Find the Average of Non-Zero Values

I’ve been working on the BTS Project Tracker dashboard. I’ve found another capability that I needed to learn before I can complete the dashboard.  I need to find the average of non-zero values.

Excel Telecom Tricks

I’m trying to track incomplete tasks whose duration exceeds the average duration for that task.

The problem arises when calculating the average interval required to complete each task.  I want to exclude any incomplete BTS-task from the calculation of the average interval.

To say that another way, the average interval should be based upon only those sites for which that task is completed already. Continue reading “Find the Average of Non-Zero Values”

Now is Your Time to Win – David Dean

David Dean was a long-time salesman with a very successful track record.  He began his sales career selling books for the Southwestern company during summer recess while attending university.

Books for building your character and career
Books for building your character and career

This book is in the genre of motivational or self-help.

The book chronicles his sales efforts during several of those summers and he uses his own experiences to illustrate 7 principles which he believes are important to success in any endeavor.  These little vignettes tie the book together and give it a helpful air of storytelling. Continue reading “Now is Your Time to Win – David Dean”

Excel Hierarchical List

Did you ever start working on an Excel spreadsheet and realize you needed it to do something you didn’t know how to do?  I’ve been working on the next article in my Excel BTS Project Tracker series.  I needed an Excel Hierarchical List, and I didn’t know how to do that.   I have to learn a couple new things to do that and I wanted to share that with you.

The trial and error approach is an agonizing way to find the key to learning something new.   Often, there is a deadline, your boss wants the spreadsheet done pretty quickly.  What if one of your coworkers recently presented an Excel spreadsheet that was very good, and you feel like yours needs to be equally good or it will suffer by comparison?

Excel Telecom Tricks

I need to list all the BTS and every task for each BTS.  You might need to do something similar.  Examples I can think of include documenting port cards in an RNC, or maybe DS-3 circuit IDs and DS-1 assignments, or mapping trunk group and trunk numbers.  Anyplace where there is hierarchical numbering you might have to do something similar. 

Of course, there are applications for this outside of Telecoms, too.  How about sample tests grouped together, or deliveries addressed to different postcodes, or student IDs in different grades.  I’m sure you can think of many more.

I tell you, these days the workplace can be so competitive.  You might quickly be left behind if you aren’t continually upgrading your skills by reading the right blog.  Excel is definitely one of the skills you need to constantly be improving. Continue reading “Excel Hierarchical List”

A Critic of Marketing Repents

During the late 1980s, I was attending university and living on the beach in San Diego.  My studies required me to spend a considerable amount of time on the beach (ahem!) and I started using a sunscreen product from Neutrogena.  The sunscreen had the requisite SPF 30, but I liked it because 

it had a great texture and felt good for my skin.  To me, it seemed more like a skincare product than the typical sunscreen lotions and oils I used to use.  It sold for around USD7.00 for a 30ml tube.

I remember once going to buy more but was unable to find it in the sunscreen section.  However, I noticed a very similar-looking product in the cosmetic section.  The similar product was being sold as a face cream, which also had SPF 30.  The price was comparable to the other face creams around it, which was about three times as much as the price of the sunscreen product. Continue reading “A Critic of Marketing Repents”

November 2017 Writing Roundup

Each month I summarize my work during the previous month.  It is my hope that by pausing to reflect on my activities and reviewing my progress that I can learn how to do better in the future. Monthly Traffic ReportAfter stellar performances in September and October, I pressed pause just a bit in November.  I spent a liitle less time writing, and a bit more time on some housekeeping duties.

Amonth those duties was to begin tweeting Tips for improving your LinkedIn Profile, which I tweet throughout the day.  Follow @telecomvoices on Twitter to see them in your twitter feed.  Click here to see an example. Continue reading “November 2017 Writing Roundup”

5 Myths about Automated Excel Telecom Dashboards

I spend a lot of time talking about Automated Excel Telecom Dashboards.  Why?  Because they have made a tremendous difference for me.  There are 4 main benefits.

Automated Excel Telecom Dashboards
Automated Excel Telecom Dashboards
  1. Save your time by instantly updating periodic charts, graphs, and reports
  2. Declutter your brain to focus only on important business metrics
  3. Maintain laser-focus on the important metrics in your area
  4. Make you the “go to” person for your team and department

But many people don’t believe Automated Excel Telecom Dashboards are even possible.  Like there is something magical about them that puts them beyond the reach of mere mortals.   Here are 5 common myths some people believe about Automated Excel Telecom Dashboards. Continue reading “5 Myths about Automated Excel Telecom Dashboards”

Historical Forecasts for Your BTS Project Tracker

In writing about Historical Forecasts I want to know if you’ve been following this series?  I’ve written in detail about all the steps to put together a project tracker that was easy to update, quick to use, and did most of the work automatically.  It’s my strong belief that any Excel Workbook which you use frequently should conform to my 3-step Mantra: Update, Refresh, Share.

Historical Forecasts in Excel BTS Project TrackerWhat this means is that you have to do a little more work up-front, in designing and building the workbook.  This up-front work gives you automation.  So that when you use the workbook, all you have to do is enter any updates, refresh the pivot tables, and that’s it, you’re ready to share the new data.  No additional or separate steps are required to update any charts or other workbook elements.  It’s all done for you automatically!  Update, Refresh, Share!

The point of this mantra is that Excel can do most of the work for you if you set up the Workbook properly.  I use this approach throughout this series of articles to show you how to do that.  It does take a little extra work at the start.  But the payoff is a fully automated workbook which is very quick to use.

And after you’ve used these techniques a few times, two things will happen. First, it will become much easier for you to implement other Excel trackers and dashboards using these techniques.  It won’t be long before you are implementing these automated workbooks faster than you read my articles about them.  Continue reading “Historical Forecasts for Your BTS Project Tracker”

Single mod_perl Instance Serving Multiple Domains

I manage several low-traffic websites sites.  These sites use the classic 2-server Apache/mod_perl architecture.  The front-end server is a light Apache instance hosting a WordPress blog.  The heavy, back-end server is mod_perl-enabled Apache serving various web applications I’ve created.

To the best of my understanding, mod_perl/Apache can only set-up and cache a single database connection.  Is that right? Only one database connection per mod_perl instance?

But my applications need to access several databases.  All the databases are hosted on a single instance of MySQL.  I’ve set it up to use that single cached database connection, and also distinguish requests from the different front-end domains.  Lastly, I’m experiencing a problem using $r->push_handlers.  Let me tell you about it and ask for your feedback. First, the set up. Continue reading “Single mod_perl Instance Serving Multiple Domains”

Excel BTS Project Tracker – Forecasting

When I first began writing this article, I set out to create a Project Dashboard; a self-updating, all singing, all dancing dashboard that would automatically reveal everything anyone might possibly want to know about this project.  Having such a Dashboard would have fabulous consequences.  Like shortening all the project status meetings because the answer to every question is right there in front of you.  Like having an up-to-date Dashboard about 3 seconds after applying the most recent updates.  Like having a ready-made slide for the monthly or quarterly management presentation.

Having an automatically and instantly updating Project Dashboard is like a superpower.  It’s like X-ray vision.  It’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight.  You’ll crush all the status meetings.   Even if the project is running late, having all the answers is the best way to approach any situation.   People will begin to look at you as an expert. They will start to ask you unrelated questions.  I suggest you have your superhero cape dry-cleaned in advance.

But that will be on a later day.  One of the first things I wanted to add to the Dashboard was a project completion forecast.   But I haven’t made one, yet.  So that’s what I’ll do in this article, give the Project Tracker a forecast.  I’ll show you a couple new Excel functions to implement forecasting, and once again I’ll achieve complete automation in the BTS Project Tracker. Continue reading “Excel BTS Project Tracker – Forecasting”

October 2017 Writing Roundup

Each month I summarize my work during the previous month.  I hope that by pausing to reflect on my activities and reviewing my progress that I can learn how to do better in the future. Monthly Traffic ReportOctober traffic increased quite a bit, more than double September!   Makes me happy because it means more of you are reading and sharing what I’m writing.  I hope it also means you are getting more value and useful information from me.  Comment if you agree or if you’d like me to write about something specific.

Getting more of your comments and feedback is the thing I need to work on the most.  Engagement.  Right now, mostly I’m broadcasting.  I write and you read.  This is probably a result of my writing style.  I suspect I’ve too many years of reading and writing dry, technical documentation, having no plot, no hero, no winner and too little interest in feedback from the reader.   I’m trying to change my approach.  Please feel free to offer your suggestions. Continue reading “October 2017 Writing Roundup”