The Excel problem and the actual problem
We spend way too much time in Excel.
Thus begins a conversation I’ve had probably dozens of times.
And sometimes, indeed, there’s a technical solution. A real database. And some proper reporting tools. Maybe a small custom application.
But, just as often, if not more so, the stated problem isn’t the real problem.
Sometimes people got into their excel mess because it was the only way to get things done.
But others are controls freaks who need things their way.
For others that crazy spreadsheet is job security. And spending 20 hours a week in a spreadsheet that only they understand guarantees a steady paycheck.
Fewer are frustrated programmers who want to prove that they are smarter than IT.
You only learn the real problem when you start developing a new solution. Some people jump right on board. Others poke constant holes in the new solution. And many just passive-aggressively never find the time to test.
Which is why I do what I do. Because when I deal with a CEO, we can have an honest discussion about the real problem. About how things are a certain way for a reason and if things are going to change, we’re going to have to help people ourselves.
Because the fault is often not in Excel, but in ourselves.