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Paul Pless
01-27-2014, 10:17 AM
I've been asked to build a spreadsheet to perform some not so basic statistical analysis for a client. No big deal.

But, they want me to include documentation (within the workbook itself) explaining the statistical calculations and output in plain English non technical terms as well as provide instructions for use of the workbook by users that may not be proficient in Excel. WTH?

Full Tilt
01-27-2014, 10:20 AM
Barrel of monkeys. :)

bogdog
01-27-2014, 10:27 AM
Are they paying for it?

Paul Pless
01-27-2014, 10:33 AM
Are they paying for it?yes, its part of a larger project

my dumbfoundedness comes from wondering how a person that is not proficient in excel will understand the statistics; or how does a person become a user of the statistics at this level without having learned excel. . .

this client by the way, is a sophisticated client and the folks that i deal with there, on a daily basis tend to have phd level educations on the technical side and mba level education on the management side and a few have both

its an odd request at this level, as a matter of fact in twenty years of doing this, the request for instructions on how to use excel is a first for me

Breakaway
01-27-2014, 10:34 AM
Include a link to the Excel/ Microsoft website FAQ section. Done.

( Telling them,basically, " My name is Paul, not Google." :D )

Kevin





K

Figment
01-27-2014, 10:43 AM
Sounds like something that could certainly be done, if you had skills in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), which permits you to write actual code which is integrated with Excel. Even proficient Excel users probably have not done any VBA stuff.... but if you had the skill, you could make an Excel spreadsheet look and behave like a custom application which could be used by people without even rudimentary Excel skills.

One of my major suppliers has, for the past 10-15 years, maintained just such an excel-based custom application as a pricing matrix for use by the sales staff. They've regretted it since the third year. Maintaining this thing with each product change is an absolute bear, and it's become near-impossible to find people who know how. The sales staff is helpless without it, though, so they've wrestled the bear twice a year. Naturally, the guy who knocked it together originally is now head of engineering or something like that and such bear wrestling is far beneath his pay grade.

They've just spent "mid-6-figures" for a replacement application, which is really just an extension of their own production/materials management software system. Baffling.

All because some people can't use excel.

Bernadette
01-27-2014, 12:21 PM
maybe they want you to do the work and include the instructions so they don't have to come back to you if more work is required. cost saving measures for future applications perhaps?

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-27-2014, 04:03 PM
That is the ONLY reliable place for the documentation....

I landed a development task for BP which piggy backed some heritage code (in univac 1100 masm) from the 1960s.

I was assured that the code had all been - properly - documented - it it might well have been - for it later transpired that the documentation lived on a Phillips mini which was pensioned off in 1985....

Put the documentation in the code - someone might thank you some day.

Full Tilt
01-27-2014, 07:07 PM
Worst named thread................ever.

The Bigfella
01-27-2014, 07:22 PM
yes, its part of a larger project

my dumbfoundedness comes from wondering how a person that is not proficient in excel will understand the statistics; or how does a person become a user of the statistics at this level without having learned excel. . .

this client by the way, is a sophisticated client and the folks that i deal with there, on a daily basis tend to have phd level educations on the technical side and mba level education on the management side and a few have both

its an odd request at this level, as a matter of fact in twenty years of doing this, the request for instructions on how to use excel is a first for me


That's par for the course "out there" in business and government. People participating in processes that they have zero or minimal understanding of. That's why consultants have a role too.... they come in and ask the "why" questions.

Part of the reason staff don't ask that type of question is job security.... they do what they are asked, so that they are busy and seen to be busy.

Paul Pless
01-27-2014, 07:26 PM
That's why consultants have a role too.... they come in and ask the "why" questions.having another outside consultant enter into this particular business relationship to ask the "why" questions would be the epitome of ridiculousness. . .

Paul Pless
01-27-2014, 07:26 PM
Worst named thread................ever.sorry, it was an attempt at sarcasm

The Bigfella
01-27-2014, 07:37 PM
having another outside consultant enter into this particular business relationship to ask the "why" questions would be the epitome of ridiculousness. . .

But you already have the role....

Monkey Butler
01-27-2014, 10:29 PM
I've been asked to build a spreadsheet to perform some not so basic statistical analysis for a client. No big deal.

But, they want me to include documentation (within the workbook itself) explaining the statistical calculations and output in plain English non technical terms as well as provide instructions for use of the workbook by users that may not be proficient in Excel. WTH?

It sounds like Excel is the wrong tool for the job. Trying to keep it simple, something like an MS Access database might be a better solution.



Data is entered/edited using forms that can validate inputs and display user friendly instructions.
Data is stored in separate tables that the user does not normally edit directly.
Queries retrieve data from the tables which can then be displayed in forms or reports that perform calculations and display the results in plain English.
You can connect Excel to your database to display stored data.
Multiple users can input data through individual front ends into a common back end.
You can deploy runtime versions of your database that can even be used on computers that don't have MS Access installed.