documentation for project leads

A project lead’s toolkit for effortless documentation

Reading time: about 6 min

Topics:

  • Visual collaboration

As a project lead, there’s a good chance that the project you’re about to lead out on has already been attempted. Imagine how much more efficient it would be to guide a project with access to previous timelines, processes, roadmaps, and even sketches. Instead of starting from scratch, you could jump into a project with a solid foundation. 

And yet, that foundation—documentation—isn’t always given much credit. In fact, some see documentation as a burden: a necessary but time-consuming task that keeps them from the “real work.” While documentation might seem tedious, it’s actually one of the most important tasks for long-term company success. Documentation acts as a living record of the business’s ideas, processes, systems, team structures, and more. 

By centralizing this information, teams can improve efficiency and speed to market because team members will have the critical context they need to make informed decisions and do exceptional work quickly and confidently. And, as a project lead, documentation can help you avoid pitfalls while increasing productivity and guiding projects to the finish line.

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If you’re stressed about the thought of adding documentation to your already full workload, we’re here to help—living documentation is easier to create than you think. The key is visual collaboration.

When teams collaborate visually, such as brainstorming ideas on a virtual whiteboard, mapping out workflows, and forming Scrum teams using org charts, they are naturally documenting ideas, pivotal information, and ways to improve. By doing all of this recording in real time, you will help everyone stay aligned and bring new solutions forward faster. Your job as a project lead isn’t necessarily to generate all of this documentation but rather to manage it for your projects.

To get you started, we’ve compiled a toolkit of templates for common use cases. Click any template to open in Lucidchart or Lucidspark.

Templates for project planning and tracking

These templates are great for the beginning stages of a project. They help establish the full scope of a project, as well as why the project is important in the first place and what the deadlines are throughout.

Project timeline

The project timeline template in Lucidspark is great for determining realistic deadlines based on resources and tasks. You can visualize tasks, assign them to people on your team, and see the entire project at a glance.

project timeline template in Lucidspark
Project timeline template (click to open)

Project planning 

You likely already have an idea of what the final deliverable of your project will be, but this template helps you work through the finer details such as scope, goals, and responsibilities.

project planning template in Lucidspark
Project planning template (click to open)

Project team charter

A project team charter is a bit like a mission statement. It’s helpful for defining everything from the team’s purpose to individual responsibilities. That way, you won’t end up with misunderstandings halfway through the project.

project team charter in Lucidchart
Project team charter template (click to open)

Strategic planning

Being deliberate about the projects and initiatives your group takes on to drive the company’s success is a key component to building business value. Be strategic about your projects with this template.

strategic planning template in Lucidspark
Strategic planning template (click to open)

Kanban board with Dynamic Matrix 

This Kanban board template is an easy drag-and-drop tool that allows you to visualize tasks, limit work-in-progress, and boost team efficiency. Get organized and have a better overall view of the project from start to finish.

Kanban board template in Lucidspark
Kanban board template (click to open)

Templates for documenting stakeholder management

Stakeholders can often be a barrier to a project’s completion, so knowing who needs to sign off on what is an important part of being a project lead. But stakeholder management can quickly become overwhelming, so we’ve developed templates to keep you organized and on track.

Stakeholder map

Some stakeholders want occasional check-ins, while others require daily communication. Visually present different communication needs with various stakeholders in this easy-to-use stakeholder map template so you can keep everyone happy.

Stakeholder map template in Lucidspark
Stakeholder map template (click to open)

Stakeholder chart

This template brings clarity to the stakeholder tangle. Identify the stakeholders of various processes so there's no confusion about which stakeholders need to be engaged throughout the project.

Stakeholder chart template in Lucidspark
Stakeholder chart template (click to open)

Communication plan 

Figuring out who needs to know what, who’s responsible for delivering that communication, and how often it needs to happen is quite a chore, but this communication plan template in Lucidchart details everything. From the deliverable to the method of communication, it’s all laid out in an easy-to-understand, visual way.

Communication plan template in Lucidchart
Communication plan template (click to open)

Templates for documenting processes

Want to keep projects moving and teams agile? Document processes to identify pain points and areas of opportunity while showing stakeholders the big picture of what work has already been done. 

Basic flowchart

Use the basic flowchart template to map out a process. Use shapes and colors to show different areas of responsibility across cross-functional teams.

flowchart template in Lucidchart
Flowchart template (click to open)

Process flow

Use a flowchart with swimlanes to see steps and areas of responsibility. As you continue with an initiative, add to this template in real time to optimize the process for business efficiency.

process flow template in Lucidchart
Process flow template (click to open)

Process map

The process map template in Lucidspark is critical for everyone to see the big picture of project objectives and needed outcomes. Simply outline objectives, activities, and deliverables to keep everyone involved up to speed.

process map template in Lucidspark
Process map template (click to open)

Current vs. future state flowchart

Continuous improvement is what makes a company stand out from the rest. Document your current vs. future state to visualize how a process, project, or product can be more efficient and recommend changes to those involved.

Current vs future state flowchart
Current vs. future state flowchart template (click to open)

Improve a process

Make the most of process improvement by using both Lucidchart and Lucidspark. Flesh out this template by importing a Lucidchart document, identifying problem areas, and brainstorming solutions so all team members can see how a process has evolved over time.

process improvement template
Process improvement template (click to open)

Templates for documenting team structure

Organizations will always have team members joining and leaving the company and changing teams. By documenting org and team structures, project teams will be able to ask questions to the right people and make better decisions quickly for the tasks they’re working on. 

Org chart by cross-functional teams

More often than not, you will need to pull together team members with different roles in order to achieve your project’s goals. This org chart template organizes contributors by cross-functional teams.

cross-functional org chart template
Org chart by cross-functional teams template (click to open)

Roles/responsibilities framework

Fill out this template to keep an up-to-date record of team responsibilities in a centralized location for new and seasoned team members to access. Now, everyone can see who is working on what and see the history of how responsibilities have evolved.

Roles responsibilities framework
Roles/ responsibilities framework template (click to open)

Skills gap analysis org chart

Knowing which skills you have at your disposal and which skills are missing from a project team is impossible to guess. This skills gap analysis org chart template takes the guesswork out and details skills throughout the org.

skills gap analysis org chart
Skills gap analysis org chart (click to open)

A step-by-step guide to project planning

Need a more in-depth guide to project planning? We have you covered.

Check it out

Make documentation work for you

By integrating a solution like the Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite into your tech stack, you and your team can collaborate visually and create a living blueprint of your business. Align teams across the business and document your entire workflow start to finish with our three connected products: Lucidchart, an intelligent diagramming application; Lucidspark, a virtual whiteboard; and Lucidscale, a cloud visualization solution.

An illustration of 2 pieces of paper in a dark pink box with a light pink circle in the background

Learn more about how the Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite can help make documentation effortless.

Learn more

About Lucid

Lucid Software is a pioneer and leader in visual collaboration dedicated to helping teams build the future. With its products—Lucidchart, Lucidspark, and Lucidscale—teams are supported from ideation to execution and are empowered to align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they are. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucid.co.

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