Spreadsheet Errors

“All in all, the research done to date in spreadsheet development presents a very disturbing picture. Every study that has attempted to measure errors, without exception, has found them at rates that would be unacceptable in any organization. These error rates, furthermore, are completely consistent with error rates found in other human activities. With such high cell error rates, most large spreadsheets will have multiple errors, and even relatively small “scratch pad” spreadsheets will have a significant probability of error.

“Despite the evidence, individual developers and organizations appear to be in a state of denial. They do not regularly implement even fairly simple controls to reduce errors, much less such bitter pills as comprehensive code inspection. One corporate officer probably summarized the situation by saying that he agreed with the error rate numbers but felt that comprehensive code inspection is simply impractical. In other words, he was saying that the company should continue to base critical decisions on bad numbers.”

-Raymond Panko,
“What We Know About Spreadsheet Errors” (via Eve)

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