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Why Spreadsheets Need to Die (or At Least Retire) for Project Management

Published By Team AdaptiveWork

They were born of an earlier time, simpler days when anything went; it was the 80s, the Wild West era of documents. Spreadsheets were created, initially for numbers, which made sense, but they didn’t stop at just numbers. With the birth of Excel and the hegemony of Windows, these rows and columns spread all over the world until they appeared in every aspect of our lives, used by everybody for everything.

Road trip? Spreadsheet. Planning a party? Spreadsheet. Preparing for your fantasy draft? Spreadsheet. Running a complex project involving the integration of three separate multilingual platforms, across seven time-zones and involving 12 different teams? Spreadsheet. The squarest of pieces was being used to fit every jigsaw.

No Longer a Good Fit

With nearly 90% of spreadsheets nowadays containing errors and the medium truly not fit for the tasks its being used for, it’s time to rebel against this silent occupation of our working lives and unite as one shouting: “Death to Spreadsheets”. Well “death” is probably a bit strong but at least a steady disengagement from trying to use Excel, Google Sheets, Apple Numbers and all the rest for things they simply weren’t designed for.

Spreadsheets simply can’t perform the role that modern (or past) project managers need them to, yet PMs still cling on to them like a household with a broken dishwasher. It’s familiar, it’s part of the family and it can still do some kind of job, just not all the time and very rarely how it’s supposed to. In the modern drive for efficiency, decision velocity and fine margins determining project success, the fact that spreadsheets are still so commonplace would be quite shocking if one were to take an objective view.

A spreadsheet is a static platform for dynamic information. Information that is vital to project success can come at any time, but a spreadsheet can’t react on its own. Decisions need to be taken but a spreadsheet can only tell you what the plan was in the first place, not how far all the separate cogs of the machine have turned.

Use Software Dedicated for Complex Projects Instead

While spreadsheets can perform some kind of role, is there really any need to persist with them? The obvious solution is already here in the shape of purpose built, online project management software. The advantages are numerous and are already making the lives of project managers around the world a whole lot easier.

With the ability to automate processes, set report types and information to be shared, you will save a huge amount of time in avoiding the arduous and thankless task of extrapolating information from dozens of different sources to supply to different stakeholders.

The differences don’t stop there. With real-time information at your fingertips it becomes possible to assign tasks and allocate resources with ease, all within the same tool. Along with this you can create easy team communication channels to enhance collaboration and improve workflows.

So, if you are still relying on spreadsheets for the bulk of your project management activities it’s probably time to do the right thing. With Planview AdaptiveWork’s online project management software and the great apps available for it in the Apps Marketplace spreadsheets can finally be, if not totally killed off, at least put out to pasture to enjoy their final days in the sun.


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Written by Team AdaptiveWork