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 project management spreadsheets. However, spreadsheets might not be the best project management tool to handle time tracking, resource management or task management, which makes project managers look for Smartsheet alternatives.
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—but first, let’s quickly review Smartsheet’s key features.
How Smartsheet Works
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 or kanban board, but odds are they’re comfortable with spreadsheets.
It is important to note that Smartsheet is not limited to its spreadsheet features. The project management tool also allows team members to collaborate on content, assign tasks, view timelines and more. That said, this “work execution platform” does have disadvantages.
Reasons to Seek a Smartsheet Alternative
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.
Whether you’re a longtime Smartsheet user or someone considering the tool, take a look at these top Smartsheet 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.
2023 Best Smartsheet Alternatives Software Rankings
ProjectManager puts all the tools you need to plan your project from start to finish in one location, which places it at the top of our best Smartsheet alternatives software rankings. 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 if they’re working in the office, at home or on-site, regardless of their skill level and, best of all, multiple project views let you work how you want.
View Your Whole Project With Online Gantt Charts
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. Plus, it filters for the critical path without having to do time-consuming calculations and sets a baseline to track project variance in real time to keep your project on schedule.
Get a Sheet View of Your Project Unlike Other Smartsheet Alternatives
And, if you’re a fan of Smartsheet’s focus on the use of spreadsheets for project management, ProjectManager offers the Sheet View. Sheet View allows you to work exclusively in data grid columns, without the Gantt chart view. Tailor these task lists 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 project planning 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.
- Team: $13 user/month
- Business: $24 user/month
- Does ProjectManager offer a free trial? Yes, ProjectManager has a 30-day free trial
- Does ProjectManager have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
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. MS Project is a strong Smartsheet alternative thanks to its project planning capabilities. But these features are general, and the tool doesn’t offer many industry-specific solutions. That means a construction team or software team might find it lacking in their specific planning and reporting needs.
While Microsoft Project is a great productivity tool, it is also held back by its limited integrations with third-party 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 macOS. So, if you’re used to using a Mac, you’ll have to learn new project management software on a completely different operating system. Bottom line: expert project managers will find it useful, and others will most likely get frustrated and bogged down.
For someone without expert knowledge of project management, this tool may even slow them down rather than make them more efficient.
- Project Plan 1: $10 user/month
- Project Plan 3: $30 user/month
- Project Plan 5: $55 user/month
- Does Microsoft Project offer a free trial? Yes, it has a 1-month free trial
- Does it offer a mobile app? Yes, Microsoft Project offers a mobile app
Monday.com is project management software specifically aimed at making users feel connected. This is largely due to its user interface 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. That visual style garners Monday many great reviews as a Smartsheet alternative for its ability to organize information. Users see huge amounts of data and decide how to manage it with kanban boards, task lists, timelines and more.
Unfortunately, that list of project management features is missing the all-important Gantt chart. 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, which might compromise key areas such as resource management, time tracking or project scheduling. 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.
- Basic: $8 user/month
- Standard: $10 user/month
- Pro: $16 user/month
- Does Monday offer a free trial? Yes, Monday has a 14-day free trial
- Does Monday have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
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 Smartsheet alternatives only allow users to create one task at a time, nTask has a recurring task option. The best part? nTask has a free option! You might not get all the features on the freebee but there are easy-to-understand Gantt charts and dashboard views that make upgrades tempting. Another nice feature is the calendar, which makes it easy 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.
- Premium: $3 user/month
- Business: $8 user/month
- Does nTask offer a free trial? Yes, nTask offers a 14-day free trial
- Does nTask have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
ProofHub is widely considered to be one of the better intuitive Smartsheet alternatives Not only was it designed for beginners, but 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. It helps that the software focuses on easy navigation and communication between managers, team members and clients, who can easily stay updated, make approvals, provide feedback and request changes. That keeps people from constantly toggling from the tool to their email.
Unfortunately, ProofHub is notoriously “glitchy” and many of the great task management, time tracking and resource management 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. These drawbacks are certainly something to be aware of when choosing the best project management software for your team.
- Essential: $45 per month, flat pricing.
- Ultimate Control: $89 per month, flat pricing.
- Does ProofHub offer a free trial? Yes, ProofHub offers a 14-day free trial
- Does ProofHub offer a free version? No, ProofHub doesn’t offer a free plan
- Does ProofHub have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
Basecamp is a Smartsheet alternative that bills itself as a tool for remote teams. That means it holds team collaboration high up in its hierarchy of important project management features. It does this by centralizing all your project data in its project planning tool to keep you organized. It also has file sharing, message boards and a group chat rooms that connect team members no matter where they’re working. A client portal is a nice feature to integrate stakeholders and keep them updated and in communication with the project team. Other than that there are to-do lists and task scheduling features and project reports to track progress.
Though Basecamp has basic project management features it doesn’t offer recurring task management or time tracking with activities, which puts it at a disadvantage to other Smartsheet alternatives on this list. The chat feature is oddly lacking for a software product that prides itself on collaboration. That said, a lot of the project management features it offers don’t live up to its promise. For example, reports are limited and there are no proofing tools. The price is right for small or mid-sized companies, but if they need more robust tools they could find themselves looking elsewhere.
- Personal: Free for three projects and up to 20 users
- Business: $99 flat fee
- Does Basecamp offer a free trial? Yes, Basecamp offers a 30-day free trial
- Does Basecamp have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
Jira is the Smartsheet alternative most favored by agile teams who work in software development. Naturally, it has kanban boards to facilitate scrum, sprints and backlog grooming. Powerful reporting features provide the data that help agile teams respond quickly to changes. Jira is a product of Atlassian, and it has grown from a tracking solution to building and tracking software issues. The launch of the Atlassian Marketplace has given developers a place to create plugins to extend what the Smartsheet alternative can do.
It isn’t all roses, there are thorns, such as a mobile app that is but a shadow of the more robust and better-working web version of the tool. Some of the integrations are problematic, according to users, and downloading Jira’s graphical reports as images are downloaded at what looks like low resolution making them difficult to read. The user interface can look cluttered and some task management features are not easy to use, however, that doesn’t seem to bother the agile community, which has rallied around this tool.
- Free for up to 10 users
- Standard: $7.50 per user
- Premium: $14.50 per user
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Does Jira offer a free trial? Yes, Jira offers a 7-day free trial
- Does Jira have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
Asana is another Smartsheet alternative that has project management features ranging from timeline to board and calendar view that is shared with the team to keep everyone working on the same page. Real-time task management reports are helpful for keeping work on schedule as is the feature that sets strategic goals and tracks their progress. Teams can collaborate with file sharing and comment at the task level. Team members also like backlog management. Project managers like the milestone, issue and bug tracking features to help them stay on schedule.
What managers don’t like about this Smartsheet alternative is that it has no risk management features, which is really a big hole in the software. Another issue is that tasks can only be assigned to one person on the team, which is just not realistic for today’s project management. Creatives working in a graphic-intensive environment are going to find the tool lacking their needs. They can use the board view and add cover images, but there are no markup tools or other features to proof and collaborate on graphic files.
- Basic: Free forever
- Premium: $13.49 user/month
- Business: $30.49 user/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- Does Asana offer a free trial? Yes, Asana has a free 30-day trial
- Does Asana have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
Mavenlink offers more than the bare minimum project management tools that others on this Smartsheet alternative list have. It has a decent Gantt chart for scheduling projects, and project portfolio management features to help make it stand apart from the rest. There are the expected collaborative tools to connect teams and other resource management features, but also nice time-tracking with timesheets and templates to help you get started on the right foot.
That’s a fairly comprehensive suite of project management features, but this Smartsheet alternative falls short on advanced project management reporting, which is only available in more expensive subscriptions. That could alienate smaller businesses on a tight budget. It doesn’t help that the software is hard to learn and requires a good deal of time to get up to speed with all that it can do, which often means paying for training. The website is mobile-optimized, which is nice. Not so nice is that there’s no real mobile app.
- Contact the company for details about its professional and teams editions
- Does Mavenlink offer a free trial? Yes, Mavenlink has a 10-day free trial
- Does Mavenlink offer a free version? Yes, Mavenlink does offer a free plan
- Does Mavenlink have a mobile project management app? Sort of, it’s available for premier users
Trello is a popular Smartsheet alternative for collaborating, managing projects and boosting productivity. It does this almost exclusively with kanban boards that can be fully customized for managing work and workflows both with internal teams and external partners. That flexibility makes it a good fit for agile project management, and its intuitive interface makes the tool easy to use. It’s nice that you can print out data and that information is synced across all the devices that you use.
However, Trello’s focus on one feature leaves others out in the cold. For example, there’s no tool for managing and rebalancing resources. Even for a kanban tool there are noticeable omissions, such as swimlanes and work-in-progress (WIP) limits. Also, there’s no Gantt chart. The timeline view is Trello’s workaround but it is lightweight compared to many of the Gantt chart features on this Smartsheet alternative list. That makes this tool okay for task management but not ideal for time tracking, resource management and project scheduling, which makes it unlikely to serve large and complex ones.
- Standard: $5 user/month
- Premium: $10 user/month
- Enterprise: $17.50 user/month
- Does Trello offer a free trial? Yes, Trello has a 14-day free trial
- Does Trello have a mobile project management app? Yes, it’s available for Android and iOS
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.