Welcome to the Smartsheet Forum Archives

The posts in this forum are no longer monitored for accuracy and their content may no longer be current. If there's a discussion here that interests you and you'd like to find (or create) a more current version, please Visit the Current Forums.

Project sheet: put a start/finish date on parent row without editing children

Sam Mohyee
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2015 Posts

There is a restriction on the standard Project sheet template currently: if using the provided "Start" and "Finish" fields, users are not allowed to add a value to a row that has children - instead, the values must be entered in the lowest grouping of children, which will then roll up.


My issue is that not all the rows I add to a project sheet are 'actionable' rows - some are 'informational' rows. 


For example, I might add an 'actionable' row like "Meet with team to discuss goals". This is a row that would make use of the Project sheets planning columns, like Start, Finish, duration, etc. 


But then say during that meeting I want to outline our discussion within the same project smartsheet. My current solution is to indent under the "Meet with team" row and write it out on separate rows, eg one row per goal discussed. While doing this nicely groups that all under the meeting row, these 'informational' rows have no relevant use of the Project planning columns, like Start and Finish. 


Current solutions (and downsides) for storing information relevant to actionable rows


1. Use the comment column with word wrap


Instead of storing the meeting info as different rows with an indentation structure, just write out everything in the Comment cell of the parent row. 


- Formatting a cell changes ALL text in that cell (eg can't bold just a single line)

- Uncollapsible structure, row height will grow as more text is added to comment cell

- Limitations/annoyances with organizing text within a single cell (handling indentations and outline structure, for example)


2. Use the discussion tool

Store the meeting info within a comment on the parent row


- Not the intended purpose of discussion: we want to keep discussion of meeting notes here, not the meeting notes themselves

- No rich text/formatting options available


3. Use a separate SmartSheet

Rather than include the 'informational' rows on the project smartsheet, start a new smartsheet for the meeting notes and link to the Meeting task on the project sheet.


Costly! I'm only getting 10 sheets for my $16/month, and they are all very precious to me. I can't afford to create a separate sheet for each set of information related to one of the tasks on a project sheet

-Impractical for non-licensed users: if I create a sheet and I'm having another user without a paid license editing the sheet for me, they can't create separate smartsheets as needed.



Preferred Solution

Unless there's another option I'm missing, my ideal solution for this would be the ability to override the requirement that parent tasks' planning values be based off of children values. This would allow me specify a start/finish date for my actionable rows, without needing to provide meaningless dates for the informational rows grouped under them. 



Is there a way to modify a Project Smartsheet template to get the desired setup, while still being able to use the other Project features (Gantt chart, dependencies, etc)?


  • Tim Meeks
    Tim Meeks ✭✭✭✭✭✭



    Only can answer as a user, but I'm rather confident that once you enable the Start/Finish functionality on a sheet, it's enabled on every row.


    You obviously have thought through the solution very well. I like either option 1 OR you could also create a Word.doc or PDF and Attach the meeting minutes to the Row.


    Hope that helps.

  • Travis
    Travis Employee

    Sam - By design, parent rows will show a rollup of child rows when dependencies are enabled. There are a couple of options you can consider. 


    Turn off dependencies. Parent rows will no longer roll up and Start/End/Duration columns will not be linked. However, you can still use the Gantt chart. 


    Add an apostrophe before the date when adding a date that you do not want rolled up to a parent row. The apostrophe will omit the date from the parent rollup. For example add a date like this: '08/10/15 

This discussion has been closed.