Forms and templates are the foundation for many types of project documents. Rather than putting unnecessary effort into creating new forms for each project, the use of existing forms and templates can streamline your project’s documentation requirements, and allow your team to focus on higher-level objectives. A variety of resources are available to you when looking for ready-made forms, and a few simple tips will help keep your project’s momentum moving forward when truly custom forms are needed.
Save time by leveraging the work that others have done, and use pre-made forms or templates when possible. The supply of ready-to-use forms is vast, and you’re likely to find exactly what you need for the majority of applications. Remember, though, to respect copyright laws. Whether you search the web or peruse one of the many available template books, always look for materials that are copyright-free, or whose copyright allows for unrestricted use.
If your project management consulting team has already created a similar form for use on a previous project, why not re-purpose it for today’s need? Existing templates for checklists, memos and reports can often be applied to new projects with little or no modification. This practice also helps to maintain document continuity from project to project, making future research easier for project team members while also presenting stakeholders and end users with information in a familiar format.
You’ll occasionally encounter the need for new or unique forms. To avoid the possibility that multiple team members will each create their own version – often resulting in several forms circulating through your team and potentially causing conflicts or confusion – it’s wise to designate one person to manage all project-based templates. This helps to ensure your team’s documentation is clear, organized, and in a standardized format, and also facilitates master template storage in one always-available location.