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Tip / Trick - DIY Help System / CMS

Jeremy Myers
Jeremy Myers ✭✭✭✭✭
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2017 Posts

We are managing complex workflows that are fixed as templates into Smartsheet.  A typical workflow may have >100 major steps each of which has a bunch of sub-steps, forms, scripts or limks associated with it.


To manage this, we keep the Primary Sheet confined to the major steps and have it link to a Help Sheet that containts all the secondary supporting documentation.  We can make this work because each job that comes into the shop is assigned a new Primary Sheet which is generated with the <save as new> routine from the Master Sheet.  Doing it this way maintains the links from the Primary Sheet to the Help Sheet, which won't work if you try to use a <template> whhich drops the links.


There are a heap of advantages to having a system like this:


1.  The help system acts as a checklist for complex tasks.  Users interact with the Help System befoere chckeing off a task as complete.
2.  Hyperlinks, scripts and similar can be stored on the Help Sheet which keeps the Primary sheet clean and tidy.
3.  You are creating a Content Management System (CMS) which becomes the institutional memory of all yourr processes and workflows.  When you onboard somoene new, use the system as a training tool.


When setting this up, a couple of pointers:

  1. 1.  Keep the Task Name as showin int he Primary Column indentical in both sheets.
  2. 2.  The link goes from the Primary Sheet to the Help Sheet, not hte other way around.
  3. 3.  If you insert or delete lines in your workflow and create a new help topic, be sure to keep the stuff in order on the Help Sheet.  I sequential number each line in the Hlep Sheet to remind me of this fact.
  4. 4.  New Working Sheets can only be generated by someone with Admin privlidges.  This allows us to keep tight control on file naming conventions, sheet structure and the movement of sheets between workspacess, etc.


The below example is for a Lead Based Paint compliance rerivew on a real estate contract.  Process failure on this issue is subject to a $15,000 fine, so it's something that needs tight control.  Smartsheet is excellent fo this type of stuff, with the cell history function you can easily determine who signed off and when - important if something goes haywire.


Primary Sheet with outgoing link attached to the taks "LBP Review"

Help Source.JPG

Hep Text.JPG


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