Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Multi-lingual Job Board

The job board that I created using google docs has  been a very useful and powerful planning and organizational tool for me. In fact, I consider the ability to plan 2 weeks in advance the best part of my job board. In a recent disicussion on twitter with Scott Dickson (@scottAllD) he asked if there was a way to translate the contents of the job board as some of his staff didn't speak very good English. I looked into it and it turns out that Google has included a translate function in Sheets! A few mintutes later I had added the functionality to my job board to translate between any 2 languages or more!

This discussion reminded  me that not only is my job board a planning and organizational  tool, but it is also a powerful communication tool! The ability to translate adds so much to golf maintenance crews that are more diverse than my crew (we all speak english).
Spanish anyone? how about Chinese?

For those of you who use my job board I will share the formula that gives the job board the ability to translate for you. Just paste this formula into cells C4:F8. You will also need to add a column to the right of the employee names in the "lists" sheet. This will be where you put the language codes for each employee into. "en" for English, "es"for Spanish. A full list of the language codes can be found here. Just use the 2 letter code in column 2. Now all you have to do is add tasks to the planner and voila, they appear in the desired language on the job board!

=iferror(googletranslate(iferror(hlookup($A$1,Planner!$C$1:$P$27,C$3+$B4,false())),"auto",vlookup($A4,Lists!$B$1:$C$24,2,false())))

I have set the input language to "Auto." What this does is use the system language settings as the input language. I highly encourage people to check out my formulas and learn how they work. Google has a great function help section that you can use to reverse engineer the formulas I use in my sheets.
add a colum to the right of the employee names
The really cool thing here is that you can assign different languages for each employee. One issue that I do see arising is how google translates the different tasks I have outlined. As I only speak one language I cannot check to make sure any of the translate correctly. I guess some trail and error would  be required to ensure that each taks put into the job board is translated in a meaninful way for your staff.

If you have a multi-lingual crew I highly recommend checking out the =googletranslate function in Google Sheets. This adds a powerful tool that most of the paid software job boards can't offer and best of all it's free!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Consistent and Confidential Data Collection Using a Google Form


A Form makes data input
easy and consistent
A few years ago I wrote a post about using google forms to keep data collection consistent. I was recently talking about data input and some of the issues associated with many different staff taking part in said data collection and it reminded me just how useful forms can be for a golf course operation.

The key to any successful operation is monitoring what you are doing and analyzing this data to make intelligent changes. If this isn't done, all you can do is guess. Google forms allow you to easily access the portal to add data directly into a spreadsheet in a user friendly way. You don't have to find the specific cells where data needs to go and you can keep the collected data confidential. Forms can be embedded on any website or shared via email to anyone you want, no matter what device or operating system they use.

In order to easily analyze your collected data it needs to be consistent. Not just in the frequency of collection instances, but also in the spelling and formatting of the data collected. To a computer, Green is different than greens and cut is different than mow. This is where forms really shine. They allow you to select the appropriate responses and put them in a multiple choice or drop down menu format. This makes it impossible for the people collecting the data to input it in a way that is inconsistent from one another.

Using forms along with a few of the tips I discussed in a recent post will help your data collection that much more efficient and useful to your maintenance operation in the future. Did I mention it's free?

Raw data collected by my staff is consistent and ready to be filtered. It is also not accessible to my staff.