You’ve already hopped on the bandwagon for the Notion productivity app and are using it for note-taking and managing your to-dos. But using it for your team’s big picture project management has been one step too far. Thankfully, Notion’s most recent update offers an exciting new feature just for project management, so you’re in luck: the timeline view. (And if you’re still learning the basics, this crash course tutorial will get you up to speed.)
The Timeline View, explained
A Timeline View, also known as a Gantt Chart, is a visual representation of your projects over time. It works wonders in helping you and your team visualize progress. Notion’s addition of the Timeline View is a big step up for teams who use (or want to use) Notion as their primary project management software. This view helps teams keep an eye on the big picture, dynamically update progress, keep an eye on parallel work streams, adjust scope, and understand the implications of any delays. It is especially useful for time bound-projects and sprints like product, event, and course launches. The Timeline View can also support cyclical projects like software development roadmaps and editorial calendars.
A (Very) Brief History of the Gantt Chart
The Gantt Chart is an approach to project management was created by mechanical engineer Henry L Gantt around 1910 and was first implemented on major infrastructure projects such as the Hoover Dam and Interstate highway system. Over the past 100+ years they have become an integral tool for project management.
So how is this view different from using a Calendar View? It comes down to the relationships between your entries. Gantt Charts (including Notion’s Timeline View) show how different projects and tasks connect and interact with each other in time. The Timeline View offers the same Drag & Drop functionality of Calendar View, but when you move something in Timeline it will be much easier to see the impact that change has on the the other elements of the table. This helps you maintain a coherent snapshot of your project as it progresses.
How to use the Notion timeline view
The best part about Notion’s Timeline View is that it is just another view of the tables and databases that you already know and love. So if you’re already working with Tables in Notion, you already know how to interact with this view. You can still filter and sort with the same granularity as any other view and you can customize the view by toggling specific Properties you want to show show or hide. By switching to a Table view you can also program formulas and have the result properties show up in your Timeline View (think alerts for tasks or phases that are off schedule) Don’t forget to streamline things by using the superpower of Templates for new pages!
You can customize your table properties just as you would in any Notion Database. Just remember that for Timeline View to work, you will need to include start date and end date for every entry. Unlike the Calendar View, though, you get the ability to choose how you want to view your data with Timeline: choose year, month or day. This way, your team’s shared timeline can reflect the time horizon that’s most important. Zoom out for a bird’s eye view or dive in to see the day-to-day nitty gritty.
For the best of both worlds, you can also combine a table with your Timeline View. Simply toggle on Show in Table in Properties to drop a table next to your timeline. From there you can customize which properties to show in the table. This is super helpful if you want to include more properties without cluttering up the Timeline View.
Once you’ve built your Timeline View, put it to use. You can drag and drop an entire page along the x-axis of the chart to change the timeline for that task or project phase. Or you can drag one side to give yourself more time to complete it. Move the page up or down the y-axis to re-prioritize. Changes will be reflected in any other view of the table, so if your design team prefers to use a Board View, they’ll still be getting exactly the same information.
So what should I use it for?
If you’re a software developer, you could create a Timeline View of your roadmap and share it on a public Notion page to keep your community engaged. Likewise you could use it internally with your team to track development or a new product launch. If you’re a content creator, use Timeline View to visualize progress towards a course launch by including pages like “draft Sales Page”, “launch email sequence”, and “open cart”. Or just use it to keep an eye on your Editorial Calendar and add unique pages for each piece of content. You can even get started with a few Timeline Templates offered by Notion (and as a bonus check out our curated collection of Notion templates).