Looking for the best Smartsheet alternatives?
While Smartsheet is a capable project management platform, it has some serious drawbacks.
For starters, Smartsheet doesn’t come equipped with advanced project management features to tackle complex projects.
And if that doesn’t make you wonder why it’s considered a project management tool in the first place, this definitely will:
Smartsheet follows a spreadsheet format – just like Excel. So if you want to manage your projects with Smartsheet, you’re going to have to spend hours going over cells and columns, searching for the information you need.
But don’t worry.
You’ll never have to deal with those dreaded spreadsheets anymore (for project management, at least)!
In this article, we’ll cover the top 5 powerful project management tools that can easily overcome all of Smartsheet’s drawbacks.
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links to jump to a particular section)
- A brief overview of Smartsheet
- Why do you need a Smartsheet alternative?
- Top 5 Smartsheet alternatives
Let’s get started.
A Brief Overview of Smartsheet
Smartsheet is a project management tool that uses a spreadsheet-like interface to track and manage projects. Some project managers use it as they’re already familiar with the Excel and Google sheet format.
So yes, Smartsheet is a decent solution for simple, short projects that suit a small team.
But that’s it.
When you have more complex projects, you’d have to go through a ton of multi-layered sheets. And that’ll leave you dazed and confused!
However, that’s not the only problem you’ll face with Smartsheet.
Why do You Need a Smartsheet Alternative?
Smartsheet is essentially a spreadsheet software that can be used for project management.
And that’s a major drawback, as there’s a limit to what spreadsheets are capable of.
I mean, most smart project managers moved to dedicated project management software over Excel templates a decade ago for a reason!
Here are five key reasons to choose an alternative project management tool:
Want an in-depth Smartsheet review? Click here.
1. Spreadsheets are impractical for modern project management
There’s a reason why project management software exists today.
It’s so that teams don’t burn out looking at spreadsheets all day!
Not only is it stressful to look at data filled in boring rectangular rows and columns, but it’s also super inconvenient.
Here are a few reasons why using a spreadsheet for your project management in 2020 is impractical:
- You can’t go through the data quickly
- You’ll have to rely on manual data entry for the most part
- When you’re dealing with tons of data, it’s easy to overlook things
- It’s hard to identify changes and updates made to the sheet
- Coordinating with team members over a spreadsheet is never easy
2. No real-time collaboration
For effective team collaboration, an ideal project management tool should be equipped with a built-in chat or comment feature.
However, Smartsheet doesn’t offer any real-time collaboration features that allow team members to discuss important project details.
So what do you have to do for project collaboration?
You’re forced to write emails, hoping that your team members will actually see the emails and understand what project you’re talking about!
3. Limited team reporting features
Smartsheet has a team reporting feature, but it’s not very user-friendly.
If you need detailed Gantt charts to track your project progress, you’ll need to input everything manually! (Keep a bottle of Aspirin handy, you might need it.)
Additionally, Gantt charts aren’t everything that project managers need in their arsenal.
For effective project tracking, you’ll also need other useful charts like Velocity charts, Burnup charts, and Burndown charts.
Sadly, Smartsheet doesn’t offer any of these.
4. Lack of advanced time tracking features
Every project manager needs a time tracking feature in their toolbox.
It’s critical for estimating your team’s productivity, implementing effective resource management, and it lets you know whether your team will be able to meet tight deadlines.
However, Smartsheet doesn’t come with advanced and automatic time tracking features.
So you won’t be able to determine the time you’ve spent on a particular task.
So if your stakeholders ask you for an accurate due date based on your team’s pace, you’ll find yourself tongue-tied!
Smartsheet doesn’t offer a Free plan.
It only comes with a 30-day trial period, and after that, the plans get pretty expensive.
The Basic plan starts at $14/user per month while their Business plan starts at $25/user per month.
However, if you need more advanced project management features like unlimited sheets and directory integration, you would have to pay a premium to upgrade to the Enterprise plan or Premier plan.
Bottom line: Smartsheet is a pretty pricey product for both SMBs and larger organizations. Fortunately, there are free alternatives out there that offer more features than Smartsheet.
Top 5 Smartsheet Alternatives In 2020
Those were some serious deal-breakers out there, right?
Luckily, these Smartsheet competitors are here to save your day.
ClickUp is the world’s leading project management software. Used by companies from startups to giants like Google, Airbnb, and Nike, it’s one of the highest-rated tools on the market today.
With ClickUp’s powerful reporting, tracking, and collaboration features, you’ll have everything you need for managing projects effectively.
Here’s why ClickUp is best free Smartsheet alternative out there:
View your project workspace according to how you like it.
B. Powerful and convenient Real-time Collaboration features
Every task in ClickUp has a built-in Comment section for project relevant discussions and also allows file sharing for better collaboration.
Additionally, with ClickUp’s Assigned Comments, you can tag any team member to a task and ensure that it doesn’t go unnoticed.
While these alone make ClickUp a super-effective collaboration tool, it gets even better.
Use the Chat view to view all your previous conversations with your team. Also, use the search bar to find any chat you had with your team members. It’s that easy!
C. Powerful Dashboard with advanced analytical tools
Unlike Smartsheet, ClickUp has a built-in Time Tracking feature to monitor your team’s work and improve their productivity.
Want another way to track time?
With 50+ pre-built workflow Automation templates, you can automate repetitive tasks in a flash. You also have the option of customizing and building your own automated workflows.
Drag and drop any team member’s profile from the sidebar to assign tasks to a team member with just a few clicks. Similarly, it’s easy to drag and drop tasks to the correct status columns like so:
Try doing that with a spreadsheet!
- Powerful Free Forever Plan with tons of advanced features
- Great for Scrum, Kanban, and other Agile software development projects
- Visualize your team’s activity levels with detailed reports
- Highly user-friendly UI for fun and easy project management
- Customize Task Statuses for relevant and convenient task updates
- Custom Permissions to keep project stakeholders in the loop
- Powerful Dashboards for better work management
- Can create a project plan or elaborate knowledge bases with ClickUp Docs
- Tons of third-party integrations (Microsoft Office 365, Zoom, Slack, and more)
- Dependencies help approach tasks in the right order
- Task templates to conveniently create a task rather than starting from scratch
- Powerful Android and iOS mobile apps to manage your projects on the go
- Can’t export Dashboards
- No white-labeling available
- No tags available for Docs
ClickUp is constantly working to overcome such minor flaws. Learn more about ClickUp’s product roadmap here.
ClickUp has three pricing options.
- Free Forever Plan: unlimited projects and members + 100Mb of cloud storage space
- Unlimited Plan ($5/user per month): unlimited projects and members + unlimited number of integration + advanced reporting
- Business Plan ($9/user per month): unlimited projects and members + two-factor authentication + Google single sign-on
- G2: 4.7/5 (1100+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2000+ reviews)
Basecamp is a project management and collaboration tool targeted towards small to medium-sized businesses. While Basecamp aims to be a single platform catering to all project needs, it does have some drawbacks though.
Want to know all of the details? Click here for a full review of Basecamp.
- To-do lists help with task management
- Chat platform (Campfire and Pings) with group chat rooms for real-time communication
- Team reports for detailed overviews of any task or team member
- Hill charts help track project progress in real-time
- Document management feature to keep your paperwork organized
- Simple interface with a relaxed learning curve
- Easy drag and drop functionality for file sharing
- Handy universal search bar lets you access any information easily
- Hourly auto backups keep your project files secure
- Doesn’t have advanced project management features like recurring task management, built-in time tracking, and project budgeting features
- No native time tracking features; you’d have to use third-party integrations
- The Basecamp app isn’t that great with to-do lists
- Project tracking features only limited to Hill charts
Flat $99 per month for unlimited users and unlimited projects with 500 GB of file storage.
- G2: 4.1/5 (4400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (11900+ reviews)
Asana is a simple project management solution that’s quite popular among project managers. With an easy to use UI and tons of integrations, Asana is a Smartsheet alternative that’s more suited to smaller, simpler projects.
- Kanban board for easy workflow management
- File sharing and task comments for better team collaboration
- Advanced task management with subtasks and checklists
- Powerful project overviews for better resource management
- Allows real-time collaboration with your team members
- Assign tasks quickly with automatic notifications when any task approaches its due date
- Dedicated functions designed for Agile teams, like backlog management and workflow automation
- Suitable for managing multiple projects and large teams
- No native time tracking features
- Can’t assign a comment to a team member
- The Free plan has limited functionality (lacks features like goals and custom fields)
- Tasks can’t have multiple assignees
The Asana platform gives you four options to choose from:
- Basic Free plan: with basic features like board view and unlimited tasks
- Premium plan ($10.99/user per month): for a small team, offers features like timeline, milestones, and custom fields
- Business plan ($24.99/user per month): for larger teams and companies, offers advanced features like portfolios, goals, and integrations
- Enterprise plan (price on request)
- G2: 4.3/5 (6600+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (8700+ reviews)
Click here for a more comprehensive review of Asana.
Trello is a well-known Kanban-based management tool that can handle simple projects with its automation and integrations. Let’s see why this SaaS solution is one of the better Smartsheet competitors:
- Interactive and customizable cards for easy project management
- Power-ups help add additional functionality to Trello boards
- Checklists for better task management
- High-level views for better team collaboration
- Color-coded labels help organize tasks easily
- Smooth learning curve with friendly user-interface
- Assign tasks simply by dragging a name from sidebar to a card
- Tons of keyboard shortcuts for convenience
- Mobile app for iOS and Android for easy project management
- Lack of native reporting features (you may have to purchase a power-up)
- Not suitable for managing complex projects
- Only offers the Kanban board view for project management (a table view is in beta)
The Trello platform has three options:
- Free plan: offers limited functionality
- Business plan ($9.99/user per month): includes advanced features like board templates and unlimited power-ups
- Enterprise plan ($17.50/user per month): for larger teams requiring more features like public board management
- G2: 4.3/5 (10500+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (16600+ reviews)
Want to know more about Trello? Here’s our in-depth review.
Let’s take a look at why this tool makes the list of top Smartsheet competitors.
- Powerful Agile views with Scrum and Kanban board
- Custom workflow templates and automated workflow function
- Roadmaps to build a structure for your projects
- Powerful reporting tools like velocity chart and Gantt chart
- Bug and issue tracking functionality
- Advanced project management features for Agile and Scrum management
- Allows third-party integration
- Highly customizable dashboards
- Powerful mobile app to always keep an eye on your projects
- Can manage larger, complex projects
- Hard to set up and configure
- Steep learning curve due to a complex UI
- Expensive paid plan
- No team collaboration features for effective coordination
- Free plan: suitable for a small team, offers limited functionality and allows up to 10 team members
- Standard plan ($7/user per month): provides all the Agile project planning features. You’ll also get 250GB cloud storage, and will host up to 5,000 users
- Premium plan ($14/user per month): gives access to all features that Jira has to offer and offers unlimited storage for up to 5,000 users
- G2: 4.2/5 (3600+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (8900+ reviews)
Want to take a closer look at Jira? Click here for a more detailed review.
While Smartsheet could help you with project management, it’s hardly the best solution out there.
Why settle for a spreadsheet when you have various project management software, like Trello or Jira, that are “good” Smartsheet alternatives.
But how good are any of these tools?
They’re pretty decent.
But why settle for ‘decent’, when you can get ‘awesome’ for free?
The best part: most of the ClickUp features are 100% FREE and super-fun to use!
So sign up with ClickUp today and take your productivity to the next level!
Erica is ClickUp’s Senior Content Manager and professional beach bum. She spends her days creating emails, blogs, landing pages, and more to help people increase their productivity so they can save one day every week to do more of what they love.