Don't Group Update Requests

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Nick Burrus
Nick Burrus ✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited 02/19/24 in Smartsheet Basics

Recently, Smartsheet started grouping a large number of Update Requests together. If I had 14 items needing an update request, instead of 14 Update Requests going out, Smartsheet is sending 1 out, with every single field being updated by 1 form. This is a big jump in precedence and a remarkable change from what it was before.

Has anyone found out how to disable the system from grouping update requests? I need them to remain individual.

When they're grouped together, all the automation formatting is thrown out the window and it defaults to the "Please update my online sheet.".

For example this screenshot will show how the automation grouped 29 completely unique rows together in 1 group! None of the custom templating items got pushed through to the email and alerts. Our team cannot update items individually via update requests, as, updating the Update Form updates all 29 rows at one time.


Dr. St Nicholas Burrus DHA, PMP

I build Smartsheets for the US Government, State Government, and about a dozen of the US Fortune 100s.

Best Answer

  • Amy.Mizzi.RP
    Amy.Mizzi.RP ✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
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    I just wanted to note here for anyone searching that the cap is 6 update request rows. If one person has 6 requests scheduled, they will be sent individually, but if there are 7, they will be grouped into 1 email.

    My users want the individual emails for more than 6 rows, so I use a hidden helper column with a formula that numbers the requests by who they are going to, and I have multiple automations broken up by ranges of that calculated request number.

    Row 1 is for Suzy -- Request 1

    Row 2 is for Blake -- Request 1

    Row 3 is for Drew -- Request 1

    Row 4 is for Suzy -- Request 2

    Row 5 is for Suzy -- Request 3

    The criteria for Automation #1 handles Request numbers 1-6, automation #2 handles Requests 7-12, etc.

Answers

  • Jeff Reisman
    Jeff Reisman ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Nick Burrus

    For reasons of efficiency, Smartsheet wants to group alerts and update request emails. When the same automation is triggered for multiple rows at a time, it will always group them together.

    One exception is when you have row data in your custom message, as you do. However, Smartsheet will only split them into individual alerts/update requests if there are 7 or fewer. Any more than that, it strips out the row data from the message and combines them all into one alert or update request. As far as I know, it has been this way at least since I started using Smartsheet in 2019.

    Now, as far as your work processes go - you could try out having multiple people open the same update form and have one person update the first 5 pages but not submit, and another person the next 5 pages and then submit, and see which updates get applied, just rows 6-10, or all 10 rows.

    Another thing to consider is some kind of identifier that differentiates rows and prevents more than 7 from triggering the same automation at the same time? Not sure how I would do that, just an idea for a potential workaround.

    Regards,

    Jeff Reisman

    Link: Smartsheet Functions Help Pages Link: Smartsheet Formula Error Messages

    If my answer helped solve your issue, please mark it as accepted so that other users can find it later. Thanks!

  • Michael Bovilsky
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    Jeff - your explanation as to why it combines the messages in email makes sense. It cannot provide the custom message (with variables) in the email because the email represents multiple messages.

    However, after you hit Open Request, there is no reason that each page (ex: 1 of 610 below) could not show the custom message with variables. It becomes useless if it strips that message out of the update webpage. Thoughts?

    I realize 610 updates is unmanageable, that is just because I was testing.


  • Jeff Reisman
    Jeff Reisman ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Michael Bovilsky

    One trick I have used in the past is to use formulas to duplicate some of the fields I want the user to see but not be able to update, and then include those formula fields in the update request itself. Formula fields just appear as read-only fields in the update request. It's clunky on the back end, but it shows the user the data they need right in the update form.

    So for instance, create a column called Employee Name and use ="Mobile user " + Employee@row as a column formula, then include the Employee Name field in the list of fields in the update request. Then columns called "Data Usage in GBs", "For the month of", and "Exceeding the" (for this one use something like =[Threshold (GB)]@row + " GB high-usage threshold for their position." as the formula.) Play around with it and find the format that works best. Then just hide these columns on the underlying sheet so they're not in the way.

    Regards,

    Jeff Reisman

    Link: Smartsheet Functions Help Pages Link: Smartsheet Formula Error Messages

    If my answer helped solve your issue, please mark it as accepted so that other users can find it later. Thanks!

  • Michael Bovilsky
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    Ha ha, I just did exactly that. Great minds think alike, they say.

    It would be great to get some kind of explanation as to why SmartSheet does that. It seems to break the whole functionality of in-line variables in the message of update requests. Unless you are certain any particular user won't have more than 7 rows they need to update. I can't say that for the dozens of processes I've stood up since in-line variables came out.

    Right?

  • Amy.Mizzi.RP
    Amy.Mizzi.RP ✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
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    I just wanted to note here for anyone searching that the cap is 6 update request rows. If one person has 6 requests scheduled, they will be sent individually, but if there are 7, they will be grouped into 1 email.

    My users want the individual emails for more than 6 rows, so I use a hidden helper column with a formula that numbers the requests by who they are going to, and I have multiple automations broken up by ranges of that calculated request number.

    Row 1 is for Suzy -- Request 1

    Row 2 is for Blake -- Request 1

    Row 3 is for Drew -- Request 1

    Row 4 is for Suzy -- Request 2

    Row 5 is for Suzy -- Request 3

    The criteria for Automation #1 handles Request numbers 1-6, automation #2 handles Requests 7-12, etc.

  • Nick Burrus
    Nick Burrus ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Dr. St Nicholas Burrus DHA, PMP

    I build Smartsheets for the US Government, State Government, and about a dozen of the US Fortune 100s.

  • Amberk
    Amberk ✭✭
    edited 02/19/24
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  • Amy.Mizzi.RP
    Amy.Mizzi.RP ✭✭✭✭
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    Hi @Amberk apologies for the delayed response! Here's my method:

    First, 3 hidden helper columns:

    1. "AutoNumber" (system column)
    2. "Row Number" contains a column formula that will number the rows from top to bottom: =MATCH(AutoNumber@row, AutoNumber:AutoNumber, 0)
    3. "Project Count" contains a column formula that numbers projects assigned to each person, taking some criteria into account. (If project is complete/canceled/on hold, leave the project count blank. If there is a project manager assigned, count this row and all rows above it with that person's active projects, and return that count.) If you don't have additional criteria, you could start your formula at the COUNTIFS section:

    =IF(OR([Project Status]@row = "Complete", [Project Status]@row = "Canceled", [Project Status]@row = "On Hold"), "", IF([Project Manager]@row <> "", COUNTIFS([Project Manager]:[Project Manager], [Project Manager]@row, [Row Number]:[Row Number], <=MATCH([Row Number]@row, [Row Number]:[Row Number], 0))))


    Then I have a series of automations set up that have a range of Project Count values in the criteria. ex: Every Tuesday, where Project Count is between 1 and 6, request an update. Duplicate for Project Count 7-12, 13-18, etc. until you have enough coverage for your team's workload.


    I hope this helps!