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How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

A project presentation is a perfect opportunity to highlight the tasks initiated and finished by project managers and their teams. To truly excel in creating a project presentation, it's important to understand that a successful presentation involves several key elements that work in harmony. Here are more details.

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

In any business, project managers need to be able to communicate a project strategy to clients effectively. It can bring in new, long-term clients to your agency if done correctly. However, doing so incorrectly could seriously undermine your efforts to acquire or retain clients. One thing that unites business, academic, and corporate meetings is making a project presentation look good. 

Professionals need this skill when effectively communicating ideas, outlining goals, and sharing project results. Creating and delivering a project presentation that connects with your target audience will lead to the project’s anticipated outcomes, regardless of your level of presentation experience. This blog will walk you through the art of presenting a project and offer business professionals advice on making their project plan presentation stand out. 

What is a Project Presentation?

A project presentation is a business activity where team members and stakeholders come together to supervise a project from start to finish. It is a formal submission of a project to stakeholders for discussion of a topic and acceptance. One or more business professionals provide a document or slide deck summarizing every project detail during a presentation.

The project manager presents essential information regarding the start of the project and its preparation, including the project scope, requirements collection, deliverables list, schedule, and milestones. A project management presentation is typically made for the first time before the project’s implementation. Then, as the project progresses, you reintroduce it to the stakeholders with timely updates and news.

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Who is the Audience for Your Project Presentation?

Team members and organizations involved in the project’s success or failure comprise stakeholders and other team members:

Show the project presentation to the team members who will be working on the project so they are aware of the expectations and the risks involved. Information such as the requirements, the work breakdown structure, the plan, and the deliverables will be required.


Show your project to the people who can approve funds and resources, i.e., the stakeholders. Demonstrate to them how the project will provide the desired solutions for the problems they raise within the specified time frame. 

The stakeholders are interested in the project’s scope , budget breakdowns , scheduling computations, risk assessments, and your plans for mitigating those risks and adapting to changes. Hence, they are the ideal audience for your project management presentation.

How to Successfully Create a Project Presentation?

Before jumping onto how to present a project, let us see what steps you should follow to create a successful project presentation:

Establish Objectives for Your Project

  • Layout your Plan
  • Outline the Problem and Solution
  • Keep the Slides in your Presentation Brief
  • Use More Images and Less Text

Utilize Good Quality Diagrams, Presentation Aids, and Visuals

  • Pay Attention to Design
  • Begin with a Template for your Presentation

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Before delving into the essentials of your project presentation, you should respond to the following queries:

  • What goals does your project aim to accomplish?
  • Why is it crucial that you and your group meet your objectives?
  • How are you going to let your audience know what your objectives are?  

Your project is already doomed to failure if it lacks specific goals. It’s common for project managers  to skip the goal-setting stage. However, this is not advised. That’s because you can make things easier for yourself to fail. Stakeholder buy-in can be achieved once project goals are well-defined.

The question now is: How do you set and accomplish project goals? Using the SMART goal-setting process is one way to do that. 

SMART project goal-setting:

  • “SMART” is an abbreviation for the words “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound”.  
  • Setting and carrying out effective project plans need the use of SMART targets . It requires a closer examination of the more minor elements that matter most to your audience.

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Layout Your Plan

Outlining your strategy for achieving your goals is a crucial next step after setting them. Putting your idea into an executable plan with steps for execution is a great place to start. 

You may be wondering why this is a necessary stage in making a project presentation that works. Well, p lanning a project , no matter how big or small, is easier when you have a thorough strategy, structure, and layout. It eliminates ambiguity and makes it easier for your audience to understand the project roadmap without missing anything.

Both technical and non-technical project aspects should be included in your plan layout. As a result, you should use a project presentation template that outlines all the procedures and activities in detail to offer yourself an advantage. Additionally, the structure of your PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation should be straightforward and understandable.

Depending on the kind of project, your plan might contain important information like:

  • The earlier-described aims and objectives
  • Your project’s framework, technique, and scope
  • Project deliverables, acceptance criteria, and milestones
  • Timeline and schedule for the project 
  • Estimates of resources and budget, etc.

You can use a pre-made customizable project management presentation template available online, like SlideUpLift . You can make this presentation template uniquely yours by modifying it.

When creating a project plan, there are no hard and fast rules. However, you should divide it into three sections if you want to develop an engaging approach that will stick with your audience:

  • Introduction
  • Conclusion and key takeaways

Outline the Problem and its Solution

You have just finished drafting your project action plan . It’s time to let your audience know about your project’s objectives and plan. It’s your responsibility to hold your audience’s attention from the beginning to the end, whether you’re pitching a project plan to clients or an investor deck.

Emphasizing your audience’s problems is one of the best strategies to get their attention.  Having stunning slides highlighting your outstanding product features and project activities is insufficient. Ensure that your project presentation is set up to:

  • List the problems that your audience is facing.
  • Stress how your initiative, offering, or service helps them with their problems.
  • Describe the advantages of using your product or contributing to your project for them.
  • Simply put, your audience should understand how your project improves their lives. As soon as they know this, they will pay attention to your suggestions and act accordingly.
  • Avoid assuming anything about your audience in general. 

If you want the audience on board, discuss their issues and potential solutions in a separate presentation. Make sure they know how your initiative will help them.

Keep the Slides in Your Presentation Brief

Prioritize quality over quantity while designing project presentations. Make sure your slides are brief and easy to understand. Your audience will appreciate that you respect their time when you do this. 

The following justify why you should keep your presentation short:

  • Not only may concise presentation slides be effective, but they may also be memorable.
  • There is a noticeable decline in attention span after 30 minutes during project or business presentations. You run the risk of losing the interest of your audience midway through if you make long speeches. 
  • No one wants to spend hours watching you flip a ton of slides. Focus your audience’s attention and get them to pay attention to the material by using shorter slides.

Use More Images and Less Text  

Using more images and less text in your presentations is another excellent method to keep them engaging but succinct. Recall that your slide show should support, not take the place of, your spoken presentation. Therefore, you want to avoid cramming too much data onto a single presentation. 

Adding too much text to your presentation could: 

  • Bore and overwhelm your audiences.
  • Draw the audience’s focus to the text, which will lessen the impact of your presentation.

When information is presented visually and in bite-sized portions, people remember it better. This holds for corporate leaders, project managers, both B2B and B2C audiences.

Presenting projects successfully requires the use of visuals. Visual aids help viewers retain 95% of a message, drawing them in and holding their interest. However, they maintain just approximately 10% when exchanged by text. 

You can employ a wide range of visual aids in your presentations, such as:

  • Pictures Videos 
  • Charts and graphs
  • Maps of heat and choropleth
  • Dispersion charts 

Your chances of gaining audience engagement and encouraging answers to your call-to-action (CTA) will increase if you include images and videos. Mind maps, Gantt charts , and whiteboard drawings are excellent tools for visualizing project plans in their early stages. Using maps, graphs, charts , and trees, you can display the architecture for projects, including technology. 

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Pay Attention to Design  

Your project presentation may succeed or fail based on its design. Whether you are a rookie or an expert designer, design tools offer you an advantage. In minutes, you can produce visually striking presentation designs for your company.

The good news is that creating eye-catching project presentations doesn’t have to break the cash. Millions of breathtaking royalty-free photos and lovely pre-made layouts are available for your slides. 

These are some pointers to keep in mind when creating your slides.

  • Make Use of a Proper Color Scheme 

Use color sparingly in your presentations if you want them to look appealing. Everyone loves color, so we get it. However, using too many colors may make your presentations disorganized and unpleasant.

  • Make Use of Clearly Identifiable Typography 

Changing your font can influence readers’ understanding of your words. Therefore, ensure that your slides convey the intended content and look professional and well-organized. 

Begin With a Template for Your Presentation

Making powerful project presentations can take much time, regardless of experience level. Suppose you are facing an impending deadline. Writing your project plan, making your slide notes, creating your slides, finding and including images, and other tasks would be on your plate. Creating these things from scratch could take longer and result in messy presentations. 

Using presentation templates might relieve all of your worries. They make it quick and simple for you to create project presentations that appear professional. Because the slides are pre-designed, there will be space for you to add any type of content you would require. The design is present in every form—progress bar, chart, graph, table , video , or image. All you have to do is enter text, add data, or add an image. And just like that, your presentation is set to go. 

Case Study For a Project Presentation

The Cline Avenue Bridge is an example of a difficult project that serves as the basis for the project presentation example. Since it is outside the purview of this article, we are not providing all of the presentation’s components for instructional purposes. Nevertheless, we demonstrate how to create a PowerPoint presentation for a project, how to customize the templates to the content to be presented, and how to show the more typical slides of each component. 

This is a case study of a real project and how the project manager uses templates to put together the project presentation using the structure we presented above.  Here’s how to create a PowerPoint presentation for a project, along with some project presentation ideas.

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Project Overview:

The presenter provides a project charter-style summary of the project’s highlights on this slide. The project manager can expand upon the introduction throughout the project lifespan, and the speech can seamlessly transition across several knowledge domains without requiring a slide change or in-depth discussion. 

In particular, the Cline Bridge Project narrates its goal, briefly mentions its location, provides a link to a map for additional information, and presents several key statistics (Building Information Modelling Process, Budget, Duration, Sponsor, and Constructor). The final deliverable’s salient features—a concrete segmental bridge measuring 1.7 miles in length and 46 feet in width—are enumerated.

Process Model:

The framework for the project lifecycle, processes, planning, and execution is shown in the Process Model presentation. In this slide, the project manager will discuss how the model is customized to the project’s particulars. In this instance, the builder has specified the use of BIM (Building Information Modelling) as the process model for the design and construction of the Cline Bridge. 

During this slide, the presenter might further detail the knowledge practices involved in each lifecycle phase—Design, Production, Construction, Operation, and Planning. Conceptual and detailed design are the two primary knowledge areas that make up the first stage, for instance, “Design.” 

Since the content arrangement for the scope section of the presentation consists of a list of “requirements,” it typically consists of multiple slides. This information leads to a recommended table arrangement that maximizes available space. It’s crucial to portray the set of needs rather than the individual requirements and to refrain from misusing the “list.” If not, the requirements document is transcribed by the project manager.

This example project presentation shows ten categories of requirements covering various project lifecycle stages. 

  • Conceptual Design
  • Construction
  • Construction Logistics

Utilizing a lot of resources is necessary when building a bridge. Organizing this component of a project presentation as a single-level financial table at an executive meeting is advised. Specific resources and cost analysis presentations are tasked with providing more information.

The list of available resources is as follows:

  • Expert Services
  • Construction labor, land machinery, materials, and quality assurance
  • Backup Subcontractors for Waste Disposal and Cleaning

We recommend incorporating visual elements, such as icons and colors that are symbolically tied to each of the items stated, to break up the monotony of table after table throughout the project presentation.

Project Schedule:

The purpose of the project roadmap , as previously mentioned in the article, is to provide a thorough overview of the critical turning points that will occur over time. Owing to the size of a bridge-building project and its extended duration, it is recommended to provide a roadmap that clearly matches milestones with relevant lifespan stages, especially for such large-scale undertakings. This method helps the viewers visualize the step-by-step development of the building process.

In keeping with earlier slides, we developed a roadmap in the example that included the following high-level benchmarks and subcomponents:

  • Project Start-Up
  • Contracts, Clearances, Budgeting, and Financing for Projects
  • Buying and Renting of Land
  • Initial Design Detailed Design Conceptual Design
  • Site Setup: Clearing, Grading, and Access Routes
  • Waste Management Examination
  • Tests of Materials
  • Site Evaluations
  • Tests for seismic activity
  • Manufacturing Fabrication
  • Assembly of Modular Components
  • Building, Assembling, and Construction
  • Test of Quality under Acceptance Standards
  • Stress Exam
  • Management and Upkeep

As you can see, the project manager chose a step-by-step plan that was given with minimal scheduling specifics and start and end dates to provide context for the diagram.

Project Hazards:

Throughout a project, risk management is an iterative process. The risks you face while presenting your initiatives will change based on how well they proceed along the roadmap. In this particular instance, we have chosen to showcase the risks deliberated about at the ideation phase, wherein the developer trades risks with contractors and the bridge construction business.

Our recommended structure for this type of material is a straightforward table with easily readable and visible risks and a description that serves more as a starting point for conversation than a thorough explanation.

It is crucial to categorize the risks given, if just in terms of their “impact” and “probability.” This will lead to some really interesting discussions about them. 

Risks outlined in the first phase:

  • Mistakes in Design
  • Building Hold-Ups
  • Overspending on the Budget
  • Modifications to Regulations
  • Conditions of the Site Equipment Failures
  • Incidents about health and safety

The hazards listed are highly serious, as the reader can see, and each will result in a different Risk Analysis Report.

The project presentation’s quality control component may change depending on the quality process used. A continuous improvement quality approach, which iteratively improves quality over many projects, is typical for large organizations with a consistent portfolio of projects (for example, software businesses). The scenario is the same for construction organizations , such as the example, and the quality control model aligns with the building process model. In this instance, the project manager is outlining the quality control procedure to be used on the BIM model as well as the procedure to be adhered to during the bridge’s actual construction:

Using a simple dashboard, we created in this example, allowing the project manager to show: 

  • The Existing Chronology
  • Top 5 Problems
  • Present-Day Burnout
  • Top 5 Risks

How to Present a Project Management Presentation?

A project plan is an official document that follows a set format and flow. Your presentation should follow this flow for maximum impact. 

To present a project plan , you should go over the following eight steps:

  • Give an overview. Provide a brief overview of the project, outlining its goals and rationale. 
  • Examine the key results and objectives, or OKRs. Talk about the main deliverables and anticipated deadlines. Before starting a project, what crucial information should you obtain from a client? Think about this before engaging in conversation.
  • Describe the exclusions and expectations. Make assumptions clear and restate anything that is outside the project’s scope. You might be wondering when to show a client the project cost. This is the right moment to ensure both of you have clear expectations.
  • Give a high-level timetable. Use a Gantt chart to show the important milestones and dependencies in the project schedule. 
  • Give a brief introduction of your group. Present the customer to coworkers with whom they will be working closely, as well as anyone whose experience will strengthen your reputation (such as a seasoned subject matter expert.)
  • Explain communications. Make sure your client is aware of the collaborative process. Mention how they can contact you with any queries or issues and how they will be updated.
  • Talk about the unexpected. Examine the procedure you’ll use to address requests for changes and problems when they come up.   
  • Q&A. To make sure nothing was missed, conclude with a Q&A session. 

Top 5 Project Management Presentation Templates From Slideuplift

Here are some templates which will help you make your desired presentations. These will also give you project presentation ideas. Feel free to click on the images to download SlideUpLift’s templates.

  • WBS Project Management PowerPoint Template:

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Streamline project planning with this template focused on Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) , offering clear visual guidance for breaking down complex projects into manageable tasks.

  • Scrum Agile Project Management PowerPoint Template:

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Perfect for Agile enthusiasts, SlideUpLift’s Scrum Agile Project Management template provides visually engaging slides explaining the Scrum framework, roles, ceremonies, and critical components to enhance Agile project communication.

  • Circular Project Management PowerPoint Template:

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Enhance project visualization with this template featuring circular diagrams and charts, ideal for representing project cycles, feedback loops, and continuous improvement processes.

  • SIPOC Project Management PowerPoint Template:

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Optimize process mapping using this template designed for SIPOC (Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer) models, facilitating the illustration of information and resource flows in projects or processes. 

  • Risk Management PowerPoint Template:

How to Create a Successful Project Presentation?

Navigate project uncertainties seamlessly with this template tailored for Risk Management . Expect insightful slides on identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks, providing a comprehensive overview to keep your projects on track.

Questions To Ask The Client Before Starting The Project Management Presentation

The client project focus ensures that your client’s business goals are sufficiently handled and that transparency is maintained throughout the project. Objectives, milestones, acceptance criteria, etc., are frequently discussed beforehand.

You might still need to ask a few questions, though, and these are the top five:

  • Who are the project stakeholders in your organization? What authority and interest levels do the people who intend to be associated with the project have? 
  • Have you already worked on projects similar to this one? How did you overcome the obstacles, if any? 
  • What characteristics, outputs, or specifications should we constantly focus on?
  • Are you having trouble sleeping at night because of anything related to this project? If yes, what would it be?
  • Do you have any questions about risks, difficulties, or other project parts we haven’t yet covered? 

Questions the Client Might Ask During a Project Presentation and How To Answer Them

For new speakers, the Q&A section can often be their biggest worry. The most difficult part of being ready for this is that you never know what queries a client may have. 

Client inquiries frequently revolve around their worries about potential problems. You’ll be able to anticipate their questions more accurately when you know about their priorities. Assume that your client has a tight deadline for finishing the project. Among the queries they might have are:

  • How are you going to guarantee that the project is completed on time?
  • How would you respond if deadlines begin to elude you?
  • Which risks could cause the project to be delayed?

You can prepare well-reasoned responses to their questions by considering their priorities and potential issues beforehand. But what about those unexpected queries that come out of nowhere? 

Three pointers to help you handle unforeseen queries from clients during a project presentation are as follows:

  • Firstly, thank them for raising the question. Encourage your client to speak with you and express their worries upfront. 
  • Find out what motivates the question. Ask why a question is being asked if it appears pointless or strange. Perhaps the client possesses knowledge that you are unaware of. You will also have extra time to consider your response as a result.
  • Put it on the table for later. Inform the customer that you will investigate and get back to them if you are unsure of the response. Give your client a timeframe during which they can anticipate receiving your response.  

Establishing objectives and having a well-thought-out plan to reach them are the first steps in producing an effective project presentation. It also calls for effective delivery, careful attention to design, and the creation of captivating content.  

A strong pitch deck that explains the specifics of your idea and its potential for success is essential if you want to seal those transactions. Using a user-friendly project presentation program such as SlideUpLift can be a game changer. 

The ideal design tool for producing eye-catching and captivating project presentations is something SlideUpLift specializes in.  You can use various features and tools with SlideUpLift to assist you in achieving your ideas for your projects.  

To help your presentation succeed, SlideUpLift offers hundreds of presentation templates , graphic components, font styles, data visualization tools, and pre-installed stock photos and videos.  

You now have all the advice and resources you need to ace the project presentations for the future. With the presentation templates from SlideUpLift, get tips and tricks on standing out when presenting, go ahead and amaze your audience!

How do I effectively present my project?

To present your project effectively, focus on clear communication, use visuals, and tailor your message to your audience’s level of understanding.

How can I present my project as a project manager?

As a project manager, presenting a project involves clear communication of goals, methodologies, and outcomes while addressing potential risks and solutions.

What are the best ways to present a project?

The best ways to present a project include engaging visuals, storytelling, and addressing key points such as objectives, timelines, and potential challenges.

Are there templates for project management presentations?

Several platforms, including SlideUpLift, offer templates specifically designed for project manager presentations .

What are effective ways to present my project to clients?

Effective ways to present your project to clients include emphasizing value, addressing their specific concerns, and showcasing project outcomes.

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9 Common Project Management Charts That You Can Use in Your Presentation

9 Common Project Management Charts That You Can Use in Your Presentation

Kirti Saini


Project management is a challenging but important task with certain complex responsibilities. To fulfill the complex and unique assignment within the constrained time and cost, various tools and techniques are employed. In other words, to accomplish and manage them aptly, a myriad applications or charts are used. These not only reduce the interruptions of regular business activities, but also organize resources and technologies so that the project is executed successfully.

There are many organizations that are still not aware of the data visualization tools that they can use in their presentations. Numbers are dumped onto the slides without any analysis. The presenters either do not make use of charts and graphs or, if they do, end up using the wrong ones.

Let this article guide you on the importance of project management PPT and  charts and where they should be implemented.

1. Gantt Chart

It is a type of bar chart that demonstrates the project schedule. Gantt chart diagram demonstrates the task duration in days, weeks and months. It is best in tracking progress. Moreover, project managers can plan, work out the practical aspects and potential problems, segregate the work to team members, and minimize the delivery time using this graphic. Additionally, one can illustrate the beginning and ending times of your assignment, and identify the task relationships. Portray task dependencies and give visual references to your colleagues are some benefits of implementing this chart. You can also the show the schedule changes and implications.

Gantt Chart PPT Template

Download this Gantt Chart Diagram PPT

Try out this design

When you need to complete a project within the deadline in an organized manner, there is nothing better than a Gantt chart. So it makes sense to use a comprehensive design to keep all your team members on the same page with such project management charts. Use the following design to indicate important entities alongside the Gantt chart periods. You can specify the crucial cogwheels of your project and hit the targets with effective communication. Click the link below and grab this fully-customizable design.

project management charts

Download this design

2. Pert Chart

One of the most commonly-used project management charts after Gantt diagram is the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) chart, also known as the network diagram. It was designed by the US Navy in the 1950s. This chart portrays more complex project tasks and analyzes the tasks encompassed in the completion of the project. Pert chart also analyzes the time needed to accomplish the task and recognizes the minimum time required. They generally showcase parallel activities and let your team easily conceptualize the whole project. Both Pert chart and Critical Path Method (CPM) diagram are used interchangeably. However, CPM doesn’t consider time variations while Pert chart permits the randomness in task completion time.

Pert Chart PowerPoint Template

Grab this Pert Chart PowerPoint Template

Since Pert allows more flexibility with the tasks involved in a project, it makes sense to use it in work environments having open communication channels and less hierarchy. This way, the focus is on the completion of the task with any number of relevant personnel. So utilize the following innovative design crafted by our experts. This Pert chart will let you focus on each task while helping your team give their 100%. Feel free to edit the entire design as the graphics can be manipulated according to your needs.

project management charts

3. Pareto Chart

Pareto chart is a chart containing both bar graph and line chart . Mostly used in six sigma analysis, it can also fit into any project management scenario. One can also analyze the frequency of problems in a process effectively. These charts help in visualizing the quality aspects of your processes. Also, Pareto diagram assists in focusing on vital causes. An individual can easily communicate the data with other team members using a Pareto chart.

Pareto Chart PPT Slide

Download this Pareto Chart presentation slide

Among project management charts, Pareto charts serve a dual purpose. You can indicate data points effectively while chalking out a trend in figures. So by doing that, you can give your team the direction it needs to take that trend up a notch. Since there are plenty of processes involved in establishing a Pareto chart, we have worked out this out-of-the-box design for you. Download this template and specify who will be working on which module of the project. Efficiency guaranteed!

project management charts

4. Cause-Effect Chart

In any project, the root cause and effect analysis plays a significant role. Also called an Ishikawa diagram or Fishbone Diagram , it helps professionals arrange causes and effects graphically. One can also categorize ideas that the team gathers for a fruitful brainstorming session. It gives an in-depth look into the issues behind the problems that further helps generate potential solutions for those who are determined to obtain the best outcomes.

Cause-Effect Diagram Template

Download this Cause-Effect Chart PowerPoint slide

Fishbone diagrams are synonymous to efficiency. The reason for that is their ease of use along with the ability to highlight problems and risks out front. So by using this chart, you will be able to give your team a more cautious outlook. Use this design to communicate how to minimize errors in the project. You can also use the simple yet effective layout for handouts so that the team stays on the same page. Churn out the best project with accuracy with this template. Click the link below to download and deploy.

project management charts

Learn to create Fishbone Diagram for your business presentation

5. control chart.

The Control Chart or a Statistical Process Control Chart is a graph used in efficient project management. This demonstrates the changes in the process with time. One can control the ongoing process by searching and correcting problems. A team member can analyze the quality enhancement in the project, be it for hampering the problem or making changes in the process. Process control chart can assist in determining the stability of the process.

Control Chart Presentation SlideTemplate

Download this Control Chart PPT slide

A more creative set of project management charts, control charts help set benchmarks for project quality. From conception to prototyping, this chart helps project managers define the parameters on which your project will come out a winner. So use the following creative control chart design to earmark these parameters precisely. You can also manipulate the line points to as per your data and devise an informative presentation for your colleagues. Showcase how control will ensure quality by downloading this design.

project management charts

  Download this design

6. Matrix Diagram

It represents the sequential steps taken in a process, workflow, or task. A matrix shows the relationships among four groups of information. One can also discover who is keen and influential in the task or project you are working on. With stakeholder analysis matrix , you get information about the involvement of stakeholders. On the other hand, with RACI matrix (Responsibility Assignment Matrix), you are informed about the deliverables during the lifecycle of a project, and the person tasked with achieving them.

Activity Matrix PPT Slide

Download this awesome Activity Matrix Diagram template

Smart design can keep you from falling into the matrix of problems. Use this template to mention the market share vs market growth relationship with key data points while managing a product. The specifications can be tabulated in a separate slide as you want them to be portrayed. You can also remix the color scheme as per your brand and keep everyone updated. Additionally, you can make the chart more descriptive by adding more textual content in placeholders. Flexibility to the fullest!

Matrix Chart PowerPoint Template

Download this creative matrix chart diagram PowerPoint Template

Learn to Create Matrix Diagram for your PPT presentation

7. flowchart.

The sequence or flow of a process is shown using the flowchart. To raise the efficiency of the business, you can illustrate the financial, quality management, and production processes graphically. Further, the data flow of any form can be demonstrated using these diagrams.

Flow Chart PowerPoint Template

Download this innovative Sequential Flowchart PPT slide template

For any particular project, you have to define the process workflow. There can be linear as well as circular arrangement of processes. So utilize this creative flowchart slide to showcase what processes will lead to faster prototyping till the final product is released. Given that you have figured out the nitty-gritty of project data, a flowchart makes it easier to define each process and the personnel relevant to it. So download this template to put your point across with precision.

project management charts

8. Work-Breakdown Structure

Work-Breakdown Structure (WBS) is another chart used in the project management. This provides you the hierarchy of tasks that are to be undertaken in a project. WBS chart assists you in planning your project. You can easily envision the components and their relation to execute the best planning. You can also see our hierarchy chart category for inspiration.

 Hierarchy Chart Presentation Slide

Download this Work-Breakdown Structure presentation template slide

Your instant answer to a hierarchical setup for a project should be a work-breakdown structure chart. It allows a more team-oriented depiction of project tasks and helps manage risks on an individual level. Therefore, you can use this 5-stage work-breakdown structure to establish hierarchy of processes. Additionally, you can add images to the slide to personalize it according to the company needs. You can also add different icons to add value to your presentation. Download now!

project management charts

9. Timeline

A timeline is a graphical representation that enables your team to visualize the complex information. This helps you in monitoring the time taken for project completion. You can also identify the potential delays and track the progress with the creative timeline diagrams . Any individual can track the status and deliverables from anywhere. Last but not the least, one can update the progress metrics as and when required.

Timeline Presentation Slide

Download this stupendous timeline presentation diagram template

A popular one among the project management charts is the timeline design. This layout takes a balanced approach of team and deadline, giving a more refined outlook to your project management process. Depict your project needs clearly with the following creative timeline template. Impart a standard to your communication with catchy icons used in this slide. The month–wise distribution of tasks can also be changed to week-wise as the graphics and icons are fully editable. Grab the template now!

project presentation diagram

Learn to create Timeline PowerPoint Template for your presentation

Streamline your project, track progress with creative visuals as shown above, and lead your competitors. Feel free to combine various project management charts and create a visual metaphor in the form of a dashboard.

Hope this helps you. Share your feedback with us in the comments below.

Give your next best presentation with the help of custom PowerPoint designs. Get in touch with our Presentation Designers now.

Related posts:.

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  • [Updated 2023] Top 10 Project Charter Templates For Efficient Project Management
  • 20 Project Management Methodologies You Can Put to Use Right Now (Best PowerPoint Templates Included)
  • 50+ Project Management Templates That Will Make Your Next Project a Cakewalk

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Blog Data Visualization

Presentation Design Guide: How to Summarize Information for Presentations

By Midori Nediger , May 15, 2023

presentation design

Bad presentations. We’ve all had to sit through them.  Heck, we’ve probably all given one or two. I know I have.

You know the type: twice as long as they need to be, slides chock-full of text, no visuals in sight. 

How can you ensure you don’t fall victim to these presentation faux-pas when designing your next presentation for your team, class, or clients?

In this blog, I’ll walk you through tips on how to design an impactful presentation and how you can deliver it with style to leave a lasting impression.

Let’s get started:

  • Include less text and more visuals in your presentation design
  • Identify one core message to center your presentation design around
  • Eliminate any information that doesn’t immediately support the core message
  • Create a strong presentation outline to keep you focused
  • Use text to reinforce, not repeat, what you’re saying
  • Design your presentation with one major takeaway per slide
  • Use visuals to highlight the key message on each slide
  • Use scaffolding slides to orient your audience and keep them engaged
  • Use text size, weight, and color for emphasis
  • Apply design choices consistently to avoid distraction
  • Split a group presentation by topic
  • Use a variety of page layouts to maintain your audience’s interest
  • Use presentation templates to help you get started
  • Include examples of inspiring people
  • Dedicate slides to poignant questions
  • Find quotes that will inspire your audience
  • Emphasize key points with text and images
  • Label your slides to prompt your memory

Watch: How to design a presentation [10 ESSENTIAL TIPS]

Tips for designing and delivering an impactful presentation

What makes a presentation memorable?

It usually comes down to three things:

  • The main idea.
  • The presenter.
  • The visuals.

All three elements work together to create a successful presentation. Just like how different presentation styles serve different purposes, having a good presentation idea will give the audience a purpose for listening. A good presenter communicates the main idea so that the audience cares about it. And compelling visuals help clarify concepts and illustrate ideas.

But how the presenter delivers their presentation and what visuals they use can vary drastically while still being effective. There is no perfect presentation style or presentation design.

Here are some top tips to consider to help you design and deliver an impactful presentation:

Tip #1: Include less text and more visuals in your presentation design

According to David Paradi’s annual presentation survey , the 3 things that annoy audiences most about presentations are:

  • Speakers reading their slides
  • Slides that include full sentences of text
  • Text that is too small to read

The common thread that ties all of these presentation annoyances is text. Audiences are very picky about the text found in presentation slide decks .

In my experiences speaking at conferences and in webinars over the past few years, audiences respond much more positively to presentations that use visuals in place of text.

Audiences are more engaged, ask more questions, and find my talks more memorable when I include lots of visual examples in my slide decks. 

I’m not the only one who has found this. We recently surveyed nearly 400 conference speakers about their presentation designs and found that 84.3% create presentations that are highly visual.

A great example of a high visual presentation is the iconic AirBnB pitch deck design , which includes no more than 40 words per slide. Instead of repeating the speaker’s script on the slides, it makes an impact with keywords, large numbers, and icons:

project presentation diagram

Learn how to customize this presentation template:

To help you take your presentations to the next level, I’d like to share my process for creating a visually-focused presentation like the one above. I’ll give you my top presentation design tips that I’ve learned over years of presenting:

  • Class presentations
  • Online courses

You can then apply this process to our professional presentation templates  or pitch decks , creating unique presentation decks with ease! Our user-friendly editor tools make customizing these templates a breeze.

To leave a lasting impression on your audience, consider transforming your slides into an interactive presentation. Here are 15 interactive presentation ideas to enhance interactivity and engagement.

We’ll cover the most important steps for summarizing lengthy text into a presentation-friendly format. Then we’ll touch on some pre sentation design tips to help you get visual with your slide decks. Read on for the best creative presentation ideas.

Tip #2: Identify one core message to center your presentation design around

We know from David Paradi’s survey that audiences are easily overwhelmed with lots of text and data, especially when presentations are long.

confused woman meme

(You when you see a presentation with lots of text and data and it’s long)

So unlike in a white paper , report , or essay , you can’t expect to tackle many complex ideas within a single presentation.

That would be a recipe for disaster.

Instead, identify a single central message that you would like to communicate to your audience. Then build your presentation around that core message.

By identifying that core message, you can ensure that everything you include in your presentation supports the goal of the presentation .

As seen below, a great presentation tells you exactly what you’re going to learn (the core message), then gets right to the facts (the supporting information).

Nutrition Creative Presentation Template

To ensure you create an asset that’s clear, concise, impactful, and easy to follow, design your presentation around a single core message.

Tip #3: Create a strong presentation outline to keep you focused

Think of your outline as a roadmap for your presentation. Creating a strong presentation outline straight away helps make sure that you’re hitting all of the key points you need to cover to convey a persuasive presentation .

Take this presentation outline example:

  • Introduction and hellos
  • Vision and value proposition
  • Financial profit
  • Your investment
  • Thanks and questions

These are all things that we know we need to talk about within the presentation.

Creating a presentation outline makes it much easier to know what to say when it comes to creating the actual presentation slides.

Corporate pitch deck template

You could even include your presentation outline as a separate slide so that your audience knows what to expect:

Topics of discussion presentation outline example template

The opening moments of your presentation hold immense power – check out these 15 ways to start a presentation to set the stage and captivate your audience.

Tip #4: Eliminate any information that doesn’t support the core message

Next, use that core message to identify everything that doesn’t belong in the presentation.

Aim to eliminate everything that isn’t immediately relevant to the topic at hand, and anything remotely redundant. Cut any information that isn’t absolutely essential to understanding the core message.

By cutting these extra details, you can transform forgettable text-heavy slides:

Infographic Presentation Template

Into memorable slides with minimal text:

Infographic Presentation Template

Here’s a quick checklist to help you cut out any extra detail:

Get rid of:

  • Detailed descriptions
  • Background information
  • Redundant statements
  • Explanations of common knowledge
  • Persuasive facts and figures
  • Illustrative examples
  • Impactful quotes

presentation design

This step may seem obvious, but when you’re presenting on a topic that you’re passionate about, it’s easy to get carried away with extraneous detail. Use the recommendations above to keep your text in check.

Clarity is key, especially if you’re presenting virtually rather than in-person. However, Lisa Schneider (Chief Growth Officer at Merriam-Webster) has had plenty of experience making that adjustment. She recently shared her tips for adapting in-person presentations into virtual presentations on Venngage that you can check out. 

Tip #5: Use text to reinforce, not repeat, what you’re saying

According to presentation guru  Nancy Duarte , your audience should be able to discern the meaning of your slides in 6 seconds or less.

Since your audience will tend to read every word you place on each slide, you must keep your text to an absolute minimum. The text on your slides should provide support for what you’re saying without being distracting.

Never write out, word for word, what you’re going to be saying out loud. If you’re relying on text to remember certain points, resist the urge to cram them into your slides. Instead, use a tool like Venngage’s speaker notes to highlight particular talking points. These can be imported into PowerPoint — along with the rest of your presentation — and will only be viewable to you, not your audience.

Speaker notes by Venngage

For the actual slides, text should only be used to reinforce what you’re saying. Like in the presentation design below, paraphrase long paragraphs into short bulleted lists or statements by eliminating adjectives and articles (like “the” and “a”).

project presentation diagram

Pull out quotes and important numbers, and make them a focus of each slide.

project presentation diagram

Tip #6: Design your presentation with one major takeaway per slide

As I mentioned above, audiences struggle when too much information is presented on a single slide.

To make sure you don’t overwhelm your audiences with too much information, spread out your content to cover one major takeaway per slide.

By limiting each slide to a single simple statement, you focus your audience’s attention on the topic at hand.

My favorite way to do this is to pick out the core message of whatever I’m talking about and express it in a few keywords, as seen in this presentation slide below.

project presentation diagram

This helps ensure that the visuals remain the focus of the slide.

project presentation diagram

Using the text in this way, to simply state a single fact per slide, is a sure-fire way to make an impact in your presentation.

Alternatively, pull out a significant statistic that you want to stick in your audience’s minds and make it a visual focus of the slide, as seen in this popular presentation by Officevibe .

presentation design

This might mean you end up with a slide deck with a ton of slides. But that’s totally ok!

I’ve talked to many professionals who are pressured by their management teams to create presentations with a specific number of slides (usually as few as 10 or 15 slides for a 30-minute presentation).

If you ask me, this approach is completely flawed. In my mind, the longer I spend sitting on a single slide, the more likely I am to lose the interest of my audience.

How many slides should I use for a 10 minute presentation?

A good rule of thumb is to have at least as many slides as minutes in your presentation. So for a 10 minute presentation you should have at least 10 slides .

Use as many slides as you need, as long as you are presenting a single message on each slide, (as seen in the lengthy presentation template below). This is especially important if you’re presenting your business, or delivering a product presentation. You want to wow your audience, not bore them.

project presentation diagram

Tip #7: Use visuals to highlight the key message on each slide

As important as having one major takeaway per slide is having visuals that highlight the major takeaway on each slide.

Unique visuals will help make your message memorable.

Visuals are a great way to eliminate extra text, too.

You can add visuals by creating a timeline infographic to group and integrate information into visual frameworks like this:

project presentation diagram

Or create a flowchart  and funnels:

project presentation diagram

Or by representing simple concepts with icons, as seen in the modern presentation design below. Using the same color for every icon helps create a polished look.

Using visuals in this way is perfect for when you have to convey messages quickly to audiences that you aren’t familiar with – such as at conferences. This would also make the ideal interview presentation template.

project presentation diagram

You can alternatively use icons in different colors, like in the presentation templates below. Just make sure the colors are complimentary, and style is consistent throughout the presentation (i.e. don’t use sleek, modern icons on one slide and whimsically illustrated icons on another). In this example, presentation clipart style icons have been used.

project presentation diagram

Any time you have important stats or trends you want your audience to remember, consider using a chart or data visualization to drive your point home. Confident public speaking combined with strong visualizations can really make an impact, encouraging your audience to act upon your message.

One of my personal favorite presentations (created by a professional designer) takes this “key message plus a visual” concept to the extreme, resulting in a slide deck that’s downright irresistible.

presentation design

When applying this concept, don’t fall into the trap of using bad stock photos . Irrelevant or poorly chosen visuals can hurt you as much as they help you.

Below is an example of how to use stock photos effectively. They are more thematic than literal and are customized with fun, bright icons that set a playful tone.

project presentation diagram

The content and visual design of a presentation should be seamless.

It should never seem like your text and visuals are plopped onto a template. The format and design of the slides should contribute to and support the audience’s understanding of the content.

Impactful presenation templates

Tip #8: Use scaffolding slides to orient your audience and keep them engaged

It’s easy for audiences to get lost during long presentations, especially if you have lots of slides. And audiences zone out when they get lost.

To help reorient your audience every once in a while, you can use something I like to call scaffolding slides. Scaffolding slides appear throughout a presentation to denote the start and end of major sections.

The core scaffolding slide is the agenda slide, which should appear right after the introduction or title slide. It outlines the major sections of the presentation.

At the beginning of each section, you should show that agenda again but highlight the relevant section title, as seen below.

project presentation diagram

This gives audiences the sense that you’re making progress through the presentation and helps keep them anchored and engaged.

Alternatively, you can achieve a similar effect by numbering your sections and showing that number on every slide. Or use a progress bar at the bottom of each slide to indicate how far along you are in your presentation. Just make sure it doesn’t distract from the main content of the slides.

project presentation diagram

You can imagine using this “progress bar” idea for a research presentation, or any presentation where you have a lot of information to get through.

Leila Janah, founder of Sama Group, is great at this. Her  Innovation and Inspire  talk about Sama Group is an example of a presentation that is well organized and very easy to follow.

Her presentation follows a logical, steady stream of ideas. She seems comfortable talking in front of a crowd but doesn’t make any attempts to engage directly with them.

Tip #9: Use text size, weight and color for emphasis

Every slide should have a visual focal point. Something that immediately draws the eye at first glance.

That focal point should be whatever is most important on that slide, be it an important number, a keyword, or simply the slide title.

presentation design

We can create visual focal points by varying the size, weight, and color of each element on the slide. Larger, brighter, bolder elements will command our audience’s attention, while smaller, lighter elements will tend to fade into the background.

project presentation diagram

As seen in the presentation template above, this technique can be especially useful for drawing attention to important words within a long passage of text. Consider using this technique whenever you have more than 5 words on a slide.

And if you really want your audience to pay attention, pick a high-contrast color scheme like the one below.

presentation design

When picking fonts for your presentation, keep this technique in mind. Pick a font that has a noticeable difference between the “bold” font face and the “regular” font face. Source Sans Pro, Times New Roman, Montserrat, Arvo, Roboto, and Open Sans are all good options.

Presentation Fonts

The last thing to remember when using size, weight, and color to create emphasis on a slide: don’t try to emphasize too many things on one slide.

If everything is highlighted, nothing is highlighted.

Tip #10: Apply design choices consistently to avoid distraction

Audiences are quick to pick out, and focus on, any inconsistencies in your presentation design. As a result, messy, inconsistent slide decks lead to distracted, disengaged audiences.

Design choices (fonts and colors, especially), must be applied consistently across a slide deck. The last thing you want is for your audience to pay attention to your design choices before your content.

To keep your design in check, it can be helpful to create a color palette and type hierarchy before you start creating your deck, and outline it in a basic style guide like this one:

project presentation diagram

I know it can sometimes be tempting to fiddle around with text sizes to fit longer bits of text on a slide, but don’t do it! If the text is too long to fit on a slide, it should be split up onto multiple slides anyway.

And remember, a consistent design isn’t necessarily a boring one. This social media marketing presentation applies a bright color scheme to a variety of 3-column and 2-column layouts, remaining consistent but still using creative presentation ideas.

project presentation diagram

Tip #11: Split a group presentation by topic

When giving a group presentation it’s always difficult to find the right balance of who should present which part.

Splitting a group presentation by topic is the most natural way to give everybody the chance to attempt without it seeming disjointed.

project presentation diagram

When presenting this slide deck to investors or potential clients, the team can easily take one topic each. One person can discuss the business model slide, and somebody else can talk about the marketing strategy.

Top tips for group presentations:

  • Split your group presentation by topic
  • Introduce the next speaker at the end of your slide
  • Become an ‘expert’ in the slide that you are presenting
  • Rehearse your presentation in advance so that everybody knows their cue to start speaking

Tip #12: Use a variety of page layouts to maintain your audience’s interest

Page after page of the same layout can become repetitive and boring. Mix up the layout of your slides to keep your audience interested.

In this example, the designer has used a variety of combinations of images, text, and icons to create an interesting and varied style.

Yellow start up pitch deck presentation template

There are hundreds of different combinations of presentation layers and presentation styles that you can use to help create an engaging presentation . This style is great for when you need to present a variety of information and statistics, like if you were presenting to financial investors, or you were giving a research presentation.

Using a variety of layouts to keep an audience engaged is something that Elon Musk is an expert in. An engaged audience is a hyped audience. Check out this Elon Musk presentation revealing a new model Tesla for a masterclass on how to vary your slides in an interesting way:

Tip #13: Use presentation templates to help you get started

It can be overwhelming to build your own presentation from scratch. Fortunately, my team at Venngage has created hundreds of professional presentation templates , which make it easy to implement these design principles and ensure your audience isn’t deterred by text-heavy slides.

Using a presentation template is a quick and easy way to create professional-looking presentation skills, without any design experience. You can edit all of the text easily, as well as change the colors, fonts, or photos. Plus you can download your work in a PowerPoint or PDF Presentation format.

After your presentation, consider summarizing your presentation in an engaging manner to r each a wider audience through a LinkedIn presentation .

Tip #14: Include examples of inspiring people

People like having role models to look up to. If you want to motivate your audience, include examples of people who demonstrate the traits or achievements, or who have found success through the topic you are presenting.

Tip #15: Dedicate slides to poignant questions

While you might be tempted to fill your slides with decorative visuals and splashes of color, consider that sometimes simplicity is more effective than complexity. The simpler your slide is, the more you can focus on one thought-provoking idea.

project presentation diagram

Tip #16: Find quotes that will inspire your audience

A really good quote can stick in a person’s mind for weeks after your presentation. Ending your presentation with a quote can be a nice way to either begin or finish your presentation.

A great example of this is Tim Ferriss’ TED talk:

tim ferriss inspiration presentation example

Check out the full talk below.

Tip #17: Emphasize key points with text and images

When you pair concise text with an image, you’re presenting the information to your audience in two simultaneous ways. This can make the information easier to remember, and more memorable.

Use your images and text on slides to reinforce what you’re saying out loud.

Doing this achieves two things:

  • When the audience hears a point and simultaneously read it on the screen, it’s easier to retain.
  • Audience members can photograph/ screencap the slide and share it with their networks.

Don’t believe us? See this tip in action with a presentation our Chief Marketing Officer Nadya gave recently at Unbounce’s CTA Conference . The combination of text and images on screen leads to a memorable presentation.

Nadya Unbounce Presentation Example

Tip #18: Label your slides to prompt your memory

Often, presenters will write out an entire script for their presentation and read it off a teleprompter. The problem is, that can often make your presentation seem  too  rehearsed and wooden.

But even if you don’t write a complete script, you can still put key phrases on your slides to prompt jog your memory. The one thing you have to be wary of is looking back at your slides too much.

A good presentation gets things moving! Check out the top qualities of awesome presentations and learn all about how to make a good presentation to help you nail that captivating delivery.

Audiences don’t want to watch presentations with slide decks jam-packed with text. Too much text only hurts audience engagement and understanding. Your presentation design is as important as your presentation style. 

By summarizing our text and creating slides with a visual focus, we can give more exciting, memorable and impactful presentations.

Give it a try with one of our popular presentation templates:

presentation design

Want more presentation design tips? This post should get you started:

120+ Best Presentation Ideas, Design Tips & Examples

presentation design

  • Presentations

Project Presentation

Used 4,920 times

Simplify your job with the project presentation slides and excite your audience with your offer.

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Image 1

Prepared by:

​ [Sender.FirstName] [Sender.LastName] ​

Table of Contents

Problem/Pain Project Proposal Solution Key Benefits Project Goals Project Scope Project Resources Project Schedule Project Timeline Deliverables Success Criteria Budget Project Management Summary


Describe the problem or the pain point that your solution aims to relieve. For instance, a service team is under strain because of the growing number of customers.

Make some notes about the pain point or put links to sources

Project Proposal

Provide background information

Outline the purpose of your proposal

Define your goals

Accentuate what sets you apart

Briefly state the budget

Finish with a call to action and ask for a follow-up

Represent your project idea in several statements

Outline how exactly your project solves the previously mentioned problem. For instance, an AI-based chatbot can ease the burden on your support team by handling incoming requests instantly.

Link to source

Image 3

Place your images/video here

Key Benefits

Reduced workload on the support team

Quicker customer service

Lower expenses on the support personnel

Enhanced customer communication

Greater client satisfaction

Briefly list the fundamental advantages of your project for the end user. The key benefits in our example may include

Project Goals

Providing competent help to customers immediately

Reducing the number of calls to the support team

Enhancing company’s digital presence

Promoting corporate website

Take a moment to describe your goals more fundamentally.

For instance, AI-based chatbots are aimed at

Project Scope

Demonstrate the general scope of work your project encompasses.

This part usually comprises the following constituents

Project Resources

Describe the resources required for project completion.

Project Schedule

Present the project schedule and list the project phases.

Project Timeline

Compose a detailed project timeline.


Product roadmap construction

Initial user interface wireframe

Customer journey map

User retention report

Set up all tangible and intangible outputs submitted within the project lifecycle.

An example of project deliverables

for the software team:

Success Criteria

Establish expectations and requirements that a project must meet in the outcome.

Report the total budget estimate for the project and a budget breakdown into the major categories.

Project Management

Project highlight one

Project highlight two

Project highlight three

Project highlight four

Provide an overview of the project methodology and point out project highlights. This helps to demonstrate your professional vision of the project and the way to its successful completion.

1. Key statement one

2. Key statement two

3. Key statement three

4. Key statement four & etc.

List the key statements of the whole project presentation you wish your audience to memorize. Use this slide to reinforce the positive impression of your project and make an impactful statement in the end.

​ [Sender.Website] ​

​ [Sender.Email] ​

​ [Sender.Phone] ​

Image 4

Do not forget to thank your audience for their time and attention. Add your contact information if you plan to leave or send this presentation for further review.

Care to rate this template?

Your rating will help others.

Thanks for your rate!

Useful resources

  • Featured templates
  • Sales proposals
  • NDA agreements
  • Operating agreements
  • Service agreements
  • Sales documents
  • Marketing proposals
  • Rental and lease agreement
  • Quote templates

project presentation diagram

How to Give a Stunning Project Presentation

April 3, 2019 by Bernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP 2 Comments

project presentation

Many projects require a presentation, whether at the beginning, end, or somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes it is given to the managers or executives, sometimes to the project team , and sometimes to stakeholders who have a specific interest in the project.

Project presentations can be very nerve racking and difficult for many people, but that doesn’t mean they have to be difficult.  With practice and some basic guiding principles, you can give a stunning project presentation that will knock their socks off.  I’ve given many project presentations, and I’m going to share my secrets with you.

Present the Problem and Solution

  • Repeat the main point 3 times
  • Include an analogy or story
  • Keep slides short
  • Include pictures and Diagrams
  • Connect with the audience

Many audience members assume that you know what you’re talking about, and most of the time you do.  But somehow, if the presenter doesn’t include the topic of the presentation directly, the audience doesn’t want to decide what it is for themselves.

It’s similar to a sales pitch in that it’s the presenter’s job to keep the audience engaged.  If you wish to maximize the communication of the message, you need to state it directly.

Include an Analogy or Story

project presentation

  • An analogy is a comparison to a similar real life thing, for example, This product works like a rocket ship taking off to the moon.  It takes a bit of preparation time which might seem a bit daunting at times only to have a very quick experience that over relatively quickly, but the experience is worth every second in the end.  I’ve become a true believer in the immense power of analogy.  Analogies engage audiences in milliseconds and give them something to remember the presentation by.  I’ve incorporated analogies in my writing at every opportunity, and the results have been truly amazing.  Many project presentations come in groups, that is, they are one out of many.  In this case, the presentation with an analogy is the one that will be remembered by the audience.
  • A story is an experience that relates to the topic being presented, for example, Last year I had the privilege of working with sick kids at the hospital.  These kids needed life saving medical care, and the doctors were fantastic.  It made me realize that this product really has the potential to impact people, and maybe even save lives.  A story is a personal experience, either yours or somebody else’s.  They work just like an analogy by engaging the audience and giving them something to remember the project by.  But they have the potential to drag on when the audience starts to feel like it’s not about them.  The key to pulling off a successful story is to keep it short and relevant.  If the audience can’t connect it to the project, they will lose interest.

Ideas for analogies are surprisingly easy to find with internet searches.  Personal story ideas require brainstorming and thinking about the relationship between the topic and real world experiences.

Repeat the Main Point 3 Times


  • Tell them what you’re going to say
  • Tell them what you just said

In most presentations, this takes the form of an introduction, main body, and conclusion.  But all three parts need to spell out the main point in a prominent place, clearly and succinctly.  You want to make sure the audience doesn’t need to think, that people can be daydreaming about what they’re going to be doing that evening but they’ll perk up and get hit with a short but prominent main conclusion that they won’t forget.

In most presentations, audiences are not in a position where they want to exercise their thought muscles.  Similar to a sales presentation, they don’t want to think for themselves, they figure it’s the presenters job to tell them what to think.  Hence, they forget what they are told very quickly.

Speaking of which, did you notice the analogy?  I’ll bet that if you remember nothing else from this article, you’ll remember that the audience doesn’t want to exercise their thought muscles.

Keep Slides Short

Many presentations contain long winded verbiage that requires long form reading while the presenter is talking.  I see this time and time again in presentations that I attend, and I’ve even done this myself when it seemed like there was no other way to get the point across.  But in hindsight this is a waste of good presentation time.  Nobody is going to read long paragraphs.  In fact, nobody is going to read long sentences either.

The idea is simple.  When writing presentation slides, keep bullet points under two lines of text.  Any more and it should be said verbally or placed into the next bullet.

Include Pictures and Diagrams


This idea is self explanatory.  Make sure no more than about half of the presentation slides contain only written words.

Connect with the Audience

The previous 5 bullets contained advice for good presentation slides and planning, but what are some ideas to deliver the presentation in a stunning way?

There are a few secrets, but the key to all of them is connecting with the audience.

Remember first that the audience wants to hear your presentation.  They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t.  However, most people don’t have the attention span to stay engaged for an entire presentation unless they have a very high interest in the subject matter.  They will move in and out of attention, remembering only the most interesting (not necessarily important) parts.

Here are a few pointers:

  • Use Outline notes Don’t read from a script.  Although it is permissible to read for some of the time, extensive reading from a written script disconnects from the audience and loses the message because people stop listening.
  • Talk to one person I’ve found it helpful to pick one person in the audience and deliver the presentation to them.  Don’t look only at them, of course, but let it sink in that you are not so much talking to a larger audience as you are giving many presentations to individual people, simultaneously.
  • Don’t let down the most interested person in the audience Here’s another tip I’ve used in my presentations as well as my musical performances.  There’s guaranteed to be at least one person in the audience who loves what you’re saying and wants to learn all about it.  So wouldn’t it be a huge disappointment if you let them down?  Let all your presentation anxiety submit to the desire to make sure that that one person who really wants to know your information isn’t disappointed.  I mean, why are you even talking to everyone else, that doesn’t care, anyway?

Those are my secrets for stunning presentations!  Let me know how it goes and what other tips you have in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear from you!

Related posts:

project report

About Bernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP

Bernie Roseke, P.Eng., PMP, is the president of Roseke Engineering . As a bridge engineer and project manager, he manages projects ranging from small, local bridges to multi-million dollar projects. He is also the technical brains behind ProjectEngineer , the online project management system for engineers. He is a licensed professional engineer, certified project manager, and six sigma black belt. He lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with his wife and two kids.

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Awesome post! I instantly shared this with my presentation writing service and they found your content quite in-depth and informative. Do share some similar knowledgeable content in the near future. Cheers!

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Brilliant and effective tips! Your tips are very effective and I am going to make use of every tip spelled out here. Thanks for the knowledge and I pray that you share more of such with the public.

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5 ideas to make your project presentation more successful

  • Digital Factory & Factory Design
  • Jan Schiller
  • last updated: 18. January 2023

You are probably familiar with this situation: You have invested many hours in your project presentation slides. Your idea for a solution is mature. Now you are sitting in a deadlocked meeting and after endless discussion the decision is postponed.

Portrait of a young businessman after successful project presentation

As is often the case, how well a proposed solution is received by your audience depends to a large extent on communication. Because communication problems slow down many industrial projects. A lack of transparency can be a major cause. Be transparent and you are understood. If you are understood you are accepted by your audience. Practitioners and authors in communication theory call this connection the basic law of communication:

True is not what A says. True is what B understands.

But how do you understand the complex issues and considerations that shape projects in factory planning? We want to show 5 ideas that will help you to give your work the recognition you need. For example in project presentations, meetings or workshops.

Idea 1: Use previously unused data

Data is content and is the raw material of our digital age. It is only through the analysis and linking of data that these raw materials become information and a knowledge advantage for yourself, the team and the company. So look for previously unused data or create new relationships between contents. Possible data sources are existing IT systems (ERP, PPS, MES, logistics control center, etc.), work plans or CAD plans. Sometimes the data is also slumbering outside the company, e.g. the building floor plan for the architect.

So unlock that untapped data and make it meaningful content to your work to support your project presentation.

Practical tip: Linking the CAD floor plan and processes (material flow data) creates completely new communication options within your project presentation. You determine the data by tracking transports through a material flow analysis.

Arrows on a CAD-Floorplan (factory layout) showing materialflows

This illustrates not only material flow intensities, but also the distances they have to cover. You create a transparent presentation of the material routings and the associated transport effort for your audience. With this key figure, you can find answers to the question of the “right” arrangement of manufacturing, assembly, logistics or storage areas in the factory. This is crucial information to move forward in a planning project. It also creates a fundamental understanding in presentations with your audience or team members. This can be PowerPoint slides or even the presentation directly in a software.

Idea 2: Don’t trust your intuition only

First of all, the concept of intuition is not about higher inspiration or the seventh sense. Rather, it is about a human sense that is commonly referred to as gut feeling. This consists largely of experience, acquired specialist knowledge, creativity and imagination. All helpful characteristics with which you can develop successful solutions to the given planning tasks and which your employer would like you to have.

The gut feeling can also meet you as a challenger. Namely when it is not your own. In a project meeting it quickly becomes clear that intuition is difficult to compare or argue with. And decision-makers in particular usually rely on key figures and proven data in a presentation.

Make yourself aware of this and acquire additional objective information for your planning solution. Integrate it in your PowerPoint presentation or in the planned course or your slides. In the project presentation you can then react safely to any questions and explain in black and white why you have chosen this solution.

Suggestions for objective KPIs

  • Space requirement
  • Investment costs for new equipment
  • Conversion costs
  • Logistics effort

So couldn’t you design the presentation completely on the basis of objective key figures?

No, because in industrial engineering in particular (fortunately) not all influencing variables can be fully recorded and described. This would also mean that human mind could be eliminated from decision-making processes.

Practical tip : Variant planning with benefit analysis

Variants arise almost inevitably during the planning process. They arise with authoritative decisions that drive the project in different directions (e.g., manual assembly vs. automation). Variants accomplish two practical things in a presentation:

  • they convey to other participants the possible paths to the solution
  • they promote the joy of decision-making by narrowing down the solution space in a meaningful way

With a subsequent cost-utility analysis , you put different key figures in relation and thus offer an evaluation for the different variants. In summary, this means for your presentation: Intuition is in the variants and the utility value analysis provides an objective view.

Abbildung Excel-Vorlage zur Nutzwertanalyse

Idea 3: Get ready for decision-making processes

We want to inspire you to study the social and psychological foundations of communication. Make yourself aware that these skills (so-called social skills) are just as important as technical skills for the success of a project presentation.

A study by the management consultancy McKinsey has shown that 70 percent of change initiatives in companies do not achieve their goals, which is largely due to resistance from employees and the lack of support from management (decision-makers).

Link: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/changing-change-management

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” Economist John Maynard Keynes

Changes in production, assembly, logistics or storage areas within the factory are the subject of countless discussions in planning projects. Hardly anyone has no opinion on this. At latest in their own area, the pulse of many participants is rising. Different perspectives and conflicting goals shape the picture. Communication is a key success factor. This applies not only to communication in planning teams, but also to the presentation of solutions to those affected.

So what does good communication look like in a project presentation?

  • Make sure everyone involved understands the need for change . If there are no compelling reasons, it is difficult to drive change.
  • Make potential visible and then make a joint decision for change. The need for action must be clear to everyone.
  • Early participation in discussion and planning reinforces the sense of a common idea. By having a common goal , collaboration succeeds, especially when problems arise.
  • How the solution came about is often more important to outsiders than the solution itself. According to the motto: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey .
  • Have a clear understanding of your company’s goals and values. This will help you to understand decision makers and align your own communication .

Idea 4: Use early 3D visualization

Especially at the beginning of a project, the effort for a 3D visualization does not seem justified. The classic approach is as follows: At the kick-off meeting for the project, the manager invites one of his investors, his architect, his planner (you) and the production manager. Everybody is motivated and excited about the manager’s idea to expand the factory.

2D CAD Drawing of a factory floor plan

The manager presents the 2D-CAD drawing and tries to explain his thoughts. According to his ideas, the planned extension contains a new production area, a new storage area and a new break room. Unfortunately, the invitees can’t really interpret the CAD plan very well. This is because 2D drawings are highly abstracted compared to reality. In the end, everyone has understood the plan differently and leaves the meeting. In the worst case, people are now working in different directions. A lot of time is wasted and the project is delayed. Followed by frustration and demotivation.

The advantages of 3D visualization can be easily derived from this example. Planning in 3D leads to a significantly higher transparency for all parties involved and thus to a higher planning quality. Cultural, linguistic and technical barriers are irrelevant. The language of the 3D model is universal. Experience shows that if a 3D model is used early on in a project, it is much easier for everyone to develop a common understanding. There are fewer misunderstandings, it saves a lot of time and money and everyone stays motivated.

Certainly one of the easiest ways is to use 3D screenshots from a software in a PowerPoint or Google slide. However, as soon as a question like the following arises: “And what is there behind the cold store?” a static view or slide is no longer sufficient.

project presentation diagram

Interactive 3D visualization

Even though materialflow plays a very important role for factory planners, its modeling and interpretation is usually reserved for a circle of experts involved in a planning project and not for the entire audience. Use Immersion effects for communication across the board. This refers to the immersion of an observer in a virtual model. For example, a realistic 3D visualization alone can contribute enormously to the understanding of a planning status. Walking through a three-dimensional production hall on a large screen creates acceptance. Virtually walk-through 3D scenes are already expected as a minimum level of immersion.

The 3D visualization should be interactivly. Turning a container or moving a workbench makes the experience of the planning solution even more transparent. In addition, you can react on practical questions spontaneously in the project presentation:

“How do we actually get the new machine into the hall? Will it fit through gate 1 or do we have to enter through the large hall gate at the back? Then we may have to dismantle this and that before the move.”

Quickly lifting the machine by 20 cm and thus manipulating its relocation path with a finger, quickly setting a marker in the layout at critical points – this and similar examples show how interactive 3D visualization can make communication more effective during a project presentation.

Slides are fine and of course needed, but with an interactive 3D presentation, a dull presentation can turn into an interactive workshop with a lively exchange of ideas among participants. Your audience will thank you.

Idea 5: Check your tools – PowerPoint & Excel spreadsheet, the perfect tools for your project presentation? – No.

In most companies, investing in one or more tools is not a one-time decision. In most cases, the purchase evolves historically as the company grows. For example, many companies own multiple tools from different vendors.

General software such as PowerPoint or Excel are nearly ubiquitous. For example, a spreadsheet is ideal for collecting and summarizing data. However, when it comes to converting these spreadsheets into understandable graphics for a project presentation, one quickly reaches the limits. In addition, it becomes clear time and again that there are serious deficits with regard to simple and fast operation.

project presentation diagram

Modern software can do that better. Take a critical look at your toolbox. Learn how to find the right software for your tasks in this blog article:

Utility analysis for the selection of planning software

But also among the planning specialists there are specializations due to the complexity of the different planning tools. There are specialists in the field of simulation among production system planners, while others are specialists in the CAD field. Hardly any user is able to use all tools in the planning process using the technical possibilities (simulation, CAD, VR, …).

Modern software tools have solved this problem with a user-friendly design. They are easy and intuitive to use without the need for special and usually long and expensive training.

No problem, simply subscribe to our Blog-News!

Illustration with a Lego scene, planner considers creating 3D models himself

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  • Top 20 project management charts to vis ...

Top 20 project management charts to visualize project progress

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A project management chart is a visual representation of the tasks and objectives involved in a project or process. From Gantt charts to bar charts, view the top 20 project management charts and find out how they can help you become a better project manager.

Whether or not it’s your job title, being a project manager means finding ways to execute work more effectively. For teams engaged in sprints or iterative work, visualizing tasks can help streamline communication and create transparency. 

We’ve put together 20 of the most effective project management charts in each of these categories and outlined how each can benefit your team and help you achieve your goals.

Types of project management charts

Project management involves a range of tasks and responsibilities, and as such, it makes use of various chart types to meet different requirements and stages within a project. Each type of project management chart provides a distinct perspective to assist project managers in visualizing, planning, and communicating key aspects of their projects.

Choosing the best project management chart depends on factors like the project's scope, the stage of its lifecycle, and the kind of information that needs to be communicated to stakeholders. 

Top project management charts for planning and resourcing

A common misconception in project management is that project charts are only useful for reporting. In fact, some of the most valuable project charts are those that help you plan projects and set your team up for success. 

Using project charts for planning and resourcing can benefit your team at all levels: 

Individual contributors have a clear way to visualize upcoming work.

Team leads can ensure they have enough resources to hit their goals on time.

Stakeholders get a bird’s-eye view of the work to come, which increases engagement and buy-in.

Take a look at the top nine project management charts for planning and resourcing: 

1. Gantt charts

A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart used to illustrate a project’s schedule by visualizing tasks over time. In this chart, each bar represents a task or initiative, and the length of the bar determines how long the task or initiative should take. Use Gantt charts to visualize the timeline, tasks, and goals within a given project. 

While not the original inventor, Gantt charts became popular thanks to Henry Gantt in the 1910s. Gantt charts have come a long way since their original use of logging factory hours. Today, they’re used to track real-time project progress, visualize task dependencies , and represent important milestones. 

Best for: Teams looking to visually map out their project plan so they can coordinate dependent tasks and hit their deadlines on time. Gantt charts are helpful for planning and scheduling projects from start to finish. 

[Product UI] Brand campaign project in Asana, Gantt chart-style view (Timeline)

2. Work breakdown structures (WBS)

A work breakdown structure is a method used to visually break down project activities into smaller units. You and your project team can use a WBS to visualize required deliverables and dependencies while streamlining communication.

Work breakdown structure example

There are three levels within a WBS, which include parent tasks, dependencies, and sub-dependencies. These levels break tasks down into their most simple form, showing the work required to complete the parent task.

Best for: Teams working on complex projects looking to break down tasks into small pieces. A WBS helps to visualize dependencies, connecting tasks to larger goals. 

3. Critical path method (CPM)

A critical path is the longest sequence of activities your team needs to finish on time in order for the entire project to be complete. The critical path method is a technique used to identify the amount of time each of these activities requires. 

Since delays in critical tasks can affect the entire project, the critical path method helps to facilitate better resource allocation and avoid bottlenecks. Once you identify the critical path, you can schedule tasks with enough time to ensure your team can complete the project deliverables on schedule. 

Best for: Teams looking to complete a project in the most efficient timeline possible. This type of project management chart helps to schedule deliverables and project due dates. 

4. PERT charts

PERT stands for P rogram E valuation and R eview T echnique. A PERT chart is a tool used to schedule, organize, and map out tasks within a project. You can use it to gain a visual representation of a project's timeline that breaks down individual tasks.

The purpose of a PERT chart is to better understand how to connect tasks to one another, giving a clear visual of dependencies. You can use this project management chart chart to evaluate required resources and estimate task duration and team allocation.

Best for: Teams working on a project with complex sub-dependencies. A PERT chart helps to accurately allocate resources, keeping deadlines on track. 

5. Flowcharts

A flowchart is a diagram that illustrates the steps, sequences, and decisions of a workflow. You can use a flowchart to plan, visualize, and document important steps in a process. 

A flowchart may incorporate different visualization tools such as a PERT chart or swimlane diagram. You can use a flowchart for a variety of purposes, including to simplify complex workflows , organize tasks, and identify bottlenecks. 

Best for: Teams who struggle to solve bottlenecks and keep tasks organized. A flowchart makes it easy to visualize project issues and solutions. 

6. Network diagrams

A network diagram consists of boxes and arrows to depict tasks and visualize whether they are critical or not. It is one of many resource leveling tools used to adjust project dates and gauge available resources. 

Use a network diagram to map the chronology and schedule of project tasks.  Plan the duration of projects and track progress along the way with the help of a network diagram.  

Network diagram

Best for: Teams who struggle to keep projects on track and prioritize deliverables. A network diagram helps to prioritize critical tasks. 

7. Matrix diagrams

A matrix diagram helps you understand the relationship between data sets, functions, and project elements. You can use this diagram to identify problems, allocate resources, and assess areas of opportunity within a project. 

There are a variety of different matrix diagrams that include L-shaped, Y-shaped, C-shaped, T-shaped, and X-shaped. Analyze the goal and data points of your project to determine the right diagram for your team. 

Best for: Teams who work on data-focused projects and need help connecting tasks to goals. A matrix diagram helps your team understand the relationship between data and goals. 

8. Cause and effect chart

The cause-and-effect chart is instrumental in brainstorming sessions, particularly when teams are identifying and dissecting potential causes of a specific problem or issue within a project. This project management chart helps identify underlying factors that may not be immediately apparent.

Cause-and-effect charts let team members conduct in-depth analysis by visually highlighting project variables and their potential effects. It's a useful tool for breaking complicated problems into more manageable parts, enabling a rigorous look at each component and how it affects the project.

Best for: Teams that are dealing with complex problems, especially in projects where pinpointing and understanding root causes are critical for successful resolutions and project success.

9. SWOT analysis chart

A SWOT analysis chart assesses a project's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When working on agile projects , this kind of overview is especially important for coming up with good strategies and smart choices.

This project management chart enables teams to align their objectives with internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. This helps them understand their position in the face of project challenges and changes in the market.

Best for: Agile teams looking to adapt and pivot their strategies in response to changing project dynamics and external factors.

Project management charts best for executing

Once you’ve finished the planning process, use project charts to execute your work. Track exactly who’s doing what, by when, and why. Keep your team on track with a central source of information and update them on any changes in real-time. 

Let’s take a look at the six best project management charts for executing work: 

10. Kanban boards

Kanban boards are a way to visualize work that needs to get done, especially as work moves through stages. You may have seen these created out of sticky notes or on a whiteboard.

Virtual Kanban board tools are more dynamic task management tools—they allow you to track the progress of work across different stages in real time. While these stages vary from team to team, yours may include New, Ready, In Progress, Drafting, Hold, and Complete.

Best for: Teams that embrace continuous improvement and prefer to work in successive stages with clear deliverables. This project management chart helps to visualize the stages within a project. 

[Product UI] Brand campaign Kanban board in Asana (Boards)

11. Pareto charts

The Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. Use a Pareto chart to visualize project tasks based on this 80/20 rule. It’s an excellent data visualization tool that typically combines elements of a bar graph and a line graph, where individual tasks are represented as bars on the vertical axis and their cumulative impact is shown by a line graph on the horizontal axis. 

Pareto chart

You can use this type of project management chart to identify priorities and make the best decisions for your team. Consider which tasks will have the biggest impact with just 20% of your team’s time. This will help align smaller tasks with larger goals and give your team clear direction. 

Best for: Teams who have a heavy workload and need help prioritizing projects. A Pareto chart helps to organize tasks by priority, so you can make the biggest impact. 

12. RACI Chart

By outlining roles and duties within project teams, the RACI chart encourages accountability and openness. It categorizes each team member as r esponsible, a ccountable, c onsulted, or i nformed for every task. By outlining job ownership, a RACI chart makes sure each team member is aware of their individual responsibilities and the demands made of them.

This project management chart is particularly effective in minimizing misunderstandings and ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page throughout the project lifecycle.

Best for: Multi-stakeholder projects benefit from this approach because it simplifies communication, clarifies roles and responsibilities, and lowers the possibility of duplicate or overlooked tasks.

13. Project timelines

A project timeline helps you stay on track so you can hit your deadlines. Map out project progress and connect smaller tasks to larger business goals with a project timeline. 

To get started, create a project timeline by listing out your to-dos, estimating the duration of each initiative, and mapping out dependencies. Once your timeline is in place, share it with all of your project stakeholders so they have real-time insight into your initiatives and deadlines, as well as any changes you make along the way. 

Best for: Teams looking to stay on track with tight deadlines. Project timelines help visualize the work needed to reach goals. 

14. Fishbone diagrams

Use a fishbone (Ishikawa) diagram to represent issues or bottlenecks within a project. This type of diagram is also commonly referred to as a cause-and-effect chart. In a fishbone diagram, the head of the fish represents the issue or bottleneck you’re trying to resolve, while the ribs represent different categories and associated tasks. 

You can use a fishbone diagram to solve solutions for root cause issues with the help of your team members. Examples of issues include a lack of resources and incorrect project data. 

Best for: Teams who struggle to solve project issues in real time. The fishbone diagram helps connect issues to potential solutions so you can identify the next best steps. 

15. Control charts

A control chart is a way to visualize project changes. You can use a control chart to understand how long tasks take to complete compared to the allocated resources. This will give you a true picture of the project’s progress over time. 

To create a control chart, start by determining an upper and lower limit—such as task duration or number of resources—to represent set milestones. Erratic changes that exceed these limits symbolize drastic fluctuations. Once you identify those fluctuations with your control chart, you can quickly address and resolve them.

Best for: Teams that struggle with solving issues that derail or postpone projects. This type of project management chart helps you stay on track with allotted resources.

Project management charts to use for reporting

A critical—but sometimes overlooked—part of project management is reporting on work once it’s finished. It’s amazing if you’re able to hit your project goals, but without a way to report on your work, your team can’t learn from your successes—or mistakes. 

Effective project charts for reporting give you an opportunity to l earn valuable lessons from your project and apply those lessons moving forward. 

To get started, check out these five types of project management charts for reporting:

16. Bar charts

A bar chart is a traditional approach to visualizing project data. The purpose of a bar chart is to measure project variables based on milestones. With its simple format and versatile components, it’s no wonder so many teams use bar charts. 

You can create a bar chart by plotting the variables of your choosing, such as task hours or project cost, on the X and Y axes. This design allows you to quickly digest project data and share it with key stakeholders. 

While you can create bar charts by hand, the best way to generate this type of chart is to create it with a universal reporting tool . When your bar chart is directly connected to your team's work, you can reduce manual work and duplicative tasks and dedicate more time to high-impact initiatives.

Best for: Teams looking for a simple way to visualize project components. A bar chart helps to analyze various project variables against goals 

[Product UI] Universal reporting interactive dashboards in Asana (Search & Reporting)

17. Burndown charts

A burndown chart is a visual representation of the remaining work vs. the time required to complete it. You can use a burndown chart to estimate task duration, analyze issues, and determine your project completion date.

The purpose of this project management chart is to accurately plan for future resources based on data. To create a burndown chart, plot the estimated task duration against the actual time on the chart. This will give you a visualization of the ideal vs. actual work duration. 

Best for: Teams looking to analyze the estimated work time vs. the actual. A burndown chart helps to determine project due dates. 

18. Burn up charts

A burn up chart differs from a burndown chart in that it represents the amount of work left to complete, rather than the duration. In short, it tracks project progress as opposed to time. 

To create a burn up chart, plot the ideal tasks remaining against the actual number of tasks remaining. This will give you a clear understanding of where you need additional resources. You can use both a burndown chart and a burn up chart together to understand the full picture of team efficiency.

Best for: Teams looking to analyze the estimated vs. actual amount of work. A burn up chart helps determine resource allocation . 

19. Pie charts

A pie chart is a traditional design similar to a bar chart, though it differs in visual layout. A pie chart breaks down different components within a project. For example, if you anticipate the research phase to account for 10% of the project and it exceeds 20%, you know where to begin analyzing areas for improvement.

Pie chart

You can use a pie chart to track significant components within a large project to better understand resource allocation and important metrics and insights. 

Best for: Teams looking to understand the breakdown of a given project. This project management chart helps your team visualize multiple components against each other to determine where you’re spending the most time or resources. 

20. Status report chart

The status report chart, also referred to as a dashboard, offers detailed updates and overviews of a project's progress. By integrating timeline views and data visualization, a status report chart provides a clear and concise representation of the project's current status, milestones, and potential challenges.

This comprehensive project management chart serves as a visual summary, showing key aspects such as progress, resource allocation, budget status, and upcoming deadlines. It's a valuable tool for keeping stakeholders informed and engaged while also facilitating data-driven decision-making processes.

Best for: projects that need to keep stakeholders up to date on progress and status on a regular basis.

Advantages of project management charts

Effective project management is key to the success of any venture, large or small. You can improve the effectiveness and clarity of your project planning and execution by implementing different types of project management charts. These charts are not just tools for organizations; they are vital in steering a project towards success. Here are some of the key advantages:

Visualization of complex data. Project management charts turn complex project data into clear, digestible visual formats. For all team members to comprehend and interact with the information, this simplification is essential. It will enable better decision-making and a successful project conclusion.

Improved project planning: Project management charts are indispensable in creating detailed plans and schedules. They provide a roadmap for the project, highlighting key milestones and deadlines, which are essential for keeping the project on track and ensuring timely completion.

Streamlined team communication: One of the biggest challenges in any project is maintaining clear and consistent communication . Charts offer a visual representation of project status and updates, making it easier for team members to stay informed and aligned.

Tracking and reporting progress: Monitoring the ongoing progress of a project is important. Project management charts provide a visual tool for tracking development against planned objectives and make it easier to report on the project's status to stakeholders and make adjustments as needed.

Visualize your work and increase clarity

A project management chart can help your team better digest project information through simple visuals. This can help you streamline project planning by setting clear expectations up front. 

While there are many different types of project charts to choose from, project management software makes building diagrams easy. From shuffling between projects and tasks to keeping feedback and team communication in one place, a project management tool can help you accomplish your goals. 

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Every type of project management diagram you’ll ever need

Georgina Guthrie

Georgina Guthrie

August 23, 2023

From radiation and falling rocks to icy roads and hungry sharks — when you need someone to understand something in a hurry, only a picture will do. While only slightly less dramatic, the business world employs diagrams for that very same reason: simplicity. 

This is because the brain processes images 6,000 times faster than text , which makes them something of a secret weapon when you need to share information in a way people understand. But what is a diagram in the business world, exactly? Allow us to explain.

Different types of diagrams

Diagrams help us simplify complex data, visualize abstract concepts, and plan detailed projects while bypassing pages upon pages of text. They come in a variety of formats, each best suited to conveying specific types of information. 

Or in other words — to get the most out of your diagram, you need to choose the right one for the job. So — what do you want to do?

I want to map out my ideas

To kick off brainstorming sessions and organize ideas or thoughts, you’ll want the following:

  • Lotus blossom diagram 

I want to visualize hierarchical or structural information 

These diagrams are ideal for representing organizational structures, taxonomies, and other hierarchical or branching relationships.

Organizational chart

  • Tree Diagram or dendrogram

Pyramid or triangle chart

I want to illustrate a process or sequence .

If you’re looking to depict decision pathways, steps in a process, or the sequence of events, these diagrams have got your back. 

  • Feedback loop

Decision tree

Gantt chart, fishbone diagram, i want to analyze and prioritize.

For prioritization, strategic analyses, or comparisons (e.g. brand comparisons), these diagrams can be effective.

Matrix or quadrant chart

Venn diagram.

  • SWOT analysis diagram
  • Perceptual diagram (aka positioning map) 

I want to visualize proportional or distributional data

When you need to depict proportions or distributions, these diagrams come in pretty handy:

  • Circle diagram (pie chart, doughnut chart)

Stacked bar chart

I want to describe user or customer experiences .

To map user experiences or illustrate a conversion processes, consider the following:

Funnel chart

  • Journey map

There are myriad other diagrams beyond these, but the above are the most commonly used and understood business diagrams you’ll encounter in the workplace. 

How to choose the right diagram for your needs: A step-by-step guide 

With so many options, how do you make the right choice? It starts by taking a close look at what you’re trying to accomplish.

Let’s unpack some key considerations.

Understand your purpose

The first step is getting crystal clear on your purpose. What are you trying to achieve with this diagram? Are you mapping out a process, brainstorming ideas, analyzing data, or illustrating relationships? Different diagrams have distinct strengths, so start by identifying your main goal. 

Consider your audience

Next, keep your audience in mind. Who will be viewing this diagram? Is it for a team of engineers, executives, or perhaps customers? What’s their level of familiarity with the subject matter? What kind of visual language will they best respond to? 

Knowing your audience will guide you in choosing a diagram that is functional, but also user-friendly and engaging.

Identify the complexity of information

The level of detail in your information should also be a guiding star. If you’re dealing with a complex process with many steps or variables, a flowchart or a decision tree could be useful. If you need to show hierarchical relationships, then a tree diagram or an organizational chart might be your best bet.

Think about the diagram’s scalability

Don’t forget to consider the scalability of your diagram. If your data or process is expected to evolve over time, will the diagram adapt well to these changes? Some diagrams are easier to modify than others, so it’s important to consider future updates when selecting the right diagram. 

You’ll also want to think about the format here — paper and pen/whiteboards are great for quick diagrams, but if this is something you need to keep, share, and/or modify over time, you’ll want an online diagramming tool .

Reflect on aesthetics

And last, but certainly not least, consider looks. A visually pleasing diagram can make all the difference when it comes to engagement and comprehension. While this shouldn’t be your primary criterion, choosing a diagram type that can be made visually appealing (while still effectively communicating the information) is a good shout. 

18 types of diagrams (and how to use them) 

Here’s a bumper list of the most popular diagrams, with tips on how to make and use them. 

The starting point of great ideas, mind maps are a fantastic tool for brainstorming and organizing thoughts. They offer a creative way to capture your thinking process and provide a springboard for creativity. 

What is a mind map?

A mind map is a visual representation of hierarchical information that starts with a central idea, with related concepts branching out like the limbs of a tree. It uses color, imagery, and spatial arrangement to provide context and improve memory retention. The radial structure allows for a broad exploration of thoughts and their interconnections.

project presentation diagram

When to use a mind map

Mind maps are incredibly versatile. They are commonly used in the early stages of projects or tasks, where brainstorming and ideation are key. Here are a few scenarios where a mind map can come in handy:

  • Brainstorming : They can help stimulate free association and generate a multitude of ideas.
  • Planning : They’re excellent for structuring your thoughts and planning projects, articles, presentations, etc.
  • Problem-solving: They can help visualize the problem and possible solutions.
  • Note-taking: They can capture the key points of a lecture or meeting in a structured manner.
  • Learning and revision: They can simplify complex topics, making it easier to understand and remember.

Lotus blossom map

The lotus blossom map is a method for structured brainstorming, allowing a deeper dive into each idea with each layer of ‘petals’. It nurtures creativity by encouraging the exploration of related concepts and insights.

What is a lotus blossom map?

A lotus blossom map is a graphical tool used to explore the extensions of a central theme or challenge. Imagine a grid where the center box holds the main idea, surrounded by eight boxes, each representing a related concept. Each of these secondary ideas can further blossom into eight more ideas, forming the petals of the ‘lotus.’

project presentation diagram

When to use a lotus blossom map

This diagram is ideal when you need an expansive view of an idea or challenge. Here are some circumstances where the lotus blossom map might be your best bet:

  • Idea expansion : It encourages users to delve deeper into sub-ideas and explore possible avenues.
  • Product development : Useful for identifying potential features or improvements.
  • Solution finding : When faced with a challenge, it can provide multiple solutions by branching out.
  • Concept teaching: In education, it aids in breaking down a topic into its core components and related subtopics.
  • Brainstorming : When a mind map feels too broad, the lotus blossom offers a more structured approach.

Matrix or quadrant charts are compelling tools in the professional world, particularly when it comes to strategic decision-making and data analysis. Let’s demystify what they are and how you can put them to work.

What is a matrix or quadrant chart?

A matrix or quadrant chart is a two-dimensional diagram divided into four quadrants, typically using two axes to represent two dimensions. Each quadrant represents a different outcome or category. Data points or items are plotted within this chart based on their values along the two axes. This chart type effectively enables a quick comparative view of multiple dimensions.

project presentation diagram

When to use a matrix or quadrant chart

A matrix chart is a versatile tool, making it a favorite among business strategists, project managers, and data analysts. Here’s where it comes in useful:

  • Strategic analysis : They’re commonly used for SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) or for prioritizing initiatives based on impact and feasibility.
  • Risk assessment : They can help visualize risk vs. reward scenarios, categorizing items based on their level of risk and potential return.
  • Project management: They’re often used to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, a concept famously known as the Eisenhower Matrix.
  • Product management: They can be used for stakeholder analysis or for categorizing features based on user value and development effort.

Venn diagrams have been a staple in our educational and professional lives, helping us visually dissect the relationships between different groups of items.

What is a Venn diagram?

A Venn diagram uses overlapping circles or other shapes to illustrate the logical relationships between two or more sets of items. Each circle represents a set, and the area where the circles overlap represents commonality between the sets. Essentially, Venn diagrams are a visually appealing way of showing how much different groups have in common, and how they differ.

project presentation diagram

When to use a Venn diagram

The uses of Venn diagrams are varied and many:

  • Comparisons and contrasts: Venn diagrams shine when it comes to comparing and contrasting different sets. They visualize shared and unique characteristics of items or ideas.
  • Logical relationships: They’re excellent for visualizing intersections between different sets, such as shared traits in a population.
  • Problem solving : They’re useful in logical problem solving, by clearly illustrating overlap between different elements or categories.
  • Data classification: They can be used to visually classify data into various categories and identify their intersections.

Circle diagram

When it comes to showcasing proportionality and distribution, few diagrams are as intuitive and universally understood as the circle diagram.

What is a circle diagram?

A circle diagram, often referred to as a pie chart or doughnut chart, is a type of diagram that represents data in a circular format, with slices of the circle illustrating different categories. The size of each slice is proportional to the quantity it represents from the whole.

When to use a circle diagram

A circle diagram’s strength lies in its simplicity and its ability to present proportional or percentage data effectively.

  • Budget breakdown: They’re great for visualizing how a total budget is divided among different departments or expenditures.
  • Market share: They can illustrate the distribution of market share among competitors.
  • Survey results: They’re handy for showing the distribution of responses to a multiple-choice survey question.
  • Demographic data: They can represent different segments of a population.

A champion of comparative analysis, stacked bar charts efficiently represent parts of a whole over different categories. They provide an immediate visual comparison between individual subgroups and the overall scenario.

What is a stacked bar chart?

A stacked bar chart is a variant of the bar chart where segments of different categories are stacked over one another. This structure allows for an individual category’s size comparison and the collective totals, offering a two-dimensional assessment.

When to use a stacked bar chart

Stacked bar charts shine in situations where it’s crucial to understand the composition and cumulative effect:

  • Market segmentation : Understanding different product sales across various regions.
  • Budget analysis: Comparing expenditures across departments, with breakdowns for each category.
  • Time series analysis: Observing how different segments evolve over time.
  • Survey results: Displaying answers from multiple-choice questions to view overall trends.
  • Performance metrics: Evaluating various components contributing to the total performance.

Tree diagram or dendrogram

For visualizing hierarchical or branching information, tree diagrams or dendrograms provide an organized, intuitive layout. Let’s take a deeper look:

What is a tree diagram or dendrogram?

A tree diagram, also known as a dendrogram, is a diagram that displays hierarchical relationships in a tree-like structure. The diagram starts with a single node, which then branches off into two or more nodes, each of which may further branch off, and so forth. Each branch represents a possible outcome or decision.

When to use a tree diagram or dendrogram

Tree diagrams are incredibly versatile and can be used in many scenarios where hierarchical or sequential data is involved:

  • Decision making: They can be used to map out various potential outcomes of a decision, helping in decision analysis.
  • Project planning : They can be used to break down a project into smaller, manageable tasks, making them great for project management.
  • Hierarchy display: They’re excellent for showing hierarchical relationships, such as in organizational charts or website structures.
  • Probability analysis: They can be used in statistics to graphically represent different outcomes and their probabilities.

The pyramid or triangle chart, a go-to for demonstrating hierarchical structures or processes that build upon each stage, is up next on our exploration of diagrams.

What is a pyramid or triangle chart?

A pyramid or triangle chart is a type of diagram that uses a triangular structure to represent data. It is typically divided into horizontal sections, each representing a different level of the hierarchy or stage of a process. The width of each section represents its level’s size or importance, with the widest at the base and the narrowest at the top.

When to use a pyramid or triangle chart?

Pyramid charts are an excellent tool for visually displaying information that naturally forms a hierarchy or has a progression. Here are a few situations where pyramid charts can shine:

  • Hierarchical data: They effectively illustrate hierarchical structures, such as management levels in an organization.
  • Progressive processes : They’re great for visualizing processes that progress in stages, such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or stages of consumer decision-making.
  • Population data: In demographics, they’re used to display the distribution of various age groups in a population (population pyramid).
  • Energy transfer: In sciences, they can represent energy flow or transfer in an ecosystem (energy pyramid).

If you’re dealing with stages in a process that narrow down from a large initial group to a smaller final one, a funnel chart is an especially effective tool.

What is a funnel chart?

A funnel chart is a type of diagram that represents stages in a process where the quantity decreases over time, much like a physical funnel. Each stage is represented by a horizontal bar, and the width of the bar corresponds to the quantity or percentage at that stage. 

project presentation diagram

When to use a funnel chart

Funnel charts are excellent for displaying conversion rates across multiple stages in a process. Here are a few situations where funnel charts are typically used:

  • Sales and marketing funnel: A funnel chart is perfect for visualizing the sales or marketing process, from initial lead generation to final sale, showing potential customers’ drop-off points in the process.
  • Conversion analysis: Funnel charts are commonly used in web analytics to visualize the conversion funnel, helping to identify where users exit the conversion process.
  • Lead qualification : They can illustrate the stages of a sales process from prospecting to closing a deal.

Journey map 

When looking to understand and enhance the customer experience, there’s no better tool than a journey map. By offering a visual narrative of the customer’s experience, a journey map helps you get into the shoes of your users.

What is a journey map?

A journey map, aka a customer journey map , is a visual representation of a user’s experience with a product or service over time and across different channels or touchpoints. It provides a narrative of a user’s interaction from their perspective, mapping out their needs, perceptions, and emotions at each stage of their journey.

project presentation diagram

When to use a journey map?

Journey maps are essential tools in user experience (UX) and service design:

  • Customer experience understanding : A journey map helps to understand a customer’s experience by visualizing their interactions with a product or service, capturing their feelings, motivations, and questions for each touchpoint.
  • Service design: Journey maps are used to identify customer needs and pain points, highlighting opportunities to improve the service.
  • Product development: They provide insights into how a product or service can be enhanced to better meet user needs and expectations.

Whether you’re looking at strategic planning or defining the direction of a product, roadmaps serve as an invaluable tool. By providing a high-level view of the goal and the major steps or milestones needed to get there, roadmaps align teams and stakeholders toward a common vision. 

What is a roadmap?

A roadmap is a strategic plan that outlines a goal or desired outcome and includes the major steps or milestones needed to reach it. It is often visual and timeline-based, which helps communicate not just the ‘what’ but also the ‘when’ behind what you’re building. 

project presentation diagram

When to use a roadmap?

Roadmaps are excellent tools for high-level strategic planning and communication:

  • Strategic planning : Roadmaps effectively communicate the strategic vision, outlining the key initiatives that drive towards the organization’s goals.
  • Product development: Product roadmaps help plan and communicate the direction and progress of product development over time. 
  • Project prioritization: They assist in project prioritization, offering a clear picture of what projects or features are in the pipeline and how they align with the broader strategy.

Gantt charts are a staple tool in project management. They provide a clear visual representation of a project schedule, allowing for easy planning and tracking of tasks and milestones.

What is a Gantt chart?

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that represents a project schedule. It displays tasks along a timeline, showing the start and finish dates of the various components of a project. Dependencies between tasks are represented by arrows.

project presentation diagram

When to use a Gantt chart

Gantt charts are excellent tools for detailed project scheduling and management:

  • Project planning: A Gantt chart helps in project planning by breaking down the project into tasks, assigning durations to them, and setting the sequence in which they should be completed
  • Project scheduling : It provides a clear visual schedule of the project, making it easier to understand and communicate the plan
  • Task dependencies: Gantt charts are also useful in identifying and illustrating task dependencies, the relationships between different tasks that dictate the order of operations
  • Project tracking: They allow project managers to track the progress against the plan, making it easier to identify if a project is running on schedule or falling behind.

Flowcharts are one of the most versatile and widely-used tools. They map out the sequence of steps in a process, making complex procedures easy to understand and follow.

What is a flowchart?

A flowchart is a type of diagram that represents a workflow or process. It displays the steps as boxes of various kinds, and their order of execution is indicated by arrows connecting the boxes. 

project presentation diagram

A flowchart created via one of Cacoo’s many flowchart templates

When to use a flowchart

Flowcharts are perfect for situations where you need to map out and analyze the steps in a process:

  • Process understanding : A flowchart is an excellent tool to visualize a process or workflow in its entirety, making it easier to understand and follow.
  • Process documentation: Flowcharts can serve as effective documentation of processes, useful in training materials or manuals.
  • Problem-solving: They help in identifying bottlenecks or inefficiencies in a process, aiding problem-solving and process improvement efforts.
  • Decision making: Some flowcharts, known as decision trees, can be used to guide decision-making processes, indicating different outcomes based on different decisions.

Feedback loop 

When it comes to understanding and improving systems or behaviors, feedback loops are heavy hitters. They reveal the consequences of actions, providing an opportunity for adjustment and improvement. 

What is a feedback loop?

In systems theory, a feedback loop is a process where the outputs of a system are circled back and used as inputs. It shows how a change in one direction leads to further change in the same or opposite direction. Feedback loops can be either positive, where the output amplifies the system, or negative, where the output dampens the system to maintain equilibrium. They often take a flowchart-like appearance, with boxes and arrows showing the movement of items.

When to use a feedback loop

Feedback loops are widely used in various fields, including:

  • System analysis: In system dynamics and modeling, feedback loops help understand how different elements of a system interact and affect each other.
  • Behavioral changes: They are used in psychology to understand how feedback influences behavior and to encourage desirable behaviors.
  • Business management: Businesses use feedback loops for continuous improvement, analyzing customer feedback and adjusting products, services, or processes accordingly.
  • Climate science: In climate science, feedback loops explain how changes to the environment can lead to further changes, such as the melting of polar ice leading to more heat absorption and further warming.

Decision trees give you a graphical representation of possible outcomes and paths, enabling structured and informed decision-making. 

What is a decision tree?

A decision tree is a flowchart-like diagram that shows the various outcomes from a series of decisions. It can be used to visually represent a decision problem, helping to identify the strategy most likely to reach a goal.

When to use a decision tree?

Decision trees are perfect for situations where you need to weigh complex options and outcomes:

  • Decision-making: They can help visualize and navigate through complex decision-making scenarios, showcasing potential outcomes and the path to each.
  • Risk assessment: Decision trees are effective in evaluating the potential risks and rewards of decisions, useful in fields like investment and project management.
  • Data analysis: In machine learning and data mining, decision trees are used as a predictive model which maps observations about an item to conclusions about the item’s target value.

When it comes to problem-solving and root cause analysis, Fishbone diagrams, also known as Ishikawa or Cause-and-Effect diagrams, are your BFF. They help teams to identify, explore, and visually display the potential causes of a specific problem or quality issue.

What is a fishbone diagram?

A fishbone diagram is a visual tool used to identify and present the possible root of a particular problem. Its structure resembles the skeleton of a fish (hence the name) with the ‘ribs’ representing potential causes, which are grouped into categories.

project presentation diagram

When to use a fishbone diagram?

Fishbone diagrams come in handy when you need to dig deep into a problem:

  • Problem-solving: They are used in troubleshooting sessions to identify the root cause of a problem. This helps you focus on the cause and not just treating the symptoms.
  • Quality control: In the field of quality management, fishbone diagrams help you identify potential factors causing an overall effect in systems and processes.
  • Process improvement: They aid in process improvement by helping to identify the elements of a process that can be enhanced or changed.

Organizational charts illustrate the roles and an organization’s hierarchy, giving employees a clear understanding of their position within the broader context. 

What is an organizational chart?

An organizational chart, also known as an org chart or organogram, is a diagram that displays the structure of an organization and the relationships and relative ranks of its parts and positions. It gives an illustrative overview of the organization’s management levels and divisions.

project presentation diagram

An org chart template in Cacoo

When to use an organizational chart?

Organizational charts are primarily used for:

  • Understanding organizational structure : An org chart can quickly provide a snapshot of the organization’s structure, making it easier to understand the various roles and departments within the organization.
  • Onboarding and training: They are used for onboarding and training materials to help new employees understand the organizational hierarchy and their role within it.
  • Planning and reorganizing : Organizational charts are useful for planning personnel changes and organizational restructuring.
  • Communication : They facilitate better communication by providing clarity on who reports to whom and who is responsible for what areas.

SWOT analysis diagram 

SWOT analysis diagrams offer a structured way to evaluate an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats — hence the acronym!

What is a SWOT analysis diagram?

A SWOT analysis diagram is a matrix used to identify and analyze the internal and external factors that can impact the viability of a project, product, place or person. It’s composed of four quadrants, each dedicated to one element: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

project presentation diagram

When to use a SWOT analysis diagram

A SWOT analysis diagram is useful in numerous scenarios:

  • Strategic planning: It provides a structured way to evaluate the internal and external factors that influence strategic goals and initiatives.
  • Business decisions : It’s an effective tool for making business decisions, helping you weigh different aspects and see the bigger picture.
  • Problem-solving: It assists in identifying the various factors contributing to a problem and in mapping out potential solutions.
  • Product development: It guides product development by identifying the strengths to leverage, weaknesses to address, opportunities to pursue, and threats to mitigate.

Perceptual (positioning) map

A strategic tool in every marketing team’s arsenal, perceptual maps visually represent how consumers view brands or products in the market. They capture the essence of brand positioning and competition in a two-dimensional space.

What is a perceptual (positioning) map?

A perceptual map plots brands or products based on two dimensions, typically representing attributes or feelings consumers associate with them. By plotting brands on this map, companies can identify gaps in the market, potential niches, or how their brand is perceived compared to competitors.

When to use a perceptual (positioning) map

This tool is particularly crucial for market analysis and strategy development. Some of its applications include:

  • Competitive analysis: Understand where your brand stands in comparison to rivals.
  • Market gap identification: Spotting opportunities for new products or repositioning.
  • Brand strategy: Crafting narratives or campaigns based on how you want to position or reposition your brand.
  • Consumer insights: Gauging how shifts in consumer preferences or perceptions impact the market landscape.
  • Product development: Guiding product features based on desired market positioning.

Why use diagrams?

Diagrams are more than just doodles on a page; they’re your secret weapon when it comes to communicating ideas. Here’s why you should make them your go-to tools. 

Breaking down the complex

Diagrams have a knack for turning the complex into the comprehensible. A well-crafted diagram is like a good translator — it takes a difficult concept and expresses it in a language we can all understand. That’s why we see diagrams across all kinds of fields, from education to business to engineering, breaking down big ideas into digestible visual pieces.

Seeing the connections

Diagrams are the pros of showing relationships and structures. Want to understand how roles in a company interlink? An organizational chart has your back. Need to follow a process step-by-step? Flowcharts are your guides. Trying to identify cause-and-effect relationships? Fishbone Diagrams can be your detectives. With diagrams, the interconnections are right there for you to see.

Making decisions and solving problems

Diagrams aren’t just about understanding; they’re also about action. They’re the toolkit for decision-making and problem-solving, helping you spot patterns, uncover potential solutions, and weigh up risks. When you’re facing a tough choice, a Decision Tree can show you the way. When you’re sizing up a business venture, a SWOT analysis diagram can help you assess the field. When there’s a problem to be solved, a Fishbone Diagram can help you get to the root of it.

Boosting memory 

Remember studying for exams? A good diagram can often make the difference between a ‘fuzzy concept’ and a ‘clear idea.’ When you turn information into a visual format, it sticks. It’s easier to recall, making diagrams great buddies for studying, planning, and presenting.

Powering up communication and collaboration

Finally, let’s not forget that diagrams are communication superheroes. They provide a shared visual language that teams can rally around. They ensure everyone’s on the same wavelength and serve as a handy reference point for discussions, brainstorming sessions, or project collaborations.

What’s in a diagram? diagram anatomy

Diagrams can seem complex at first glance. They’re intricate and layered, filled with different components that all work together. 

A key component of any diagram is the frame. This gives you the structure, serving as the container for the rest of the elements; a little like how the skeleton forms the structure to the human body. The frame could take many forms: a circle, a grid, a pyramid, or a box, depending on the type of diagram you’re working with. It’s the blueprint that guides the placement and arrangement of the rest of the components.

Lines play a pivotal role in diagrams. They connect the various parts of the diagram, acting as the pathways that guide the eye and the mind. Lines can represent different types of relationships or sequences, and the style of the line (solid, dashed, dotted) and direction of any arrows can communicate even more detail about the nature of these relationships.

Labels give context and clarity. They’re the words, phrases, or sentences that add detail and meaning to the diagram. They help to identify what each symbol or shape represents and can provide additional information or explanations. Labels can be found within shapes, along lines, or even outside the main frame of the diagram.

Shapes or symbols

Shapes and symbols are the visual representation of the information or data. They’re the icons that stand in for different elements, ideas, or steps within the diagram. Shapes and symbols can be simple geometric forms or more complex icons, and their meaning can vary widely depending on the type of diagram.

Colors, though not always necessary, can greatly enhance a diagram. They can be used to distinguish between different elements, highlight important points, or convey additional information. Used strategically, colors can make a diagram more visually appealing and easier to understand.

Why diagramming tools are your secret weapon

Ever tried assembling a piece of furniture without the right tools? It can be quite the challenge, right? The same can be said when creating a diagram. 

Yes, you can sketch a diagram on a piece of paper, but the process can become laborious and less effective when the complexity increases. This is where diagramming tools come into the picture, and we’d argue that they’re your secret weapon for crafting clear, compelling diagrams. Here’s why:

Streamlined design process

Diagramming tools provide an easy-to-use, intuitive interface that allows you to create and edit diagrams swiftly. They come with drag-and-drop functionality and a library of shapes, symbols, and templates that you can use to construct your diagram. This saves you time and makes the design process smooth and efficient.

Consistent and professional appearance

The beauty of a diagramming tool is that it gives your diagrams a consistent and professional appearance. The standard shapes, lines, and text elements ensure uniformity across all of your creations. This can be particularly useful if you’re creating diagrams for business or academic purposes where the presentation matters as much as the information.

Easy editing and updating

Imagine having to erase and redraw portions of a hand-drawn diagram every time there’s an update or change. Not fun, right? With diagramming tools, making changes is as simple as a few clicks. You can add, remove, or adjust elements without disturbing the rest of your creation. 

Collaboration made easy

Many modern diagramming tools offer collaborative features. This means you and your team can work together on the same diagram, no matter where you are. Everyone can contribute, make edits, and leave comments in real-time. This streamlines the teamwork process, making it easier to gather input and reach a final version.

Easy to share and present

Once you’ve finished your diagram, diagramming tools allow you to share your work effortlessly. You can export your diagram in various formats (like PDF or PNG), embed it on a webpage, or even present it directly from the tool. This means your work can easily be included in reports, presentations, or shared directly with stakeholders.

Scalability and complexity management

As your information becomes more complex, a diagramming tool can keep up. These tools are designed to handle anything from a simple Venn diagram to a complex process flow or organizational chart. They allow you to manage the complexity without losing the clarity.

A good diagramming tool doesn’t just help you create diagrams; it allows for a more effective and efficient design process, promotes collaboration, and ensures your final product is clear, professional, and impactful. Now that sounds like a secret weapon worth having, doesn’t it? 

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Top 14 project management charts (2024 guide).

Senior Coaching Program Manager

October 12, 2020

Who doesn’t love charts?

They’re usually bright, visually appealing, and can make even the most snore-worthy presentations slightly more bearable. 

And when it comes to project management, they serve another important function:

A project management chart breaks down project-related data into easily digestible pieces and helps keep everyone on the same page.  

There’s one problem though:

As everyone’s realized how handy charts can be, there are hundreds of project management charts available, with each suitable for different situations.

And while having a selection to choose from isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can make things pretty confusing. But don’t worry, we’re going to make sure you find the right project management diagram or chart for your project.

In this article, we’ll cover what a project management chart is and highlight the most popular one . We’ll also list ten other important project management charts that can help you manage projects efficiently.

  • What is a Project Management Chart?
  • What is a Gantt chart?

How ClickUp helps set up a powerful Gantt Chart

1. project timeline.

  • 2. Bar chart 

3. Cumulative flow chart

4. velocity chart, 5. burndown chart, 6. burnup chart, 7. pert chart, 8. work breakdown structure , 9. pareto chart , 10. stakeholder analysis matrix, 11. pie chart, 12. line chart, 13. cause and effect diagram.

Let’s get started!

What is a Project Management Chart ?

The best project management charts are visual representations of certain data that helps you manage multiple projects efficiently.

This data can be anything related to a project , like:

  • Number of tasks completed over time
  • Timeline of project events
  • Project management process

But can’t you use Powerpoint and Excel documents to keep track of these?  

Why do you need a project management chart ?

To start with, a project management chart helps you visualize data. 

Wait… we mean, you get all the information you need, via data visualization tools without having to go through the trouble of reading lengthy documents every time. 

But that’s not all. 

Project management charts also: 

  • Facilitate better project management and more efficient project team communication, as it provides in-depth and clear information
  • Manage resource allocation without the risk of overallocation or under allocation
  • Identify the current project and task progress at a glance (you won’t have to conduct never-ending review meetings anymore)
  • Easily analyze critical project planning data like budget and resource management , and project process with simpler project charts instead of manually going through large data-sets

The Most Popular Project Management Chart : Gantt Chart

Even if you don’t know much about project management charts , you’ve probably heard of “ Gantt charts ”.

I mean, if project management charts are superheroes of the project management tools universe, then this one is Batman and Superman rolled into one!

We’ve written an introduction to Gantt Chart project management if you’d like to learn more.

What is a Gantt chart ?

ClickUp Gantt chart

Get a visual overview of your project’s progress over a specific time duration.

It highlights crucial task details like:

  • Tasks within the project
  • Project task assignees
  • Your entire project timeline
  • Start and end date of each task
  • Resource allocated for each project task
  • Task dependencies

Wait… what are task dependencies ?

A task dependency is a relationship between tasks where a task needs to be completed before the dependent task can be attempted. For example, if task B is dependent on A, then you’ll need to complete A before you can tackle task B. Learn more about dependencies and task relationships in our in-depth guide.

So how are details like task duration and dependencies represented in a simple Gantt chart ?

Here’s how:

  • Tasks : each rectangle depicts individual tasks
  • Task duration : the start and endpoints of the rectangle. It can be represented in days, weeks, or months.
  • Task dependencies : the arrows shows the relationship between the tasks

This makes these visualization charts one of the quickest ways to manage your project schedule and resources. 

Want to learn more about how a modern Gantt chart works ? Check out our comprehensive article .

But how do you create and manage dynamic Gantt charts ?

By using a Gantt chart software !

ClickUp devices 2021

For those who aren’t familiar with ClickUp , it’s one of the world’s highest-rated project management tools used by super productive teams in companies from startups to giants like Google, Ubisoft, Airbnb, and Webflow. It’s the only tool you need for managing projects efficiently.

Undoubtedly the best in the project management circle, ClickUp’s Online Gantt Charts provide a way in which to lay out the entire project timeline from start to finish. 

So what sets this Gantt chart tool apart?

As project management charts are all about visual representation, ClickUp’s Gantt Charts are beautiful and extremely fun to use.

ClickUp’s Gantt chart maker also saves you from using Excel project management templates . 

I mean, why pick a Gantt chart template and add project data manually every time, when you can use ClickUp’s awesome automated Gantt charts for FREE ? 

Yes, you read that right.

This online Gantt chart tool’s Gantt view feature also comes with tons of automation.  

For added functionality, ClickUp’s charts:

  • Automatically readjust project task dependencies when tasks are rescheduled
  • Calculate the project progress percentage based on tasks completed/total tasks
  • Compare current vs. expected project progress
  • Help with workflow management
  • Calculate a project’s critical path to pick the tasks to be prioritized ( click here to learn about the critical path method )
  • Highlight important project Milestones

All you need is a quick look at ClickUp’s interactive Gantt chart and you’ll know how your project is progressing.

13 Other Important Project Management Charts

Let’s now learn about the other superheroes of this universe.

Can’t ask Batman to rescue us every time, can we?

Here’s a list of ten other project management charts that’ll help you with managing project progresses and project development steps:

project timeline chart

A timeline chart is a graphical representation of a sequence of milestones, deadlines, and other significant events involved in a project . 

This visual can help you:

  • Monitor the total time taken by a project  
  • Identify potential delays
  • Track project or task progress

Sounds like a Gantt chart ?

Nope, they’re different.

To start with, Gantt charts are much more detailed. And while a Timeline chart also shows project milestones, they lack:

  • Inter-dependencies of tasks
  • Resource allocation data

How ClickUp helps you draw up a Timeline

With ClickUp’s Timeline view feature, you can easily execute the project planning process and create visual roadmaps . Sorta like the Gantt Chart feature, but with multiple tasks per row.

In the Timeline view, you can:

  • View task and project schedule for a particular day, week, or month
  • Group tasks by assignee, priority, tags, and more
  • View unassigned tasks for the current viewing period
  • Track unscheduled and overdue tasks for improved project efficiency

2. Bar chart  

multi-colored bar chart

A bar chart highlights data as rectangular bars, with the heights and lengths of the bars proportional to the values and frequencies they represent. 

For example, in the above chart, you can see the number of tasks a person completed, with each color denoting a specific task stage.

Note : Bar and line graphs can be plotted both horizontally and vertically.

  • Displaying each category of data with its frequency distribution
  • Showing relative numbers of multiple categories
  • Portraying data trends better as it is frequency based 

With ClickUp, you can easily add a bar chart to your workspace.

Just add the Custom Widgets to your Dashboard to set up this management chart quickly. This way, you can visualize your workspace’s activity any way you want.

cumulative flow chart

A cumulative flow chart or cumulative flow diagram (CFD) highlights:

  • Project progress
  • Total backlog items 
  • Project sprints
  • Any bottlenecks hindering the project progress

It’s a useful tool for Agile and Kanban project and task management . Project managers can use this flowchart to visualize how tasks are progressing and quickly identify potential roadblocks.

In the above cumulative flow chart :

  • X-axis highlights the time frame
  • Y-axis highlights the user stories
  • Grey area shows project scope
  • Blue area shows work in progress items
  • Green area shows completed items

Check out our in-depth guide on cumulative flow charts here .

How ClickUp helps Project Managers Create a Cumulative Flow Chart 

ClickUp’s Cumulative Flow Diagrams help you easily monitor your project progress .

Unlike other charts, these powerful cumulative flow diagrams also color-code your tasks based on their current project status .

The benefits?

  • Use this to easily monitor task progress
  • You’ll be able to quickly identify project problems  before they snowball

And just like bar charts, you can easily set up a custom cumulative flow chart on your Dashboard using ClickUp’s Sprint Widgets .

Agile project management charts

There are three types of Agile project management charts to help you efficiently manage your Agile or Scrum projects:

  • Velocity charts
  • Burndown charts
  • Burnup charts

ClickUp velocity chart

A velocity chart gives you a visual representation of:

  • Overall status of your project
  • Total workload your project team can handle in the later sprints

Use this to monitor your team’s progress and overall productivity. 

Want to learn more about velocity charts? Here’s our detailed guide .

In ClickUp’s Velocity Charts, your tasks are split into weekly intervals which makes it super easy to understand.  

It also lets you choose any metric like tasks and time estimates as a unit of velocity.

What’s more?

These Velocity Charts are automated. The project tasks get automatically grouped in the bar chart based on Lists or Custom Fields . 

ClickUp Burndown chart

A burndown chart depicts the amount of work remaining in a project and the time remaining to complete it. 

It’s usually of two types:

  • Sprint burndown : track the work left in a specific sprint
  • Product burndown : track the work left in the entire project

For more information on burndown charts, click here .

Unlike other burndown charts, ClickUp’s Burndown Charts include a projected progress line. It depicts what your project progress will look like if you continue the same way . This helps you easily estimate how your project will progress further. 

ClickUp Burnup chart

A burnup chart represents the work completed and the total project work. 

Use this to see if things are going according to the plan as you can compare what’s been completed against the project scope. 

Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more about burnup charts.

With ClickUp’s color-coded Burnup Charts, you can easily track your project’s progress . 

In the above chart:

  • The grey line shows the total number of project tasks
  • The green line shows the number of tasks to be completed

pert chart for project management

Created by the US Navy in the 1950s, a PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique) chart lays out the project timeline as a network diagram . 

In a pert chart :

  • Nodes represent project milestones or events
  • Arrows denote tasks 

Use this to visualize complex projects and analyze tasks that you should tackle in order to successfully complete a project. It can also be used to determine the minimum time required to complete tasks or projects. 

However, as a pert chart focuses on deadlines, teams should update it regularly. Otherwise, you’ll be staring at unreliable estimations which could ultimately derail the project. 

We don’t want that to happen, right?    

Bonus: PERT Charts vs Gantt Charts                

Work breakdown structure (WBS) chart

A work breakdown structure ( WBS) lays out the project into a tree-like structure of tasks.  

It breaks down a project into smaller components which can be used to:

  • Organize the tasks involved
  • Assign tasks to project team members
  • Allocate resources
  • Identify potential risks

Additionally, splitting projects into manageable parts can help your team members tackle them with ease. Not only will this increase overall team productivity , but it’ll also give them a sense of accomplishment, boosting their morale. 

pareto chart example

A Pareto chart represents the frequency and the cumulative number of defects in a product or process.

It combines both a bar chart and line chart where the bar chart depicts the frequency and the line chart highlights the cumulative number of defects.

But what are these defects?

A defect can be anything affecting the quality of the process.

For example, the above graph depicts the reasons (defects) for arriving late for work. Here, the bars represent the frequency of defect and each point on the line shows the cumulation.

You can use a Pareto chart to:

  • Quickly visualize problems and their causes
  • Identify the most significant cause

While this management chart is mostly used for Six Sigma analysis, it can also be used for any project management method like Agile , Scrum , and Kanban . 

stakeholder analysis matrix project management chart

The stakeholder analysis matrix is a project management tool that visualizes stakeholders and their involvement in the project. 

Use this to identify:

  • Interests of the stakeholders
  • Potential issues and risks for stakeholder mapping
  • Mechanisms for positively influencing other stakeholders
  • Negative stakeholders and their effects on the project
  • Key people to be informed during the project execution phase

Additionally, in tricky situations, the stakeholder analysis matrix diagram can assist in your risk management plan. 

Check out these Matrix Templates !

pie chart with ClickUp statuses

As the name suggests, a pie chart is a graph that’s the shape of a pie!

A pie chart is divided into slices where each slice depicts a category of data. The arc length of each slice corresponds to the quantity it represents. 

What’s an arc length?

It’s the distance between one point of a slice to the other, on the circumference of the circle. 

To make things clearer, in the above pie chart, slice “Production 12 ” has the longest arc length and the slice “ Closed 1 ” has the shortest.

With ClickUp, you can easily add a pie chart to your workspace.

Just add Custom Widgets to this task management tool’s Dashboard and create your own pie chart based on any data. 

ClickUp line chart

A line chart is a graphical representation of data that changes over a specific period of time. It’s a continuous line formed over a series of data points. 

Use a line chart to quickly analyze the variables and trends in the data with the rise and fall of the line.

With ClickUp, this management chart can be easily added to your workspace. Just add Custom Widgets to this task management tool’s Dashboard and you can set up a line chart based on any data.

But that’s not all ClickUp can do!

For maximum functionality, this project management software offers tons of other features , like:

  • Project Management Automation : automate 50+ actions and even create your own
  • Custom Task Statuses : create any task status according to your project needs
  • Docs : create a project plan or detailed knowledge bases easily
  • Dependencies : ensure that individual tasks are attempted in the right sequence
  • Team Reporting : track your remote or in-house project team performance in real-time
  • Pulse : see your team’s activity across a specific time
  • Notepad : a personal notepad to quickly note down project planning ideas
  • Priorities : assign task priorities like low, normal, high, and urgent
  • Native Time Tracking : track the time projects and individual tasks take in ClickUp 
  • Collaboration Detection : know when someone works on the same task as you
  • Mobile Apps : powerful iOS and Android apps for managing project on the go

Cause and Effect Chart

A cause and effect diagram, also called an Ishikawa diagram, a why-why diagram, or fishbone diagram , helps you break down the causes of problem statements, ultimately leading you to discover the root cause of each problem.

Use cause and effect charts to analyze project data from the planning stage to project completion. This type of PMP project chart is popular for use in product design and quality management.

With ClickUp’s Whiteboard View , you can easily create a cause and effect diagram for the whole project. And, since this online whiteboard is real-time, it’s quick and convenient for project managers to collaborate and share project data that could help identify the causes and effects of problems.

A project management chart plays a key role in efficiently managing projects . 

And while online Gantt charts  are the most popular project management chart , you have other charts, like timeline and cumulative flow diagram, to help you out as well. 

Just go through the list of project management charts we covered here and you’ll easily know which ones fit you best.

But remember, without the right project tool you can’t take full advantage of these charts. 

That’s why you need a project planning tool like ClickUp!

Not only is it the best Gantt chart app in the market, but it also gives you a host of other powerful project management features.

So why not sign up for ClickUp today and ace project management with the perfect dash of visual creativity!

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12 Best Project Management Charts for Project Planning


Project management charts greatly help project managers plan, schedule and track progress on projects of all sizes. There are many types of project management charts and there’s one for each stage of the project life cycle such as project initiation or project closing charts, for example.

There are also planning charts, diagrams and matrices for each of the key 10 project management areas such as cost, schedule, resource or stakeholder management.

Luckily for project managers, there are many alternatives when it comes to choosing a project management chart to facilitate project planning efforts. In fact, using those charts is often a need for project managers. You’ll need to use a Gantt chart or a work breakdown structure to build your project plan, which is the foundation of your project.

What Are Project Management Charts?

Project management charts are visual representations of data that turn difficult project management concepts into easily digestible assets. They’re mostly used for project planning and take many shapes such as flowcharts, network diagrams or bar charts. Gantt charts, PERT charts, CPM diagrams and WBS diagrams are great examples.

Project management charts are especially useful when you’re communicating complex project planning information. They visualize data and turn complex concepts such as your project schedule or scope into digestible data for the project management team and stakeholders.

Data from project planning charts are even more useful when it’s tied to real-time project management software like ProjectManager . The software can take a static chart and turn it into a dynamic tool for planning, execution and reporting. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart, a very important project management chart

Top 10 Project Management Charts

Before considering which project management chart is best for you, it’s important that you first decide which project management methodology you’ll use as there are differences between waterfall and agile project planning. It’s also important to note that you’ll need a variety of project management charts as each serves different project planning purposes such as creating a project timeline, allocating project resources, planning project work and more.

Below, we’ve selected the best project management charts for project planning so you can decide which are best for your project.

1. Gantt Charts

Experienced project managers are familiar with the Gantt chart . It’s a dynamic bar chart that shows the project schedule on a timeline. Although Gantt charts started out as a basic tool, they’ve matured and include enticing features such as task dependencies that note when one task is related to another.

Gantt charts are essential for modern project planning and scheduling because they allow project managers to visualize all of the activities that make up the project on a timeline. They’re also useful to monitor progress once the execution phase begins.

ProjectManager's Free Gantt Chart Template

With new computing power, Gantt charts evolved from a basic bar chart to an essential project management tool that allows project managers to identify the critical path, assign tasks, establish task dependencies, generate a project timeline and much more. This is why most modern project planning software now includes Gantt charts.

Online Gantt Charts for More Flexibility

All Gantt charts aren’t equal; other project management software programs have Gantt charts, but they’re basic in functionality. ProjectManager offers Gantt chart features that the competition hasn’t yet considered.

To start, ProjectManager can import your task list and schedule from a static spreadsheet. If your plan was developed in Microsoft Project but you want to move that plan online to share with your team, know that ProjectManager facilitates the import of Microsoft Project files.

Once you have your project plan in ProjectManager, our online Gantt chart is a project management chart on steroids. You can link task dependencies to prevent team members from getting blocked. You can also assign tasks directly from the Gantt view which is an interactive project timeline that you can adjust in real time. Comment at the task level and all status updates are instantly reflected on the Gantt chart, which feeds into a real-time dashboard with project metrics that can be filtered and shared.

For more information on Gantt charts, watch the short video below. It outlines all the ways that Gantt charts can help you make a thorough and effective project plan.

Project management training video (fgc8zj1dix)

2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Diagram

One aspect of project planning is organizing project activities, deliverables and timelines. That’s where a work breakdown structure (WBS) comes in handy. It’s a way to take the tasks a team must accomplish and split them into manageable sections.

The WBS is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team. In other words, it’s a great way to visualize the tasks that need to be done in order to complete the project. It acts as a slightly higher-level view than a Gantt chart, which is useful for complex projects. A WBS can be represented as a list, a tree diagram, a spreadsheet or a column on a Gantt chart.

ProjectManager's work breakdown structure template

Once you have that information collected in our WBS diagram template, if you want a more dynamic tool that has more options, connect it to ProjectManager’s work breakdown structure software.

Upon moving the WBS diagram to ProjectManager, content is reflected over the different views in the software including the Gantt, task list and kanban board , a visual workflow tool. The online Gantt chart turns the WBS diagram into a powerhouse for project planning.

3. Flow Chart

Flow charts are another tool project managers should have in their toolbox when project planning. These charts help visualize processes as a way to improve project efficiency. The flow chart is a graphic display of the project’s objective and helps create a logical order of the work required to reach that goal. Planning a project is all about control, and a flow chart gives a project manager a tool to exercise control over tasks, resources and time. This means all processes, including planning and monitoring, refer to the flow chart to increase efficiency.

This flowchart template has the basic symbols you need to represent a process.

  • An oval means the start or finish of the process
  • A rectangle represents an activity, or step in the process
  • An arrow represents the direction from one step to another
  • A diamond represents a decision

The example below shows the process of creating a project plan, and getting it approved.

project presentation diagram

4. Critical Path Diagram (CPM)

Another visual planning tool is the critical path diagram (based on the critical path method, or CPM). It’s used to show the activities that are required to complete the project. The diagram illustrates the duration of each activity and the preceding activity, how the two are related and lag (the amount of time between two activities).

A critical path diagram helps project managers break down a more extensive project into necessary activities in order to deliver a successful project. These activities are represented on the diagram as boxes. Between these activities or boxes are lines that represent the flow to show how each activity is connected and interconnected.

The purpose of using a critical path diagram is to allow project managers to calculate the total duration of a project. The critical path is made up of critical activities but non-critical activities are also shown. Non-critical activities allow for more flexibility as they don’t have a major impact on the project.

5. RACI Matrix

RACI is an acronym that stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. A RACI matrix is a chart that helps assign responsibilities in project management . This table helps project managers identify stakeholders in their projects and gauge each level of involvement. This is done by noting next to each the initial R, A, C or I to categorize engagement.

For example, a responsible stakeholder means they’re directly responsible for the task. Accountable defines someone who delegates and reviews the work. Consulted means you’ll want this person’s input and feedback on the work being done, and informed are individuals who need to be updated on the progress of the work.

This is useful for assigning the responsibilities of team members on a project. But it can also be used to manage stakeholders. The RACI matrix helps a project manager to figure out which stakeholders need to know what and the frequency by which they should be updated on the progress of the project.

RACI matrix template in ProjectManager

6. PERT Chart

This visual project management tool is great when you’re mapping out tasks and project timelines. PERT is another acronym that stands for project (or program) evaluation and review technique. It provides a graphical view of the project’s tasks, schedule and timelines.

A PERT chart is not a Gantt chart, though similar. Gantt charts are bar graphs while a PERT is freeform. PERT charts are made of nodes, boxes or circles that represent milestones. Connecting arrows show what must be completed between nodes and they represent the duration of each task.

Some Gantt charts don’t show task dependencies, but all PERT charts do. They use directional, concurrent arrows to indicate a series of tasks that must be completed in a specific sequence. Diverging arrows indicate work that can be done in parallel.

7. Workflow Diagram

Workflow diagrams visually show the layout of a process, project or job. This is done as a flow chart. Workflow diagrams are commonly used to show the full business process and information flows, help employees understand their roles and responsibilities, expose redundancies and bottlenecks and avoid risks.

This project management chart can be made with software or drawn manually. Whichever route you take, you’ll get significant value from the workflow diagram. They help with operations and create greater efficiency by streamlining work. They also provide documentation for legal, compliance and audit requirements.

They’re a great tool for clear communication across the organization. Visual tools are often easier to digest no matter which department is looking at them. The workflow diagram is also a way to strengthen security. Workflow diagrams track information securely and make sure your organization is on top of any security gaps.

8. Risk Matrix

Risks can be good and bad, and project managers want to either take advantage of these unexpected opportunities or mitigate the impact of problems on the project. A risk matrix is used in project planning to identify and plan to resolve risks as they arise as issues in a project.

The risk matrix lists risks that could occur based on experience and historical data. The matrix represents the likelihood of the risk appearing in the project and the impact it will have if it does show up. Risks are categorized based on probability and severity.

This tool helps project managers with their risk management on a project. It also communicates the risks that might become issues in the project to the project team and stakeholders. This allows teams to quickly capture these issues and resolve them.

Risk matrix template for Excel in ProjectManager

9. Milestone Chart

The milestone chart is a visual timeline that helps project managers plan for significant events in their project schedule. Milestones are important events in a project, such as delivering the project plan or the end of one project phase and the beginning of the next one.

Each vertical line of the milestone chart shows one milestone. There’s a description of the milestone on the left-hand side of the milestone and a horizontal time scale that charts the entire project. The milestone chart helps keep your team, stakeholders and customers updated on major project events.

Making milestones in your schedule and tracking them throughout the project is one way to stay on schedule. Sharing the milestone chart communicates the major events in the project and ensures that everyone is aware of them. It’s like having advance notice for big deadlines that must be met.

10. Burndown Chart

In agile project management, a burndown chart is used to visually represent how quickly the project team is going through the customer’s user stories and it shows the description of the features being worked on. These descriptions are from the perspective of the end-user. The burndown chart shows the team’s effort against the full sprint.

The work that’s still to be done is shown on a vertical axis. The time passed from the beginning of the project is shown horizontally. This presents both the past and the future so everyone can see where they are. The burndown chart is updated regularly to make sure it’s accurate.

There are two types of burndown charts: one is used for sprints, or short iterations when their agile team works on user stories, while the other is a product burndown chart. The latter shows the work that remains for the entire project, while the former is only what’s left to accomplish.

11. Decision Matrix

A decision matrix is a project management chart that helps project managers evaluate different choices by assigning a numeric value to them based on a set of decision-making criteria.

Let’s imagine a construction project manager is using a decision matrix to decide what’s the best type of flooring for a residential project. He has three alternatives to choose from, hardwood, cement or carpet. To make the best decision, he should consider criteria, such as the quality, cost, value to customer and safety that each of these options offer. Depending on how each alternative is scored, the decision matrix helps the construction project manager to logically determine which is the best choice.

The image below shows how the decision matrix would look for this particular scenario. Download our free decision matrix template for Excel to create one for your projects.

Decision matrix template screenshot

12. Eisenhower Matrix

An Eisenhower matrix is a table with four quadrants that’s used to prioritize tasks by their level of importance and urgency. To understand how this project management chart works, it’s necessary to define what importance and urgency means when creating one. In an Eisenhower matrix , importance refers to how impactful a task is for the success of a project, while its urgency defines how soon it should be completed.

By placing tasks in the four quadrants of the Eisenhower matrix, project managers can understand the relationship between these two variables. Depending on how important and urgent a task is, there are four possible courses of action, which are completing the task immediately, delaying its completion, delegating or eliminating it.

eisenhower matrix template

ProjectManager vs. Project Management Charts

Project management charts are great visual aids and are helpful tools to set up the procedures for your project, but static documents can only do so much. When you start to plan and execute the project, you need project management software to connect teams and streamline work. ProjectManager is project management software that automatically updates with real-time data to help you better manage your project.

Track Time and Costs with Real-Time Dashboards

With static documents, you have to input the data and manually update your project management charts, but our software does that busywork for you. Real-time dashboards automatically collect live data from the project, crunch the numbers and display the results in project charts. These six project metrics include time, cost, workload and more, all updated in real time to give you an overview of your project whenever you want it. There’s no setup involved, either.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Use Kanban Boards for Task Management

Once you’re executing the project, you need a window into the process and a tool that gives your team the autonomy to manage their work. Our kanban boards visualize workflow, allowing project managers to see where their teams are in terms of production and catch any potential roadblocks. Then they can reallocate resources to keep teams working at capacity. Meanwhile, teams can manage their backlog and collaborate when planning sprints.

ProjectManager's Kanban board, an alternative to project management charts

Unlike project management charts, our software is flexible enough to give you the tools you want to use. Our multiple project views mean managers can plan on Gantt charts, teams can use list views to check off their tasks, stakeholders can view calendars to make sure milestones are met and all views share the same real-time data. There’s one source of truth that keeps everyone working better together, collaborating, sharing files and commenting at the task level.

Related Content

Check out our guides, blogs and templates where you can get in-depth information on more project planning charts and diagrams, so you can use them in all of your projects for better results.

  • What Is SIPOC? How to Use a SIPOC Diagram
  • Project Prioritization Matrix Template
  • How to Make a Responsibility Assignment Matrix
  • How to Make a Project Network Diagram
  • An Intro to Precedence Diagrams
  • Arrow Diagrams for Projects
  • Gantt vs. PERT vs. Network Diagram
  • PERT and CPM: Their Differences and How to Use Them Together

Planning can make or break a project, so you want to have the best tools at your disposal when going through the process. ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you plan, execute, monitor and report on all of your projects. It works seamlessly with the project planning charts described above and has a robust set of project management tools to manage resources, time and cost. See how it can help you plan your project by taking this free 30-day trial today.

Click here to browse ProjectManager's free templates

Deliver your projects on time and under budget

Start planning your projects.

Home Blog Business How to Create and Present a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

How to Create and Present a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

How to Present your Work Breakdown Structure WBS

Managers will find themselves dealing with all kinds of projects throughout their profession. Some will be large and ambitious, while others will be straightforward and more manageable. Even the most experienced project managers will use a variety of tools to turn even the most unwieldy project into an organized plan. One of these tools is the work breakdown structure, one of the crucial steps for project managers to do before they can embark on project schedule, budgeting, risk analysis, and the rest of the project planning.

What is a Project Work Breakdown Structure

First, we will define the work breakdown structure (a.k.a WBS). Here is what the official Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide says about this crucial project planning step.

“A deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work. The WBS is decomposed into work packages. The deliverable orientation of the hierarchy includes both internal and external deliverables.”

Key Components of a Work Breakdown Structure

Hierarchy levels.

Generally speaking, a WBS should include around three levels of detail. Of course, there will be phases or batches of deliverables that need more levels to encompass the work packages. However, as long as most of the WBS has around three layers, the project manager will probably not go into too much detail.

High Level Components

This is the main category breakdown of the project’s deliverables.


All quantifiable products, services, or “goods” that will be provided by this project. Deliverables will make up the middle layers of the WBS, below high level elements and above work packages.

Work Packages

These are the steps that need to be developed in order to complete the deliverables. Note that these work packages don’t go into more detail than what needs to get done.

Optional Components

Not a part of the work breakdown structure in project management as defined by PMBOK, but found useful by many professionals.

Work Breakdown Structure Dictionary

The main purpose of the WBS dictionary is to explain each task in more detail.

Task Responsibility

Which organization, department, or individual is responsible for each specific work package.

Cost Estimation

The estimated cost of the project, as well as the cost of each layer in the breakdown.

Work Schedule

The scheduled start and end dates of each phase, deliverable, and work package.

Required Resources

What is needed in order to complete each task.

Quality Control Protocol

The quality requirements and standards for each task.

Work Breakdown Structure Versus Project Schedule

Work breakdown structure.

This document only represents what needs to be produced to complete the project successfully. It’s limited explicitly to describing and detailing the project’s outcomes and scope. According to PMBOK, project managers won’t add descriptions of particular processes or specific schedules. The WBS is the blueprint that will justify the detailed schedule and budget.

Project Schedule

A project schedule indicates what needs to be done, which resources will be needed, and when the project must be finished. Here, project managers will specify start and end dates, as well as the project’s milestones.

Importance of a Project Work Breakdown Structure

According to the Project Management Institute, “The WBS is a foundational project management component.” Without it, project managers could not accurately create other project management processes, such as project schedule, performance reports, risk analysis, and response, or control tools.

WBS Benefits and Applications

The WBS is a planning tool that helps teams define, plan, and manage a project effectively. It provides a visual structure to the project. Prior to the WBS, the project may feel abstract or unorganized. By breaking the project into high level summaries and deliverables, it’s easy to turn these directly into milestones for the team. The WBS makes it easy to track project progress. It’s easier to flesh out the WBS into a detailed project schedule compared to building the schedule from scratch. By dedicating time to planning the WBS before the schedule, budget, and the rest, it’ll ensure no critical deliverables are left out. Team members can clearly see dependencies between parts of the project, impressing upon them the importance of staying on schedule. The work breakdown structure is a tried and true, as well as repeatable, method for planning a project. It’s been done countless times before and is proven to work.

The Work Breakdown Structure in Project Management

According to the PMBOK , the work breakdown structure in project management fits into the Planning Process Group and the Project Scope Management Knowledge Area. Usually, project managers will make the WBS after collecting project requirements and defining the scope. After creating the WBS, project managers can plan schedule management, cost management, quality management, and resource management.

How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure

Gather critical documents.

You’ll first need the project charter and scope statement to create an accurate work breakdown structure.

Put a team together

The people, especially subject matter experts, who will be working on the project need to participate in identifying the sub-deliverables.

Define Level 1 Components

Level 1 components are summary deliverable descriptions that must add up to 100% of the project scope.

Start “decomposing” deliverables

The lower WBS elements provide relevant detail and focus for support of project management processes such as schedule development, cost estimating, resource allocation, and risk assessment.

Decide upon Work Packages

These will be the lowest levels of the hierarchy. They need to contain the definitions of work to be performed and tracked.

Create Optional WBS Dictionary

This is an expansion of the traditional WBS according to the PMBOK. If you choose to create a WBS Dictionary, include descriptions at the Work Package Level. These descriptions should describe boundaries, milestones, risks, owner, costs, and other useful information.

Work Breakdown Structure Best Practices

Start with a template.

Use work breakdown structure templates to help you start, but keep in mind that every project is unique. You will rarely be able to use a WBS for multiple projects. While you can start with a template or previous WBS as a foundation, you will edit it as you go along.

The 100% Rule

According to the Project Management Institute, “The 100% Rule states that the WBS should include 100% of the work defined by the project scope.” It should contain all of the internal, external, and interim deliverables that need to be completed in order to complete the project. Note that each layer of the hierarchy must equal 100% of the project. When looking at an organizational chart, all of the deliverables at a particular child level will sum 100% of the work contained in the parent level.

You don’t want to break down the work too exhaustively at this stage of the project. Since the WBS is closely related to so many other factors, such as cost and schedule data collection, analysis, and reporting, it will be unnecessarily difficult to manage if your WBS has too much detail. When breaking down deliverables, stop before you get to the point of listing out every single action that needs to be done.

Focus on Project Deliverables, not Activities

The simplest way to ensure the WBS is deliverables-based rather than activities-based is to write every element included in the WBS as a noun phrase rather than a verb phrase.

Mutually Exclusive Sub-tasks

Do not include a sub-task twice or document any part of the project twice. If you do, your tasks won’t add up to 100%, as required by the 100% Rule. Beyond that, duplicating tasks in the WBS could make it difficult to calculate the resources necessary to complete a project accurately.

Update the WBS Throughout the Project

Some many dependencies and risks can affect the timeline, scope, or both. Therefore, the project manager will be in charge of adapting and updating the WBS throughout the project. Why make a project work breakdown structure then? Because it will serve to guide the project and keep it on track, despite changes.

Presenting a Work Breakdown Structure to an Audience

With such an important step as the WBS is in planning a project, there will be many occasions when a project manager must present it to stakeholders or their team.

It’s always going to be easier and quicker to use work breakdown templates to set up your WBS presentation. There are many diagrams, such as organizational charts, that are difficult to create from scratch, but necessary to communicate the WBS and engage the audience. If you choose to take screenshots from other work breakdown tools or download images from online, you run the risk of adding low-resolution images to your presentation. Luckily, there are many easy-to-adapt PPT templates that already contain the structure for these project management diagrams.

Here are recommendations for presenting a work breakdown structure in PowerPoint or Google Slides.

1. Start with the Project Scope

The project scope is inseparable from the WBS, since the WBS must encompass all deliverables in the scope. When presenting a WBS, remind the audience what the agreed upon scope is. This provides the foundation and justification for the project manager’s work breakdown structure plan.

2. Present the High Level Breakdown

If you’ve decided to visualize the work breakdown structure as an organizational chart, the high level breakdown will be the few “parent” levels. These may represent chunks of the project or the main phases of project development. Introduce these categories before continuing on to smaller components.

3. Create a Presentation Section for Each WBS Branch

Each of the high level summaries of your WBS will contain potentially various branches with deliverables, sub-deliverables, and work packages. To avoid confusion, don’t just present each layer separately, but rather each branch at this point. Introduce the branch’s deliverables and what must be done to complete them.

Why It’s Important to Visualize the WBS

  • When presenting a WBS, it’s important to engage audience members. Having a visual work breakdown structure example will immediately give stakeholders something they can identify with and follow along with.
  • Whether using it as a guide for team members or to keep track of all deliverables, it is helpful to be able to visualize the WBS. This helps professionals understand it at-a-glance. 
  • Even when not looking at the WBS at a specific moment, the visual outline may be easier to imagine and remember. 
  • It’s easy to see dependencies between different tasks and deliverables.
  • It’s easier to divide between team members, departments, or organizations.

Different Types of Work Breakdown Structure Formats 

Outline view.

A text outline is the most straightforward WBS format. It is easy to put together and shows the hierarchy of tasks. However, it is difficult to completely grasp the complete project through this visualization.

Tree Structure/Organizational Chart

The tree structure of a work breakdown structure is the most commonly seen format. It is structured as an organizational chart and has all the same elements of the list (phases, deliverables, and work packages). The visual nature of the tree WBS is that people can clearly see the workflow based on the diagram. Here’s a WBS diagram example:


Again, this work breakdown structure will contain the same elements as in the prior two formats. However, here, it is placed in a spreadsheet. The phases, deliverables, and work packages are represented in columns and rows.

Gantt Chart

While this goes beyond the scope of a work breakdown structure in project management, according to the PMBOK, a Gantt chart is an excellent option for professionals looking to combine the project schedule and WBS.

Regardless of how a project manager chooses to display and present their work breakdown structure, there is no doubt of the value of making one in the first place. The benefits are clear. Without a clear WBS, projects run the risk of going off scope, falling behind schedule, and being generally disorganized. With the work breakdown structure, however, project managers can start their project out the right way: with order and a plan for success.

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The Definitive Guide to Project Management Charts and Data Visualization

By Kate Eby | March 6, 2023

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Project managers can choose from dozens of charts to visualize project planning and progress. We explain available chart types and when to use them.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of all the different types of project management charts , including a useful reference chart and expert insight on the importance of visualizing project management data .

What Is a Project Management Chart?

A project management chart helps project managers visualize and share data with teams and stakeholders. They can share basic, comparative details with simple bar and pie charts. More complicated charts such as network and activity diagrams outline complex informational relationships.

Types of Project Management Charts

Project management charts can take many different forms, from graphs and matrices to calendars and diagrams. Charts are specialized to best display a certain kind of data. Some charts require more context to understand than others. 

Remember that no single chart shows the whole story, so in most cases it is best to use different charts for different needs. We’ll outline each chart’s best use cases, provide examples, and detail the pros and cons of each type in the sections below.

Gantt Charts

Gantt charts are useful for tracking schedules, tasks, and dependencies over time for projects and teams of all sizes. They clearly display essential information in a layout that is easy to understand at a glance.

Each bar in a Gantt chart represents a project task or assignment, and its length corresponds to its start and end dates. Arrows connect vertical tasks that are dependent on one another, and the bars are often color-coded to denote phases, employee assignments, or whatever organizational scheme the project manager chooses. Some programs can also display the percent completion of each task or highlight tasks that are in danger of exceeding their deadline. These charts are easiest to create with software using premade, customizable Gantt chart templates .

Ben Walker

“ Gantt charts are useful to track the progress of a project and for early identification of any potential delays or issues that need to be addressed,” explains Ben Walker, the CEO of Ditto Transcripts . 

Gantt Chart Pros:

  • Straightforward to read and understand
  • Offers a comprehensive project schedule overview
  • Can use software to easily create, update, and share 
  • Provides visibility into team assignments
  • Visualizes dependencies and helps anticipates risks

Gantt Chart Cons:

  • Difficult to create and update without software
  • Not ideal for charting complex projects because it can be hard to read
  • Can be time-consuming to create for multifaceted projects

To learn more, visit our in-depth guide to the pros and cons of Gantt charts .

Kanban Boards

Kanban boards are a visual task board to show the status of each project activity. They break up work into progress phases, most often named To Do, In Progress, and Completed . Kanban boards began as pen-and-paper tools, but many software solutions now offer Kanban functionality.

Kanban boards and Kanban cards are ideal for smaller projects and teams to manage a backlog of tasks that do not necessarily require specialized tools or expertise. Rather than assigning tasks to an individual, team members choose their next task based on what is available in the To Do pile to move the project forward. 

Project managers often create physical Kanban boards with sticky notes and a whiteboard, but many Kanban templates are available for those looking to create them digitally.

Kanban Board Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use without software
  • Clear to read and understand
  • Quickly add and remove items on a board
  • Great solution for sprints or short projects

Kanban Board Cons:

  • No visual timelines means they are less comprehensive than other chart types
  • Difficult to scale; larger projects are harder to visualize
  • Cannot see dependencies
  • Teams need a new board for each project phase

Work Breakdown Structure

A work breakdown structure (WBS) organizes each project step into the individual tasks and deliverables needed to complete it. A WBS chart is useful for project strategy, including identifying bottlenecks, determining possible task assignments, and creating estimates for project schedules. 

Breaking project work down into pieces is one of the most critical parts of project planning. You can’t finish a project until you know the tasks needed to complete it, and a work breakdown structure chart helps you visualize and organize your thoughts while strategizing. Work breakdown structures are not usually shared with stakeholders, who usually want more information than the chart can provide. You can create a WBS chart with pen and paper or use a free work breakdown structure template to make one digitally.

WBS Chart Pros:

  • Works with most project management methodologies and frameworks
  • Use as a first step in overall project planning strategy and visualization
  • Powerful organizational tool for visualizing all project tasks 
  • Easy to create the chart with or without software tools

WBS Chart Cons:

  • Does not order tasks sequentially
  • Does not factor in time or resource needs or constraints
  • Not suitable for sharing detailed project information with stakeholders
  • Can’t display detailed task relationships

Network Diagrams

A network diagram is a sequential visualization of all required project tasks linked by dependencies. Project managers use them to organize and visualize project tasks and dependencies. They are the first step in creating a PERT chart and identifying the critical path. 

Network diagrams are a work breakdown structure organized by the order of needed tasks. They are useful as a step in project planning and strategy, but do not provide much-needed context to stakeholders. These diagrams are not generally shared.

Network Diagram Pros:

  • First step to creating a PERT chart or finding the critical path
  • Useful for visualizing the tasks required to complete a project
  • Further breaks down work into manageable workflows and provides an order to complete tasks

Network Diagram Cons:

  • Does not track or estimate time for tasks or project completion
  • More of a planning tool than a way for stakeholders to visualize the project

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) Charts

PERT charts are most useful for scheduling project tasks and estimating overall project timelines and deadlines. A PERT chart arranges all project tasks and the estimated time needed to complete them from start to finish and links them to their dependencies. 

A PERT chart is a type of network diagram that includes the time needed to complete each diagrammed task. On its own, a PERT chart does not provide project details, but project managers typically use them to find the critical path, build project schedules , and create other more shareable data visualizations.

PERT Chart Pros:

  • Can be used to find the critical path
  • Helps to estimate the time needed to complete project tasks and phases
  • Identifies and visualizes task dependencies
  • Useful for identifying dependencies between teams and departments

PERT Chart Cons:

  • Harder to read for complex projects
  • Requires accurate time estimates
  • Errors and inaccuracies can easily cascade down the line, causing larger errors later
  • Does not factor in resource needs or constraints

Critical Path Method (CPM) Charts

Use a critical path method (CPM) chart to identify the minimum time required to complete a project. They are useful for estimating timelines, performing risk assessments, and identifying project dependencies. Almost all projects can benefit from determining the critical path.

A CPM chart uses the time estimations made in a PERT chart to calculate the longest span of time required to see the project through to its end, or, the critical path . In this way, project managers can more accurately calculate project schedules and fit projects into a larger requirements calendar. A CPM chart is sometimes shared with stakeholders during the planning phase as part of project strategy, but it is not often included as an ongoing tracking metric. CPM charts can be made with pen and paper for smaller projects or with a critical path template for more complicated ones.

CPM Chart Pros:

  • Creates more accurate project schedule projections
  • Visualizes progress for a project
  • Easy to read with little context
  • Possible to create without software

CPM Chart Cons: 

  • Does not factor in external timelines or deadlines
  • Does not include resource information
  • Cannot anticipate external delays
  • Becomes much more complicated and harder to read on larger projects

Flowcharts are used in project management to create workflow diagrams or model decision trees or user journeys. They are useful for visualizing the possibilities related to decisions made and their potential journey and outcomes.

Flowcharts are easy to read and understand, and they can be easily created with pen and paper or pre-made flowchart mapping templates . Their graphic nature makes them ideal for describing thought processes or model workflows and more complicated processes to stakeholders in presentations. A workflow diagram is a flowchart that specifically visualizes the process order of a particular task.

Flowchart Pros:

  • Numerous use cases, from workflow diagrams to decision trees to user journeys
  • Intuitive; easy to read and understand
  • Simple to create with or without software
  • Highly visual format is ideal for presentations and sharing

Flowchart Cons:

  • Hard to edit and change; one change often necessitates additional adjustments down the flowchart
  • Complex flowcharts are more difficult to read
  • Challenging to maintain neatness as flowcharts get larger
  • Can be time-consuming to create

Activity Diagrams

Activity diagrams are complex flowcharts with specific, universal notations for choices, parallel actions, and requirements. They are often used in business process modeling and can also model more complicated workflows and processes. 

Activity diagrams are often used to model the user journey through an app or website or to model complex business and systems processes . They are generally more complex than a regular flowchart, and they’re easier to create and edit with software. Activity diagrams can be shared with stakeholders, but they are more often used for visualizing activities for planning and internal research purposes.

Activity Diagram Pros:

  • More specialized than a basic flowchart 
  • Useful for visualizing more complex processes
  • Features additional standardized notation to indicate parallel processes and requirements
  • Helps to visualize the logic behind UI/UX decisions

Activity Diagram Cons:

  • The layperson might find it challenging to interpret at a glance
  • Complex processes can be difficult to organize and read
  • Difficult to edit; changes to one item often require changes to subsequent ones
  • Does not provide context for resources or time

Cause-and-Effect Charts

A cause-and-effect chart enables you to visualize the results of direct inputs on corresponding outputs. These charts are a straightforward method for modeling the outcome (real or assumed) of choices made during or when planning a project.

Cause-and-effect charts are useful for presentations and sharing with stakeholders. They can help highlight the effects of decisions made during a project in a business post-mortem or lessons learned meeting . These simple charts are easy to make with graphics using software or simply by writing side by side in columns on paper. 

Cause-and-Effect Chart Pros:

  • Easily visualize the outcome or potential outcome of decisions made
  • Ideal for strategic planning in post-mortem and lessons learned meetings
  • Might be useful for compiling data over the long term
  • Great for training and resource planning

Cause-and-Effect Chart Cons:

  • Limited in scope; effects are often related to more than one cause
  • Does not separate cause and effects by weight; displays all items as the same impact visually
  • Requires accurate data and reflection, so the creator must be impartial

Fishbone Diagrams

Fishbone diagrams are used to visualize the potential causes of a given effect or outcome. The diagram orients the effect at the fish’s “head” and the potential causes cascade behind as the “bones.”

Fishbone diagrams are useful for brainstorming and strategic planning. They are often filled in as a group activity in meetings or to perform a root cause analysis . They are easy to create with pen and paper or from customizable fishbone templates . While they can be shared with stakeholders, a better option might be to provide a simpler cause-and-effect chart. 

Fishbone Diagram Pros:

  • Good tool for group brainstorming sessions
  • Identifies numerous potential causes for an effect
  • Useful tool for organizing thoughts before taking other actions

Fishbone Diagram Cons:

  • Cannot measure weight or severity of any cause over any other
  • Can create irrelevant lists of information, and checking them wastes time 
  • Not suitable for more complex issues with more complex causes
  • Must be paired with a strategic response to make improvements

Line Charts

A line chart is one of the clearest ways to model numerical data based on two variables. Those variables are often a quantity of an item on the y-axis in relation to “time” on the x-axis. Line charts are simple, universal, and easy to read.

Line charts can describe all kinds of data. You can easily see trends as a line that rises to the right, indicating the growth of your variables, while a line that descends portrays a reduction. You can “zoom in” on a chart to show small changes or “zoom out” to show larger ones. A line chart’s simplicity makes it easy to create without software. If you don’t want to make a hand drawing, you can learn how to make line charts in Microsoft Excel .

Most people are taught to read line charts when they’re young, so the charts are widely understood. For this reason, they are great for sharing trends or progress information with stakeholders and are often included in project status updates or dashboards.

Line Chart Pros:

  • Often familiar to viewers
  • Easy to understand
  • Outlines trends at a glance
  • Can represent large or small ranges of data equally well
  • Easy to create with or without software

Line Chart Cons:

  • Must be careful with chosen ranges to tell your data story — data from a shorter period might show larger variance than the same data from a longer time
  • Can track only two variables at a time
  • Does not include context to its data
  • Best when paired with other data or an explanation

Burn-Up and Burn-Down Charts

Burn-up and burn-down charts are line charts that model the work completed and remaining over a period of time. They are commonly used to track the progress of Agile sprints and provide an overview of how a team spent its time. 

“A burn-down chart illustrates the progress of a project sprint over time,” explains Walker from Ditto Transcripts. “Project managers use them to assess how quickly a project is progressing and whether or not it will be completed on time.” 

The y-axis measures the number of tasks or projects, and the x-axis measures the chosen timeframe. Burn-up and burn-down charts are easy and intuitive to read and create. They are often included on project status updates or dashboards because team members and other stakeholders can quickly see how a project is progressing and the amount of work remaining.

Burn-Up and Burn-Down Chart Pros:

  • Great for tracking progress of project sprints and ticket-based teams
  • Provides a model of productivity and efficiency for stakeholders
  • Extremely easy to read

Burn-Up and Burn-Down Chart Cons:

  • Provides no context to the type or impact of tasks completed or remaining

Cumulative Flow Diagrams

A cumulative flow diagram is a specialized burn-up chart that visualizes the amount of work by stage of progress. They provide more details about the state of a team’s backlog by highlighting tasks to do, in progress, and completed.

Cumulative flow diagrams are often used to monitor the stability of workflow over time. They are a great tool to share with stakeholders because they are an easy-to-read, graphic representation of the work a team is doing. They are relatively complex to design, so they are best created and updated with software and shared digitally.

Cumulative Flow Diagram Pros:

  • Highly visual and easy to read
  • Provides a view of a backlog and the phases of each task
  • Can help identify potential bottlenecks if the “flow” of any measured state becomes too uneven

Cumulative Flow Diagram Cons:

  • Difficult to create without software
  • Cannot be used to predict the future state of tasks
  • Doesn’t represent the size or impact of individual tasks

Control Charts

project presentation diagram

A control chart is a line graph bounded by an upper and lower control limit. They are generally used to track the outputs of a particular process and ensure that operations are within an acceptable range.

Control charts provide more context than a simple line chart because they indicate how close each data point came to reaching the upper and lower control limits. They also include a center line that shows the average value of the charted y-axis, allowing viewers to see trends over time.

“A control chart demonstrates the performance of a process over time,” explains Walker. “They allow managers and stakeholders to monitor the quality and consistency of various processes and help identify potential issues that need to be addressed.”

Control charts are easier to make with software or by using a control chart template . They are useful for auditing and diagnostics, but may contain too much specialized information for the casual stakeholder. A control chart does not provide context as to why a data point might be outside of the control limits, so they are most useful when the user has access to more detailed project data to diagnose these anomalies.

Control Chart Pros:

  • Useful for quality and performance management
  • Easy visualization of outliers and when they occurred
  • Great for tracking performance changes when introducing new processes or procedures
  • Can help diagnose issues by tracking down when outliers occurred

Control Chart Cons:

  • No context into how or why outliers occurred
  • Less intuitive for the layman to read
  • Requires context
  • Limits must be chosen carefully for the chart to be useful


Bar charts, like line and pie charts, are a straightforward way to display basic data to stakeholders. Like line charts, bar charts also graph two variables, but they are better for comparing quantity instead of time. 

Bar charts can take two forms, traditional or stacked, to show off the data whichever way you prefer. They can also be modeled with vertical or horizontal bars based on design needs and how the creator wants to display their data. Bar charts are visually appealing, making them ideal  for sharing data with stakeholders in project reports or dashboards. You can create bar charts with software or on paper or a whiteboard.

Traditional bar charts often display numerical quantities of a variable or to show variance in the number of responses over time or from a group, such as sales of the same item at different store locations. A stacked bar chart acts similarly to a pie chart and visually displays the percentage or ratio of each variable within the total of the bar, which makes it easier to show the range of responses or its demographics. Bar charts can consist of single bars or groups of bars, but a single bar chart might often be better displayed as a line chart.

Bar Chart Pros:

  • Intuitive design and easy to understand for the layman
  • Can be used to model all kinds of relational data individually or by group
  • Highly graphic; works well for a presentation or dashboard

Bar Chart Cons:

  • The creator must understand the data being presented when selecting the range, or data can be skewed 
  • More complex data is more difficult to chart and to read
  • Cannot provide additional context outside of variables
  • Most useful when paired with discussion or context within a presentation

Pareto Charts

A Pareto chart is a combination bar and line chart that displays a quantitative variable in bars and the cumulative total of that variable over time with a line. They are used to measure the relative impact of a variable on an outcome.

Each bar in a Pareto chart represents a ratio of the total. For example, it can display the number of units of the same item sold by store location in bars and the number of units sold overall as a line chart. They are also used to identify the most common cause of an effect — for example, the most reported causes of the same kind of incident. The bars are always aligned with the highest quantity on the left and descending to the right. They are often used as a diagnostic or prioritization tool when tracking the cause of something, but can also be a helpful display for stakeholders when showing data such as sales by location.

“A Pareto chart shows the relative importance or impact of a variable,” explains Walker. “We use them to prioritize our manager’s efforts and focus on the things that will have the biggest impact on the success of a project.” 

Pareto charts can be hard to create without software because of their relative complexity and the need for precise math to align the bars and the line chart. If you don’t want to use specialized software, you can also download a Pareto chart template . 

Pareto Chart Pros:

  • Visual prioritization of the most important variables; easy to see what is most impactful and how it compares to other variables
  • Can chart many kinds of data, from store sales by month or location to the number of each type of reported cause of an incident.
  • Easy to read and understand
  • Graphic; great for sharing in presentations or dashboards

Pareto Chart Cons:

  • Does not provide context beyond quantity for each bar, so it can be challenging to determine cause and effect with a Pareto chart alone
  • Does not necessarily represent the severity of variables, only the quantity
  • Hard to create and update without software

A pie chart is a simple data visualization tool used to represent the percentage ratios of a single variable with a limited number of options. They are easy to read and useful for stakeholders who don’t require a lot of context.

You can create pie charts with software or by hand. They are good for providing information to stakeholders in presentations or on dashboards. They can represent all kinds of data, but are best used to compare the comparative quantities of multiple variables when grouped as a whole.

Pie Chart Pros:

  • Great for visualizing a small number of variables in relation to one another as part of a whole
  • Graphic and easy to read, making them good for dashboards and presentations

Pie Chart Cons:

  • Too many variables makes them harder to read 
  • Requires a key to identify variables
  • Provides no additional context 
  • Limited in scope; you might need multiple pie charts to represent the same information found in a stacked bar chart, for example

Matrix Diagrams

Matrices are used to compare complex data sets with numerous variables, helping viewers visualize many-to-many relationships rather than one-to-one. They can display more data at once, making them well-suited for prioritization and for visualizing a holistic overview of a situation.

Matrices can be used to help prioritize tasks or projects , as scoring models , or to find simple relationships between variables. They are easy to create with or without software tools and are an integral part of project planning and prioritization for many organizations. While they are sometimes shared with stakeholders to explain decision-making choices, there are often better charts for that purpose that do not include information they may find irrelevant.

Matrix Diagram Pros:

  • Used to visualize many-to-many relationships that might not otherwise be obvious
  • Ideal for project and task prioritization
  • Easy to create and understand
  • Useful for decision making and strategic planning

Matrix Diagram Cons:

  • Can get overly complex and lead to decision paralysis
  • Not a great visualization tool for stakeholders because of complexity and irrelevant information
  • Can be difficult to know how variables are related without context
  • Harder to read the larger they get

Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) Charts

raci chart example

A RACI chart is a visualization of who on a team is responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed for various project tasks and phases. They help provide visibility and encourage accountability across teams and departments.

Often, even if someone is not directly doing the work, they are still involved in a consultant or managerial fashion that may not be obvious when tracked on more traditional task assignment displays. RACI charts provide a more detailed picture of who should be paying attention to which project tasks at any given time.

You can make RACI charts without software, but they are often shared digitally and made available to everyone at all times. For this reason, using a RACI chart template or project management software is best for creating them because they can be shared with the team.

RACI Chart Pros:

  • Provides visibility and encourages accountability for tasks
  • Useful reference for cross-functional teams
  • Can be made simply with spreadsheets or use graphics for sharing in presentations or on dashboards

RACI Chart Cons:

  • Might add complexity where it is not needed or when responsibilities are clear and well established

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Matrix

A SWOT matrix helps the user outline the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks present in a potential project or business. It is a strategic planning tool that is useful for project prioritization and for business and personal growth. 

SWOT matrices are used for planning the strategies for business and growth opportunities, to shore up weaknesses, identify threats, and capitalize on strengths. It’s easy to perform a SWOT analysis with a pen and paper, but can benefit from using customizable SWOT templates . For more template ideas, see our collections of SWOT templates for Microsoft Word , PowerPoint , Google Docs , and Google Slides .

SWOT Matrix Pros:

  • Good for strategic planning and identifying growth opportunities
  • Useful for risk identification and mitigation
  • Simple to create and share

SWOT Matrix Cons:

  • Requires the creator to be completely impartial
  • Needs further action to act upon

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix

A stakeholder analysis matrix can help determine the level of involvement, as well as the regularity and type of communication, needed with different stakeholders. Depending on their interest and influence, stakeholders might need varying communication types and frequency about updates.

A stakeholder analysis matrix is easy to create with a pen and paper or from a stakeholder analysis template . They are a critical part of stakeholder management and are usually included in a project communication plan . They are useful tools for managing stakeholder expectations about types and frequencies of contact, and can help reduce the number of calls and emails required to keep clients in the loop.

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Pros:

  • Sets expectations of types and frequencies of contact
  • Helps manage client expectations
  • Provides a reference for team members to field questions and reports

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Cons:

  • Can be time-consuming to create if there are a lot of stakeholders
  • Stakeholders’ needs vary by projects making profiles hard to templatize
  • Stakeholders might not always agree about their assigned level of contact

Project Management Charts at a Glance

Project management uses dozens of types of charts. We’ve created this chart to help you see what each kind is used for, what to consider when using it, and which project management methodologies it integrates with best.

Why Charts Are Crucial for Project Management

Charts help you visualize data to aid in sharing or decision-making. Project management is a complicated business: Using charts to get complex ideas out of your head and onto the page helps keep you organized. 

“The biggest advantage of visualizing project data with charts is that it allows you to quickly and easily recognize trends and patterns in your data,” says Walker. “This can help you identify areas in need of improvement or potential issues in your work processes, so you can make more informed decisions about how to manage your projects.” 

In addition to tracking numerical data, charts are also useful for planning and organizing your thoughts. 

Randall Englund

“The biggest advantage of using charts is the ability to visualize complete content in one image,” explains Randall Englund, the Project Management Instructor at Northeastern University College of Professional Studies. “It can really help you see the big picture, and each topic can be expanded to see additional details, such as relationships to other topics. They’re also useful for brainstorming project tasks, categorizing them, and then exporting the most important things into your project plan and your software.”

Charts are an important diagnostic and tracking tool that can show your progress, or lack thereof, over time.

Alaa Negeda

Alaa Negeda , Chief Technology Officer at ALXTEL, adds, “Charts are visually appealing and make data easy to understand. They make it easy to compare data across different periods or projects, and can help you make better decisions by providing data-driven insights. Depending on the chart, they can improve your communication with your team, or with stakeholders and clients. Charts make it easier to identify and solve problems, which makes it easier to manage projects.”

What to Consider When Choosing a Chart for Data Visualization

Different charts are best for visualizing various kinds of data. Some charts are better for decision making, and others are better for sharing with stakeholders. Here are some considerations when choosing a chart:

  • Consider Your Audience: Are you making a chart to share data with stakeholders, or is it for your own decision-making purposes? Charts that are shared with stakeholders should be more graphic and simple to read. “Consider the specific goals and objectives of your project and its audience, as well as the type and amount of data available. Every project is different, and the best way to determine what works best for your stakeholders is through trial and error,” advises Walker.

Stefan Oborski

  • Consider Your Goals: What is your goal when charting? Are you sharing information, pitching a new process, or using it to help make a decision? For decision-making, often it is suitable to put pencil to paper and get to brainstorming knowing that it will not be shared with others.
  • Consider Its Future: Will your charts be used to compare to past or future projects? It might be worth making digital charts if you know you will want to reference or update them in the future.

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