Microsoft Project vs. Excel

We support creating project files in Microsoft Excel and opening them in Steelray, our Microsoft Project viewer.  Here’s why . . .

According to a speaker I once heard from Microsoft, the most popular software for project management, the one more people are using for project management than any other, is Microsoft Excel.  More people use Excel for project management than use Microsoft Project. 

If I’m going to speculate as to the reasons, I’d say it’s because:

  1. Excel is ubiquitous; most PC users have it installed on their PC.
  2. Excel is far easier to use than Microsoft Project.
  3. For most people, Excel does enough.

I like Microsoft Project, but I find this phenonemon pretty interesting.  To me, Excel is the killer application for the PC.  Think about it:  Excel is used for both rocket science and bake sale price lists. I wonder if there are websites that discuss project management using Excel . . . .

2 thoughts on “Microsoft Project vs. Excel

  1. Matthew Steffen says:

    Businesses small and large have been using MS Excel for years to run processes and manage projects. For small, simple projects Excel is a useful organizational tool. However, projects have a tendency to grow in complexity at a rate that Excel can not keep up with.
    Imagine that a business needs to track projects or processes and does not have the time or budget to put a sophisticated tracking system in place. An IT department does not exist or is busy handling other affairs. Excel often seems to be the obvious, quickest and easiest resource to get things started.
    Skip ahead a few months or a year later and those same Excel spreadsheets have now become a burden to the company. Many different versions are being passed around. No one knows who has the most up-to-date files saved on their computer. The project has evolved, making the spreadsheets so complex that only one person understands how to update them or even interpret them, in some cases.
    It is now nearly impossible to generate reports from the spreadsheets or track progress and historical data. The data is also not searchable since Excel does not function as a database. The list goes on and on with all the limitations.
    It is very understandable why business professionals turn to Excel to run critical processes: most already own a license on their desktop and are familiar with enough to quickly get the project started. They can even bypass IT altogether and maintain the Excel files themselves. The problem is Excel was never intended to be used as project management tool. It is no surprise that collaborating via spreadsheets becomes unbearable rather quickly as projects and processes grow in complexity.
    Project Management software solutions such as Interneer Intellect provide business professionals with the same benefits they seek with Excel – ease of use, quick setup, ease of maintenance without IT – all with the full benefits and robustness of a database system, that is collaborative, web-based, multi-user and enterprise level. These systems even incorporated many other features that make it easier for the business users to manage documents, projects and process workflows.
    Excel is best for what it was designed to do – accounting and financial calculations. Stop running your businesses on a thread and read white papers and view demos of project management software system. Web-based systems like Interneer Intellect allow for real-time collaboration between team members anywhere. The time saved using project management software will provide ROI.

  2. Brian Leach says:

    I’m not an advocate for using Excel for project management, but certainly there are cases where Excel is more than enough; I just completed a “mini” project consisting of nine tasks. Project would have been overkill. The fact remains: more people use Excel than any of the traditional project management applications. This is reality, and our product serves those users.

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