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Workflows vs. Spreadsheets for Complex Projects

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Workhub24 Team | February,13,2024 | 10 min read

In the changing world of project management, especially complex projects, choosing the right management tools is a strategic decision. This choice can substantially impact the project’s outcome.


Teams and individuals using workflow management software must understand the implications of complex project management.


Workflows streamline operations through automation, improved collaboration, and reliable reporting. , they are ideal for handling complex projects with various teams and stakeholders.


However, project managers have traditionally used spreadsheets for their flexibility and simplicity. Their fast data entry and analysis make them useful for many activities. However, their capability to handle the complexities and scale of larger projects is often questioned.

Understanding Workflows: Enhancing Project Management Efficiency

Workflows are organised processes of activities that help complete complex jobs. In project management, processes automate and streamline tasks. This organised method simplifies work and ensures each project stage is completed efficiently and effectively. Understanding how workflow management software can change project management is important to users.


Key Workflow Management System Features


Workflow management systems provide many features that improve project efficiency and effectiveness.


  • Automating repetitive and time-consuming operations is a major benefit of workflows. The software helps team members focus on project priorities, increasing productivity.
  • Workflow management solutions enable real-time communication. They let teams communicate, share files, and make decisions quickly and efficiently, regardless of location.
  • Workflow systems scale better than traditional project management solutions. They are suitable for growing organisations and huge projects since they can manage more activities and users without affecting performance. These solutions let you customise the workflow of your project.
  • Workflow systems enable progress tracking, resource allocation, and detailed reporting.
  • Many workflow management solutions integrate with other tools and software, simplifying project administration. Integrating every aspect of the project is essential for smooth operation.
  • Modern workflow systems include intuitive interfaces to shorten the learning curve and increase user engagement.

Understanding Spreadsheets: The Traditional Tool in Project Management

Spreadsheets are project management classics. They are popular because of their simplicity and versatility. They have been the first choice for budgeting, scheduling, and resource allocation in project management for years.


Spreadsheets are suitable for smaller projects or those just starting with project management due to their familiarity and simplicity.


Capabilities and Limits

Spreadsheets are versatile and accessible, yet they have pros and cons, especially for project management.


  • Use spreadsheets for efficient entry of information and organisation. They enable lists, tables, and charts, making data easy to understand.
  • Spreadsheets are useful for tracking deadlines, budgets, and task fulfilment. They provide a foundation for progress monitoring.
  • They give great data formatting and structure flexibility. Spreadsheets can be customised for each project.
  • Spreadsheets are widely used in businesses and require little to no spending.
  • Spreadsheets are not automated like project management software. Manual employee and human mistakes increase with this restriction
  • Spreadsheets can become inefficient as projects grow in size and complexity. Large data sets and sophisticated project management are not their specialties.
  • Modern spreadsheets have limited collaborative functionality compared to project management software. This may block real-time communication and change tracking.
  • Spreadsheets lack the advanced analytics and reporting needed for complicated project analysis.
  • Managing various spreadsheet versions or team data consistency can be difficult, resulting in mistakes and outdated information.

Comparing Workflows and Spreadsheets

Ease of Use

Workflows: Provide clear, step-by-step processes. Easy to follow but may need initial learning.

Spreadsheets: Highly flexible. Good for quick starts but need more manual work.



Workflows: Great for complex projects. Can handle lots of tasks and data easily.

Spreadsheets: Not ideal for complex projects. Can get complicated and hard to manage.


Collaboration and Data Management

Workflows: Offer better tools for teamwork. Easy to share updates and manage data.

Spreadsheets: Limited in team features. Sharing and updating can be tricky.

Advantages of Workflows

  • Workflows automate tasks. This means fewer mistakes and less manual work.
  • Everyone stays informed. Updates happen instantly, keeping teams aligned.
  • Workflows link different project parts. They make everything work together smoothly.

When Spreadsheets are Preferable

  • Spreadsheets are good for small, simple tasks or small Projects
  • They work well when you have a tight budget.
  • Best if your team already knows how to use them.

Making the Right Choice

  • Look at what your project really needs.
  • Big project or small? Choose a tool that fits.
  • Simple or complex? Match the tool’s features.
  • Pick a tool your team knows well.
  • Keep your spending in mind when choosing.

Future project management trends

Project management is changing, and various trends will affect the future.


  • AI is being added to project management systems. This connection improves project efficiency by automating decision-making, predictive analytics for risk management, and data analysis.
  • Mobile technology makes project management tools more accessible on smartphones and tablets. This trend lets project managers and teams’ access, collaborate, and update project statuses on the move, improving flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Continued adoption of cloud-based project management solutions will improve collaboration, security, and data synchronization across devices.
  • Project management tools will likely improve virtual collaboration, including communication and integrated virtual meeting rooms, as remote and hybrid work patterns grow more popular.
  • Project management systems are becoming more user-friendly with intuitive designs and customizable interfaces for users of all technical levels.


Selecting the right tool for project management, whether it’s advanced workflows or more traditional spreadsheets, is critical, especially for managing large-scale, complex projects. The effectiveness of your chosen tool can significantly influence the project’s overall efficiency, success, and the ability to meet its objectives.


WorkHub24 delivers customized Project Management solutions. They are tailor-made and complex. The solutions are highly flexible. They offer a new approach to managing workflows. They serve a broad range of industries. Its no-code workflow system is ingeniously designed to adapt to specific project needs. It lets organizations choose the best tools.


The tools are for their unique challenges. This system makes it easier to add complex workflows. It helps automate processes in critical areas, like Research & Development (R&D), quality control, design approvals, change management, and supply chain logistics.


WorkHub24 is for managing very complex projects. It is valuable for industries such as Product Development & Manufacturing, Construction & Engineering, Telecom, Healthcare, and Clinical Research. It ensures every project benefits. They get flexibility, efficiency, and innovation. They are tailored to meet the highest standards of project management.


Workflows: Automated, givegives real-time updates. Spreadsheets: More manual, don’t update by themselves.

No, it’s not hard. Get training and support to make it smooth.

Yes, try a free trial at WorkHub24 to see how it works.

Yes, they fit both small and big businesses. They grow with you.

Contact us or try our free trial to learn more.