Microsoft Project Training Crucial to Project Success

Microsoft Project Training is Crucial for Project Success

Many project managers think Microsoft Project software (Microsoft Project 2016, MS Project 2013 et. el.) to be just useful for creating a list of things to do… like a laundry list.

Some think that MS Project is more of a scheduling software, and it is useful only upto coming up with a Gantt Chart or a Network Diagram for their project.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

Microsoft Project 2016 is a sophisticated piece of software, which is capable of doing much more than mere scheduling.

According to Microsoft – “Microsoft Office Project Standard 2016 gives you robust project management tools with the right blend of usability, power, and flexibility, so you can manage projects more efficiently and effectively.” In fact, I would go on to say that using the proper software, tools and techniques is crucial to project success – because of the amount of time and money it saves… Here’s how:

1. A simple, familiar look and feel of all Office products: The simple ribbon is power packed with options that make it easier to work with project tasks, schedules, and track progress.

2. Tighter control and delivery: Now you can quickly compare budget versus actual versus forecasted values, and measure the progress of a task, or a summary task,  with the flexibility of setting multiple baselines. You can also create high-level, time-phased budgets, which can have multiple user-defined categories for costs and labor. This level of granularity was only available in much more expensive software previously.

3. It is much easier to validate budgets against bottom-up estimates: built by using labor, material, and cost resources. This enables a project manager to control project costs by comparing budgets to completed tasks and forecasted totals. The earlier any deviations are discovered, the better it becomes to take some corrective action, and make improvements to the project.

4. Built in EVM (earned value measurements) enable you to do predictive analysis: and integrated performance management. This can make it much easier to measure where the project stands – how much has been spent, what much more is required, at what rate are we spending, and at what rate is the work getting completed… all crucial factors to measure the progress of the project, and deliver it successfully, better,  faster, and cheaper.

5. Build Scenarios and Play What-If: There is a constant need to evaluate multiple scenarios and consider options when planning new projects or monitoring ongoing work. Using inactive tasks, new in Project Professional 2016, you can easily experiment with your project plan and perform what-if analysis – this new feature is a boon to project managers.

A simple toggle option can remove or insert one or more tasks, along with their effect on the project schedule. Project 2016 also offers more built-in tools to help support what-if analysis and scenario comparison, including multiple-level undo and change highlighting. With these details, it becomes much easier to get an idea of the best options available, with their impact the project, and the triple constraints.

As you can see, there is much more to MS Project than meets the eye initially. You need to learn the MS Project 2016 software by attending formal training… even a short, 2 day dedicated training on learning the basics, and more advanced features of MS Project can do wonders for you.

At Intellisoft, we run 2 day hands on, practical workshops on Microsoft project 2016 and Microsoft project 2013 training. Attended by new and experienced team members and project managers, this step-by-step ms project training can help you maximize the use of this software for your projects, and help you be more successful in managing project.

Next Training Schedule is available at our Training Calendar. You can also Contact Intellisoft for more information on Project training and even Project Management Certification Training.

Creating Management Dashboards in Microsoft Excel

Today, Microsoft Excel has become extremely power tool for any data warrior. Whether you work in Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Logistics, Accounts, Manufacturing, Finance or Administration, everyone must become an expert at using Microsoft Excel.

It is not sufficient to know Tables & Formulas in Excel. You must also know how to make sense of the data that you have.

Successful analysis of data, and presentation of data are vital skills for any office worker. Simple techniques to analyze data are to use Pivot Tables, Normal Data Ranges, and Tables.

Further, there are advanced data analysis tools within Excel – like the Scenario Manager, Goal Seek, Solver, Conditional Formatting, Slicers etc. that make the job of data analysis much easier.

However, it is not sufficient to merely analyze the data. It is important for you to also present the data using the latest and best in-built techniques within Excel. Most of the people who come for Excel Dashboard Training, or the Data Analysis Training With Excel are not aware of these features.

Microsoft Excel Dashboard Training

Microsoft Excel Dashboard Training

When you create an Excel Report, which allows for the Report to become interactive, allows the management to play with the data, change the parameters, and see the data change, the graphs update dynamically, then such a report is called a Dashboard.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REPORTS AND DASHBOARDS

The key different between a Report and a Dashboard is that a Report can be static, long, and without any interactivity.

In contrast, a Dashboard is a dynamic report, Short, Fits a page usually, and allows the users to change several parameters on the fly to compare the data from the past year, quarter, and play what if dynamically.

Dynamic Checkbox Dashboard With Microsoft Excel

Dynamic Dashboard With Microsoft Excel – Learn to Do It Yourself!

Intellisoft Systems in Singapore conducts Public and Customized Classes for Creating Dashboards With Microsoft Excel. Many companies have opted for Corporate Training, where the content can be customized to suit your audience and participants, plus their level of expertise with Microsoft Excel.

For the dashboard training, the Excel version is not that important. You can use Microsoft Excel 2010 or Microsoft Excel 2013 for the Excel Dashboard Training.

Plus, the Dashboard training can be conducted in your country. Simply contact Intellisoft at +65-6296-2995 for the training details.

Cheers,
Intellisoft Systems Team, GoldenMile Complex, #06-05,
Singapore 199588

Choosing A Career in IT Industry

Thinking of starting a career in IT?

Love to play with Computers and  Mobile Phones, and thinking of making IT a career choice?

Like to develop new IT products and services and be the next generation whiz-kid?

You are not alone. Thousands of people are moving to IT for continuous and long term job prospects with great salaries.

According to Forbes, top jobs pay anything from $120,000 to $150,000 for starters.

Business Insider lists over 40 technologies that pay over $120,000 per annum.

The IT Industry is a huge, and booming industry. In the coming years, more and more automation is happening, and more computer engineers, and support people are needed than ever.

The Internet of Things (IOT) is firming up and taking leaps and bounds. According to several surveys, the number of jobs in providing IT Development (Cloud Computing, Green Computing, Web Design and Development, Mobile Application Development, Graphics Design, Game Design) and in IT Services.

Programming languages like Ruby, ASP.NET, PHP, and databases like SQL, MySQL, Oracle, C, Java, C++ are all in the vogue. You don’t even have to master all of them. Just take one, and master it.

Use it to program trial and real projects. Experiment and learn the nuances of each language. There will be several versions and flavors of each language. Figure out the correct framework and go for it.

Computer programming is not only for computer science graduates. Several top universities, including Stamford, National University of Singapore etc. get their Engineering students studying Mechanical, Civil, or any other specialization to take C or Java programming as electives or one of the core modules in the first or second year itself.

Where Should I Begin For an IT Career?

Various options within IT
First of all, you must look at your interest and passion, and browse the world of IT. Find out what kind of things make you feel like you will want to do it? It could be Design, or Development or Support Services.

For Design, you could look at Product Design, Creative Design, Web Design, User Interface Design.

For Development, you could take up Mobile App Development, Web App Development, or Back-end Interface Development, Business Intelligence, ERP, Data Warehousing, Data Mining etc.

For Support & Services, there are Cloud Services, Web Hosting Services, Network Services, Hardware Services, Software Services, Web Services, SEO Services, Email Marketing.

There’s a whole new world of Social Media Services, in Using and Exploiting Facebook for Business, Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and ever increasing new platforms to explore.

To begin with, you can visit Wikipedia and read a little bit about each one… It will give you a better understanding of the various options available, and then explore your interests.

There are several good books available on the broad topic of IT, Internet, Social Media to explore. A visit to your local library is a must to look at the plethora of choices available. You don’t have to purchase so many books. Just browse, borrow some, and gain as much knowledge about the various options.

You can then begin to talk to your peers, friends, colleagues, and friends of friends to generally discuss and get a better, first hand information about choosing an IT career. Schools, colleges, Polytechnics and Universities also organize several talks and seminars about choosing the right career, and how to pick the right thing for you.

Finally, create a mind map of all your ideas and thoughts. If you are not familiar with it, read about it here and begin using it. If you want to follow the old fashioned way, you can jot down all your notes in a diary or paper, and then sift through them.

Make detailed notes, and review them yourself, as well as others who support your goal in choosing the right IT career for you.

Next Steps in Choosing an IT Career

Strategy in IT Career
Once you have a fair idea about the kind of things you want to within IT, you can join some short term courses to know more about the things, and get direct experience at working on these.

Sure, you will have to spend some time and money, but it is better to spend a little and get a better idea, rather than spending a long time studying a particular topic, and then realizing it is not for you.

I have seen countless people graduating from college with a degree, and not pursuing it as a career, because they did not really like it… they had chosen something because of their parents, or peer pressure.

Don’t waste a college seat doing something that you have no interest in. Imagine someone studying 5 years to be a doctor, and then deciding to not be a doctor and help cure people… What a waste of time, money, resources. As well give that seat to someone else whose passion it is to be a doctor.

Similarly, to gain mastery over any area within IT, you will have to spend a lot of time studying it. Invest your time, money and passion in something that you really care for. Once you have chosen a field of study, put your heart and soul into it.

While I was studying Computer Programming back in the 1980s, after learning Basic, COBOL, ForTran,Pascal, and C, I fell in love with Pascal & DBase III (a database programming language). I then spent countless hours in the lab experimenting it.

I purchased almost every book on these topics and even got my father, my uncle to support me in purchasing very expensive books on these topics. I am proud to say that I mastered both Dbase, Pascal and C to a great extent, and it helped set my foundation in Computer Programming, which helped me all along in my IT career.

Even as I got promoted, and was not writing code, it helped me supervise my team, and work closely with them in implementing several cool features that were unheard of in those times. This gave me great visibility in the company and the senior management got to know of my skills.

It paved the way for frequent promotions and helped me accelerate my career within the company. Pretty soon I was commanding a high 6 figure salary, all because of my passion and interest in the chosen field within IT.

Conclusion

Don’t spend your entire lifetime finding your purpose, your passion, your dreams. Find it, and spend the time in achieving it. Choose something not because of the money, but because of your passion.

Once you have chosen a field, go deep in it. Make a trench that you know every bit of. It will give you immense advantage in the field, and help you accelerate your career, and help you achieve you dreams.

Remember, success is not achieved by luck alone. Success is 99% perspiration, and 1% inspiration. If you stick to the thing that you love, you will attract luck and success automatically, and make the world better for you, for others and leave a legacy that will make an impact in this world.

Written By Vinai Prakash

This article is written by Vinai Prakash, the founder and managing director of Intellisoft group of companies in Singapore. He has helped, coached and guided thousands of participants in achieving their goals, their dreams and finding their passion.

Vinai lives in Singapore. He loves to teach Project management, IT Courses, Photoshop, Web Design, Management Dashboards with Excel, Facebook for BusinessCommunication Skills, Time Management techniques and Killer Presentation skills among other topics.

Top 3 Features of Microsoft Excel You Must Know

top_excel_features_in_interviews

Microsoft Excel is heavily used in Banking, Sales, Finance, Marketing, Customer Service… you name it, it is used by people at operations level, supervisory level and management level for data entry, data analysis, tracking and reporting data.

No wonder in job interviews, Excel features heavily for such job roles.

The Top 3 features often asked in the Job Interviews are regarding Pivot Tables, VLookup Functions and Macros.

Do you know Pivot Tables in Excel?

Pivot tables are used to summarize multiple data rows in one or multiple sheets, and create a summary report. It is a fantastic tools that makes it much easier to view the data at a high level – by category, by division, by department, by area and by country etc… based on your data.

It is best if you master pivot tables, and its nuances, its options, its hidden features and become an expert at using Pivot tables.

Here are some articles I wrote about using Pivot Tables in Excel, and its advanced options of getting pivot data in summary sheets within Excel.

But you may want to attend the Advanced Excel classroom training, and even avail government grants, SkillsFuture, SDF funding etc. to get subsidized fees.

Do you know how to use the Vlookup Function in Excel?

Vlookup and Hlookup are 2 of the Lookup functions within Excel. They help to lookup prices of parts, employee names etc. from tables where you know the part number, employee number, IC number etc.

It is like looking up the meaning of a word in a dictionary. These are extremely powerful functions, and you must know them well.

Do note that there are couple of variations of the Lookup functions – Exact Match or Range Lookup (Approximate match). You must know what to use, and when to use which option.

Knowledge of VLookup is a  must for most industries using Excel, like the Banking & Finance industry.

Again, at Intellisoft, we cover the Lookup Functions in the Advanced Excel and the Excel Dashboard MasterClass, where you learn how to create Management Reports and Dashboards using Microsoft Excel.

Do you know how to write Macros in Excel?

To save time in doing repeated steps, Microsoft introduced the Visual Basic for Applications programming language. IT is popularly called as VBA Macro programming. With VBA programming, you can extend Excel to create routines that can do the basic, mundane steps, quickly, and correctly, so you can spend more time with the more important stuff.

Excel macros are used in creating specific user forms, creating conditional logic, creating work flow within a n organization.

The end user can simple execute multiple steps without knowing how to do the intermediate steps, simply by clicking a button, which in turn can run a complex macro. It is so simple, and magical to use and execute macros within Excel.

You could use it to generate a profit and loss statement, a balance-sheet, a leave approval form, a cash flow statement, pivots and charts automatically, without doing multiple steps.

Read more about VBA Macro Programming here. And you can attend our 3 day VBA Macro programming training in Singapore.

Conclusion:

These are the most important and most used features of Microsoft Excel. Master these, and you will be very popular in your company, and you will improve your job prospects significantly by learning these 3 most important things in Excel.

Cheers,
Vinai Prakash,
Founder & Principal Trainer, Intellisoft Systems

Why You Should Train Your Staff

 Employee TrainingMost businesses are always in a state of crisis, fighting some fire or the other each day. By the time one fire is put off, they find themselves involved in putting off another fire.

This is the nature of all operational work.

Similarly, if you  are working on a project, things keep changing, you keep moving from one crisis to another – nothing stays the same…

Only “change is constant”.

Thus, we hardly have time to think, to plan ahead, and to be proactive. Most of our actions each day are pretty “reactive”. This is the worst position to be in. There is a total lack of control, and many a time you will feel totally “overwhelmed”… not sure what to do, where to begin, and what to do to get out of this mess or chaos.

Steven Covey, in his famous book  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People talks about Being Proactive (the First Habit), and Sharpen The Saw (The Seventh Habit).

What is Being Proactive?

This simply means that you do not wait for things to happen. Rather, prevent them, avoid them, and circumvent them. Have a long term view, plan, so you can see the pitfalls immediately, and you can then plan for any foreseen eventuality, and be prepared. If you are prepared, you know what to do when the event happens, if it happens. This is being proactive. It is totally in your hands.

You can take aside some time each day – ideally in the morning, or the last thing in the day, to plan your day, and actions for the next day or week in advance. Our mind, our brain is a goal seeking device. If you give it a goal, it will find ways to achieve it!

Sharpen The Saw

Continuous Training Opportunities to Stay Ahead - Sharpen the SawCovey talks about a wood cutter so busy with the work, that he has no time to sharpen the saw. Thus, he toils to cut the tree, but this task takes ever longer, due to the fact that the saw is in a pretty bad shape. The wood cutter knows that the instrument is blunt, but does not want to spend the time to sharpen the saw.

It is a pretty simple story, and makes perfect sense.

But aren’t you doing the same? You have no time to plan ahead, no time to do the right things, no time to think and then act. You believe in ‘shoot first, and think later’.

An Emerging Economy

We are living in a world of unprecedented change. Things change very fast. Each morning you pick up the newspaper, and find out some new rules imposed by the government. You can not even anticipate what their next step is going to be. You have to react in this situation. Even if our country’s economy is stable, it is impacted by the US economy, China, India and the smaller third world countries. Interest rates, inflation, GDP, economic growth rate, ERP, COE, Housing prices, petrol price, US economy, exports, exchange rates, all are changing all the time.

With so many variables, what are you supposed to do?

You Are The Commander of Your Ship

There are hundreds of things that you can control. Your thoughts, your actions, your plans can be managed and controlled. They are not cast in stone, but you can control, change, and achieve them. All you need is a little persistence, determination, and focus.

Plan for a better future. Take some time to plan, and define your actions. Just be flexible, and be ready to adapt, in case someone throws a spanner in your plans.

Invest in your Future. Now. How?

Make sure you have the right skills to do the job, and a little more. And also make sure that your team, your staff is also equipped  the same way. When we have thought of every event that can derail the project, plan what we could do, what we would do if it happens, we are much more in control.

Training is the Key

Training is like sharpening the saw. A trained worker is a happy worker. He or she takes pride in the work, and has a heightened sense of self satisfaction.

Employee Training Skills

Some of the known, proven benefits of training the workers are

  1. Increased Productivity – you get more things done, with a better quality, and improve the productivity of the employees, as well as your products and services. The government is also giving generous grants to improve the productivity of the workforce. Make use of these grants.
  2. Lower Cost – less rework, less repair, and a higher quality reduces cost overall, and improve the product. This produces cost savings for your organization.
  3. Higher Satisfaction – with a better quality product or service, the team is happier, and take pride in the company and its products or services. It raises their self esteem, morale, and generates a feeling of self satisfaction.
  4. Lower Turnover – with a higher self-worth, a higher self satisfaction, the employees want to stay in your organization, and this will reduce the turnover. Thus, you do not need to train the staff frequently, and they add value by giving suggestions to improve the product, processes, services, and directly

Thus, you can see how training sets a chain reaction of improved productivity, lower costs, satisfied employees and customers, and a higher brand recognition.

With so many benefits of training, you must look for every opportunity to “sharpen the saw“, and generate the maximum benefit, maximum productivity, and maximum satisfaction for your company, your employees, and your customers.

To learn more about how you can use training to improve your business, give the Intellisoft Training team a call at +65 6296-2995. I am sure you will benefit from it.

Cheers,
Vinai Prakash

Director, Training Services

Vinai Prakash holds a Masters Degree in E-Commerce and is a certified PMI Project Management Professional. He is currently the Director &  Principal Trainer at Intellisoft, providing training to commercial and government organizations in Project Management Methodology, and in various other programs to analyze data, manage IT projects, learn soft skills.

Armed with 27 years of solid management experience, he is the most sought after Trainer and  Consultant at Intellisoft. He has taught Project Management, IT Outsourcing, Business Intelligence, Data Interpretation & Analysis courses in Asia, Middle East, Africa & Australia for Intellisoft clients.

Let us know if you would like to speak to him about your organization’s unique training requirements.

Self Study for PMP Certification

The PMP certification is the highest certification for Project Managers. It is issued by the Project Management Institute in USA.

Eligibility Criteria for PMP Certification
To be eligible to sit for the PMP exam, and get PMP certification, you need to have 3 things.

  1. Degree or Diploma
  2. 4500 hours (3 years) of project management experience for Degree holders; 7500 hours (5 years) of experience for Diploma Holders. If you are not sure about how to compile your experience and check if it meets the 4500 hour requirements, you can contact the PMP Trainer in the class.
  3. 35 Hours of Formal education in Project Management ( 35 PDU Certificate).

Self Study for the PMP Examination

Yes, you can do self study for the PMP examination. In fact, once you have attained the 3 minimum requirements for the PMP Exam, almost all people will do self study for at least 6-8 weeks (about 2 months), before they will be ready for the PMP examination.

Usually, at Intellisoft, in our 4 Day PMP Examination Preparation Training Workshop in Singapore, or Malaysia, we help each student to come up with an individualized study plan, based on the amount of time available. This is a must, because of the sheer amount of study material.

There are 10 knowledge areas, and 5 process groups. In between them, there are 47 unique processes, each with its own Inputs, Tools & Techniques & Outputs.

Most PMP Books in the market are quite voluminous, huge and scary to look at. If you do not have a study plan, you will soon begin to wander, and begin to procrastinate.

In the PMP Boot camp at Intellisoft, we will help you to come up with a study plan, that is easy to follow, requires only 1-1.5 hours per day, and has a extremely high success ratio. Over a thousand students have followed it, and passed the PMP exam after studying and following the study plan created with Intellisoft.

How to Do Self Study for PMP Certification?

One of the first things you should do is to set a deadline – by when do you want to achieve the PMP certification? Set a date.

Nothing works better than a deadline. Remember your old college days? Most of the time, you used to complete that college assignment the night before it was due to be turned in… Remember those days!

Well, the PMP Exam is not something that you can take lightly and study the night before only. You need to study consistently for a longer period, usually 6-8 weeks.

So persistence. Consistent Persistence is required.

If you really desire the goal of being a certified PMP, you must exercise persistence, consistently. Study each and every day…. even if you study for only 1 hour each day.

You will be amazed at the progress you can make in a week of consistent effort.

Find a Buddy or a Partner with whom you can practice, and quiz each other for the PMP exam preparation.

This helps tremendously, and checking each other brings in some accountability. Now you have promised your buddy that you will study, so you end up studying.

In the PMP Training workshop in Singapore, our certified PMP trainers will give you hundreds of tips, techniques, tricks and mock exam questions to prepare, and get ready for the PMP certification examination.

Follow it, act on it, consistently. And you will be ready for the certification exam in no time.

We can help you!

If  you have any questions, simply post a comment below, or send an inquiry to the PMP Course Coordinator at Intellisoft, and they will assist you.

To your success in the PMP Examination. All The Best!

Cheers
Vinai Prakash, PMP, ITIL, Six Sigma, MBA, GAP
Master Trainer at Intellisoft Systems, Singapore

PS: If you would like to know more about the PMP examination, attend a Free PMP Exam Preview Session at Intellisoft. Registration is Free. There is no obligation. See you soon…

Learn Excel VBA in Singapore

Microsoft Excel is an extremely useful tool for any business analyst, finance executive, or power user. It helps to automate huge number of  calculations, with ease, and improves productivity.

Each Microsoft Excel version, be it Excel 2016 or Excel 2010, comes with a feature to Record Macros in Excel. This important feature provides us with with a technique to record a complex set of steps in Excel, and then run them over and over again, with a single click – it can save hours of work for a busy analyst.

To take the power of Excel Macros further, you can learn to edit the macros, and write your own macros, by hand. Excel provide you with this functionality, through the use of Visual Basic for Application or VBA in short. This is an extension of the Visual Basic Programming language, but customized for use with Microsoft Excel.

Most people are intimidated by programming, but Excel VBA programming is much simpler, and is easier to learn and apply.

Using VBA, you can Create Macros that do simple tasks, manipulate recorded properties and methods, and even do file operations like opening a CSV file, reading its contents, loading the data into a Excel file, append it to a database, adding sheets, creating pivot tables on the fly,  and much more.

Our 3 Day Excel VBA workshop in Singapore, is a very practical and useful training in Excel VBA. It guides perferct newbies into programming, using VBA and they begin to write simple to complex macros and VBA progams in a short period of time.

Most participants are delighted by this training. Here’s some recent feedback from the VBA Macro Training held in Singapore in 2016-2017:

  • Good pace, very interactive, good examples that seemed applicable, class size is not too big, appropriate breaks, comfortable atmosphere with humor, and extra examples given.
  • Enjoyed the training very much. I can efficiently apply it in my work in future.
  • The coding part was fun, and learnt how VBA does wonders. It introduced Excel in a new dimension!
  • The training will help me automate certain procedures and create creative solutions easily in Excel, using VBA.
  • Examples we used were very interesting and relevant

The GREATEST STRENGTH of the VBA EXCEL Training is that it is Easy Enough for People with NO Programming Background.

Excel VBA Training Schedule

You can find more information about Excel VBA 2010 and Excel VBA 2007 Training schedules, or call us at +65 6296-2995 for Self Sponsored or Corporate Training on Excel VBA.

To Register online for the next Excel VBA Macro class, visit our Online Registration section.

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