It’s such a useful thing that sometimes you can forget the inherent danger of Excel. Lets get one thing perfectly straight, putting a big pile of numbers into Excel and making them all add up doesn’t make it reality. It’s a real shame really because it can all look so nice, especially if you put boxes round the numbers and have some colours, maybe even a funky font.
Of course, the mastery of the spreadsheet is an essential skill and is often the best way to make everyone assume that you are an extremely capable manager. Just don’t start to believe the hype. That’s when it can go wrong. So, assuming we know we are simply dressing to impress and fundamentally lack substance, here’s a few things to make them all ooh and aah at the project review.
- Conditional formatting – make things change colour automatically, usually green for good red for bad. Demonstrate this to people who walk past your desk – they will be impressed.
- Charts, if it’s a report or a comparison, always include a Chart – it takes up space, provides some nice colours, and because it’s pictures, Senior Management, and even Salespeople will think it’s great.
- Use Standard Deviation in a formula somewhere, randomly if necessary. When discussing it refer to it as ‘science’.