Excel is a fine tool. Many project leaders rely on it to manage their projects. While it would be remiss to completely dismiss it as a instrument to run your project, there are some glaring issues with the software that make it less than optimal for project management.
Does this sound familiar? It should. Only a few months ago we wrote about the 3 reasons to ditch Excel. In that post we noted that
- Gantt charts help you visualize your project over time (and are near to impossible to create in Excel)
- Collaboration is essential to today’s teams (and Excel is limited at best in that department)
- The power of dashboards help you monitor your project in real-time (and Excel most definitely doesn’t have those)
But Wait, There’s More!
Those three reasons alone should be enough to convince project managers that there are tools made specifically for their concerns. But those aren’t the only reasons.
Project management is a complicated process, with many moving parts, and robust as excel can be, it just isn’t equipped to handle the stress of planning, monitoring and reporting on projects that are moving fast in real-time.
That’s why we’ve returned to the topic. Here are three more reasons to put Excel on the digital project management shelf and get an online tool designed to make your life easier.
1. Email Alerts
Think about those nice schedules you’ve created in Excel. All the columns are beautifully labeled and the rows are color-coded. Everyone’s name is next to their task. It’s neat, right?
The trouble is that now you have to do the heavy lifting of managing whether those people have started or stopped or are blocked or forgot or need reminders that something is due. It would be a whole lot easier if Excel had a function to email those team members automatically.
But it doesn’t.
You need a tool that automatically reminds your team when their items are due or overdue. You need a tool that emails you when someone has completed a critical task. You need a tool that alerts you when someone has uploaded a file or added a commented to a task.
That’s where project management software comes in. It does all that, and more.
2. Instant Reports
Everyone knows Excel excels at making reports. What a great analytic tool it is, right? Yes.
Only there’s one problem with Excel reports: you need to spend hours creating them!
Now imagine a tool that rolls up all your project data for you and enables you to select all kinds of presentation-ready reports at the click of a button. In seconds. That’s what online project management software does: creates better reports. Say your boss comes in at 4:30 pm asking for the latest task status, progress or timesheet report, and you don’t have the time to stay late. Your report can be emailed, shared or printed out and put in their hand in less than a minute.
Pro-Tip: Real-time project dashboards can be shared as reports, too.
3. Resource Allocation & Management
When you use Excel to track tasks, you get a list. When you use online project management software, you get interactive people scheduling.
You can see at a glance if someone’s over-allocated or going on vacation. And then you can change their workload immediately and re-assign tasks to someone with available hours.
Plus, you get timesheets that connect to your team’s tasks. So as they check off their to-do lists, their timesheets can capture their hours worked. No more copying hours from one spreadsheet to another. Whew.
Well, if that doesn’t convince you to give online project management software a try, there are more reasons to move away from Excel. Maybe we’ll make this an ongoing series.
In the meantime, why not see for yourself how ProjectManager.com can help you lead your project to success. Take a moment to follow the link below and test drive our solution. It’s free for 30 days.