Complex projects require more than spreadsheets 4 Problems with Project Management with Spreadsheets
In project management, simple spreadsheets are often still used. But spreadsheets quickly reach their limits, especially in large projects, as the tool provider Opus underlines.
Spreadsheets are only suitable for planning smaller projects.
No question, spreadsheets can be quite suitable for planning and managing small projects. The software provider Opus also admits this. However, under difficult conditions – and the project management specialist mentions four aspects at once – spreadsheets have to cut the sails.
Spreadsheets usually include several tables that are summarized in documents. For example, these tables contain tasks, resources, timelines, and more. The corresponding connections within the tables can create a project management overview.
If you have only a few projects, it is realistic to manage them via such sheets. However, if the number of projects grows, it quickly becomes confusing on the basis of these tables. In addition, cross-project management of resources is not possible in this way.
Complexity of the projects
Another limit is the complexity of the projects themselves. As long as the projects contain only a few tasks, they can be displayed well in the tables of a spreadsheet. However, as soon as the complexity of the projects increases and more work packages or tasks have to be managed, the tables will reach their limits very quickly.
This is mainly due to the fact that most projects are not monolithic, but include work packages that must be carried out sequentially or in parallel. In addition, individual tasks can be so comprehensive that they must be managed as part of a subproject. Spreadsheets cannot do this.
A rather hidden, but serious problem of spreadsheet-oriented project management is the management of resources, especially human labor and expertise. If few people are involved with the respective projects, they can still be managed, especially if these people only work on one project at a time. With an increasing number of projects and cross-project employees, the resources can no longer be managed sensibly with spreadsheets.
Lack of control
In addition, there is a risk that promised resources will be entered in the tables, but there is no general possibility of tracking binding commitments. A corresponding project management software works with resource requests as well as booking or approving the requests.
These are then noted in the project management software and are therefore more binding, since they cannot be simply deleted or changed. If additional resources such as premises, vehicles and materials have to be managed, the complexity continues to increase.