Project Board Examples and Templates
If you’re managing a team, a project board can be one of the most useful tools at your disposal. With the right type of project board, you can easily see what’s going on with your team and projects. Even for individuals, a project board can be extremely useful to represent the different goals you’re working towards and help you keep focused on moving each of these forward.
Manual vs Digital Project Boards
The first decision to make is the format for your project board. This depends mostly on who needs to see the project board and where they’re located.
If it’s just for your own purposes, a page in your notebook will probably work fine. If your team is working in the same office space, a whiteboard can work very well. This can be created using a mixture of sticker strips for creating the structure, and either erasable markers or post-it notes so that tasks can be moved as they are updated.
But if you work with a distributed team – or even if people like to work from home or they work in the same office but not physically close to each other – a digital solution is generally necessary. The beauty of digital project boards is that they are much easier to update. Sometimes, the more difficult part is getting everyone to give them the same attention that the might to a big board taking up space in their office! This challenge is usually fairly easily overcome by a manager who constantly refers to the project board, uses it as a reference in meetings, and ensures that everyone is regularly updating the project board. Regular emails can also help – where a snapshot of the project status is taken and emailed to all project members.
Whichever format you use, your project board must be something easily accessible to all team members and easy to update.
Types of Project Boards
There are several different ways to create a project board – depending on which elements are most important for your particular situation. Basically, these are different ways of slicing and dicing the key information for your projects. The main dimensions or elements to keep track of are; project name, status, timing, assigned team members and perhaps some custom labels.
Here, we’ve created descriptions and examples for the most popular types of project boards…
High-level Project Boards
This type of project board is useful for big-picture planning. It helps scope out the timings of your various projects and is a great way to represent the different focus areas you or your team will need for each time period.
Standard high-level project boards can be used to map out the high-level activities of a department or even an entire business.
Marketing Project Board Example
This type of project board will generally have dates across the top (eg months, quarters, or weeks). The space within the board is used to plan when certain types of activities are scheduled. They are generally quite high-level in nature.
Product Road Maps
Product road maps are really a type of high-level project board (although they’re created for a different purpose). Here the emphasis is usually (although not always) on when the work will be delivered rather than the effort involved with delivering the work.
Product Road Map Example
Stream or Lap Lane Project Boards
If there are several different areas that you need to keep moving forward but want to see how they relate to each other, a stream or lap lane project board can be a good choice. These are similar to the basic high-level project boards as they have timing across the top, but they also clearly show the different types of activities in separate “lanes”.
Lap Lane Project Board Example (with business departments)
Agile Project Boards
Agile project boards break things up according to their status and timing. This is generally; “To do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”, but it can also be “To Do”, “Doing”, “Done” – perhaps with a “In Review” category and also with a “Backlog” category.
Traditional Agile Project Board Example
Variation Agile Project Board Example
Gantt Project Boards
Gantt charts are a more traditional form of project board. They are based on the waterfall model where one task often triggers another. They can be good for projects that have a lot of dependencies, and can give some reassurance of the expected timings of deliverables. However, these days most projects have more work happening simultaneously. Also, remember that the timings are only as good as the estimates entered for each piece of work. If requirements are very well understood and don’t change, then a Gantt Project Board can be a great way to define the deadlines for various milestones within the project.
Gantt Project Board Example
Process Status Project Boards
If you have a defined and repeatable process for your projects, a status-oriented project board is a great tool. This gives you a snapshot view across multiple projects. Here, you use the various status options across the top, and list your projects down the side. Then you can mark which stage they’re each up to. Status project boards are great clients too.
Example Status Project Board
Using this kind of project board, you can also add extra columns for more information. For example, you might want to keep track of the due date, team leader, costs, etc.
Team Workload Project Boards
If you’re managing a team, often the most useful type of board is one where you can get a clear view of what each team member is working on. Every team member should have clear goals and KPIs and their actions should align with those.
Example Team Project Board
A simple view like this allows team members to have a better appreciation for each other’s work. It also allows team managers to intervene if it seems that a team member is not working on the highest priority actions, or to offer support if they can help with something a team member is working on. When everyone knows what everyone else is working on, it creates a lot more trust and respect within the team.
Project Board for My Projects
Even if you’re working by yourself, having a project board helps keep you focussed on your big-picture objectives. It ensures that you keep taking action for each of your highest priorities.
As you can see, there are many different types of project boards, but they are extremely simple, but powerful tools for getting things done.
When designing the Actioned App, we looked at the most useful types of project boards and came up with a way to get most of this functionality into a simple interface. The Actioned App is not designed to be a comprehensive project management tool, but it does allow you to view your team’s tasks by the status, timing, team member and project. This provides great flexibility and a very easy way to manage projects and teams.