8 Reasons Why Organizations Should Not Use Excel for Resource Planning

January 31, 2024


At a glance
• Resource planning is a collaborative, iterative, and distributed operation
• Microsoft Excel, is a personal tool
• Resource planning using Microsoft Excel wastes managerial time and slows down decisions

If your business depends on 100s or 1000s of knowledge workers to deliver projects to customers, managing them well is your major challenge. 

How well you keep your customers satisfied and earn their trust depends on how well you use your people. Whether your most talented people trust you and stay with you also depends on the work you allot to them.

Your profits and growth also depend on the quality of resource allocation in project management.

Microsoft Excel is undoubtedly one of the most popular and heavily used applications.

It is used for personal tasks like tracking expenses. Professionals in diverse fields like finance, accounting, scientific research, economics, social sciences, etc. use it in their day-to-day work. It is used for recurring computations and mathematical model building.

No wonder then, that Microsoft Excel is widely used by managers.

The very power of Microsoft Excel creates serious problems when it is used in operationally and strategically important resource planning. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t use Excel for resource planning.

Reason #1 Excel is not suitable for distributed data capture

Excel excels in individual use. If you are the only one putting in data in your Excel application you are fine. But the moment others start inputting data from their work, things will quickly go out of hand.

Reson #2  Excel is not suited for capturing data that changes with time

Resource planning is a continuously shifting ‘datascape’. People get booked for some tasks and projects. They keep getting allocated and freed. They go on leave. Some people leave and some others join. Excel is simply not suited for all this heavy lifting.

Reson #3 Excel is not suitable for two-way data-flows with other applications

The information you need for all resource planning comes from different areas of your organization. You need data on people and their skill sets.

You need their hourly costs. You need the demands for their hours. All this integration and two-way data-flows are difficult to manage and change in Excel.

Reson # 4 Excel makes collaboration difficult

Resource management is essentially a collaboration between project managers and the resource management group or the project management office.

It is an interactive process involving what-if kind of questions before decisions are made. Excel makes this extremely unwieldy and slow.

Reason #5  Multiple versions of spreadsheets cause friction

You will always have multiple versions of the same Excel file with your managers.  This causes friction. It slows everything down. 

Reason #6 Excel programming logic is difficult to change or maintain

Programming simple column-wise and row-wise additions in Excel is simple. But resource planning spreadsheets hide complex Excel formulas and even code behind their simplicity.

This code is spread out behind different cells and written without any quality control and documentation. It will be a nightmare to update the Excel formulas and code as your requirements change.

Reason #7 Data in Excel loses its authenticity and validity quickly

Resource planning data keeps changing. In Excel cells, it loses its validity quickly.  You will be relying on inaccurate data if you use spreadsheets.

Reason #8 Excel is less secure

Face it. Excel is a great personal application. It is not enterprise-class. Also, complex Excel programs and macros are more vulnerable due to lax quality control.

Not convinced? Check this out.

If you are still not convinced that you need to bid goodbye to using Microsoft Excel for resource allocation in project management, do this.

Estimate the percentage of time your managers spend reconciling their Excel spreadsheets every time they meet. It is bound to be significant. That is a waste of precious management capacity! 


Start looking for enterprise-class resource management software today. You need a collaborative tool that integrates data from different sources like HRMS, timesheets, project planning, etc., and presents your team with actionable dashboards. 

You need such tools to improve the quality of resource allocation in project management.

ProductDossier has a suite of professional services software (PSA) modules like Opportunity & Proposal Management, Project Management, Resource Management, Timesheet & Leave Management, and Project Financials, which integrate well with your existing software applications.

They establish unbroken digital workflows for the entire opportunity-to-cash cycle. They eliminate the need for the cumbersome use of Excel spreadsheets. To know how to get in touch with us at



ProductDossier - The makers of TouchBase PPM solution, that is configured specifically to the needs of your industry and organizational standards & processes. TouchBase is designed uniquely for external customer projects, new product development, and internal initiatives. TouchBase supports multiple project management approaches such as predictive, agile, and hybrid. TouchBase digitizes your project management landscape, offers holistic solution to your project management needs, and integrates with your existing enterprise applications such as ERPs, CRMs, Accounting, and others - to deliver one version of project management truth!