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4 reasons why spreadsheets work poorly in scheduling

Author: Henry Salo
Published: 30.4.2018

Excel and other spreadsheet tools are often used software on construction sites and in building projects in general. Spreadsheets are great for, for example, budgeting, analyzing large amounts of data or when working alone. However, when it comes to construction scheduling, it’s no longer so great. In a traditional spreadsheet tool, working together as a team is cumbersome, the data is not real-time, monitoring the task status is a mission impossible, and the data related to the site gets scattered, or siloed. This article presents 4 reasons for why you should loose all spreadsheets in construction site scheduling. It also gives you advice on how to easily save your time and manage your site better!

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1. Spreadsheets are poor for teamwork

Excel wasn’t designed for managing construction projects or for working together. While it is easy to type the schedule and planned tasks into a spreadsheet, monitoring the project progression and continuously updating the information manually becomes cumbersome. You often need an enormous amount of interlinking between your workbooks. At worst, the last minute changes in your jobsite schedule never reach the site management.

2. Spreadsheets aren’t real-time

In construction projects, the bottlenecks to your success are often collecting the data into one place from various documents, and updating the data in various systems. When information is manually entered into different files, the process is highly error-prone. In Excel, you can pull data from various workbooks into one summary spreadsheet, but on the construction site, this requires continuous manual work and data updating. The site management and the site are lacking a real-time, mobile connection. Spreadsheets don’t offer a possibility to see what the project status is so that you could know exactly what’s happening on your site at all times.

3. Spreadheets don’t interlink tasks or allow progress monitoring

In spreadsheets, you can’t make the tasks dependent on one another so that everyone on your site could be automatically informed when they can move from one task on to another. Tracking changes is difficult and scheduling task relations is impossible. Excel doesn’t tell you which tasks are of higher priority on your site, or which tasks have already been completed. That’s why spreadsheets are not the best idea when planning construction projects where you need to be able to flexibly change the order of the works.

4. SPREADSHEETS break Data into silos

Spreadsheet software inevitably breaks the data out into various documents and files, and it becomes difficult to manage the entity. Monitoring thousands of tasks to be completed is a whole lot of work in Excel. Information doesn’t flow between the site management and the worksite smoothly. Since there are plenty of documents and everyone has a slightly different view to the situation, people start working at different speeds. At worst, you have multiple versions of what the situation might be, and some of the valuable information may be lost in the hassle. The site managers and foremen may have different understanding on which tasks are completed and what’s todo next. In large collaboration projects, a real-time view to the site is a key to a successful outcome. Sooner or later, the traditional spreadsheet tools will inevitable fail you.

Avoid traditional pitfalls with scheduling software

There are many useful scheduling tools available for for managing time spend on construction sites, to help you save some work hours and flexibly schedule and organize tasks on your site. Modern scheduling software also come with a mobile app. You immediately see which tasks are done or where there are roadblocks on your site. You follow up on a dashboard which shows the status of your site and how well you are on schedule. All the needed information is in one place, easily accessible. You truly manage your site in real time. A construction site can easily have 10 000 open tasks – and you can manage them handily in a single tool.

Scheduling software reduces unnecessary work

  • Fewer unnecessary documents
  • Fewer unnecessary check-up phone calls
  • Fewer unnecessary rounds on the site
  • Fewer unnecessary emails

Would you like to manage your construction site easily and efficiently? Sitedrive professionals are happy to help you get immediate benefits for your schedule management.

Sitedrive Release 06/2020 – Imports Importing schedules to Sitedrive is now possible also from Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project, in addition to the earlier Tocoman and XML formats. Read more
Free Sitedrive trial Free 14 days with materials and assistance to get you started on digital schedule management. Read more
Why forget Excel? #SoundOfSites Could the schedule of a construction site be always available for everyone, anywhere? And Read more