March 5, 2023 Frank Hopkins
This Calls for a Spreadsheet!
Data-driven decisions drive our organization. The quicker you can digest large amounts of data, the better you can react and provide valuable input. With computers and software housing information in CSV format, it can be extremely efficient to group and report data in a way that can be interpreted effectively. The ability to know what you want out of data and the know-how to format that data with formulas, macros, formatting, etc., the better decisions you can make.
Spreadsheets can be used in a number of different ways in many roles. You typically hear them associated with crunching accounting numbers or budgets, but they can be used as great planning tools as well. With a few simple formulas and conditional formatting, you have a simple “input” that can drive dates in a schedule. Those dates drive rules that can then show as visuals through conditional formulas and if/then statements. These tools are great high-level visuals for teams that don’t like numbers and dates but want a picture to show where they should be at a certain time. They also give leadership a view into how projects are levelized and where we might see problems with increased or decreased manpower.
Detailed meetings that require multiple attendees and follow-up actions can also be run in spreadsheets. At Excellerate, we utilize custom meeting minutes tailored to the discussion at hand, creating categories based on account owners and the responsible parties. These groups are charged with giving updates in the meetings, along with making sure that due dates, action items and notes are all kept current and follow the standards set by the team. We are able to document when items happened, mark them as complete and then archive them in case we need to reference them later. These complex meeting minutes have links and attachments to easily house projects, dashboards, videos, BIM dashboards, Smartsheets and other tools and sites that are needed to elaborate on their discussion items.
What-if scenario calculations are a great way to give teams the ability to think through multiple scenarios with a few cells that drive larger amounts of data. We use spreadsheets instead of calculators to allow us to easily manipulate and track the way we are pulling data.
Spreadsheets and data tables can also be pushed into 3D models, with dimensions, parts and assemblies manipulated based on spreadsheet inputs. The setup, planning and coding required for this equates to more time spent on the front end, but when done right and when standard assemblies follow the created program, you can create nearly unlimited scenarios and sizes from the configurator in a fraction of the time.
In the end, we work to ensure that we’re capturing and acting on data in the most productive and accurate way, to drive results for our customers and partners.
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