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I have played around with templates and looked through the help center but I have not been able to locate any information on showing planned vs actual timelines. Does Smartsheet have the ability to show a baseline or are there any workarounds?

Functionality

Comments

Hey BobbyLite,

 

Thanks for the question. We don't currently have a native way to handle baselines, what most people do is create additional baseline date columns. So when you reach a given milestone you would copy and paste your planned dates into baseline columns. Then as your schedule evloves you can see the value vs the baselines. Some people also create formula columns to show offset from plan. 

 

That being said, native baseline funcationality is something we are intestested in evaluating. Are you mostly interested in seeing the baseline in the Gantt? or would better tools in the grid be more valuable? How often would you capture baselines? Is baselining a manual process, or are you more interested in seeing it on a regular reporting period? e.g. The 5th of every month? 

 

Thanks,

Robin

I would like to see this functionality to.  I would be most interested in seeing this in the Gantt.  The planned, or Baseline, would always stay the same through the project, but Actual dates would be manually entered and changed as the schedule progresses.  Also, the Actual predecessor would be the Actual date, not the Baseline date.  The Actual gantt would overlay on top the Baseline, so it is like having two gantts.

 

An added convenience would be a button that copies the the Baseline dates to the Actual dates, to be used when first setting up the schedule.  I know this is a bit lazy of me, but it would be nice.

 

 

In reply to by Tim Patterson

THIS!  PLEASE, please make this happen. This is the perfect PM tool addition needed...unless it already is. If so please tell me. 

I do the added columns now. We use it for both schedule and budget reasons.  If you create a master row that does the functions that you need and copy it to fill out the sheet you need.  We measure actual against planned and start date against actual start date. Some of these can be column hogs to get it done but the key is to build the three levels. Master Parent Row, Master Parent Child as we call It and then Master Child.  We use this to be a template in the template and then build the sheet. 

We have also  used this is our sheet structures. Master Sheet to Master Budget sheets to Master Project Sheets to Project Sheets. They report both dates actual and planned and budget planned and actual up to the master sheets.  I can then see at the parent rows at the top of each proect how many days past we are and how many dollars in the bdget are remaining overall and per task. The down side to all of this work is you need to watch the size you make your sheets as they can get large. Keep the page size in check and it works like a dream. 

Robin,

As Bobby mentioned a baseline feature would be great especially if it will reflect a critical path highlight on the gnatt chart. As any variances in the original schedule evolves some sort of visual indication on the gnatt chart would be appreciated for quick glance when sending updates to stakeholders. Right now I have to send the origional schedule and the updated schedule so they can compare the gnatt charts.

 

I suppose you could work in duplicate tasks and name one origional and the other current to display the comparision on the gnatt chart. But that seems like it would add clutter.

There is an option to show the progress bar inside of the gantt line. Has anyone tried to see if you can apply this to show the offset in the start date from the actual? I know you can use if for percent of completetion. 

Jeremy, it looks like the progress bar is tied only to the Percent Complete.  No way to put dates to it.

Jeremy - while it may be possible to build a formula that would do what you are suggesting with the percent complete bar (or at least get close), you cannot add formulas to the percent complete column if you use it with dependencies. Disabling dependencies would remove additional functionality from your sheet which would likely not be worth it.

Is there a way Travis to use the graph is Smartsheet Labs to do this and provide a graph that will reflect the data? 

Jeremy, the charts function was not designed to compare two sets of date columns. I tried playing around with it but couldn’t come up with a good solution. I was able to compare the actual and baseline percent complete for a tasks and display it in bar chart. The percent complete in this example is calculated by how far you through a task based on todays date and the length of the task.

I don’t think it's what you are looking for but this is what it looks like: 

 

 

 

+1 on the need for Baseline / Planned vs Actual dates.

 

I like to conditionally format based on how the project is tracking to the baseline.

Having native baseline for start and end dates would be very helpful. As of now, we create extra columns and use formulas to calculate actual dates

Another one in favor of this enhancement.

It would be great to see the baseline greyed-out once the precent complete is added. The actual finish could also trigger the greying-out the baseline gantt chart. The actual gantt chart would be the normal color. 

 

There could also be a "button" at each row, which would copy the baseline to the actual, if the task was complete per baseline. 

 

is there any way to see two sets of dates on the gantt chart for one row (task)? If so, this would be pretty easy. 

JWeintrab - The gantt chart only supports one set of Start and End dates but you can easily switch between two sets of date columns through the dependency settings (you just can’t see them side by side)

I agree that baselines are a definite feature that should be on the roadmap for a release in the near future. TeamGantt does a really great job of showing baselines and allowing a user to create multiple baselines throughout a project.

@Jeremy Michaels, do you have a sample template that you could share. It's probably less complicated than it sounds.

 

Thank you!

 

Ellen

Ellen,

 

I have several pages that I can share. What exactly are you looking to see? I have several versions. 

Jeremy,

 

you mentioned "Master Parent Row, Master Parent Child as we call It and then Master Child.  We use this to be a template in the template and then build the sheet." I"d love to see an example.  We have projects that ebb and flow more than I'd like and It would be great to ground them to a baseline set of dates.

 

Ellen

+1 more on the need for Baseline / Planned vs Actual dates.   I also would like to conditionally format based on how the project is tracking to the baseline. It appears that for now, I will have to come up with a solution based on several of the work arounds mentioned here.

We also would love to have baseline funcionality applied to gantt.

Thanks for the feedback everyone! 

 

Tim, Dean, Jeremy, ACharvet, Avi, YouReachedEd, JWeintraub, Mark, Tara and Alexandra I am tracking your votes! Cool

I would also like to see this information on the Gantt.

I've started to follow this discussion as well.  We are trying to set up our project milestone task and are thinking as below:

 

|  Start date A    |  Proposed Finish Date B |  Revised Fin Date C   |  Actual Fin Date D |

 

it does looks complex but it gives us clear understanding at which point we need to raise flags or what time frames works better for which tasks.

 

But problem is, so far I could only tie two columns not can't seem to tie all together.

If B changes to C, Following task's A & B will change

if we C is done we can close the task by putting Actual Date D. Here to mention some time we might not even need C and a task can straight get completed from B to D.

 

And when we complete D our following task date A also changes according to the allocated duration.

 

I'm not sure how to exactly tie all these. Any feedback would be really appreciated.

 

thank you

We'd like that functionality too! :)
When Smartsheet's duration was days-only, I'd do something related to Talisma's solution:
Start Date | Duration | End Date | [Which would vary as the project progressed] | Projected Start Date | Proj. Duration | Variation

- and the same would go for the budget, as we charge in hours worked.

That would return schedule and cost variations across single activities as well as whole Work Packages. However, since dates and costs are calculated through predecessors and formulas (and so they shift as the projects change), I have to manually input baselines. If you consider 150+ rows, it can be pretty time consuming.

 

Maybe it would be nice to see a feature that would take "snapshots" of the whole project with a click of a button. As the project progresses and more "baseline snapshots" are taken, those could generate reports, maybe as columns within the Smartsheed and Gantt, so they can be visible at will.

 

To avoid manually inputs to the "baseline" mentioned above, lately 've been thinking about taking those "snapshots" by exporting the smartsheet into Excel [and attaching that file whithin the pertinent Smartsheet]. By updating it from time to time it could be able to calculate and figure out those variations.

 

Those mentioned reports could state activities added and removed (issues and unknowns that appear during a project), and date, duration, budget changes.

Of course, now there's always "Cell History", but for quickly showing an unimpressed client or sponsor how you missed a deadline or managed to spend less than budgeted, it just doesn't cut it. Not practical.

 

Cheers Everyone! :)

+1 on Baseline to include report templates, planned performance vs. actual performance. 

 

Aside from Critical Path (function), Baseline tracking and reporting is a uber basic necessity for any PM Gantt tool.

Although it is possible to generate a baseline and variances within a smartsheet, it is clunky to have to copy and paste each time you want to change the baseline. Microsoft Project offers a one click option to establish the baseline and allows you to establish multiple baselines quickly. It will then generate a report very easily showing variances. I would like to see this functionality added to Smartsheets and prefer the report as opposed to a visual.

This message is for Jeremy Michels  could you possibly email me at [email protected] as I am very interested in the way you have your sheets set up. It sounds like something I need (want) to put in place. 

Thanks so much

louise. 

Jeremy, would you be able to share the templates you refer to above?

Travis

I cant see any of the graphics you have posted.  

Please let me know how i can see them.

Thanks

Louise

+1 on the need for Baseline - Planned vs Actual dates in the Gantt view. It's a of the key things for our PM. 

Is there an indication when this functionality could be available in the Smartsheet?

+1 on the need for "Baseline / Planned vs Actual dates" here too.  This is essential project management stuff.

+1 for baseline functionality.  This is crucial to understanding what things in your schedule are having to consistently be pushed out. so you can improve your process and reduce variation.

+1 for baseline capabilities Please!!!!

+1 Vote for baseline functionality

+1 on baseline and/or planned vs actual in gantt view.

 

Sorely needed please.

+1 Again.

 

+1 vote on the need for baselining.  This is a fundamental PM software feature, and a necessary tool for forecasting.  Not sure why it's not in the development pipeline if it is a year old and has so many votes.

 

I'm wondering if baselining could be more easily achieved in the software if a true backup of the sheets were available.  Comparing previous to current project timeline requires history - and if we had a snapshot of the history then this might become a technically simpler problem to solve.

It is disheartening to know they have not put this on their near-term roadmap yet.  Incredible!  Frown

+1 for Baseline . This is a critical piece of project planning. Surprised Smartsheet doesn't have this feature as many other project planning software options do. 

Did anything ever come of this? I need the ability to at least track my current project against a baseline. True versioning would be ideal.

Hi Ramsay-- This is something that is on our enhancement request list for long-term development but it is not on our short-term road map. I have added your vote to the list!

Any update on when this functionality might be available?  It is something my team would benefit from.

+1 to Baseline functionality.

Hi Folks,

This is a highly-desirable feature given thej nature of our organisation.  We really need to know where we are experience scope creep and where our resources is off so we can avoid them in the future.

Cheers,

Mark

Please add my vote to baseline functionality - please provide update as to where this is terms of development..

+100 for baseline functionality on a gantt chart !

Camilo Pereira Picture

Please add my vote for the baseline functionality (table and gantt chart)

 

Thanks.

Is this anywhere in the pipeline for development yet?

I feel that this is a vital PM tool and without it will need to start looking at an alternative solution. Something I am reluctant to do as Smartsheet meets pretty much all other criteria.

It surprises me that this has not yet been rolled out for what is clearly an otherwise fantastic PM solution.