Developing the right project management tools to manage project performance is the first step to project structure and success. Unfortunately most companies do not start out with sophisticated and expensive project management software but rather start with a collection of home grown templates usually in MS Excel and Word format. Where do you start?

Look at what elements are required to manage your project. If you use the PMBOK based process groups, you can select a few key tools to setup a basic structure for your project. By starting with the development of several key tools, you can start a basic framework that is applicable to most projects. By covering the five process groups you setup a structure that supports the project throughout its whole lifecycle. At some point you may find that you may need to add to the list of required tools depending on the type of projects, complexity and risk. This initial list according to process group will get you started.


Project Charter. This document is used to authorize the start of your project. Contains basic initial details such as Project Name, High Level Scope, Anticipated Budget Estimate, Sponsor, Project Manager and Steering Committee.


Project Plan. A governance document that details a number of the PMBOK Knowledge areas such as Scope Management, Cost Management, Communications, Risk Management, Time Management, Quality Management, Human Resource Management, Integration Management, Procurement Management.

Project Schedule. The detailed work breakdown that identifies tasks, resource requirements, task duration and dependencies. Many people use a tool such as MS project to develop a Project Schedule with Gantt Chart.

Risk Assessment. A measurement tool to identify the associated risks on the project.

Executing & Monitoring

Actions/Issues Log. A quick start tool to identify project issues and actions not typically covered by the project schedule. Typically includes item description, target completion, status, priority and associated notes.

Risk Register. This lists the identified risks against the probability of occurrence of the risk event vs. the associated impact if realized. A good register also includes a measurement mechanism to identify the severity level and which ones the project will address, monitor or dismiss.


Close-Out Document. A capture of the lessons learned process that also includes project finalization details, performance vs. expectations and archives of related materials.

Setting up these seven tools will give you a basic project tool kit to manage your projects. And even using templates in Word, Excel and PowerPoint will initially provide you with a simple but useful structure. I have found that in organizations just embarking on project management methodology, stakeholders more readily adapt to using such familiar tools. As you grow your resources, try adding additional templates that can be used to support your organization’s typical project needs.

Click Here To Get a Complete Set of 9,000 Plus Project Management and Business Templates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *