Smartsheet is project management software that comes in a spreadsheet format. While that may seem ideal if you are familiar with Excel and similar apps, is Smartsheet the only PM software solution that can fulfill your software development team’s needs? Of course not, which is why we will reveal several Smartsheet alternatives in this project management tutorial.
What are Smartsheet Features for Software Development Project Management?
Smartsheet may look like a spreadsheet, but the software offers much more to help you manage your projects, such as:
- An activity log to see what changes were made and by whom
- Automated workflows
- Baselines to keep projects on track and team members accountable
- Calendar, card, Gantt, and grid views
- Conversations and content collaboration
- Critical path to see tasks that impact your project completion date
- Customizable dashboards
- File attachments
- Integrations with Slack, Skype, Dropbox, G Suite, Microsoft Teams, etc.
- Report sharing and publishing
- Resource management via project budgeting, portfolio management, reporting, and basic time tracking
Unlike many other project management solutions currently on the market, Smartsheet does not have a free plan. You can sign up for a free trial, but the lack of a free forever plan could deter many.
Smartsheet’s cheapest plan is its Pro offering that costs $7 per user, per month when billed annually. It is intended for teams looking to manage, track, and share projects and offers unlimited sheets and viewers, Gantt charts, card, grid, and calendar views, 20GB of storage, 250 monthly automations, up to 10 editors, integrations with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other third-party apps, plus dashboards, reports, and forms.
The Business plan costs $25 per user, per month, when billed annually. It is intended for teams looking to manage projects with unlimited editors and advanced features. The Business plan offers everything from the Pro plan, plus baselines, user, group, and license management, 1TB of storage, unlimited automations, an activity log and document builder, proofing, advanced support, access to Smartsheet training, and the ability to publish sheets, reports, and dashboards.
Smartsheet also has an Enterprise plan with custom pricing. It gives you everything from the Business plan, plus a dedicated manager, DocuSign integration, single sign-on, unlimited storage, custom email domains, etc.
Smartsheet Strengths And Weaknesses
Smartsheet has several strengths that may push you towards selecting it as your project management software to boost your team’s collaboration and productivity, but it also has weaknesses that may have you look elsewhere. Here is how Smartsheet breaks down in terms of its pros and cons.
Pros of Smartsheet Project Management for Developers:
- Spreadsheet format may be preferred by some teams that are used to working with Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, etc.
- Drag-and-drop automation builder helps you create advanced workflows to save time and increase efficiency
- Easy-to-generate, real-time reports that you can share with colleagues or clients
- Features for resource, portfolio, and digital asset management
- Budgeting and forecasting tools
- Team collaboration through conversations, notes, file sharing, and more
- Top-notch security via two-factor authentication, single sign-on, secure data centers, AES 256-bit at-rest encryption, etc.
Cons of Smartsheet Project Management for Developers:
- No free plan
- Not the most intuitive interface around
- Manually sifting through the spreadsheet’s rows and columns as you look for data can be time-consuming
- Spreadsheet view is somewhat limited or restricting for project management compared to other more user-friendly options that offer better visualization
- Not ideal for Agile teams seeking Kanban boards
- Can feel clunky when trying to manage more complex projects
- A higher price point than some alternatives
- Time tracking is lacking
You can read our full Review of Smartsheet Project Management to learn more about its features and benefits for software development teams, project managers, and developers.
Project Management Software Alternatives to Smartsheet
If some of Smartsheet’s weaknesses make it seem like the software is not right for you, here are some project management alternatives that may be a better fit:
Like Smartsheet, MS Project uses the spreadsheet format. It is better suited for complex projects, but does come with a steep learning curve and a higher price point. Microsoft Project highlights worth mentioning include shared calendars, time tracking, resource management, custom reporting, advanced budgeting, detailed task descriptions, and support for Agile, Waterfall, and hybrid methodologies.
You can learn more by reading our Microsoft Project Review.
One of the top Smartsheet alternatives for Agile and Scrum teams is Jira. It has an open-source version that can be customized to fit your development team’s unique needs, plus customizable dashboards. Other reasons to choose Jira as a Smartsheet alternative include bug tracking, custom workflow templates, solid reporting, bug tracking, roadmaps, Scrum and Kanban boards, third-party integrations, and a robust mobile app for working on the go.
Reasons to skip Jira include its higher price point, limited collaboration features, and a steeper learning curve.
We have a great Review of Jira PM Software to help you decide if Jira is the right choice for your software development team.
Many project managers use Asana since it has a limited learning curve, works well for large teams, and can handle multiple projects simultaneously. Asana is great for Agile teams with its Kanban boards, workflow automation, and backlog management and is simple to use yet has advanced features for managing tasks like checklists and subtasks. Thanks to the software’s robust project overviews, resource management is a breeze, and you can collaborate via Asana’s task comments and file-sharing functions.
Where does Asana fall short as a Smartsheet alternative? First, you cannot assign multiple team members to a task. Second, you cannot assign comments to team members. Third, its time tracking is lacking. And lastly, while Asana does have a free plan, it is rather limited.
Check out our Review of Asana Project Management for more about its features, pricing, and pros and cons.
Small to medium-sized teams may turn to Basecamp as their Smartsheet alternative for managing projects. You can use its to-do lists to manage tasks, chat for real-time communication, hill charts for tracking project progress, and document management to stay organized. Basecamp is also easy to use, features drag-and-drop functionality for sharing files, and has reports that give you a detailed look into task or team member progress. You will not need to take a ton of time to find desired information in Basecamp thanks to its universal search bar, and you will not have to worry about keeping your files secure since it has automatic hourly backups.
It is worth noting that Basecamp is a bit light in terms of time tracking and budgeting.
You can learn more about Basecamp by reading our Basecamp Project Management Tool Review.
ClickUp is highly-rated project management software that serves as a Smartsheet alternative thanks to tools for collaboration, tracking, reporting, and more. While Smartsheet’s views are rather limited, that is not the case with ClickUp, as you get over 15 customized views to visualize data, such as calendar, Kanban, Gantt, box, list, etc.
Team members can collaborate through comments in tasks, tagging, and file sharing, and ClickUp’s time-tracking capabilities are also much better than Smartsheet’s. Add in task checklists, 100-plus automation templates, tons of integrations, mind maps, and drag-and-drop functionality, and a user-friendly interface, and you have many reasons to take a strong look at ClickUp as a Smartsheet replacement.
Read our ClickUp Project Management Software Review for more information.
If you have a simple project to manage, Trello may suffice as your Smartsheet alternative. Trello’s user-friendly interface may be ideal for Kanban fans, and you can start using its customizable and interactive cards with little need for onboarding. Organizing tasks is simple enough thanks to color-coded labels, and drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to manage your boards.
However, if you need to manage more complex projects, Trello may fall short since it lacks the advanced PM features that other solutions in this list offer.
You can learn more by reading our Trello Review.