To Do Lists in Excel: You’re Better Off Without Them

by Gabriella Martin

Excel‘s to do list function is a popular tool for task management. But is it really right for job? In this article, I’d like to explain to you why your team will be better off without Excel to do lists.

What’s Wrong with Excel To Do Lists?

To be able to navigate his or her team, a project manager must have a detailed picture of a project. In order to keep everything clear while using Excel, a manager has two options:

  1. He or she can periodically ask the team about tasks and activities.
  2. Team members can take responsibility for the detailed presentation of tasks and activities.

For larger projects, it’s extremely cumbersome for managers to keep asking their teams how things are going. There’s simply too much going on. However, if there is no efficient way for team members to communicate progress (or lack thereof), then they will waste a lot of time and effort. This takes away from everyone reaching their goals.

Let’s get a little more specific about Excel’s pitfalls.

  • It only works with small teams (less than 5 people).
  • We have no transparency about a project’s process.
  • It’s easy to forget important tasks.
  • After a few months, several versions of the Excel sheet are in circulation. People are confused about which version is up-to-date.
  • We can’t track changes.
  • There is no centralized place to access data.
  • We have to reactively control and plan processes.
  • Excel does not provide authorization mechanisms.
  • There is no way to hierarchically structure your tasks.
  • We have to type everything in manually. Excel doesn’t provide an interactive, graphical user interface.

Due to these factors, your team likely wastes a lot of time during the day with Excel to do lists. Dealing with lengthy, unsatisfactory meetings due to misunderstandings about elementary things, like who has to do what by when, is unacceptable. Time is money, after all!

What Task and Project Management Should Look Like

Here’s what effective task and project management should look like:

  • No matter how big a project is, everyone should be able to see exactly what’s going on with a graphical user interface.
  • Task management must be transparent.
    • No one should question who needs to do what by which date.
    • Responsible persons need to be identified.
  • Tasks must be tracked in a centralized place.
    • Progress must be documented and visible.
    • We can’t overlook or forget important tasks.
  • We need to proactively plan and control processes.
  • Hierarchical structuring of tasks is a must.
  • There shouldn’t be wishy-washy conversations in meetings.

We can’t achieve any of this in a clear, timely manner with Excel. So, where should we turn?

Allegra Can Help!

A project and task management software, such as Allegra, will give you exactly what you need to make your team more efficient. Allegra provides you everything that I listed above (and more)!

If you’re still curious, please read more about how you can increase your productivity with professional task management.

Back to overview