Spreadsheets are very useful: they can contain formulas, sort data and have all sorts of bells and whistles to them. Spreadsheets can hold a lot of information, in a relatively small space. Spreasheets are convenient.

Say you want to organize an event at your organisation. You make a list of everything you need to do, with due-dates for each task. The spreadsheet works, it helps to make you feel in control of the situation.

Now you need other people to help you with this event. What should you do? Add a column to your spreadsheet with the name of the person assigned to the task, and send the spreadsheet to everyone involved, so they can see what they need to do. 

This is where it becomes tricky.

As each person updates the spreadsheet, multiple versions of this spreadsheet exist. Who has the latest version? Is there even a latest version of it? The spreadsheet sarts being emailed around between the different members of the team. They add status information on their tasks, questions, requirements. The spreadsheet grows.

Soon enough the spreadsheet is a mess. Who knows what and who needs what is unclear. Logistics become complicated. And meetings become required to sort out the information in the spreadsheet.


You should have used a project management system. With project management or task management software, there is one central place where eveyrone can log in to get their tasks and updates on their tasks. Eveyrone can be notified when something changes or a deadline is approaching. And no more neverending spreadsheet making the rounds in everybody's  email inbox…although if you really want it, you can export your information to a spreadsheet 😉

Spreadsheets are great for simple projects that involve only you. As soon as you add other people in the project, the limitations of working with one file show themselves.