Project management tools come in all shapes, sizes and sophistications. Most PMs rely on pretty advanced scheduling and contingency tools, such as MS Project or the Web-based Tom's Planner, but regardless of how polished your PM management gets, it's a pretty sure bet that a spreadsheet is going to slip in there someplace.
Here in the IT Downloads library, IT Business Edge members have free access to a wide variety of checklists, logs and calculators that support a wide range of tasks. They range from single-task (and so fairly simplistic) to powerful, multi-functional project tracking tools that encompass most aspects of your project.
The Project Tracking Tool from our partners at Papercut Project Monitoring is one of the more sophisticated spreadsheets you are likely to see, for PM or any other purpose. It's also one of the more popular IT Downloads with our members.
The spreadsheet tracks and analyzes metrics across eight dimensions of a project:
Pretty much everything involved in a project, regardless of scope.
Eight tabs of the spreadsheet walk you through data input with extremely detailed instructions on estimating costs and assigning resources. For example, the Resources tab includes not only cells for job description, rate and contact info - it also includes update columns to gauge your concern level on the resources' availability and if they will be available throughout the next status report period.
All of this information rolls into the Dashboard report for the project, of which you can see a small section in the image below.
In all, Dashboard tracks eight different project metrics. The financial summary, which you can see in the image above, tracks against a Costs tab that allows you to update the weekly rate of resource consumption, compared to an initial or revised baseline.
Other snapshots on the dashboard include:
Of course, the spreadsheet also includes a tool to support those monthly reports. The spreadsheet's Status Report tab includes simple data entry tables for confidence levels, as well as basic financial and risk information. It also includes a table that calculates some financial bullet points, such as Cost Performance Index and Earned Value. The tool does note that its Earned Value Analysis computation is a little oversimplified, and that if you really want to dig in on that aspect of your project, you'll need to tackle that computation elsewhere.
All in all, it is one of the more comprehensive PM tools you are likely to find. Be sure to check it out.