Q: How do I link to an Excel file? A: Why Would you Do That?
I talked to two customers yesterday, both who came to me with some questions about attaching and linking to excel files.
Rows, Tags vs. Columns
In both cases, we agreed on a better approach using page in Traction instead of rows in Excel, and a simple tagging strategy instead of columns in excel.
The first case was a customer at a state level Department of Health.
The second case was a customer at a Big Pharma with a system for capturing as many as 3,000 journal abstracts at a time and dropping them into an excel sheet.
In both cases, we quickly figured out a strategy for how to arrange the content in terms of Pages and Tags and how to use search to slice and dice the information to satisfy even the most begrudging team members.
An Example - From Rows in Excel to Pages Instead
By way of illustration, here is an example of a product Feature displayed in its article /
Single Page View: Here you can see the article and its tags which include assignment of content type (Feature), status (To Do), priority (P2), and milestone (V2_1).
Section Table View: This view leverages the use of a Section in an article which operates as a filter over just the pages marked To Do AND (Feature OR Bug).
Section Table View with Page Expanded: The next issue is how you can actually interact with the table.
A New Way to Work
As people make the transition from email, word and excel to page based communication in social software platforms like Traction TeamPage, there needs to be a fundamental reset on how we think about information and how to organize it.
I love this example because it offers a clear visualization of:
a) Why breaking big word documents into separate pages offers incredible advantages.
b) How page based workflows are achieved with a simple tagging strategy.
c) Why our concept of the types of structure you can create in Excel or database tools can be met and beat with pages, tags and meta data oriented around the pages.
This is one of many good examples of how social software can fundamentally alter the way we work for the better.