Spreadsheets and Project Management – Made for Each Other

We have seen a surge in Project Managers and IT Managers engaging with us for a Project Management Solution. And in our efforts to help them achieve their desired outcomes and ease their challenges we found them to be eager to move from spreadsheet management to true project management.

As soon as people hear – “Project” they run to open spreadsheets on their computers to start taking notes, making a plan, listing tasks and entering date and time information.

But the sad part is, these “source of information” become obsolete in less than an hour once they are live (read shared with the team).

Conventional methods are somewhat suited for rudimentary TO-DO list management or to maintain notes. They have never been able to keep pace with the evolving technology landscape.

They may appear to be cost savers in the short term, but the resulting cost of inefficiency is far greater than the dollars saved.

For every $1billion invested in the U.S.; $122million is wasted due to lacking project performance.

If you’re a Project Manager, read how a project management software can help and use this guide to make a case for investing in a solution that enables

  • Single pane of Organizational view
  • Data driven and analytical approach
  • Quicker & accurate decision making driven by real-time granular data
  • Unbridled clarity around business directives and organization goals
  • Centralized collaboration among workforce
  • Last mile integration of team(s) goals with that of the organization
  • Real time monitoring of key deliverables and milestones
  • Highly coordinated project planning and execution
  • Improved and automated clutter free communication
  • Well defined employee performance management and engagement
  • Highly motivated and productivity oriented workforce

Why Spreadsheets Don’t Work for the modern Project Managers

Multiple Versions

With a globally dispersed team of multiple members, everyone making edits to documents, it makes project managers spend a lot of time in consolidating updates to keep everyone on the same page.

Having multiple versions of a file shared by various team members make it increasingly difficult to understand what has been done, what needs to be done, and what needs to be done next.

As the project progresses, more data is generated, further contributing to the chaos. Instead of spending time adding value to the organization, project managers feel more like a “Spreadsheet Manager”.

Project management software solutions are almost always cloud-based, which means that team members and project managers can align around “one true source of information”.

It not only removes the burden from the project manager, but also improves collaboration, and therefore work quality.

No Status Visibility

As a project manager, your job is to complete the project on time and on budget — accounting for risk, communicating efficiently with teams and stakeholders’ vis a vis project progress, and providing support and guidance to those doing the work.

But with spreadsheet as your go-to tool, project managers have to constantly interrupt teams to collect status with a direct impact on the team’s delivery agility. This also takes away the fun and focus out of the core activities of the team members.

A project management software solution can provide visibility into statuses of your tasks, projects at a glance in real time, with each team member updating on their own assigned tasks and automated reminders/notifications being sent to all the stakeholders involved in the project.

Your teams can stay focused on delivering work, and you can get the information you need from the project management software without having to interrupt them.

Outdated Data

It’s critical for any forward-thinking company to invest in tools that allows for easy analysis of their key data & enables quick and well-informed decision making — that tool is not a spreadsheet.

Many project management solutions include executive reports, workflow management (check Orangescrum’s Workflow Management), which help teams visualize and manage their work while providing real time insights of projects, tasks and team members.

For specific insights into a particular projects, tasks or team member; invested stakeholders can go directly to the source and see real-time status, project history, and any relevant documentation all in one place.

This makes it easier for PMs and Executives to access accurate data in real-time and drive smarter decision making.

The idea is to have a solution that enables self-service and makes your teams self-sufficient with minimum dependencies and taking off unwanted administrative layers.

Manual Reporting

With no built-in reporting capability, Excel and similar tools require project managers to spend time to consolidate data and build reports manually. With all that manual effort, there’s a lot of room for error.

And note – this is a recurring manual activity that is non-billable and wasteful.

Can an organization really afford 100s of hours of wasted efforts just on reporting?

According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average— search for information, data analysis and report generation etc

Another report from IDC data shows that “the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information, reports….60% [of company executives] felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing their employees from finding the information they needed.” Source: Information: The Lifeblood of the Enterprise.

Having built-in reporting capabilities, Project management software solutions allow you to represent, analyze, and share data exactly the way you need to.

You can also have dashboards to track, monitor or generate metrics that matter most to you.

So whether you need to create a quarterly performance report for your executive team or just get a quick glance into your team’s productivity this week, the information you need is just a few clicks away.

Over to you

The purpose of any software solution is to reduce manual efforts involved in task management, to provide more insight than would be accessible through manual report, to make the life of the user easier and productive.

If your current spreadsheet project management system is failing to achieve any of these basic needs, it’s time to upgrade to a tool purpose-built for project management.

Orangescrum has the all the above capabilities for you and your team to

  • Manage Tasks, Projects, and Resources
  • Real time task progress report & project insights
  • Automatically tracks spent time on tasks and generate invoices
  • Real time Resource Availability Calendar and Resource utilization reports
  • Manage & Track Expenses
  • Allows Role Based Access Control of users
  • Create your own Workflow Management
  • Robust Bug & Issue Management
  • LDAP/Microsoft Active Directory Integration
  • & many more

Sign up now to start managing your projects in Orangescrum. Do you want a personalized guide of Orangescrum? Schedule a demo here.

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About the author

Priyank Agarwal
Priyank Agarwal

Customer Success & Product Manager, Orangescrum