Project performance analysis and evaluation are essential for the success of any project. There are various ways to execute project performance analysis and evaluation effectively, and one of them is using a spreadsheet for project managers. Even though Excel won't satisfy all your project management needs, it has many valuable features.
Since many variables can affect a project, project planning software like Excel can help you get accurate outcomes. It also allows you to identify the areas of improvement and make changes quickly. So in this detailed guide, we'll cover everything you need to know before using the spreadsheet for project managers.
Importance of Project Performance Analysis and Evaluation
Consistent project performance analysis and evaluation help you check whether the project is progressing. It also allows you to make timely changes to your project and ensure a more successful outcome. However, you must do so to avoid unexpected challenges and flaws in the project. So if you wish to complete the project successfully, you must perform regular analysis and evaluation.
Using the proper project management Excel templates, you can efficiently monitor and analyze your project without hassles. Excel can help you visualize, plan and track your projects easily. The Excel project management templates also let you check the project's current status, oversee the budget, schedule tasks, etc., in just a few clicks.
The following section will teach you how Excel helps to manage projects in detail.
How Does Excel Help in Project Performance Analysis and Evaluation?
Even though Excel cannot handle complex projects, it can still help you with basic operations with its templates. Excel project management templates will be helpful if you handle a small project with just you and a few others. The following are the critical areas where a good spreadsheet for project managers can help you.
- Project Schedule
You can use the Gantt chart spreadsheet for project scheduling and assigning tasks. In addition, project management Excel templates can help you know how long a project will take to complete. For example, the timeline chart features horizontal bars featuring each task, aligned side by side, giving you a clear idea of your project's schedule. It takes a bit of time to get the hang of it, but once you get used to it, you can go beyond a simplistic list of deadlines.
- Project Budget
Project managers can effectively use Excel spreadsheets for project budget tracking. But remember, it only works well for small and medium projects; you will need a project management tool for larger projects. For creating a budget, all you have to do is to track the list of expenses against the income. You can also create a more detailed budget with the help of Excel as long as it stays within the tool's capabilities.
- Task Management
Creating a to-do task list is one of the integral parts of project management. Fortunately, you can easily create one using Excel project management templates and manage your tasks. Moreover, it helps you check whether the project is progressing as planned without delay. To create a task list in an Excel spreadsheet, you have to list each task with a description, add necessary resources, the responsible employee, and so on.
- Project Tracking
Once the project has begun, you can use the spreadsheet to track project progress and manage issues that show up. As mentioned above, you can create a project tracker with the project name, tasks, the manager in charge, duration, status, budget vs. actual, etc. It helps you monitor the progress of your project closely and fix the issues that show up quickly in time. Excel spreadsheet for project managers also offers charts to visualize data better.
- Project Performance Analysis and Evaluation
The last and most crucial step is project performance analysis and evaluation. Thanks to your collected data, you can quickly generate customized reports and analytics to break down your project. Excel spreadsheet for project managers has tools that help you generate reports based on the inputs you have given. After completing the project performance analysis and evaluation, you will get important insights that can be used to complete future projects successfully.
Pros and Cons of Using Excel for Project Management
These pros and cons will help you know whether Excel is enough to manage your project or if you need to check for the best Excel alternatives.
- Excel is an ideal cost-effective tool if you are working on a simple project with a couple of team members.
- Excel spreadsheet for project managers is an easy-to-use tool which means you or your teammates don't need any training to use Excel.
- Excel is free and easy to customize.
- You can easily track the budget, create task lists, and monitor project progress using Excel.
- Complex calculations can be easily performed using Excel spreadsheets for project managers.
- Excel offers useful reporting features, such as Excel table, Pivot table, etc.
- Data visualization tools such as graphs, charts, and 3D maps are available.
- Project management Excel templates can be used for time tracking, task completion, etc.
- Excel spreadsheets for project managers need robust security features, so it is not a good place to store sensitive data like financial information.
- Excel spreadsheets don't offer mobile access.
- Excel needs to be more scalable to handle more significant projects as your business grows.
- There needs to be an activity log in Excel, so there's no way to know who edited the file.
- There are no collaboration features in Excel except commenting.
- A small error in the Excel sheet can harm your entire project.
- Features such as Kanban view, Gantt view, Calendar view, etc., need to be included in Excel.
Is Excel the Right Tool for Project Performance Analysis and Evaluation?
As you can see, Excel has many pros as well as cons. However, you can use Excel if the project you're working on is simple and you need more teammates to collaborate with. Collaboration and different project views are a project management tool's two most valuable features. Unfortunately, both these features need to be included in Excel. So it's almost impossible to manage complex projects efficiently with Excel.
Moreover, you have to create rows manually and sub-rows to define tasks and sub-tasks. After that, you may also have to perform cell formatting and color coding. This process takes a lot of time and effort. Eventually, it delays the project's delivery timeline and extends the budget.
Excel can be used for project performance analysis and evaluation only to a small extent. Therefore, if you wish to complete the project on time and within the budget, you must need the best Excel alternative.
Staying with Excel for project performance analysis and evaluation is not recommended for a long time. It is because you will only be working on a single project for a while. After that, your company will grow, and you may have to handle more significant, complex projects with many team members. So it's better to have robust project planning software as early as possible. There is plenty of project planning software available in the market, offering rich features at an affordable cost.
Retable is a powerful project planning software loaded with features like Kanban view, Calendar view, Role management, Real-time collaboration, Project management templates, and many more. Unlike Excel, Retable is specially designed for project managers with all facilities to manage complex projects without hassles. Furthermore, Retable is easy to use and scalable and offers a free version!
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