How to

Building a Parametric Excel Spreadsheet (from scratch) for Easy Scenario Analysis

So, what is a parametric spreadsheet?

Valid question. In comparison to a static/base case/deterministic spreadsheet, a parametric spreadsheet is set up in such a way that key parameters and assumptions can be changed without invalidating the underlying calculations. So if you've found that your project is delayed by a year or that CAPEX is higher than anticipated -- you can incorporate these changes into your spreadsheet without breaking everything and instantly see how they affect value.

Lights, Camera, Action! Watch Syncopation's DPL, DPMX, and Decision Analysis Video Tutorials

We've always championed a "model in DPL as you learn" approach within our software documentation, resources, and training courses. A couple of years ago Syncopation took this to another level by creating our own YouTube channel so we could offer tutorial-style, screencast videos (narrated, recorded, and edited by your's truly) for those who prefer this mode of learning over traditional paper/PDF user guides. We've built up quite a collection -- so if you haven't checked Syncopation's YouTube channel, I'd encourage you to do so.

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A Gentle Introduction to DPL Constraint Functions

In most DPL models, decisions are made to maximize or minimize some quantity, and they can and should be left unconstrained. You can never have too much NPV, for example. However, some decision problems require making tradeoffs among several decisions where not all possible decision policies (i.e., combinations of decision alternatives) are feasible. For example, your company may only be able to launch one or two new products a year.

Flipping the Arcs: An Introduction to DPL's Bayesian Revision Feature

"...we do not gain all our experience at once, but by degrees; thus our determinations continue to be assailed incessantly by fresh experience; and the mind, if we may use the expression, must always be 'under arms'."

-Carl von Clausewitz

6 Ways to Validate your DPL/Excel Model

This blog posts describes various steps that may be taken to validate that a DPL/Excel model is computationally correct. The actual testing/validation required will depend on the particulars of your model and the circumstances of the analysis. Accordingly, this is more of a menu one can pick and choose from rather than a checklist. If you use other methods not listed, and they may be generally useful, please add them in the comments section below.

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We often find ourselves helping people start a DPL analysis from an Excel spreadsheet, but in many cases the difficult modeling is in the spreadsheet itself. In this post I'm going to provide you with a few simple tips for preparing your spreadsheet in a way that makes setting up and running a scenario analysis a breeze.

Embedding a DPL Workspace in an Excel Workbook

(This post applies to DPL Professional, Enterprise and Portfolio.)

Do you find it annoying that your model consists of both a DPL workspace file (e.g., FOO.DA) and an Excel workbook (FOO.XLSX)? Well, don't despair, embed!

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Controlling DPL from Windows PowerShell

Are you using PowerShell yet?

PowerShell (aka POSH) is Microsoft's latest scripting environment, consisting of a command line shell and an associated script language. Power users appreciate scripts because they're a quick way to automate repetitive tasks that don't warrant writing a whole new program. While PowerShell is broadly used among IT professionals, many Windows power users who could benefit from it don't know it exists.

Historically, Windows has always been a shell-poor platform.

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