All posts by Ali Jackowski

Happy Holidays from Mission Critical Training

Happy Holidays

The close of 2018 offers us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months, to take stock, to gauge our successes, our missteps, and opportunities for excelling in the future. You, the clients of Mission Critical Training, are what we measure our success by, and we hope we have helped you to move into a brighter future and to travel the path to meeting your professional and personal goals.

All of us at MCT want to thank you for entrusting your training needs to us. It is an honor to serve you. Our goal is to offer programs that are a step above our competition, so that you know you have gotten training that is relevant to your work and organization, and that will stick with you for years to come. MCT’s instructors delight in seeing their students reach those light bulb moments; our sales staff takes great pride in helping clients, both corporate and individual, to find the training solutions that are best for them. Thank you for granting us these opportunities.

Moving into 2019, we hope that you will allow us to continue to partner with you, to offer the quality and substance you need and deserve in your training and professional development.

May you and yours enjoy a warm and prosperous holiday season. We look forward to working with you again in the New Year!

From all of us here at Mission Critical Training

Happy holidays

 

Getting ready for 2019!

Getting ready for 2019

Faster than it seems possible, 2018 is ending, and before we can say “Happy Holidays!” it will be 2019.

Now is the time to make sure your 2018 training budget has been fully utilized. Mission Critical Training can help you do that, even if your employees are too busy closing out the year to take a class now. You can spend those last training dollars by purchasing training vouchers; and purchasing vouchers before the end of the year will help you lock in 2018 prices for 2019 classes. Vouchers even make an excellent holiday gift for your employees, demonstrating to them that you care about their career development!

MCT is pleased to have many exciting new classes coming up in 2019

We added new courses to our Management and Leadership series, including Behavioral Interviewing and Emotional Intelligence. Our Clifton Strengthsfinder course will help your employees understand their own strengths, and your management team understand the role each team member adds to the organization.  We have also built a course designed to help your employees present a positive face to your clients, even in the most difficult situations, in the all-important role of Customer Service.

We are also excited to add Agile Management to our Project Management courses in 2019. This class offers a different approach to Project Management than Waterfall PM, as recently outlined in our Just Tips article.

We are also pleased to announce that we have added a SharePoint Boot Camp to our Boot Camp roster this year. All of our boot camps offer accelerated and intensive education, taking students to advanced level skills in just 3 to 5 days. Our SharePoint Boot Camp will take students from novice to master of building and administrating SharePoint sites in just 5 days.

Check out all of our training classes at mcstech.net.

Your organization’s training program

As the year comes to a close, this is also a good time to evaluate all of your ongoing training needs. Our professionals can help you develop a custom training plan for your organization from the ground up, or simply fill the gaps in your current training program.

Contact our sales office for more information on our voucher program, customized training, our 2019 catalog, or any of your training needs at (303) 900-0850 in Colorado or (602) 955-7787 in Arizona, or email us at training@mcstech.net.

 

Waterfall vs. Agile Project Management

waterfall vs agile project mansgement

Depending on the project, accurate and consistent management styles do matter, especially when it comes to finishing a project successfully. Two project management styles that are used regularly are Waterfall and Agile. These two project management styles are quite distinct. Deciding which style to use can be difficult.

What are the main differences between these two management styles?

The Waterfall method is a very linear way of working through a project. Typically, one part of a project is completed and then you move onto the next step. This is not to say that multiple steps can not run simultaneously, but the general path is linear.

The Agile method on the other hand is much more fluid in the way it completes steps along the way of a larger project. Parts of a project do not need to be completed in a linear pattern. Further, multiple versions of the same project can be completed and tested, ensuring that the best option is used in the end. Although there might be steps that need to be completed in some sort of sequence, these steps, or “sprints,” are tested and reviewed throughout the process, allowing for quality assurance, and to minimize issues as they arise.

Choosing which project management method is best is dependent on the nature of the project. For example, since the Agile method is based on being able to review progress in small regular time frames, companies running software development often choose the Agile method, allowing for code to be tested regularly. Whereas construction projects typically use the Waterfall method as it steers the project  from one logical step to the next, as the concrete subcontractor can not pour concrete until the plumbers  lay their pipe in the ground, and the roofer can’t finish his work until the framing is complete.

The bottom line for deciding which project management method to use is to do the necessary research to figure out what method best fits the planned project. This might include courses to fully understand each method. Once deciding which method to use, it is vital that the appropriate stakeholders are trained to understand the method fully, ensuring that everyone is on the same page during a project.

Mission Critical Training can give you the skills you need in Project Management. and we are excited to now be offering classes in the Agile method!

The Value of our Training

 

Value

Most people agree in the value of employee development. From improved morale to reduced turnover,  from better productivity to more opportunity to promote from within, offering training to your team is beneficial for everyone, including the company. It can sometimes be difficult, though, to know worthwhile training from off-the-shelf time wasters. There’s more to learning than just hearing instructions, and there’s more to training than narrating a video.

That’s where Mission Critical Training stands out. Our classes are taught live and in-person, affording students the opportunity to engage with their instructor, as well as with other students. Beyond simple videos and slideshows, your students get hard copy course materials that they can work with, as well as save for future reference. All classes are dynamic and interactive, so your team is excited and participating throughout. Applications classes are hands-on, so students actively learn. Professional Development (soft skills) classes are engaging and encouraging. Because we develop our own courses, MCT can even work with you and your team to create tailored courses that specifically address your situation, needs, and goals.

Even after their fun, active class, any people benefit from post-class support. Mission Critical Training offers Workshops, where your team can get in-person, one-on-one guidance from their instructor, so they can best apply what they have learned. Classes taken in our training centers even include free retakes.

What You Do Want vs. What You Don’t Want:

Live, in-person instruction vs.  Videos, because they’re definitely not shopping online while the video plays in another browser, right?

Interactive, Hands-on training vs. Online slideshows (I saw it. Pretty sure I remember it verbatim.)

Real Course Materials vs. A link, buried somewhere in those bookmarks. Forgot your password? The simple 27 steps will help.

Professional Adult Educators vs. Actors!

Post-class support Workshops vs. Watch that YouTube video again and again and again and again…

Custom Content vs. One size fits some

Where do you want to spend your training budget?

 

Check out our full line of classes mcstech.net.

Training Vouchers Save You Money!

Training Vouchers

Did you know Mission Critical Training offers prepaid training vouchers?

Training vouchers can be redeemed toward class registrations, and are good for a full year. Discounts are available for purchasing multiple vouchers, starting with as few as five! We offer vouchers for all of our training center class formats and locations, including half-day and full-day classes, multi-day, and boot camps.

Buy before the end of the year and get 2019 classes at 2018 prices!

Contact our sales office for more information at (303) 900-0850 in Colorado or (602) 955-7787 in Arizona, or training@mcstech.net.

 

TEXTJOIN Function in Excel

TEXTJOIN Function in Excel - 2019

Excel 2019 has many new features to offer users. Some of the features that were only offered in browser mode for Excel 2016, are now available for the Excel 2019 client application, i.e., available on your computer desktop. One such feature is the TEXTJOIN function.

Some software requires that information be setup a certain way in order to populate properly, but can we prepare information without having to copy and paste everything in a separate worksheet, and add the delimiting separators, without having to go into every cell?  Doing so can be very time consuming, and kind of a nightmare,  if you have a lot of data.

With TEXTJOIN, you can tell Excel what data to populate and what separator to place between the data being populated. It is super easy to setup, as long as you know what data you are pulling in and this data also works easily with 3D functionality.

Watch the video to find out how to use this function!

 

Watch for other “Just Tips’” articles with more about the new features of Excel 2019.

Get your Excel skills up to muster with a class from Mission Critical Training.

Don’t Settle for What You’ve Got

Find freedom with VBA

What do explorers, inventors, and entrepreneurs have in common? They all refused to accept the limitations of the established world. They found or created things that once were only in their imagination.

No one likes to be told they can’t do something. When it comes to applications, we can feel like we have to settle for the functions that they were originally programmed to perform. However, in a real world setting, those limitations can mean a lot of frustrating repetitive work.

You know what you want to see the application do. So how do you get it to do it?

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is a programming language that Microsoft developed that allows users to develop programs that control Microsoft Office applications. With VBA you can take MS Office applications beyond the standard ribbon commands to tackle those real worlds tasks that your organization demands.

Mission Critical Training’s VBA course will familiarize you with the VBA programming environment, and will provide the foundation for exploring and programming the objects, methods, properties, and events of Office applications.

Learn VBA and free yourself from limitations, at least in your MS Office applications.

Register online, or contact our sales office for more information, including private group training, at (303) 900-0850 in Colorado or (602) 955-7787 in Arizona, or training@mcstech.net.

Managing Stress during the Busy Holiday Season

Managing Stress during the Busy Holiday Season

It’s almost here: The busy holiday season. The old song may call it the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, but in reality it can be the most stressful time of year. Year-end projects, family gatherings, office parties, shopping for gifts, holiday baking, and all of that is on top of the usual demands of your job, life, and family! If you don’t manage you time well, it can be an exhausting season!

Luckily, there are some tools and techniques that can help keep your head above the tinsel, and your holiday ducks in a row.

Outlook is a great tool for managing your busy life, as you likely already know. ­­This time of year, though, it is especially important to make sure all of your appointments, deadlines, and events make it onto your calendar. Many users also keep more than one Outlook calendar, such as one for work deadlines, one for personal dates, and another for family appointments. This can be problematic when our schedules get as busy as they are during the last months of the year. A best practice, one that ensures you do not overbook yourself or forget about a scheduled event, is to keep a single schedule for all of the areas of your life. In other words, work, personal, and family dates all end up on the same unified calendar. Some users are uncomfortable with this idea, as their work schedule may be available to others, who do not need to know about an appointment with Grammy to make snickerdoodles. This concern can be addressed by using the private event function for personal events. If you feel you absolutely must maintain more than one calendar, using the Calendar Overlay function in Outlook can reduce the potential for scheduling gaffs.

Another technique that can help to reduce to your year-end stress is to employ Time Chunking. We live in a society that has pushed the idea of multitasking for years. However, more and more research shows that multitasking simply does not work. Switching between tasks actually reduces your focus, and slows your productivity. Time Chunking simply means setting a time to work on similar tasks, allowing no other distractions to intrude. This technique is often used to manage emails at work, but you could employ it by chunking holiday tasks, such as dedicating one day to gift buying and wrapping, a work day to tackle nothing but year-end-reporting, etc. Focusing on a single task, or type of task, for a chunk of time will actually increase your ability to speed through them without distractions.

By keeping yourself organized, and giving yourself the feeling of empowerment over the chaos of a busy time of year, it will reduce your stress and allow you to, perhaps, be in a position to actually enjoy this Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

To learn more techniques to keep your schedule under control and increase your productivity, check out our Time Management with Outlook training course.

 

Adding an Announcement in SharePoint

Adding an Announcement in SharePoint

SharePoint has many uses, besides just document storage. It can be used as a daily intranet site, one that can display many different types of data. If there is enough traffic being driven to your SharePoint site, you can add apps and web parts that allow you to display important announcements, such as the company holiday party. Since everything in SharePoint has a URL associated with it, you can create items and add direct links to those items in emails, events, or messages that you send to all personnel. In many cases, this is simpler than explaining where to go, since everyone just clicks a link to see the item.

Watch the video to see how an announcement is added in SharePoint:

Learn all that SharePoint is capable of with a class from Mission Critical Training.

Scheduling an Event in Outlook

Scheduling an Event in Outlook

Scheduling an event in Outlook might be second nature for most, but there are lots of little unfamiliar extras, such as inviting others to the events. In some cases, a user might be in charge of a company Outlook account, which means that all the invites to the company holiday party can be sent through a different account, other than your personal account.

Not only can we invite others, we can upload the main flier. Outlook will even ask for responses to the invitation.

To do all of this, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Outlook and navigate to the Calendars section. Scheduling an Event in Outlook - Calendar section
  2. Once there, ensure you are on the Home tab, then go to the New group, and click New Appointment. Scheduling an Event in Outlook - New Appointment
  3. Once the new appointment dialog box appears, fill in the appropriate date, time, and location. Even insert a copy of the flier, if you want to add it. Scheduling an Event in Outlook - Add document
  4. Now we need to add invited attendees by going to the Appointment tab and clicking the Invite Attendee command, in the center of the ribbon.Scheduling an Event in Outlook - Invite Attendees
  5. A new section will appear in the appointment, just above the Subject section, that looks like this: Scheduling an Event in Outlook - Enter Addresses
  6. Click the To… button, and add the invitees.
  7. Select the attendees and click Required, Optional, or Resources, to load the name in the proper section, then click OK.Scheduling an Event in Outlook - Invitation Type
  8. When you are done, click the Send button, and all invitees will receive an email about the event. You can recheck the event to see who has accepted and declined the invite. In most cases, users will be able to add the event to their personal calendars. In some cases the event will show up directly in their calendar app, where they can accept or decline the event.
Want to learn more ways Outlook can help you manage your busy life? Take a training class from Mission Critical Training.