After a broken project template ruined my weekend, I had enough

In 2012 I took over my first big IT project.

A $1,5 million system implementation at one of the largest industrial firms. We’d replace the existing ERP system of the client with our new solution. It was a business critical system and hundreds of people were using it every day.

“I can’t afford to mess this up”, I told myself.

I was nervous about getting started.

But I was also excited.

This was my first real project manager role: I wasn’t going to be involved in the actual doing and could delegate everything to my team.

“The client is expecting to meet you next week. They want to get started with the project”, my manager told me

Wow!

This meant I’d have to show something — an action plan that made sense, a cost estimate I could present with confidence, an overview of who was going to do what.

But I was just 2 weeks in my new position and I didn’t know where to start.

Also, I didn’t have any good templates I could use.

Nor did I know what documents I actually had to prepare.

So I googled for templates on the web.

But the stuff I found just sucked.

The worst experience I had was with a budgeting spreadsheet I had found somewhere.

The template had a 20-row limit

After having spent hours plugging in my numbers into the sheet, I realized the sheet had a limit for 20 rows. That meant I couldn’t enter the planned effort for all of my team members, which were 35 people.

To make matters worse, the file had a password on and I couldn’t unlock it to make it fit my needs.

While I was fumbling with the sheet on that fateful Sunday, my family was enjoying tarts and coffee on the balcony.

“Adrian, would you like another piece?” my mother-in-law asked.

“Thank you, but I have to finish this work today” I replied with an absent mind.

Bad experience I had with project templates
Me, when I realized the budgeting template I had used so far didn’t support more than 20 entries and was password-protected

I never managed to unlock the template.

And the Excel sheet ruined my entire weekend.

And I still had no solution for costing my project.

So I told myself:

“An Excel template is never going to ruin my weekend again”

As I couldn’t find the kind of templates I felt comfortable using, I decided to create them myself.

Even if it would take me a couple of days.

So I set down and built my own templates from scratch.

I started by asking myself basic questions:

  • How can I draw a schedule everybody will understand?
  • How can I make sure I don’t forget any important details?
  • How can I always keep a good overview, even if the project gets messy?
  • How can I plan and track project expenses, even if I hate working with numbers?

Those kinds of questions.

I also made sure the templates looked nice.

Because at the end of the day, the templates would be shown to my managers.

And if they looked messy, that’s probably what they’d think of me too.

Once I had created the templates, there came the next step.

I tested the templates

I began sharing the project templates with colleagues and friends. I also put them up for download on Tactical Project Manager.

I asked everybody who downloaded the templates if they liked them or not.

The feedback was very positive.

I got dozens of emails from folks thanking me for sharing the documents:

Customer feedback on our project management templates

If people had good suggestions, I implemented them right away.

Today, the templates are used all around the globe in top companies.

And today I am offering you the templates for download.

I’ve used them for almost a decade now, and they have been my “survival kit” in dozens of tough projects.

All my projects were a success. The templates played a huge role in that. Because without them, I would have struggled to keep a good overview.

About me

Hi, I’m Adrian Neumeyer, founder and CEO of Tactical Project Manager. I’ve been working as an IT project manager for the past ten years. Today my focus is to help the people who manage projects — people like you! — with practical tips and useful tools.

The Project Template Pack

The templates you need to manage ANY project

The Template Pack includes the following templates:

To-do list

  • Track action items and issues
  • Add comments so you still remember what’s been happening when you return from vacation
  • Put on a shared drive and share with your team
  • Never let anything fall through the cracks!

Project schedule

  • A clean Gantt chart view with project phases and tasks
    See who’s responsible (client, your team, other groups)
  • Add bank holidays and parallel projects to have a full overview
  • Share with people who don’t have MS Project on their computer
  • A great-looking schedule is a very persuasive tool. It speaks for your professionalism and commitment to transparency.

Project budgeting sheet

  • Plan and size your project
  • Tracking of actual cost
  • Monthly data entry
  • 2 full years covered
  • Cost types: Labor, material, travel, OpEx (separate sheets per cost type)
  • Define standard rates for easier calculation
  • Monthly cost tracking no longer a burden

Risk register

  • Standard form for documenting and tracking project risks
  • Executive-friendly format
  • Assign likelihood and impact value to calculate impact factor
  • Define mitigating actions and assign a risk owner
  • Keep project risks in focus and you’ll have little to worry about

Project Charter

  • Must-have document to ensure expectations between client and contractor are aligned
  • Includes all imporant chapters: scope, project organization, risks, budget, assumptions, roles and responsibilities and more
  • I added comments and practical tips
  • Once filled out, have it signed by the client and you’re set to go!

RAID template

  • An alternative way for tracking risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies in a single sheet
  • Track the status of entries
  • Assign a criticality level
  • Assign owners per item and define appropriate actions

RACI matrix

  • Unclear responsibilities are a guarantee for failure; Take 15 minutes to fix responsibilities using my RACI sheet
  • Define who’s responsible (R), who is accountable (A), who needs to be consulted (C) and how needs to be informed (I)
  • Share the result within your team
  • No more ‘I thought you’d take care of that’ surprises!

Project kickoff slide deck

  • Complete slide deck for your kickoff meeting
    Includes all must-have sections to go through
  • Includes project goal, project organization, roles and responsibilities and more
  • Fully documented sample project
  • Reusable 14-page Powerpoint that saves you days of work
  • Everybody will be on the same page and you can get to work straight away!

Stakeholder matrix

  • In PM jargon they are called stakeholders, but let’s not forget that you’re dealing with humans — the people who are affected by your project
  • Stakeholders have immense power in a project. It’s often “our way or no way”
  • How to make stakeholders your allies? Understand their hopes and fears and work out
  • The stakeholder matrix is where you gather all these insights
  • Getting your stakeholders on board early and having a smart engagement plan will make all the difference.

Change request tracker

  • In every project, you’ll get additional requests from the client while the project is already in progress
  • Use this tracker to track scope changes which are not part of the initial scope
  • Have 100% transparency over what’s inthe original scope vs. what requirements were extra

Project communication plan

  • Good communication = project success
  • Create a communication plan to define how you stay in touch with the team, the client and important stakeholders — in meetings, email updates, Zoom calls
  • Most project failures don’t occur because of technical issues, but because of poor communication.
  • By fostering a culture of communication you can GREATLY increase your chances of success

What people are saying about the templates

“I planned out the budget for a very large project in about an hour, normally this would have taken me all day.” — Jessica B., Project Manager Finance

“I’ve been using your templates for a while now — they have been absolute lifesavers!” — Richard S., IT Project Manager

“Your project plan template is fantastic!“ — Sandra L., Director Human Resources

NO RISK FOR YOU - MY 30 DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE

My goal is to provide you with the best tools to help you succeed in your job. If you feel the templates are not what you were looking for, I’m are happy to refund you the money within 30 days after the purchase. Just contact me.

Get the Project Template Pack

$57.00
  • For projects and programs (any industry)
  • Complete set of project templates
  • File formats: Excel, Word, Powerpoint
  • Tested in numerous projects $50k – 2m in size
  • Easy to understand — get started right away
  • 30-day money back guarantee

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In case of problems, email me at adrian@tacticalprojectmanager.com