Project Management Template for Excel's name says it all: It adds a basic but flexible project management tool to Microsoft Excel, which is exactly where you need it. This Excel template from Business Spreadsheets is free to try for 30 days. It runs in Windows NT to 8 (including Server) and requires Microsoft Excel 97 or better.
Installing Project Management Template is extremely easy: Extract the zipped download and click it to open it in Excel. The first sheet, Resources, displays four modules: Project Parameter, Project Resources, Human Resources, and Control Panel. We entered a name, date, and preliminary deadline for our yet-undefined project. You can add project participants or define a budget, if you have the data, but we clicked the Control Panel's Project Definition to sample the preconfigured definitions on the Pre-Defined sheet. Task, Schedule, and Status sheets also offered preconfigured tables. It's particularly easy to export Schedule sheets, which helps keep team members up to date (and excuses at a minimum). The Status sheet's Earned Value Analysis tool also tracks Historical Project Performance by SPI and CPI.
While Project Management Template for Excel can't match the capabilities of enterprise-class project management solutions, it also has a cheaper price tag. With Project Management Template, your project data starts where it ends up anyway, in Excel.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Project Management Template for Excel 2.2.