First Time User - Setup Question

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I'm in the process of trying to migrate from Microsoft Project to Smartsheet.

Our layout in Project is simple, but I am still confused on whether to just use a sheet or if workspaces will be advantageous?

Currently I have one sheet in Project, with (5) site superintendents listed as a project heading with dependencies under them. Those dependencies are their current projects.

I started Smartsheets using the "Simple Project Plan" template. That template essentially has the same structure I'm using for Project but under a workspace instead of a sheet.

I need to add that we are a small company, and all the users view the same schedule. The only time I would need to share part of a schedule with a specific group is when sharing with a client or someone outside the organization.

Opinions on what starting setup to use?

Answers

  • Timothy Morgan
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    Hi @CCallahan - I've been using Smartsheet for seven years now as part of an IT PMO in a healthcare system. Here are some thoughts that may help you as you're figuring out how to do your initial set up. 

    1. Workspaces are useful for sharing and organizing multiple sheets (as well as reports and dashboards). 
    2. In my PMO, we create a new workspace for each enterprise project, and within that workspace, we have a standard set of sheets for our toolset (project schedule, RAID log, contacts list, etc.). 
    3. If your five superintendents are highly collaborative, it may be advantageous to manage their tasks within a single sheet. But this is not required. 
    4. The pivot point for me would be whether the tasks between supers have predecessors relationships.
    5. If the answer is "no", then I would probably set up separate sheets per super and then pull them into a single view using one or more reports catering to the audience's needs. (This is arguably the cleanest approach, assuming your supers don't need to regularly see what their counterparts are managing.)

    As you get further along in your journey, you'll likely get a clearer picture of how some of these structures work. It'll likely become clear how you want to structure this, but hopefully this is helpful to get you started. 

    Hope this is helpful.

    -Tim

  • CCallahan
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    Thanks for the response Tim.

    The superintendents don't do any collaboration except with borrowing resources (manpower). Their projects are independent from another superintendent's projects.

    This issues I see right off with having all the projects on one sheet, nested under each superintendent, is the hours calculated are just a cumulative amount, not per individual project. Also, when I go to calendar view, I get the superintendent names as projects, which is confusing.

    The sample template has workspaces under the sheet in the hierarchy which is backwards from what you are suggesting correct?

    If I do a separate sheet for each super, can I put a comment heading on the sheet or am I stuck to just naming the sheet for the super running the work?

  • Timothy Morgan
    edited 07/08/24
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    This all points to separate sheets for the superintendents.

    I don't know why the template set would represent the hierarchy that way. I can tell you with certainty that the hierarchy is…

    » Account
    » » Workspaces
    » » » Folders (and/or Sheets, Reports, and Dashboards)
    » » » » More Folders (and/or Sheets, Reports, and Dashboards)

    When you set up each sheet, you'll be prompted for a name. You're given a max of 50 characters to work with, which isn't a lot, but is doable if you have a convention you plan to follow.

    Regarding a comment heading, there are 'summary fields' that live at the document level, but I don't think this would match what you had in mind. The comments (which Smartsheet has rebranded as 'conversations') live at the row level; these don't match what you had in mind either.

    One approach I've taken is to create a dashboard in which I embed the sheet and anything else I want to keep top-level for my audience, along with other text that can give commentary and context to the viewer.

    This would allow you to add more detail through rich-text widgets, images, or any other visuals you'd like to include. Each tile can be made clickable, which would allow you to put your actual sheet one click away—easily accessible from the dashboard.

  • CCallahan
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    Customizing Dashboards is something I'll try out and see what works. I've been building and changing my schedules which has helped me figure out more of how to structure.

    Our main goal is to be able to see any gaps in our schedule. I've never preferred Ghant view for this. It looks messy to me.

    Thanks.