Choosing the right project management tool for you and your team can be overwhelming, especially when you need multiple positions but don’t have the budget. If you’re not ready to invest yet or are still looking, you can create a functional project management board in Google Sheets in the meantime. Keep reading to find out how.
Map your project board in Google Sheets
First, you will need to determine which columns you will use in your table. To do this, make a list of the basic information you will need to relay, such as task name, due date, priority, status, and notes.
An owner column will indicate who is working on the task if you are collaborating with others. If multiple people are delegating within the board, you’ll also want to include a column showing who assigned it.
Next, think of any information unique to your workflow. The goal is to create a quick overview of assignments for you and your colleagues. Some examples are customer ID numbers, color codes, contact information, links, etc. Whatever you choose, be sure to use it for most of your tasks so the column isn’t just another step or worse, a clutter.
How to Create a Project Management Board in Google Sheets
Google Sheets makes it easy to create a functional project management board. Here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Freeze your topline
Once you have a list of columns you want to include, enter them into your spreadsheet at the top and freeze the row in Google Sheets so it stays with you as you scroll. Do this:
- Highlight the whole line.
- Go to See in the upper left corner.
- Select Freeze.
- Picking out 1 row.
2. Add formatting to your date column
To make adding dates to your table consistent, you can assign formatting to your due date column. Do this:
- Select the entire column.
- Go to Format in the top menu.
- Select Number.
- Picking out Date.
You don’t have to do anything in the tasks and notes column, just keep them in text format. For priority, status and owner columns, a drop-down list will be useful – you can read more about this in the next section.
3. Create a functional status column in Google Sheets
With software like ClickUp and Asana, you can quickly set a task’s status with just a few clicks. To do this in Google Sheets, you can use Data validation to create a flyout with multiple words to select. Do this:
- Select the cells under your header.
- Go to Data at the top of your screen.
- Select Data validation from the menu.
- Next to CriteriaChoose List of objects.
- On the left, type the words you want to include, separated by a comma.
- Hit to safeguard.
You can repeat the same steps to insert a dropdown menu in other cells under your header.
Now a drop down menu will appear in the cells. With the cells still selected, you can add conditional formatting to color code your statuses. Do this:
- Go to Format at the top of your screen.
- Select Conditional formattingand a side menu will appear.
- Make sure your highlighted cells are selected in the Apply to Range box.
- Below Formatting Rulesclick on the drop-down menu below Format cells if… and choose The text contains.
- Enter the status in the field that appears below.
- Below Formatting Stylechange the background or text color.
- Hit Do.
- Repeat with the remaining statuses.
Once you’ve color-coded each option, click on them to make sure they work before copying and pasting the drop-down list throughout the column. To paste, select the column using its letter at the top and deselect the title cell by clicking it while holding CMD Where CTRL before inserting it.
4. Add notes to your project dashboard in Google Sheets
By using a project board like this, you can keep everything in one place, including your task notes. This means you can avoid sifting through communications, documents, and papers on your desk for details. Plus, you can eliminate the need to email assignment notes to co-workers.
That said, you’ll want to keep your notes tidy to prevent them from becoming distracting or counterproductive. Here are some tips to help you format them:
- Double-click in a cell to edit the text it contains.
- Add a line break using Options + Enter on Mac or Ctrl+Enter on Windows.
- Add a bullet in front of your text by pressing Variant + 8 on Mac or Alt+0149 on Windows.
- Copy and paste bullet points if you want to reuse them. Google Sheets does not support actual sheets.
- Dashes also work like bullets to make things easier.
- Define your Text wrapping at Clipso that it does not come out of the cell boundary.
- The clip will also prevent the cells from getting too long.
- Double-click a cell with cut text to view its contents.
Other Things to Note When Creating a Project Board in Google Sheets
Here are some other things that can help you manage your project board:
- Tag your colleagues anywhere, including your owner column, using the @ symbol followed by their name or email address.
- Use comments to separate communication within your board from task information. Just add one to the exact cell you have a question about.
- To archive your completed tasks, add a new sheet by clicking the add symbol in the lower left corner of your screen, then copy and paste your tasks.
- Archiving or deleting previous tasks will ensure you have the most important and up-to-date information in front of you. Plus, you’ll be able to find things faster.
- If you or your co-worker accidentally delete or overwrite something, you can use the version history located at the top middle of Google Sheets to go back and check it or revert to a previous backup.
Organize your projects with Google Sheets
Creating a project board in Google Sheets is an easy and cost-effective solution for anyone looking to keep tabs on tasks or collaborate with a team. With some upfront planning and a little work, you can create one that lets you add information with just a few clicks.
An added benefit is that beyond creating the model, there’s less of a learning curve for you and your colleagues to maintain it if you’ve used a spreadsheet before. Plus, you can add as many or as few features as you want.