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 the changes automatically to existing and new projects. Global Updates enables teams to continuously improve processes and keep the consistency in work execution intact across the portfolio.

The goal of Global Updates is to provide solution administrators a mechanism to maintain consistency across existing and new projects. Four types of Global Updates are available:

  • Add New Column
  • Modify Existing Column
  • Add New Metadata
  • Find/Replace

Projects created outside of Control Center (or prior to setting up Control Center) will need to be migrated to Control Center projects before you can use Global Updates on them.

In this article:

Global Update Basics

Use the Global Update Options

Global Update Access Requirements

You must have Project Lead access to Smartsheet Control Center to make global updates. For information about how to grant someone Lead access, see the Access Smartsheet Control Center.


Global Update Basics

Get Started and Specify Your Update

  1. Log in to Smartsheet Control Center by visiting 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. Click Manage Program (it's next to the search programs box).
  4. Select Global Updates and click New Update.
  5. On the Global Updates page, click Create New Update.
  6. From the available update options, select the type of update you want to make (when you select a tile, the plus sign for the option will change to a checkmark).

    Global Update options
  7. Click Next to begin specifying the details of your update. What you specify will vary depending on the type of update that you want to make.

    For assistance with how to configure each of the update types, see Add New Column,Modify Existing Column, or Add New Metadata below. Continue specifying your changes and click Next to advance through the wizard.
     
  8. When you’ve provided the required information, you’ll reach a page that includes the Create & Test button at the bottom of the page. Click Create & Test to continue.

Test and Validate Your Changes

Once you click Create & Test, you’ll test and validate the proposed update against active projects and sheets (this testing is a required part of the process). You’ll do this with a temporary copy of a project to ensure that you don’t commit to any changes until you’re certain the changes have the impact that you want.

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

    Apply Test button

    When the test is ready, the Status column on the Test Update page will change from New to Success. Temporary copies of the sheets that will be impacted by the updates are created and the update is applied to those sheet for your review.

    TIP: You can hover the mouse over the Success message to see a summary of the update.

    Success Message
  2. Click Open Test Sheets to examine the copy of the sheets that show the impact of the updates. Ensure that the updates worked as you expected. (If you need to make changes, click Close to close the test sheet. Then, delete the global update that needs the change and start over.)

    TIP: If you want to test the update on additional projects before confirming, click Close to return to the Update Summary page. From there, click Test Update, and select another project to test. You can do this as many times as you like until you are confident about the changes.
     
  3. Once you confirm that the updates worked as expected, close the test sheet and return to the Test Update page.
  4. Click Confirm to confirm and move on to the Update Summary page.

Confirm the Results and Apply the Update

In this last stage of the update process, you’ll have one last chance to review and confirm the proposed changes and you’ll choose where you want updates applied.

  1. Review the Update Summary page to verify that the updates are what you intend.

    The contents of this page will vary depending on the nature of the updates that you make.
     
  2. On the Global Updates > Update Summary page, click Apply Update.
  3. On the Apply Update page, check or uncheck the available options to control the scope of your changes—for example, uncheck certain projects to exclude them from the update.

    The options you have here will vary depending on the type of update you’re making. The table at the end of this section outlines the choices.
     
  4. Click Apply. When you receive a notice that the changes are permanent, click Yes to complete the update.

And that's it! In just a few steps you updated the projects in your portfolio such that they're now more current and useful, according to your own specifications.

Where You Can Apply Updates

Use the the table below as you decide where you want to apply updates.

Update TypeWhat You Can Control
New or Updated ColumnBase Template Updates To ensure that the change is included in new projects, make sure that the Apply update to the base project template(s) is checked.

Which Projects Are Included To exclude a project from the update, uncheck the box next to that project name.
Metadata
Base Template Updates To ensure that the change is included in new projects, make sure that the Apply update to the base project template(s) is checked.

Metadata in the Control Center Config Sheet Metadata will be added as a data field that can be leveraged when new projects are created—you can use it to request information from users as projects are being provisioned.

Metadata in the Reporting Sheet Cell links will be created when the update is applied to the projects.

Which Projects Are Included To exclude a project from the update, uncheck the box next to that project name.
 


Use the Global Update Options

As your project progresses, you may realize that you need additional information to keep the project running smoothly. For example, you might decide to add an At Risk symbol column so that users can flag tasks.

SCC Global Updates makes it possible for you to solve this problem for all projects in your portfolio, including projects that you’ve already provisioned.

At Risk icon

If you also include the new column information to project metadata, you’ll be able to make calculations against it. For example, by adding the column and the metadata to the project, you’d be able to calculate and report on the the total number of at At Risk tasks.

Add a New Column: Choose the Source

When you use the Add New Column update type, you’ll choose from one of two ways to make the global update. With either method, all the projects in your SCC portfolio that use the template will be able to benefit from the update.

Here are the choices:

  • Create a new column This option allows you to create a completely new column right from Global Updates.
     
  • Use an existing column from the template Use this option if you’ve already added a new column to the base template—this way you can leverage the newly added column and use Global Updates to push it to already deployed projects; or, use this method you want to use a column property such as currency or decimal places that is not available in the Create a new column options in Global Updates.

    Use Existing Column
     
Option 1: Create the New Column in Global Updates

If you decide to start from scratch and build the new column in Global Updates, you must specify these column properties:

  • Column Title
  • Column Type

You can also specify any of the following:

  • Options such as dropdown values or symbols
  • Column Position (Note that you cannot add a column between the primary column and the column immediately to the right of it. This positioning restriction is enforced because this is where the metadata name and value pairs are stored.)
  • Column State: you can choose to create a locked or hidden column
  • Column Styles: font, size, background color, and so on

NOTE: If you don’t see the options you’re looking for, click Advanced (above the Tips button) to reveal more options.

Option 2: Leverage a Column from a Base Template

If you manually added the new column to the base template in Smartsheet after a number of projects were provisioned, you can use Add New Column to push that new column to the already provisioned projects in your SCC portfolio that use that template. (You might also prefer to use this method if you want to apply formatting to the column that isn't available in Control Center.)

NOTES:

  • While formatting that’s been explicitly applied to the column will be pushed to the existing projects, formatting that occurs from Conditional Formatting rules will not be copied to the projects.
  • If you want the column to be locked or hidden, you must specify Column State for the global update.

For information about how to manually add a column to a base template, see the Smartsheet Control Center FAQ.

Include Column Data

To include column data with the new column, you’ll specify either a fixed default value using or a formula. This data will be added to every row that appears after the Summary section of the template.

You’ll specify default values in the Default Column Cell Value box as shown in the image below.

Control Center Add Column Existing Value

 

NOTE: You are restricted to one default value or formula—that is, you cannot specify multiple default values.

Modify an Existing Column

The Modify Existing Column update option allows you to make changes to a column that already exists in your project sheets. Some situations in which you might want to make a change of this type include:

  • Making a sheet easier to use by updating its color or changing its position
  • Adding new options to a dropdown column or renaming an existing option
  • Modifying a formula in a column to incorporate a newly added column
  • Changing an old drop-down value to a new one (for example, in the event that a department name changes)

You can make changes to the column properties including:

  • Column Name and Type
  • Options such as dropdown values or symbols
  • Column Position

    Note that you cannot add a column between the primary column and the column immediately to the right of it. This positioning restriction is enforced because this is where the metadata name and value pairs are stored.
     
  • Column State: Choose to create a locked or hidden column
  • Column Styles: Font, size, background color, and so on

Some columns and column types have restrictions:

  • System columns: You cannot specify column data for system columns (that is, System columns cannot include values or formulas)
  • Contact List columns: You cannot use a formulas in a Contact List column type

Modify Column Data

In addition to adding new data or changing column values, you can also use Global Updates to make global changes to existing data in active projects. To modify existing column data:

  1. Ensure that Change column cell data is checked.
     
  2. Select an existing value from the column and provide a new value. You can map old values to new fixed values or to a formula-driven values.

    Window with text Pick a value from the list

TIP: To validate the results of a formula and ensure that it will have the desired impact, click the Test a formula button. Clicking the button opens a sheet in which you can develop and test the formula that you want to use. Once you’re satisfied with the results, you can copy and paste that formula back into the in the New Value box in the Global Update.

Formula Requirements

When you specify a formula in Global Updates, you must use the @row notation to reference cells in other columns on the same row. If you try to use relative row references, they will yield incorrect results. For example, instead of using a formula in row 12 of the form

=[Cost]12 + [Markup]12

use this:

=[Cost]@row + [Markup]@row

For more information about using the @row convention in a formula, see Create Efficient Formulas with @cell and @row.

Add New Metadata

Use the Add New Metadata update type to add new metadata rows to the summary section of one or more templates in the project. Some uses for Add New Metadata include:

  • If you need to compute a new project metric that was not part of the original deployment and then add that to summary reporting. For example, if after deployment, you added a column to track tasks that are at risk, you may also want add metadata so that you can track those across the portfolio
  • Capturing additional project information during project creation

You can specify the corresponding value as either a static text value or a formula. For example, you could specify a formula that counts all cells where the At Risk checkbox column has been checked:

=COUNTIF([At Risk]:[At Risk], true)

Use Find/Replace

The most basic Find/Replace is done by providing a Find value and providing a Replace value.

By default all columns will be updated. If you want to limit which columns will be updated, use the In these columns box to select which columns to limit the update to.

If you add multiple Find/Replace operations, they will all be applied at the same time.

Restrictions with Find/Replace

Some column types are either unavailable to SCC Find/Replace or are available, but with restrictions. These column types are listed in the following table.

Column or Cell Data TypeIgnored by Find/ReplaceAvailable with RestrictionsNotes
SystemYesNo -
Columns designated in your Project Settings:
  • The Start date column
  • The End date column
  • The Predecessor column
YesNo  -
Contact ListNoYesSee Restrictions on Contact List Column Data
DateNoYesSee Restrictions on Date Column Data
DurationNoYesDuration column data is matched strictly by matching the string.

Find/Replace will not perform any conversion of the duration.

For example, if your Find string on a Duration column is 2d it will only match cells that contain the value 2d—it will not match a duration of 16h.
CommentsYesNo 
Any cell with an inbound cell linkYesNoNote that outbound cell links can be modified.
Cells with hyperlinkYesNo -
Cells with imagesYesNo -

Restrictions on Contact List Column Data

The value that you specify in the Find box must either be the full name of the person that is displayed in the sheet or the email address associated with that contact. That is, you can specify either Joe Smith or [email protected]

Values in Contact List columns must be directly matched. That is, for the Find value, you must use one of the following in the Restrict to box:

is equal to
is not equal to
is blank
is not blank

For the Replace with value, the Restrict to box must be set to replace entire cell.

If you use any other values for Restrict to criteria, Contact List columns will be skipped (but other column types will be processed).


Best Practice: To avoid issues, use the email address for Find/Replace rather than the text version of a Contact name (the email address can be properly looked up in your Smartsheet Contacts and the name will be displayed as it has been specified in that list).

Restrictions on Date Column Data

Cells in Date columns will only be matched to the Find value when one of the following restrictions are specified:

is equal to
is not equal to
is blank
is not blank

If any other restriction is specified, Date columns will be skipped. Similarly, the Replace restriction must be replace the entire cell otherwise the Date columns will be skipped.

Example: Find cells that contain "01/30" and replace with "02/01" on all columns.  This will NOT match a cell in a Date column that is 01/30/2017 because the contains restriction is being used. This operation will be performed on cells in Text/Number columns.

Note that when a date is entered in the Find or Replace box and a Date (or Date/Time) column is selected, you’ll receive a warning indicating how the date will be interpreted (for example, February 15, 2018), and you’ll have the option to convert the value to a universal date format (YYYY-MM-DD). Converting to universal date format is a good best practice for matching Date columns: it can help you avoid confusion caused by different date display formats (for example, mm/dd/yy or dd/mm/yy).

Dates in Smartsheet are displayed according to each user’s personal settings. That is, date display is controlled at the user level in Personal Settings. For more information about date formats, see Changing the Default Date and Number Format (via the Language Setting).

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.

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.