All posts by Ali Jackowski

Take a vacation from your vacation with eLearning courses

eLearning holidayThe holiday season is upon us, which can bring time to spend with family and friends, or time in front of the fireplace on a cold day.  While those things are wonderful, sometimes we can find ourselves needing a break from all of that togetherness, or we want to feel like we have accomplished more than getting through yet another viewing marathon of Hallmark Holiday Romances. Take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle by giving yourself a mental lift.  It’s a great time to pick up extra skills through self-paced eLearning.

Mission Critical Training has a top-rated management course that specializes in Managing Remote or Virtual employees.  This is a hot topic in today’s global workplace.  Looking to expand your management skills to include this more diverse model?  Or maybe you are looking to step into a management role?  The Managing Remote Employees class covers these needed skills to keep you relevant in the management track!

This 2-day course includes a downloadable workbook and other resources, and is packed with videos and eLearning modules that include key topics, such as:

  • Benefits of a Remote Employee Management structure
  • How to keep remote employees on track
  • Communication and how to adapt it to a remote workforce
  • Building team strength and relationships
  • Creating accountability
  • Coaching remote employees
  • Best development strategies
  • Motivating a remote team
So, take a break from the chilly air, and curl up by the fireplace with a good management eLearning course from MCT.
We are also happy to now be offering some of our Excel content via eLearning. Check it out!

Outlook Today Overview

Overwhelmed by emailOpening Outlook can be daunting at times, especially if you are someone who receives one hundred-plus emails every night. All you see is chaos first thing in the morning, and you are instantly stresses out, before you get anything done. There is an easier way to view your day or week in Outlook, by using the Outlook Today view, which can be setup to be your default view in Outlook.

The Outlook Today is easy to setup, and can be personalized to fit your needs. If you want to just see daily items to be completed, along with a quick idea of the number of unread emails, and what is coming down the pipeline that week, you have those options. This overview allows you to quickly look at your plan of attack, without being overwhelmed by an overburdened email inbox.

Let’s take a look at how to use this great tool:

First, open Outlook, and click your email address, located above the various folders.Open Outlook

This will open the Outlook Today view.

From here, locate the Customize Outlook Today link and click it. It might be located in the upper right-hand corner, or somewhere below the view.

Once you click the link, it will open the Customize Outlook Today pane. There are several options to setup.

Customize Outlook Today

The first option is the Startup option, which allows you to have this view as your default view when opening Outlook. Click the radio box, and a check mark will appear next to When starting, go directly to Outlook Today. Now, this view will be the first thing you see every morning, or whenever you open Outlook.

The next option allows you to choose which email folders you will see in an unread email overview. If you’ve taken our Time Management with Outlook class, you will know how to set rules for incoming emails, and you can set those folders to show up in this view. When done, the Outlook Today view will show you an email folder overview something like this:Outlook Today email folder overview

The Calendar setup will show you the number of days you want to see, and events that are happening on those days. This can range from one to seven days, . After you have setup this part, the events from your calendar will look like this in your Outlook Today view:Calendar setup in Outlook Today

The Task section has a few more options that let you have a dual sorting system, and let you decide which tasks you would like to see listed. The tasks will list in order, with non-dated tasks showing first, with a check box to the left, allowing you to mark your tasks as done in the Outlook Today view:Tasks in Outlook Today view

The last section the Customize panel let’s you choose a style. There are several styles to choose from; once you choose the style you like, click the Save Changes link. This link will be located in the upper right-hand corner of the settings pane. Outlook will then take you to your new Outlook Today view, so you can make sure you like it.

Make better use of your time  and end you inbox clutter with a Outlook class from Mission Critical Training.

New Excel 2019 Function: MROUND

MROUND Function in Excel

Every new version of Excel comes with new or updated functions. The 2019 version of Excel is no exception. One of the new functions is MROUND.

MROUND is a little different than other rounding functions, as you reference a cell with a number and tell it to give you the closest multiple requested by you. For example, if I tell the function to give me the closest multiple of 400, then when I place a 1 in the referenced cell, it will give me a zero. However, if I place 300 in the referenced cell, the function will populate a 400. If I place 500 in the referenced cell, I will get 400 as well; but if I place 700 in the referenced cell, I will get 800.

Check out this video to see how to set up the function and see how it works:

Learn more ways that Excel can make your work easier by taking a live or online course from Mission Critical Training.

5 Steps of Project Management – Step 1 – Initiating

Project managers divide each project into 5 steps, guiding it from conception to completion. These steps are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closing.5 steps of PM - First step - Initiating

Today, we will discuss the first step, Initiating.

Initiating the Project

The project begins by choosing its goal: A building is being built; a division is being launched; a marketing campaign is being developed, etc. This goal is the Big Concept, and its completion or failure should be obvious. Use concrete and objective words to define the goal, as well as the time frame in which the project is to be completed. Avoid subjective terms, such as “improved” or “better,” or vague references, such as “in the future.” A solid example of a project goal would be “This project will see the construction of a five-story office building, with 50,000 square feet office space, in the Denver Tech area, and is to be finished by March of next year.” A weak example would be “We will create an ad campaign that will improve sales in the future.”

With the project’s goal in mind, you must address three issues, during the project initiation phase:

  • Project scope definition – Here, you must broadly define what is to be included in the project. If you are constructing a new building, is interior design to be included? Will the project be complete only once the C.O. is granted? Finer details will be finalized during the planning stage, but these high-level considerations should be established, now.
  • Project manager appointed – Now is the time to appoint the one individual who is responsible for the entire process. With whom will the ultimate buck stop? Or course, the project manager will delegate duties, as appropriate, even management of specific areas of the project, but the project manager is the one with whom the ultimate responsibility of guiding the project to completion rests.
  • Establish project milestones – Major projects need to have points along the way that help the project manager know that the project is on the right track. This can be viewed as mini projects within the overarching project. In the example of our building construction, one milestone could be to complete a geological study for the site, another might be to pour the foundation. As each of these milestones is reached, the project manager can assess if the plan is successfully progressing towards its overall goal.

With the initiating stage complete, you are able to move to the next phase, Project Planning.

Mission Critical Training can help you learn more about successful Project Management.

Year-end training deals to set you on the right path in 2020

Year-end training deals

The holiday season is getting into full swing. Friends and family are gathering; turkeys are thawing; yams are being candied. Soon, the holiday decorations will fill your home (and are already festooned across the malls). Faster than you can shake a snow globe, we will be saying goodbye to 2019, and ringing in 2020. Before that happens, set yourself up to start the new year strong.  Mission Critical Training wants to help you greet 2020 already on the path to success.

To help you start 2020 right, Mission Critical Training has some end-of-year deals and bonuses lined up to help you, and your staff, get a lot of bang for your training dollar:

  • Free bonus Quick Tip cards – given during all January training center classes!
  • Don’t see a class you want?  We will add a date in January – with 2 or more people.
  • Group Private trainings that run in November or December of 2019, receive free training center class vouchers for training in 2020!

Get the details below, or contact us for more information:

Quick Tips Bonus Cards

Attend any regularly scheduled public or semi-private MCT class in January 2020, and receive 4 bonus Quick Tip cards. Our students have repeatedly told us these cards are invaluable references to keep on hand, helping them utilize what they learn in class and apply it to real world projects. To get your bonus cards, all you have to do is take a class in any MCT training center in the month of January.

Add a Date in January

If you (and at least one friend) want to take a class, but it isn’t on MCT’s public calendar during the month of January, we can hook you up. If you register two or more people (up to 10 max), MCT will add a class to our training center schedule.

  • Scheduling is subject to classroom and instructor availability.
  • The requested class must not be previously scheduled during January or February of 2020, except in another state.
  • The newly scheduled semi-private class cannot be rescheduled, once set.
  • Payment for at least 2 registrations is due prior to finalizing the requested new class.
  • Registrations are not able to be rescheduled, and are non-refundable.
  • If a student misses the class, for any reason, the registration will be considered completed. Retakes are only available for those who attended the originally scheduled semi-private class.
  • Registrations may be transferable to another student, for the same class and date, should the registrant be unable to attend.

Group Private training – Class Vouchers

Schedule a private training event to run in November and December 2019, and receive free public class training vouchers. The more private training sessions you schedule, the more vouchers you and your organization can earn. These vouchers can be applied to any class MCT offers on its public training schedule through the end of 2020. The private training must be held during the months of November or December 2019.

Here are how the vouchers are rewarded:

 

# of Private classes held in November and/or DecemberTypeFree training center vouchers earned per class
1 to 2Half day1 half day vouchers per class
1 to 2Full day1 full day vouchers per class
3 to 4Half day2 half day vouchers per class
3 to 4Full day2 full day vouchers per class
5 or moreHalf day2 half day vouchers per class + 1 bonus voucher
5 or moreFull day2 full day vouchers per class + 1 bonus voucher

 

  • Training Vouchers are valid through December 2020.
  • Training Vouchers may be redeemed toward any regularly scheduled public MCT class.
  • Training Vouchers may be redeemed toward the registration of longer classes, by paying the balance upon registration. (For example, a Half-day Training Voucher may be used as partial credit toward a full-day class, with the balance due upon registration.)
  • Training Vouchers may not be redeemed toward private or semi-private training, organizational development services, or ISD services.
  • Training Vouchers may not be redeemed for cash, nor are they refundable.

Set the right tone, now, for a year of achievement and success ahead! Register for public training center classes online, or contact our sales office for more information, including private group training and scheduling semi-private classes, at (303) 900-0850 in Colorado, (602) 955-7787 in Arizona, or training@mcstech.net.

 

Adding Subprojects – MS Project

Add Subprojects - MS Project

Project Managers might need to get lists of tasks for a project from more than one source in order to track everything throughout the project. The project manager could link the files, but in most cases, linking too many files can cause issues with the main Project file. When too many files are linked together, computers, connections, and Project file sizes can cause issues, unless your company is using the Enterprise level for MS Project

Instead of linking the Project files, why not insert them as Subprojects? This process is very easy, and puts everything in one place. The main difference is that linked files update when the main file is opened, whereas Subprojects do not automatically update. Deciding which method to use is usually left up to the project manager, the software, and the system being used by the company. Regardless, using Subprojects is a viable option to add the necessary tasks from an outside source, so proper tracking can be managed.

Here is how you can use Subprojects:

  1. Ensure you have the main Project file opened, and that you have access to the file, with the outside sourced tasks, to be added to the main Project file.
  2. Select the task to which you want the Subproject tasks added – Note that the imported set of tasks will always insert above the selected task.Task List
  3. Click the Project tab of the ribbon, then click +Subproject in the Insert group, to the far left.Insert Subproject
  4. Find and select the file you wish to insert, then click the Insert button. Insert button  File to insert
  5. The group of tasks will be inserted, and you are done!Inserted files
MS Project can help all of you projects runs smoothly; learn how with a training class from Mission Critical Training.

 

Different Ways to Upload Documents – SharePoint

Upload documents - SharePoint

SharePoint is a great way to organize documents – far better than a shared drive – but sometimes it can be a little confusing when trying to upload documents into a SharePoint library. If your company recently updated from an older version of SharePoint, the uploading process might be very different than what you were previously used to; or,  if you just started using SharePoint the first time, you might not be aware of the many different ways to upload documents into a SharePoint library.

The nice thing about SharePoint is that there are usually a number of ways to do different things within the software. Uploading documents into a library is one of those functionalities that has multiple ways to do it. Picking the one that is easiest for you can take some experimentation, until you are familiar with the different possibilities available to you.

In my example, I’ll be using SharePoint 365, but these options are also available to you in 2013, 2016, and 2019 versions of SharePoint. It is always nice to have choices, since your preferences help make your everyday tasks easier ,and allow for a more efficient process.

Here are the options:

Drag n Drop

Dragging and dropping documents into the library is probably the most familiar process. However, companies switching from SharePoint 2010 might not know about this upgrade, as SharePoint 2010 did not allow the option. This option can be used for uploading new documents, as well as moving documents from one library to another.

  1. If you are loading documents from your desktop, select the documents to be uploaded.Select files
  2. From here, left-click on the documents, and hold down your mouse button and drag them over the top of the library until you see Drop Here… appear in the library.Drop Here. . .
  3. Let go of the mouse button, and the documents will start uploading.

In some case, depending on your company’s policy, there might be additional steps to tag documents. Check out the Just Tip articles for “SharePoint Metadata” and “How to Use a Quick Edit Menu in SharePoint” for more details about these potential extra steps.

Upload Button

When you enter a SharePoint library, there is a line of commands at the top. One of those commands is Upload. This command allows you to upload one document at a time, which can be helpful in cases where you need to find the document to get it uploaded, or you just have one document to upload in the library. The same additional steps might be necessary, after uploading the document in the library, as the Drag n Drop method, which are dictated by company policies and procedures.

  1. Once in the library, click the Upload command. Upload button
  2. Once the dialog box appears, click the Browse button and search for your document. Browse fro documents
  3. Select your document, and click the Open button to complete the process of choosing your document to upload.Open buttonDocument chosen
  4. Click OK at the bottom of the dialog box, and the document will upload. OK

File has been uploaded

Open with Explorer

This last option is only available while using Internet Explorer.  It requires the ActiveX functionality, which is only available by using Internet Explorer. This method of uploading is similar to the Drag n Drop method, except you drag n drop into a folder-style window. This can also be used for transferring documents from one library to another, but two folder windows need to be opened at the same time (one from each library) to do this.

  1. To open the folder window and begin the process, go to the library into which you need to upload documents, and click the Library tab of the ribbon. Library
  2. In the Connect and Export group, click the Open with Explorer command.Open witth Explorer button
  3. A folder window will open for the library, which will look like this:Folder window
  4. From here, you can drag n drop documents into the library, or open another folder window from another library, and, using the same steps,  transfer documents from one library to another library.

Again, this last option is only available if you are using Internet Explorer, and you might need to go back to the library and do extra steps to complete the uploading process, based on company policies and procedures.

You can empower your organization’s SharePoint platform by taking a training course from Mission Critical Training.

Sorting by Multiple Columns in Excel

Multiiple column sort in Excel

When working with large chunks of data, we sometimes need to sort the data to figure out where we need to focus our attention. This could mean that we need to quickly sort our data by more than one column, allowing us to make decisions on which path to take, without having to create new Excel template in that moment.

There are a number of ways to sort data in Excel, but using the Sort command (located on the Data tab of the ribbon) is the easiest, as the sort order you see is the sort order you get. The nice thing about the dialog box used for the Sort command is that it is easy to add, delete, or rearrange sort levels. Other methods of sorting data, ones in which you do not use the Sort dialog box, can cause issues, can be more problematic, especially if you try to undo and redo the sorting at a later time.

Having column headers makes the whole process easier, but sometimes raw data downloaded from a database does not give us column headers. The good news is that it does not keep you from sorting your data, as there is an option checkbox for data without headers, but you must know which columns to sort when this happens.

Follow  the steps of in this video to sort data using multiple columns:

 Make your life easier and your data less overwhelming. Learn to make Excel work for you by taking a live or online training course from Mission Critical Training.

What can SharePoint Workflows do?

 

SharePolint Workflows

In the business world, when we talk about workflows, we are usually talking about how the flow of paperwork moves through the company, or the sequence of tasks we use for various processes. Workflows are a systematic process based on a business activity. However, when we talk about SharePoint Workflows, it is all about automating reoccurring tasks or processes, so that these tasks or processes are not forgotten,  or are completed automatically for efficiency.

SharePoint Workflows can be built to handle many different tasks every time an item or document is created, or edited. When SP Workflows are combined with calculated columns, they can be extremely dynamic.

What kinds of automation can a SharePoint Workflow be built to handle? There are  too many to be listed here, but they can definitely be used to facilitate some of the more annoying or easily forgotten tasks.

Imagine that every time you finish writing a document  it needs to be distributed to three different department heads for approval. Procedures dictate you send emails to the department heads, indicating that the document is ready. At times, though, you are so swamped that you forget. When your boss asks you about the document, because the department heads are asking when you will be done, you say that you advised everyone last week, but you soon discover that was not the case, this time. If you had established a SharePoint Workflow, you could choose Completed from a drop-down menu, and, as soon as you hit save, the SharePoint Workflow sends the emails out immediately, with embedded links that go directly to the document. Crisis averted!

That is just one scenario that SharePoint Workflows can make easier for you. The possibilities are only held back by your imagination. Need items updated when an employee changes an option in the drop-down menu? Done! Need alerts to go to individuals until they complete the tasks they are responsible for completing? Done! Need to build a vacation request system that can make the process more precise and easier for everyone in the office? Done! Need a checkout system that can keep track of equipment that is being used, when it needs to returned by a certain day, and automatically sends you info about the equipment status, without having to enter the system to check? Done!

These are just a few scenarios that can be made more efficient with SharePoint Workflows. With SharePoint Designer, a free software application, a power user can build workflows for the entire company, as well as continue to fine tune existing workflows, when additional steps need to be added to the policies or procedures. Automation is extremely valuable to a company, saving both time and money, as it requires less time to complete processes with fewer steps; it ensures fewer errors, since tasks are automated and happen on time, whether an individual remembers the task or not; and efficiency increases, due to less human error. The more we automate, human error goes down; the more we try to do ourselves, the more chances something will be overlooked.

SharePoint Workflows are free to create, with the help of SharePoint Designer. Help yourself and others take a bite out of the daily grind by automating your processes.

Learn to automate you organization’s tasks with a SharePoint Designer and Workflows class from Mission Critical Training.

Sweet deals and extra goodies for you!

Sweet treats

It’s a scary thought, but a new year will soon be upon us. It may seem like it is a little early to start preparing for 2020, but the rush of the holiday season will bring us to January faster than a child goes through his Halloween candy. Preparing for the next year is important, though. How you launch the new year sets the tone for the next twelve months. Mission Critical Training wants to help you step into 2020 on the path to success.

To help you start 2020 right, Mission Critical Training has some goodies and sweet deals lined up  to help you, and your staff, get a lot of bang for your training dollar:

Get the details below, or contact us for more information:

Quick Tips Bonus Cards

Attend any regularly scheduled public or semi-private MCT class in January 2020, and receive 4 bonus Quick Tip cards. Our students have repeatedly told us these cards are invaluable references to keep on hand, helping them utilize what they learn in class and apply it to real world projects. To get your bonus cards, all you have to do is take a class in any MCT training center in the month of January.

Add a Date in January

If you (and at least one friend) want to take a class, but it isn’t on MCT’s public calendar during the month of January, we can hook you up. If you register two or more people (up to 10 max), MCT will add a class to our training center schedule.

  • Scheduling is subject to classroom and instructor availability.
  • The requested class must not be previously scheduled during January or February of 2020, except in another state.
  • The newly scheduled semi-private class cannot be rescheduled, once set.
  • Payment for at least 2 registrations is due prior to finalizing the requested new class.
  • Registrations are not able to be rescheduled, and are non-refundable.
  • If a student misses the class, for any reason, the registration will be considered completed. Retakes are only available for those who attended the originally scheduled semi-private class.
  • Registrations may be transferable to another student, for the same class and date, should the registrant be unable to attend.

Group Private training – Class Vouchers

Schedule a private training event to run in November and December 2019, and receive free public class training vouchers. The more private training sessions you schedule, the more vouchers you and your organization can earn. These vouchers can be applied to any class MCT offers on its public training schedule through the end of 2020. The private training must be held during the months of November or December 2019.

Here are how the vouchers are rewarded:

 

# of Private classes held in November and/or December
TypeFree training center vouchers earned per class
1 to 2Half day1 half day vouchers per class
1 to 2Full day1 full day vouchers per class
3 to 4Half day2 half day vouchers per class
3 to 4Full day2 full day vouchers per class
5 or moreHalf day2 half day vouchers per class + 1 bonus voucher
5 or moreFull day2 full day vouchers per class + 1 bonus voucher

 

  • Training Vouchers are valid through December 2020.
  • Training Vouchers may be redeemed toward any regularly scheduled public MCT class.
  • Training Vouchers may be redeemed toward the registration of longer classes, by paying the balance upon registration. (For example, a Half-day Training Voucher may be used as partial credit toward a full-day class, with the balance due upon registration.)
  • Training Vouchers may not be redeemed toward private or semi-private training, organizational development services, or ISD services.
  • Training Vouchers may not be redeemed for cash, nor are they refundable.
Register for public training center classes online, or contact our sales office for more information, including private group training and scheduling semi-private classes, at (303) 900-0850 in Colorado, (602) 955-7787 in Arizona, or training@mcstech.net.