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Project Portfolio Management

Don’t Massacre Your PMO with Spreadsheets

Published By Tushar Patel
Don’t Massacre Your PMO with Spreadsheets

Halloween is around the corner, but ghouls, goblins, and ghosts shouldn’t worry you. You have a deadly horror lurking in the halls, hiding in the shadows of your conference rooms, and trapped in computers waiting to spring on you when you least expect it – spreadsheets. These spreadsheets are creating massacres across the industry, cannibalizing PMOs and sending them to early graves. Spreadsheets are killing project managers and team members by the masses all across the country. They spawn and duplicate like rabbits, with many species having inaccurate and outdated information – killing your credibility and reporting.

While spreadsheets are advantageous for driving a stake through subjective and political decision making zombies, when used for project and portfolio management, they simply suck the life and blood out of you.

Here are the top five ways spreadsheets are killing people like you…consider yourself warned:

Spreadsheets suck the lifeblood out of your efficiency  

If you are like most, you are gathering data from multiple places and consolidating this information into a single spreadsheet. You spend countless hours finding the right data and organizing it for easy consumption. This puts a silver bullet through your heart as you are more focused on finding the right information from the right system, rather than focusing on analysis to increase project success.

Spreadsheets require a lot of manual work

It’s a manual process to gather all of the data and consolidate it into a spreadsheet, but the work doesn’t end there with spreadsheets. You still have all of the manual calculations, reconciliation of the data, and creation of pivot tables, charts, and graphs to tell your story. It’s like watching yourself dig your own grave with a plastic shovel – tremendously painful. Then you spend your time checking the formulas and adjusting the colors and formats of your visualizations – focusing more on the look and feel rather than the analysis and output.

Spreadsheets are deceiving and trick you

As a system of record, spreadsheets invite trouble. Just open one, change a number or two, save it, and voila—you’ve rewritten history or better yet, allowing someone else to rewrite history. It’s impossible to verify the accuracy of your numbers or track changes and soon you’ll be haunted by misunderstandings, misinterpretation, and wasted time. When using spreadsheets, the zombies in the organization are just going to come to you for the latest information, so what was the point of that spreadsheet anyway?

Spreadsheets cause bad decision making

With inaccurate data and static information, spreadsheets limit your ability to make smart decisions. When the data was pulled and the spreadsheet was created, things looked great. However, once you send out that spreadsheet and it gets forwarded around the organization, the view is not based on real-time data – and bad decisions arise. Just like that teen in the horror movie, who thought it was a good idea to follow the bloody footsteps into a dark basement.

Spreadsheets kill collaboration

How many times have you been on a call with people looking at different versions of a spreadsheet? You can probably hear yourself saying, “That’s the old version. I just sent you the latest version – check your email.” It is hard to collaboratively share and analyze updates with spreadsheets because the data is not coming from a centralized location with up-to-date information. When it comes time to collaborate, you end up spending time ensuring everyone is looking at the right version. That’s if you are lucky, most times team members or key stakeholders are looking at different versions and you don’t even know it – keeping you in the dark by creating silos of information, and that’s not very collaborative.

While we cannot rid our organizations of spreadsheets (or zombies for that matter), these are our top 5 reasons why spreadsheets are massacring PMOs. What do you think? Share your ideas below!

Escape the horror by registering for this upcoming webinar “Spreadsheet Chainsaw Massacre.”

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Written by Tushar Patel