We started this series by defining the difference between a Smartsheet System Admin and a Solution Admin, key domains Solution Admins must master to achieve Operational Excellence, challenges they face in those domains, and practical solutions that can be implemented to overcome those obstacles.
Part 5: Managing Feedback on a Smartsheet Solution
Collating and addressing feedback from multiple stakeholders can become a cumbersome task.
Create a centralized feedback system in Smartsheet, using forms or comments, prioritize enhancement requests through a review process, and emphasize clear communication with stakeholders to address feedback through technical changes, training, or documentation.
As with most software applications, a Smartsheet solution is likely to receive feedback, change requests, or ideas for improvements. Therefore, it is essential for a Solution Admin to anticipate and be prepared for such requests. Without a system in place to centralize, review, prioritize, and address feedback from multiple stakeholders, collating and responding to the requests can become a cumbersome, fatiguing, and overwhelming task. Therefore, it is crucial to have a mechanism to manage and address the feedback efficiently to keep the end-users engaged and productive.
Build a feedback system within Smartsheet using forms or comments to give you a central backlog of requests. Establish a feedback review process to comb through the requests and prioritize what to release an enhancement. The key word here is: request. Not every piece of feedback necessitates a technical change - some could be addressed through additional training or better documentation. No one likes surprises, so communication is key to ensure stakeholders are aware of the changes made based on their feedback.
Now that we have identified the roadblocks that will inevitably become a reality, let's look at some practical solutions that can be implemented to improve how Solution Admins manage feedback on a Smartsheet solution.
5-Step Action Plan for Effective Smartsheet Solution Feedback Management:
Step 1: Build a Centralized Feedback Hub:
Utilize Smartsheet forms: Create a dedicated Smartsheet form for solution users to submit feedback, suggestions, and change requests. This ensures one centralized funnel for requests and prevents the likelihood of requests getting lost amongst hallway convos, meetings, pings, and emails.
Customize the form: Include fields for specific information like feature requests, pain points, potential solutions, and impacted users or workflows.
Embed the form on a solution feedback & documentation dashboard: Place the form prominently on a relevant Smartsheet dashboard specifically for solution feedback or documentation to give users a 1 stop shop for submitting feedback, reviewing new updates, and accessing training and documentation.
Step 2: Establish a Review and Prioritization Process:
Schedule regular feedback reviews: Dedicate time each week or month to systematically review submitted feedback.
Develop a scoring system: Define criteria for prioritizing feedback based on user impact, frequency of mentions, feasibility, and alignment with the overall goals of the solution.
Involve stakeholders: Consider setting up a review committee with representatives from different user groups for diverse perspectives.
Step 3: Respond and Communicate Effectively:
Acknowledge all feedback: Send automated confirmation emails to users and provide regular updates on the status of their requests.
Prioritize communication: Inform users about which feedback is being prioritized and why, even for suggestions not immediately implemented.
Utilize reports and automations: Leverage Smartsheet reporting features to share updates on feedback progress and status of requests with users.
Socialize Solution Enhancements and Changes: Solution Administrators should communicate major updates that may affect workflows or users on a quarterly or recurring basis, similar to how software companies announce their product enhancements. This can be done through various channels such as feedback dashboards, org-wide emails, or all-hands meetings. These forums allow admins to show that feedback is considered and acted upon, and enable users to understand the context for any changes.
Step 4: Address Feedback Beyond Technical Upgrades:
Offer alternative solutions to technical update requests: It is recommended to first consider exploring existing features, improved documentation, or training workshops to address user needs before deciding to focus on technical changes. Sometimes, a user may request technical updates when their issue could be resolved with just a bit more guidance and support, especially if they were not present during the initial solution launch training efforts.
Promote user education: Use feedback as an opportunity to identify knowledge gaps and create targeted training materials, or FAQs for ongoing documentation updates.
Foster user engagement: Encourage users to upvote or comment on each other's feedback to understand broader needs and prioritize effectively.
Step 5: Continuously Monitor and Iterate:
Track feedback impact: Monitor the usage of implemented changes and gather user feedback on their effectiveness to measure success. This doesn’t need to be a formal process! You can send out user surveys in a Smartsheet form or interview teams or users for candid feedback.
Adapt your process: Be open to refining your feedback management system based on new user needs, platform updates, and learnings from your team.
Celebrate successes: Recognize and showcase the positive impact of implemented feedback within the organization to encourage user participation.
Bonus Tip: Utilize dynamic views and automated alerts within Smartsheet to create a dashboard that visually tracks feedback progress, prioritization, and communication with users.
By implementing this 5-step action plan and incorporating the top-of-mind recommendations, you can transform feedback management into a valuable tool for driving continuous improvement and user satisfaction within your Smartsheet solution. Remember, a well-managed feedback loop fosters deeper user engagement, ensures your solution evolves to meet their needs, and ultimately contributes to the success of your organization.
In Part 6 of this series we’ll dive into practical tips on Releasing Enhancements to a Smartsheet Solution