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MS Project & Smartsheets - working together longterm

Nadia Diehl
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2016 Posts

My client is refusing to come off MS project and wants to collaborate on project plans.  Does anyone have experience if it is feisable that long term we can send a project plan back and forth but one person uses SmartSheet & the other person uses MS Project?






  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 03/22/16

    Oh, I have lots of experience with this. I'm sure others here also.

    Some of good, most bad.

    The data needs to reside in one place as the master.

    If lots of changes to the baseline are expected (perhaps because of an elaborative workflow), this makes it harder.


    How does the plan get created? Has your client given you a statement of work and you are giving them the schedule to show when things will be completed or when you expect them to do things (test product release, be available for meetings, etc...)

    Are you sharing the detailed schedule ("on Monday, Sally will be working on the Web Interface")? Or are you sharing a higher level schedule ("Friday the Web Interface will be ready to test. Testing by the client is expected to take a week")


    Import / Export did not really work for me. The way MS Project handles predecessors is different than Smartsheet. That has resulted in some errors during the import / export. (These may have been resolved, I haven't had to open MS Project in over a year as my customers are all on Smartsheet [happily])


    I'm either rambling or ranting, so I'll get to the point.

    It depends.


    One project that went VERY well, I created a check box column for "share with customer". I checked the summary schedule items, milestones, etc... that needed to be shared, and the sent the schedule to them when it changed.

    I have also created a second sheet and used Links to keep it populated.

    That was shared with them so they could see the data in Smartsheet if they wanted (they didn't).


    Again, it depends. 

    I would also suggest asking what features of MS Project they (think they) need.


    Hope that helps.



  • Tim Meeks
    Tim Meeks ✭✭✭✭✭✭



    I concur with all of Craig's comments and will just add this to emphasize:

    1) Decide on which sheet is the master and work to keep that in sync by finding a way to track changes in one or the other.

    2) Find what features the client likes in MS Project. and see if you can show how SS will meet those needs.


    While MS Project can be very detailed and great at tracking, it has been my experience that it can be overbearing and time consuming causing more time to be spent on it than managing the project.  I've also found a project plan will be seutp and then not viewed the rest of the project.


    SS seems to be a simpler method and may actually be used.


    HOpe that helps.



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

    Tim's comments spark another (recent) experience. As Tim said "I've also found a project plan will be seutp and then not viewed the rest of the project."

    Smartsheet can allow the task owner to update the work and then the PM can monitor instead of just enter data.

    "Did you do that?" 


    "OK, let me spend the time to enter that here"

    Cuts out the unnecessary communication (the "Did you do that? Yes") and puts the data entry on the person that knows the answer. Time saving when done well -- ENORMOUS.



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