Chris Mondeau for Smartsheet Community: Tell us your Smartsheet experience for ENGAGE 2022

September 07, 2022

Video Transcript

Speaker: Chris Mondeau, @Chris Mondeau, Strategic Solutions Manager, Optimum Consultancy Services

How did you discover Smartsheet?

Chris Mondeau, @Chris Mondeau: So I discovered Smartsheet probably about 10 years ago or so when looking for some project management and scheduling software. I was working in the manufacturing space and was a CAT detailer at the moment and needed to track and progress the activities that I needed. Then from there it just kind of evolved, we started looking at some other softwares and tools and decided it was the good baseline foundation, you know, it was familiar for users and was something that we could scale and kind of gain more power in as we expanded over time. So went from lightweight project tracking all the way to developing and integrating it for a full blown manufacturing and production scheduling tool. From there it went back into the office for high-level project tracking, forecasting and scheduling. We did things like safety and compliance, QA QC installation of activities, even reached out to accounting. So I just started spreading like wildfire and that was kind of an interesting function because to be able to discover and learn more about the business and take the business processes and basically build them into the tool has something that would be, you know, self sustainable, self documented and really just kind of clicked. So it was a really interesting avenue to get started to learn not only more about businesses but also what other tools or applications could kind of be incorporated. You know, now we're in this realm of, you know, continue to work in the tool to spin up functions but we're kind of exploring these deeper realms of integrations and automations between platforms. So Smartsheet's kind of that core ecosystem and now I'm able to work with other applications and services and maybe I'm tying into an existing E R. P. Like SCP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics or integrations with CRM. So having a good foundation, that tool has really allowed me to kind of see what else is out there and continue to grow and expand and come up with solutions between.

Describe a project you worked on that you completed or solved using Smartsheet.

Chris Mondeau, @Chris Mondeau: So one project that I found extremely fascinating was for a construction application and that's one of my all time favorite areas to work in because I get to work with a wider range of stakeholders, whether it's from the guy on the job site, in the field installing or doing, you know, kind of quality audits back up to, you know, maybe the shop floor staff or the project managers and then even higher up with the project management team. One of the things that we really struggled with, they were able to solve through, you know, kind of some of this process improvement was identifying the skill levels of these users and so we were able to leverage some of the tools in Smartsheet specifically around the mobile app and the web app to kind of focus fit within these user groups. So a lot of our core end users are among my favorites you know, who are supplying us with the information, how could I make that easy and accessible for them. So we took a lot of design practices from other industry standards or tools or platforms that they may have been aren't familiar with and you know, we basically recreated them as best we could within Smartsheet, both from a user interface and from a functional standpoint. So we ended up building an extremely cohesive solution that tracked every stage in the lifecycle from a project all the way from estimating to you know, forecast planning and this information kind of translated down to the guys on the job site and what it really ended up opening up to the client was the ability to give and empower their users to view information in real time and you know give immediate feedback whether that was feedback for the project, you know via daily report on the job site that rolls back up to the project management or the shipping and manufacturing teams to kind of view their feedback and make adjustments on the fly. and top down you know operation staff and project managers can kind of relate this information field so it's extremely open, eye opening experience for these users just from an information point but what we found was really now that we're collecting data in a central spot and data even if it was unstructured or semi structured because it was in a digital format, we were able to kind of report on that and really start leveraging some of the advanced tools integrations like you know reporting on data inside power BI where it can parse out you know some of this casual human text thing but I mean back into the solution build, you know we basically built a mobile app version of Smartsheet or in a Smartsheet Dashboard. We made it seem like it was an absolute did a lot of the tile views and the grid so that our field staff were very familiar with, you know they shouldn't be navigating through a giant folder layout to access information on the project. They need to sit and punch my RFIs And I grabbed my shipments, my deliveries, my daily logs, entering my time, so just click a button to get immediately into that. So like I said we recreated kind of like an app interface which made it easier for them to give information. And then for the internal office staff we kind of designed the solution a little bit more like a standard folder structure. Like they were used to you know they used to work inside you know OneDrive or within the document storage on their computer in that kind of hierarchical format. Um and you know we just said you know we want to try to reduce the number of any number of clicks that you do and any of the activities that you're doing right now, if it's a medium of communication that could be a task, right? And so we built out these functions that is capturing work that they're already doing and then just was able to consolidate and report on it and it was a really impressive solution that actually caught the attention of a lot of general contractors that the sub was working with and they kind of showed this and it started you know driving bigger conversations of this open and collaborative kind of function so that you know it kind of caught fire again from there even beyond our organization and you know partners that we were working with wanted to see our information in real-time. I wanted to ask if they could send us information or data back. And so we kind of, I guess a little bit of a grassroots movements between trades that allowed us to, you know, start to collaborate, become more efficient as the whole team, not only internal to the original build, but also with the extended users that were also interacting.

What's your Smartsheet superpower?

Chris Mondeau, @Chris Mondeau: I think my Smartsheet superpower is more in taking an idea and putting out a concept or building out, you know, functional prototype and so it's translating the human need or request that may just be, "Hey I want this and that and maybe want a visual here and I want to, you know, I have a PDF from this" you know, I think I'm able to take those human requests and put it into a Smartsheet builder. I can visualize when someone's telling me a process and design whatever it looks like in the sheet and it's not just for you know, it's kind of a lightweight POC or proof of concept to make sure that I'm understanding the need but you know, a lot of times that functional build can be the Minimum Viable Product and then that can scale out. So I'm able to understand the process and convert that into a strong sheet structure that really maximizes all functions of the tool. So things like averaging column formulas or looking at the Sheet Summary or even things with the Activity Log or sorry the work insights that is able to really maximize, you know, an immediate use case but also provide a longer term investment. And so having that initial foresight of how to design a sheet one way versus the next or for those user groups or for the individual, you know, individuals that might be interacting with the data, I'm able to kind of pick apart things that might be best suited for them just based on some experience and leveraging the other tools but really collaborating with the humans for lack of a better term. And you know, I think the bigger extended case from that really comes from if you if you spend a little bit more time understanding the process and then building out a couple of versions where people can give you feedback and you do a little bit of a design build where you can implement something live in front of them, show them what's the case, have a little bit of foresight to ask. Maybe more driving or probing questions, you can capture out some, you know, functions or user stories that can play better in the long run. So someone may say, yeah I want to collect maybe like a daily status or summary update of my project and I'm able to kind of recycle content inside of the sheet. So as opposed to asking someone like you know who their name is on a web form and input, you know, if we're, you know, we say that if it's restricted form entry, we already know the user who is going to be logging in making that request and we're asking them for when the day is submitted. That form entry, you know, often we explore just saying if they're entering it on that same day, best practice, we're already capturing into free fields of information, right, who submitted it and when they submitted it. In similar case for statuses, so, you know, my status is a complete state. I know it's a complete or any other kind of variations of that. So I'm always looking for, you know, translating that human process into a digital one and structuring it so that we can leverage other functions and features up and then ways to maximize existing columns for other data points that can be split and combining those two together. If we're applying out to a bigger, broader system, whether it's another application that we're sinking into with API development and that could be something with the low code, no code integration, things like Bridge or Zapier or maybe if it's a custom API call um you know, with another service having something that's standardized and consistently named or even matching the name of the destination software can really help, you know, unify that platform. So picking standard terminologies and standard designs really helps take that immediate game for a simple clean solution and then has a long term effect of, you know, when a user comes back into support or they want to develop into they don't have to go hunt around for what the process is. They cannot understand what that tool was built and designed because it's it's done kind of within some form of a standard and development. And then the real power game from there is, you know, the long term reporting. If you're plugging into analytic services or connecting into another platform that might have a different specialty from Smartsheet. So, to summarize, yeah, taking a human need or human progress and then grabbing that and mixing it back over to what that individual needs is one of my most favorite parts. And then seeing everyone to get excited about the solution that's being built and then six months down the line after been using it for a while, then asking, hey, can I get this? We already have the data you've been giving it to us all along without knowing. It's just one of those peak moments.

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