Project Management

Stop Being Scared of Spreadsheets!

Jirí is a software analyst in the Czech Republic.

When I joined my first project management training, I wondered: “What advanced tools do experienced project managers use to plan and run large projects?” The lecturer replied: “We mostly manage with pencil and paper...and sometimes spreadsheets.”

I can’t tell you anything new about pencil and paper, but I can share some experience about using spreadsheets to keep track of your project, especially if you are junior-level project manager or when it comes to using Excel (or possibly both). As a supplement to this article, you can download a MS Excel template for a project plan. It’s probably not a tool that will help you manage a really big project, but it can be used for a smaller one (like an internal website, moving your office to a new location or a company team-building event).

If you don’t have anything like that on hand, look at your personal plans: your sister’s wedding, home remodeling, football tournament…all of these are excellent opportunities to try your recently acquired project management skills in real life with just minor damage if things go wrong.

The accompanying template will probably not fit your needs fully. This is an advantage, not a drawback! This will motivate you to modify and adapt it to find your own solution. That will be your biggest gain. Once you have created a formula to calculate …

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"My goal is simple. It is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is, and why it exists at all."

- Stephen Hawking