How to Write a Business Requirements Document (BRD)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when you’re managing a project. There are day-to-day operations that the project manager obsesses over, but they also need to see the big picture. That’s why a business requirements document is so important.

To prove this point, let’s define what a business requirements document (BRD) is and what its components are. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to write a better one before showing how project management software can make the process even more efficient.

What Is a Business Requirements Document?

A business requirements document offers an overview of what a business does and why it needs the project deliverable to be undertaken. It outlines the business solutions for project requirements that are necessary for the project to deliver value and becomes the foundation of the project’s life cycle.

The business requirements document highlights what the end result of the project should be. When a change request is introduced to the project, the business requirements document must be revised to reflect this change.

The main purpose of a BRD is to show what the system will look like from a business perspective. It includes both the business solution and the technical solution to the project. The business requirements document helps answer the question of what is needed for the business. It also answers how the project will be delivered and contains a prioritized list of features and business requirements that the delivered software, product or service must provide.

Think of the business requirements document as the defined steps you should follow to reach a result that serves both the customers and stakeholders for the delivered product, system or service. The project team is involved in this process to help determine how to implement the delivery of the project and fulfill what the business needs. Stakeholders are also involved and must agree on the plan before it’s implemented.

To accomplish this, you’ll need project management software that can organize tasks and connect the entire project team. ProjectManager is online project management software that delivers real-time data across multiple project views that lets everyone work how they want. Our interactive Gantt chart can be shared with teams and stakeholders as tasks are organized on a timeline. You can link dependent tasks, add milestones and filter for the critical path. Then, set a baseline and track your business requirements document in real time over the life cycle of the project. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager has interactive Gantt charts to get everyone’s input when planning a project. Learn more

Business Requirements vs. Functional Requirements

It’s common to confuse business requirements with functional requirements. They’re both requirements, but they serve different purposes. To review, business requirements explain the final results of a business goal in the project and why the organization should initiate that project.

A business requirement isn’t about offering or proposing a solution, only defining the task at hand. This includes defining the short and long-term goals, the company vision and the scope of the business problem.

On the other hand, the functional requirement is about how a system needs to operate in order to achieve its business goal. It proposes subjective solutions based on the organization’s strengths and limitations as well as being technically focused. A functional requirement is also presented with a use case.

It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a business requirement and a functional requirement. Project activities can be both a business requirement and a functional requirement or even neither.

Related: Free Requirements Gathering Template for Word

What Should Be Included in a BRD?

Why should you create a business requirements document? It reduces the chances that your project will fail due to misalignment with business requirements and connects the organization’s business goals with the project. It brings stakeholders and the team together and saves costs that accrue due to change requests, training, etc.

You’ll want to create a business requirement document, and even though it’s an involved process, it can be broken down into seven key steps. They are as followed.

1. Executive Summary

To begin, you’ll need to create an executive summary that provides an overview of the organization and the challenges facing the business. You’ll explain the issues and what the organization is trying to achieve to ensure everyone is on the same page. This section should be short, like an elevator pitch, summarizing the rest of the business requirements document.

2. Project Objectives

After summarizing the issue you plan to address in the project, you’ll want to clearly define the project’s objective. This helps define the project phases, creates a way to identify solutions for the requirements of the business and the customer, gains consensus from stakeholders and the project team and describes how you arrived at the objectives.

3. Project Scope

The project scope should define in detail what is covered in the project and what would make it run out of scope. This creates a clear boundary for the project and allows stakeholders and teams to agree on the business goals and high-level outcomes. Note what problems are being addressed, the boundaries for implementing the project and the expected return on investment (ROI).

4. Business Requirements

Here you’ll want to list the business requirements or critical activities that must be completed to meet the organization’s objectives. These business requirements should meet both stakeholder and customer needs. This can include a process that must be completed, a piece of data that is needed for the process or a business rule that governs that process and data.

5. Key Stakeholders

Now you’ll want to identify and list the key stakeholders in the project. Once you have that list, assign roles and responsibilities to each. These might be people outside of your department so you should define their role in the success of the project. This information needs to be distributed in order for everyone to know what’s expected of them in the project. You can even use this section to assign tasks.

6. Project Constraints

At this point, you’ll want to explore the project constraints. Define the limitations of the project and share those with the project team so they know of any obstacles earlier than later. In order for them to clear those hurdles, you’ll want to provide any necessary training or allocate resources to help the project stay on track.

7. Cost-Benefit Analysis

You’ll also want to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the costs associated with the project are worth the benefits you’ll get. This requires first determining the associated costs of the project, such as upfront development costs, unexpected costs, future operating costs and tangible and intangible costs. You’ll also need to figure out what benefits derive from the project.

3 Key Tips to Write a Business Requirements Document

As noted, the best way to begin writing a business requirements document is to meet with your stakeholders and team to get a clear picture of their expectations. But that’s only the start. There are many other best practices for writing a BRD. Here are a few.

1. Start With Thorough Requirements Gathering

Requirements gathering is the process of identifying all requirements necessary for the project. That means everything from the start of the project to the end of the project. You’ll want to address the length of the project, who will be involved and what risks are possible.

2. Differentiate Between Business Requirements and Functional Requirements

Remember, business requirements are what needs to be done, such as the project goals, and why that’s important for the organization. Functional requirements are how the processes, be they a system or person, need to work in order to achieve the project goals.

3. Use a Stakeholder Matrix

An important aspect of any business requirements document is identifying stakeholders. In fact, this should be done early in the process and a stakeholder matrix can help you analyze those stakeholders. It helps you understand the needs and expectations of your stakeholder in terms of their power or influence and the level of interest in your project.

ProjectManager Helps You Track Business Requirements

Once you have your business requirements document, the real work begins. There are many project management software tools that can help you plan and measure your project. ProjectManager is unique in that it adds real-time tracking to make sure your business requirements are being met.

Monitor Project With Real-Time Dashboards

When you make your plan on our interactive Gantt charts, the last thing is to set the baseline. Now you can track project variance across many of our features. Keeping projects on time and under budget is critical to meeting the business requirements of your stakeholders. To get a high-level view of the project, simply toggle to the dashboard where you can view six project metrics. Get live data on costs to tasks, and workload to health, all in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Unlike other tools that offer dashboards, you don’t have to waste time setting ours up. It’s plug-and-play.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time
Share Progress Reports With Stakeholders

Being able to view your progress and performance in real time is important for stakeholders and project managers. We have customizable reports that can be generated with a keystroke. As stakeholders don’t need all of the details, filters make it easy to focus on only the data they need to see. Then, easily share the report as a PDF or print it out, whichever delivery method your stakeholders prefer. We have reports on status and portfolio status, time, cost, timesheets and more. It’s a great way for project managers to dig into the data and keep stakeholders updated.

ProjectManager's status report filter

ProjectManager's status report filterOf course, tracking is only one of the many features you’ll find when using our software to deliver your project. We offer task and resource management tools to balance your workload and real-time risk management, too. Keep track of potential risks that might keep your team from achieving the business requirements set by stakeholders.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you plan, schedule and track your project in real time. Use our tool to make sure you’re meeting all the business requirements in your BRD. Our collaborative platform makes it easy to connect with teams to help them work more productively and stakeholders to keep them up-to-date. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Related Posts

How to Measure Project Profitability

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

As projects are all about the bottom line, you can imagine the importance of project profitability in project management. Being able to determine beforehand whether a project will turn a profit is how organizations can decide which projects to initiate and which ones to skip.

But what exactly is profit profitability and how does it relate to professional services teams, consultants, CFOs and accountants? We’ll define the term and explore how to analyze and measure profit profitability to help you better allocate your resources.

What Is Project Profitability?

Project profitability measures how much money a project will make for the organization that initiates it, tracking the financial gain or loss of a project. Project profitability is part of project accounting and uses profit (the revenue left over after accounting for costs) and margin percentages to express the money made.

It works by comparing the revenue collected from the work done for a client (the actual revenue) and compares that to the cost to the organization for delivering those services such as salaries and other direct costs.

Unlike rate realization analysis, which compares actual earnings with earning potential, project profitability is only concerned with comparing actual evenings against the cost of generating that revenue.

Issues that can impact project profitability include scope creep and low employee utilization. Even the type of contract that’s used can affect the profit expectation. That’s why project management software is so important.

ProjectManager is an online tool that plans, schedules and tracks costs in real time with Gantt charts. Not only that, our Gantt charts can link dependencies to avoid scope creep and filter for the critical path so you know which tasks must be completed to successfully deliver your project. You can also set a baseline to track your actual costs against your planned costs to stay on track. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Gantt chart in projectmanagerGantt chart in projectmanager
ProjectManager has Gantt charts to track project profitability. Learn more

Profit Margins

A profit margin is used for the profitability ratio in project profitability and helps you determine which activities make money in your project. This is an essential part of project profitability as the profit margin tells you how much money you can keep out of every dollar that you earn. The larger your profit margin in a project, the more money that project will generate.

It’s easy to calculate the profit margin. It’s total project cost minus total expenses divided by total project cost multiplied by 100. Or, if you’ve already calculated the profit, you can simply divide the project profit by the total project cost and then multiply that by 100.

Project Profitability Analysis

Project profitability analysis is a project accounting technique that focuses on the health of an organization or project. It’s a way to deliver detailed data to better inform delivery management, employee management and organizational performance.

The importance of project profitability analysis is wide-ranging. The biggest advantage is that the more profitable an organization is, the more it can thrive. On a more operational level, project profitability analysis allows organizations to make better business decisions such as which projects or clients to take on based on data.

Another aspect of project profitability analysis that isn’t as obvious is that it helps align teams. When everyone knows the profit-driving projects or target clients, it puts all departments on the same track. From the project team to sales to marketing and other departments, they’ll all be working together.

How to Measure Project Profitability

You can see the importance of project profitability; if you’re not making a profit, you’re not in business. Therefore, the projects or clients you contract with have to be profitable and this is one of the metrics by which you’ll measure the project. How you calculate project profitability can vary, but all approaches should follow these best practices.

1. Evaluate More Than the Budget

It’s easy to get lost in the budget. After all, the cost is part of the triple constraint, which also includes scope and time. These are certainly critical metrics and will help you deliver the project on time. However, for project profitability, you have to have a bigger picture that focuses on the project’s profit and margin. We’ve discussed those terms above and they’re key to understanding the profit after delivering the project.

Related: Free Cost Benefit Analysis Template for Excel

2. Start Early

It might seem like a task to focus on project profitability after the project has been delivered. While it’s good to do this after you completed the project, it’s a mistake to only perform this function at the end of the project. Project profit analysis should be estimated and tracked throughout the life cycle of the project as it’ll help make the project more profitable. Ideally, you’ll look into this quarterly to help you meet your profit expectations.

3. Always Track

Tracking is essential for managing a project successfully. That means tracking the hours your team works on tasks, tracking time spent on tasks and understanding how those hours translate into costs. It’s also critical to track the planned costs against your actual costs to stay on track and better forecast profitability in the future.

There are more practical tools to measure project profitability, and we’ve outlined some below.

Project Profitability Index

A project profitability index (PI) is also called a cost-benefit ratio or profit investment ratio. It helps you determine the potential profitability of a project. The project profitability index is equal to the present value of future cash flows and initial project investments. That’s the money earned for every dollar invested.

If a project is worth taking on, it will have a project profitability index higher than one. If it’s lower than one, the project likely isn’t viable. This is a project that will cause you to make more of an investment than it will see in profit. You’ll probably pass on this type of project.

If the project profitability index is equal to one, the project will likely break even. Even though that’s not a loss, most companies want to make a profit. It’s unlikely that there would be a scenario where this would be a viable project for an organization to pursue. This is another project that should be passed.

When the project profitability index is greater than one, that project will likely deliver the profits an organization needs to survive and grow. The project profitability index is a great tool to help make these decisions about which projects to take on and which ones should be avoided.

Project Profitability Index Formula

Let’s get specific and outline the formula for a project profitability index. The first thing you need to do is identify the cash inflows and cash outflows for the project.

The next step is determining an appropriate discount rate. A discount rate is an interest used in discounted cash flow (a valuation method to estimate the value of an investment using its expected future cash flows) analysis to determine the current value of future cash flows.

Once you have the discount rate, use it to find the present value of all cash inflows and outflows. The project profitability index equals the present value of future cash flows divided by the initial investment.

ProjectManager & Project Profitability

One key aspect of project profitability is the ability to track the project across several metrics. ProjectManager is online project management software that gives you real-time data to keep better track of your project’s profitability. Once you set the baseline on your project plan in the Gantt chart, our software calculates project variance in real time.

Track Project Profitability With Real-Time Dashboards

Setting a baseline feeds live data throughout our software. For example, our real-time dashboard automatically collects live data and does the calculations for you. The results are then displayed in colorful graphs and charts. You get a high-level view of the project across six metrics, including the cost to help you track profitability. Best of all, unlike other software products that make you configure the dashboard, ours is ready to go and no setup is required.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time
See How Many Hours Your Team Spends on Tasks

Another metric you want to follow outside of overall costs is the hours your team spends on tasks. Our software allows you to capture your team’s hourly rate and then use secure timesheets to track how much time they’re spending on tasks. This translates into money that’s going to impact the profitability of your project. Timesheets, beyond streamlining payroll, give you transparency into the profitability of your workforce.

ProjectManager's timesheetProjectManager's timesheet

These are but a few of the features that help track project profitability. There are also customizable reports that can be filtered to show only what you want to see. They can then be shared with your project stakeholders to keep them updated.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you deliver profitable projects. You can plan, schedule and track all in the same tool, with the task, resource and risk management features to give you unprecedented control over your project. Join teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who are using our software to succeed. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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How to Make a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Requirements are the tasks that must be done in order to deliver a final project. That includes the features, functions and so forth. Tracing those features can ensure that none slip through the cracks, a process that’s best completed by using a requirements traceability matrix.

If you’ve never heard of a requirements traceability matrix and you’re managing a project, you’ll need a crash course. We’re going to explain what requirements traceability is, how to make a requirements traceability matrix and explore the different types to help you ensure all of your project requirements are fulfilled by the end of the project.

What Is Requirements Traceability?

As products become more complex, so do requirements. The requirements can move across departments in an organization as they go through the development process, and that doesn’t include involved stakeholders.

Requirements traceability is a way for the product team to keep track of these requirements and make sure they’re fulfilled. Not only that, but each decision made over the course of the project will impact the project’s requirements. Understanding that impact is crucial and requires transparency in the activities taking place.

Requirements traceability ensures that each critical project requirement and the delivery of a viable product has been fulfilled. Tracking these variables over the life cycle of a project can be difficult over the product development life cycle, and having documentation solidifies that you’re not missing any vital points.

Having the visibility of requirements traceability into requirements such as design, development, testing and support, minimizes negative outcomes and maximizes productivity. Other benefits include improving team efficiency, easier compliance with regulations and higher-quality products.

Project management software helps you track every step of your product development and make sure you’re fulfilling your requirements along the way. ProjectManager is online software with features that help you track requirements in real time. Kanban boards can be customized for requirements tracing, providing transparency into each step and automation to move to the next status. Task approvals can be set to ensure that quality expectations are met throughout the process. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's kanban boardProjectManager's kanban board
ProjectManager has kanban boards for requirements traceability. Learn more

What Is a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)?

A requirements traceability matrix is the document used to track the requirements as it moves through product development. It’s the documentation that confirms that all product requirements have been fulfilled. It lists the requirements, tests, test results and any issues that may have come up over the course of testing that needs to be addressed to bring the project to a successful close.

The requirements traceability matrix is a document that maps user requirements with test cases. The document captures all client requirements and traces those throughout the product development. This document is then delivered at the end of the software development life cycle. The main purpose is to ensure all requirements are accounted for and have been checked with test cases. No functionality should be left unchecked at the end of this process.

How to Create an RTM

Used in software testing and product development, a requirements traceability matrix is an important tool to make sure you fulfill every user requirement. No project should be without one, which is why we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to making your own requirements traceability matrix.

1. Define Goals

The goal of a requirements traceability matrix is to track the user requirements for the project, and it’s easiest to list them on a spreadsheet. But an RTM can be used for a variety of things. For example, you can make sure your requirements have been tested or are compliant. You can also determine which requirements are impacted if something changes. Regardless, the first step is to define the goal.

2. Collect Artifacts

Based on your goal, you’ll start to collect relevant artifacts that include at least the requirements, tests, test results and issues. After you’ve collected the artifacts, you’ll want to get the most current requirements documents. Each requirement should have a unique ID number that doesn’t change, even if the requirement is reordered. Test cases also need to be defined and given a status. For example, they might be started, done or blocked. If the test fails, then whatever issues led to that failure should be detailed.

3. Create Requirements Traceability Matrix

Now you’re ready to build the RTM. Use a spreadsheet and make four columns. Each column will be for an artifact. The first column outlines the requirements lists, the next has the tests and following that are the test results. You’ll also have a column for issues. This is the bare minimum and you can add more as needed for your project. For instance, a column that numbers each of the requirements would be useful.

4. Copy and Paste

You’ve done the work and now you have to add it to the requirements traceability matrix. Simply add the requirements, test cases, test results (if you have them at this point) and issues to the spreadsheet.

5. Revive the RTM

The requirements traceability matrix is a living document that’ll you’ll often reference for updates. As requirements change, so does the RTM. Some requirements might drop from the project or another test case may be added; all of these changes need to be reflected in the requirements traceability matrix. The requirements ID number, however, should stay the same even if the requirement is reordered or reused.

Free Requirements Traceability Matrix Template for Excel

Because you’ll be using the requirements traceability matrix throughout the project, it’s helpful to download our free RTM template for Excel. Once you’ve downloaded the free requirements traceability template for Excel, all you have to do is fill in the blanks to create a document of your requirements, tests and issues.

Types of Requirements Traceability Matrices

Now that we know what a requirements traceability matrix is and how to create one, let’s look deeper into the topic. There are three different types of requirements traceability matrix: forward traceability, backward traceability and bidirectional traceability. Let’s take a moment to define each.

Forward Traceability

The forward traceability matrix is used to see the requirements of the test cases. This allows for each of the requirements to have a test and also allows one to know that the project’s trajectory is positive.

Backward Traceability

Backward traceability maps the test cases with the requirements. This is done to avoid scope creep and going beyond the initial requirements without cause to do so.

Bidirectional Traceability

As you might guess, a bidirectional traceability matrix is one that combines the forward and the backward traceability in one document. This ensures that every requirement has a related test case.

It’s clear how important a requirements traceability matrix is for project management. If you miss a requirement, you might not deliver what users want. Having a list of those requirements and being able to map them in whatever direction is best for your project ensures that all have been included. But you can also see that they involve a lot of work and manual labor to create, fill in and update.

ProjectManager Helps Track Requirements

ProjectManager is online project management software that allows you to track requirements in real time. Plan, schedule and track requirements all in the same tool. As teams implement and test requirements, everyone gets transparency into the process to ensure that nothing is neglected.

Get Overview With Real-Time Dashboard

Whenever you need a high-level view of the requirements and testing, you can look at our real-time dashboard. It automatically collects live data and crunches the numbers to show you six metrics in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Monitor your team’s workload, tasks and time while also checking on costs and more. Best of all, there’s no setup required.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time
Dive Deeper Into Data With Customizable Reports

When you need more detail than the dashboard can deliver use our one-click reports. You can generate reports on status or portfolio status if you’re managing more than one project. But there are also reports on time, cost, variance and more. All can be filtered to report on only the data you want to see to help you make more insightful decisions. They can easily be shared to keep stakeholders updated.

ProjectManager's status report filterProjectManager's status report filter

Our software helps you plan, schedule and track work in real time. Stay on top of changes with notifications and even comment and share files across departments. Everyone is always working on the same page which helps productivity. Add to that features for task and resource management and you have an all-around project management software.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you work more productively and track that work to stay on schedule. Connect teams, departments and even outside vendors to facilitate communication and keep everyone working better together. Join teams at NASA, Siemens and Nestle who use our tool to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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Can’t-Miss Product Update: Risk Management, Recurring Tasks & More Features to Manage Risks at Scale

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

ProjectManager is excited to roll out another product release designed to bring more value to our customers and help them overcome roadblocks across various industries. Among this release’s hundreds of product updates, we wanted to highlight two that our business edition subscribers and above can access: risk management and recurring tasks.

Manage Risks to Avoid Unexpected Project Impacts

Without the ability to identify and monitor project risks, customers can’t prepare for the unexpected. Our risk management feature allows you to track project risks in one central hub and assess the potential impact. Risks are designed to help customers identify and address risks to the project scope, costs and delivery.

risk management in ProjectManagerrisk management in ProjectManager
Use risk management to identify and respond to project risks in one place. Learn more

Users can move risks between projects to stay organized and use files, reactions and mentions to collaborate on risks with team members. If action is needed, managers can choose a suitable response and assign it to a team member to take action.

Risk View Customizations & Other Capabilities

This is a powerful and intuitive new task type, and risks are available in your customizable sub-navigation menu. We’ve designed risks to have their own card rich with functionality, allowing for collaboration and detailed information. Customize your risk view by choosing which fields to prioritize and display.

Show or hide the columns to easily find the information you need to keep your project on track. Example columns include impact, likelihood, level, response, priority, assigned to, tags and more. Customers can take advantage of the column sort feature to sort by ascending or descending order or to clear the sort.

The three-dot risk menu on the top of the card allows customers to share the risk directly via URL, move it to another project or delete it altogether. On the risk list view, you can also directly change the risk priority, impact, likelihood and response. Risks are also fully integrated with our global search functionality, making them easy to find anywhere in the software.

Set Recurring Tasks to Save Valuable Time

Project teams must juggle multiple projects and tasks at once to deliver success. The last thing project managers need is to spend critical time creating the same tasks across similar or repeated projects. Now, instead of creating each task or a series of tasks individually, ProjectManager users can use the recurring task feature to create and manage multiple tasks simultaneously.

Recurring tasks in ProjectManagerRecurring tasks in ProjectManager

These tasks can repeat daily, weekly, monthly or annually, and users can control the specific days of the week or how many times per month the event repeats. To better align with your team’s schedule, recurring task dates automatically reflect your established work days and holidays.

It’s easy to create a new recurring task or turn a regular task into a recurring task by updating the task card settings. Simply choose when you want the series of tasks to end.

Other Updates From This Release

Our team has been working hard on hundreds of other minor improvements! Here are only a few of the highlights that you can explore with this release:

  • Workload management: Any unassigned work is now displayed so you can easily allocate it to the right team member. You can also filter workload by tags and the reassignment popup is easier to use.
  • Global search: Improved accuracy for certain terms and numbers in addition to a new keyboard shortcut. Simply press S on any page to access global search. 
  • Guest licenses: Onboarding guests and communicating with them about what they can and cannot do has improved.
  • Task card: The actual effort panel shows the currently assigned users first.
  • Overall performance: We’ve migrated the majority of our customers to our new AWS infrastructure for increased reliability and performance.

Questions? Our Support Team Is Here to Help

As you explore the new features and functionality of ProjectManager, know that our team is here to answer your questions and provide hands-on guidance. Feel free to email us at [email protected] with any questions that you have about this release.

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10 Essential Excel Report Templates

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Planning a project only gets you so far. You also have to monitor your progress and performance to track if you’re on schedule and within budget. Then there are your stakeholders whose expectations must be managed. That’s where Excel report templates come in.

Project reports are tools that project managers use to extract valuable project data. Excel report templates are a great tool to determine how you’re doing and keep your stakeholders updated.

Using Excel Report Templates for Project Management

The great thing about Excel report templates is that they’re free to download. Below are 10 essential Excel report templates that you can use now to get valuable data on your project. These Excel report templates cover everything from status reports to risk registers for a clear view of how your project is doing.

Microsoft Excel is a great tool as these Excel report templates show, but they only go so far. Excel report templates must be imputed manually and are labor-intensive. They also don’t reflect real-time data so they’re always slightly behind. Project management software is the next step to gaining greater efficiency in managing your project, but if you’re not ready for that, Excel report templates will help.

Excel Report Templates for Project Management

Below are Excel report templates for project management, but they’re only a small sampling of the free project management templates we have to download on our template page. There are dozens of Word and Excel templates to help you through every stage of your project’s lifecycle.

We’ve culled through that pack of templates to highlight our free Excel report templates. Download one or all of them now and use them to extract the information you need to deliver a successful project. When you’re ready to take your project templates one step further, read to the end and see how project management software leaves Excel project templates in the dust.

1. Project Dashboard Template

Just as the dashboard on your car helps you track speed, mileage, gas consumption and more, our free project dashboard template is a window into the progress and performance of your project. It’s made up of a variety of graphs, such as a pie graph that shows how your team is progressing on their tasks to bar charts on workload, task lengths and project costs.

Project Dashboard Template by ProjectManagerProject Dashboard Template by ProjectManager

The free project dashboard template is a high-level view of your project. It gives project managers a glimpse into what’s going on in the project so they can make better decisions. This Excel report template makes for a great communicative tool. Numbers can end up floating around on the page if math isn’t your strong suit, but the visual elements of the free project dashboard template create a quick and easily digestible way to deliver project data to stakeholders.

ProjectManager software delivers more than any template. ProjectManager is online software that isn’t static like a template but instead connects to your project plan, schedule, resources and more. Our real-time dashboard receives live data as teams update their status so you’re always seeing current and accurate project information. There’s no data to input and it’s all done automatically. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's dashboard viewProjectManager's dashboard view
ProjectManager’s dashboard gives you an overview of your project in real time. Learn more

2. Project Status Report Template

Being able to get a snapshot of your project that shows its current state is critical for proper management. Our free project status report template lets you see the health of your project and how it’s progressing against your project plan. It can be used to communicate with stakeholders who prefer a more general synopsis of how the project is doing.

ProjectManager's status report templateProjectManager's status report template

This Excel report template is still a wealth of important information, from a summary to project health to risks and recommendations. That includes key accomplishments, what work is completed, what’s still ahead, milestones that have been reached and deliverables. There’s also a place for action items, overviews of the budget, schedule, quality and scope, and even roadblocks that need to be addressed.

3. Progress Report Template

Knowing the progress of your project is one of the best ways to make sure you’re meeting scheduled milestones. Our free progress report template is a way to record the movement of your project over a specific period of time. That timeframe can be a week, a month or whatever is appropriate for your project Our free Excel report template captures the data.

ProjectManager's progress reportProjectManager's progress report

The Excel report template provides a summary of the project status, scope, schedule, cost and risk and then goes into more detail about all the tasks executed over the timeframe. It also looks at any issues that came up over this time period and how they impacted the budget. It then notes any existing or expected accomplishments.

4. Lessons Learned Template

After you’ve delivered a project, it’s important to learn from it. What worked? What didn’t work? You can then take that knowledge and apply it to future projects to manage them better. One of the most important Excel report templates you can use is this free lessons learned template.

ProjectManager's lessons learned templateProjectManager's lessons learned template

The lessons learned template creates a space in which you can capture all the information you need from what is a win or a loss, describing what happened, the impact, how to change things to improve and then a list of action items to implement those changes. Use this Excel report template when doing a post-mortem with the project team. Get their feedback as they were on the front lines of the project and can offer a unique perspective.

5. Cost Benefit Analysis Template

This Excel report template is a bit different. You use a cost-benefit analysis template to see if the project is viable and worth funding. There are always questions to answer before initiating a project, such as whether will meet a need, provide a service and whether you can deliver on deadline and for a reasonable cost.

ProjectManager's cost benefits analysis templateProjectManager's cost benefits analysis template

The cost-benefit analysis is a way to answer those questions before investing and risking the financial solvency of the organization. It lets you examine the numbers and make a knowledgeable decision about whether to go through with the project or not. This might be one of the most important Excel report templates you’ll use and it should always be part of your research.

6. Gap Analysis Template

Whether you’re managing a project or an organization, you’re always on the lookout for ways to innovate and be more efficient and effective in meeting your long-term goals. A gap analysis template is a tool that helps conduct a strategic analysis of when you are, where you want to be and, most importantly, how to get there.

ProjectManager's gap analysis templateProjectManager's gap analysis template

Using this Excel report template is the first step to making an action plan that can help you close the gap you’ve found in your analysis. It helps you see the path to achieving those strategic long-term goals that help you grow and stay competitive. Like many Excel report templates, it also acts as a communication tool for stakeholders and employees, providing a lodestar to follow.

7. Project Task Tracking Template

Keeping a project on schedule is one of the main responsibilities of a project manager. One way to accomplish this goal is with our free project task tracking template. It’s a tool that allows you to create a task list and use that to make sure each task in your project is on track to make its deadline. If not, you can reallocate resources to get it back on schedule.

ProjectManager's task tracking templateProjectManager's task tracking template

The Excel report template is set up to capture the task and a brief description. It outlines if it’s a dependent task and who it’s assigned to. There are also pulldown menus to note the priority, start date, planned end date and actual end date for each task. There’s a status column to note if the tasks are opened or closed and a space to add other details not collected already.

8. Timesheet Template

Another Excel report template is our free timesheet template. It’s a tool that not only helps with payroll but allows project managers to track the time each team member is spending on their tasks. You can track cost per hour, vacation and overtime to help stay on schedule.

ProjectManager's timesheet templateProjectManager's timesheet template

This free Excel report template captures the personal data of each team member, including the department in which they work, their supervisor and their hourly rate. Their weekly hours are then collected and totaled to show you how much time they put in and what tasks they’ve completed or are still working on. Finally, there’s a signature line for the employee and supervisor.

9. Risk Register Template

All projects have risks associated with them. We think of risks as bad, but some risks are good in that they open up an unforeseen opportunity. Our free risk register template helps you plan for risks, set priorities and outline who on the team is responsible for following through.

ProjectManager's risk register templateProjectManager's risk register template

This free Excel report template is important in helping you identify and respond quickly to any issues that show up in the project. You can’t know every risk that might show up, but with the help of your team’s experience, you can outline a majority of the likely risks and have a plan in place to effectively mitigate risks or take advantage of them.

10. Change Log Template

Having a change log template is key to any change management process. Project plans are important but they’re not etched in stone. When changes occur in your project, whether external or internal, you need to have this free Excel report template to capture that change and track it throughout the project or until it’s resolved.

ProjectManager's change log templateProjectManager's change log template

The free change log template has a place for everything you need to identify and track changes in your project, such as when it was first discovered and who discovered it. The more data around the change, the more you can control it and make sure it doesn’t derail your project.

How ProjectManager Makes Reporting More Robust

These Excel report templates are a good start, but if you want to cross that project finish line on time and without accruing extra costs, then you need project management software. ProjectManager is online project management software that automates reporting and delivers real-time data for more accuracy and better decision-making.

Use Real-Time Dashboards

The dashboard template only gives you a taste of what a dashboard can do. Our real-time dashboard automatically captures live data. You don’t have to manually input it. It also does the calculations for you and then displays the results in easy-to-read graphs and charts. This high-level view is constantly updating so it’s like a high-level status report that’s always at your fingertips. While other project management tools have dashboards, often you have to set them up. That wastes time. Our dashboard is ready to go when you are.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time
Get Customizable Reports

All of the Excel report templates we’ve featured for free download are static documents. Our reports can be generated quickly and each can be filtered to show only the data you want to see or share with stakeholders. There are reports on portfolio status, project status, project plan, task, timesheets, availability, workload and various others to help you see in real time how the project is progressing and performing. Excel report templates don’t take the complex data from your project and turn it into helpful and digestible information, but our software does.

ProjectManager's status report filterProjectManager's status report filter

The dashboard and reports are all collecting data from the many features that make our software unique in the project management space. We have robust Gantt charts that schedule tasks, resources and costs. Our kanban boards help to visualize your workflow while the sheet, list and calendar views are all designed to help you work how you want. Our collaborative platform connects everyone on your team, different departments and even outside enterprises so your reports can be shared with those who need to see them.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that creates efficiencies by connecting everyone in real time. With features to plan, monitor and report on projects, and manage resources and risks, we have the one tool for all your project management needs. Join teams from NASA, Siemens and Nestle, among other organizations, delivering success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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