Process Improvement and Change Management

As project requirements evolve, deploy change to all sheets, reports, and dashboards within a Control Center portfolio.

Smartsheet Control Center: Make Global Updates to Your Projects

As a part of Smartsheet Control Center, Global Updates enables business users to easily update project templates and cascade those changes automatically to existing and new projects. 

As your project progresses, you may need additional information to keep the project running smoothly. For example, you might want to add an At Risk column so users can flag tasks that may miss a deadline. Global updates allows you to make this change and roll it out across your entire project portfolio.

This article provides an overview of available Global Update Types, including how to create and test Global Updates in your Control Center portfolio.

Global Update Types

Before you create and run Global Updates, familiarize yourself with the available Global Update types and their capabilities. Global Updates offers the following options:

  • Add New Column:  Add a new column to your project sheets and templates.
  • Modify Existing Column:  Adjust an existing column in project sheets and templates.
  • Add Profile Data - Add new Profile Data rows to the summary section of one or more templates in projects.
  • Find / Replace:  Find and replace values in projects and templates.
  • Update Reports:  Change provisioned project Reports and Report templates.
  • Update Dashboards:  Change provisioned project Dashboards and Dashboard templates.

Create a New Global Update

Get Started and Specify Your Update

  1. To log in, select Control Center from the App Launcher in Smartsheet or visit https://smartsheet.controlcenter.smartsheetapps.com.
  2. Click the menu and then click the name of the program that you want to update.
    SCC Menu
  3. In the top left corner, click Manage Program
  4. Select Global Updates and then click New Update.
  5. Select an update. When you select an update, the plus sign on the tile changes to a checkmark.

  6. Click Next and enter your update details.
  7. In the bottom right corner, click Create & Run.

Test and Validate Your Changes

Testing is required. 

Click Create & Run, to test and validate the proposed update against active projects and sheets.  The test creates a temporary copy of a project, ensuring you don’t commit changes until you’re certain you want those changes.

  1. On the Test Global Update page, select a project and then click Apply Test at the bottom of the page.


    When the test copy is ready, the Status column on the Test Global Update page changes from New to Success.

    TIP: Hover over the Success message to see an update summary.

    Success Message
  2. Click Open Test to review the test sheet, report, or dashboard and confirm that the test updates are as expected.
    NOTE: To edit the update, click Close to close the test, make  your changes, and run the test again. For more information, see Edit a Global Update.
    TIP: To test the update on additional projects, click Close to return to the Update Summary page. Click Test Update, and select the project to test. Do this as many times as you like until you are confident about your changes.
  3. Once you’ve confirmed your update works as desired, close the test and return to the Test Global Update page.
  4. Click Confirm to go to the Update Summary page.

Confirm the Results and Apply the Update

You’ll have one last chance to review and confirm the proposed changes and select where you want updates applied.

 

  1. Review the Update Summary page and verify your updates are as intended.
  2. Click Apply Update.
  3. On the Apply Update page, select the projects you want to update.
    NOTE: If you want to update your templates, check Apply update to the base project template(s). 
  4. Click Apply. You will see notice telling you the changes are permanent, click Yes to complete the update.

Global Updates remain on the Global Updates page. You can run them whenever you want. Select the update and run it as above.  

Edit an Existing Global Update

To update an existing Global Update: 

 

  1. To log in, select Control Center from the App Launcher in Smartsheet or visit https://smartsheet.controlcenter.smartsheetapps.com.
  2. Click the menu and then click the name of the program that you want to update.
  3. In the top left corner, click Manage Program
  4. Select Global Updates and then click New Update.
  5. Locate the Global Update you want to change, then hover over the three dot icon (to the left of the update name) and select Edit.
  6. Make your changes, then select Update & Run to test and validate your changes. See Test and Validate Your Changes for more information.


For answers to common questions related to Global Updates and Smartsheet Control Center generally, see Smartsheet Control Center FAQ

Control Center Global Updates: Dashboards

Global Updates: Dashboards allows you to make changes to your dashboard templates and roll those changes out across all existing projects.

Use Global Updates when you’ve made the following changes to a dashboard template:

  • Updated colors or branding on the dashboard
  • Revisions to dashboard widgets
  • Widget layout
  • New or deleted widgets

How to use Global Updates: Dashboards

Warning: Global Updates rebuilds your entire dashboard and relinks widgets to the reports and sheets every time you run an update. Changes are not reversible, so run the update on one project and check the results before you run it on all your projects.

Update the Dashboard Template

In Smartsheet, go to the Blueprint Source Folder and make your changes directly to the dashboard template. 

You can:

  • Modify existing widgets
  • Add new widgets
  • Remove existing widgets
  • Update widget layout

Create a Global Update in Control Center

Global Updates Dashboards

  1. In Control Center, select the program you want to work with.
  2. At the top of the screen, click Manage Program and then click Global Updates.
  3. Click New Update and then select Update Dashboards. 
  4. Follow the instructions in the Update Dashboard wizard.

    TIP: Name the update after what it does, for example, Move Budget Widget.
  5. At the bottom of the screen, click Create & Run. (Click Close to save the Update without running it.)

Apply the Global Update

When you run the update, Control Center searches each project to find the dashboard that matches your dashboard template by either ID or name. It also shows you projects that don’t have a matching dashboard - either because a match could not be found or the dashboard was not included when the project was originally created. You can add the newly edited dashboard to those projects when you run the update.

  1. Review the selected dashboards.

    Projects selected for the updates are sorted as follows:
    • Dashboards matched to current template ID: These projects contain dashboards created from the dashboard template in the Blueprint Source Folder.
    • Dashboards matched to current template name:  These projects contain dashboards that have the same name as the dashboard template in the Blueprint Source Folder. 
    • No matching dashboards found: Click Choose Dashboard to select a dashboard to update or to add the dashboard to the project.
       
  2. Click Apply to update all the project dashboards.

    NOTE: Control Center overwrites over your dashboards, but it also makes a backup of the original dashboard before it runs the update. It’s stored in the same location as the original dashboard—you can refer to it if you need to roll back changes.
  3. Review the results. Warning indicators show dashboards with update issues. Hover over the warning icon to learn more.

    Control Center Global Update Results

 

Get the Most Out of Global Updates for Dashboards

Make changes directly to the dashboard template. This is the most reliable method for making sure the dashboard will match your projects, even if you change the name of the dashboard. The dashboards in the project are direct children of the dashboard template in the Blueprint Source Folder. Control Center easily identifies them as such and makes the changes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Some projects have custom modifications on their dashboards. Will these modifications be lost?

Yes.  When a dashboard in a project is updated, all the widgets will be removed and re-created to be identical to the template dashboard.

I renamed the dashboard in my project.  Will Global Updates still find and update it?

Yes.

I manually added a dashboard and renamed it to match.  Will Global Updates recognize it?

No. Global Updates will only recognize dashboards, reports and sheets that were created through Control Center.

I deleted the dashboard.  Will Global Updates add it back?

The project will appear in the “No matching reports found” section. Select the project in Global Updates, click Choose Dashboard, and then select Add new dashboard. Run the update to create the dashboard.

Will I see all my projects?

Yes. Unlike earlier Global Updates, you will see all projects created from the Blueprint.

Can I run the Global Update again?

Yes. You can run the update as many times as you want.

Can I "undo" a Global Update?

No. You can adjust the template report in the Blueprint Source Folder and run the Global Update again.


Troubleshoot Updates to Dashboard Widgets

Widgets pull data from sheets and reports; the best way to avoid trouble with them is make sure the sources feeding the widget are consistent and up to date. If a widget on a project dashboard doesn’t work correctly after an update, check the following:

  • Do all the sources exist in the project?

    A report or sheet may have been deleted from the project and the widget can’t find the data it needs. The same error can happen if a widget refers to a report or sheet that was added to the project later, or if the item wasn’t created because it was optional.
  • Is the data structured properly in the sheet?

    Metric and chart widgets show data from cells in sheet. The update locates the cells by matching the column name and value in the primary column with the sheet template. If matches cannot be found, the widget will have Missing Data. For Global Updates to work well, don’t reference data in the primary column. The primary column should contain the “name” of the metric and the data should be in other columns.
  • Does the program lead have permission to access the underlying project or report?

    You may need to change permissions to make the data visible.

 


Global Updates: Dashboards Best Practices

When building your Dashboard templates for use with Control Center, it’s important to structure your source data in a way that avoids potential issues with Global Updates.

Avoid Duplicate and Blank Values in the Primary Column

Data in the Primary Column is used to identify the first and last row for the range of a chart or metric widget, even if you haven’t included this column as a part of your data range. Avoid using your Primary Column in widget data ranges.

If duplicate or blank values are found, the widget will break when you run a Global Update

Use one of the following options to structure your source data:
 

  1. To avoid duplicate values, use a row naming scheme. For example, name your Primary Column rows numerically (1, 2, 3, etc.). This way, you avoid any duplicate values in the Primary Column.
  2. Add hierarchy to manage duplicate values. This is helpful if the Primary Column must be used for data ranges in widgets. See the example below:

 

In this example, the Primary Column contains duplicate values (“Very High”, “High”, etc.). By using hierarchy, issues resulting from duplicate values can be avoided when running Global Updates. This is because the lookup for the Primary Column returns the parent row and the child row.

NOTE: With this method, it is still possible to have duplicate values if you have two or more parent rows with the same name, and child rows with the same name under those separate parent rows.

Make sure Reports used for templates contain some sample data

If a Report is used in a chart widget for your Dashboard templates and has no results to create a chart from, it will not map correctly when you provision your projects. Make sure you have at least one data point in your report template.

See Charts in Dashboards for more information.

Make sure cells referenced in template sheets have contained some data 

Errors related to missing data can occur if the referenced cells from a template sheet have never contained any data. To avoid this, ensure that your template sheets have some cell history by right-clicking the cell and selecting “View Cell History”.

 

 

Control Center Global Updates: Reports

The Global Updates: Reports capability in Smartsheet Control Center allows you to make changes to your report templates and roll those changes out across all existing projects. 

Use Global Updates when you’ve made the following changes to a report template:

  • Deleted or added new columns
  • Changed column order or width
  • Changed the show or hide setting on a column
  • Changed report criteria
  • Changed the sort order on a column
  • Added or removed sheets from a report

You can also use Global Updates to update a report when you’ve changed column name or type, or added a new column to a sheet that’s used in that report. 


How to Use Global Updates: Reports

Warning: Global Updates rebuilds your entire report every time you run an update. Changes are not reversible, so run the update on one project and check the results before you run it on all your projects.

Update the Report Template

In Smartsheet, go to the Blueprint Source Folder and make your changes directly to the report template.

You can:

  • Add/Remove columns
  • Hide/Show columns
  • Reorder columns
  • Change criteria
  • Change sort order
  • Update the sheets that are included in the report 

Create a Global Update in Control Center

SCC Global Updates

  1. In Control Center, select the program you want to work with.
  2. At the top of the screen, click Manage Program, and then click Global Updates.
  3. Click New Update and then select Update Reports.

     
  4. Follow the instructions in the Update Reports wizard.Update Reports Wizard

    TIPS:

    • Name the update after what it does, for example, Resize Budget Column.
    • Leave the Update report sources toggle off unless you made changes to sheets included in the report.
       
  5. At the bottom of the screen, click Create & Run. (Click Close to save the Update without running it.) 

Apply the Global Update

When you run the update, Control Center looks at each project to find the report that matches your report template by either ID or name. It also shows you projects that don’t have a matching report—either because a match could not be found or because the report was not included when it was originally created. You can add the newly edited report to those projects when you run the update.   

  1. Review the selected reports.

    Project Selection in Control Center Global Updates

    Projects selected for the updates are sorted as follows:
    • Reports matched to current template ID: These projects contain reports created from the report template in the Blueprint Source Folder.
    • Reports matched to current template name: These projects contain reports that have the same name as the report template in the Blueprint Source Folder. 
    • No matching reports found: No matching reports were found. Click the “Choose Report” link to manually select a report to update or add the report to the project. 
       
  2. Review the Source Mapping status on each report.

    If you turned on the Update report sources toggle, the Source Mapping Status displays to how many sheets included in the scope of the report template can be matched to sheets in the project. Scope is configured in the Report Builder.
     
    • Grey: The sheets included in the report will not be changed.
    • Green: All the sheets in scope were matched successfully.
    • Yellow: At least one sheet in scope item was matched.  
    • Red: None of the sheets in scope items were matched.  

    Source Mapping Details

    Optional:
    Click the status marker to see the source mapping details for each report. On items that aren’t a complete match, click Remap sheets to map the report to the correct sheets. 
     
  3. Click Apply to update all the project reports.

Get the Most Out of Global Updates for Reports

When you need to make changes, make changes directly to the report template. This is the most reliable method for making sure the report will match your projects, even if you change the name of the report. The reports in the project are direct children of the report template in the Blueprint Source Folder. Control Center easily identifies them as such and makes the changes.

For more information about templates and the Blueprint Source Folder, see Smartsheet Control Center: Blueprint Source Folder Overview.


Global Updates for Reports: Frequently Asked Questions

Some projects have manually changed their reports.  Will these changes be lost?

Yes.  Global updates overwrites those changes so the project report matches the report template. 

I renamed the report in my project.  Will Global Updates still find it and update it?

Yes.

I manually added a report and renamed it to match.  Will Global Updates recognize it?

No.  Global Updates only recognizes reports and sheets created through Control Center.

I deleted the report.  Will Global Updates add it back?

The project will appear in the “No matching reports found” section. Select the project in Global Updates, click Choose Report, and then select Add new report. Run the update to create the report. 

Will I see all my projects?

Yes.  Unlike earlier Global Updates, you will see all projects created from the Blueprint.

Can I run the Global Update again?

Yes.  You can run the update as many times as you want.

Can I "undo" a Global Update?

No. You can adjust the template report in the Blueprint Source Folder and run the Global Update again.