Pavel Aramyan contributed this guest post and Easy Projects sponsored it.
Spreadsheets can be used to do multiple calculations. That’s great! You can use spreadsheets to do multiple calculations. But what if you use them to manage projects? !
There are many teams that use spreadsheets for more than just statistics. They also use them for managerial purposes. There are many great project management tools out there, but some people still prefer spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets have the advantage that Excel is installed on most computers, so there won’t be any compatibility issues with documents. But do you really need it? Do you care only about document compatibility? What other benefits can a spreadsheet offer you for a successful project implementation?
All these questions will be answered by me: “No, I don’t need spreadsheets to manage my projects. They only hinder effective collaboration.” Do you need proof? Here are six reasons why project management with spreadsheets is impossible.
1. There is always a chance of making a mistake
Spreadsheets can be error-prone. They are great for statistical calculations but not databases. Spreadsheets can be used as databases by linking complex calculations and formulas together. This can lead to important data being lost. You can re-format, delete or replace a few figures with static values. But you will need to be a mathematician in order to do it all.
Pavel Aramyan, Easy Projects (not a fan spreadsheets). Security is a problem
Security is an important aspect of spreadsheets. There is no solution to the spreadsheet access problem. Access to spreadsheet files should not be granted to everyone in the team. This is for safety reasons, as people might accidentally delete files. Excel spreadsheets are not easy to grant or deny access.
3. There is almost no communication, collaboration, or teamwork
Project management, forecasting, and planning all require collaboration. Team members communicate, discuss, make decisions, make decisions, plan activities and change goals. Usually, the sharing process involves at least two, three, or more departments.
How do you envision that collaboration using a spreadsheet? Is everyone going update the same document, then email it to others?
Spreadsheets are time-consuming and do not encourage communication. Spreadsheets don’t allow teams to discuss ideas or comment on other people’s work. It is important to have a chat, or at the very least a commenting platform for international or remote teams. A tool like this would be beneficial to everyone working in the same department.
4. Key information lost
This is a continuation of the previous point. I refer to “sharing” as being able edit and comment on multiple documents at once.
If a project event is delayed and you want your team to know why, you can try to comment under the deadline, or near the event’s date. You might want another member of your team to comment on the delay. Spreadsheets are not designed to allow multiple people to work simultaneously on the spreadsheet. Additionally, important information can be lost between versions if people modify the document and send it to each other.
Another thing that I found when working predominantly with spreadsheets was that the same information could appear twice in the same document because people are reluctant about deleting information “in the future”. This causes confusion.
Gantt charts on the other hand make it easier to see what’s available and what’s missing due to the way they are arranged. The Gantt chart updates immediately after you make any changes and hit “Save”. This allows you to organize your t