Confessions of a recovering spreadsheet shuffler

Tips & Tricks
Apr 2, 2009
6 Min Read

I’ve been thinking about my last post and figured if I’m asking you to share your spreadsheet story why don’t I share mine too.I admit it, I was a shuffler.Don’t get me wrong.I like spreadsheets for number crunching -- even making lists or schedules when I’m the only person working on a project.But, I’ve not a fan of the shuffling thing.

Prior to joining the QuickBase team I worked for several companies where I have been locked out of team spreadsheets that were posted on a shared drive – because someone else updated their information and left the spreadsheet open. That resulted in the rest of the team – or at least the most frustrated member - hunting that person down to close the spreadsheet so the rest of us could update our respective sections before our team meeting that day.That was definitely frustrating.Other times it was like an update roll-call.I’m done. Who’s going next?Ok, I’m done. Next. And on and on till we each got our updates in.

In the past I’ve also had to spend time consolidating spreadsheets.One time I had a list of leads from a seminar and I needed status updates from various sales reps. Because each sales rep could only see their own information I had to create about 10 versions of the spreadsheet – one per sales rep. Then email one spreadsheet to each rep requesting an update on the list of prospects.Followed by reminder emails and phone calls to get the information back, then consolidate that information back into one spreadsheet for a program report to management.

With QuickBase reporting on leads is so much easier.Our concierge team (think inside sales meets customer service) uses QuickBase to get their leads – each rep sees only their information – and I can easily report from the same system.I just pull a report of leads by their campaign code in order to get just my program.If I ever needed to remind the concierge team to update information I could set up an email notification to remind the whole team – instead of having to send out an individual email to each person.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to have all the information I need all in one system and accessible through an internet browser.I can pull reports from home, from the road.I don’t have to be in the office or using a VPN to do it.

One more confession

You know when you send out a spreadsheet to a few people for updates and at least one of them messes with the formatting so you can’t just cut and paste information back into your master spreadsheet? Well, sometimes I’m one of those people who reformat a spreadsheet to make it work better for me. At my last job, I drove my manager a little crazy with my spreadsheet tweaking. But that’s all behind me now because with QuickBase I don’t need a spreadsheet, I can just create or edit a report in my team’s QuickBase application to see just the fields I need to see and then use grid edit to update my project information. I love grid edit - it looks just like a spreadsheet. I get to see the information I need the way I need it and I haven’t messed up any formatting for anyone else. And there’s no cutting and pasting, my information is updated along with my co-workers all in one place.No fuss, no muss and no frustrated managers.

Does any of this sound familiar? Download the free eBook on The Hidden Costs of Spreadsheets to see if they are slowing you down, too!