Microsoft Project is a robust, capable project management tool but, you can effectively manage small or midsize projects with Excel–saving yourself or your IT budget a pretty penny.

In 2002, Ken Brown, submitted what he labeled as a “low-budget Excel version of Microsoft Project.” At the time, Brown was an independent consultant working with Akibia Consulting in Dallas.

The project template contains sample tasks to get you started.

He said that two issues drove him to create his Excel project-planning template. Complexity was the first issue. Many of his team members were uncomfortable and/or unfamiliar with Microsoft Project. Cost was the second issue. “With this spreadsheet, we are able to lay out and manage small to medium-sized projects without the cost of deploying Project to all team members,” he said.

If you have a small to midsize project coming up, download the spreadsheet to quickly and easily organize your project.

Today’s lesson

What’s the takeaway from Brown’s experience? Use the right tool for the job. Unless you’re competing in Purdue University’s annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, there is no need to use a tool that’s more complex than the problem.