Big Grandaddy of Excel Project Tracking

Big Grandaddy of Excel Project Tracking

Grandaddy of Project Tracking in ExcelI know my company sells project tracking services, but I’m the first to admit that some projects aren’t complex enough to need what I sell. So for folks out there who want a centralized way of keeping track of all your data, I offer you this bad boy for free!

If you’re familiar with PMI recommendations for keeping track of projects, or you need a way to perform Earned Value Analysis (EVA), everything you need is right here.

Every project I make up one of these, even if there’s a portfolio management system in place. Those big enterprise systems CAN handle much of this data but they’re not always the easiest to use, and sometimes, I just want something to play around with that doesn’t require a login. My other issue with portfolio management systems is that, as much intelligence can be built into them, sometimes I need to see more. Because this file is in Excel, it prints out, is easy to photocopy and bring along to meetings (shh! don’t tell the FSC!). Some clients are satisfied with a simple dashboard; others demand more detail. From a generic project perspective, everything they could need to see is right here (and it’s up to you what you do or don’t put on the table).

Inside this file, you’ll find the following sections:

  • A tab for milestones, where you can break your project into high level phases. This tab shows you relevant EVA data to your milestones if you need it, automatically filled in from your other tabs.
  • A tasks tab where you can enter the tasks in your project. You can set baseline information, and actual/revised dates. It even makes suggestions on new dates if one of your tasks slips.
  • A resource tab where you can enter all your project resources. This isn’t just people, it can be equipment or materials as well. Your resource rates go here, and that will calculate your project costs.
  • A detailed cost worksheet. This is where you would do the bulk of your work. Enter your baseline data, and then make modifications as you go through your project. If you have a lot of information here, use the autofilter buttons at the top to simplify your view.
  • A change request log.
  • A quality log.
  • An issues log, colour coded by severity, where you can monitor current activity and have a log of resolutions in case the issue crops up again. It also tracks the number of days to close issues.
  • A risk log to plan risk responses, that generates a (simple) risk score before and after mitigations.
  • A complete dashboard that tracks all aspects of your project on a single page to give your stakeholders.

I hope you enjoy this file. You’re free to use it however you like, and pass it around. You don’t even need to attribute it to Papercut, although hugs are free if you do! ๐Ÿ™‚

Iโ€™m a professor of project management at the college where I work. My students continually amaze me with their insights, passion and all-around awesomeness. I figure they deserve access to more answers than I can give them by myself. This site is for them.
  • PatrickRichard

    I'm stealing this! Once again a great free tool to impress my bosses with.

  • Wonderful! You are more than welcome to use it as you like my friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Excellant tool!. thank you so much. Simple & Effective.

  • Thank you for your kind words, Dongan! I hope you enjoy it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jameel Ahamed

    Thanks very nice.
    For sure I would like to use it.
    Thanks for Free ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Lori LaBeau, PMP

    Very nice! I am impressed, thank you for sharing this with the rest of us!

  • amyalbright

    This is awesome! Thank you! I will certainly impress my stakeholders!

  • Thank you so much, Lori! Please use it as you like, and if you'd like to see changes, by all means post them here! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thank you very much, Amy. I hope it serves you well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You're very welcome, Jameel. Have fun with it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • william

    what a great tool, thank you buddy

  • You're very welcome, my friend! I hope you get some good use from it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • arunkulandai

    Hey…thanks for sharing this….i am surely going to use this in the current project.

  • johnmoverley

    I would like to try this out for real as I work as a consultant for government and they want reports of reports on projects. First impressions are pretty good. I would like to see if, and how it operates with Primavera. Many Thanks for the opportunity

    John Moverley

  • By all means, John! Thanks so much for the comment. Please let me know how it works for you! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I hope you'll find it a good complement to Primavera. Ultimately, Excel isn't particularly robust. But Primavera can be so complicated you can't easily slice data in the way you want without spending a lot of time. The workbook was really meant to be a nice medium between the two. Good luck!

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  • Uwekops

    Thanks a lot for your free excel ppm tool – I always prefer the thin-tool-way, just to have more time for the important parts of PM no tool ever will resolve (like all about people)
    Uwe Kops (Cologne, Germany)

  • You’re very welcome, Uwe and thank you for the kind words!

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  • Nikos Chronaios

    Hello Geof, i cant locate the actual file on these links. Has it been removed for some reason?
    Nikos -Athens

  • My apologies, Thomas! When I redesigned my blog, I broke some of the links. This should be back up and working correctly. Cheers!

  • My apologies, Nikos! When I redesigned my blog, I broke some of the links. This should be back up and working correctly. Cheers!

  • Kester Fernando

    thx chap MUCH appreciated

  • Bukowski

    This is a massive asset for any PM that caters for basic tracking and reporting, thank you for this!

    I just have one question re. the milestones tab, I noticed that it only lists the start and end date of the first task linked to that milestone. I would have imagined you would need the start date of the first task and the end date of the last task (assuming this task is in fact the latest date) linked to the same milestone.

    Can anyone offer some insight?

  • Hey, mate, thanks very much for writing. You’ve made a great catch! I haven’t modified this file since like 2010 or so and for the life of me I can’t imagine how I would miss something so obvious!

    Unfortunately because I haven’t looked at the file in so many years I’ve completely forgotten what I was even thinking when I put the logic of it together! LOL It’ll take me a bit of time to go through and fix.

    Thanks for being patient with me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Bukowski

    Geoff, you did fantastic work on this toolkit! Thank you once again. Can’t wait for the updated toolkit.