1. Hour by Hour prioritizing with Smartsheet Card View

    We just can’t live without the Kanban “Card” View in Smartsheet.  A brilliant way to track work and to switch to calendar view when needed.   New Tasks are added to a Smartsheet as normal and assigned a due date and a priority. We then switch to Card view to dynamically prioritize the work on a daily (sometimes hourly!) basis.  When talking with customers to confirm our availability for consultancy or training we switch over to the Calendar view to look for spare days when our team are available.

    Contact us here if you wish to know more about this great solution for working in an unrestricted Agile manner


  2. Even Disasters require a planned response – using Smartsheet


    Excellent day of Smartsheet training with a knowledgeable and patient trainer who was flexible and accommodating with our various needs and requests.  If we repeat for more staff we will definitely ask PPS to come back!”   

    Adrian Walker Executive Board Support Officer Disasters Emergency Committee

    Smartsheet – One Day Smartsheet familiarization and training course


  3. Be Prepared! – Scout Association UK implement Smartsheet to manage projects

    1025483_pb The Scout Association is a youth organisation that provides  activities to circa 450,000 young people (aged 6–25) in the UK with  over 122,000 adult volunteers which is more than one adult for each 4  young people. Its programs include Beaver Scouts (aged 6–8), Cub  Scouts (aged 8–10½), Scouts (aged 10½ -14), Explorer Scouts (aged  12–18) up to adult Network members (aged 18–25).

    The Scout Association approached PPS Project Plan Services in 2015 to gain more understanding of the Smartsheet planning solution in order to see how it could assist with the planning and management of their diverse portfolio of projects which included IT, Property, Event management and Fund raising projects across the Association.

    The challenges faced by The Scout Association (TSA) Project Management Office (PMO) included limited access to a common project scheduling tool.  Microsoft Project was used by a few specialists but was not widely available to those participating in projects. Different project reporting existed at various levels in the organisation and resulted in many “versions of the truth” concerning the status of projects. Poor collaboration was also evident between people involved in projects.

    TSA explored SmartSheet as a potential Project Management tool and worked with PPS to Pilot and eventually purchase the enterprise version of SmartSheet.

    Speaking about Smartsheet, Dirk Grobler, Head of TSA PMO and Senior Project Manager commented:download

    “Our implementation of SmartSheet has led to all staff now having access to a common project scheduling tool. SmartSheet is being used to schedule most projects and because it uses a spreadsheet-based user interface most people find it quite easy to use. Several people are now also starting to use SmartSheet for creating “other than” project management-related work scheduling and control solutions. Using the reporting functionality in SmartSheet we now are increasingly succeeding in basing all our project related reporting at various levels in the organisation on one version of the truth concerning status of projects. The online collaboration functionality embedded in SmartSheet has dramatically improved collaboration between people involved in projects – including collaboration with team members not based at TSA HQ and therefore not having access to our internal network.

    We found the support provided by SmartSheet effective and very responsive. SmartSheet is rapidly evolving and has been adding very useful functionality since we started using it a year ago.

    We would recommend PPS to other organisations with similar challenges”

    Dirk Grobler Head of the PMO & Senior Project Manager

    The Scout Association

    Sept 2016

  4. Custom Reusable Filters have arrived for Smartsheet!

    Fantastic news! Smartsheet have just released the long awaited capability to build custom filters that can be reused within sheets to save defining filters from scratch each time they are required.

    This is a great feature which will really help our clients become even more productive and continue to leverage the awesome power of Smartsheet.!

    The below Create New Filter dialog box can be accessed by Right Clicking any column heading and clicking Show Filter menu.


    Custom filters created are then shown and accessed by the filter menu as shown below


    For further info on this and other new features click here or contact us at Project Plan Services.


  5. Microsoft Planner is here

    The addition of Planner to the Office 365 lineup introduces a new and improved way for businesses, schools and organizations to structure teamwork easily and get more done. With Planner, teams can create new plans; organize, assign and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update statuses and share files, while visual dashboards and email notifications keep everyone informed on progress.

    Contact us for more information!

  6. Smartsheet Tiles

    A great new feature has been released recently which is the introduction of Smartsheet Tiles. This is a new view through which you can interact and review your project data. In addition to the Grid View, the Gantt View and the Calendar View you can now visualize your tasks as “Tiles” and “drag and drop” them between differing “swimlines” based on custom fields of your choice.

    ST We at PPS have been trialing the use of Smartsheet Tiles on a major event we are  involved in – the planning of a huge camp for circa 900 children and adult  volunteers for a local major Scouting organisation and it has  really helped us focus in on the key important activities as we count  down to the launch.


    We anticipate that this view will also be of interest to our existing and future clients who have a need for Agile software development whereby work is added to an overall product backlog and then organised into “Sprints”. Work can then very easily be moved into latter Sprints or brought forward as required.

    Please contact us for advise or training on this feature.   See here for additional information

    Sign up for a partner led trial here.


  7. Optimizing planning for Vaultex IT


    Vaultex is the UK’s leading cash processor who deliver best-in-class integrated cash management for their customers. Retailers and other businesses rely on Vaultex to count their cash with the highest level of accuracy and settle their customer accounts as swiftly as possible. Vaultex store cash in highly secure environments before returning it to circulation.

    Working to standards set by the Bank of England and the Note Circulation Scheme, Vaultex deliver leading cash management services for their customers. Vaultex continue to expand their product portfolio to create value for customers, delivering new services from coin extraction to an end-to-end managed service.

    PPS Project Plan Services were approached by Vaultex in spring 2015 to assist them with their existing configuration of Microsoft Project Server and the associated business processes to support optimized planning and resource management.

    This is what Chris Wilson, Head of Change at Vaultex had to say..

    “After joining Vaultex as Head of Change, I inherited a MS Project Server 2010 environment that had been in place for approximately three years, and was being universally used by all project managers to store plans. However, it became quickly apparent that the collaborative aspects of projects were not served well by the way Project Server was being used, and almost no value was being derived from linking plans together as part of programmes, or collaborating around the sharing of resources in the Resource Pool. More worryingly, beyond just one or two individuals who knew the potential of application, the perceptions of its usefulness were very low, and Project Managers saw the application as a hindrance to performing their jobs. Vaultex had tried and failed to improve the configuration and use of the application on three previous occasions, but mainly due to the partner companies worked with, little headway was made.

    What stood out about Project Plan Services was just how well they understood that the key factor in success was the ability to take the whole organisation along on the journey, and that it was much more than just a technical task. I worked closely with Project Plan Services to shape a plan that consisted of technical elements, and also a range of other aspects including process, organisational, training, and Change Management. Over a three month period from a standing start, it became evident that success was going to be achieved working under PPS’s guidance, and the majority of the plan was delivered after six months.

    The end result has been exceptional, and Project Plan Services has delivered a range of elements including:

    • Programme Management capability where plans inter-link, and Programme Managers can see key dependencies
    • A shared resource pool of matrix staff where every line manager understands what their staff are working on, what they should be working on, and what spare capacity they have
    • A highly configurable set of resource and plan reports that are detailed, but intuitive and easy to use
    • Improved templates planning and reporting templates
    • A range of custom views
    • An optimal security model
    • Embedded cost modelling that is driven by all plans
    • Holiday Calendars
    • A whole set of user guides, tailored to different groups in the organisation

    Vaultex has a highly complex and busy set of projects that sit in a number of different portfolios. After our engagement from Project Plan Services, we are in a much better position to run efficient and effective projects, and we now have a MS Project Server installation that works for us, rather than being a hindrance. I could not recommend PPS more highly.”

    To learn more about Microsoft Project Server click here or contact us.


  8. PPS work together with Tremark to optimise business data processes

    Project Plan Services (PPS) have been working with Tremark Associates of Leeds to help optimise their current database solution which comprises a bespoke Microsoft application together with data captured from mobile agents out on the ground using Smartsheet.   The work has been ongoing for a year and the next phase is to further streamline data processes via the use of custom built Smartsheet Application Integrations (APIs) which will provide time saving benefits to the system users.

    Mark Hodgson, Managing Director of Tremark describes below the working relationship with PPS….


  9. Smartsheet streamlines international training

    MGI logoMary Gober International (MGI) help organisations actively and rapidly improve performance.  With bases in the UK, Australia, the Middle East and the United States, they work with clients around the world to deliver tailored solutions inspired by the work of Mary Gober.

    “MGI were using Excel spreadsheets to drive many core processes & reporting within the business.  This was becoming unsustainable as the business grew. Particular issues were with resource scheduling & revenue forecasting.

    We needed practical advice on how to set up & configure Smartsheet for use by MGI.

    We wanted an expert based in the UK who could understand the requirements quickly & guide us towards the most pragmatic solutions. PPS assisted with Smartsheet configuration, developing specific templates/reports & training.

    Implementation is ongoing, but the benefits will be:

    – The ability to share information easily, in real time
    – A much simpler & easier resource scheduling process
    – Entering data only once into Smartsheet & using the functionality to drive plans, reports etc., thereby eliminating non value adding activities
    – A revenue forecasting system that can be run in 5 minutes by anyone rather than 1 or 2 days by a specific person.

    Andrew Gerrish (AMG Projects)”


    Smartsheet – One Day Smartsheet familiarization and training course


  10. PPS help Anchor with Smartsheet Implementation for care home build programme


    Anchor Homes are England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for people over 55 and have an ambitious growth strategy and clear vision for the future. Anchor plan to develop around 2500 new units of accommodation over the next five years and believe their program of exciting and innovative new developments demonstrate commitment to meeting the changing aspirations of older people.

    “We have an extensive build programs with a lot of subject matter experts involved. Most colleagues don’t have access to or training on MS Project, so we needed a project tool that could:

    a) have multiple projects in one place

    b) involve little training

    c) be stored centrally and be live information

    d) highlight where tasks were out of their scheduled timescales (RAG system)

    e) allow for minimal maintenance.

    Project Plan Services helped develop, build, train and maintain the Smartsheet solution for us. We have multiple projects with 800+ lines for each so the creation of these was quite time consuming, which PPS helped to make easy. They are always at the end of the phone to help. Smartsheet has worked out to be exactly what we needed and is working well to manage our projects within the company.”

    Victoria Mager, Commissioning Manager

    Anchor Homes




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