Excel is Pain in the Proverbial - Part 4

Why are you still using the old spreadsheet?

Despite all of the great efforts of the team, we still found people reverting back to the old Excel sheets.  Why?

Although we had completed the technical part of the project, we had neglected the people and change part.

No-one likes change and any one who says they do should try swapping the knives and forks around in the silverware drawer - see how long that lasts.

Without sufficient incentive, people will revert to methods they know and are comfortable with.  So we took 2 approaches:

The Carrot

Odoo has a great in-built gamification tool that provides feedback to users on how they are using the system.  It assigns points to the interactions users make - such as adding comments, sending emails from the system, uploading documents etc.  So we started publishing the results by team - I already told you how competitive the team were and this was no exception.

We made sure that when a manager received a message through Odoo that they made a point of saying 'thanks for using Odoo' - that positive reinforcement shouldn't be underestimated.

We also started using the dashboards and publishing them in team meetings (if we had a big office we would put them on a big screen TV but we're all remote workers so this wasn't an option for us).

The Stick

Just like the positive reinforcement, we made it clear that attaching a spreadsheet to an email, extracting a csv file or keeping paper documents instead of uploading to Odoo was unacceptable.  Everyone was responsible for challenging everyone else - 'how do I see this in Odoo?' became our mantra and still is to this day.

We didn't need to uninstall Excel from people laptops or attach electrodes to the Excel icon.

The Result

We started Project MEGA 6-months ago and we've made great progress.  Our weekly stats in Office 365 show a 70% reduction in storage and a whopping 80% reduction in email traffic.

Are we done? No way.  We still hold regular MEGA reviews where users can show others the spreadsheets they're using and get ideas on how they can use Odoo to accomplish the same task and we still monitor the Office 365 stats in our monthly management meeting.


Excel is cunning, it creeps up on you and before you know it, you're managing your entire business on a spreadsheet.  As we're keen to say 'scrappy don't scale' and until we're as big as Microsoft we're no-where near done and neither should you.

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