5 Problems with Using Spreadsheets for Project Management and Benefits of TeamPulse
One of the most widely used tools for project management in software teams today is the spreadsheet. Although fairly cheap and easy to use spreadsheets hide problems that can hinder the success of your project and create more costs than you have planned for. Here are some of them:
Team collaboration is the key for every project’s success, and this is especially true for geographically dispersed teams. Usually collaboration occurs over some kind of document, like the product specifications or the release plan. The most common way to share such information with other members of the team, when you use spreadsheets, is to email it. This can lead to problems like multiple versions of the same file being updated simultaneously, delays in decisions, and miscommunication. This lack of a common environment where your team can collaborate is one of the biggest limitations of spreadsheets.
2. Project Requirements
The spreadsheet is a collection of boxes. It is flat in nature and doesn’t allow users to define and gather requirements in a structured and descriptive way. For example, you cannot easily add mockups, external links or relations to other work items in the cell that contains your requirement. This may lead to incomprehensible specifications and loss of critical information leaving teams with incomplete and non-actionable requirements.
As we already discussed in the previous paragraph spreadsheets are one-dimensional. However, seeing the interconnectedness and hierarchical arrangement of all requirements and tasks is a crucial element of the planning process. It allows you to properly allocate resources, create your schedule and prepare for impediments.
Keeping project schedules up-to-date, when using spreadsheets, is a tedious and error-prone task, because in most cases you will need to update information across multiple files even for the smallest adjustment in plans. In addition there is no easy way to make sure that everyone on the team has the latest version of the plan and is working on the things with highest priority.
You cannot manage something that you cannot track. With spreadsheets project information is usually scattered across multiple files and folders. There is no easy way to get a complete view of the project progress and status. This can delay decision making and increase time to market.
Spreadsheets are disconnected. All project feedback, ideas and requirements are stored in separate files and there is no easy way to relate them to each other. This way the initial intent behind some features can get lost and the flow of context disrupted.
The Benefits of Project Management Tools
Having a system and a formal process in place to manage your software development processes can help you be more efficient, increase your productivity and resource utilization, and ultimately become more competitive.
TeamPulse is a project management platform based on Agile best practices. As such it supports the concept of delivering working software in short iterative cycles, active collaboration with customers and stakeholders, adaptability to changing projects requirements, tracking of progress and constant improvement based on feedback and real world experience.
Importing requirements into TeamPulse
Collaboration with TeamPulse
TeamPulse provides a single place for collaborating around ideas, feedback, requirements and schedules. In TeamPulse all project information is cataloged in a centralized system of record which allows multiple users to work and comment on the same project in real-time. Learn more
Project Requirements Management with TeamPulse
TeamPulse provides a rich environment where you can expressively define requirements with the help of User Stories (high-level informal statements of requirements), thus capture complex multidimensional data with relationships and ensure that a full context is always saved. Learn more
Planning with TeamPulse
In TeamPulse all project plans are saved in one place. The TeamPulse planning module also offers an easy and standardized way for prioritizing and updating your backlog, adjusting your schedule as well as changing the team’s capacity. Learn more
Transparency in TeamPulse
TeamPulse stores all project data in one place and provides teams with a comprehensive real-time view into the project’s status and progress through the built-in analytics module. This allows users to look at data intelligently and make informed decisions on time. Learn more
Traceability in TeamPulse
TeamPulse serves as a repository where all project related data is cataloged and stored. The tool then allows team members to easily create traceability relationships between all project items like ideas, feedback, feature requests, stories (requirements) and tasks, thus ensuring critical context is always protected and your work is aligned with the initial concept. Learn more