07 October 2021 4 min read

X Reasons Why Managing Projects with Spreadsheets Is a Terrible Idea


Even if it seems like everyone around you is keen on using Excel Spreadsheets to manage various processes at their company, don’t repeat their mistake! The sooner you understand that online spreadsheets are not your friend, the quicker your company will grow.

Don’t get us wrong - spreadsheets are overall a wonderful tool! Rows and columns help to keep the information neatly organised in one easy-to-read space. Not only can you store your data, but you can also analyse it - and all that is accessible in tabular form.

However, it is when things start getting a bit more complicated that spreadsheets are no longer helpful. In fact, using them can cause more problems than solutions! In this article, we will discuss ten different reasons why you should not opt for Spreadsheets when managing projects at your company.

What Actually Is a Spreadsheet?

Before we go into details, let’s agree on a definition of a spreadsheet. It is a piece of paper or a computer programme usually used for accounting and recording data using rows and columns into which we can enter information.

There are plenty of spreadsheet programmes, with Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets being at the top of the list, that are used to store, organise and analyse data. Why then, you might think, are we advising you not to work on one? Here are your ten reasons why!

X Reasons Why Managing Projects with Spreadsheets Is a Terrible Idea

  • I

    Serious Limitations for Project Management
    This one is definitely the number one issue we have with Spreadsheets. Namely, they are not designed to store big files, conversations and annotations that are essential for project communication. And, as we all know, communication is key to successful project delivery.

    Another important thing is that by using spreadsheets we allow only a bunch of people to access information. This creates chaos and leads to lower productivity, which is the very thing we should avoid while managing a project.

  • II

    Lack of Collaboration
    This problem is actually related to the previous one. If not all of the project team members are on the same page, you won’t go too far with your project. There needs to be one version of the same document accessible to everyone in order to progress with the project.

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  • III

    Whose first instinct is it to open a Google Sheet window when logging onto their device? Nobody’s? That’s right! We are not accustomed to using spreadsheets on a day-to-day basis when managing a project. This is another compelling reason why instead of wasting your time on Spreadsheets, you should be investing in a collaborative project management tool.

  • IV

    Lack of Updated Information
    We don’t need to tell you how important the updated schedule and plan is for any project management. Doing it with spreadsheets, where each team member works on a different version of the same project, feels very chaotic and disconnected. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours on something that turns out to be an old version of the file, which is yet to be updated.

  • V

    No Investments to Improve Modeling
    Unlike any other software for project management that is constantly developing its methods, tools and frameworks, we cannot say that the same thing goes for the Spreadsheets. So far, there has been no major investments or improvements introduced to spreadsheet modeling, which just shows us there is not much point in putting both energy and money into something that is going to stay stagnant forever.

  • VI

    Time Waste
    It often happens that once the company starts to grow, a team’s home-grown project management process is being put in place in the form of spreadsheets. This type of a custom-made project management solution is good at the beginning but is not recommended as a long-term option. Hanging onto your custom spreadsheets may cost you a lot of nerves and money, so why would you want to do that?

  • VII

    The ease of use of spreadsheets can be misleading and hence, lead to common mistakes, such as overwriting, re-formatting of data or erasure. It is of utmost importance to remember that spreadsheets are not databases - they were not designed for a complex use!

  • VIII

    Tracking Issue
    While spreadsheets are performing well when it comes to tracking numbers and calculations, they tend to be problematic regarding tracking non-financial data. Why? This process requires some complex workbooks made of multiple spreadsheets as well as some additional files from outside, which Spreadsheets cannot provide space for. As a result, tracking status and progress of the project becomes a nightmare!

  • IX

    Or rather, the lack of it. Spreadsheets do not really help you organise all information regarding the project like you want it to be - quite the opposite! The more data you enter into a spreadsheet, the bigger mess it creates. In other words, stay away from using Spreadsheets when managing projects.

  • X

    We could say that this point sums up all of the previous ones. How can you rely on a programme that has proved to be ineffective, error-prone, time-consuming, limited and incomplete all in one? You can’t and you don’t have to! There are hundreds of thousands of other solutions that are waiting for you.

As you can see, a project management spreadsheet is not always the best way to control your processes. So, what tools should you use to take care of your projects properly? The solution can be a construction management platform, like Archdesk, that adapts to your existing workflows and supports your processes from A to Z.

If you are interested to learn more, give us a call and find out why our cloud-based software is your go-to option!

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2024-05-18 10:13:20