How to build Smartsheet Dashboards & Portals

A Smartsheet Dashboard example
A Smartsheet Dashboard example
Smartsheet Dashboard example

Smartsheet Dashboards and Portals provide real-time visibility into critical data and essential resources with easy-to-configure views. Dashboards and portals are made up of different widgets associated with the different types of data you want to share. They can be shared with anyone, and are easily viewed on the mobile app. Smartsheet have just released a 2 part webinar on Dashboards. In these webinars, Anna Mkrtchyan, Product Marketing Manager at Smartsheet demonstrates the importance of preparing your data and then goes through building and designing the dashboards. The content from this webinar is fantastic. I’ll be adding content from this webinar to the various Training courses we provide at Cheetah Transformation, especially the Introduction to Smartsheet course.

 

Smartsheet Dashboards part 1 – Preparing data

Before you build a dashboard, it’s important to make sure you have the right data created to power your dashboard metrics and charts. In this webinar, you’ll learn about cell linking, reporting and sheet summary.

 

I have highlighted a couple of key points from the webinar below.

Before you start building your dashboards, it’s really important to think about who the Dashboard is aimed at, and understanding the action you ant to drive. It’s likely that you will have various stakeholders and teams who will all be interested in different aspects of your projects

1. Think about your audience:

    • Project Teams – the dashboards need to be action oriented, highlighting actions that are late, actions that need resolving etc
    • Leadership – dashboards need to highlight higher level metrics, such as overall performance, KPI’s, overall programme health

2. Define your purpose. What actions do you want people viewing the dashboards to take away? Is it around:

      • Actions that need to be undertaken
      • Understanding the status of the programme / project
      • Sharing resources or info through a portal

In terms of Preparing data for Smartsheet Dashboards & Portals, Anna highlights the 3 main methods of producing data for Dashboards:

 

1. Prepare sheet data

Sheet Summary provides a standard, robust way to organise and report on critical sheet data:

  • Define, organise and report on key sheet information
  • Copy summary fields to other sheets
  • Surface summary data in dashboards
  • Power charts with summary data

2. Consolidate work across sheets

Reports consolidate key information from multiples sheets into a single overview:

  • Dynamic, cross-sheet view based on report criteria
  • Work across multiple sheets through a single report
  • Add reports directly to dashboards
  • Create charts directly to dashboards

3. Portfolio view roll-up

Create a roll-up sheet to understand programme performance

  • Bring together data from multiple sheets using cross-sheet formulas and cell-links
  • Create high level metrics of entire portfolio
  • Surface metrics on dashboards or charts

These can be summarised in the following table:

Data for Smartsheet Dashboards

Smartsheet Dashboards part 2 – Building and designing

Learn best practices for building a dynamic and collaborative dashboard. Review dashboard widget types and best practices for creating visual dashboards to drive collaboration and decision-making.

The key take-outs from the second part of the video on Smartsheet Dashboards & Widgets are:

1. There are 8 widget types, and they serve the following purposes:

  • Format with Title, Text & Image widgets
  • Surface data with Metric, Report & Charts widget
  • Connect external content with Shortcut & Web Content widgets

2. Consider Design elements

  • Consistent colour schemes
  • Consistent widget interation in Advanced Options
  • Filter Reports and Charts for Current User
  • Create dashboards for different audiences

The third point above warrants some extra explanation. New functionality has been released in Q4 2019 to enable reports to be surfaced on Dashboards which can be set-up for Current User. This enables My Tasks or the concept of My Dashboard to be created. This is fantastic news. To fo this, you need, to go into Advanced Options, and select ‘Dashboard viewer’.

Advanced Options widget
Advanced Options in Report Widget

There are some great Dashboard examples on the Smartsheet Dashboard and Portals Gallery. We have also created some examples of Smartsheet Charts. We will also discuss Smartsheet Dashboards & Portals at the Events we run. Click on this Events link to find out more.

If you would like to attend a training course where we demonstrate best practices to build Smartsheet Dashboards, please view our Training course page, or feel free to get in touch to see how we can support you.

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