Confessions of a recovering spreadsheet shuffler

I’ve been thinking about my last post and figured if I’m asking you to share your spreadsheet story why don’t I share mine too.I admit it, I was a shuffler.Don’t get me wrong.I like spreadsheets for number crunching — even making lists or schedules when I’m the only person working on a project.But, I’ve not a fan of the shuffling thing.

Prior to joining the QuickBase team I worked for several companies where I have been locked out of team spreadsheets that were posted on a shared drive – because someone else updated their information and left the spreadsheet open. That resulted in the rest of the team – or at least the most frustrated member – hunting that person down to close the spreadsheet so the rest of us could update our respective sections before our team meeting that day.That was definitely frustrating.Other times it was like an update roll-call.I’m done. Who’s going next?Ok, I’m done. Next. And on and on till we each got our updates in.

In the past I’ve also had to spend time consolidating spreadsheets.One time I had a list of leads from a seminar and I needed status updates from various sales reps. Because each sales rep could only see their own information I had to create about 10 versions of the spreadsheet – one per sales rep. Then email one spreadsheet to each rep requesting an update on the list of prospects.Followed by reminder emails and phone calls to get the information back, then consolidate that information back into one spreadsheet for a program report to management.

With QuickBase reporting on leads is so much easier.Our concierge team (think inside sales meets customer service) uses QuickBase to get their leads – each rep sees only their information – and I can easily report from the same system.I just pull a report of leads by their campaign code in order to get just my program.If I ever needed to remind the concierge team to update information I could set up an email notification to remind the whole team – instead of having to send out an individual email to each person.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to have all the information I need all in one system and accessible through an internet browser.I can pull reports from home, from the road.I don’t have to be in the office or using a VPN to do it.

One more confession

You know when you send out a spreadsheet to a few people for updates and at least one of them messes with the formatting so you can’t just cut and paste information back into your master spreadsheet? Well, sometimes I’m one of those people who reformat a spreadsheet to make it work better for me. At my last job, I drove my manager a little crazy with my spreadsheet tweaking. But that’s all behind me now because with QuickBase I don’t need a spreadsheet, I can just create or edit a report in my team’s QuickBase application to see just the fields I need to see and then use grid edit to update my project information. I love grid edit – it looks just like a spreadsheet. I get to see the information I need the way I need it and I haven’t messed up any formatting for anyone else. And there’s no cutting and pasting, my information is updated along with my co-workers all in one place.No fuss, no muss and no frustrated managers.

Does any of this sound familiar? Take the following quiz to find out if spreadsheets are slowing you down!

  • Kevin Hundt

    Oh Boy, you’ve hit the mark. The company I’m with is an Engineering/Construction company performing services in a CA Refinery (Chevron) and across the USA in the Alternate Energy Fields. We are kind of an island to ourselves at the site and needed a robust Proj Mgmt Application(s) that was totally tailorable to our Clients needs. Quickbase was the solution of choice, which has now become a cornerstone of our success in Proj Mgmt and Proj Controls with the Client. Client has visibility of meeting notes and action/needs lists, which allow for quick response on potential cost/schedule impacts. We also capture/track/report all staff manhours and $$’s, along with earned value calculations around physical % complete, vs schedule % completion. We utilize triggers and alerts for sending emails using defined criteria, that help manage our work.

    We used to need 6 Project controls staff. We’ve been able to reduce staff to 3, due to not having multiple spreadsheets, mistakes or fiddling with equations in spreadsheets.
    Great write up
    KLH

    [Reply]

    Kathleen Lamphier Reply:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for sharing your story. The Alternate Energy Field sounds very interesting. And wow, being able to do the same amount of work with half the staff by using QuickBase is great! Thanks for sharing that information.

    Can you tell me a little more about why you needed a project management application that was totally tailorable? What were some things that a packaged application couldn’t do for you?

    -Kathy

    [Reply]

    turner Reply:

    I’ve been thinking about my last post and figured if I’m asking you to share your spreadsheet story why don’t I share mine too. I admit it, I was a shuffler. Don’t get me wrong. I like spreadsheets for number crunching — even making lists or schedules when I’m the only person working on a project. But, I’ve not a fan of the shuffling thing.

    Prior to joining the QuickBase team I worked for several companies where I have been locked out of team spreadsheets that were posted on a shared drive – because someone else updated their information and left the spreadsheet open. That resulted in the rest of the team – or at least the most frustrated member – hunting that person down to close the spreadsheet so the rest of us could update our respective sections before our team meeting that day. That was definitely frustrating. Other times it was like an update roll-call. I’m done. Who’s going next? Ok, I’m done. Next. And on and on till we each got our updates in.

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    [Reply]

    turner Reply:

    Hi,

    I’ve been thinking about my last post and figured if I’m asking you to share your spreadsheet story why don’t I share mine too. I admit it, I was a shuffler. Don’t get me wrong. I like spreadsheets for number crunching — even making lists or schedules when I’m the only person working on a project. But, I’ve not a fan of the shuffling thing.

    paralegal jobs uk

  • Kevin Hundt

    Oh Boy, you’ve hit the mark. The company I’m with is an Engineering/Construction company performing services in a CA Refinery (Chevron) and across the USA in the Alternate Energy Fields. We are kind of an island to ourselves at the site and needed a robust Proj Mgmt Application(s) that was totally tailorable to our Clients needs. Quickbase was the solution of choice, which has now become a cornerstone of our success in Proj Mgmt and Proj Controls with the Client. Client has visibility of meeting notes and action/needs lists, which allow for quick response on potential cost/schedule impacts. We also capture/track/report all staff manhours and $$’s, along with earned value calculations around physical % complete, vs schedule % completion. We utilize triggers and alerts for sending emails using defined criteria, that help manage our work.

    We used to need 6 Project controls staff. We’ve been able to reduce staff to 3, due to not having multiple spreadsheets, mistakes or fiddling with equations in spreadsheets.
    Great write up
    KLH

    [Reply]

    Kathleen Lamphier Reply:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for sharing your story. The Alternate Energy Field sounds very interesting. And wow, being able to do the same amount of work with half the staff by using QuickBase is great! Thanks for sharing that information.

    Can you tell me a little more about why you needed a project management application that was totally tailorable? What were some things that a packaged application couldn’t do for you?

    -Kathy

    [Reply]

    turner Reply:

    I’ve been thinking about my last post and figured if I’m asking you to share your spreadsheet story why don’t I share mine too. I admit it, I was a shuffler. Don’t get me wrong. I like spreadsheets for number crunching — even making lists or schedules when I’m the only person working on a project. But, I’ve not a fan of the shuffling thing.

    Prior to joining the QuickBase team I worked for several companies where I have been locked out of team spreadsheets that were posted on a shared drive – because someone else updated their information and left the spreadsheet open. That resulted in the rest of the team – or at least the most frustrated member – hunting that person down to close the spreadsheet so the rest of us could update our respective sections before our team meeting that day. That was definitely frustrating. Other times it was like an update roll-call. I’m done. Who’s going next? Ok, I’m done. Next. And on and on till we each got our updates in.

    paralegal jobs uk

    [Reply]

    turner Reply:

    Hi,

    I’ve been thinking about my last post and figured if I’m asking you to share your spreadsheet story why don’t I share mine too. I admit it, I was a shuffler. Don’t get me wrong. I like spreadsheets for number crunching — even making lists or schedules when I’m the only person working on a project. But, I’ve not a fan of the shuffling thing.

    paralegal jobs uk

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  • http://intuitlabs.com/ Jonathan Mandell

    I have had a love/hate relationship with Excel for over 10 years. Once you gain enough expertise you tent to use it as a swiss army knife. Not only did I use it for formulas and charts but, I would use it as a word processor, sketching tool, database, etc. However, no matter how well I knew Excel I could never manage collaborating on a workbook with others. Permissions never worked well and finding a shared drive for everyone to access was ineffective. Usually, people would keep their own copies that I would have to constantly reconcile.

    I was introduced to QuickBase 6 years ago when I started at Intuit. There were QuickBases created for everything from tracking customer contacts to managing our pot luck lunches. Collaboration is what QuickBase does best. You can easily manage permissions by assigning roles and since it is online, people can update 24/7 from anywhere.

    Currently, I am using it to manage our work on the Intuit Labs website – http://intuitlabs.com – I keep track of the apps we have launched and those that are coming soon. The best part is that I don’t have to chase people down for updates. I just have a weekly report automatically sent to the relevant people. Then, they long in, post their updates, and I am notified. This leaves me to focus on managing the project and not the people, which is great.

    QuickBase – I’m not just an employee but also a client – LOL

    [Reply]

  • http://intuitlabs.com Jonathan Mandell

    I have had a love/hate relationship with Excel for over 10 years. Once you gain enough expertise you tent to use it as a swiss army knife. Not only did I use it for formulas and charts but, I would use it as a word processor, sketching tool, database, etc. However, no matter how well I knew Excel I could never manage collaborating on a workbook with others. Permissions never worked well and finding a shared drive for everyone to access was ineffective. Usually, people would keep their own copies that I would have to constantly reconcile.

    I was introduced to QuickBase 6 years ago when I started at Intuit. There were QuickBases created for everything from tracking customer contacts to managing our pot luck lunches. Collaboration is what QuickBase does best. You can easily manage permissions by assigning roles and since it is online, people can update 24/7 from anywhere.

    Currently, I am using it to manage our work on the Intuit Labs website – http://intuitlabs.com – I keep track of the apps we have launched and those that are coming soon. The best part is that I don’t have to chase people down for updates. I just have a weekly report automatically sent to the relevant people. Then, they long in, post their updates, and I am notified. This leaves me to focus on managing the project and not the people, which is great.

    QuickBase – I’m not just an employee but also a client – LOL

    [Reply]

  • http://www.tiffanyforsale.com tiffany sale

    I can’t tell you how nice it is to have all the information I need all in one system and accessible through an internet browser. I can pull reports from home, from the road. I don’t have to be in the office or using a VPN to do it.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.discountiffany.com tiffany jewellery

    You know when you send out a spreadsheet to a few people for updates and at least one of them messes with the formatting so you can’t just cut and paste information back into your master spreadsheet? Well, sometimes I’m one of those people who reformat a spreadsheet to make it work better for me. At my last job, I drove my manager a little crazy with my spreadsheet tweaking. But that’s all behind me now because with QuickBase I don’t need a spreadsheet, I can just create or edit a report in my team’s QuickBase application to see just the fields I need to see and then use grid edit to update my project information. I love grid edit – it looks just like a spreadsheet. I get to see the information I need the way I need it and I haven’t messed up any formatting for anyone else. And there’s no cutting and pasting, my information is updated along with my co-workers all in one place. No fuss, no muss and no frustrated managers.

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: Tip 3 of 7 – Get Customizable Web-Based Software and Get Productive – 7 Tip Series | The Fast Track

  • awe olatunji

    I love using Spreadsheet must especially Excel, However, no matter how well I knew Excel I could never manage collaborating on a workbook with others. Permissions never worked well and finding a shared drive for everyone to access was ineffective. Usually, people would keep their own copies that I would have to constantly reconcile.
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    [Reply]