Project Portfolio Management (PPM) has evolved into a strategic cornerstone for companies, enabling the efficient coordination of resources, tasks, benefits, risks, and project priorities. So, when it comes to choosing the right tool for managing your project portfolio, most organizations face a pivotal decision: Microsoft Excel or a dedicated Strategy Management software for PPM?
In this article, we delve into the pros and cons of each solution to help you make an informed choice for your organization’s project portfolio management needs.
Why do companies rely on Excel?
Microsoft Excel—the ubiquitous spreadsheet software—is no stranger to the world of business and project management. It has been a steadfast companion for countless professionals, offering a familiar interface and versatile functionality.
Pros of using Excel for Project Portfolio Management
These are some of the reasons project managers still rely on Excel for project management
- Familiarity: Most professionals are already familiar with its functionalities, reducing the need for additional training.
- Cost-Efficiency: For small projects or personal use, Excel is often cost-effective. It is a freely available as part of the Microsoft 365 suite, eliminating additional software costs. It’s a budget-friendly option for project management.
- Customizability: Excel tailors itself, in most cases, to your specific cases by allowing the creation and management of essential project management resources like dashboards, reports, timelines, Gantt charts, presentations, project templates and data analysis
Cons of using Excel for Project Portfolio Management
However, as you might expect, Excel has its limitations:
- Data Organization: As project complexity increases, so does the risk of errors. Identifying and rectifying these errors can be a long and difficult task.
- Collaboration: Excel isn’t designed for real-time collaboration, which can hinder teamwork and communication. It can be challenging to track changes accurately and identify the authors of modifications.
- Limited Automation: Automating processes in Excel is possible, but it often requires complex macros and can be time-consuming, so external help is often needed.
- Risk of loss of data: Storing Excel files locally or sending them via email can lead to inadvertent data loss, unauthorized access, and distribution issues, jeopardizing data security.
What is PPM software
So, in the end, Excel, when confronted with the intricacies of larger projects and the need for robust collaboration and automation, it may fall short. This is where PPM software comes into play, as it not only helps organizations to plan, manage and monitor the performance of their portfolios, but also to align them with their strategic objectives.
Project and Product Portfolio Management software is a platform that centralizes project management processes, helping businesses efficiently prioritize, plan, execute, and monitor their projects and portfolios. It offers a comprehensive suite of features, real-time collaboration, and the capacity to streamline even the most intricate projects
Benefits of PPM Software for Project Portfolio Management
As you can see, for organizations and companies handling multiple project portfolios, PPM software offers a better solution. Here’s how PPM software enhances project portfolio management:
- Comprehensive functionality: it provides a wide array of features, from project planning and scheduling to resource management and reporting. Say goodbye to managing your projects through dozens of interconnected spreadsheets.
- Multi-portfolio management: you will simplify the simultaneous management of multiple project portfolios, eliminating the need for labor-intensive manual updates in Excel.
- Strategic alignment: you can rank projects based on real-time data about benefits, costs and risks, providing a clear strategic view for better decision-making.
- Collaboration: PPM software is built to foster team collaboration, allowing real-time updates and shared access to project data.
- Scalability: It can handle projects of all sizes and complexities, from small initiatives to enterprise-level portfolios.
- Automation: with PPM software you will streamline all PPM processes, reducing manual work and the risk of errors.
- Real-time data: and lastly, a PPM tool ensures up-to-date information, eliminating uncertainty about using outdated versions, which is a common concern with Excel.
Excel vs PPM Software: which one to choose?
Although the advantages of PPM software over Microsoft Excel are obvious, you should first consider the following: not every organization needs this kind of solution. Depending on the maturity of your project management processes, you may not need a PPM solution or even strategic planning software.
Here are some questions to consider when assessing governance and management needs of your organization:
- What is the size and complexity of your projects?
- How important is collaboration and real-time data sharing to your team?
- Do you anticipate scaling your project management efforts in the future?
- Is automation and advanced reporting crucial for your project’s success?
So, depending on your assessment, you can choose to continue using Excel or move to PPM software. As a general rule, it is recommended to continue working with Microsoft Excel in the following cases:
- You’re dealing with small, straightforward projects.
- Cost is a primary concern, and you don’t want to invest in specialized software.
- You’re already proficient in Excel and can efficiently create and manage project templates.
In such scenarios, Excel’s simplicity and cost-effectiveness can work in your favor. But, on the flip side, opting for PPM software is advisable when:
- Your projects are complex and involve multiple stakeholders.
- Collaboration and real-time data sharing are essential.
- You anticipate managing projects of varying sizes and scaling your project management efforts.
- The benefits of automation and comprehensive reporting can significantly impact your project’s success.
In the world of project management, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The choice between Excel and PPM software depends on the specific demands of your projects. Excel is the trusted old friend, suitable for simpler tasks, while PPM software stands as the robust, scalable solution for complex endeavors.
In conclusion, Excel can be a valuable asset for certain project management needs, but for those aiming for enhanced efficiency, collaboration, and automation, PPM tools like Triskell Software is the path to success. Your choice should reflect your governance and management requirements and your commitment to their successful execution.