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Archive for July 2010

Project Management and ACT

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I find myself doing blogs at really strange hours – usually very early in the morning or really late at night.  Hm, like now.  This is on purpose.  I reserve my daylight hours for billable time which every business should do.  It’s the managing of that time that gets me in trouble. And that’s the focus of this blog today.

Project Management.  Ah, those two words have been know to strike fear in the hearts of many.  It’s a thankless job.  More so when you own your own business.  Where does the buck stop? You got it.  In your backyard.

Ok, now that we’ve set the tone, let’s see what we can do to lift it a bit.

ACT.  You probably have figured out from my blogs that it’s something important to my business.  As it turns out, it’s a great tool for managing contacts and tasks, a fundamental part of project management.

For blogging purposes, let’s set up an example.  Let’s say we have a project to remodel a barn. Actually, this is a project I really am doing right now.  There is a bit of irony to this but that will come later.

There are so many parts to a remodeling project that words fail me.  In my project, my son is the architect/project manager. That all by itself is an oxymoron.  He’s doing a great job at being both – the architect of the change, and the project manager of the work.  And that’s not just because he’s my son.  He really is doing a wonderful job.

In this project there are multiple stages,  There are activities associated with those stages. Ok. Got that?  Now, say we add a field to ACT called Stage and we make that field pointed at a drop down list.  Cool? Now we update the drop down list to match our stages in the project.

Ah, if you are a business owner, or someone responsible for a big effort, you are starting to get the picture.

ACT manages contacts.  In a project we deal with contacts. Right?  Ok, who here deals with projects that involve things vs people? Anyone?  I thought so.  Now that we’ve resolved that, how do we make ACT help us?  Several ways.

We can use Opportunities to manage projects and put the stages of a project in an ACT Process element.

Or, we can create a field in ACT that is called STAGE.  We add the stages of a project (oh that might be a sales process too). Then we create groups based on where a customer is located in the Process Cycle.

I think you get the drift. There is more than one way to manage a process/project in ACT.  All it needs is someone who thinks outside of the box.

Try it out.  Ciao for now.

Written by pregen

July 27, 2010 at 2:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

SQL Tip of the Week – Finding Duplicates

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Many of you know we are the duplicate contact wizards for ACT.  But occasionally, we also have to find duplicates in other databases.  I have an Excel macro that either flags rows that are duplicates with a series of dashes and another one that color codes the duplicate rows.  I’m going to save those macros for another blog article.

Today I am going to show two tips I have in my bag of tricks (found somewhere long ago and I wish I could remember where so I could give credit.  The first statement finds duplicates in SQL tables and the second one will actually find items that appear only once.  Same technique with different results.

The first query will find date (ile. fields) that are duplicated in a table. This could be handy for finding duplicate emails, contact names, account numbers, you name it.

The query looks like this (in this case, I’m checking for duplicate contact names – called FullName)

SELECT FullName, 
 COUNT(FullName) AS NumOccurrences
FROM Contacts
HAVING (COUNT(Fullname) > 1)

In the statement above I am looking for the field “Fullname” from the table “Contacts”.  I look for Fullname that appears more than once (that’s the >1 piece).  At this point you could print out the results or save them to Excel.  You get the idea.

Taking it one step further, maybe you want to find things that appear only once and you are expecting them to be there more than once – i.e orders.  For example, you want to see in your database any one who has only had one order placed.  Assume in this case that there is a PO field (purchase order) and if  there is only one row, then there is only one order.

This is our query

FROM Orders

In the query above, we are looking for a field called PO in a table called Orders where PO = 1 or in other words, occurs only once.  Pretty simple.

I remember finding these years ago and they really helped with a project I was working on.  I’ve been spending time going back through my SQL and Access files to pull out these gems so I can share them just as some long forgotten soul did for me.

Thanks, whoever you are.

Written by pregen

July 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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