The role of OR specialists in 'do it yourself' spreadsheet development

J.S. Edwards, P.N. Finlay, J.M. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The implementation of 'do it yourself' spreadsheets (DIY-SS) has become widespread in recent years. Although the interest of the non-specialist in creating SS is to be welcomed, this has led to concerns that many of these systems may not be 'fit-for-purpose'. The principal reasons for this are the inappropriate scope and focus of the SS and the lack of detailed verification that is carried out. With an appropriate framework to guide them, the OR professional therefore has an important new role to play in supporting DIY-SS by guiding the DIY developer. A set of 20 guidelines is presented to help the OR specialist guide the DIYer to 'scope' any proposed SS. Then a set of 21 'points of best practice'
is presented to support verification as the resultant SS is developed. The paper concludes by briefly reflecting on the new role for the OR specialist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-27
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2000


  • decision support systems
  • modelling
  • spreadsheets
  • user-analyst
  • validation


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