Inside SASG: Smartsheet

April 2, 2021

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Screenshot of the SASG project gantt found under resources after you log in
Figure 1: SASG interactive project Gantt chart displaying major projects.

SASG began using Smartsheet in 2019 as a way to more easily and meaningfully report our project activities to our partners. At the time, Jira was our primary project management tool; we had intended to only use Smartsheet as a supplement to Jira, strictly for reporting purposes. Over time, it became clear that managing projects itself through Smartsheet presented a less difficult, more intuitive alternative to Jira.  Today, SASG uses Smartsheet exclusively.  An example of one such product is our interactive project Gantt (Figure 1) which is published in Smartsheet and presented to our users on our website via iFrame.

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Screenshot of the Custom Programming team projects
Figure 2: Grid view of the Custom Programming Team's projects and tasks.

Within SASG, each functional unit can manage projects in Smartsheet in slightly different ways. Our Custom Programming team prefers a more traditional approach, using a grid to track projects and related sub-tasks (Figure 2).  However, the same project sheet can easily toggle among available views.

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Demonstration of the card view the Web team uses - available display in Smartsheet
Figure 3: Kanban view of the Website Development Team's projects and tasks.

For example, our Website Development team uses the same underlying template to create a Kanban Board (Figure 3). This is more conducive to their daily workflows which involve Kanban review every morning during standup. Each card can be moved into their appropriate stage of the project as updates are reported.

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Screenshot of list of DevSecOps tasks
Figure 4: Interactive DevSecOps report of projects and tasks which are cross-team.

Smartsheet was further leveraged when SASG adopted its DevSecOps model last year.  The same sheets used by each of our functional units to track their projects and tasks became the source for our interactive DevSecOps report (Figure 4).  This report allows the DevSecOps team to track projects and tasks as they are handed off across units within the DevSecOps product pipeline.

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Screenshot of the notification capabilities
Figure 6: Custom workflows can be set up in Smartsheet

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Screenshot of the column functionality described in the article
Figure 5: Smartsheets column functionality.

Perhaps one of the most useful features within Smartsheet’s rich collection of functionality is the newly introduced Column Function.  The values in one column can be automatically generated based on a value in a second column. In one our uses cases, the stage of a project, used internally, can be used to generate the status of a project which is reported externally (Figure 5).

Finally, Smartsheet has a very robust set of collaboration and communication features. One example of an SASG use case is a workflow to notify staff when a student worker signs up to work a shift using a work shift sheet.  Such workflows are visual and intuitive for a Smartsheet designer to set up (Figure 6).  Workflows can be set up for notifications, requests for updates, signature requests, etc.

Smartsheet use is growing at SASG. If any of our partners are interested in possibly adopting this tool for their own use, we would be more than happy to meet and demo.