The challenge when using spreadsheets vs project management software
We all tend to gravitate to using spreadsheets instead of project management software since they are relatively simple and quick to update and modify. It’s understandable why a company may want to cut corners and not invest in project management software and continue doing everything manually. The question then becomes “is it really a saving time and money?”
For manual project management and documentation, Excel and Google have become the go-to spreadsheet. However, spreadsheets have their limitations when it comes to efficiently schedule project dates and recording task assignments. The real issue is organizations don’t realize the benefits of using web-based project management software until they start using it.
Here are the problems you’ll encounter when using a spreadsheet for project management:
- Data collection is done manually and generally falls on one person’s lap, the project manager.
- Assigning resources and costs to tasks isn’t done automatically
- No automatic updates for time or resource assignments
- Calculating the impact of resource availability across multiple projects and support is nearly impossible
- Difficulty in creating and maintaining phases, task relationships, and milestones
Here is a more in-depth look at why project management software makes sense and is well worth the investment
No one in your team wants to be burdened with the task of constantly asking people what the status is of their progress. And once they are done making their rounds whether personally or via email, they then need to update it on a spreadsheet manually. This method is inefficient, time-consuming and prone to human error. And just to make it worse, it can lead to poor team relationships as no one likes to be constantly questioned whether they are done or not.
Spreadsheets have their shortcomings, and it’s near impossible to track changes or alter timelines. Your whole team becomes reliant on the often one person who is an Excel master to make the project changes to the sheet. Sharing a spreadsheet for updates is a nightmare.
Over the lifespan of a project, it may change hands between emails and server drives. To show team workloads and project updates, you’ll need to create additional views and multiple tabs just to summarize everything.
Project management software, on the other hand, provides you with a detailed project history and has a task management engine that provides project management services for all areas of your organization. The software manages project updates, the project and customer roster, tasks, files, time, financials, and customer status updates in an automated way.
Unlike project management software, spreadsheets have no built-in reporting. This requires the project manager to build reports which are time-consuming and require manual work. Reports like Gantt charts, workload reports, task assignments, and resource allocation demand advanced spreadsheet skills and lots of manual data entry by the project manager.
“The issue with spreadsheets is that it is likely to reside on one specific person’s computer and is often shared via email or LAN drive. Multiple people will work on different tasks at once and will require the need to coordinate and update statuses. Mistakes are bound to happen as the project continues and managing all the data builds up. Data currency is a huge issue.”
When comparing spreadsheets vs. project management software, remember that project management software was designed to help companies plan, organize, manage resources, track actuals, and develop resource estimates.
If you’re having hesitations about making the shift to project management software, take advantage of our free demo to see how project management software can dramatically improve your company’s productivity.