Recently I'm managing a group of people. It has 3 areas, with each area having an average of 7 people; there are 20+ people.
To make a monthly report to my boss, I am faced with the following problems:

  • I can't use online management tools like Trello (because my boss doesn't approve of it).
  • Installing management tools on the local server will require a large process of revision, approval, and others.
  • I'm new, and I don't know exactly the work done by each people yet (I can't assign tasks)
  • People are either developers or support staff (a developer could have 3 tasks in a day while a support personnel will have more than 30 tasks in a day)

Actually, I'm working with a simple Excel template (Using Google Drive is not approved), then each people fill in their daily work by adding rows.

At the end of the month, I have a lot of work, because I have to review and summarize 20+ Excel files with 30+ sheets.

Do you have any way to better manage this?

  • 1
    You seem to have to separate questions here. You should ask two separate Questions. The one regarding being disallowed to use the tools you want is probably a better fit for Workplace Stack Exchange.
    – Sarov
    Aug 8, 2019 at 15:52
  • If you strip out the (off topic) request for a tool, the question seems to devolve down to "How do I report to my boss?" - the answer to that is usually, "The way your boss wants". Stakeholder analysis says you ask each stakeholder what information they want, in what format and what frequency. What does you boss want to see in a monthly report? What is the intent of the report? Recommend revision of the question to clarify and provide enough information to answer.
    – MCW
    Aug 12, 2019 at 8:09

1 Answer 1



This isn't a tool problem. It's a process problem. The solution is to make the costs of the current process visible to your management team.

Analysis and Recommendations

You don't identify your role, or that of your boss. Nevertheless, for most of your issues you point to your boss's decisions and company policies to explain why data reconciliation is a manual process. Processes have an associated cost, and the time spent reconciling all those Excel spreadsheets is one of them. Those costs, as well as any process improvements that could cut costs, should be visible to your management team so they can make an informed decision about whether or not the current process is optimal.

By definition, management owns all costs and risks related to a project. That includes the responsibility for budgeting for capital costs such as purpose-built tooling or other process automations, or opting for semi-manual processes such as the one you have now. In either case, management is making a business decision as to which costs they prefer to incur.

Making the costs (including everyone's labor to fill out the data, as well as your labor to reconcile it all) and risks (manual processes are often error-prone) fully visible to management supports better executive decision-making. Making potential quality improvements or cost savings visible to management gives them options about where they want to invest business resources. If you make a case for a different process or tool that can save the project money, management can then decide whether or not to implement the change based on the needs of the business.

Whether senior management applies resources to improve your process or not, they still own the process. That means they must explicitly or implicitly accept the costs, risks, and consequences of whatever business decisions they make.

The project manager role shouldn't be held responsible for the choices of senior management. In this type of situation, the responsibility of the role extends to making known issues and potential improvements visible, and then gathering a funding or implementation decision (which may include acceptance of the status quo) from project sponsors or the accountable executive resource.

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