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5 Pitfalls of Relying On Spreadsheets for Resource and Capacity Planning

If you want to be successful at planning projects, it is critical that you be able to accurately predict the budget and time-frame needed to complete each project. Determining those core elements starts with planning how many people you will need (resources) and how much time they will be able to invest in the project (capacity).

You can set an arbitrary deadline based on wishful thinking, but if you don’t have the manpower to do the work, that deadline will fly out the window pretty quickly. You just can’t underestimate the importance of resource and capacity planning.

If you are like many project managers out there, you probably still rely on spreadsheets to complete your resource and capacity planning. We won’t come down on you too hard for that. After all, spreadsheets are great. They’re a simple and cheap way to collect data. They’re flexible. And we know how to use them because we’ve all been working with them for years.

That said, when it comes to resource and capacity planning for important projects, spreadsheets have some real drawbacks. Here’s why:

Spreadsheets waste time

When all your data is in spreadsheets, you and your employees probably spend a good bit of your time comparing and cross-checking timesheets, reports and other documentation. In addition, you often have to enter data multiple times across several documents.


Spreadsheets are often inaccurate

Quite simply, there is just way too much room for error. Employees can insert incorrect data, enter a typo, or accidentally replace a formula with a static value, rendering a calculation useless. Face it: Your employees are only human, and when they are stressed and pressured to hit a deadline, they are prone to make even more mistakes.

Spreadsheets make collaborating hard

Spreadsheets are typically emailed to members of the team, all of whom can make their own changes simultaneously. When you have multiple people manipulating the same spreadsheet, you can’t control changes or always ensure that you are working with the latest version. Even if you route the spreadsheet to one stakeholder at a time to minimize those problems, you can seriously slow down the process.


Spreadsheets are one-dimensional

They don’t allow you to see the status of a project or measure its progress. You can’t gain a complete view of the project or see how one component relates to the other, and you spend too much time deciphering that information from lines of data.


Spreadsheets aren’t visual

Ideally, you should be able see at a glance which of your resources are available—and which are overbooked—so that you can allocate tasks appropriately. Spreadsheets just don’t offer you that option.

The bottom line: Using spreadsheets for your resource and capacity planning is costing you time and money—and maybe even a bit of your sanity.


Tempo Planner for JIRA can give it all back to you, providing features that will simplify your resource and capacity planning. You will gain more flexibility, transparency and efficiency, which can make reaching your deadlines a whole lot easier.

Gain a full visual picture of your team capacity and resources for sprints, releases, projects, and epics with just a glance; quickly view the actual work of each team member; review tasks you have delegated and see where you have over-allocated work. With Tempo Planners’ visual planning and intuitive interface, you can easily discover obstacles that slow your progress and threaten the success of the project, allowing you to act fast and make real-time adjustments to keep everything on track.

Tempo Planner is a scalable, agile solution that provides a comprehensive team management method for your enterprise. Tempo Planner can competently support anything from simple work management to sophisticated business-driven projects by offering flexible permission settings, data center compliance for large-scale multiple-instance JIRA users, customizable workload and holiday schemes to manage internationally distributed teams, and more.

Take the pain out of scheduling and allocating work. Learn more about Tempo Planner for JIRA.


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