Resource planning

Excel is not the best tool for resource management

Reija Stenroos
Reija Stenroos
Head of Sales and Marketing
Excel is not the best tool for project resourcing

We often hear that project organisations use Excel's for resource management. In most cases the reason for this practice is the frustration on existing system’s clumsy resourcing functionalities. Usually resourcing isn’t one of the base functionalities in large scale ERP systems. As a result, many organisations end up using Excel even though it’s not the most flexible tool for this purpose.  I have compiled 5 most essential reasons why I recommend to use some other tool for resourcing. 

  1. Resource allocation information is difficult to share in Excel. In worst scenario there are dozens of different versions and no one knows what is the most recent and up-to-date version.
  2. Overall picture is missing because all the teams and project managers often use uniquely different documents.  It might look that people have free capacity but in reality they are loaded in multiple projects at the same time. By noticing overload and underload situations in advance many projects can be rescued and at the same time personnel’s well-being can be increased.
  3. Realisation and cost data is often missing from Excel spreadsheets and because of this there is no overview whether the project is successful or not. Transparency in the organisation will suffer and there is not enough information for the decision-making.  
  4. Especially when the number of people is increasing in the organisation the usability of Excel will be troublesome. This will make the work for the resourcing manager harder and in worst case will diminish effective working hours. With proper tool resourcing is fast and easy.
  5. Excel isn’t a reporting tool, which is why the reporting features cannot be assumed to be polished to an end. However, from the decision-making perspective reporting should be up-to-date. This way it is possible to see to the history and to create predictive reports to the future. In a good resourcing tool project data will be attached to the planned allocations and realization hours and this way reports will add value to a decision-making.

If Excel is still the most important tool for resourcing in your organisation, I encourage you to consider alternative solutions. It might be that the project management is so much smoother in the future when the resource allocations are done with a proper tool.

Reija Tulasalo

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