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Assign more than 1 person (or group) to a task ?

Can I assign more than 1 person (or more than 1  group)  to a single task ? 



  • Stephanie Taylor
    Stephanie Taylor ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    You can assign more then one person but if you have more then one name in a cell they will not get a notification or reminder.  What you could do is insert a second column.  For example the first column can be the person who is primarily assigned the task and the second column can be the secondary person and then you can set up your noifications and/or reminders accordingly.

  • Wow, I never thought that way.   Thank you so much. 

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

    As far as I know and could get it to work, be aware that assigning the task to a secondary person on the same row will not show that effort on the Resource View. 




  • Alicia Barco
    edited 12/13/15

    When can we expect the 'Resource Management' to actually assign multiple people to task?  This is such a common need.  I see people who had been asking for this function for a while.  Could you provide a feedback?

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 12/14/15

    I can not speak for the Smartsheet developers. In addition, there is nothing in the roadmap yet (https://www.smartsheet.com/product-roadmap)


    However, I do have opinions on this.

    There's lots of other opinions, I know. I've looked for them.


    If you want to avoid the soap-box rant, now is the time to stop reading. Be warned, it is long.


    In current project management literature, a work breakdown structure (WBS) can be defined as the major functional deliverables sub-divided into small enough pieces to represent the work necessary to complete it (and nothing more).

    It used to mean small enough to be assigned a single person, but that isn't always the way we work and at least in the 4th Ed of the PMBOK (latest 5th Ed I haven't read yet [but will] - http://www.pmi.org/PMBOK-Guide-and-Standards.aspx) has that terminology removed.


    As a manager, I'm concerned with getting the task done and also in ensuring responsibility for it to be done. That gets harder when the task is assigned to multiple people. As a manager of people, I also need metrics to determine competencies and contribution to the team/organization. For these reasons, I'm (mostly) opposed to multiple assignees, at least in the way I typically see it stated.


    However, there are certainly cases where such a feature makes sense, even to me. :)


    A few examples of my own:

    I introduced pair programming  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_programming) to my team of engineers. It was alien to the way the work was usually performed, but we introduced it sparingly and on a case by case basis. The work is done together, responsibility is shared, and the work is performed at the same time. This last point is important in my opinion, and I'll come back to it.


    We were in the process of implementing weekly code reviews. For this task, three persons are in the room during this time - a senior engineer, a junior engineer, and the person who wrote the code. A single task, but several persons must be there.

    Extrapolating from that, any meeting would qualify for such a distinction. (Most meetings don't since people may decide to skip it and the meeting goes on - but that is a topic for another day). This task also is performed at the same time. 


    Document reviews are often viewed as same task for multiple persons, but I argue that these are sequential tasks and are best accomplished in series, rather than parallel.


    If I need to move a box which is too big for me to lift alone, then the task of “move box” must be assigned to more than one person. 

    Again, the work is performed at the same time. From a developers standpoint, however, what about a casket? That requires 6 or 8 persons. All at the same time, all performing the same task. Will we ask for 8 columns of contact list / “assigned to”?


    I’ve seen examples on the Internet similar to “move box” advocating for multiple resources assigned to a single task. At least one of these cloud the discussion by discussing utilization. That is, it takes 4 hours to move the box and two persons. But one person is only available in the morning so is 50% utilized that day. But that is not quite true. They are 100% utilized while the moving is going on, and for our purposes, that is more important than the 50% utilization for the day.

    Or in other words, sometime this week, worker A and B must coordinate to have four hours of overlapping availability.

    As a manager, I want the box moved this week. Each of the workers will only spend 10% (4 hours out off 40) this week on box moving. But someone must plan when that 10% will be expended. In general, duration (time between potential start and end) and effort (how many hours it will take) need to be accounted for. Sometimes this is done by the person(s) doing the work. Sometimes the manager. Smartsheet calculates duration (start to finish) and allows entry of allocation percentage. Effort is duration * allocation. I would always create a third column for effort because that translates into cost more than either duration or allocation alone.

    But, I argue, for the multiple resource need, this fails to account for the coordination required to ensure the effort is performed at the same time. Also, the box may need to be moved after another task. The box may need to be moved before another task can be started.

    Two (or more) tasks with the same predecessors would accomplish the task with the given constraints.


    Instead, what I would prefer is some sort of “team” view. The task is assigned to a team and the team membership is determined by another mechanism, perhaps similar to the Smartsheet “Group”. This would allow the heavy box needing eight movers and the light box requiring one without adding mostly (perhaps) unnecessary columns. Alternatively, modifying the contact list column type to account for this, but that one may be more prone to end-user error. 

    Team assignments would also line up with the PMBOK guidelines, in my opinion.

    This is the way I was headed for my last team to ensure resource loading was correct.


    Otherwise, and in general, on my team, whomever was completing the lowest level task list would ensure such tasks showed up on each required contributor,'s task list and thus showed up on their resource loading.


    Also, resources can be things other than people (rooms, cars, boxes, etc...) but reversing the need for the multiple resources (one person needs two cars for a relay, for example( again shows that the problem ends up being about timing and must be accounted for in the plan that way. 


    I think Smartsheet can handle the multiple resource problem without much extra effort and that it usually will provide a clearer picture of what must be done, by whom and when. 


    Your mileage may vary.




  • Travis
    Travis Employee

    Alicia, while it is not on our near term roadmap, the ability to assign tasks to multiple users is on our enhancement request list and is being considered for future development (and I will add your vote for it).


    As a workaround, you could add duplicate rows to assign a task to multiple users and track them in Resource Management. 

  • Vlad Rasper
    edited 01/28/16

    Craig, nice rant - I had fun reading it.  Sometimes, we all must step up on the soapbox.


    Back down to reality - a lot of the time, we PMs need tools to help us plan and analyze resources in broad brush strokes.  Breaking down a project to the level of single-resource tasks is often not practical or efficient when in the planning mode.  We know that an integration test, for example, will take 2 weeks and require 4 resources full time and 1 resource at 50% allocation.  Wouldn't it be nice if SS could reflect that in a single row, rather than creating five separate rows.




  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 01/28/16




    This is a difficult problem for the developers to tackle and I'm afraid they will break something.

    I know there is a need for some feature like this. But for anything longer than a day or two "togetherness", there are so many things to consider that I don't want to miss them because the tool is too hard to use or glosses over things.

    Personal story: When I was learning MS Project I went to my manager and said one of the engineers is overbooked (according to the MS Project). Now what? He said we don't use that feature because it just causes problems. So we just overbook them and let things happen. I've learned a lot from bad managers.


    In your example, are the specific four resources necessary or any four resources?

    This is the kind of question I think you get if the tool is setup right.

    A spreadsheet is a two-dimensional view of the world. 

    We take two columns (task and duration) to a show a different two dimensional view.

    We need a three dimensional view that is resources and duration. Like a pivot table but not quite.


    I don't think the Smartsheet developers have nailed the Allocation % functionality and this seems to stress that feature set.


    Another rant.





  • Vlad Rasper
    edited 01/28/16



    Isn't it interesting how we can learn from both good and bad managers.  Hopefully, we are wise enough to know the difference and act accordingly.


    Now, back to SS.  As I said before, I really like the tool despite this one limitation, and I plan on using it for the many good things it can do for me.  The heavy lifting that happens under the hood in MS Proj to enable the powerful resource management features took a long time to develop and that is why most other programs and tools don't even come close.  I would rather take SS as is than messing it up trying to implement this function. Project Managers are a resourceful (no pun intended) bunch, and there are always other ways to get a result if one particular way does not work.




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



    I agree. I do worry about the PM's in training (even if they don't realize that's what they are) that only have the bad examples and might be prone to "but that's how we have always done it!" 


    I really like Smartsheet. It makes me feel like I did when I first got my hands on Excel (as it surpased the other choice Lotus 1-2-3). There's just SO MUCH this can help with.


    I totally agree with the comments on MS Project. 





  • Is there a possibility to add a group as a resource? For example, I have a row that requires sign off from multiple people. Instead of having 8 rows for the one task, can't I just create a group, then add the group as the resource and it will email all of them?

  • Cadsolutions - Paul Johnson
    edited 07/24/16

    Hi Travis,

     I agree , Being able to have mutliple assignees on a task is very useful and also must be visible in the resource view. Duplicating tasks so that multiple assignees can be allocated is a workaround but this only makes the plan more cluttered for big projects with many resources, Fine for small or medium sized projects. 

    PLease include my vote for this enhancement.

    I am a recent reseller of Smartsheet in ireland and have already been asked for this feature several times !



  • Kennedy Stomps
    Kennedy Stomps Employee
    edited 07/25/16

    Hi-- I've have added your votes to be able to assign Groups to tasks and to assign tasks to multiple individual users. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Jason Apol
    Jason Apol ✭✭
    edited 10/16/16

    Please also add my vote to assign tasks to multiple individual users.


    This is one feature that my peers running MS Project have that I do not. (I get ribbed about it. lol)


    My intent is proper use of the resource view with multiple users assigned to a task. Typical construction project management.



  • Please add my vote on this. I'm looking at it from a simplicity perspective. If a reminder goes out, I want both resources to receive it, or all three, or 4, but I don't want extra columns.


This discussion has been closed.