Organisations large and small are turning to the power and flexibility of Excel to better manage and control their project activity.  Even a few short years ago, it would have been unthinkable that NASA would be using Excel Rather than structured an proprietary software such as Microsoft project in some areas.  The power of excel is only now being realised by many.  These powers relate to the flexibility offered.  Users are able to leverage their existing knowledge of Excel and apply it to the task of creating a great project plan and simple Gantt Chart.

 You already know Excel!

Microsoft Excel is one if the easiest to use programs available in the Microsoft Suite of products, however it is also one of the most powerful if used effectively.  One of the most common issues with Gantt Charts is the ability to print the results of your project plan.  Most plans are large, in fact far to large for the average sheet of paper.  Excel has built in capability for scaling sheets which means you can choose to shrink your plan onto a single page, or to print across a number of pages.

All that is required to effectively use an excel based gantt chart is an ability to click on a cell and then enter text.  Anyone who can use a computer can instantly have this capability by using a well designed and structured template.

Excel Templates Can Offer Un-paralleled Gantt Chart Capabilities

Even large organisations such as NASA are turning on to the power and flexibility of excel based project planning.  Within Excel it is possible to relate multiple project plans together.  This facility is only available in high end tools costing tens of thousands of dollars, and is now available to anyone with a computer running MS Excel 2007 or later.  By using conditional formatting to drive gantt chart capability offers an unlimited set of graphical outputs.  Users can customise colours, bar size, bar width and the time period of the plan.

Intelligent excel based solutions are using what is known as a “Moving Window” to enable planning across unlimited time frames.  This moving window approach enables users to move through time merely by updating the project start date.  This facility also creates the capability to enable daily, weekly and monthly views that can greatly compress the viewing window.

Excel Gantt Charts are more flexible than other types of Gantt Chart Software

When planning a project it is often important to be able to customise and run calculations.  This ability is often not possible within established, structured project planning software.  An excel based gantt chart gives the power to the user.  In an gantt chart built in excel, if you don’t like the way something is calculated, simply change it.  Alternatively if some of the information you require (Eg. Costing information) is not incorporated, then you can just build this functionality yourself.                        

In larger organisations the structure of project plans can be oriented to follow the organisational structure with automated roll-ups.  As an Excel based Gantt Chart, is not software, it is just a file, it does not require lengthy approvals by IT departments.  This again gives the power back to the user.  No need for approval is a core advantage in larger organisations.

Create new relationships between tasks and projects that help to automate your planning.

One of the keys to effective project planning is “programming” the relationships between tasks.  By creating these relationships it is possible to automate the slippage associated with your project.  Simple links are referred to as Dependencies.  Any project manager worth his salt will undertake the identification of dependencies as a priority early on in the planning process.

With an excel based gantt chart, you have ultimate power over your chart design and the relationships between tasks.  A quality solution will enable Finish Start, Finish Finish, Start Finish and Start Start relationships to be formed.

Summary

Excel is gaining ground in many corporate and small business circles for creating simple and sophisticated project plans.  Why not consider doing the same on your next project?


Chartgantt.com is the leading source for excel based gantt charts.  Developed over 4 years, these tools have taken a simple concept and enabled highly complex projects to be developed, managed and delivered.  Chartgantt is now used by several thousand organisations across the world that have seen the benefits of excel based gantt charts.  From large global organisations such as the US Dept of Defence to small one person consulting firms, Chartgantt has become the gold standard in Excel Based Gantt Charts.