5 Reasons Not to Use Excel for Project Management
If you are using Excel for project management, you’ll be familiar with the multitude of problems a spreadsheet can create. From broken formulas and deleted data to overlooked risks and late tasks, spreadsheets are the bane of many projects.
It makes sense that many organizations turn to Excel for project management. Launched in 1985, Microsoft Excel has an estimated user base of 750 million users worldwide, making it accessible to many project teams.
Organizations often don’t want to invest in separate project management software, preferring to use readily available systems. In many cases, teams are forced to develop complex templates and workarounds in Excel and are reluctant to try a new method.
Let’s take a look at five common reasons not to use Excel for project management, and why SharePoint is an ideal alternative.
5 Reasons Not to use Excel for Project Management
1. Very time-consuming
Depending on the size and complexity of individual projects, and the number of projects you are managing or participating in, it’s easy to waste time finding, updating, and double checking project information.
As Excel is only suitable for certain types of data, you’ll need to look elsewhere for key documents such as the project statement and status reports. Getting a complete, inclusive view of the project, along with key decisions, is impossible.
2. Incorrect project information
Spreadsheets are error-prone, especially if used by multiple team members. It’s impossible to know if you are working with the most recent version of the spreadsheet, if the formulas are correct, or if any data was accidentally replaced or overwritten. This lack of clarity is a major headache for heavily regulated industries such as healthcare or finance.
Saving spreadsheets in different locations leads to inconsistent information stored in various silos. If someone has saved the only copy of an important document on their local computer and forgets to share the file before vacation, the project could stop for a few weeks!
Added to these frustrations is a lack of ownership; many people may use the file but no-one is in charge of checking the accuracy of the data.
3. Difficult to track project progress
As you probably guessed, Excel is not an ideal project reporting tool!
When information is spread across multiple files, it’s easy to overlook risks, miss upcoming deadlines, or ignore overallocated resources. This reduces visibility into the project and makes informed decision-making impossible.
4. Too much information
Different team members and stakeholders need different information. Creating individual, tailored views with varying administration privileges is impossible in Excel. Everyone sees the same spreadsheet. This means more time is wasted as individuals try to figure out what is relevant to their work.
5. Lack of collaboration
Excel does not include key collaboration tools such as conversations tracking, file sharing, discussion boards, and task lists. Team members cannot easily check the status of a task or identify what they need to do next. They don’t know the overall status of the project or if a teammate is struggling with a task.
Switch from Excel to SharePoint
Now that you know Excel is not the way to manage your projects, you may be wondering what to do next? After all, looking for a new tool and process takes time! If your organization has SharePoint, why not move your project team to this collaborative platform?
The free SharePoint Project Management Template from BrightWork is an easy way to introduce your team to SharePoint. With an engaging and easy-to-use interface, your team will quickly forget about Excel!
Using the Free SharePoint Template to centralize project information, your team will benefit from:
- A single place for all project information.
- A standardized way to manage projects.
- Easy task tracking.
- Flexible lists, with a similar appearance to Excel.
- A document repository, with versioning.
- Real-time reports.
- An engaging interface.
Escape from Excel with your free SharePoint Project Management Template!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness