• Prime Mover (unregistered)

    Everybody in any given organisation ought to be given the requirement to explain to their grandbosses+ exactly what it is that they do, and said grandbosses+ need to be accompanied by a skilled system analyst who is a dab hand at asking "why".

  • Joh (unregistered)

    Had anyone given it about 0.2ms of thought, it would have been discovered that Sofia is using the Excel sheet as a mind-map. Plenty of analysts do this. Plenty of managers do this. Plenty of employees do this. Doesn't have the arrows-and-bubbles of a conventional mind-map, but it's a mind-map. Changing the colours manually is actually part of the exploration and understanding process.

    TRWTF here is that nobody had the guts to just say "No". Taking someone's mind-map and trying to (a) make it rigid and inflexible as well as (b) impose exact same thinking on everyone else ... it's a recipe for both failure and disaster. Doomed prima facie and everyone knew it, but nobody could say it.

  • WTFGuy (unregistered)

    The problem here, as so often, is an organizational behavior problem, not a tech problem. IT is never the solution to an OB problem.

    In a one-person department, Sofia should be doing as she is with the spreadsheet. In a multi-person, or big department, none of that is the work of a VP-Finance. Change her workflow or find somebody more suitable to the duties of a VP.

    Which as Prime Mover suggested, probably needs grand-boss level intervention to achieve.

  • LZ79LRU (unregistered) in reply to Joh

    I concur.

  • Industrial Automation Engineer (unregistered)

    A wise (wo)man once said: Customers never know what they want, right up to the moment it doesn't get delivered, that is.

  • TheCPUWizard (unregistered)

    This is why "remote assignments" were invented... Take a person (in this case Sofia) and task them with describing their hob to another person, and then assigning the key person to work at some other location (even if just a different office) on totally unrelated work for a period of a week or more. Ensure that the person who had been trained can actually do the job and that the information if formally (to some degree) captured.

    Rotate EVERYONE through this type of practice and situations such as the one above will go away. Start a firm with these practices, and it is unlikelyt the above will ever occur in the first place.

  • RLB (unregistered) in reply to Joh

    Had anyone given it about 0.2ms of thought, it would have been discovered that Sofia is using the Excel sheet as a mind-map.

    Well, no. That's the problem. She is using it as both a mind map and a resource allocation tool. Hence the missing budget and project. Mind maps are good for trying to understand a process, not for running it; but that is what Sofia was doing.

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to Joh

    There are also elements of Solution Looking for a Problem, and Spreadsheets Must Be Replaced. All they really needed to do was to add some (more) validation to the spreadsheet, and perhaps implement a process change requiring regular oversight/checking by a second pair of eyes.

  • (nodebb)

    O, how I miss the days of rainbow blinking text on web pages .....

  • Sole Purpose Of Visit (unregistered)

    Garbage In, Garbage Out. Programmers, testers, designers, and architects worry about that. Apparently "project managers" do not.

  • (nodebb)

    Color coding is unfriendly to color-blind employees.

  • Sole Purpose Of Visit (unregistered) in reply to Ross_Presser

    Which would actually be a benefit in this case. Go to HR, explain that using color coding is discriminatory against people who have too many cones and not enough cylinders (or vice versa, I forget), and suggest that a law suit is inevitable (not from you, just in case it gets leaked to the ALCU) unless Sophia comes up with an actual design document, peer and stakeholder reviewed, and an actual process.

    Well, stranger demands have worked for me. (When they don't get me fired, of course.)

  • (nodebb) in reply to Ross_Presser

    I'm color-blind (the simple commonest kind), and I would expect that coding with -those- colors would be unfriendly to any employee with sight at all.

  • (nodebb)

    I'm interested that nobody here has (yet) commented on the other WTF here: The ERP system would, it seems, normally be the definitive reference as to the state of these projects, but clearly isn't in this case, since Sofia keeps pushing values from her spreadsheet to the ERP system.

  • carl witthoft (unregistered) in reply to Dave

    No, Dave, (and everyone else), attempting to add validation to an Excel workbook does not and never will work. Even if you don't have a nitwit like Sofia, and even if you don't insist on a mega-palette of colors (as opposed to, oh gosh, a list of selectable values in a separate column), Excel will outwit any attempt to implement a reliable, robust validation code. See " ... accidentally hid a row..." for the simplest example.

  • MaxiTB (unregistered)

    The is one rule when it comes to handling stakeholders:

    The stakeholder never knows what they need only what they dont want.

    That is the basic issue; a good business analyst, requirement engineer, product owner etc. tries to find out what the stakeholder needs not what they want because they only know what they dont want and that's it.

    It is similar to someone ordering in a restaurant: When you pick an item on a menu you pick one of those items that don't disagree with you, but you only know if it was the right pick after you tried all the options.

  • LZ79LRU (unregistered) in reply to carl witthoft

    I have made user proof validation in excel by locking sheets. That's not the issue. The issue is that by the time you are done doing so the resulting worksheet is only usable as a read only report. :)

    Repeat after me. No tool, no matter how advanced and perfect (and excel is the pinnacle of tools) can survive contact with the end user.

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to carl witthoft

    Thanks for demonstrating my point about Spreadsheets Must Be Replaced. What you say isn't true. The 'example' you give is exactly the kind of thing I was suggesting additional validation to prevent.

    The reality is that despite the sneering from holier-than-thou types, much of the world runs on Excel and learning what it can and can't do is actually quite useful.

    Just for example, you can easily detect the presence of manually hidden rows by checking for a difference between the results of Sum and Subtotal on the same column.

  • (nodebb)

    I don't think it was an accident in the first place. Frankly, the first step required would be to fire Sofia, and it would solve about 90% of the problem.

  • ZZartin (unregistered) in reply to Bim Zively

    I'm color-blind (the simple commonest kind), and I would expect that coding with -those- colors would be unfriendly to any employee with sight at all.

    Heh, one of the owners of the first company I worked for was partially color blind so he could only see super vibrant primary colors, so glowing red, greens, blues etc.... so everything had to be color coded that way. At my next job when i color coded something that way it was described as skittles vomit.

  • Jason Stringify (unregistered)

    Eventually, that lead them to Sofia, the VP of Finance, and managed them all through a spreadsheet she had created by herself.

    *led , and you probably mean "*who managed them"

Leave a comment on “Requirements in Technicolor”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article