Stylised picture of a maze with a GANTT-style plan overlaid showing the path through the maze
Stylised picture of a maze with a GANTT-style plan overlaid showing the path through the maze

How to produce a crystal-clear plan-on-a-page – with free templates

Gantt charts have stood the test of time for a reason – they are simple to read. Their left-to-right, top-to-bottom cascading tasks use a clear visual language that is easy to interpret. 

Functionally, Gantt chart plans fall into two broad categories:

For managing – usually a detailed, multi-level chart that expands to granular detail so that the project manager can monitor that everything is on track.
For information – usually a simplified view at the first or second level of detail for keeping stakeholders and leadership informed of progress. Otherwise known as the ‘plan-on-a-page’. It’s this type of plan we are looking at here.

All programmes and projects need a plan-on-a-page at some point. They may be labour intensive to create but they are essential. A good Steering Group update will contain a plan that shows where the programme is, compared to where it should be. 

There is a range of excellent software for managing projects. But the summary information views are often not what you need to show stakeholders. There’s no escaping the fact that you’ll need to draw a plan-on-a-page in PowerPoint eventually.

At SHARPN, we’ve drawn a lot of plans over the years. So we’ve developed a simple three-step approach to a clear, informative Gantt. Below you’ll find a PowerPoint template with our technique. Plus (because creating the timeline grids can be the most time-consuming bit) we’ve included six ready-to-go timeline slides complete with the shapes you need to build a coherent, illuminating plan. 

Plan-on-a-page technique and Templates

These editable PowerPoint slides are free for you to use, adjust and adapt as you see fit.

If you have a complex programme that needs a clear plan-on-a-page, we can help you. Or if you want your teams to learn how to create better plans and other business documents, we can train them.

Do you want to learn how to improve the quality of your documents so that they reflect the quality of your thinking? Talk to us to discuss how we can help.
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June 22, 2020


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