5

I' ve just started trying to use Smartsheet as a project planning tool. I have created a Gantt chart for my project, and put in the resources. Where tasks are fully or partly completed I have put in the % Complete figure. The system does not seem to have adjusted the start and finish date of tasks that are not 100% complete with respect to today's date. I.e. if a task is 0% complete, it should not start until today at the earliest, and if it has a duration of 2 days it should finish at the end of tomorrow. If the task is 50% complete it can start at some date in the past, but should not finish until the end of today.

 

Is there a feature to make these adjustments automatically?

 

Without this, it seems that Smartsheet is not an adequate tool. Every day I will have to manually adjust all the uncompleted tasks that appear to take place in the past. I have better things to do with my time than this...

 

Thanks - Rowan

Comments

Rowan,

 

I'm not sure I undertand the problem.

If I have a task that should have started yesterday but I did not get to it, the start date is still yesterday and my % complete is 0. As a manager, I need to adjust my plan to account for this failure to act.

If I have a two day task (16 hours of duration), I could plan to tackle this in two days or in 16 weeks (1 hour per week). That's why managers get paid - to make those decisions. The tool (any PM tool whether Smartsheet or MS Project or Task Juggler or others) are [hopefully] designed to help us do that. Some of the intelligence can be built into the tool, but not all. 

Once the plan is in place, any deviation from the plan (like being only 50% finished after 75% of the duration has passed) is a flag for the manager to act. Having the tool adjust the plan automatically without proper safeguards would result in that task always being one day away from completion.

 

The tool will help you get the job done - it can have your team update their status/completion and update your schedule so you can see where things are going right or wrong.

 

Maybe I missed something in the original posting.

 

Craig

Craig,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

Having the plan show that the project will still be completed on time, when people have not cmpleted the tasks when they were originally planned to do, is surely not helpful? What I want to know from the plan, it seems to me, is given the current situation (including what progress has actually been made on planned tasks) when will the projec tfinish? If I don;t like the date, then the plan should help me identify changes that I can make to the tasks (do them in a different order, allocate more or different resources etc.) to enable the project to complete on time. I'm not trying to remove the job of manager, but avoid him having to spend time ding things that computers can do better.

 

MS Project does what I am suggesting, so it can;t be completely wrong, can it??

 

Thanks - Rowan

Rowan,

 

To get the system to help me in such cases, there are reminders, alerts, and conditional formatting.

I typicaly have conditional formatting for at least the following:

1. past due but not complete (red)

2. past start date but % complete = 0 (yellow) 

3. past start date but not completed (a different yellow)

and a few others.

 

I also set up reminders when a due date is approaching (not when it is past but rather a few working days out). Ideally, long enough so that they show up in time for a team meeting.

 

I also work a lot with effort vs duration (that 16 hour task mentioned in my previous email) and have a feedback loop when our estimates are off (either way). 

 

Are you using predecessors and dependencies in your planning? Small changes to a tightly integrated plan can cascade automatically through it, just like MS Project.

 

I really like Smartsheet because it can do nearly everything I needed from MS Project, but seems easier across multiple projects and teams. There are lots of good things in the Smartsheet support section: templates, videos, and other things, that I think might help you fit the tool to your workflow.

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

Craig

 

Craig,

 

Thanks for your suggestions. I will try some of the conditional formatting ideas (once I have worked out how to do this).

 

Yes, I have predecessors and durations set up for all my tasks, and I have dependencies turned on. I have currently added "false" dependencies to prevent the same resurce being planned to work on two tasks at once (or to be comitted more than 100%) because I have not yet found out how to get the tool to do this for me.

 

Thanks - Rowan

Rowan,

 

Are you using the Resource View? I'm between jobs and only have the basic account so can't help with questions on it, but it will show up on sheets that have it enabled as the assigned person is overbooked. If you have 10 projects and assign the same person on a task on each project, you'll see on each project sheet the person is overbooked. Quite useful and worth investigating.

 

Craig