You may have been using Smartsheet for a while on your own, or even to collaborate with your team. If you’ve begun working with your team or other stakeholders in Smartsheet, you’ve probably started seeing some improvements in the way you work together and get things done. What if you could take your collaboration to the next level — and give your team what they need to accomplish even more?
In this post, I’ll cover three team collaboration tips — based on key Smartsheet capabilities — that will give your team a winning edge.
1. All the Information Your Team Needs — in One Place
One of the major barriers to collaboration is making sure everyone has the information they need to contribute to their part of a project or process. One study found that workers spend 36 percent of their workday looking for and consolidating information — and much of the time, they still can’t find the information they need.
Smartsheet can serve as the single source of truth for your team, so they can find all of the information they need to work together. But being on the same page is about more than updating cells in the same sheet. By using attachments, comments and @mentions, and forms, you can keep information, relevant documents, and conversations about your work in one easy-to-find place.
Comments and @mentions Capture Conversations
Comments can provide a lot of transparency into work being done, as they capture questions and discussions in a sheet that may have previously been lost in email or chat. Get your team’s conversations out of your chat apps and into Smartsheet by using comments to log discussions around relevant tasks. You can then track conversations and notes in a way that allows everyone on the team to access the information they need.
You can even flag specific comments by using @mentions in your comments, which send an immediate notification of your comment to a specific person.
Access All Attachments at Anytime
Smartsheet also has a column where you can attach documents and images from Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Egnyte, or directly from your computer. You can also add URLs for easy reference to web pages.
Attaching relevant documents and images helps you and your team easily find the files you need to get work done on a specific project, without having to remember where they are saved or searching for them on your computer or in other apps. This makes it easy to keep work organized, since documents and images are attached to the designated task row.
Anyone who has Owner, Admin, or Editor permissions on a sheet can work directly in that sheet and use and access comments and attachments.
Easily Collect Data From Anyone With Forms
Smartsheet forms allow others to add rows to a sheet. Forms are a great way for you or your team members to specify exactly the information you need from each other or other stakeholders, whether you’re fielding requests, capturing tasks, or gathering feedback. Creating a form to capture information directly in your sheet is simple. Watch the video below to learn more, or join our upcoming webinar to see how it’s done.
By adding a form to a sheet, your team can get all the information they need at once, rather than sending emails back and forth or using a chat app to fill in the gaps. This reduces the time and number of emails involved in the process of gathering information and entering it into a sheet.
2. Give the Right People the Right Access With Sheet Permissions
Most people collaborate in Smartsheet by sharing a sheet directly with their team members or other stakeholders involved in the work. This means they invite other users to make changes to a sheet as needed using the share button.
You can share a sheet with anyone with an email address, even if they haven’t used Smartsheet before or don’t have a Smartsheet license. Unlicensed users can still collaborate on sheets; they just can’t own or create sheets.
But people and teams across one organization may use Smartsheet in different ways. Not every user should have the same access to add or update the information in a sheet. That’s why it’s important to make sure the right people — both internal and external collaborators — have the appropriate level of access through user-based permissions — Owner, Admin, Editor, and Viewer. With Smartsheet, you can also lock rows and columns to prevent other users from editing data in specific rows and columns.
Learn more about sheet permissions and locked rows and columns in our upcoming webinar.
3. Let Automation Move Your Projects Forward
Imagine you could spend five minutes setting up an automated workflow, then save hours you used to spend following up with your team to track down status updates, remind them of deadlines, and making sure each team member knows their action items. With automated alerts, reminders, and update requests, you can collaborate and move work forward even if you’re out grabbing a cup of coffee.
Stop Tracking Down Status Updates
When collaborating with your team, set up automated update requests to automatically ask for the latest information on an open task. For example, you could create an automated update request that triggers based on a date column that requests that the assignee updates the status column.
Or you could set up an automated update request when the status changes to “In Progress” that requests that the assignee updates the estimated duration of the task.
Notify a Team Member When a Task is Assigned
You can also set up automations to notify a specific member of your team when they’ve been assigned a new task. Because you can set up a notification to be sent to a specific user or based on the contact indicated in a Contact List column type.
For example, when setting up an alert you might select the “Assigned To” column so that when a contact is assigned a task, that specific contact is notified.
Never Forget a Deadline
Do you worry about your team hitting deadlines? Do you find yourself checking in with them as you get closer to deliverable dates, just to make sure you’re on track? Well, you can automate those reminders by setting up an automation based on a Date column type in your sheet.
Send yourself and your team an automated reminder when key dates are approaching or on a specific date that something needs to be done. You can also set up an automated reminder after a date has passed to check in on overdue deliverables or to remind team members of reporting requirements.
To learn more about how to use these and other Smartsheet capabilities to empower your team to collaborate more effectively, watch our Work Smart Webinar on Collaboration Best Practices: