Project Overview Template
He who owns the information owns the world. In project management, who owns the information leads successful projects, establishes a healthy work environment inside a team, and delivers products on time.
The project overview is a tool to monitor how your project is going, its key metrics, milestones, challenges it faces, etc. It is a starting point for effective decision-making for a manager.
A project overview template is a shortcut to easy and successful tracking projects, especially if there are a couple of them being developed simultaneously. Being a pre-designed framework, the template allows managers, team members, and stakeholders to keep track of up-to-date data about projects current status.
The xTiles Project Overview Template is a ready-to-use template for a wide variety of cases and projects with various customization options, the ability to share with anyone on the internet, and quick access from mobile devices while on the run.
Additionally, we offer you a project overview example and a brief yet comprehensive guide on how to create your own statement.
What is a project overview?
A project overview statement serves as a concise and informative document that outlines the key elements of a project. It includes a brief but comprehensive description of the project, its purpose, objectives, and anticipated outcomes.
That document's main purpose is to ensure that everyone involved has a shared understanding of the project's fundamentals before detailed planning can be started and nothing gets missed.
Similar to a Project Charter or Project Brief, the project overview statement plays a crucial role in garnering support and paving the way for the project's progression into the execution phase.
Produced during the initiation stage, it serves as a high-level summary of the project's scope and aims to align all involved parties. It helps teams and managers easily encompass and showcase the following key elements of a project:
Project purpose: Clearly articulates the underlying reason and motivation for undertaking the project.
- Project purpose
It clearly articulates the underlying reason and motivation for undertaking the project.
- Business need
It identifies the specific business problem or opportunity that the project aims to address or leverage.
It clearly defines goals and desired outcomes that the project seeks to achieve within a specified timeframe.
- Budget and resources required
Outlines the estimated financial resources required for the successful implementation of the project. Also, identifies the necessary personnel, equipment, materials, or other resources essential for project success.
- Risks and issues
It highlights potential risks, challenges, and known issues that the team might face while implementing the project.
- Expected results
It provides an overview of the anticipated deliverables, outcomes, or benefits that will be realized upon successful project completion.
It is advisable to keep the project management overview limited to a single page or a couple of slides. This brevity encourages clarity and precision, allowing the document to convey essential information concisely. By adhering to this page restriction, the overview statement remains an accessible and easily digestible reference for stakeholders.
Project overview benefits
Many people wonder why a project overview is essential when it's easier and faster to communicate the needed information verbally. However, documenting projects from the initial idea to their completion is important for people involved, managers who establish workflow, and stakeholders who need to see what is going on.
Apart from regulatory compliance, a project overview offers numerous benefits to all parties involved:
- A project overview helps to maintain focus
It keeps the team, manager, and stakeholders focused on what is truly important, saving them from excessive details or losing sight of the project's objectives.
- It enables risk management
It allows managers to identify and estimate potential risks and plan strategies to address them effectively.
- It helps to prevent mistakes
By outlining high-level tasks and their interdependencies, the overview helps prevent errors and misunderstandings.
- It establishes expectations
It sets the tone for the entire project, establishing clear expectations for your team.
- It facilitates communication
It eases the communication between everyone involved and especially those who are not directly involved in the project's day-to-day operations.
- It promotes alignment
By providing a clear direction and outlining desired outcomes, the project overview ensures that everyone involved understands and works towards the same goals.
Project overview template
A project overview template is a pre-designed structure or format that provides a framework for creating project overview statements. Consider it a starting point for easy and efficient organization and presentation of your project key information.
It offers numerous benefits to those who have previous experience in writing project overviews and those who have never done anything like this before.
- A ready-to-go project overview template ensures the consistency of your document. By offering a standardized format, the template makes it easier to understand and compare different sections or pages.
- It saves time and effort, eliminating the need to create an overview statement from scratch every time. It allows project managers to focus on what is important, the content and details, rather than the document's layout.
- A template ensures that no important point is overlooked. That's why it's important to use only well-designed and well-structured templates or those that enable easy editing and customization.
- It also helps to maintain clarity and consistency throughout the whole document, improving readability and comprehension. The template guides project managers in organizing their thoughts and ensures that the project overview statement is structured in a coherent and easy-to-follow manner.
- It helps project managers communicate effectively with stakeholders, as they provide a structured format that conveys information concisely and accurately.
- Using templates built on industry best practices or proven project management methodologies, project managers can ensure that their overview statements adhere to established standards, improving the quality and effectiveness of communication and decision-making.
- It is flexible and easy to customize. Users can choose between using a standardized structure or customizing the template according to their project specifications.
How to write a project overview effectively using the xTiles Project Overview Template?
A project manager must create a compelling project overview statement that captures the project's essence and secures necessary approvals at the initial stage. That's how misunderstandings and ambiguities at later stages can be at least minimized.
Clarity and conciseness are key for any project overview. When writing yours, avoid excessive fluff and prioritize conveying essential project details efficiently. The skill to tell everything about your project with a one-page document comes with time and practice. However, a project overview template will help you start and save time.
Here are the tips to help you write a successful overview:
- Keep your project overview concise
Since you have limited space, you need to focus on using it effectively. You need to summarize the project's key aspects efficiently, considering every detail you want to add twice.
It's crucial to omit using excessive details or information overload. Otherwise, your potential readers might be overwhelmed, and the key points of your project might stay unnoticed among all the details you decided to provide.
It's often helpful to start working on the overview on your own. Draft it yourself before involving the team. Collaborative input is crucial, but starting with an initial draft helps expedite the process and prevents prolonged iterations.
When working on the overview, strive to articulate every single detail using the language of your clients or users to create resonance.
Tailor your language and terminology to resonate with your intended audience. Use business-oriented terms unless your senior leadership team expects technical jargon.
- Highlight the problem or need you want to resolve by developing your product/project
Emphasize the problem or opportunity the project aims to address. This should be prominently stated at the beginning because it's the core reason you and your team are undertaking the project in the first place.
If applicable, include a reference to the project timeline, especially if there is a fixed deadline tied to solving the problem or fulfilling the need.
If you struggle to articulate the problem, you may consult with the relevant stakeholders or your teammates to ensure everything is represented accurately.
- Project description
Tell a bit about what sets your project apart and how it intends to address the identified problem or need. Highlight the specific goals you aim to achieve through the project. However, resist the temptation to make a long list of what makes your project so special. A few of the most important or intriguing (something your competitors can't boast of) points will be enough.
- Include project goals
Dedicate a section to outline the project goals. Keep this section brief, consisting of a couple of bullet points, just like you did with the project's description.
Consider including project deliverables as objectives, ensuring they are measurable and specific. Yes, precision is the best friend when writing a project overview statement.
- Provide ideas
Finally, offer ideas to develop the project. There might be dozens of ideas your team produced during the brainstorming sessions. However, include only those relevant to your current project stage and have potential. Also, remember that your team has to have the resources to implement them.
You may also discuss assumptions, risks, challenges, constraints, known issues, or any other factors influencing the project's progression from this point.
- Set tasks
Provide a list of tasks to showcase your plan. Remember that when tasks are feasible, they prove your sustainability and reliability. And tasks that can't be accomplished with the current resources might play a cruel joke on your team even though they seem very attractive and convincing.
Also, you may define the success criteria for the project. How will you determine project success?
Align the success criteria with project requirements, ensuring that meeting the requirements signifies achieving the goals and meeting the criteria. Make the success criteria measurable for easy tracking and project closure.
- Review and iterate
Ensure that all the above sections still fit within the space of one page. Avoid reducing the font size. If space permits, add a list of project milestones and key dates without delving into a comprehensive project schedule.
Show the document to your team before seeking approval from stakeholders. Your teammates might add some improvements or see mistakes you overlooked.
- Obtain approval
Once the document is complete, use it to seek approval from the project sponsor and other key stakeholders with decision-making authority. Their endorsement is crucial to proceed with the project.
However, be ready that you might not get the approval the first time, especially if writing a project overview was a new experience.