appoftheweekBy Maria Geokezas, Director of Client Services and in charge of making things “go!” for her clients.

How Smartsheet gave me my life back

I’ve been jumping up and down cheering the praises of Smartsheet for the past three weeks. It was then that I signed up for a free trial of Smartsheet, instantly saw the value and “strongly suggested” my team sign up as well.

Every marketer has experienced project management woes:

  • Constantly changing deadlines
  • Delays in the project flow that can’t be anticipated
  • Multiple projects in different stages with different stakeholders
  • Tools that can’t keep up or tools that are jerry-rigged and incredibly manual to keep up to date

In my role at Heinz Marketing, I’ve had to deal with all of the above, happening simultaneously with different clients. Because we are a small shop, we created our own tools to manage our projects and deliverables. These were relatively simple Excel spreadsheets that had to be updated manually. With a different spreadsheet for each client project, my team and I were juggling multiple spreadsheets and dealing with multiple versions. It was taking us more time to update and document than to actually do the work!

Then I discovered Smartsheet, and instantly gained more time, making me more productive at my job. Now our team status meetings are quick and efficient, I know in advance what is at risk, I don’t have to spend time tracking down the current status of deliverables and I can see all my clients’ project status at a glance. Smartsheet has even made it easier to update clients with current status of their projects.

Here’s why Smartsheet has helped me become a smarter marketer:

  • It works just like Excel. The learning curve is very quick. I don’t waste any time learning how to use the tool. It’s super intuitive.
  • Pre-made templates. Smartsheet has established a number of templates so I didn’t have to spend any time setting up a project management framework. Pick a template and go!
  • Super flexible. The tool instantly switches from list, to Gantt chart to calendar view.
  • Automated reminders. Once you set up the reminders, the tool sends them to the person responsible automatically.
  • Documentation. Notes and emails documenting status or background for a particular step in the project can be copy/pasted directly into Smartsheet. It’s always there and accessible to anyone who views. No more digging through email to figure out who provided approval, or not.
  • Summary report. As a manager, I need to see across multiple projects and clients to balance resources and ensure delivery dates are met. Smartsheet allows me to see all upcoming deadlines across all clients and projects in one view. The report is always current and I can update the specific deliverable automatically from the report.
  • Sharing: I can choose what type of access and how much visibility to give clients, my boss and my vendors. I can share the entire sheet, or give them visibility of one row. I can give them editing or viewing rights.

I know I’m only scratching the surface of what Smartsheet can do for me. Yet, it has made such an immediate impact to my productivity – I was even able to carve out enough time to write this blog post!