I recently sent out contract documents to several of our service providing offices who are servicing a new account. I also set up the account with the new customer in our system so that we could bill the customer and monitor their account service. Then, our internal account team asked me to make some revisions. Mistakes happen. Customers change their mind. People add things for clarification. I thought nothing of revising the documents, and sending them out again.
A few days later, the account team came back to me to tell me that they needed additional revisions. This happened a few times before I finally decided we needed to have a meeting and figure out what in the world was going on with this account, and why all of these changes were necessary. I have several accounts, and redoing all of these contracts was monopolizing my time.
As we all seated ourselves in the conference room, I asked the Project Manager a question about our latest round of revisions. He then (and this is where the horrible, yet comical, part comes in) unfolded a spreadsheet that he had brought in with him. Then he unfolded it again...and again...and again. He kept unfolding this beast, until the spreadsheet (which was actually several pieces of paper taped together), ran the entire length of the table and hung off on both sides. I burst into laughter. It was no wonder to me why we were having so many revisions, if we were relying on an 8 foot long spreadsheet for our data.
There were tons of numbers, it was very colorful, some things were in bold, some in italics. It was, to quote my grandmother, a "hot mess!" Having tons of data does no one any good, if one can not decipher it. Organization is key. It is my own personal belief that no spreadsheet whose width cannot fit on one piece of paper, should ever be printed. There is no excuse for such a monstrosity. Instead, have summary pages for each functional group, which are linked to data on your master information worksheet. That way, the finance group doesn't have to dig through piles and piles of data to find financial information, the contract group doesn't have to dig for contract data, and the poor admin who had to tape that spreadsheet together for you can stop being giggled at when she walks by the water cooler. In this day and age, when there are so many technological advances and options at your disposal for data mining and presentation, it is hard to forgive such a lack of organization - especially when it has caused me and so many others on our project team to revise our work a half dozen times.
Get Organized or Get Out