Data-Driven Decision Making Using Microsoft Excel
This assignment must be completed and submitted using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (.xls). Provide a source for each equation you use. Sources must be listed at the bottom of the spreadsheet. No title page or additional formatting is required.
- Channels of Communication
- It has been estimated that project managers spend up to 90% of their time communicating and your position at Roto Air is typical. Calculate the number of possible channels of communication if the project team were to grow to nine members, Important: show your work.
- The total number of stakeholders, including the project team, is estimated at 75 people. Calculate how many more possible channels of communication the additional stakeholders beyond the team members represent. Important: show your work.
- Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)
- Roto Air plans to spend $1,000,000 on this project, resulting in a total savings of $2,500,000 over the life of the project. Calculate the Benefit Cost Ratio. Important: show your work. Ignore any effects of the time value of money.
- Roto Air also considered another project that would have partially satisfied their needs. It would have required a $750,000 investment and would result in a savings of $125,000 per year for 10 years. Calculate the Benefit Cost Ratio. Important: show your work. Ignore any effects of the time value of money.
- Comparing only the BCRs, explain which project should Roto Air should have chosen. Ignore any effects of the time value of money.
- Payback Period
- Calculate the payback period for the $1,000,000 investment shown above. Important: show your work. Ignore any effects of the time value of money.
- Calculate the payback period for the $750,000 investment shown above. Important: show your work. Ignore any effects of the time value of money.
- Comparing only on the payback periods, explain which project should Roto Air have chosen. Ignore any effects of the time value of money.
- Net Present Value (NPV)
- Calculate the Net Present Value of Roto Air’s $1,000,000 investment with a $250,000 annual savings for 10 years when the interest rate averages 3% annually. Important: show your work.
Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.
The underlying topic this week is effective communications. Learning how to conduct efficient project kick off meetings, lessons learned activities, and tools to evaluate meetings are discussed together because these are all tools that project managers routinely use to communicate with the project team, sponsor, and other stakeholders.
Being a good communicator is a vital part of project management. The project management institute says that effective communication is more than just giving facts, “it makes people understand the role they play in the project. Done right, communication engages everyone who touches the project, from executives and end users to project managers and their teams” (PMI, 2013a, p. 3).
In a 2013 study by the Project Management Institute that interviewed 742 experienced full-time project managers, 148 project sponsors, and 203 business owners, it was found that projects with highly effective communications were delivered on schedule 71% of the time and on budget 76% of the time. Projects with less effective communications were delivered on time and on budget 37% and 48% respectively (PMI, 2013b).
A well-run kick off meeting is one of the keys to project success. In fact, research on team development tells us that a project kick off meeting is a critical step in ensuring project managers have a functional team from the beginning (Larson & Gray, 2014). One reason for this is that critical first impressions of the project, the project manager, and team members are formed during this meeting. The kick off meeting is also used for introducing team members and sharing the mission, vision, and scope of the project.
Crucial to a well-run meeting is preparation and this includes creating a well thought out meeting agenda. While some elements of the agenda may remain the same from project to project, the time needed for the kickoff meeting and what is needed in each meeting vary depending on the project.
Project managers often write out the project scope on their meeting agendas and may include the time allotted for each part of the agenda (for example 1:00 – 1:15, team introductions). Having a time allotted for each agenda item can be used as a tool to keep the meetings on track.
A kick off meeting agenda may include:
- Welcome to the team by the project manager
- Project overview – charter, scope, proposal, and budget
- Introduction of team members, their titles, and experience
- The roles and responsibilities of the team members and departments
- Processes and procedures
- Closing comments
- Questions and answers
This week we will be creating PowerPoint slides for both the kick off and the lessons learned meetings. A fun way to review things to avoid when creating a PowerPoint presentation is to watch the short YouTube video by comedian Don McMillan found in this week’s recommended resources.
This week we will also concentrate on quantitative (numerical) ways to evaluate a project. Project managers may use these methods to evaluate a project and as supporting data when communicating with team members and project sponsors.
In this week’s assignment you will be doing a variety of calculations in Excel. This assignment has two goals (a) to increase how familiar you are with MS Excel and (2) to introduce you to a useful project manager’s use.
The recommended resources this week are great supplements to the textbook and may be helpful in completing this assignment.
AccountingExplained (2013). Payback Period. Retrieved from http://accountingexplained.com/managerial/capital-budgeting/payback-period
- Explains Payback Period
HowTech.Office (August 13, 2013). How to calculate net present value (Npv) in Excel
[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG68UMupJzs
- Walks through how to calculate NPV in Excel
Passionate Project Management (December 14, 2014). A game of telephone –Project Communications.
- Instructions on how to calculate channels of communications
Soulsaltcoaching (September, 27, 2015). Benefit Cost Ratio. [Video file]. Retrieved from
- Instructions on how to calculate benefit cost ratios
Project managers have a variety of tools in their toolbox and one of the most popular tools is MS Excel. MS Excel is an incredibly powerful program that does everything from simple calculations to analyzing large amounts of data. As a project manager you will most likely be using Excel every day, so take the time to learn this program and some of its functionality now.
We will be using Excel in this course (this week in fact). One thing to remember is that when an assignment asks you to use MS Excel, you need to use the software to setup and complete the required calculations. Do not use Excel software as a word processor that only reports the results.
There are a lot of great MS Excel resources online, but here are a few sources to learn Excel that we thought were helpful.
LearningByVideos (2011, January 25). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #01– Screen Layout and a simple formula [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WIyXgBeha0
LearningByVideos (2011, January 27). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #02–Sum and Average Function [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbBMHF-GJCU
LearningByVideos (2011, January 27). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #03–Multiple Ranges in Single Formula [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0L5LYP7QQQ
LearningByVideos (2011, January 29). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #04–Autofill and Absolute Cell references [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpboXQr4W_k
LearningByVideos (2013, October 2). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #05–Absolute Cell Reference & Using Parentheses in formulas [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kamfAsr6AU
LearningByVideos (2013, October 3). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #06–Number Formatting [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yJ6Wc3501A
LearningByVideos (2013, October 3). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #07–Fonts and Alignment [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1IbM9BaQxs
LearningByVideos (2013, October 8). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #08–Formula deep dive [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdUTw2QE8sE
LearningByVideos (2013, December 23). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #09 – Tables [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VEsDqcCD3U
LearningByVideos (2014, May 30). Microsoft Excel for Beginners #10 – Filters [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBrWSRo4yTQ
This Week’s Assignment
Things to remember in this assignment:
· Use Excel to do the calculations.
· Make sure your assignment stands on its own and easy to read and understand. Imagine giving your assignment to an Executive in your company. Is it neat? Easy to read and clear? Will someone who has not read the assignment understand what your calculations are for? If your instructor cannot find or follow the calculations or follow your thought process, you will see that in your grade.
· Please put everything on ONE tab in MS Excel. Waypoint only converts ONE tab in Excel.
· Do check how your assignment looks in Waypoint and make sure it is clean and easy to read. If you need to re-format and resubmit do so. While your instructors can (and will) open the Excel Sheet, the only place they can give you feedback is in Waypoint and if your assignment is not clean and easy to read in Waypoint,
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