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Free Project Outline Template and Guide

A project outline is a project plan made simple. No matter whether your project is routine and straightforward or long and complex, it's made up of tons of different details, logistics, ideas, and documents. Project outlines concisely bring together all that information, allowing them to be easily digested and referred to at a glance.

What Is A Project Outline?

Project outlines are important project management tools. They can also be used as both external and internal documents. Externally, they act as project proposals, which come in handy when presenting a new project to stakeholders and other external parties in the project planning process. Internally, project outlines act as project management plans that help project managers and team members get organized, stay on track, and get things done.

Regardless of how you use your project outline, they're absolutely integral to a project's success. The contents of the project outlines are flexible, but they often include the following elements:

  • Basic information like project name, current date, project manager, team members, and key project stakeholders.
  • An executive summary. This provides a short-and-sweet overview of your project.
Pro Tip: Take short-and-sweet literally. Readers should be able to get through and comprehend your summary in 5 minutes.
  • Project background. Explain the context behind your project. Outline why your team is working on this project and what angle they'll be approaching it from.
  • Statement of work. Outline your project scope and all the elements that'll make up your project.
  • Project objectives, constraints, assumptions, dependencies and potential risks.
  • Key deliverables
  • A basic project timeline that includes general timeframes. This section also normally includes a rough list of tasks and milestones and assigns them rough dates.
  • An initial project budget and key financial information.

What Can A Project Outline Do For Me?

Thinking about assembling a project outline for your next project? That's music to our ears. Putting together a project outline is absolutely worth the time investment because it:

Facilitates clear communication

One of the common pitfalls of projects, especially complex projects, is a communication breakdown. When wires get crossed, it can cause all kinds of problems. Project outlines act as roadmaps and make sure that all key project players are well-informed and on the same page about the project fundamentals.

Keeps the project on track

Putting together a project outline forces project teams to do a certain amount of project planning at the beginning of the project's lifecycle. This ensures that everyone is held accountable to the initial rough schedule & outline later on. It also makes it easier to track project progress and make necessary adjustments down the road.

Saves time & money

Who doesn't love to hear that? Put simply, project outlines make sure that work gets done as quickly and efficiently as possible, which saves on resources from your project's beginning to its conclusion.

Slite's Free Project Outline Template

If you're looking for an easy, time-effective way to get started developing your project outline, Slite's here for you.

Forget about sending Excel sheets and Google Docs back and forth, Slite's free project outline template keeps everything in one central place to be accessed by the whole team at any time.

When it comes to project management software, Slite's all you need. We have a wide range of free project management templates that are all free, elegantly designed, and 100% customizable. We love helping your team collaborate seamlessly and get things done!

How Can I Get Started With A Project Outline Template?

Have we convinced you to put together a killer project outline for your upcoming project? Here's what you need to do to get started:

Determine Your Project Outline Purpose

First, determine how you'll be using your project outline. Will it be circulated internally, or will you be presenting it as a Powerpoint (PPT) to external stakeholders? This information is key in helping you figure out the contents you want to include in your project outline, as well as the writing style you'll be using.

Brainstorm With Your Team

Next, assemble all the most important members of your project team. Brainstorm all the different elements that'll make up your project outline and ensure that you really know your project inside out. Make sure someone (or a few people) keeps detailed notes. This step will help the actual formation of your project outline much easier when you get there.

Nail Down Your Project Scope

Regardless of whether your project outline will be used internally or externally, one of its most important elements is your project scope. Project scope establishes exactly what things are within the parameters of your project, and what aren't. Make sure that this is well-defined at the beginning of your project planning process.

There you have it. You'll have an excellent project outline ready to go in no time, especially if you're using our free template. Get ready to discover just how useful this comprehensive, concise project management document can be!