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The downsides of Excel for Project Management
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Anyone who works in an office environment has used Microsoft Excel at some point in their life, and if they haven’t then they may well have been taught how to use it at school. Don’t get us wrong it certainly has its uses and as the oldest and most widely use program for spreadsheets it is the most well known but if you are using it for project management then you need to stop and consider what you are doing. Using a spreadsheet program can be helpful but if you are involved in advanced project management and it is all that you are using then you are not doing yourself any favours. Let’s take a look at some of the downsides that you might encounter if you are using Excel for your project management. If you are looking to learn more about project management software then project management training could be very helpful.

No good for time management

Fair enough if you are working on a small project with a team that has just a few members Excel might work for you, but it is very time-consuming having use columns and rows to input all of your tasks. It can be customised to a certain extent however the more data you input the harder it is to read. Unlike other methods of project management Excel cannot be altered by two people at the same time. A version needs to be saved, accessed by a second user and then updated again. This is enough to have you tearing your hair out. 

Decreased productivity

In order to be most productive a team need to be able to streamline their communications, and this means being able to do things quickly. This simply isn’t an option in Excel where each individual needs time to access the spreadsheet in order to update it. Project management specific programs will allow several users to update the system at the same time, giving updated information in real time. Waiting for someone else to update and save something before you can look at it reduces productivity.

 Meeting management

Whilst it might be possible to offer pre-installed templates for meetings this does not mean your meeting will be conducted successfully. There are more comprehensive software options out there that will offer you a much more extensive feature for managing your meetings, whether these are individual meetings or ones that involve the whole team.

If you are using Excel to manage your meetings, then you are probably losing a huge chunk of your time each day which will be adding to your lack of productivity.


It can be hard to let go of the familiar but there are so many fantastic project management software solutions out there that could make your life so much simpler. If you are not sure which one would work well for your needs then why not look for local project management courses, and network with other project managers to see what works for them.

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