Long ago, a more technically adept colleague told me that MS Project was build as sophisticated set of macros and add-ons to Excel. I don’t know for sure if it was true, but certainly the earliest versions felt that way. Now it is a far more sophisticated tool that it was then, and I don’t get to use it anymore.
But Excel remains a tool I use daily. Early in my career, I started by working on Project Finance and, coming from a mathematical science background, I was tasked with building complex financial spreadsheets. Ever since, I have been in awe of what excel can do. (In fact, in the earliest days, I use Lotus 123, of blessed memory).
Even now, I find the process of discovering a clever way to do something the tool wasn’t explicitly built for to be pleasurable – and the triumph of making it work is as good as any other professional buzz. The people who can do it well deserve a lot of credit.
For any serious player in project management, professional services or just management, numeracy to a high level is a must-have. The tool of choice for expressing that numeracy and setting it to work is the spreadsheet: Excel, Numbers, Google docs or Zoho versions. And an adeptness with spreadsheets will be a career asset throughout your life.
So, I’d like to recommend a site that taught me tips that were new and gave me a buzz f admiration for the creative problem solving the author shows in making spreadsheets do things they were not designed to do. Take a look at the resources at: http://www.exceltraining101.com/excel-project-management/ I understand the author, Doug, is planning to add more PM tools over time. But the reason to watch his videos is not for the PM tools… its for the joy of seeing ways to solve problems with Excel.