tasks. You may also need to consider the availability of each team member and adjust your timeline accordingly. Customizing your project planner template There are a few ways you can customize your project planner template to meet your specific needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top methods. Incorporating your company branding Your project planner template should reflect your company's branding and make your documents easily recognizable. Follow your organization’s branding guidelines when incorporating your company's logo, color schemes, and fonts. The result will be a consistent look and feel across all your project planning documents. Adjusting for different project types and sizes Every project is unique, and your project planner template should be flexible enough to accommodate different project types and sizes. Depending on the complexity and scope of each project, you may need to adjust the format of your template. Large-scale projects may require breaking down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks. On the other hand, smaller projects utilize a simpler format. Adding additional features and functionality Your project planner template should be tailored to your team's specific needs. If your team requires additional features or functionality, such as reporting tools or budget tracking, consider customizing your template to include these features. This allows you to streamline your planning process and ensure that your team has the tools they need to stay on track. It will be easier to identify potential issues early on and make corresponding adjustments as needed. The Impact of Remote Work on Project Planning The rise of remote work has brought new challenges and opportunities to project management. Discuss how your project planner template can be adapted to cater to remote teams. This could include aspects like timezone considerations, virtual collaboration tools, and more. Conclusion Creating a project planner template is an important step in improving your project management processes. By outlining your goals, tasks, resources, and timelines, you can better organize your work, track progress, and achieve success. Whether you choose a spreadsheet, project management software, or a physical option, make sure your template includes the key elements necessary for effective project management. Augmenting your project management with Wrike templates can greatly eliminate administrative time. Simplify your project planning with effective planner templates designed using Wrike's work management platform. Begin your free trial now and discover the key to perfect project organization and seamless execution.   Try Wrike for free   Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

Project Tracker Template: Comprehensive Creation Guide
Project Management 10 min read

Project Tracker Template: Comprehensive Creation Guide

Managing a project can be a big task, with several moving parts to keep track of. Even the most experienced project managers can benefit from a visual aid to help keep them organized. A project tracker template is useful to keep your project on track and on schedule. In this article, we’ll explain how to make a personalized project tracker template that suits your requirements. Wrike can assist you in creating and maintaining a project tracker template with ease. Discover how Wrike can transform your project management with a 14-day free trial. Try Wrike for free The importance of a project tracker template for managing projects To create a project tracker template, it’s important to know why it’s essential for managing projects effectively. A project tracker template is essentially a visual representation of a project’s progress, tasks, and milestones. It tracks all the moving parts in one location, eliminating the need for tedious spreadsheets or overwhelming manual tracking systems. Benefits of using a project tracker template There are many benefits to using a project tracker template. Here are just a few: Keep all project information in one location: Instead of having to search through multiple spreadsheets, emails, and documents, all project information is stored in one central location for your convenience. Provide visibility on project progress for all team members: Everyone on the team can see what tasks have been completed, what is currently in progress, and what still needs to be completed. Identify and resolve roadblocks: Tracking progress and spotting potential issues helps address them quickly and keep the project moving forward. Provide an easy way to adjust timelines and priorities: As the project progresses, you may need to adjust timelines and priorities. With a project tracker template, you can easily make these changes and communicate them to the team. Allow for team collaboration on task assignments and completion: Team members can easily see what tasks they are responsible for and collaborate with others to complete them. Key elements of an effective tracker template The goal of a project tracker is to make sure that everyone is working together toward the same objectives. This increases the chances of finishing the project on time and within the budget. There are a few key components that every effective project tracker should include: Task list: A comprehensive list of all the tasks that need to be completed to achieve project goals. This should include a description of each task, who is responsible for completing it, and when it is due. Milestone completion: A visual representation of project milestones and when they are expected to be completed. Usually in the form of a Gantt chart, which is a visual representation of a project schedule that outlines all the tasks and their dependencies or a timeline. Project timeline: An overview of the entire project timeline with key dates and deadlines, with information on milestones, deliverables, and other important dates. Team members: A list of team members and their roles and responsibilities. Include contact information and any other relevant details. Choosing the right format for your project tracker template Choosing the best project tracker template depends on factors like project size, complexity, team needs, and available resources. Here are three potential options for your project tracker: Spreadsheet-based project trackers Spreadsheets are a popular choice for creating project trackers, and for good reason. Users can easily use them, customize the tools, and access them offline. Because most people are already familiar with using spreadsheets, this saves time and reduces the learning curve. However, spreadsheets do have their limitations. As projects become larger and more complex, they can quickly become overwhelming and difficult to manage. It can also be challenging to maintain consistency across more than one spreadsheet if you have multiple projects running simultaneously. Online project management tools Online project management tools are another popular option for project tracking. These offer a range of features, including task assignment, progress tracking, and collaboration tools. One of their biggest advantages is their ability to automate certain tasks, such as sending reminders and notifications. This can save time and reduce the risk of overlooking important tasks. To understand how useful Wrike is, look at this screenshot showing some of our project tracking abilities. It’s a user-friendly interface that helps streamline all aspects of project management. Try Wrike for free Custom-built project tracker templates If your project has specific needs that aren’t met by spreadsheet-based trackers or online project management tools, creating a custom-built template may be the best option for you. Customize the tracker for your project with unique features not found in other templates. Custom templates can keep projects consistent by using a standard outline for all projects in your organization. However, creating a custom-built template can be time-consuming and may require specialized skills. It’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the time and resources required before deciding to go this route. How to design your project tracker template Once you have chosen a format for your project tracker, it’s time to start designing the template itself. Identify essential project components To design a project tracker template, you must first identify the essential components that you need to include. These will vary from project to project but should include all the necessary tasks, deadlines, and milestones. Take this stage of the design process seriously, to avoid missing certain elements and to ensure the project stays on track. Remember to break down the project into smaller, more manageable tasks. Also, consider any potential roadblocks or challenges that may arise during the project’s life cycle and plan accordingly. Organize tasks and milestones Once you have identified all the necessary components, it’s time to organize them into a cohesive plan. You can organize tasks and milestones by timeline, priority, or frequency. Whatever organization method you choose, make sure it is easy to understand and follow for all team members. We recommend using a Gantt chart to organize tasks and milestones because it keeps all team members on the same page. Incorporate deadlines and timelines Deadlines and timelines are vital parts of any project tracker. Confirm that all deadlines are clearly stated and identified on the tracker. You can use color coding or other visual cues to highlight upcoming deadlines or critical milestones. Ensure that all deadlines are realistic and achievable within the project’s timeline; make adjustments if necessary. Assign team members and responsibilities Clearly identifying who is responsible for each task helps to ensure accountability and eliminates confusion about ownership. When assigning team members and responsibilities, consider each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. Ensure efficient and effective completion of tasks by assigning them based on each team member’s strengths. By focusing on accountability, team members will know their role and tasks in the project that they need to complete. How to customize your project tracker template Creating a project tracker template is just the beginning of the process. Once you have created your project tracker template, it’s time to start customizing it to meet your specific project needs.  Here are some tips to help you customize your project tracker template: Add relevant details for managing projects Your project tracker needs to have specific details that are important to your project. These details include goals, deadlines, budget, and required resources. Each project is different, so the specific details will vary. Additionally, if your project requires working with a third-party vendor or other stakeholders, include contact information and any other relevant details in the tracker. Use progress tracking features Progress tracking features are essential for tracking the project’s progress and staying on schedule. Use visual aids such as progress bars or indicators to keep team members motivated and on track. You can have regular check-ins or updates to make sure everyone knows about any changes or updates to the project. Adjust for different project sizes and scopes Because projects vary in size and scope, your tracker should have the flexibility to adjust accordingly. For small projects, fewer milestones are needed. Simplify your tracker to make it easier to manage. On the other hand, larger projects may need a more detailed tracker to make sure that they account for all components. By adjusting your tracker to fit the size and scope of your project, you can ensure that it remains an effective tool throughout the project’s life cycle. Conclusion Creating a project tracker template is an essential tool for successful project management. It helps keep all project information in one location, provides visibility on progress for all team members, and allows for easy adjustments to timelines and priorities. With the tips outlined in this article, you can create your own project tracker template that is tailored to your specific project needs. Achieve unparalleled project tracking and organization with Wrike. Start your free trial today and streamline your project workflows to deliver impressive results. Try Wrike for free Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

Project Charters: Guide to Writing (With Template)
Project Management 10 min read

Project Charters: Guide to Writing (With Template)

What is a project charter and why do you need one? Try Wrike’s project charter templates to plan your projects better.

What Is an SOP? How to Write Yours
Leadership 10 min read

What Is an SOP? How to Write Yours

SOP stands for “standard operating procedure,” a list of prescribed steps to complete a task. Here’s how to write an SOP for your own team or organization.

Project Executive Summary Templates: Boost Efficiency With Streamlined Processes
Project Management 10 min read

Project Executive Summary Templates: Boost Efficiency With Streamlined Processes

A project executive summary is a brief overview of a project's objectives, methodology, and results. It's a critical communication tool that allows stakeholders to quickly understand the essential aspects of a project. Yet, creating an effective project executive summary can be a daunting task, particularly when under pressure to complete a project within a deadline. Fortunately, there are project executive summary templates that can help simplify the process. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using project executive summary templates and how to create an effective one. Try Wrike for free How to create an effective project executive summary template Creating a project executive summary template can be a straightforward process if you follow these steps. But it's essential to keep in mind that the executive summary is the most critical part of any project report. It's the first thing that stakeholders will read, and it can make or break the success of your project. Therefore, it's crucial to create an executive summary that's clear, concise, and compelling. Let's examine the steps of creating an effective summary template. Define the project's objectives The first step in creating a project executive summary template is to define the project's objectives. The objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. It is crucial to involve all stakeholders in this process to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The clearer the objectives, the more straightforward it will be to create a compelling executive summary. For example, suppose you're working on a project to develop a new software application. In that case, your objectives may include developing a user-friendly interface, increasing the application's speed and reliability, and reducing the number of bugs and errors. Outline the methodology Next, outline the methodology that you will use to achieve the project's objectives. This section should provide a brief explanation of the methods, tools, and techniques you will use to complete the project. Providing a clear and concise description of your methodology can help stakeholders understand how you plan to achieve the project's objectives. For example, if you are developing a new software application, your methodology may include agile development, user testing, and code reviews. You may also outline the tools and technologies that you will use, such as programming languages, databases, and development frameworks. Summarize the results In this section, you should summarize the results of the project. This may include the project's deliverables, objectives achieved, and the impact on the organization. It is essential to focus on the results that matter to your stakeholders and provide evidence of success. For example, if you are developing a new software application, your results may include the number of bugs and errors reduced, the application's speed and reliability, and user feedback. You may also include any awards or recognition that the application has received. Include key performance indicators (KPIs) Add a section to your project executive summary template that includes key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively you are achieving the project's objectives. Including KPIs in your summary can help stakeholders evaluate the project's success easily. For example, if you're developing a new software application, your KPIs may include the number of bugs and errors, user satisfaction ratings, and the application's speed and reliability. You may also include KPIs related to the project's budget and timeline, such as the percentage of the budget spent and the number of milestones achieved. Creating an effective project executive summary template requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following these steps and including relevant and compelling information, you can create an executive summary that will impress your stakeholders and help ensure the success of your project. Benefits of using an executive summary template Using an executive summary template comes with several benefits. In addition to saving time and effort, there are several other reasons why you might want to consider using a template for your next project. Save time and effort Creating an executive summary from scratch can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. You may find yourself spending hours trying to organize your thoughts and present them in a clear and concise manner. Using a template can save time and effort by providing a framework that you can customize for your specific needs. This can help you focus on the content of your summary rather than spending too much time on formatting and layout. Consistency and clarity An executive summary template can help ensure consistency and clarity across different projects. Each template provides a structure that can be customized for each unique project, but the overall structure remains the same. This can help stakeholders quickly understand the purpose and scope of your project without having to spend time deciphering different formats and layouts. Using a template can help you organize your thoughts and present them in a logical and easy-to-follow manner. This can make it easier for stakeholders to understand your project goals, objectives, and key findings. Credibility An executive summary template can enhance the professionalism of your project documentation. By using a well-designed template, you can convey competence, attention to detail, and professionalism to stakeholders. This can help build trust and credibility with your audience, which is especially important if you are presenting your summary to potential investors or clients. Overall, using an executive summary template can help you save time and effort, ensure consistency and clarity, and enhance the credibility of your project documentation. Whether you're working on a small project or a large-scale initiative, using a template can help you present your ideas in a clear and compelling way. How to optimize your project executive summary template for success Using a project executive summary template is an opportunity to excel and impress your stakeholders. Here are some tips for creating a more optimized template. Customize the template While the template provides a structure for your executive summary, it is essential to customize it to meet your specific needs. Make sure that you tailor the template to your project's objectives, methodology, and results. The more specific you are, the better your summary will be. For example, if you're working on a software development project, you may need to include details about the programming languages used, the development process, and the testing procedures. On the other hand, if you're working on a marketing campaign, you may need to include information about the target audience, the marketing channels used, and the campaign's performance metrics. Use clear and concise language Use clear and concise language throughout the template. Stick to the key points and avoid jargon or technical terms that the stakeholders may not understand. Remember, the purpose of an executive summary is to provide an overview of the project's key findings and recommendations in a way that is easy to understand. One way to ensure that your language is clear is to use short sentences and paragraphs. Also, avoid using passive voice and instead use active voice to make your summary more engaging. Include visual aids Visual aids can enhance the effectiveness of your project executive summary. Include relevant charts, graphs, images, or tables to illustrate key points or KPIs. This will help stakeholders understand the significance of your results at a glance. Remember, the visual aids you choose should be relevant to your project and help to convey your key findings and recommendations in a clear and concise way. By customizing your template, using clear and concise language, and including relevant visual aids, you can produce a much more effective executive summary.   Try Wrike for free General project executive summary template Every project is unique, and this template is designed to be customized to fit your specific needs. Here's an example structure for your template: Project title: Our project is titled "Improving Customer Satisfaction through Online Support." Project objective: The objective of our project is to increase customer satisfaction by providing timely and effective support through our online channels. Methodology: To achieve our objective, we conducted a thorough analysis of our current online support systems, including our website, chatbot, and social media channels. We also surveyed our customers to understand their needs and preferences. Results: Our analysis revealed several areas for improvement, including the need for more personalized support and faster response times. We also found that customers prefer to receive support through chat and social media, rather than email or phone. Key performance indicators (KPIs): We tracked several KPIs throughout the project, including customer satisfaction scores, response times, and the number of support requests handled per day. We saw significant improvements in all of these areas over the course of the project. Recommendations: Based on our findings, we recommend implementing a chatbot on our website and social media channels to provide personalized support and faster response times. We also recommend training our support team to handle more complex issues and providing regular updates to customers on the status of their support requests. Hopefully this template serves as a helpful starting point for your project executive summary! Remember, every project is unique, so be sure to customize this template to fit your specific needs and goals. Other project executive summary templates Here's a list of other project executive summary templates you can use for specific projects. Business plan executive summary template The business plan executive summary template is designed for entrepreneurs who are seeking funding or investment for a business. This template includes a brief overview of the company's history, the products or services offered, the target market, and financial projections. It also highlights the company's competitive advantage and growth potential. Technical project executive summary template The technical project executive summary template is ideal for projects that involve complex technical processes, such as software development or engineering. This template includes a summary of the project's goals, the methodology used, the technical specifications, and the timeline. It also highlights the project's potential impact and benefits. Marketing plan executive summary template The marketing plan executive summary template is designed for businesses that are launching a new product or service. This template includes a summary of the target market, the marketing strategy, the budget, and the expected results. It also highlights the unique selling proposition of the product or service and the competitive landscape. Grant proposal executive summary template The grant proposal executive summary template is ideal for non-profit organizations that are seeking funding for a specific project or program. This template includes a summary of the organization's mission, the project's goals and objectives, the methodology used, and the expected outcomes. It also highlights the organization's track record of success and its impact on the community. Getting the most out of your project executive summary template By using a project executive summary template, you can simplify the process of creating an effective summary that captures the project's objectives, methodology, and results. To get the most out of your template, make sure that you customize it to your project's needs, use clear and concise language, include visual aids, and provide evidence of success. With the right approach, you can produce an executive summary that will impress your stakeholders and communicate the value of your project effectively. Maximize your project delivery success with Wrike Elevate your executive summaries by utilizing Wrike's robust project management platform. Organize tasks, visualize progress, and improve collaboration with your team. Start your free trial now to discover how Wrike can empower your project success and make summaries a breeze! Try Wrike for free Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

How Enterprise Financial Services Professionals Use Project Management Software To Succeed
Project Management 7 min read

How Enterprise Financial Services Professionals Use Project Management Software To Succeed

In the world of enterprise financial services, project management has become a crucial part of any successful organization's strategy. By implementing project management software, financial services professionals can streamline their processes, enhance collaboration, and improve efficiency.  Try Wrike for free This article will discuss the importance of project management in financial services, evaluate the best project management software options, and explore case studies of financial services professionals who have benefited from project management software in the past. Understanding the Importance of Project Management in Enterprise Financial Services Financial services professionals face complex challenges daily. Projects are often multifaceted, with multiple stakeholders and deadlines. Also, financial services organizations have to deal with numerous projects simultaneously. These can be related to developing new products, upgrading existing systems, or implementing new regulations. The success of these projects is crucial for the organization's growth and sustainability. Hence, project management plays a vital role in ensuring that these projects are executed efficiently and effectively. The role of project management in financial services Project management allows financial services professionals to plan, organize, and manage resources to achieve specific goals. This includes identifying project objectives, defining project deliverables, establishing timelines, allocating resources, and managing risks. By using project management methodologies, financial services organizations can ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet stakeholder expectations. In addition, project management helps financial services organizations to stay agile and respond to changes quickly. By having a well-defined project management process, organizations can adapt to changing market conditions, regulatory requirements, and customer needs. The primary purpose is to remain competitive and relevant in the dynamic financial services industry. Key challenges faced by financial services professionals Financial services professionals face unique challenges when it comes to project management. First, managing projects with teams in different locations or across multiple time zones can be challenging. It requires effective communication and collaboration tools to ensure that all team members are on the same page. Video conferencing, project management software, and instant messaging tools can help overcome these challenges. Second, financial services organizations operate in a highly regulated environment. Compliance with regulatory requirements is crucial for the organization's reputation and sustainability. Therefore, project managers in financial services organizations need to be aware of the regulatory landscape and ensure that all projects comply with the relevant regulations. Data privacy is another critical challenge faced by financial services professionals. Financial services organizations deal with sensitive customer data, and it is essential to ensure that this data is protected at all times. All projects adhere to the organization's data privacy policies and comply with relevant data privacy regulations. Evaluating the Best Project Management Software for Financial Services Project management software has become an essential tool for financial services professionals to manage their projects efficiently. With so many options available in the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one that meets the specific needs of the organization. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate project management software based on the following features that are essential for the financial services industry: Key features to look for in project management software Customization: The ability to customize workflows and dashboards ensures that the project management software is tailored to the organization's unique requirements, which can improve efficiency and productivity. Scalability: The ability to scale the software up or down as the organization's needs change is critical for handling the organization's growth and changing needs without compromising performance or functionality. Collaboration: Working effectively with team members, stakeholders, and clients via real-time chat, video conferencing, and document sharing enables seamless collaboration, which can improve project outcomes. Regulatory Compliance: Maintain strict compliance with data privacy, security, and regulatory requirements to ensure that sensitive information is protected. Top project management software options for financial services professionals Choosing the right project management software can have a significant impact on the success of financial services projects. Below are some of the top options that financial services professionals should consider: Wrike: A customizable option that is suitable for teams of all sizes, Wrike offers a plethora of features such as custom workflows, real-time collaboration, and Gantt charts. Asana: Asana offers customizable workflows, real-time collaboration, and robust reporting features. Basecamp: Simple and user-friendly for those who prefer straightforward project management software, Basecamp grants access to features such as to-do lists, file sharing, and messaging. Trello: Visual and intuitive for those who prefer a simple project management tool, Trello offers features such as boards, lists, and cards. Try Wrike for free Streamlining Financial Services Processes with Project Management Software Financial services professionals face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing projects. From regulatory compliance to risk management, there are many factors to consider. Fortunately, project management software can help streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and improve efficiency.  Enhancing Collaboration and Communication Project management software allows team members to collaborate and communicate in real time, regardless of their location. This fosters a culture of transparency and accountability, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.  Collaboration features such as chat, video conferencing, and document sharing allow team members to work together, and this can be especially helpful when dealing with complex financial data or regulatory requirements.  Automating Repetitive Tasks and Improving Efficiency Project management software can automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks and improve efficiency, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.  Automating tasks such as data entry or file management frees up team members to focus on more valuable work. This can include analyzing financial data, developing investment strategies, or building relationships with clients.  Ensuring Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines, legal action, and damage to the organization's reputation. As such, project management software boasts several advanced security features, which can protect sensitive data and keep organizations on top of regulatory requirements. In addition, the software can help identify and mitigate risks, ensuring that projects stay on track.  Measuring the Success of Project Management Software Implementation Measuring the success of project management software implementation is a crucial step for any organization to ensure that they are getting the most out of the software, and this can be done so via key performance indicators (KPIs). Identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) There are several KPIs that financial services professionals should monitor when implementing project management software.  Project completion rate: Measures the percentage of projects completed on time. A high completion rate indicates that the organization is meeting project deadlines and delivering on its commitments. Budget adherence: Tracks the percentage of projects completed within budget. A high budget adherence rate implies that the organization is effectively managing project costs and delivering projects without overspending. Client satisfaction: Measures the percentage of clients satisfied with project outcomes. A high client satisfaction rate signifies that the organization is delivering high-quality projects that meet client needs and expectations. Time to market: Tracks the time it takes to bring a product or service to market. A shorter time to market demonstrates that the organization is able to respond to market demands quickly and efficiently. Monitoring progress and adjusting strategies Project management software can provide real-time insights into project performance, allowing teams to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed. This can help financial services professionals optimize workflows, allocate resources more effectively, and complete projects on time and within budget. Calculating return on investment (ROI) Calculating the return on investment (ROI) of project management software implementation allows financial services professionals to determine the financial benefits of the software. This involves comparing the costs of the software against the financial benefits of improved project outcomes, streamlined workflows, and reduced overhead costs. By calculating the ROI, financial services professionals can make informed decisions about whether to continue using the software and how to optimize its use to achieve the greatest financial benefits. Conclusion Project management software is a vital tool for financial services professionals. It allows organizations to streamline their processes, enhance collaboration, and improve efficiency. By choosing the right project management software and monitoring performance, financial services professionals can achieve their project goals and stay ahead of the competition. Streamline your financial services operations using Wrike's advanced project management software, created specifically for enterprise professionals. Start your free trial today and watch your business flourish with increased efficiency and organization.   Try Wrike for free   Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

How To Make a Weekly Planner Template
Productivity 7 min read

How To Make a Weekly Planner Template

A weekly planner template can be a valuable tool for managing your time and productivity. In this article, we will explore the importance of a weekly planner template and provide a step-by-step guide to help you create your very own customizable weekly planner template.   Try Wrike for free Benefits of using a weekly planner template Weekly planner templates are effective in reducing stress levels, as well as efficiently setting and tracking goals. With a planner template, you can avoid overcommitting yourself and prevent burnout, which will allow you to make progress toward achieving your goals. Having a visual representation of your schedule and tasks via a weekly planner template does wonders for your focus and motivation levels. Whether you are a busy professional, a student, or a stay-at-home parent, a weekly planner can help you stay on top of your schedule and make the most of your time. Choosing the right format for your weekly planner template Weekly planner templates typically come in a paper-based or digital format. Consider your personal preferences before making a decision. Digital vs. paper-based planners Digital planners offer the convenience of access from multiple devices, easy editing capabilities, and customizable features. With digital planners, you can easily set reminders and notifications, make changes to your schedule, and have these changes automatically update across all of your devices. However, digital planners can also be a source of distraction if you are prone to checking your phone or computer frequently. Paper-based planners can provide a tactile experience and freedom from digital distractions. Some people also enjoy physically crossing off tasks on a to-do list or flipping through the pages of a planner. Keep in mind that paper-based planners can also be less convenient if you need to make changes or updates to your schedule frequently. Weekly planner layout options Once you have chosen your preferred format, it is time to select a layout for your weekly planner template. Some popular layout options include: Vertical or horizontal layouts for a single week (specific) Weekly spreads with individual days broken down into sections for appointments and tasks (more specific) A monthly overview with a weekly breakdown (broad) Customizing your planner for personal or professional use Your planner template should be tailored to your specific needs and preferences. Features such as habit tracking or goal setting can be added, along with personal touches like color coding. If you are using your planner for professional purposes, consider adding sections for meetings, deadlines, and projects. For personal use, think of adding sections for hobbies, exercise, and self care. Try Wrike for free Designing your weekly planner template Designing a weekly planner template can be a fun and creative process, allowing you to stay organized but also express your personality and style. Here are some tips to help craft a planner that works for you: Selecting the right tools and software For those that prefer a digital planner, you can choose from a variety of software options, such as Wrike and Google Calendar. Since both of these tools have their own unique features, do your research and choose the one that best fits your needs. Those that would rather use a paper-based planner can use design software such as Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create a printable template. These tools allow you to customize your planner and add your own personal touch. Incorporating essential elements in your planner Leaving space for areas dedicated to time blocking, appointments, and tasks will keep you organized and on track. Also, consider adding sections for goal setting, habit tracking, and weekly reviews. Adding visual elements and personal touches Be sure to include icons or images to represent different tasks or events, or even your favorite motivational quotes to keep you inspired throughout the week. Don't be afraid to get creative and make your planner your own. Whether you prefer a minimalist design or a colorful and vibrant layout, the most important thing is to design a planner that works for you and helps you stay organized and focused on your goals. Organizing your weekly planner template Organizing your planner involves dividing your week into time blocks, prioritizing tasks and appointments, and incorporating goals and habit tracking into your daily routine. Dividing your week into time blocks Time blocking involves dividing your week into sections and setting aside specific times for tasks and appointments. Consider leaving some flexibility in your schedule to allow for unexpected events or changes in plans. This can help reduce stress and ensure that you're able to adapt to changing circumstances. Prioritizing tasks and appointments Prioritizing tasks and appointments involves identifying the most important tasks and scheduling them during times when you are most productive. Remember that tasks that are both important and urgent should be given top priority, while tasks that are less important or less urgent can be scheduled for later in the week. If you are a morning person, schedule your important tasks for the early hours. If you are more productive in the afternoon or evening, write down those urgent tasks for later in the day. It's also important to be realistic when scheduling tasks and appointments. Don't overcommit yourself or try to schedule too many tasks in a single day. This can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Incorporating goals and habit tracking Setting goals and tracking progress towards them, as well as tracking habits you are looking to develop or maintain, are great ways to monitor yourself. These goals and habits do not even have to be geared toward work, as they can focus on basic things like getting enough exercise, eating healthy, and meditating. By following these steps, you can create your very own personalized weekly planner template and take control of your time and productivity. Remember, your planner should be tailored to your personal preferences and work style, so don't be afraid to experiment and make adjustments as necessary. Organize your weeks more effectively with a weekly planner template created using Wrike's comprehensive work management platform. Begin your free trial now and stay on top of tasks and deadlines for enhanced results.     Try Wrike for free   Note: This article was created with the assistance of an AI engine. It has been reviewed and revised by our team of experts to ensure accuracy and quality.

Project Initiation Phase: Best Practices for Beginning Stages
Project Management 10 min read

Project Initiation Phase: Best Practices for Beginning Stages

The project initiation phase is when you identify your project’s objective, scope, and constraints. Learn how to kick-start project initiation with Wrike.

How to Create a Strong Contingency Plan
Project Management 10 min read

How to Create a Strong Contingency Plan

Your contingency plan is the backup plan you’ll turn to when the unexpected happens with your project. Learn how to do contingency planning with Wrike.

Event Management: How an Event Coordinator Can Streamline Your Event Planning in 2023
Project Management 7 min read

Event Management: How an Event Coordinator Can Streamline Your Event Planning in 2023

Learn how to improve your event management with expert coordinators. This article will show you how event coordinators can make your events run smoothly.

Why Every Project Manager Should Be Using Gantt Charts
Project Management 7 min read

Why Every Project Manager Should Be Using Gantt Charts

For many, Gantt charts are the key to project planning. Learn about Gantt chart project management and the best Gantt chart software with Wrike.

What is a Request for Proposal? How to Write an RFP
Project Management 10 min read

What is a Request for Proposal? How to Write an RFP

Not all projects should kick off with a handshake agreement. Some are too complex and have far too much at stake. For the big projects, with many stakeholders at every step, you should vet contractors, seek out bids, and review your options before you get started.  And even then, you may find yourself crossing your fingers in the hopes you’ve made the right decision. Before you turn that key project over to someone just because you heard they were the best, stop. Slow down. Take a breath, sit down with your team, and create one of the most important documents required to complete big projects: an RFP. What does RFP stand for? So, what is an RFP? An RFP (which stands for request for proposal) is a business document that outlines a new project. In an RFP, you’ll ask prospective contractors to submit their bids for completing that project. It’s common in businesses like construction, for example, when a business can’t build its own sites. As Investopedia puts it, an RFP “is a project announcement posted publicly by an organization indicating that bids for contractors to complete the project are sought.”  In other words, when you create an RFP, you’re asking businesses to submit their best estimates for completing what you need to get done. But the RFP is more than just an “ask.” It should also provide enough details about the project so that the aspiring bidders can provide an accurate estimate of what it would take to finish it. The more accurate the RFP is, the more likely it is to solicit bids that line up with real-world results. When are RFPs issued? You might issue an RFP whenever you have a large, complicated project with a significant budget. This is particularly true in the public sector. Typically, government agencies issue RFPs to solicit private bids, opening up price competition between bidders and maximizing the quality of results for the price. For example, the National Association of Counties (NACo) includes its own instructions for governments creating RFPs. This isn’t to say that RFPs are public-only documents. Any time a private company needs to consult outside help from bidders and contractors — who often enlist subcontractors themselves — an RFP could be an effective way to start. RFP benefits go beyond inviting potential bidders to submit their estimates. These documents should also include details of the project. Critical details include project milestones, regulatory requirements, and any pressing calendar deadlines. The more clear the RFP is about these requirements, the more it will naturally filter out any bidders who can’t meet the project's scope. What kind of organizations use RFPs? RFPs are particularly adept at lining up potential contractors for complex, service-based projects. For small projects with one contractor and one deliverable, an RFP might not be necessary. However, professional services that require extensive project planning and the employment of different skills, equipment, and labor are much more complicated. This makes their pricing and planning more complex. RFPs are common across a range of businesses, but they’re especially common in the following industries.  Construction companies The project might have a simple goal: to build a site by a specific date. But anyone who’s worked in construction knows that even a project with a simple goal can be susceptible to scope creep. An RFP for construction companies should define key stakeholders, establish the expectations for the final result, explain cost and budget limitations, and establish realistic deadlines. In turn, the construction company has plenty of information to include in its bid: estimated timelines for meeting milestones, equipment used, insurance and regulatory compliance needs, and subcontractor details.  A construction RFP should also include notices for any extra materials you’ll need to review. For example, a business building a new office compound may have no ideas about handling fire safety. But they can build a notice into the RFP asking each construction bid to highlight their fire safety plan for each floor.  Marketing companies A detailed marketing project can be a multimillion-dollar effort. Like construction, putting together a large marketing campaign requires skills across a range of disciplines — writing ads, editing TV and internet spots, data and research, and ad buying. An RFP outlines the goals of a marketing campaign while leaving flexibility in the hands of digital marketing experts as to how to achieve those goals. Government agencies A government agency is often unable to offer all of the services it’s responsible for. But with the budget to do so, it can solicit private contractors to place bids on the required work.  Government agencies will often hire construction, consulting, educational, and marketing-based services to fulfill the government’s obligations to the public. The RFP is an essential tool here, allowing government agencies to review each bidder while securing the best possible rates. Statement of work vs. proposal: What’s the difference? An RFP asks specifically for a proposal. On the surface, this might sound like the RFP is asking for a simple outline of the labor, budget, and timeline details required to fulfill a project. But a proposal differs from a statement of work (SoW) in that an SoW might be a section of the proposal, but never vice versa: A proposal is an overall pitch for a company’s approach to the project. The statement of work might be one element of this proposal, but a proposal can include other elements like a background on the company itself. Think of the proposal as a marketing tool on behalf of the company doing the bidding. It might include the basic details necessary to submit the bid, but it’s also looking to differentiate the company from the competition. A statement of work is a straightforward listing of the project’s milestones, the timeline, and the pricing of each element. One page within a proposal might outline the statement of work. Unlike the proposal itself, this section is typically written to be clear and is often closer to a list of bullet points. The RFP bidding process is typically the first stage in selecting a company. As G2 notes, it’s also an announcement of your upcoming project. For that reason, requesting a proposal means you’re inviting companies not only to outline their estimates, but essentially to make their best pitch. This puts you in the position to whittle down the best candidates. What to include in an RFP The purpose of an RFP is clear: not only to learn which companies can provide the services you’re looking for but to gauge what a realistic timeline and budget for your project might be. However, without adequate guidance on what to include in an RFP, you may find that businesses submit unclear proposals. Your goal with an RFP should be to cut through the ambiguity and bring clarity to your project. To do that, you’re going to need to include several elements: Relevant company and project history Start by getting a background on what the company is, who leads the company, and whether they’ve completed any similar projects in the past. It’s true that past performance isn’t necessarily indicative of future performance. But if your goal is to build a new downtown office high-rise and there’s only one company who can point to building a previous office high-rise who submits a proposal, you’ve probably got a fair idea that they’re going to be the best choice. The key here is to focus on relevant company and project history. You don’t need details about a company’s founding that have nothing to do with your upcoming project or initiative.  Project scope and objectives In a project’s scope, you should provide just as much information as you solicit. This is when you need to make your deliverables clear.  But what is a project’s “scope” exactly? It’s a brief document that includes the following details: Business case: This is the overall summary, detailing what the project is, why it’s necessary, and what the project hopes to achieve by the time it’s finished. Budget: Although it can sometimes be difficult to pin down a tight budget, many RFPs will include a basic budget “window” within which companies can submit their bids. Timeline: The overall timeline, especially the deadline, is critical. This is also a way to filter out companies that may be too busy to take on a significant amount of work in your timeline. Milestones: Milestones can be like mile-markers that signify the completion of individual portions of the project. Although not always necessary, it can be helpful to agree on project milestones ahead of time, particularly when subcontractor work is involved. Having milestones planned out in advance helps both sides assess what objectives to hit in order to keep the project on track. Deliverables: Finally, outline what deliverables you want completed by the end of the project. Include as many details necessary to consider the project to be completed, especially if there are any regulatory requirements at play. Project requirements Sometimes, project demands mean you’re working with constraints outside of your control. That may include budgetary constraints, government regulations, or NDAs you require bidders to sign.  Don’t hide these in hopes of securing better bids upfront. Include these essential details in your RFP. The sooner you make these requirements clear, the more sure you’ll be that you’re only working with qualified bidders as the process moves on. Similarly, try not to limit the scope of requirements you include. Whether you have business requirements or technical requirements to be satisfied, it’s always better to include these on the RFP so there’s no mistaking them. You don’t want to get 2/3rds of the way to completing a new office building only to find out that the construction company you hired isn’t licensed to handle the windows and didn’t include that estimate in the bid. Selection criteria Ever had a teacher who told you what sections of your textbook would be on the quiz? When you studied, you probably made sure that you reviewed those exact pages. In doing so, you remembered them all. Stating your selection criteria in an RFP is a bit like that. Spell out the precise details that will make you select one bidder over another. Don’t make them guess. When you tell them what variables matter most to you — budget, scheduling, etc. — you make sure every bidder gives their best possible answer on these variables. This makes for better comparisons when it’s time to review the proposals and select the finalists. Timelines Executing is important, but not if a project has so many overruns that it’s only completed years after the deadline.  State your project timeline in clear, specific terms. This is essential information that guides other priorities. Contractors can use project timelines to gauge their budget, whether they’ll have to hire subcontractors to supplement their team, or whether they’ll even have the bandwidth to take on this project in the first place.  Possible roadblocks An effective plan doesn’t just state what should happen. It also considers the risks involved. Take the time to brainstorm these potential roadblocks with your team, then list them in their own section. Of all the RFP requirements, this may seem the most optional. Why perform this exercise? Isn’t it something that the contractors should consider instead? Simply put, you want to list the potential roadblocks because you still own this project. By making other companies aware of these roadblocks, you can solicit more accurate proposals. Rather than selecting a low-budget option when you aren’t sure if they meet your qualifications, getting the roadblocks out of the way will serve as another selection filter. You’re less likely to go wrong in the long term if you’re upfront about the challenges. Budget The budget is often the top concern for anyone crafting an RFP. That’s for obvious reasons. Budgets determine resources, investments, time, effort, and the amount of labor a contractor can allocate to your project.  Even if you’re not confident that your budget is high enough, make it clear when you don’t have any wiggle room. It’s better to receive an RFP response of “sorry — we can’t do it at that price” than to create unrealistic budget expectations in the hopes of generating more responses. Be realistic about how much budget you can allocate to this project so you can get accurate proposals and realistic bids. The budget may also include payment terms, such as when each milestone’s invoice is due. About 63% of contractors say they “sometimes” get paid on time, so don’t be surprised if contracts include payment terms in this section of the proposal. Response guidance Finally, your RFP responses can use a little coaching. Tell these businesses what you want to hear from them and what you don’t. Make sure to include some other key details at the end, such as: Contact information: Who should businesses send their bids to? List the primary contact for the project and how to get in touch with them. Submission requirements and deadlines: Set a hard date, at which point you can gather all of the proposals and review them with your team. Give businesses enough cushion time to prepare an adequate proposal. Required elements: What are the must-have details you need to review in every proposal? Make note of the comparisons you want to make, such as the project’s budget — and let companies know that this information is required as part of their proposal. An RFP example Once complete, an RFP will mostly be an empty form — it’s up to the businesses to fill in the information. It may look something like this: Project overview: This is the part you do fill in. Here you’ll include the details we just reviewed, such as budget, timelines, project details, and any further guidance. Example: Imagine your project is a new website for your company. In this case, the project overview would include the types of pages you’d need for the website, the functionality you’d like to have, and when you’d like to launch the new site. Project goals: With the details in place, think of this section as a little bit like a time machine. Explain what you want the project to look like after everything is said and done. Example: Let’s stick with the website example. What do you want completed by the deadline? A fully-functioning website that’s capable of taking customer orders? Get specific about the deadlines and milestones your project needs to hit for you to consider it a success. Scope of work: Now it’s time to turn the work over to the people filling out the proposals. Explain the level of detail you need in the scope of work, then leave plenty of space for businesses to handle the rest. Example: In our website example, you might compare the scope of work from one project to another. Who is doing custom web development? Who is relying on pre-existing templates? “Scope of work” helps you understand each company’s approach. Roadblocks/barriers: In this section, either explain the roadblocks you foresee, allow the businesses to submit their own thoughts on the matter, or both. Example: Is there existing content that needs to be overwritten? Do you need to migrate to a new web hosting platform before the new company develops your website? Evaluation metrics: This is when you can include your own response guidance and selection criteria. List out the necessary details or extra materials you need to see for an effective bid. You might also include a submission requirements field here to further explain what every bid should look like before handing it in. Example: Tell the web developers what you need to see in each proposal. This will be up to you. Do you have a hard ceiling on the budget? Mention that. Is meeting the deadline your priority so you can have the website up by Black Friday? Mention that too. What does the RFP bidding process involve? You should have enough now to fill in the precise details of an RFP tailored to your upcoming project. Now what? You can’t wave a magic wand and expect the bids to start rolling in, after all. It may seem difficult at first, but since you’re the one looking to hire, don’t expect it to stay difficult for long. You simply need the contact information for relevant businesses you want to invite to submit a bid. You might ask businesses or organizations similar to yours where they were able to ask for proposals. Or, for some smaller projects, you might visit online resources and project postings to publicize your RFP. Once your RFP is in the hands of multiple businesses, your challenge shifts. No longer are you concerned with finding businesses, but dealing with the (potentially) overwhelming number of bids you’ve received.   Organize the proposals and, after the deadline, begin whittling down. Use your key metrics for this funnel. For example, if one bid came in at double your maximum budget, but you have five others at the budget, you can reasonably toss the high-budget proposal aside. RFP response examples The specific RFP response you receive may vary, depending on the RFP itself. But typically, you should expect a cover letter and an attachment of the proposal in full.  The cover letter is important and the first mark of a company with strong sales skills. It’s your first impression of the level of care and attention the company gave your proposal. For example, this… To whom it may concern: Attached is a standard project rate for XYZ Company. We very much look forward to serving your business needs. …reads like a form letter. However, a company that has taken the time to vet and review your RFP will address more specific concerns. To [Specific Contact’s Name]: Thank you for the opportunity to submit a bid for your [specific project details]. ABC Company has completed three similar projects in the past, the details of which are attached in this email. You can also find PDF and Word attachments detailing our proposals, as well as the extra materials you requested. It’s not hard to spot which cover letter sounds like it’s more likely to lead to a detailed, well-considered proposal. A good business has time to consider every aspect of their bid to increase their success — especially when companies that submit bids usually only win an average of 44% of them. RFP response tips and tricks What if you’re the one sending an RFP response? The RFP bidding process can feel like a minefield. Here are some time-tested tricks to get your proposal noticed: Take time to understand the RFP There’s no point in spending time on a proposal if you misunderstand the project in the first place. You’ll end up submitting a proposal that is either entirely off the mark or wasting your time with a project that wasn’t right for your business in the first place. However, if you take the time to understand the RFP, every point you include in the proposal will speak directly to your potential client’s needs, making it more likely they’ll accept yours. Review all project requirements thoroughly This is an off-shoot of the tip above. You don’t want to get too far in the project estimation process before you realize that the timeline is completely unrealistic for a company with your limited resources. Learn all of the requirements before you agree to a proposal. Draft possible questions from stakeholders A good RFP is open to feedback and questions. As you work through your proposal, maintain a list of questions that the RFP doesn’t answer. You’ll not only find this useful in researching the project, but the company requesting the information will likely appreciate the consideration you put into your proposal. Create the first draft of your response The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Create the first draft with the steps above in mind, but don’t hesitate over every detail. Remember you can always review and edit this response before you send it in. Get it checked by your team Don’t just have one person review the draft. Bring in the entire team. Make sure everyone is on board with the vision for the project — that you’re not writing checks that the company can’t cash, so to speak.  Present and submit your final proposal Finally, create a cover letter (like the one above), polish up the proposal, and send it off. If you’re presenting it in person, prepare an overview presentation that includes the basic details. But if you’re presenting it via email only, make sure that everything is available via attachment and that you confirm your RFP is received.  Why use Wrike to plan your RFP documents? The RFP is central to getting business done, on both ends. For the organization doing the hiring, it’s critical to get solid work on large projects with reasonable schedules and budgets. For a company submitting proposals, it’s the difference between a full schedule and wishing you had more work. But you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel with RFP documents. Use Wrike templates to ensure the proper organization and workflows necessary to build out documents that are professional, comprehensive, and effective.  On both sides of an RFP, it’s critical to think of every key detail. It will help two different organizations not only connect, but thrive together. Ready to simplify your RFP process? Get started with Wrike today.

How to Write Effective Project Objectives
Project Management 7 min read

How to Write Effective Project Objectives

Write achievable, results-driven project objectives using SMART goals. Learn how to write an objective and stick to it using SMART.

If You're Not Using OKRs for Quarterly Planning, Stop and Read This
Leadership 10 min read

If You're Not Using OKRs for Quarterly Planning, Stop and Read This

It’s that time again: You're capping off a successful year and reflecting on everything you've accomplished in the past twelve months. But it’s not only a time to look back; it’s a time to look ahead. What do you want to accomplish in the coming year, and what’s the best way to go about it?  Many leading companies tout OKRs for successful annual and quarterly planning; in fact, Google credits the process with fueling their exponential growth and success. Even if you’ve heard of OKRs, you may be curious about the details. This overview explains the basics of the method, shows you how to set OKRs, and covers the details you need to start putting it into practice.  “What are OKRs, anyway?” OKR, which stands for objectives and key results, is a planning and goal-setting technique made famous by Intel and Google. OKRs represent aggressive goals and define the measurable steps you’ll take towards achieving those goals. They're typically used to set quarterly goals, but can also be used for annual planning.  OKRs are set at company, team, and individual levels. Here’s a set of OKR examples:  Company OKR 1:Objective: Become the #1 most-downloaded iOS productivity app— Key Result 1: Conduct a survey to identify the ten most-requested features and launch five of the top most-requested features by Nov 15— Key Result 2: Conduct ten user tests to identify UX issues— Key Result 3: Show at least 50% improvement in satisfaction with UX (via customer survey)— Key Result 4: Earn 200 five-star ratings by Dec 31 Company OKR 2:Objective: Increase brand recognition and awareness— Key Result 1: Increase media engagement by 20%— Key Result 2: Launch customer referral program by September 1— Key Result 3: Extend social media reach and visibility to two new target markets— Key Result 4: Expand thought leadership program by placing guest articles on four industry-related sites with an Alexa ranking of at least 30,000 Marketing Team OKR:Objective: Increase social media engagement by 35%— Key Result 1: Research and identify three most popular social media sites among two new target audiences and develop an engagement strategy by September 1— Key Result 2: Participate in six Twitter chats involving industry leaders— Key Result 3: Respond to new Facebook comments within three hours— Key Result 4: Increase the number of followers on Facebook and Twitter by 20% Individual OKR:Objective: Increase the number of social media connections by 25%— Key Result 1: Increase posting frequency on Twitter to 8x daily and Facebook to 3x daily— Key Result 2: Establish social media presence on two new sites, LinkedIn and Quora— Key Result 3: Join five LinkedIn groups with at least 2,500 members each and leave comments on the ten most popular discussions in each group— Key Result 4: Gain 15 followers on Quora by posting three answers and one question every week As you can see in these marketing OKR examples, company OKRs focus on big-picture goals, team OKRs define priorities for each department, and personal OKRs pinpoint what an individual will be working on. You’ll have multiple OKRs at each level, but no more than five objectives with four key results each. Otherwise, you’ll stretch yourself too thin and won’t be able to make much of an impact on any of them.  Although OKRs are created at these three different levels, they all should connect and support each other. The individual’s goals should reflect team goals, team goals should reflect department goals, and department goals should reflect company goals. That way, every individual effort furthers a collective vision and contributes to what will yield the most significant results for the company.  It’s important to note that OKRs are not meant for annual review purposes or for evaluating employee performance. They’re ambitious targets meant to push employees and the company as a whole forward. If you set an aggressive goal and don't meet it, you aren't punished for it, nor are bonuses given out for meeting or exceeding OKRs. Build a culture where people can be bold and take risks without fearing the consequences and aren't tempted to play it safe for short-term rewards.  OKRs can be useful as references for employees, since they'll always have a concise summary of exactly what they’ve accomplished in the last quarter/year, backed up with hard data, to quantify their contributions to the company.  OKRs must be:  1. Ambitious. If you’re always meeting or exceeding your high-level team or company goals, you’re not reaching far enough. Your OKRs should make you a little uneasy in that you’re not entirely confident you’ll be able to meet them. Remember, these aren’t goals that you’ll be held to for evaluation or promotion purposes, they’re goals that are meant to stretch you and grow the company. So think big. Personal OKRs can be more conservative — include a few lofty goals to push yourself to excel, but ensure most are achievable.  2. Measurable. “Increase the number of registered users by 25%,” not, “Get more users.” Every Key Result needs to have a number attached to it, whether that's a percentage, a dollar amount, or a due date.  3. Public. The entire company should be able to see your OKRs, not just managers or executives. Visibility and accountability promote collaboration between individuals and departments since everyone knows what everyone else is working on and towards. 4. Graded. At the end of the quarter (or year), give yourself a grade for each key result, where 0 is “Didn’t even come close” and 1 is “met or exceeded every aspect.” (Because OKRs are meant to be aggressive goals, a 0.6 or 0.7 is an admirable score. More on grading a bit later.) “Why should I bother with OKRs?” What are the benefits of OKRs? Why choose this technique over other planning methods?  For one, OKRs promote disciplined, focused thinking. Every business decision is made with this question in mind: Will this get us closer to our objective, yes or no? Second, OKRs establish clear standards for measuring progress. Since everything is based on numbers and quantified data, you can accurately measure how far you’ve come towards reaching your goals and how far you have to go in a tangible and exact way.  In addition, the fact that OKRs are public brings improved transparency and more accurate communication because everyone understands the specifics of what others are working on instead of relying on an assumed or incomplete knowledge of another team’s goals.  Finally, efforts are more centralized and collaborative. Everyone knows what the top priorities are, how their work contributes, and how they can align with other teams for powerful joint efforts.  “How do I grade myself?” This is important, so first things first: Grades don’t matter except to indicate whether you should keep pursuing your objectives or need to redirect your efforts. Focus on working towards your OKRs, not on your grades. When it comes to your OKR performance evaluation, stick to the numbers. If your OKR is to “increase the number of users logging in at least 3x a week by 30%” and you managed to increase it by 15%, give yourself a score of 0.5. You can average your key results grades into a total Objective score, and if you like, you can average all of your Objective scores to see your overall grade for the quarter/year.  According to Google, failing to meet your OKR goals is better than overshooting them by a wide margin. If your company or team is always scoring 1s across the board, your high-level OKRs aren't ambitious enough. It's better to set a challenging goal than play it safe! Shoot for the moon, and be satisfied with hitting at least 60-70% of your goal.  A low score isn’t a failure. It’s a sign you need to re-evaluate whether the objective is still worth pursuing or rethink your approach. Should you focus your efforts elsewhere? What have you learned? Can you figure out a different way of doing things? Scores benefit everyone by showing you what not to do, what to do differently, and what to continue doing more of.  “What does the OKR process look like?”  One quality that sets OKRs apart from most other planning strategies is the fact that goals aren’t simply dictated from the executive level down. The OKR process should reflect circular discussions among employees and managers, where at least 60% of the company’s goals are bottom-up.  To reflect this idea, each employee is asked to submit OKRs they think the department should prioritize. A staff meeting is held to collectively develop team objectives and align them with company goals.  Employees then set individual OKRs that reflect and support larger company and team goals, and meet with their managers to discuss what they want to work on in the upcoming quarter and what they believe is the best use of their time. During this discussion, the employee and manager develop and negotiate the specifics of each OKR.  Teams, managers, and employees often hold a mid-quarter check-up meeting to share progress and make any adjustments. Annual OKRs in particular needn’t be set in stone: If you’ve discovered that the assumptions you made last year aren’t accurate, there's no need to stubbornly stick to them.  At the end of the quarter, hold a wrap-up meeting where everyone shares their grades, explains their results, and outlines the adjustments they’re going to make for the next quarter. After reflecting on this quarter’s performance, start setting OKRs for next quarter.  For a comprehensive look at how Google uses OKRs, check out this explanatory video (1:21:49):  Ready to start?  With OKRs, you’re essentially creating a shortlist of what you need to focus on in order to excel at your job. Nebulous responsibilities and performance goals are gone, and instead, you have crystal clear objectives, a specific, agreed-upon roadmap, and measurable progress.  How to use Wrike to set and monitor OKRs If you’re interested in trying out OKR goal setting in your own organization, you'll need the right OKR goals software to set and track your objectives across your entire team. Wrike's OKR template allows you to define the measurable steps you'll take towards achieving quarterly goals — organize company and departmental OKRs with folders, then break key results into tasks and subtasks connected to their overall objectives. Allow your team to build out their individual OKRs with personalized folders and subtasks.  When everything's ready, create custom dashboards to monitor progress and keep critical tasks front and center. At the end of the quarter, use Wrike's dynamic reports to showcase how your team's work impacted the big picture. Start your free Wrike trial today to get up and running fast. Source: Google Ventures' Startup Lab Workshop: How Google Sets Goals

The Ultimate Guide to Parametric Estimating in Project Management
Project Management 10 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Parametric Estimating in Project Management

Parametric estimating is a method of calculating the time, cost, and resources needed for a project. Learn more about parametric estimating techniques with Wrike.

PERT Charts vs. Gantt Charts — What Are the Differences?
Project Management 5 min read

PERT Charts vs. Gantt Charts — What Are the Differences?

Pert vs Gantt chart format – which is right for your project? Both PERT and Gantt charts are incredibly useful in project management. But which type could work best for your company? Find out with Wrike.

What Is a Risk Matrix?
Project Management 10 min read

What Is a Risk Matrix?

Imagine you’re the assigned project manager on a high-stakes project. The project scope is defined, key stakeholders are in agreement, you’re confident you can stay within the budget, and the project team is ready to dive in. They start working tirelessly to meet the agreed-upon objectives — and then an unexpected risk meets you midway through the project. You never saw this one coming, so you have no idea how you’re going to get the project back on track and see it through to success.  If only you had identified and assessed the risk during the project planning phase, you might have felt more prepared to overcome it. That’s what a risk assessment matrix is used for and why you need one for your projects.  What is a risk assessment matrix in project management? Risks in project management are unexpected events that may or may not occur and impact your project outcome in some way. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), analyzing and managing risks is a key practice in project management. It improves the chances of successful project completion while reducing the consequences of any risk that occurs.  Risks can appear related to any aspect of a project, including the budget, resources, processes, or technology, to name just a few. While it can be easy to assume that all risks bring negative consequences to the table, it’s essential to understand that positive risks can also occur during the project life cycle.  A risk assessment matrix (sometimes called a risk control matrix) is a tool used during the risk assessment stage of project planning. It identifies and captures the likelihood of project risks and evaluates the potential damage or interruption caused by those risks.  The risk assessment matrix offers a visual representation of the risk analysis and categorizes risks based on their level of probability and severity or impact. This tool is a simple, effective way to get a holistic view of the project risks for all team members and key stakeholders. Risk matrix example Let’s take a look at a simple risk matrix example for a project. We’re using a 5x5, five-point scale for the impact and probability in this matrix example, but use a scale system that works best for your team. For example, you can use a 3x3 matrix for less granularity.   Impact or Severity  Probability or Likelihood   Insignificant  Minor Moderate Major Catastrophic Very Likely  Low-Medium Medium Medium-High High High Likely  Low-Medium Low-Medium Medium Medium-High High Possible Low Low-Medium Medium Medium-High Medium-High Unlikely  Low Low-Medium Low-Medium Medium Medium-High Very Unlikely Low Low Low-Medium Medium Medium In this example, you see risk categories ranging from low to high and likelihood ranging from very likely to very unlikely. Using it is as simple as any other matrix: You look for where both of your criteria meet to get your risk rating.  Let’s say you’re the project manager for a new organization-wide software tool rollout and will be working with a consultant to implement it. For this project, consultant delays are possible due to a lack of resources on their end, and if a delay happens, the impact would be major because it would impact the entire rollout plan. We’d categorize this risk as medium-high based on the example matrix.  What are the benefits of a risk assessment matrix? You might be wondering if it’s worth spending the time to assess risks and create a matrix for all of your projects. Well, the benefits of a risk assessment matrix speak for themselves:   You can prioritize all risks with an understanding of the level of severity. Having an overview of all potential risks allows you to prioritize them against one another if multiple risks occur. This prioritization will benefit your project team and help keep them on track if the project does go awry. You can devise strategies and allocate resources for the unexpected. While it’s impossible to fully plan for uncertainty, acknowledging and understanding what risks could occur provides an opportunity to create action plans for those unexpected events. Appropriately planning for risks increases the likelihood of project completion and success. You’ll reduce or neutralize the impact of risks that occur. The unexpected consequences of a risk that’s not thought about in advance might feel more severe and damaging than a risk identified and analyzed early on. Having an awareness of the potential impact can reduce or neutralize the effect of a project risk before it occurs. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  What are the challenges of a risk matrix? While risk matrices can be very useful for identifying and preparing for project risks, they are not an answer to all your project problems. Here are some of the challenges of risk matrices: Inaccurate assessments: The risk matrix categories may not be specific enough to compare and differentiate between risk levels accurately. The severity and likelihood of certain risks are often subjective and therefore unreliable. Poor decision-making: Incorrectly categorized risks can lead to poor decision-making since you do not have an accurate picture of potential issues. Doesn't account for timeframes: Risk matrices don't differentiate between risks that could occur two weeks from now and risks that could occur in two years' time. There is no consideration of how risks could change over the years. Can oversimplify risks: The complexity and volatility of risks can be oversimplified — some risks remain the same over time, while others can change overnight. How do you calculate risk in a risk matrix? A risk matrix is a valuable tool for your project planning, and creating one doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these steps to calculate risk for a project of your own.  Step 1: Identify the risks related to your project To complete your risk assessment matrix, you need to start by having an in-depth understanding of your project — the scope, budget, resources, timeline, and goal. You’ll need this information to help you spot the potential risks. Identify as many risks as you can with your project team. Consider aspects like scope creep, budgetary constraints, schedule impacts, and resource allocation as the starting points for your risk identification process. Create a risk register complete with all of the identified risks, as it will make it easier to create your matrix.  Step 2: Define and determine risk criteria for your project  No two risks and no two risk matrices are alike, which means you’ll need to work with your project team and key stakeholders to define and determine the risk criteria you’ll use to evaluate each risk you’ve identified.  Remember that two intersecting criteria need to be specified, each with its levels: the probability or likelihood that the risk will occur and the severity or impact the risk will have.  Step 3: Analyze the risks you’ve identified  After you’ve identified and described all of the potential risks, the next step is to analyze them. In your analysis, use your risk criteria to categorize each risk within its appropriate severity level and probability.  Many matrices assign a number value to criteria. So, sticking with our example, you might rate the impact ranging from one (insignificant) to five (catastrophic) and do the same with likelihood, where one represents very unlikely, and five represents very likely. Using the matrix, it’s then easy to multiply severity times likelihood to get a number value. A risk that’s catastrophic and very likely would rank as a 25, whereas one that’s insignificant and very unlikely would rank as a one. It’s a simple and intuitive way to compare and understand risks.  Step 4: Prioritize the risks and make an action plan Your final step is to prioritize the risks and create risk management plans to mitigate or neutralize them, with your risks categorized accordingly. You’ll want to outline the steps you’ll take if the risk does occur and the strategies you’ll deploy to help get the project back on track.  How do you create a risk matrix in Excel? Wondering how to make a risk matrix in Excel? Start by building a table that reflects the probability and severity scales you’ve defined for your risk assessment. Here are a few tips to help you get started:  After you’ve created your table, add your labels to the rows and columns. Use the columns for severity and rows for the likelihood of occurrence. Once you’ve labeled all of your column and row headers, add the definitions for each probability and severity level you’ve outlined with your team beneath the header title. This helps ensure the team is on the same page when ranking risks within the matrix. Use formatting options to color coordinate the matrix for the best visual representation. You can use the stoplight system (red, yellow, green) for high, medium, and low risks, respectively. Using different colors allows any viewer to easily distinguish the risks based on the likelihood that they will occur and the amount of damage or interruption they’ll cause.  How do you create a risk matrix in Wrike?  If an Excel sheet isn’t your jam when it comes to tracking and monitoring risks, you can use Wrike to create a risk matrix. Some of the key features Wrike has that you can use to assess project risk include:  Custom fields that allow you to build out the severity and probability any way you want to. You could turn these into drop-down rankings on a one-to-five scale or use the text option to label your categories. Table view to provide greater visibility into the risks and a similar table to the one you can create in Excel. Reports and calculated fields to automate the data associated with your assessed risks. Interactive Gantt charts that allow you to create task dependencies and streamlined automation of changing project dates and deadlines. Project progress can be monitored in real-time, which allows your team to keep risks top of mind, so the important stuff doesn’t get overlooked. The best part about using a platform like Wrike is that it can automatically update and adjust as your project progresses, saving you from the manual work required in Excel.  What do you do with risk matrix results? So, what does a risk matrix accomplish for you? The short answer is that your matrix results help you create a risk response plan.  To start with, it’s crucial to address the risks that are ranked high or extreme. Depending on the project and your team’s resources, you may only need to monitor the medium and low-risk categories rather than taking immediate action.  Finally, reference your risk matrix throughout the project until it’s marked complete and successful. Don’t make the mistake of not committing to risk management as an ongoing process. Using this tool is a powerful way to support your project team and mitigate any bottlenecks that stand in the way between them and a winning project. Are you ready to get ahead of the game and stop losing sleep over project risks? Sign up for a free trial of Wrike to start building risk matrices with your team today.

The Ultimate Guide to Implementation Plans
Project Management 10 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Implementation Plans

Achieve better outcomes and stronger results by creating implementation plans that help you turn concepts into real world action. Learn more with Wrike.

What Is a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)?
Project Management 7 min read

What Is a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)?

A requirements traceability matrix is an integral part of an embedded system's life cycle. It helps organizations ensure that their products are safe and are meeting their intended standards.  This is especially important for the medical, technology, and engineering industries. But any business that has a set of goals and standards to uphold can benefit from this proven requirements analysis tool.  Here’s how to make an effective requirements traceability matrix and why you should start one today.  What is a traceability matrix? A traceability matrix is a document that details the technical requirements for a given test scenario and its current state. It helps the testing team understand the level of testing that is done for a given product.  The traceability process itself is used to review the test cases that were defined for any requirement. It helps users identify which requirements produced the most number of defects during a testing cycle.  Not only does this show areas in need of improvement, but it also helps mitigate future roadblocks and identify process weaknesses.  What is a requirements traceability matrix? A requirements traceability matrix (RTM) is a tool that helps identify and maintain the status of the project’s requirements and deliverables. It does so by establishing a thread for each component. It also manages the overall project requirements. This method is straightforward and can be easily done by anyone.  There are many kinds of RTMs. For example, a test matrix is used to prove that tests were conducted. It can also be used to identify issues and requirements during the development of software. What are the benefits of a requirements traceability matrix? An RTM ensures that projects do everything they set out to do. This step-by-step process helps identify the requirements and the products that are required to be tested successfully. It also helps in determining the project's direction and timeline.  First, it will support the identification of all requirements in a work product. Then, it will check to make sure there is coverage of all the requirements throughout the project’s lifetime.  The RTM will show the requirements coverage in terms of the number of test cases, design status, and execution status. It will also show the UAT status for a specific test case. With all this information at your fingertips, your team will be able to analyze changes in requirements and make informed product development decisions on the fly.  And because traceability links artifacts across the development lifecycle, it helps teams identify and resolve issues before they become problems. It can also help avoid the pressure of an audit. And if you do get audited, having an RTM will make it easier to demonstrate that you have complied with regulations which means you can avoid additional expenses or delays the audit may cause.  You can even use it to track requirements from compliance regulations in a compliance matrix. That will help you understand what you need to test and develop before the work is finalized.  In a nutshell: a requirements traceability matrix makes it easier to meet goals and manage projects.  What do you include in a requirements traceability matrix? Create a simple chart with the following columns:  Requirements: Add sub-columns for marketing requirements, product requirements, and system-level specifications (if applicable). Testing: Add a sub column for test cases and test runs. Deviation: Add a sub-column for any issues.  Requirements traceability matrix example Here is a basic requirements traceability matrix example, including a description of the requirements, their business justification, and the status of the task.   How to create a requirements traceability matrix in Wrike The matrix should be created early in the project life cycle to ensure it is up-to-date and incorporates all the details necessary for the project to be successful. A project management tool like Wrike is perfect for tracking, organizing, and assessing every last rule.  First, gather your requirements list. Add them as individual projects in Wrike. Assign a due date, priority level, and set of corresponding tasks needed to achieve compliance to each one.  Next, each requirement must have a unique and clearly defined purpose. Add these details to the project or corresponding task description so that the assignee fully understands what they are trying to achieve.  Then, you can also use Wrike to securely plan for and store related materials. Supporting documents such as test scripts should be prepared ahead of the actual testing process. Simply create a task, set an approver, and add the final product to your Wrike files. Control who sees it with secure sharing.  Finally, identify gaps in coverage. If any defects are found during the test cases, then they can be listed and mapped with business requirements and test scenarios. In Wrike, you can assign each one to an individual or team. You can also add an Approver who will sign off on the task once it’s complete.  If there are any questions or comments, the collaborators can discuss them right within the task themselves, looping in colleagues using @mentions whenever another POV is needed. If a change request is made, you can view your existing project plans and give an informed evaluation of whether or not it can be done. If the answer is yes, you can then drag and drop project components for a new and accurate timeline. In Wrike, projects with tasks marked as dependent on one another will maintain these connections, so when you move them, you’ll still have all of your necessary components tied together, working uninterrupted.  Once your RTM is complete, you can duplicate your processes and workflows in Wrike by creating a template for the ones you plan to repeat. This saves time and adds a layer of standardization that is crucial for meeting requirements. And because the testing process should be clearly defined to avoid any confusion, using Wrike to do so will ensure that it is carried out according to the requirements and time constraints. Wrike provides a secure collaborative workspace to organize, test, and bring all your projects up to speed with your RTM. Ready to streamline your product development compliance? Start today with a two-week free trial of Wrike. 

Project Planning Essential Elements (With Infographic)
Project Management 10 min read

Project Planning Essential Elements (With Infographic)

There are many elements of a project plan. But what goes into a good one? Include these 10 ingredients for success in planning a project with Wrike.

How to write a project plan in 8 easy steps
Project Management 10 min read

How to write a project plan in 8 easy steps

A project plan keeps your projects on track and stakeholders satisfied. These 8 simple steps are everything you need to know to plan a successful project.

A Quick Guide to The Linear Scheduling Method
Project Management 7 min read

A Quick Guide to The Linear Scheduling Method

A linear schedule is a project management tool used to present a schedule in two dimensions, such as time and distance. This is normally used for projects with linear construction properties or repetitive tasks, such as the construction of roads, bridges, and railways.  In this article, we will explain what the linear scheduling method is, how it benefits projects, and how to execute it. Keep reading to discover linear scheduling examples and tools you can use to perfect your next project plans. Linear scheduling method explained The linear scheduling method is a process for developing project schedules that take into account the various elements of a work that are linear, continuous, or repeated. Most commonly used in construction management and engineering, the quantity of work performed on a project is used to determine the duration of a work relationship and the work rates for each crew member. Although the term “linear scheduling” is often used to describe the steps involved in preparing linear schedules, it can also be referred to as the development of a graphical representation of a project schedule. You may also hear the linear scheduling method referred to as “time chainage” or “line-of-balance”.  The various elements of the linear schedule are represented on a grid with coordinates that define when and where the work begins and finishes. A range of display methods is also used to present the varying activities in different formats. What benefits does a linear schedule provide to a project manager? The linear scheduling method is simple. Not only is it easier to read, but it’s also easier to organize.  It’s helpful for communication. Contractors, stakeholders, and clients can understand your project plans from this information alone. It covers everything they need to know about what’s needed, where and when the work will take place, and how productive the work will be.  Linear scheduling mitigates risk. Project managers can easily monitor and report on the various activities that occurred during the execution phase. Even if unforeseen circumstances happen during the execution phase, this can be easily revisited to improve the project's productivity using this method.  It’s flexible. The time-location chart is useful for extending project benchmarks as needed because it provides a list of the factors that can affect the project's schedule, so you know what to expect.  The linear scheduling method helps inform decision-making. This method helps the project manager identify and take action on the lapses that occurred during past projects. It also helps with preventing them from happening again. It uncovers task dependencies. A time-location diagram is a great tool to visualize the various interrelated activities in a project. It can help you understand the sequence of activities and their importance. For example, in construction, the arrival of material at a site may cause delays in the mobilization of heavy equipment, resulting in costly downtime if not forecasted.  Which industries use linear scheduling? Linear scheduling is most commonly used in the construction industry for straightforward projects such as standard pipelines, highways, and railroads. However, any industry with projects that have linear continuous and repetitive tasks can take advantage of this method. It’s also effective for managing compliance and continuity across repeat projects.  Linear scheduling method in construction management For construction management, this method involves repeatedly running a set of projects in each location for the duration of the work. Some examples of prominent projects that use this method include highway construction and airport runway projects. One of the most important factors involved in planning a linear construction project is ensuring that the work of the crew does not interfere with the activities of other workers. It’s important to note that traditional planning and scheduling techniques commonly used for linear construction projects do not account for the various factors that affect the planning and scheduling of such projects. Other methods, such as line-of-balance and vertical production methods, are often used to improve the planning and scheduling techniques for linear construction projects. Linear scheduling examples Tunnel construction with the linear scheduling method [caption id="attachment_471943" align="aligncenter" width="772"] Source: James Wonneberg, PE, CCM via Slideshare[/caption] The x-axis depicts the location between the two main construction points of this project. The y-axis represents the time period over which the work will take place. Project phases are color-coded in orange, blue, green, and red for easier interpretation.  Notice how each of the tasks is associated with location and time.  For example, during Q2 of 2017, tunnel site 10+00 will be prepped. Then, in Q3 of 2017, tunnel site 10+00 will be constructed while tunnel site 110+00 is prepped.  Not only is this easy to understand at a glance, but it also gives individual team leaders a solid understanding of expectations, deadlines, and tasks that need to be completed by their group.  Building a road with the linear scheduling method [caption id="attachment_471949" align="aligncenter" width="801"] Source: Columbia University[/caption] In this linear scheduling method example, “A” represents the beginning of the road, and “E” represents the end of the road. The lettered segments each represent a different section of the road that will be built in order. The numbered bars correspond with a different repetitive process associated with this example road’s construction, such as prepping the site and pouring concrete.  As you can see, each road segment will repeat the same set of repetitive tasks. After tasks one and two are completed on road section A, section B begins the same list, and the pattern continues onward.  This super simplistic model may need a corresponding document to explain the task lists and locations, but it does visualize the big-picture aspects of the project while also being actionable.  Why choose Wrike as your linear scheduling software? Wrike is a project management tool designed to streamline repetitive tasks and maximize productivity. Once you have your linear schedule in place, you can effectively execute it with Wrike using our Recurrent Tasks, Project Schedule Template, and Automation Engine features.  With Recurrent Tasks, project managers can easily create and duplicate tasks assignments complete with estimated timelines, important details, and assigned team members or approvers. And when you opt for recurrent tasks to be created monthly or yearly on a specific day of the month, you can choose to automatically reschedule the task if this day turns out to be a weekend which saves time you would spend combing through calendars to triple check dates.  In Wrike, the Project Schedule Template gives managers the ability to duplicate project plans from previous engagements. Not only does this save time, but it also ensures that projects remain compliant. And if you need to customize any of the details, Wrike makes it easy to do so.  And finally, Wrike’s Automation Engine automatically updates and simplifies processes. It works seamlessly with existing rules to enable users to easily modify and streamline their actions. It also notifies when project obstacles appear and manages your team's timeline with custom reminders and notifications about overdue tasks, task dependencies, and when it’s time to move on to the next step.  Ready to maximize the power of the linear scheduling method? Get started with Wrike’s two-week free trial. 

Top Tips for Managing Design Projects
Project Management 10 min read

Top Tips for Managing Design Projects

Managing design projects requires using a flexible approach to achieve the best possible results. Learn how in this guide to managing design projects.