Project management software vs Excel
Project management

Project management software vs Excel – which is best?

Psoda blog author avatar
31 May 2023

In today’s fast-paced business world, project management has become essential in achieving organisational success. Project management covers many facets of business operations, but one thing every project has in common is the need to have the right tools to complete the project on time and within budget.

The primary tool that a project manager uses is their software. Over the past decade, several specialised project management software providers have entered that market, offering a sophisticated and project-specific solution. Despite this, Microsoft Excel is still widely used among project professionals.

So which tool is right for managing projects?

While spreadsheets have long been a go-to for project management, they have numerous limitations that inhibit their usefulness. Project management software has far fewer limitations but can be a more costly option, and surprisingly enough, it can be difficult to convince project teams to make a switch.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of project management software vs Excel to help you decide what tool is best for you.

What are the advantages of Excel software for project management?

Spreadsheets and Excel have long been the hub of data management and are still widely used. Excel has multiple functions and functionality. It can be used for a range of tasks, including project management. Excel offers a range of features that can be used to track project progress, including Gantt charts, task lists, and resource allocation tables.

The main advantages of Excel are its low cost and ease of use. Most businesses already have access to the software, and many employees are familiar with its basic functions.

What are the limitations of Excel software for project management?

For a project manager, Excel is limited in its ability to manage complex projects. While it is possible to create a basic project plan in Excel, it quickly becomes cumbersome as the project grows in complexity. Excel cannot track dependencies between tasks, which is a key aspect of project management. This means that project managers (or coordinators) must manually update the plan with every change, which is both time-consuming and prone to data entry errors.

From a project team’s perspective, Excel can be challenging to use. Team members may not have the same expertise with Excel as the project manager. Intermediate to advanced Excel skills take time and practice to develop and must be used regularly to keep them front of mind. This may not be the case for every member of the project team or the stakeholders.

Another issue with using Excel for project management is that only one person (usually the project coordinator) enters all information. The result is that the coordinator has a full-time job chasing and entering data from team members, which is out of date by the time it is entered. And all it takes is one accidental change to a formula, and the results will be incorrect.

Finally, Excel is not designed to handle collaboration between team members. Despite being able to share files with multiple people, tracking changes when several people use a document can be difficult, and issues can arise with various versions in use simultaneously.

Another thing to note about managing projects through Excel is its reporting limitations. For example, at the project level, the reporting requirements and methods are vastly different from the portfolio level. Each time a project manager reports, they must extract the required data and present it in a format that suits the particular audience.

What are the advantages of project management software?

Specialised project management software tools are moving in and making a big difference in many industries. Although custom software requires a more significant investment, it offers more features to give you more in return when helping you streamline your project management tasks.

Project management software provides the project team with a single source of truth and real-time visibility into the project status. It allows project managers to track the project’s progress and identify potential issues before they become significant problems.

For team members, project management software gives clear visibility of the tasks they must complete and when they are due. They can also see the status of reliant tasks and anticipate potential delays and hold-ups, which helps them prioritise their work and stay on track.

Project management software offers enormous potential for time-saving. Team members can collaborate and share information in real-time with all communications in one place. Project management software also has the potential to automate repetitive tasks. For truly advanced software (like Psoda), AI search assistance can identify other projects with similar risks, allowing a project manager to learn from past mistakes.

Finally, project management software is designed to be flexible and scalable, so it can be customised to meet the needs of the customer, and their projects, regardless of size or complexity.

This flexibility allows project managers to work how they want to, rather than how they need to, to overcome the limitations of a spreadsheet. If you choose the right project management software (like Psoda), it is simple and intuitive to use, with excellent training and ample resources to help you manage projects easily without hours of laborious technical training.

Project management software vs Excel

While Excel is a useful tool for basic project management tasks, it has several limitations when managing complex or multiple projects efficiently. Excel can be an excellent choice for sole operators, those with very basic project management requirements and those who want to save money.

Excel may not be suitable for businesses that require real-time collaboration, advanced reporting, or robust security features.

On the other hand, project management software is designed specifically for managing complex projects, making it a better option for businesses requiring more comprehensive project management tools.

So, which is best for business?

Ultimately, the decision between project management software vs Excel comes down to the specific needs of your business, including the size of the business, the complexity of the project, and the budget.

For larger businesses with complex projects, project management software is, without a doubt, the best option. Project management software offers a range of features designed to help businesses manage complex projects efficiently.

Psoda’s project management tool

We all know that project management is crucial to running a successful business. Keeping track of timelines, budgets, resources, and team members can be daunting. That’s why we have created a project management tool called Psoda.

If you need a project management tool that can help you streamline your processes, achieve better results, grow your business and be more productive – we can help.

We offer a suite of project management tools designed to help businesses of all sizes manage their projects more efficiently. With Psoda, you can manage projects of all complexities, from simple tasks to large-scale projects with multiple teams and stakeholders.

But that’s not all.

Our project management solutions come with a range of custom-designed features to help you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently.

Some of the key features include:

  • Real-time collaboration
  • Advanced reporting
  • Automated data entry
  • Robust security

Ready to ditch Excel and give Psoda’s project management tool a try?

If you’re looking for a project management solution that can adapt to your team’s changing needs, Look no further!

Our flexible project management software is the answer you’ve been searching for.

Request a complimentary demo of our software with our CEO Bruce Aylward. Let us show you how our platform can help you streamline your workflow, improve collaboration, and increase productivity. With our software, you’ll have everything you need to manage your projects with ease and confidence.

Don’t wait any longer to take your project management to the next level. Discover the power of flexible project management software.


Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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