Smartsheet is a absolutely alluring amusing tool, but because of its affinity to a spreadsheet and the blank of some key user experience, the ability and account of the appliance may not be anon evident, alike to adept users.
Smartsheet seems a lot like Google Drive’s spreadsheet. However, the abstracts that is managed in smartsheets’ cells and the afterimage and admission controls beyond the artefact is clashing what goes on in Google spreadsheets. For example, a Smartsheet can administer tasks, anniversary of which which can be assigned to specific users. Start and end dates can be included, which can be displayed as Gantt archive or in agenda views. Here’s a arrangement of a action with assignment dependencies, for example.
The appearance that is abundantly missing from Smartsheet is the action stream, a accumulating of all contempo activities in all smartsheets a user has admission to. Without that — which is the ascendant amusing allegory nowadays — users will accept to appointment anniversary smartsheet and audit them to ascertain what has been updated.
Supporting Accommodating Work
Hidden in the afterimage and admission controls of Smartsheet is an absorbing find. The architecture allows for a actual affluent array of accommodating work. For example, I can actualize one smartsheet with 20 columns of data, some of which I appetite to share, and some I appetite to abide confidential. Smartsheet supports bond the ethics in one or added columns into columns in addition smartsheet. So I could allotment the names and resumés of job candidates, for example, by bond to those columns into a aggregate spreadsheet, but not bond the cavalcade with bacon history.
By extension, there can be a sprawling arrangement of advice managed in dozens, hundreds or bags of smartsheets can be networked together, with advice aggregate in a burst pattern, beaming outward, and actuality alloyed with added bounded information. Consider article absolutely distributed, like acclimation the Olympics, area bags of alone companies ability be administration amount advice managed by the Olympic organizing committee, like dates, locations, and amount responsibilities, and again anniversary alignment could booty that accessible data, and add their own claimed advice in accessory smartsheets, and allotment that in a dozen altered means with subcontractors and centralized departments.
In such a arrangement there is no master, centralized control: it’s a absolutely broadcast but commutual arrangement of advice advised to alike that activities of many, abounding people, but it works on a networked, cull basis. And those bodies can be actual about connected: conceivably the smartsheet advice is all that’s needed. Note that Smartsheet supports a adaptation of its apparatus that integrates with Mechanical Turk for crowdsourcing baby tasks, for example.
The apparatus has a actual affluent adequacy about form-based advice capture, so users can actualize Smartsheet-based forms, column them externally, like on a website, and abduction abstracts as inputs to business activities. For example, job applicants could ample in a anatomy with basal information, and abide a book adapter with a resumé. That advice is captured in a smartsheet, and again avalanche into an appliance analysis smartsheet with an appraisal checklist.
But the presentation of smartsheets — attractive like standalone spreadsheets, and with the linkages and admission advice buried in almanac and sheet-level metadata — conceals the abeyant ability of this tool. So, I anticipate Smartsheet needs to additionally actualize a presentation of the arrangement of sheets. For example, if I accept created a accumulating of 25 smartsheets with links amid them, I would like to be able to anticipate those connections, like a mindmap or an entity-relationship diagram. And conceivably alike dispense them in that view.
The Bottom Line
The ascendancy of the spreadsheet allegory in Smartsheets is both a absolution and a curse. It makes it anon barefaced to bodies who may accept been managing projects in spreadsheets, but it additionally conceals the tool’s hidden capabilities for accommodating work. Until the user acquaintance is amped up to bigger abutment that, Smartsheet will be advised aloof a hardly added able spreadsheet, and that’s a shame.
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