Many people describe Smartsheet as a collaboration tool, and they're right. A big part of Smartsheet's value lies in enabling team members to share a project sheet, task list, sales pipeline or some other list of work that needs to get done. However, when people say collaboration they're often thinking of chat, web meetings, shared appointment calendars, brainstorming and a lot of other 'Web 2.0' ways to interact with colleagues. We're all for that, but we're not looking to emulate WebEx, or replace your Outlook or Google Calendar, or compete with Google Wave on the collaboration front.
Smartsheet is focused on tracking the tangible work that needs to get done. Rather than bringing people together all the time for meetings, brainstorming sessions and status reviews, we want to help you reduce the amount of collaboration (a.k.a. 'manual follow-up') required. We find that the most effective way to get work done is for the individuals best suited to complete a task to be given the time to work on it. That requires knowing what's assigned to them, understanding how it fits into the bigger picture, and giving them the uninterrupted time to do it. They also need an efficient way to give and receive timely updates from others. Most would agree that getting information in real-time is preferred over waiting for a weekly status meeting or regularly scheduled conference call. Smartsheet is focused on helping you get your work done, gain visibility into what others are working on, and be able to leave work knowing that your team can easily see where things stand without having to e-mail, text, or call you.
So, how many people actually head into work everyday thinking "I need to find a better way to collaborate" or "I need to find a better way to manage my work"? Some do, but a great many more are concerned with more specific, immediate challenges. As you may have noticed, we recently added a section to our website titled, "How is it Used?". This section outlines some of the most common work management scenarios managed within Smartsheet. In the near future, you'll see us focus on these more specific types of work management through feature releases and customer spotlights. For example, we'll be expanding our project management capabilities with a very slick Gantt view and Microsoft Project import in early February. Integrated solutions with Google Apps and Quickbooks are in the works. Improved task management features are on the way as well.
A takeaway that might help improve productivity? Collaboration is good, but only if it helps you get your work done and doesn't interrupt you at every turn.