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How to establish a workload plan without Excel?
Project planning

How to establish a workload plan without Excel?

Content manager
November 10, 2021
3 min

Before switching to a dedicated workload management tool, many companies start by managing their workload plans with Excel. And who can blame them? Excel is still a powerful tool, but that only applies to resource management as long as you don't have more than 10 employees!

However, the longevity of a company requires it to evolve with the times. Thus, Excel has many limitations and weaknesses, with disastrous consequences on the organization and project management. Napta takes stock!

Should you use Excel for workload planning?

Excel is a calculation software. Yet, managing a workload plan is not only a matter of making calculations, but many criteria also come into play. Therefore, by its very nature, Excel is not suitable for this purpose. Most companies that start managing workload with Excel end up confronted with real difficulties, wasting a prejudicial time following up on their projects:

  • Data cannot be centralized in a single document
  • Validation processes are not automated
  • Data cannot be cross-referenced, which slows down the decision-making process
  • Information is static and quickly out of date
  • Visibility on project status is limited
  • Data is not secure and errors cannot be reversed (no history)

Learn more: Why you should not use Excel as your resource management tool?

Should you use an ERP for workload planning?

Many companies turn to their ERP tool to overcome the limitations of Excel. However, this tool also has its own limitations in terms of resource management:  

  • Competencies and capacities of employees are difficult to consolidate.
  • Cross-referencing of data is impossible.
  • User experience is poor due to the scale of the tool.
  • No real-time visibility or calculation of resource requirements.
  • No milestones and deadlines for projects.
  • No visibility for resource managers, managers and HR managers, which means that assignments are discussed outside of the tool.  
  • No automated matching between project needs and resource availability.‍

Among other things, workload planning without Excel, but using an ERP, can have a significant impact on company profitability.  

How to set up an efficient workload management tool?

Workload planning without Excel is definitely an option! Here are 3 tips you can follow to implement an efficient workload planning tool in your company.

Draw up specifications

It is important that all stakeholders are in tune with the new workload planning tool. So start by creating a set of specifications that will reflect all the needs of your company.  

To do that, bring together all the future users of your workload planning tool: resource managers, operations managers, project managers and team leaders. This is the ideal time to carry out a brainstorming session that will help you clarify the objectives and identify the problems that the solution must solve. Don't hesitate, to share the key success factors, as well as all the risk factors.

Things you should remember to include in the specifications for your workload planning tool:

  • Set a fixed duration for the project, milestones and objectives (budget, planning, etc.).
  • Assign resources to each task. If you are short of staff or competencies, find out if you have these talents in your contacts or if you should consider recruiting new talents.  
  • Take into account all constraints that could affect your project such as holidays, time off, working patterns, etc.  

Focus on tools providing dynamic reporting

Once you have completed your specifications, look for a workload planning tool that meets all your needs. In addition to that, it is very important that it is provides centralized data analysis and dynamic reporting.  

Indeed, your workload plan must centralise both project data and individual or global workload and must also allow monitoring of the provisional vs. actual resource allocation.  

This way, you can fine-tune your working methods as the project progresses and your workload plan will perfectly adjusts to the slightest changes.

Adopt a dedicated workload management tool

Napta develops a management solution, in line with managers assignment. This all-in-one platform ensures :

  • Offers a complete and centralised database with real-time data accessible to all platform users 
  • Adapts to your tools and not the other way around  
  • Can be fully customised to your needs and processes: competency repository, feedback, employee profiles, etc.  
  • Focuses on the criteria that matter the most to your company  

Let’s sum up!

Before embarking on an Excel workload plan perilous journey, ask yourself if it is the best solution! Although this is an easily accessible software, it does not provide the necessary functionalities to manage resources.  

The key to successful resource management is to use the right tool! Refine your needs for all your projects: human resources, budget, time allocation, deadlines, etc., without forgetting to define each milestone and your objectives.

Would you like to find out more? We've got plenty of resources to help you go further.

To complement this topic, find our template "The perfect load plan for successful deployment" .

See also our guides, templates and checklists in the Resources tab.

See you soon at Napta!

To find out how Napta can help you manage your workload on a daily basis, discover our dedicated module through a personalized demonstration of our solution.

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