Smartsheet and AppSheet Solutions improve efficiencies for Global Charity
About World Vision
As the world’s largest children’s charity, World Vision UK is part of the World Vision partnership which works with close to 100 countries to ensure children’s voices are recognised and heard by national governments and key policy-makers.
There were three elements to this Project:
Firstly, a desire to improve the methodology of gathering their Project/Tasks requirements for the coming year. This was so that they could try and improve the scheduling (allocation) of tasks to their various members of the team and try to eliminate the over allocation and the smoothing out of the workload to a more manageable requirement.
They were gathering data via a form created using MS Word. The data from these was transferred into a Planning tool in MS Excel. It was large and cumbersome and difficult to share and give access to other members of the team.
Secondly, there was an urgent need to improve the management of the projects/tasks, by providing a single version of the truth. Tasks were being managed across a variety of sheets in MS Excel, by different team members, and keeping these sheets synchronised was time and labour intensive.
Thirdly, there was a need to be able to record the actual time spent by the team members of each of the Projects/Tasks so that this could be measured against the planned time. This would allow better estimating of planned time for future projects, improving long term resource forecasting.
For the First Part – The MS Word form was replaced by a similar form but created in MS Excel. This allowed for easier gathering or data for the database that was created using Smartsheet rather than MS Excel. The Smartsheet data was then made available through the Smartsheet (Live Data ) Reports for each of the team members to be able to access only the data they needed. This meant that the data could be accessed by any member of staff as required and did not rely on one member of staff updating the database based on emails etc.
The second part of the solution was to create a suite of Reports/Views that provided each team member the information that they required to manage their specific tasks, while maintaining the single version of the truth. Reports were also created to avoid scheduling conflicts, to identify exceptions/non-compliance to process, and to brief stakeholders on capacity issues.
The Third part of the solution was to create a simple time logging app so that the team members could enter the time spent on any task in the database and reports were created to compare Actuals against Planned. This Time logging App was created using Appsheet linked to a Smartsheet. The data from the Database and the Time log could then be compared and reported on.
The main return on investment came from less time consuming manual processes and automatic reporting of accurate and relevant data. Further benefits came from improved workload estimating by being able to report actual work vs planned work, and exception/non-compliance reporting, which in turn improved process adherence.
World Vision has been using Smartsheet for over two years now. The Smartsheet and AppSheet solutions Smarter Business Processes have built for us have significantly improved the efficiency of our project management processes. We use Smartsheet for everything from programme-level reporting to detailed work allocation. Having a tool that provides a real-time single version of the truth across those different views has been invaluable.
We have been able to identify and mitigate capacity risks earlier and to improve compliance with the process by reporting on exceptions and escalating where necessary.
Having a tool like Smartsheet has also increased senior management’s confidence in the data that they are being supplied with, allowing for quicker and better decision-making.
Having just started a new role, being able to show my replacement the plan in Smartsheet and how we use the different reports and views has made the transition a whole lot easier. Needless to say I have also started using Smartsheet for the same reasons in my new role! Thank you Smarter Business Processes, I am looking forward to working with you on the next project.
Adrian Dunn – World Vision UK