Disadvantages of Ms. Excel: 7 Reason Why You Should Skip Using Excel For Requirements Handling

By 1st March 2021 Requirements

There are many disadvantages of Ms. Excel for requirements handling. In this article, we detail out 7 reasons why you should not use Excel for requirements handling.

Technology is ever-evolving and innovation is common then why is it that more people are not taking advantage of these innovations? We have become used to using low-cost general-purpose tools for projects that need more advanced tools. 

Excel has long been a part of requirements management and is easily available in almost all workplaces. Having been around for a long time, there are many processes or systems built around the use of the program. This makes moving over to newer programs difficult. 

Disadvantages of Ms. Excel: 7 Reasons to Avoid Excels for Requirements Handling 

Let’s explore 7 of the main reasons why you shouldn’t use Excel for requirements handling.

1. Resources

When using Excel for your requirements handling, you will have to end up using the full Microsoft Office suite. This means many programs with different formats are being used to work on one thing. Pulling all the information together becomes a manual task as opposed to an automated one. As such, it ties up a team member that could be more useful in focusing their efforts elsewhere. 

2. Functionality and inefficiency 

When we start working on more complex projects that require more information gathering and collaboration, these programs become increasingly inefficient. When using Office for requirements handling, the different formats of files make it almost impossible to compare information across programs automatically. 

This reverts to poor use of resources, which intensifies the inefficiencies seen when trying to effectively manage.

3. Tracing and transparency 

As mentioned, collaborating when using Excel as your primary program is difficult. When you have a team of software developers working on a project, they need to be able to track and trace changes made. Excel does not do this as well as other programs and, very often, multiple people cannot work on the same document at the same time. 

A team may be able to work on the same spreadsheets but it can be difficult to track the changes made and accountability falls away.

If you use Excel, you would need to track and monitor everything manually to see who does what and when. This creates an extra document that is prone to errors as it isn’t populated automatically. This links back to poor use of resources – a common theme with Excel. 

4. Profitability 

When resources aren’t used effectively, we start wasting time and money. By using programs that are inefficient to requirements planning, you lose valuable time. This also leads to potential delays and more loss. 

In a technology-centric world where there is an expectation for speed and efficiency, this is detrimental to project success. And, the success of any software project is its profitability.

5. Morale

By using a program like Excel in requirement planning, the limited functionality can cause the people working on the projects to become demotivated. The reason for this is the amount of additional redundant work they have to do just to keep reporting up to date. 

When working in a fast-paced environment, like software development, these additional tasks can be taxing and draining. If your team feels overly stressed and the morale dips, it causes delays. Also, mistakes start to creep in. 

Using the correct tools for requirements handling goes a long way to improving morale through quick and efficient tracing and reporting. 

A team that feels demotivated because they do not have the tools to succeed is detrimental to the success of any project. 

6. Customisation 

Another disadvantage of Ms. Excel is that it doesn’t have the customizations available on other requirements management tools. We have been looking specifically at software development, however, requirements handling is present in many industries. These different industries have different needs for their planning. 

Using different programs that can effectively manage these processes and track successes is crucial to their success. 

A sale is a good example. The database that salespeople need to work from needs to be as up-to-date as possible. Excel isn’t very efficient in this case as you need to input data manually. Many resource management programs can compile and update information automatically without creating additional work.

Software developers also need the correct tools to effectively manage their requirements. Again, we can see how these all link back to the effective use of resources and profitability. By using requirements handling tools that are customized to the specific job, we eliminate the ineffective use of resources and improve profitability. 

7. Collaboration 

New products and software that need development are no longer linear. The amount of teams involved has grown drastically. The different avenues involved in software development require an easy way to collaborate on projects. As such, requirement management tools are pivotal to project success. 

Not all teams involved in the development project have the same skill set. But, the end goal is the same and each team’s contribution is important. These contributions can’t always be made at the same time. For example, you cannot develop software without knowing what the hardware needs to do. 

Through the use of the correct requirements handling tools, all the teams involved can communicate efficiently and in real-time. This enables them to keep up to date on project progress and ensure they stick to the schedule. 

The old way of using Excel and a documents-based approach is no longer enough to keep a competitive edge in any industry. With everyone working on multiple documents, you get disjointed information and it takes longer to communicate. As such, Excel is not the most suitable tool to use for requirements handling. 

Conclusion

We have seen how important requirements handling and the use of the correct requirements management tools are. When the correct tools are put in place, the overall efficiency and profitability greatly improve. 

The disadvantage of Ms. Excel is not a dedicated tool for requirements handling. This makes it inefficient and unreliable. When you use dedicated requirement management tools, you will see an improvement in almost all aspects of your projects. 

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