Smartsheet is a popular project management tool that describes itself as a “work execution platform.” This web-based application is best known for its unique use of spreadsheets. These spreadsheets or “sheets” are the foundation of the tool’s project management capabilities.
But Smartsheet isn’t the only spreadsheet software on the block. There are many project management software tools on the market that offer similar feature sets. If you’re looking for a Smartsheet alternative, look no further. We’ve taken a look at some of the best Smartsheet alternative options for you—here are our top picks.
How Smartsheet Works
But first, let’s detail Smartsheet’s feature set. Smartsheet extracts data from the rows and columns of the user’s spreadsheets in order to track tasks, create reports and more. This “sheet” approach is aimed at making the tool more accessible to users. Someone might be unfamiliar with certain project management tools, like a Gantt chart, but odds are they’re comfortable with spreadsheets.
It is important to note that Smartsheet is not limited to its spreadsheet features. The tool also allows team members to collaborate on content, assign tasks, view timelines and more. That said, this “work execution platform” does have disadvantages.
Criticisms of Smartsheet
Perhaps the most common criticism is that Smartsheet does not offer a time tracking feature. For most teams, this capability is must-have. Without time tracking, it’s difficult to keep up with the details of how long different parts of a project took to execute. This means not knowing what to expect in future projects.
Additionally, Smartsheet does not integrate with many third-party time tracking solutions. This can mean team members must complete an extra step in order to track time, rather than have everything they need in one tool.
To its credit, Smartsheet focuses heavily on collaboration. While these collaborative features are top tier, their scheduling and task management capabilities aren’t as extensive as comparable tools. This is unfortunate, especially considering they are one of the more expensive project management tools on the market.
Why Consider a Smartsheet Alternative?
Before starting a project, it’s critical you have the best tool for your specific needs. Sometimes this means trying something new. It’s always a good idea to reflect on tools you’ve used in the past and think about what worked and what didn’t. What could have been better? What slowed down the team?
These questions are important because if your tools have slowed you down or frustrated you in the past, they’re sure to stall your workflow in the future. This is why it’s advantageous to learn about all the project management software options and their different features. When you have this knowledge at your disposal, you’re ready to make positive changes.
A tool like Smartsheet may have been the best option for your previous needs, but that doesn’t mean your needs can’t change. As companies and teams grow they require tools that can keep up. What’s the solution? Educate yourself on as many tools as possible so that you’ll have extensive knowledge of what solution is the right Smartsheet alternative for you.
Whether you’re a longtime Smartsheet user or someone considering the tool, take a look at these 5 alternatives and decide what the best fit is for your needs. Knowing all your options is the best way to find the right fit and set yourself up for success.
2021 Best Smartsheet Alternatives Software Rankings
ProjectManager puts all the tools you need to plan your project from start to finish in one location. With ProjectManager it’s easy to manage tasks, monitor progress, track time, create reports and much more. Most importantly, this award-winning project management software facilitates team collaboration every step of the way.
Unlike many project management solutions, this software was made for expert project managers and novices alike. This means any user is able to get the most from the tool, no matter their skill level. All too often, users don’t take advantage of many features project management software offers because they don’t feel confident. ProjectManager is a universal fit for everyone.
For example, many project management software users don’t utilize features beyond kanban cards and dashboard views. With ProjectManager, beginners can still use kanban boards and task lists, but also master the online Gantt chart tool. The Gantt chart functions like a spreadsheet on the left side of the chart, and it displays timelines and task dependencies on the right so you can make schedules and track progress.
One of the Only Alternatives with a Sheet View like Smartsheet
And, if you’re a fan of Smartsheet’s focus on the use of spreadsheets, ProjectManager offers the Sheet View. Sheet View allows you to work exclusively in data grid columns, without the Gantt chart view. Tailor these sheets to your exact preference with blank rows and dropdown custom columns, all while using keyboard shortcuts that won’t slow down your workflow.
And, if you want to use the Gantt chart view and Sheet View together, any data that has been input on the sheet reflects on the Gantt view, and vice versa. Create specific columns in Gantt view and Sheet View that automatically update in both, and customize views depending on the use case. When you consider the Gantt chart, Sheet view, dashboards, kanban boards, task lists and more, it’s clear that ProjectManager is the best Smartsheet alternative. See for yourself with this free 30-day trial.
2. Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project is one of the oldest and most well-known project management tools around. This cloud-based solution is part of the MS Office suite, meaning it works seamlessly with Microsoft Planner and other Microsoft applications. For many, this also means navigating MS Project feels familiar and comfortable, making it the ideal productivity tool.
This tool also has project planning capabilities that make it a great option for “general project management”. That said, it doesn’t offer solutions to many industry-specific needs. For example, it might not offer everything a construction team or software team needs to plan, complete and report on their projects.
While Microsoft Project is a great productivity tool, it is also held back by its limited integrations with outside applications. For someone who uses apps outside of Microsoft Office, this means you’ll be jumping back and forth between tools. MS Project is also not compatible with Mac OS. So, if you’re used to using a Mac, you’ll have to learn a new project management software on a completely different operating system.
For someone without expert knowledge of project management, this tool may even slow them down rather than make them more efficient.
Monday.com is project management software specifically aimed at making users feel connected. This is largely due to its design. Monday is an extremely visual application. All of its features connect to a central “view” where team members can see an overview of important details and collaborate.
Because of its highly visual nature, Monday gets many great reviews for its ability to organize information. This tool was built to allow users to see huge amounts of information at once and decide how to manage the data from there. Monday also offers a variety of project views, including kanban boards, task lists, timelines and others. Unfortunately, this list of features does not include Gantt charts.
Monday’s visuals are what sets it apart from the pack, but many users feel pigeonholed by visuals that can be distracting or confusing. These individuals have reported feeling the visuals are overwhelming and clarity is sacrificed in the name of aesthetics. Ultimately, Monday was built with one kind of user in mind—the visual project manager, but for those who don’t work well with visual tools, it may not be the right fit.
nTask was built with teams of all sizes and industries in mind. It is heavily focused on task management and even offers meeting management features. While many tools only allow users to create one task at a time, nTask has a recurring task option. The best part? nTask has a free option!
nTask also offers easy-to-understand Gantt charts and dashboard views that everyone can grasp and get the most from. It also offers user-friendly calendar management that makes it simple for team members to view their workflow and stay on top of task due dates.
The features nTask does offer are extremely effective and accessible to all kinds of users. That said, there are many project management features nTask does not offer. For example, nTask does not offer expense tracking, time management or resource management features. These gaps often lead to incomplete project plans and reports that don’t paint a full picture.
ProofHub is widely considered to be an intuitive project management software around. Not only was it designed for beginners, it also offers access to tips and tricks along the way. This makes it a great option for teams made of people who aren’t as versed in traditional project management methods.
ProofHub was designed with a special focus on communication between managers, team members and clients. Clients can easily see what’s going on and make approvals, give feedback and request changes. That means no more jumping between emails and your project planning software. And, because ProofHub was built with a focus on navigation, clients feel just as comfortable using the tool as managers and team members.
Unfortunately, ProofHub is notoriously “glitchy” and many of the great features it offers don’t always work. For example, tasks and messages often disappear, slowing down everyone’s workflow. ProofHub also has no budgeting capabilities, meaning budget plans and reports must take place elsewhere, even though this is a huge part of the planning process.
ProjectManager makes every user feel confident in their ability to use the tool to the fullest extent. While many alternatives focus heavily on a few key features, ProjectManager is a “one-stop-shop” for all the PM tools you need for any team or project. Kick-off your project with online project planning tools, monitor progress, manage time and resources and create any kind of report you need, all while effortlessly communicating with team members. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today.