This doesn’t sound much like a WTF to me, its completely standard practice isn’t it?
Spend a stack of time/money/effort creating a report that everybody ignores?
Thats the whole reason why the ‘whoooo – spreadsheets have errors’ scare story breaks down in the commercial world. Everybody ignores them, or at least very very few decisions (important or otherwise) get made on the strength of only one single reporting/analysis spreadsheet. (Financial traders are excluded from that generalisation).
I would argue a great many decisions are made on gut feel and/or wide ranging, hard to specify research and information gathering, and the spreadsheet is used as rational justification. See El Reg’s savage destruction of M Gladwell (author of Blink) here.
Everywhere I have ever worked I have seen multiple period reports issued that have been nonsense and they have got away with it too. I think the self healing nature of organisation is often underestimated.
I’d be interested in any research that compares gut feel to error ridden spreadsheets for decision quality.
I’d also be interested in any research comparing what people do when gut feel != system result.
If you have research in these or other related areas then you should tart it up and submit to Eusprig, then we can meet in Paris for a Pastis in July.
Who else has seen supposedly ‘big’ errors in spreadsheets in companies that survived just fine? Or more to the point which companies failed because of them?