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Category Archives: Microsoft Project

Project Management – Excel or Project

Which should I use?

Once upon a time, a customer phoned me and said “Paul, I’ve seen this amazing project plan done in Microsoft Excel.  All you do is change the numbers and everything updates.  Can you show me how to set one up.”

I have to admit I was sceptical.  I had seen Excel Workbooks which emulate a Gantt Chart.  Some used a Bar Chart to do that, others used the Formatting features.  However to make the thing “sing and dance”, surely you need proper Project Management software.

Nevertheless, it set me thinking.  When would you use Microsoft Excel to plan projects?  In what circumstances is Microsoft Project the right way to go?


Microsoft Project – Scheduling Tasks

Linking is the key

Microsoft Project is a great entry-level application for Project Management.  You can create a list of Tasks, estimate their Duration’s and link them together with Dependencies.  This is done by analysing which Tasks can’t start until a previous Task has finished.

The program can then calculate the Start and End dates for every Task and therefore give a predicted date for the project’s completion.

What’s more, because the Tasks are linked, when you enter the fact that one of them has over-run, the delay is automatically reflected in the dates of the Tasks that follow (its Successors).

Also, there are a host of other features that enable Microsoft Project to model situations which may occur in the real world.