Could Spreadsheet Developers Use the IKEA Effect?

I have been watching “Universal Principles of Design” on, an absolutely fascinating series on design with rather un-intuitive — and powerful — lessons for us spreadsheeters. I have frequently taught that your most important job as an analyst is to make your boss’s life easier — namely, by providing, timely, accurate, insightful data preparation […]

Go Researching Waterfalls

One of my courses this year is a seminar on information systems. Before each class, we each write a “conversation starter” incorporating our thoughts on the papers. A topic that has greatly interested me lately is waterfall vs. agile development. “Waterfall” projects hinge on all-or-nothing strategy: let’s spend weeks and months developing something, then release […]

Don’t Weight to use SUMPRODUCT

Weighted averages aren’t intuitive, but they come up in business all the time. Fortunately, Excel has a quick function for calculation weighted averages.  If you’re a student, you may be more familiar with them than you think. In our example, we want to find our final term grade based on the weighted average of four scores. […]

Excel: Lego for Grown-ups

I love using Excel because it’s so flexible and adaptable. There’s no better vehicle for quick, easy data analysis. Chandoo of often emphasizes the importance of playfulness and interaction when building solutions in Excel. A good analyst knows how to combine disparate functions and features in Excel to engineer new solutions. This takes a creative […]

Happy boss > Fancy formula

Chandoo runs a great Excel site at I really like his site because he frames Excel problems from the viewpoint of a real life data analyst. He’s been one and he knows what makes analysts great. Here’s a great quote on what to emphasize in your spreadsheet modelling — usefulness to clients, not obscure, […]