Spreadsheets and Project Tracking

Spreadsheets are used in almost every business to help manage data and facilitate business decisions. While they excel (pardon my pun) at numerical analysis, they aren’t so great for business process tracking. Spreadsheets introduce errors that are invisible to the users, are difficult to collaborate with and do not scale up well.

Errors are Introduced

Many teams use spreadsheets for project tracking and day to day task management. While a spreadsheet is an inexpensive option that almost everyone already knows how to use, it can introduce errors into your workflow, like:

  • Inconsistent data
  • Inaccurate modeling
  • Incorrect data

The problem with these three types of error is that spreadsheets provide no warning to the user. The spreadsheet will accept any input and do its best, possibly giving you bad output data. You will then act on this incorrect data, leading to lost time, lost revenue and lost clients.

Different spreadsheets cannot easily be connected without introducing more errors due to formatting inconsistencies or other problems. Project managers are right to be hesitant when considering merging spreadsheets because the errors in each sheet will compound once they have merged. This leads to an issue in project tracking because the entire project cannot be seen at once.

Project tracking software is the answer to this problem.

Issues with Collaboration

iFollow’s dashboard allows its users to view all tasks – past, current and future, along with its completion status. The sequence template allows project managers to program the hierarchical interconnectedness of tasks, ensuring all dependencies are considered in the task management process.

Collaboration is difficult when using spreadsheets, even ones that are updated and shared regularly. iFollow’s email integration allows all employees involved in a particular project to be notified of changes and alerted to late or incomplete tasks.

Scalability

As your business grows, your spreadsheet will not scale up with you. If you try to force it, the errors discussed above will creep into your business process tracking, leading to lost time and revenue.

Institutional Resistance

Once time and effort have been invested in setting up a spreadsheet system, it’s a tough decision to switch. If the system is working adequately, there is institutional resistance to change at many levels. Upper management does not want to incur the expense of new task management software or the downtime while employees learn to use it well. More junior employees, who may not see the entire management picture, will resist using something that may appear more complex even though in the long term it will be simpler to use.

iFollow has a shallow learning curve and different levels of the company can learn it at different times. Our email integration allows employees to be part of the notifications without needing to be trained on the system.

If you would like to see what iFollow can do to streamline your project tracking, we have a 30 day free trial at our website. I encourage you to give us a try and see how we can simplify your business process tracking.

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