Home » Blog » Using Excel Spreadsheets for Project Management? You Might Want to Reconsider.


Browsing the Internet, you will find various Excel project management templates: a Gantt chart template, budget template, project timeline template, etc.

Apparently, many companies still rely on spreadsheets to plan and manage their projects. When talking with resource management software users, we often learn that they used to utilize spreadsheets to track time or track employee time off

What’s the big deal then? If Microsoft Excel templates are working out for a company, should they still invest in a dedicated PM tool? This blog post aims to allow you to evaluate whether spreadsheets are genuinely practical for your organization. If they are, then great, but you’ll likely see hidden costs of using them for project and resource management.

Project management excel spreadsheet for intruding project plan and handling multiple projects

Why do companies use spreadsheets for project management?

Before we discuss the numerous issues you may face when relying on a spreadsheet for project tracking or project and resource planning, let’s talk about the reasons for using them in the first place. In our opinion, companies decide to manage their projects with Excel because spreadsheets seem accessible, easy-to-use, and free. After all, basically, everyone has a spreadsheet app installed on their machine. Cloud alternatives like Google Sheets are also widely available. The thing is that, although popular, spreadsheets haven’t been designed for project management purposes. As a result, using them as such can be anything but easy, free, and efficient.

Excel project tracker doesn't help with effective project management and project tasks

Main pitfalls of “Excel project management”

Let’s discuss the biggest problems project managers have to tackle when using spreadsheets to create a project plan or manage ongoing tasks.

Spreadsheets are:

To be one time with project progress and project resources project managers use project planning tools

How do resource planners replace spreadsheets for project management?

First of all, dedicated project and resource planning tools solve the challenges presented in the previous section. They’ve been built with these particular processes in mind, so, naturally, they have features to support planning projects, scheduling resources, or updating the project schedule. On top of that, they typically offer the following features that could further boost your team’s performance and save you a lot of time and money:

Of course, robust project management software will help you solve many more issues you might be currently facing. The key is to pick an app that fits your team’s needs and makes sense for your company’s budget.  

Excel Project management template, including excel project schedule template, isn't the great solution

Alternatives to spreadsheets and Excel in project management

Many organizations ask themselves whether or not they should spend money on apps when there’s a free alternative like Microsoft Excel. Fortunately, there are many free or very affordable apps on the market. You can find some examples in our blog posts:

Keep in mind that paying for an app may mean saving money in the long run. Imagine that, thanks to a powerful PM tool, your team saves a couple of hours every week. Multiply that number by your employees’ hourly rates and calculate the return on investment—you might be surprised. One of the companies using Teamdeck estimated that they save ca. $10k every month thanks to switching to a dedicated resource management app—you can read a full case study here.

Looking for alternatives for spreadsheets in project management?


Related posts