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Smartsheet - Some very clever bedding

Smartsheet - Some very clever bedding
A smart sheet?  Does it sing you to sleep at night?  Tell you when it needs washing?  Go out trick or treating at Halloween?  Does it’s best not to twist itself around your legs when you and your significant other are…

No, that would just be weird!

Smartsheet is a project management tool.  A big, clever, sheet of dynamic info.  Keep track of what you’re doing, and keep others in the loop at the same time.  Kind of like a shared spreadsheet, although much much cooler than Excel.



Here’s the good bits.

I was welcomed by a friendly and mercifully quick ‘getting started’ video.  Yay for the perky ‘valley girl’ narrator.  And then was plied with a number of other perky valley girl vids as I went along.  Sometimes this sort of thing is annoying, but in this case the vids continued to be mercifully quick and useful.

Now, down to the nuts and bolts.  Smartsheet offered a whole swag bag of templates to get me started.



Everything from employee performance trackers…



…to a task sheet for starting your own blog.



Navigation wise, it’s as easy to get through as a pint of lager in a heat wave...



…and, to be honest, it’s just about as satisfying.  Yes, there goes my ‘ticking boxes’ fetish again.  It gets the jobs done, I tells you…it gets the jobs done.



Now we delve into the really handy stuff.  For a start you can attach files, images, and links to your sheet.



Found a second hand double-decker bus sales yard whilst searching for the next company vehicle?  Whack the link in.  Got three options on that lot for the next company party bus?  Chuck those pictures in too.

And now it’s time to share your findings with your ‘funkany’.  This a new word I’m testing out.  Funky company = funkany.  Like it?  No.  You’re right.  It sounds like a bacterial disorder of the toes.

Anyway, it’s a simple thing then to share your smart sheet with your crew…



…or…and I really really like this feature, you can make a form and imbed it on a website.  The punters can fill out the form at said website, thus sharing their views by remote.  Then the results are automatically updated on your smart sheet.  Saves a hell of a lot of donkey work collating responses.

Cool.  Double decker bus purchased.  But wait.  The buses flux capacitor instructions are in Russian, and you need them translated, fast!  Otherwise there’s no way your office party is going to make it to the Swinging Sixties, as promised.  (Yes, I’m stretching this metaphor for all it’s worth.  You should hear the screaming.)

Easily solved!  Scan the instructions and send them to the Mechanical Turk.



Okay, instructions are anglicized, boxes are ticked, and it’s off to the Swinging Sixties we go.

Well…almost.

I just have one or two issues with Smartsheet to air first.

It ain’t pretty.



Time and time again I’m disappointed by the lack of aesthetic sensibility in business products.  It’s like no-one cares whether you have a good time using their app or not.  Whether it’s a ‘nice’ experience.  Functionality rocks, don’t get me wrong.  But how hard is it to add a little design here and there?  A bit of colour here.  A bit of art there…

And some of the template options are double-ups with different names.  ‘Evangelist Office’ has EXACTLY the same content as ‘How to Start a Blog’.  It’s a small thing, I know, but it bugged me that there aren’t obviously as many different templates as there appears to be.

Still, Smartsheet’s pretty damned good.

Yes, it is.  I’ve already started using the ‘How to Start a Blog’ sheet for a side project of mine and I’m sure, after a pretty snappy search, you could find just about any template/format you wanted in there to get you started.

Or, making your own’s no big sweat either.

And that Mechanical Turk feature…that’s something I’ve simply never seen before in a package like this.  Innovative thinking chaps and chapettes!

So, I say if you’ve got something on the go, and it needs to be coordinated with others, Smartsheet’s the way forward.  Especially if your crew’s scattered all over the globe, and you’re on a reasonably tight budget.



And while you’re there, use the feedback function and get the Smartsheet gang to make it all a bit prettier, will you?

Cheers for that.

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Our user comments

Sandra
February 24th, 2011
I too have wasted so many hours looking for THE solution in project management. Smartsheet is it for me. I'm a Get It Done (GTD) fan, and I can perfectly incorporate it in Smartsheet. I use it with all my VAs and though they sometimes balk to begin with because they have to learn something new(...wahhh), but it is either that... or not work with me. Because I'm sold on Smartsheet.
Sandi
February 2nd, 2011
can I share my smartsheet with an i pad user and if so how is this done on the ipad? thanks
Rachel
January 4th, 2011
My review wasn't nearly as entertaining as yours! http://racheldoesitwrite.com/wp-content/uploads/Smartsheet.pptx
Ron Sheridan
December 31st, 2010
I wasted many hours testing numerous online collaborative project management tools. I wish I could get that time back. The primary take-aways for me are: 1) The more structured and focused a tool is the less likely a team will adopt it, and the less likely it will me your needs. 2) Very few information workers are ready and willing to grasp the value of and comply with implementation of these kinds of tools. What a surprise huh. 3) The tool that a team will engage with, use and "comply" with (make it part of the work flow planning and management process), is the tool to use for your team, and yes it is a series of trade offs. I have found that Smartsheet has provided the greatest lift in team driven project planing and calibration, and that has led to greater team output and effectiveness. This is true by a wide margin over the other platforms we've tried. Most failed right away. The main reasons why Smartsheet has won out with myself and my team, is that the platform elegantly marries the familiar spreadsheet matrix interface with outlining. The fact that it's fundamentally so easy to use seals the deal imo. I have a decent sized wishlist of what I'd like Smartsheet to do but as someone who is managing a company that is building a web app I get the futility in begging for functionality. At least I have stopped researching and testing tools and can finally get more work done. Thanks to the Smartsheet team. Great job!
Maria
December 30th, 2010
Perky valley girl here. I'm glad the videos made your first experience a little more enjoyable. Thanks for your in-depth review. I would love to hear more about how you end up using Smartsheet down the road, sixties bus adventures and all. I would especially be interested if/when you start using the survey forms feature. It's one of my favorites too. Best, Maria
Jodi
December 30th, 2010
Now that's a product review! Thanks for the very flattering comments (and the funny ones too). The entire Smartsheet team appreciates it.
Someone's Mother
December 30th, 2010
I like the snappy dialog explanations. It's not dull business vocabulary!

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