How to create a project timeline or schedule?

How to create a project timeline or schedule? Projects can get messy and complicated. Sometimes some things are delayed, some deadlines are missed and many interruptions can create a strange mess in our work. If you don’t have a timeline and roadmap for your project, it’s like baking a cake without ingredients, a recipe, or an oven.

In the following text, we are trying to review the eight basic steps to create a project timeline in order to succeed in planning your project.

What is the project timeline?

A project timeline is a description and chronological order of various events and main tasks in a project. If you are the project manager, you should know that it is your responsibility to create it. This timeline gives you a complete view of your entire project, from start to finish. The project timeline is also a guide for team members, stakeholders, and others who you think should be kept informed of each project phase.

What is the project timeline
What is the project timeline
The main elements

So what does the project timeline usually include?

  • Project tasks
  • The deadline for the delivery of those tasks
  • Duration of work
  • Dependencies related to the original work

Why is it important to create a project timeline?

The success of a project depends on the precise timeline designed by the project management. That’s why the project timeline should take into account the following:

  • Clarify goals, priorities, and assigned roles.
  • Inform all colleagues about the work process and keep them at the same level of awareness.
  • It allows you and the team to visualize the big and complete picture of your activity.
  • Show how the changes will affect the project.
  • Reveal bottlenecks and dependencies.
  • Help you accurately determine the start date and end date of the project.

This list can go on for several more pages. But these few cases also show the benefits and essential effects of this issue. So don’t let your work get more chaotic and organize all the necessary steps by creating a suitable timeline for your project. But how can this be achieved?

8 steps to create a project timeline

Creating a project timeline or project roadmap does not require any strange science and techniques. To simplify the work, we have organized the work steps into eight simple steps.

1. Determining the goal of the project

If you don’t know what to do, how do you even think about starting it? The main question of your project timeline is the same. If you don’t have a goal, you can’t move on or progress. Determine the project goal and project scope to understand what can be delivered.

For example, if you own a bakery, your goal might be to bake a cake for a customer’s wedding. In this case, you should talk to your team and the client for a brainstorming session. This will help you set a project scope statement for your wedding cake.

Your goal might be: “Prepare a four-tiered wedding cake for 50-100 guests on December 23rd.” Your scope of work guideline will serve as an outline for all the tasks and deliverables your team must produce during the project.

2. Dividing the project into milestones

When working on a complex project, creating a project timeline can seem impossible. It’s like sneezing with your eyes open. However, managing the timeline of a complex project is not impossible. You just break it into smaller pieces because it’s easier to work with smaller pieces (just like small slices of cake).

Create a work breakdown structure (WBS) with the project goal in mind. This will help you track your project’s milestones.

What are the milestones of the project?

Milestones are checkpoints in your project’s lifecycle. Your activity can be a difficult individual task or a group task and full of tasks or different work packages. To order a wedding cake, milestones can be the following:

  • Complete the cake design
  • Finish baking the sponge cake
  • Finish decorating the cake
3. Explore milestones to create tasks.

Now that you’ve zoomed in on your milestones to create different tasks. Whether it’s making cake batter or designing industrial tools, these are all tasks. When you do these things, you will start to cross the defined milestones and eventually complete the project successfully.

4. Identify task dependencies.

When you are making a cake, can you start designing a big tower on it without having already baked it? Go back to your timeline. When the start of a task depends on the completion of another task, it is called task dependency. Identify them so you can create workflows and never get off schedule.

5. Define time estimates for each task.

Time management is very important in the world of project management. This is why every task must have a time estimate. You can’t have an effective timeline without predicting how long each task will take to complete.

Don’t forget that time is money these days. Using this method, you can set expectations and predict when tasks are due so that you stay on top of expectations.

6. Distribute tasks.

We know that doing a project always involves different tasks. The next question is who wants to do what? This is where the distribution of tasks comes into the picture. Make sure each task has an assignee and roles are clear.

You can also use a Kanban board to learn about your team’s capacity and become an expert at delegating tasks. This page will help you know:

  • Who is working on what?
  • What tasks have colleagues performed?
  • What is the workload of each department?
7. Create your own timeline.

Finally, it’s time to prepare your complete project timeline. but how? If you’re thinking of timeline patterns, we’ll have no problem. After all, they’re all over the internet.

You can find PowerPoint charts, a Gantt chart timeline template, a project schedule template, a timeline of your own design, a product roadmap template, or more. All of these project timeline templates are downloadable, giving you the flexibility you need for complex projects.

8. Check and confirm

The final step is to review the project timeline with your project team and confirm with the client, stakeholder, and sponsor. This step ensures that your timeline or roadmap is something the entire team can agree on. A good tip for managing project timelines is to encourage colleagues to identify defects or talk about potential concerns. That way, it’s easier for you as the project manager to implement the design change before the work starts.


Creating a project timeline doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Follow the steps as you would any other recipe for your job and have faith that you will make good progress.

Check Also:

What is project scope management and what is its importance?

What is the project charter and how is it prepared?

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