Trouble with Project Management & Smartsheet Restrictions

I am trying to create a Smartsheet to track project completion (Integration) for my company and am running into multiple hurdles with the reporting. I'd love to hear your insight on how to overcome these issues without having to turn off all dependencies. Without dependencies the product doesn't offer much for project management.

When we start a project almost all of the task dates listed are "target" dates, not actual dates. As these tasks are completed we want our teams to update the "target completion date" with the "actual completion date". The "Baselines" function in gantt view tracks the variance of target vs actual. To give a picture of the project story and to show expectations we use dependencies to trigger when each task will move or start the next task and give teams an idea of timeline. Each of our internal departments use reports to filter down their tasks from the master project sheet(s) and this is where we run into issues. For some reason, when you are in a report you cannot alter start dates or end dates when there is a dependency involved. This is not a restriction on the actual sheet itself, just a restriction of the reporting. I've been told that the duration column fixes the issue, but the duration can't adjust the start date of the project and is a very inefficient tool when a task can often take weeks to complete (making the duration difficult to calculate).

Is there a better way I can be formatting my sheets to take full advantage of smartsheets functionality, or am I up a creek without a paddle? I'm almost to the point where I'm willing to write formulas to recreate all of the dependencies without turning them on, but that feels ridiculous.

Answers

  • Amanda Alv
    Amanda Alv ✭✭✭

    Hi,

    To start, could you explain more on why your programs are using reports to filter down to their tasks? It sounds like using the Filters within the Master project sheet would resolve this for you, but I assume there is a reason you specifically wants reports vs the sheet itself being updated?

  • We are usually working on 10-15 projects (separate sheets) at a time. Most of our employees completing the tasks are not familiar with Smartsheet so we filter the information they need and create task lists through reports for them to track all ongoing projects.

  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @JCluff

    You can adjust a Start Date from a Report to create a new End Date, but only if that specific row doesn't have a Predecessor.

    Depending on your filters, Reports could show just the dependent task without the Predecessor - because of this, the Report locks the Start Date so that users working only from the Report cannot break the link between this task and the other one in the source sheet. If you try to edit that same cell in the source sheet you would receive a pop-up window confirming you want to remove the Predecessor.

    You are correct that adjusting the Duration is the solution when working from a Report. This is because the Duration does not affect Predecessors, but can still update the End Date of the current task. However if you need to change the Start Date, you would either need to find the predecessor row and change this task or work in the source sheet.

    Personally, I agree with Amanda and would also suggest working in the source sheet with filters. You could have the Report be the overview, then if anything needs to be changed advise your users to click on the Sheet Link from that Report to find the actual row in that Project's specific sheet. This will allow them to see the impact of adjusting this task across the whole project plan, versus moving it in isolation in the Report.

    Cheers,

    Genevieve