Do you use spreadsheets to manage your projects?
Do You Use Spreadsheets to Manage Your Projects?
Do you really think managing project can be done well & easily with spreadsheet. Wait a minute and think about it:
If you have been using spreadsheet to manage your project you might agree for following benefits of using spreadsheet:
- It is a multipurpose solution to various business & personal activities not just Project Management
- It is a known tool & lets you format data as you need (DIY)
- If file size is within limits, it can ben shared with colleagues over email
- Ohh, you have issues – create a spreadsheet with a name as Project Issues. You have risks too – all right, create one more sheet named Project Risks also.
- You can wait till you get feedback from team & update project details at your convenience
I guess,these benefits just ends here and you realize the flipside of using spreadsheet
- As an explicit endeavour to make it collaborative, you need to find a central location to store spreadsheet file which team members can access. <Will central location necessarily has to be on the ‘network’?>
- Now team members can either update spreadsheet file(s) concurrently or wait for other member to release control.
- If you allow concurrent updates, be ready to spend time for conflict resolution
- If you allow synchronized access or one-at-a-time; then team members will end up creating their own copies & versions to modify & upload it later
In short either way, you limit your team members from collaborating effectively. What is even more worrisome is, not just you, your entire team has to waste time just to update & reconcile entries from multiple versions of document
- As you team members will not find it easy to update project activities, there is no easy way for you to know real time progress of your project unless you ask each one of them. Forget about real time reports & dashboard presentation.
- Spreadsheets do not have trailor-made facility to track issues, bugs/errors, unless you circulate the template in your team
- Intrinsically, spreadsheets are not intended for seamless communication. The only ways in which you can inform your team member of any update in project activities are
- Talk to him/her
- Email him/her
- Enforce him/her to keep checking some document frequently
- Use of external media (e.g. USB drives) and email attachments makes your computer & company network vulnerable to security threat or have versions of spreadsheets running around, in your network through emails
Project management is about ‘GETTING THINGS DONE’ and not to wasting time in struggling with tools that supposedly helps to manage project. And any project management tool is useful, only to the extent your team members use it.
There is way better alternative to MS Excel
- Your team members will find it intuitive and easy to use
- Your team members can access securely without any constraint of location or time
- A central place to collaborate – store project information, upload documents, submit issue. It helps every one in the team to have same information (be on the same page)
- Immediately notifies team members of change in schedule, assignment of tasks or issues in the project management tool as well as through email notification
- Provide real time update on project details through reports & dashboard
- You would have noticed that we are deliberating and discussing about online project management tool rather than stand-alone or installed ones.
What do you think?
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Additional readings about project management, leadership
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- Transition of A Good To Great Project Manager
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- Project Management Tool for Software/ IT Projects
- 7 Reasons Why SMBs Prefer All In One Project Management Tool
Your life can be become easier with the right project management system. ZilicusPM is the right PM tool for you and your team.