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Best way to set up a sheet to track multiple IT projects


Our IT department has several projects we want to track. I need advice on the best way to set up the sheet(s) so that we can see the details of each project and have the ability to see all of the projects on one sheet.

Which option would be the better set-up?

Option A - Have one sheet that lists of all the projects with each project having it's own hierarchy on the sheet (I am concerned that the sheet could become too big and onerous to work with.)

Option B- Create a separate sheet for each project with all the tasks under one hierarchy and then linking that cell n the project sheet into an IT project summary sheet. (It seems that it may not be possible to see each of the project details simultaneously in the same sheet?)

Maybe, you can suggest another option that would be better than either A or B?



  • steven.reed14881
    steven.reed14881 ✭✭✭✭✭


    One of the best things about Smartsheet to me is the flexibility that it gives you to meet whatever your needs may be. I am using it to manage six different programs with anywhere from 5-15 projects each. We are using Sights to report out weekly on each program to our leadership team, and each Sight contains

    • Program Headlines: program-wide or specific project highlights
    • Project Summary section: a single line representing each project containing multiple 'stoplights' assessing the condition, the % Complete and Target Finish Date (both linked directly to the project schedule), and a Weekly Accomplishments field
    • Leadership Assistance Needed - Risks: list of any risks flagged in project Risk Logs for exposure/escalation in our weekly leadership review meeting
    • Leadership Assistance Needed - Actions, Issues, Decisions: similar to the risks above, except Actions, Issues or Decisions
    • Links to Project Status Reports: we also include links to the project status reports in case drill down is needed

    This has worked pretty well for us to this point, however, we are flexible to modify as new requirements are identified. One of the nice things about this solution is that there is very little overhead for our Project Leads to produce the weekly program report--as long as they are keeping their projects updated.

    This is just to give you some food for thought. Let me know if you have any questions.


  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭


    To add to Steve's excellent post, no matter which way you go, Reports are your friend.

    They can combine data from multiple sheets and/or filter out data from a single sheet.

    I use both Option A and Option B (and others) depending on the specific needs for a specific project or operational task set.

    If one does not work for a particular case or a particular team, the solution can morph into one that will.




    I am fairly new to Smartsheet. Could you please help me understand how you have setup your programs?

    I am looking to setup a program in Smartsheet with multiple projects rolling up to the program.

    There would program level deliverables and schedule and project level deliverables and schedule.

    Would I have all projects created in Smartsheet and then create a project for the program? Is there a way to associate all projects to the program level project?

    I would like to pull a program level report - I am looking for the report to include the status of status of the deliverables and schedule at program level and also status of the deliverables at the project level.




  • steven.reed14881
    steven.reed14881 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It really depends what information you want to expose at what level. Since starting to use Smartsheet in my current PMO position, my approach has been to:

    • Determine those elements you feel need to be managed at the project level for them to be successful.
      • We include Schedule (which we have recently added baselining functionality), Risk/Action/Issue/Decision (RAID) management, Headlines, and a Status Summary.
        • The Status Summary contains
          • Indicators for various portions of the project, auto-calculated wherever possible. Schedule, Risk, and Budget Health (RYG), % Complete, Project Finish Date.
          • Text fields for weekly accomplishments and upcoming plans.
        • Status Summary appears on the Program Dashboard, providing a one line reading on each project for quick reference.
    • Consider the data that is required to achieve proper program level monitoring. We have used the Status Summary to give a snapshot of project's status, and selected Headlines, and high priority RAID. By using checkboxes at the project level, we enable exception reporting for the Project Managers, flagging critical items for the Program Report.

    Once you have your project setup standardized, and understand what you want to report on, it is just a matter of creating your reports which then roll on up to your Program Dashboard. Then tweak as required. One great thing about Smartsheet is the flexibility it offers to achieve pretty much anything you might want to do.

    I have also created the capability to manage all of these components at the Program level as well. As you hinted, that is merely a matter of creating a 'program-level project.' Your exact setup really depends on your environment, level of maturity, and the specific program.



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