Glenna Shaw is an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for PowerPoint — she works for the US government — she is also very involved with accessibility aspects for PowerPoint. In another avatar, she creates games in PowerPoint. Some time ago, she started using Crystal Xcelsius — in this conversation, she tells us more about the program.
Geetesh: Tell us about yourself and your technology interests.
Glenna: I originally got into technology because there weren’t many career opportunities as a Mental Health Therapist when I got out of the Navy in the early 1980s. I happened to be in the right place at the right time to get in on microcomputers and local area networking when the technology was in it’s infancy and for the last 20 years I’ve led a large variety of simple and complex IT projects. I’m currently a project management professional (PMP) with the U.S. Federal Government and I really love it. What I like best is that since I work on different projects my job never gets stale. Each new project is like a new job and a new challenge.
Geetesh: Tell us more about how you use Crystal Xcelsius and what you think about the product.
Glenna: Over the years I have learned that I am a very visual person. It’s part of what got me interested in PowerPoint and Accessibility and helped me get recognized as a PowerPoint MVP. I just process information more easily when it’s presented in a visual format. What I love about Crystal Xcelsius is that it allows you to do that beautifully. The agency that I work for uses Excel models a lot because we work with finances and economics. Xcelsius allows me to really enhance those models.
When I first saw the software I realized right away the potential it had for use with Project Management. I was able to use Crystal Xcelsius to create a variety of models for use with standard Project Management practices. I really love that I can allow for what-if scenarios that can be demonstrated in real time to decision makers. It’s extremely effective when you’re trying to make a business case for a project or even just make a point about cost or risk on a project. I’ve made the models freely available on my web site they can be used on-line or downloaded. I’d welcome any ideas for new models/tools. I really like the challenge of creating new tools with Xcelsius, especially since the end result always looks so good even if you’re not a great designer.