How to Create Consumer-Friendly Project Timelines


Keep your projects organized with these timeline templates and tips.

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A project timeline is a proactive communication tool that’s vital when working on any construction project. It allows you to stay on task and ensures that everyone is on the same page. If you aren’t sure how to develop a useful consumer-friendly project timeline, or wish to improve your current template, consider the following tips:

  • Identify the deliverables

  • Break down the work into tasks

  • Identify dependent tasks

  • Determine how much time is needed

  • Develop a timeline visualization

  • Update as needed

Keep reading to learn more about each of these tips and find downloadable timeline templates you can use for your own business below.

Identify the deliverables

Start your project timeline off with an overview of project goals and deliverables, or the promised work to be completed. The deliverables might be proposals, designs, engineering reports, and completion of various home building construction phases like framing. The scope of this work will help set expectations with your client, so there are no surprises along the way.

Break down the work into tasks

Position the timeline from the big picture to the more granular details. First, break down the overall project into groups of tasks, and then into individual tasks. This step will allow you to assign each task a deadline, even those your client is responsible for completing like incremental payments after certain stages of the project are complete. The tasks on your timeline should be detailed and actionable so everyone clearly understands what they are responsible for completing.

Identify dependent tasks

As you break down the tasks in your timeline, consider which require something else to be completed first. These are called dependent tasks. For instance, rough plumbing cannot begin until framing is complete and sheetrock cannot begin until the electrical inspection. In your consumer-friendly timeline, you would make plumbing dependent on framing and sheetrock dependent on the electrical inspection so that your client knows the relationship between tasks.

Determine how much time is needed

Now that you have a list of individual tasks to complete, you may want to consider how much time is needed for each one so you can provide a target finish date for your client. If you think you might encounter delays or other road bumps along the way, think about padding your timeline to allow for some wiggle room. If you finish sooner than expected, your client will be thrilled – but if you take longer than you estimated, they may be disappointed.

Develop a timeline visualization

The final step to developing a consumer-friendly project timeline is to make it visual. Seeing the steps through in a graphic form can make it easier for your client and team to visualize the project status.

Update as needed

Even the most organized projects can be derailed. Make sure you keep your consumer-friendly construction timeline up-to-date as change orders are issued and tasks are revised. Whether it’s daily or weekly, it’s helpful to alert both your team and client on the latest changes on a regular basis.

Downloadable Project Timeline Templates

Check out these downloadable project timeline templates as inspiration:

These consumer-friendly project timeline tips can help you stay organized and effectively manage your project goals and progress. Find more helpful tips for the construction trades on our blog.

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