Using spreadsheets for resource management

The temptation to ‘just use a spreadsheet’ to manage teams of skilled resources in a multi-project environment is very strong. Enterprise project management systems can be too cumbersome when trying to respond to resource bottlenecks in a volatile environment.

But, unless you are managing a small group of staff, the limitations of spreadsheets can quickly be reached.  Whilst it’s OK for a single administrator to update a single sheet, as soon as others need different views, or the business process demands deployment to project and resource managers, spreadsheets quickly become unmanageable.

Resource management software sits between spreadsheets and enterprise project management software. Whilst the simpler systems offer single admin user access, the more sophisticated can be deployed to support project and resource managers through each step of their business processes..

To enable such deployment, Resource management software needs to provide:

  •          A permissions system, to control each role’s access to data
  •         Workflow support that uses various status change settings to prompt action as and when required
  •         Traceability so that changes to assignment and other details will be logged and made visible to the affected roles.

Only by providing such support, will the source data be complete, current and therefore credible, so that managers can make resource deployment, hiring and retraining decisions with confidence.

Barry Muir is a Director of Innate Management Systems Ltd. We have been implementing resource management software in a wide variety of professional services organizations for more than 20 years.
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