LiquidPlanner and Smartsheet are project management tools that can keep your software development team organized and on top of tasks while boosting collaboration and efficiency.
Which is the better PM tool for your project manager or developer needs? Keep reading to find out, as we will dissect LiquidPlanner and Smartsheet in terms of their features, pros, cons, and pricing.
- LiquidPlanner: is ideal for software development teams seeking precise planning with features capable of managing complex projects.
- Smartsheet: is ideal for software development teams that prefer working with spreadsheets that are seeking customizable and scalable PM software.
LiquidPlanner is project management software that was made to help solve one huge, widespread problem: Helping software development teams meet their project deadlines. According to LiquidPlanner’s website, only 16 percent of teams achieve that goal. By offering advanced features like predictive scheduling and forecasting, the project management tool hopes to increase that number. Provided you have a larger team or organization with some time to invest in onboarding to learn LiquidPlanner’s features, you may find it the ideal PM tool for you.
Features of LiquidPlanner
LiquidPlanner has several basic and advanced features to keep development teams on track. Here are some of its project management highlights:
- Multiple views
- Predictive scheduling
- Resource management
- Time tracking
LiquidPlanner lets project managers visualize work via multiple views, including baseline, board, workload, status, and Gantt charts. Predictive scheduling is perhaps LiquidPlanner’s top highlight. It calculates start and end dates for tasks, takes risk into account, and generates real-time forecasts that offer an accurate glimpse into what to expect with projects. As changes occur, LiquidPlanner will run Monte Carlo simulations to minimize surprises.
Collaboration in LiquidPlanner comes via a change tracking feature. You can also integrate with Slack for messaging. Resource management is another offering of the PM tool. It has automatic resource leveling that ensures no developers are over or underworked, plus workload views to see what is on everyone’s plate. Lastly, LiquidPlanner has manual and automated time tracking.
Pros of LiquidPlanner
LiquidPlanner has several pros as a project management tool, including:
- Precise planning through predictive scheduling
- A solid Free plan
- Various views
- Onboarding service
LiquidPlanner takes a lot of the guesswork and uncertainty out of project management through its predictive scheduling feature that makes project managers’ jobs easier. The Free plan is rather robust, and there are plenty of views to work with. LiquidPlanner’s onboarding service is another plus that helps development teams get acclimated with the project management software.
Cons of LiquidPlanner
LiquidPlanner does have some weak spots, such as:
- Complex to learn
- Integrations are limited
- Few collaborative features
LiquidPlanner’s more advanced features, such as predictive scheduling, can take a bit of time to get used to. As such, some beginners may find the developer tool complex. While some project management software offers hundreds or even thousands of integrations with third-party tools, LiquidPlanner is mainly highlighted by its Slack integration. And, if your development team needs many collaborative options, you will not find them here beyond Slack integration and the change tracking feature.
Pricing of LiquidPlanner
Project managers and developers have four pricing plans to choose from with LiquidPlanner. The PM software also has a free 14-day trial that lets you take its Ultimate plan for a test drive with all the bells and whistles, and you can request a demo of what the developer tool has to offer. Here are LiquidPlanner’s four pricing options:
- Free: No cost with limited features. Can be upgraded later to a paid plan.
- Essentials: $15 per user, per month via annual billing.
- Professional: $25 per user, per month.
- Ultimate: $35 per user, per month. Volume pricing is also available by contacting LiquidPlanner’s sales team.
The Free plan works for up to three users and has most of the Essential plan’s features. Opt for the Free offering, and you can use it for 10 projects, six resources, and 300 tasks. The Essentials plan was built for medium-sized software development teams. It features multiple views, workload management, dashboards, predictive scheduling, priority-based planning, automatic resource leveling, integrated time tracking, and more.
Jump to LiquidPlanner’s most popular Professional plan, and you will get added features for powerful planning like custom fields, 50,000 tasks, etc. And, if you choose the Ultimate plan, you will unlock LiquidPlanner’s top features, such as single sign-on, project access controls, open API, and unlimited users, tasks, and projects.
You can learn even more about LiquidPlanner and its features in our LiquidPlanner Project Management Tool Review.
If your software development team is most comfortable working with spreadsheets, then Smartsheet may be a good PM solution, as it offers collaboration and PM features in a familiar, spreadsheet-style format for teams of all sizes.
Features of Smartsheet
Smartsheet has several project management features to keep development teams productive, including:
- Collaboration tools built-in
- Multiple views
- Automations for workflows
- Advanced reporting
- Time tracking
- Third-party integrations
Teams needing a developer tool that promotes communication will enjoy Smartsheet’s numerous collaborative features. The project management software has forms for feedback, shareable sheets, reports, and workspaces, file attachments, conversations, reminders, and e-signatures. All of these features can help promote collaboration within teams and with outsiders to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
Smartsheet has multiple views (Gantt, calendar, grid, and card) for visualizing work, and workflow automation to save time on recurring tasks. You can publish and share reports with ease too. Smartsheet’s baselines keep teams on track and teams accountable, and its integrated time tracking gives insight into how long it takes to complete tasks. The PM software also integrates with over 100 third-party apps for added extensibility.
Pros of Smartsheet
Smartsheet has several pros in its favor, such as:
- Flexibility with views
- Drag-and-drop automations
- Solid collaboration
- Real-time reporting
Multiple views are a must for most project managers, and Smartsheet has them. The time-saving automations are a plus, but the fact that they are drag-and-drop makes them even more convenient. You have various ways to collaborate with development team members and stakeholders in Smartsheet, and its real-time reporting offers valuable insights into performance while being surprisingly simple to generate.
Cons of Smartsheet
Smartsheet does fall short in a few areas, such as:
- Spreadsheet format
- Limited flexibility
- High cost
Although Smartsheet’s spreadsheet format may attract some project managers and developers, others may find it outdated or limiting. If you manage an Agile team, for example, Smartsheet may not be an ideal fit, and its lack of Kanban boards could be a no-go. Smartsheet can also get pricey as you get into its higher-tiered plans like Business.
Pricing of Smartsheet
Like LiquidPlanner, Smartsheet also has four pricing plans that project managers and developers can choose from, plus a free trial on its Pro and Business plans. Here are the PM tool’s different pricing tiers:
- Free: No cost with limited features.
- Pro: $7 per user, per month when billed yearly. Maximum of 10 users and unlimited viewers.
- Business: $25 per user, per month. Minimum of three users and unlimited editors.
- Enterprise: Contact Smartsheet’s sales team for custom pricing.
If you are new to task and project management or are on a tight budget, Smartsheet’s Free plan may suffice. It works for one user and two editors and offers project management features like multiple views, dashboards, reports, automations, two sheets, and 500MB of attachment storage.
Software development teams needing capacity for unlimited viewers and advanced project tracking and management can choose the Pro plan. It offers unlimited sheets, dashboards, reports, and forms, plus user management, increased automations and storage, and email support.
Smartsheet’s Business plan is recommended for software development teams that need to manage projects with unlimited editors. It offers unlimited automations and 1TB of attachment storage, sheets, dashboards, and reports that can be published, baselines, user, group, and license management, proofing, a document builder, activity logs, and more. And, if you need PM software with enterprise-grade controls and security, choose Smartsheet’s Enterprise plan. It offers single sign-on, unlimited attachment storage, enhanced support, work insights, and more.
You can learn even more by reading our Smartsheet Project Management Software Review.
What to Look for In Project Management Software
With so many project management tools on the market, you may wonder what specific features you should look for in such software. Some of the most common features you want to be included at the minimum are:
- Multiple views (Kanban boards, Gantt charts, etc.)
- Time tracking
- Various collaboration options (chat, conversations, file sharing, etc.)
- Resource management
- Third-party integrations
You can learn more about the best project management software features in our tutorial: Project Management Features to Look For.
Alternatives to Smartsheet and LiquidPlanner
Not convinced either option is the right choice for your team? We have a few product round-ups that can help you find other PM solutions. Our article Smartsheet versus Monday.com compares Smartsheet against one of the most popular PM tools on the market. Additionally, we have a great piece that covers the best Smartsheet Alternatives.
Meanwhile, our Best Project Management Software for Developers lists a host of PM options that will certainly help you find a great tool for your team.
Final Thoughts on LiquidPlanner vs. Smartsheet</h2
Does your development team consist of mostly advanced, technical users with time for onboarding? Then LiquidPlanner may be the right pick with its advanced features like predictive scheduling and forecasting that make planning extra precise. And if your team prefers something more user-friendly, enjoys spreadsheets, and seeks plenty of flexibility when collaborating, Smartsheet may be the better choice.