Continued: project cost estimating in Excel

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6 reasons why you shouldn’t use Excel for project cost estimating

In my previous post I already discussed some arguments against using Excel for project cost estimating, namely error handling, lack of automation and limited learning abilities. In this second part, I’ll present another three reasons. Missed the first part or forgot what it was about?

First of all, I just want to remind you that I am in no way an opponent of Excel. On the contrary; I use it for a wide range of applications and I really enjoy its simplicity and flexibility. Just not for cost estimating.

It was never meant to handle large amounts of data

Ever tried to run some formulas in a spreadsheet containing a massive amount of data? No matter what kind of super computer you’re using, Excel will eventually slow down to the point at which it comes up with an all too familiar notice: “Excel has stopped working”. This is not because it’s not well-designed; it was simply never meant to be a database tool. However, once you realize that the increasing complexity of the projects we try to estimate causes the number of components in an average estimate to exceed tens of thousands of items, you’ll understand you are going to need a dedicated tool that is designed with this challenge in mind.

Reporting is serious business

Sure, Excel can be used for reporting. You can draw up some graphs and diagrams with sometimes surprising aesthetic features. But how many hours have you spend on the appearance of a spreadsheet, and had to do it all over again for the next? And when you have large amounts of data, you don’t want to spend many hours on a report that you’ll have to adjust every time the data itself gets an update. And let’s be honest, a pie or bar chart might simply not do the trick anymore. Not only will you benefit from a software solution that simplifies reporting and saves you a lot of time, it will also benefit the managers who have to make decisions based on these reports.

Cleopatra Enterprise, waterfall chart

You’ll never work alone

As a one man solution for small projects, Excel might work great. However, you hardly ever run a project alone. And we all know how hard it can be to share a document and keep track of all changes. Dedicated cost estimating tools like Cleopatra Enterprise have been built with your team in mind. It not only allows you to share from local to worldwide, but also incorporates a workflow tool which helps to automate version control. Cleopatra Enterprise uses a centralized database system. This eliminates the scores of local files out of the grasp of your security and maintenance guidelines. Imagine the consequences of unauthorized access to your calculations. With Cleopatra Enterprise you know your knowledge is safe and well-guarded.

Are you still using Excel for estimating project costs and are you curious about how Cleopatra Enterprise can be advantageous to your organization? Feel free to contact us or request a demo.

Related resources

A selection of user stories from our customers, explaining the value that Cleopatra Enterprise adds to their projects.

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