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The work that I do involves a lot of thought, numbers, and time. There is pressure to work on as much and as fast as possible, but also to make sure that our answers are accurate; accuracy most importantly.

When I finally have the work ready, I check it over, and then I send out the results. However, I keep making little mistakes, as I am tired and anxious to move on to the next work item.

For example, I might save the workbook on the last worksheet, instead of the first one, confusing the client that I sent them the wrong workbook (they just need to change the worksheet). Or perhaps I typo a date range or number, causing a big alarm. Or maybe I forgot a recipient in the email. Yes, a mistake every now and then is fine, but nearly every item of work that I do has a little mistake in nearly every revision. These little mistakes are adding up and I am worried that others are starting to feel that I am incompetent.

Question: How can I get better at checking my work? Where do I even begin to personal development my quality control skills?

We do not have Q&A, and each person is expected to Quality check their own work. Unit testing is not an option, but I have gotten better with making sure that what I output agrees with other things that have been previously outputted.

closed as too broad by gnat, OldPadawan, Rory Alsop, panoptical, JazzmanJim Jan 23 at 19:06

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Why is unit testing not an option? It's the correct answer. – Trevor D Jan 18 at 18:59
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    Do not rush things if you want quality – Ed Heal Jan 18 at 20:35
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You seem to know the small issues that you have each time, so the solution is simple; a checklist of items that you need to do in order to release the work to the client. Airline Pilots have written checklists, so why shouldn't you.

Example items might be..

  1. Check that you were on the correct workbook before saving
  2. Check date range (On large important spreadsheets, I have a hidden sheet for idiot tests - e.g make sure that date range A is outside and earlier than date range B, for instance, and that column C always adds up to 100, etc)
  3. Use Mailing/Distribution lists instead of emailing everyone individually.

Every time you spot a minor mistake, add the correction to this checklist. Of course, you do need to be diligent in making sure that you've worked through the checklist, but that'll get easier with time.

  • I agree with your points but I'd put them all under the same umbrella of "Automate everything you can" – Peter M Jan 18 at 20:22
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For example, I might save the workbook on the last worksheet, instead of the first one, confusing the client that I sent them the wrong workbook (they just need to change the worksheet). Or perhaps I typo a date range or number, causing a big alarm. Or maybe I forgot a recipient in the email. Yes, a mistake every now and then is fine, but nearly every item of work that I do has a little mistake in nearly every revision. These little mistakes are adding up and I am worried that others are starting to feel that I am incompetent.

In all these samples, you're trying to rush. Slow down and maybe even put the file in your draft folder and get up and walk around a little. Then come back and look over the files again. Perhaps read things backwards, seem to help too. Like start from the last word and move backwards to the start. The idea is to slow down, and make sure you're sending the right item.

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