Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Getting Access to Spreadsheet Models for Managers

If Spreadsheet Models for Managersyou use Excel to model businesses, business processes, or business transactions, this course will change your life. You’ll learn how to create tools for yourself that will amaze even you. Unrestricted use of this material is available in two ways.

As a stand-alone Web site
It resides on your computer, and you can use it anywhere. No need for Internet access.
At this Web site
If you have access to the Internet whenever you want to view this material, you can purchase on-line access. Unlimited usage. I’m constantly making improvements and you’ll get them as soon as they’re available.

To Order On Line

Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, on-line edition, one month" by credit card, for USD 69.95 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.
Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, on-line edition, three months" by credit card, for USD 199.00 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.
Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, downloadable hyperbook edition" by credit card, for USD 199.00 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.

To Order by Mail

Make your check payable to Chaco Canyon Consulting, for the amount indicated:
  • For the download: USD 199.00
  • For access online for three months: USD 199.00
  • For access online for one month: USD 69.95
And send it to:
Chaco Canyon Consulting
700 Huron Avenue, Suite 19C
Cambridge, MA 02138

To use the course software you’ll need some other applications, which you very probably already have. By placing your order, you’re confirming that you have the software you need, as described on this site.

Spreadsheet Models for Managers

This reading is especially relevant for Session 1Problem Solving

Constructing a model of a business process is a form of problem solving. The problem solving you’ll have to do in this course might be a little different from your previous experiences.

Constructing a model of a business process is a form of problem solving. When you make a model, you usually want to know the answer to a question such as, “How much cash will we need to start this business?” or, “When must we hire people to support this contract?” In this course, you’ll get some practice with solving this sort of problem. With each session, we present a set of problems designed to give you opportunities to use the techniques we cover in that session.

In your past experiences with solving problems, you often had hints and cues that you could use to help you find the solutions. For example, right after you learned how to factor polynomials, the problems that were presented involved applying the technique you had just learned, and the problems were directly analogous to the textbook examples. These cues helped a lot when you had to solve the homework problems.

A bonobo at the San Diego Zoo fishing for termites
A bonobo at the San Diego Zoo fishing for termites. Humans aren’t the world’s only problem-solvers. Photo by Mike R, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
But in real-life situations, the problems you solve are vague — you don’t really know what’s needed to answer the question, and very likely, the question raises some issues you’ve never faced before. Our homework problems are intended to simulate that situation, to give you practice for the real thing. Each homework problem is focused on some portion of the new material we cover in that session. Solving that problem will require that you use that new technique, possibly in combination with methods we covered previously.

Often, though, rote application of what we’ve presented won’t be enough — you’ll have to be a tiny bit inventive, a tiny bit creative, to solve the homework problems. Sometimes you’ll have to take what we showed you in the demonstrations and extend it some way. This characteristic of our homework problems is designed to give you practice with the experience of making business models in real situations.

Some students view this approach as “unfair.” Some feel that homework problems should be solvable by rote application of what we’ve presented. We take a different position. We feel that it’s our responsibility to prepare you for the real world, and in the real world, you sometimes have to be inventive and creative as you apply what you know. Our goal in this course isn’t only to teach you the techniques we cover. We also want to give you practice in using them, to enable you to apply them to real situations. And since real situations almost never fit exactly with what we present, you need to know how to adapt what you’ve learned here to fit your needs later. Giving you opportunities to solve the homework problems by adapting what we show you is the best way we know to prepare you for success in business modeling.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 27-Apr-2016 04:15:26 EDT

Deciding What to Read

The first homework assignment has a fair amount of reading attached to it. Some students feel that the best approach is to read it all, and then try to do the homework. For most of us, such an approach doesn’t work very well.

Before you begin the course, read the general material, such as “Getting Started,” “Software You Need for This Course,” and “How to Work.”

Later, as you begin the homework, let the homework drive your reading choices. For instance, the first homework assignment does require that you master certain techniques. Read “Names” and “The Ripple Principle.” Then, if something confuses you, read up on it: examples are “The Basics of Recalculation” and “References.” Learning something when you need it, and only when you need it, is usually the best way to go.

Avoid Redundant Parentheses

Parentheses sometimes make a real difference. For instance A1*B1+2 is very different from A1*(B1+2). But A1*(B1*2) is exactly the same as A1*B1*2. When the parentheses don’t make any difference in the value of the result, it’s not usually a good idea to include them. They tend to make the formulas harder to read, and there’s always the chance that you’ll put them in the wrong place. More