“The numbers don’t lie!” is a mantra proclaimed bags of times daily. Odds are you’ve acclimated it abounding times yourself. Whether in a accumulated boardroom, boondocks council, bounded academy lath meeting, or amidst a accumulation of agents associates alive on abutting year’s budget, it is declared with ascendancy and the aboveboard acceptance in the equation N = T (Numbers = Truth).
But my decades of belief numbers acclimated to administer business, not to acknowledgment abounding added aspects of our lives, demonstrate—with affliction to George Gershwin—“It ain’t necessarily so.” Every time I apprehend addition say, “The numbers don’t lie,” it puts me on agnostic aerial alert, as it should everyone.
My aboriginal memorable acquaintance of how acutely aboveboard numbers can be manipulated came aback I was a 22-year-old about-face foreman at U.S. Steel’s South Chicago Works, the world’s bigger structural animate comminute at the time, employing 20,000 workers. Following anniversary shift, we adapted the animate report, which showed the burden of raw material—in the anatomy of 10-ton ingots—that went in the advanced end and the abundance of formed I-beam artefact that came out the back.
Simple, right? Not if you were aggravating to accomplish the comminute arise to be active smoothly—a about absurd assignment on a armpit with roots put bottomward afore the Civil War and adversity from a decades-long curtailment of maintenance.
There were assorted rolling mills aural the complex. To antithesis the actual advancing in, the artifice was to accomplish deals and barter ingots, mostly on paper, with addition mill. To antithesis the actual advancing out, we would accumulation balance artefact afterwards recording it, in a massive accumulator breadth aback beyond allocation and afresh draw from it aback we fell short.
The convenance was an accessible secret; anybody accustomed it, anybody did it and believed every added comminute played agnate games. But those active the big account in Pittsburgh never had a clue what was actually activity on in Chicago, yet they managed the comminute application our manipulated numbers. I admiration how generally the Pittsburgh decision-makers were aerial proclaiming “The numbers don’t lie!
My January column, “Measurement Fails, Allotment I” laid out the abounding accepted obstacles continuing in the way of accomplishing authentic measurements, including estimates accepted or bearded as facts, and ratios based on bad numerators, bad denominators, or both.
Remember my announcement on ratios-—An appraisal disconnected by an appraisal is bull$#%@!—which originated with a decidedly arresting affair with a civic home architect years ago at which awful doubtable numbers were tossed around. Aftermost issue’s commodity advised how graphs are generally either ailing conceived (resulting in adulterated data) or are advisedly adulterated to get the adapted spin. Either way, the after-effects are bad numbers, and alike if not foolishly dishonest, they don’t represent the truth.
That cavalcade concluded with a agreement to dig into added detail, with real-world architect examples. But afore we allocution specifics, I claiming you and your aggregation to never acquire anyone’s numbers at face value. Be skeptical. Review their origin. Examine their accomplishments components, measurements, and adding methodologies. Determine if the abstracts purveyors are blame a authentic agenda.
Often as not they are, yet this doesn’t necessarily beggarly the numbers are “cooked.” We use numbers to present a case, to persuade, to sell, and that’s a acceptable and accustomed practice. Still, accumulate your eyes advanced accessible and watch for it. Two bodies with opposing agendas can dispense the aforementioned abstracts set to action actual altered interpretations.
As declared in Allotment I, artlessly burden or accretion the scales on graphs, or acid off the scales at the top, bottom, or both, can actually adapt the bulletin and access decisions. What follows are some of my admired examples.
While this appears simple, alike mundane, it’s so blowzy it’s about absurd to analyze architect adjoin builder.
How do you adding cartage through your models? Let’s booty a archetypal “buying unit”—a mom, dad, and two kids—all walking your models calm on Sunday afternoon. Put that bottomward as a distinct cartage count. Afresh dad allotment on Tuesday morning to allocution appraisement and ask about accessible deals. Is that addition cartage count? Mom afresh comes aback in abandoned on Thursday afternoon. She actually takes her time and asks a ton of questions—a cogent indicator this auction is progressing. Addition count? On Saturday morning, mom and dad acknowledgment with the kids and boring airing and allocution them through mom’s admired model, appraisal the kids’ reaction. This ancestors is ready! They afresh acknowledgment on Sunday and assurance a acquirement contract.
Is this one cartage adding or four? You could altercate either way. Builders are agog for aerial “closing ratios,” and if you adding this as aloof one assemblage of traffic, it’s simple: one cartage count, one contract. Salespeople bound learn: Higher closing ratios attending better. But is recording it as one arrangement afterwards four visits a added astute picture, capturing added accurately the bulk of time and accomplishment the agent expended? What, exactly, are we barometer here?
And now the arch of sales considers the array of banknote she fought for to absorb on ads and billboards—an amount she knows will be advised by cartage count, at atomic in the abreast term. In this scenario, she conceivably counts this as four visits—or not. What’s the added important metric, closing arrangement or cartage count, and why? You’ll accept to decide. But accomplish it a thoughtful, actually acquainted accommodation on how you’ll accomplish the numbers. Stay constant and accomplish abiding your salespeople accept no allurement to be beneath than actually honest.
Now, are you comparing your cartage and closing ratios with a advocacy you apprehend in a magazine, or to addition affiliate of your 20 Club? Numbers don’t lie … right?
My TrueNorth colleagues and I accept spent decades alive on cycle-time altitude and accept developed a “Saved Day Calculator” Microsoft Excel arrangement for addition the absolute bulk of a day in the agenda (to appeal the calculator, see the advice at the end of this article). But, abnormally in these canicule of aggrandized schedules, the altitude is abounding with complications.
First, at what point do you alpha barometer aeon time? Do you accommodate time spent in the allowing process? Allowing is hyper-local and can alter abominably alike aural a distinct busline area, demography from two weeks to two months or added based on area and jurisdiction. And if you’re architecture multifamily units, afresh bifold or maybe amateur that time. My advice: Admeasurement and clue permitting, but accumulate it separate, not as allotment of aeon time per se.
So, activate tracking aeon time at the foundation start, right? But wait, are you architecture on slabs, a crawlspace, or caked walls? And if it’s a slab, is it monolithic, post-tension, or one of endless variations? Or conceivably it’s a basement but it has a caked bank system, extenuative bristles to 10 days. And try comparing the aeon time of a basal slab assemblage on stable, collapsed clay in Oklahoma City with a poured-wall home on bouldered clay and arduous cartography in Harrisburg, Pa. You can’t advisedly appraise those differences as a distinct metric aural all-embracing aeon time.
The alone band-aid is to cull foundations out of the cycle-time measurement, as we did with permitting. Yes, you charge to adding and clue the foundation process, but again, accumulate it separate; that is, unless you body application aloof one foundation adjustment and attending alone at your bounded aggregation results, not criterion them adjoin added builders.
Having removed allowing and foundations, let’s artlessly alarm it “construction aeon time” and activate with anatomy start. You may appointment some hiccups to that argumentation as assembly progresses, but let’s jump to the end, which is authentic … how? Final inspection? Certificate of occupancy? Abutting of escrow? There are reasonable, acceptable arguments for each, and others you may accede the “end” of the architecture cycle. To accomplish the alarm harder still, bandy in your blueprint units, which abounding builders carefully stop at some point abbreviate of final, conceivably to acquiesce color, cabinets, and adverse selections. Do you accommodate that blow in the home’s aeon time, alike if the home sits for months? Accede all of the factors, adjudge on what indicates aeon time best for you, stick with it in your operation, but again, beware of comparisons with added builders; it’s awful absurd they’ll be apples to apples.
Look up the money you paid out on about-face acquirement orders aftermost year and accumulate by 20. That’s the authentic absolute amount of your VPOs. Impossible, you say? I can prove it. I’m so bedeviled with variance, I wrote a four-column alternation about it (see the advice at the end of this commodity to appeal a PDF version), and I was aloof accepting started. I’ll abscess those 10,000 or so words bottomward to a few paragraphs here.
The aboriginal affair is the affection of baseline budgets. Are they authentic and fair? Was there abundant time to do a acceptable job with ciphering and bidding, or was commutual the budgets rushed, with a lot of “best guesses”? Did Purchasing comedy it straight? Or were they pushed into blame the numbers bottomward to get costs as low as possible, or were they able to body in some slack? Or maybe, in some areas, a lot of slack, to assure themselves from amaranthine amount increases.
The basal band is: Anybody focuses on the added costs of variance, yet we rarely attending aback at the aboriginal approaching numbers to see if the about-face is the aftereffect of changes, errors, omissions, rework, or things gone amiss in the field, or whether about-face was induced by application awry numbers to alpha with. A abutting assay of these cases shows the antecedent appear numbers are about consistently wrong.
That’s the accessible part; added difficult is counting the about-face as it comes in from the field. Go attending at your aftermost 10 VPO requests (maybe you alarm them FPOs or acreage acquirement orders, EPOs or barring acquirement orders, or artlessly Variance). What you will see are entries beneath Activity and/or Materials. You’ll acquisition cogent dollars there, but added assay will appearance these costs represent the boyhood of the about-face cost. In fact, the majority comes from action and aerial costs incurred from ambidextrous with variances, not aloof for the architect but additionally borne by suppliers and trades. These are huge costs, on boilerplate far beyond activity and actual costs. And although difficult to measure, accessible minds, honest analysis, and adventuresome adding will get a handle on them.
As bad as that is, now accede this: TrueNorth has advice from about 5,000 suppliers and trades who accept alternate in our LeanWeeks, advertence they abide beneath than 20% of all abeyant VPOs and at best 50% of those are paid. (For some builders, the pay amount is as low as 10%.) Thus, alike if you clue activity and actual about-face well, you’re seeing aloof 10% of the authentic cost. Action and aerial will at atomic bifold that number, which agency all of the money you paid out for VPOs aftermost year was beneath than 5% of the authentic absolute cost—strong affirmation that the authentic absolute amount of about-face is 20 times what our archetypal numbers show
I could go on and on about this topic, and we could accomplish the aforementioned assay on affection and assay numbers, achievement metrics, and one of my admired accepted subjects, the authentic absolute amount allegory of on-site against off-site architecture methods. As an industry, we admeasurement actually none of these aspects well.
Finally, anybody is bedeviled with gross accumulation and net profit. That’s fine, but abnormally with the ever aggrandized schedules we now acquaintance due to activity and actual shortages, forth with a host of action problems, I altercate that ROI (return on investment) is a far added allusive cardinal for barometer architect success. Architect B may appearance two or three added credibility to the basal band in a year than Architect A. But if Architect A builds in bisected the time, he is assault Architect B, badly. ROI will appearance that; pre-tax net accumulation will not.
If that isn’t altogether bright to you, sit bottomward with your CFO or accountant and assortment it out. Be accurate though, I told you not to booty anyone’s numbers at face value! Remember Mark Twain’s warning: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, accursed lies, and statistics.”
If you would like a PDF of Scott’s columns on “Measurement Fails” or the Excel arrangement mentioned in this column, amuse email [email protected]m with your request.
Templates are documents like a preset format which can be used to start other documents. Using templates eliminates having to recreate the similar format each epoch it is needed. You can keep grow old and effort bearing in mind creating extra documents. Word features a variety of built-in preset templates that can be used unexpectedly or altered to meet your needs. You can in addition to make further templates past a custom design for frequently used documents. This document provides information upon using and customizing built-in templates and creating extra templates.
Templates are a special type of Word file that can keep text, styles, macros, keyboard shortcuts, custom toolbars, QAT and Ribbon modifications, and Building Blocks including AutoText entries for use in new documents. This is substitute from the pleasing English-language term “template” although derived from that term. It is jargon.
The template contains a specific layout, style, design and, sometimes, fields and text that are common to every use of that template. Some templates are suitably unquestionable (such as event cards), you on your own have to change the individuals name, phone number, and email address. Others, such as thing reports or brochures, could require that everything is distorted except the layout and design.
Templates agree to era to build, and it’s easy to astonishment if they’re worth the investment. The short answer: absolutely. Editing a template is much faster than formatting something from scratch. It’s the difference along with copying and pasting some text, or retyping it.
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If you create a new Google Docs document, reach you default to the “blank” option? If so, you’re missing out upon hundreds of templates for resumes, meeting notes, and reports. These templates are accessible in two places. when youre in your Docs dashboard, clicking More will retrieve stirring a gallery with just about 30 choices. You can with check out Google’s public template gallery, which has hundreds more choices. Just click a template in either area to use it as the base of your additional document. Most of these templates are professionally designedso subsequent to you don’t have the mature to create a nicely-formatted document, they’re a good option. But style and structure alone don’t grow going on to a truly powerful template. You also desire to blend in pre-written text consequently you can finish the document by filling in a few blanks. To create your own template in Google Docs, begin a further empty documentor use one of the pre-made templates as a blueprint. Then, fill it gone your framework: your formatting, text styles, logos, default text, and all else most of your documents need. For example, my posts tend to follow the thesame general formula, in view of that I’ve created a blog publicize template. It functions as a general outline, and saves me from fiddling similar to styles subsequent to I compulsion to focus on writing. To create your own template in Google Docs, start a additional empty documentor use one of the pre-made templates as a blueprint. Then, fill it following your framework: your formatting, text styles, logos, default text, and anything else most of your documents need. For example, my posts tend to follow the thesame general formula, thus I’ve created a blog state template. It functions as a general outline, and saves me from fiddling when styles in imitation of I dependence to focus on writing. Now, keep the template hence you can reuse it again. Google Docs saves supplementary documents automatically, but remember to offer it a recognizable template name. next grow old you habit to create a document like this style, just door the template and click File > make a copy in the menu. From there, just customize the copied document for your specific needs. And if you compulsion templated spreadsheets, the similar tips feat in Google Sheets.
Smartsheet is a spreadsheet tool that’s built on the subject of templates. You can make your own using an existing sheet as your baseline: comprehensibly right-click its declare and choose keep as Template. The sheet’s column names, column types, conditional formatting rules, and dependency settings will be carried greater than to the templatealong subsequently its data and formatting if you choose. So, if you’ve got an expense checking account that tends to look pretty same from month to month, you can make a template gone all your expenses already tallied up. Then, all four weeks or so, you can make any vital adjustments, and have a relation in no time. Smartsheet afterward offers an impressive gallery of pre-made templates that lid whatever from want tracking to office relocation plans. Smartsheet Templates
Using templates to begin other projects doesn’t just cut by the side of on mood up workflowsit as a consequence helps you leverage the processes that have worked in the past. There are three strategies that play in in most project organization tools: create a template project using built-in tools, copy an existing project to use as your blueprint, or import a spreadsheet and point that into a project. Here are examples of these strategies in some popular project admin apps.
Survey design is a fusion of art and science. later you’ve found a winning captivation of length, design, wording, and formatting, use a template to repeat your execution anew and over (not to mention, shave unnatural grow old from the survey instigation process).
Gmail users, did you know you could set up email templates? To set in motion Gmail templates, click the Gear icon, choose Settings, next choose the open-minded tab. Halfway beside the list, you’ll locate Templates. Click Enable, after that keep the changes. Now you can set occurring your first template. make a fresh email, type out your template, later click the three dots in the degrade right-hand corner of your Compose window. pick Templates > keep draft as template, subsequently allow your template a name. Voilayou’ve made your first ready-to-go message. Anytime you desire to use it, entry a new email, click the three dots over to access Templates and locate the proclaim of the template you want to use.
To admission one of the system-provided templates in Word. entre Microsoft Word and pick New. Peruse the Suggested Search categories: Business, Personal, Industry, Design Sets, Events, Education, or Letters. For this exercise, choose Business. Word displays a revelation that says, Searching thousands of online templates. Word displays template search results on-screen, plus a amassed list of categories in a scrolling panel on the right. Scroll all along the page or choose a different category, next pick a template that fits your current project.
Some templates use interactive controls for addict input. For example, imagine that like a month, the branch managers, assistant managers, and go forward originators of a large banking institution have a meeting at one of the 12 branches. Its your assistants job to email the date, time, location, speakers, topics, and agenda to each attendee. Rather than have that person retype the data in a regular template, you can make a template where options can be chosen from a list.
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All styles in the template used in the document, whether in the template’s text or in text that you type or insert, become defined in the document and will stay in the same way as the document even if the extra is unconventional broken. If the template’s style definition is misused after it is used in the document, the style as used in an existing document will not alter unless the template is reattached or the style is on the other hand copied into the document again. look below for more on attaching a template to an existing document.
If you want the layout features or text from the further template for your document, your best bet is to make a new document based upon the supplementary template and later copy the contents of your archaic document into the further document. next near the outmoded document and keep your other document using the same name. Note that your new document will use style definitions from the template rather than from your antiquated document.
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