Title Excel v PM

Project Management Software: 5 Reasons to Stop Relying on Excel

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Claudio Gutierrez

President & Founder — Valens Project Consulting

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Microsoft Excel is a useful tool that can do almost anything if you invest enough time and effort into it. However, this does not mean that you should spend all that effort, especially when there are other solutions that work better for specialized tasks. When it comes to project management, getting software specifically designed to handle associated tasks is better than relying on Excel. Here are five reasons why.

 

Flexibility

 

What if your project rates change? What if a minor variable in your formulas becomes irrelevant going Forward? Unless you have spent a lot of time thoroughly preparing many complex formulas and then copying them appropriately into different books in your spreadsheet, Excel does not lend itself to changes on the fly. By contrast, project management software anticipates these changes! and makes it very easy to adjust your project variables when needed.

 

Security

 

In Excel, anybody who can access your spreadsheets can modify them. If you aren’t careful, this can lead to major security issues, due to either human error or malicious intent. You need to spend more time backing your files up and monitoring them for changes. By contrast, project management software allows you to restrict access to certain areas while allowing access to others. meaning that the entire project is more secure and reliable.

 

Accuracy

 

Project management software has several checks and balance: in place to ensure that you have the most accurate data possible. If you make an error at any point, it is easy to isolate that error and correct it, rather than having it repeat ad nauseum. By contrast, Microsoft Excel leaves a lot more room for human error. Moreover, if you make a mistake on a multi-tab spreadsheet, that mistake is repeated throughout the file, creating dozens or even hundreds of lines of erroneous data.

 

Ease of Training

 

Project management software comes in a standardized format, meaning that somebody who has experience in your software suite will be able to dive right in with a minimum of training. Microsoft Excel, on the other hand, has spreadsheets that need to be customized to fit every different task. This means that somebody coming into your project fresh won’t necessarily be up to speed on the project, even if they have familiarity with Excel.

 

Specialization

 

Microsoft Excel is built to handle many different tasks but doesn’t specialize in any of them. That makes it effective for data management but doesn’t necessarily provide you with the tools you need to communicate with your team remotely and maintain a detailed project map. or handle dozens of other project tasks. By choosing software that is specialized to help with project management, you’ll be getting something that cuts down on complexity and provides a much more streamlined base.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Excel otters many different things to many different people. but good project managers know that if has its limits. If you want to be as effective and efficient as possible, you should get familiar with project management software and rely on that more than Excel.

 

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