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Multi-Phase Project Timelines from Smartsheet

Using OnePager to create a phased timeline of multiple Smartsheet projects

If you use Smartsheet to manage multiple projects, you need a way to quickly see the major phases of each project that your team is collaborating on all in one place. OnePager enables you to do this by importing multiple projects from Smartsheet and creating a timeline that shows each project phase-by-phase.

Phase-by-Phase Project Timeline from Smartsheet

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Executives love this OnePager timeline layout because it lets them see the key phases of all of the projects that your team is collaborating on without getting into too much detail. Project managers love it because it's easy to create and easy to maintain, since it uses the data that you already have in Smartsheet. Here's how it works:

  1. Let's get started by taking a look at one of our Smartsheet projects. Here we have major phases (Design, Development and Implementation) plus a Delivery milestone at the very end of the project:

    Smartsheet project plan with phases, tasks, and a finish milestone.

    In this example, we want our timeline to include the three main phases, plus the milestone, but we don't want to show the rest of the detailed tasks, since it's too much information for a high-level report.

  2. To filter the Smartsheet project so that only key phases and the milestone show up in the timeline, we can insert a checkbox field. Do this by right-clicking on the header of any other column in Smartsheet and choosing Insert Column Left. Create a checkbox field called OnePager like this:

    Add a checkbox field to Smartsheet.

  3. Check the box next to the three key phases and the finish milestone. This will tell OnePager to include these items in the timeline, but not any additional detail:

    Smartsheet project plan with phases, tasks, and a finish milestone.

    Save your project in Smartsheet once you've finished selecting tasks.

  4. In this example, we want to create a timeline that looks at four different Smartsheet projects. For the three remaining Smartsheet projects, we'll repeat the first few steps, selecting the phases and milestones that we want to include.

  5. Once the filtering has been set up for all four Smartsheet projects, launch OnePager using the desktop icon:

    OnePager desktop icon.

  6. On the start screen, click New to begin building your timeline:

    OnePager start screen.

  7. On the import wizard, go to Select > BROWSE Smartsheet to connect to your Smartsheet account.

    OnePager can browse your Smartsheet projects.

    If this is your first time using OnePager with Smartsheet, Smartsheet will ask you to re-enter your username and password, and to allow OnePager to access your Smartsheet account.

  8. Smartsheet will send OnePager a listing of all of the available projects in your account. Using the Ctrl button, left-click on all of the Smartsheet projects that you want to import. In our case, we will import four Smartsheet projects into our timeline:

    Select multiple Smartsheet projects to import into Smartsheet.

  9. After you've chosen your Smartsheet projects, give your timeline a name, and make sure that you're using the OnePager field to filter your phases and milestones. Then, click on Next followed by Create New Chart:

    OnePager Pro Timeline Creation Wizard

  10. Initially, you'll get more of a Gantt Chart layout. To change it to a timeline, go to Home > Chart Properties > Rows/Swimlanes. Change the Task Layout to a Timeline based on the Project Name. We also want to change our first level of swimlanes to Group by the Project Name as well. Click OK once you have changed these two settings:

    Switch from a Gantt chart layout to a timeline layout so that each Smartsheet project is in its own swimlane and on its own timeline.

  11. OnePager will switch your chart from a Gantt Chart to a timeline, and all of the phases and milestones from each project in Smartsheet will be on their own line, like this:

    Smartsheet multi-project timeline

  12. Go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars to adjust the formatting of the tasks in your timeline. First, we can add shadows to the tasks and milestones to give them a nice 3D effect. Next, let's use conditional formatting to assign a unique color to each phase of the project so that it's easy to compare one Smartsheet project to another. Click on the Manage Rules button at the bottom to launch conditional formatting:

    OnePager's conditional formatting works with Smartsheet.

  13. We can set up conditional formatting rules that assign the same color to each phase across the multiple Smartsheet projects:

    Assign a different color to each phase from a Smartsheet project using OnePager's conditional formatting.

    You may want to have your conditional formatting rules switch the font from black to white to improve contrast with darker colors. You can do this by scrolling to the right for the same conditional formatting rule that assigns the task/milestone color, and having the rule also adjust the font color.

  14. After applying the conditional formatting rules, we get a multi-project timeline where each phase or milestone from Smartsheet gets its own unique color:

    Smartsheet multi-project timeline with tasks and milestones colored by phase.

Build your own multi-phased project timeline from Smartsheet today by downloading a free trial.

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