Task logging is text. Why are you using Excel?

Logging and tracking tasks is important. You capture what needs to be done, who is doing the task and what progress is made to complete the task. You can write tasks on the back of cigarette packet, sheet of A4 paper, on an Excel spreadsheet or use tools like Trello or Microsoft Lists. What the vast majority of tasks have in common, they are written in text. Excel is a number cruncher with limited abilities to manage text. When logging tasks on Excel you write tasks into an Excel cell. One advantage, your task writing in text is brief.

Other advantages of using Excel for tasking

  • Global view. All your tasks in one place in one view.
  • Sort and filter. The two killer features of Excel. Faced with a hundred tasks Excel allows you manipulate a list of tasks. Sort by date or filter the high priority tasks.
  • Familar. Most office staff have used Excel to a greater or lesser extent. It is not some whizz bang piece of tasking software.

Disadvantages

  • Keying in a task. Excel can capture a lot of information but keying text on to a spreadsheet is not ideal on an app designed for numbers
  • When keying in a task you see all of them rather than just one. Keying a task in separate from all others allows the user to have a focused screen. One laid out to help add a task with the minimum of maximum information about the task.
  • Excel is not tracking a task. Users do not see a visual showing how much of the task has been done.

What would be the better solution? A tasking tool that allows users to log individual tasks on a front end individually but linked to Excel. In a team, some members could be logging the task on a form with others viewing the same tasks on an Excel spreadsheet sitting at the back of a front end form. This way individual users keying the task view of the task singular and administrators have a global view on Excel.

What keeps organisations using Excel to log tasks? Low costs, Excel is bundled into the O365 subscription for the whole organisation. The alternative is paying for tasking software on a pay per user licence. This could add up to a lot of money on top of the 0365 cost. The solution I think can be found within 0365. Using the patchwork of O365 services, stitching them up to make a tasking log that lets users log tasks on a front end form and a backend showing all tasks that have been keyed displayed an Excel spreadsheet were they could be manipulated.

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