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Spreadsheet Errors Nm

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Spreadsheet Errors Nm

  1. 1. Spreadsheet disasters Nipun Mathur April 4, 2010
  2. 2. Error #1 Scenario My boss asked me to perform a quick analysis for his meeting in 1 hour Problem Copy pasted data from different spreadsheets to get job done on time. Paster incorrect data, from miss- matching dates. Performed back of the envelope check but, no time to run extensive checks. Error type Mechanical error
  3. 3. Error #2 Scenario Performing analysis on data with many degrees of freedom requiring pivot table analysis. Problem Want to arrange analysis columns differently from pivot table’s alphabetically ordered columns. Updated column names, applied formula to the first column, and dragged formula to all other cells. Formulae now incorrect for columns. Error type Logic error
  4. 4. Error #3 Scenario Working on a complex model with a team of people over multiple weeks. Problem Each person developing different parts of the model. The assumptions made by different people are different and there is not enough documentation. When all parts are put together the final model produces incorrect results. Error type Documentation and planning error
  5. 5. Error #4 Scenario Working on a accounting analysis consulting project, with unfamiliar data. Developed model without speaking with all groups involved. Problem Missed some variables that the model results depend on. Error type Data omission error
  6. 6. Error #5 Scenario Experienced analyst developing a routine model at the end of the day. Problem Misses data and doesn’t perform sanity check because this is a routine task for him. Error type Overconfidence