Use Planning Management Tools Rather than Excel for Planning Resources

Project managers often use Excel spreadsheets or templates for resource planning. But is it right to do that? For proper project planning, it’s important to forecast the expenses, and then fix a budget and timelines accurately. However, the tools you use are important. So, the question here is why do so many companies rely on Excel spreadsheets to manage their critical data and for resource scheduling? It might seem an easy way to plan and manage resources, but spreadsheets could be cumbersome. So, when you’re looking for a tool for planning and managing resources, planning management tools can prove as a boon.

Why doing resource planning in an Excel is not a good idea?

Many project managers use spreadsheets for resource planning. One of the key reasons is that Excel is familiar to most and we are comfortable working on it. However, if you need to do capacity planning for some important projects, Excel is a not a great idea. One, information about resource allocation is tough to share in an Excel format. Also, maintaining so many versions of a spreadsheet can confuse people and end up in a disaster. Here are some more reasons why you should not use Excel for planning resources.

Spreadsheets can be inaccurate at times

As employees are human, they could make mistakes when stressed or tired. While working with spreadsheets, employees can put in some incorrect data, or replace a formula by mistake, which will lead to wrong calculation? This is not the case when you use a planning management tool, which will automate all your resource planning, scheduling, and management tasks.

Doing schedule changes in an Excel are tough

In a spreadsheet, doing even a simple baseline change like a date change would require deleting, adding new cells, merging/unmerging, changing colors, etc. depending on the format. Scheduling can become tiring and prone to errors. What’s more? In case there are bulk changes due to shifting projects or resource change, it can consume a lot of time.

Collaboration is difficult while working in Excels

Imagine multiple people changing and manipulating the same Excel sheet’s data. You can’t control those changes or ensure if you are working on the right or latest version. Also, you will need to send the Excel sheet to one stakeholder at one time, and that can really slow down the process.

Overall picture is missing

A larger picture would be always missing when doing resource planning in spreadsheets. This is because different teams and project managers would be using different documents. It might seem that some resources have free capacity but maybe in reality, they are overburdened while working on multiple projects. In such scenarios, planning management tools can be very beneficial. It’s easy to identify the overloaded and under loaded resources and therefore, you can schedule resources optimally and eventually projects would not be on risk.

Spreadsheets consume a lot of time

Managing resource planning in an Excel sheet is also not ideal as you and your team members spend a lot of time in comparing and cross-checking data, accuracy, versions, timesheets, and other reports. In addition, usually people need to enter their inputs many times in several documents to store data, which wastes a lot of time and effort.

Difficult to search the right people for projects with ease

Excel system is usually quite disorganized and it’s almost impossible to search the right people who are available for various projects across cities and locations. Imagine, if you can’t identify the best resources for a job immediately, then the right people won’t get best and suitable jobs and you will not be able to manage your resources and talent well.

Realization and cost data is mostly missing in spreadsheets

Getting realization and cost data from Excel sheets is tough. Because of that, a project manager cannot find out if the project is finally successful or not. Transparency in the company would suffer and management won’t have enough information for decision-making.

Spreadsheets are not a visual option

If project managers are not able to get a glance of which resources are available and which are overbooked, they won’t be able to allocate projects and tasks appropriately. Excel doesn’t offer you any visibility on that. On the other hand, planning management tools provide various reports, graphs, charts and visual data which enables optimal resource planning and scheduling.

Effective forecasting and reporting not possible

Many organizations lack the ability to forecast their capacity and the exact demand. A spreadsheet is not built to handle that and therefore, it cannot generate any forecasting reports for various levels of management. Obviously, a lack of forecasting could cost a huge loss and competitive edge for any business. This is where planning management tools are the way forward for organizations of all types.

Spreadsheets are one-dimensional

Excel sheets don’t enable you to check the status of your project or track and measure its progress. You can’t get a complete view of your projects and end up spending too much time decoding all the information in the data.

Not suitable in large organizations

If your firm has a large number of employees, using Excels for planning resources and managing projects could be difficult. This will make project manager’s life tougher and could also reduce the effective working hours. But if you use a good resourcing and planning management tool, such tasks can be done faster and with ease.

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