Humans are creatures of habit - even in offices. After we get our first coffee at our desk on Monday morning, this step is often one of our first activities: We open Excel. This is understandable, since the software has been successfully competing against its competitors for more than 30 years. But is project management with Excel the right way to success? We have taken a close look at the tool for you...
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Step by Step - What makes Excel so successful?
With an estimated 750 million users, Excel is the most widely used spreadsheet program in the world. But what makes the tool so popular? Excel is able to process numerous data types, display them in a variety of graphs and statistics and interacts with many other software solutions as input or output format. Quite an achievement!
The recipe for success of the all-rounder at a glance:
- accessibility: Excel can be found on almost every computer
- pre-defined know-how: a basic understanding of Excel is part of the repertoire of every student in this day and age
- popularity: alternatives are often still unknown
- savings: there are no additional costs for programs or trainings
- customization: you can customize the program to your individual needs
Excel can therefore be used in almost all areas, both privately and professionally. Task lists, checklists, spreadsheets and reporting are among the main functions of the software. But Excel often reaches its limits in project management.
Projectmanagement with Excel? Please don't!
With these successes, it is hardly surprising that Excel is also particularly popular for project management. But exactly this is the decisive mistake. Because Excel is really great - no question about it. But Excel is not made for project management! We will show you why a project management tool is the better choice in this case:
1. Excel makes mistakes
About 94 % of all Excel worksheets contain errors. So it's not a question of whether you make an error, but rather how many. These errors can be very serious, as prominent examples show:
- Due to a formatting error, the wrong devices were intercepted by a secret service.
- A sign error turned a $1.3 milliad loss into a profit.
- The results of a known study are wrong, because a wrong data area was chosen for the calculation.
The background stories to the small examples (and many more) can be found here.
Project management tools learn and support users in discovering errors more quickly and avoiding the fatal consequences in good time. Because errors cost nerves, time and above all money.
2. Excel is uncertain
If you store your data in file formation, you make yourself vulnerable. Knowingly or unknowingly, data can be falsified, stolen or deleted. Systematic checks are not provided for in Excel and a manual check exceeds the capacity of every employee. With the help of various user rights and a recovery function, management tools prevent these problems.
3. Excel quickly becomes confusing
Complex or parallel projects can hardly be handled with Excel. Information has to be obtained, collected and interpreted again and again. It is therefore not surprising that Excel quickly causes confusion among the people involved in project management and that the overview is completely lost. Project management tools are designed to create order in the chaos.
4. No multi-user capability
Working in a team with Excel can become the purest pain. A file can only be edited by one person at a time because the data is not synchronized in real time. The danger is different stands, which can be consolidated only with large expenditure. Also the communication between the participants is only badly realizable with Excel. For example, it is not possible to record the current project status centrally for all to see.
5. Hidden costs are high
Excel itself is very cheap per user. However, it overlooks the costs that can quickly result from incorrect operation or errors in the software. The biggest costs are the search and interpretation of data as well as the detection and correction of errors.
No more Excel?
Excel has its right to exist in any case. Excel is a very powerful tool for spreadsheets and calculations. However, we strongly advise against using Excel as a project management tool! We know from experience that chaos is big and projects fail because of it.
Project management with Falcon
We develop the project management software Falcon and replace Excel with it. This saves you a lot of time and allows you to concentrate on your tasks.
Falcon creates clear responsibilities and a simple overview of the overall project, goals and progress. You have all information in one place and can access it from anywhere.
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