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Summary:

In my ongoing and seemingly never-ending pursuit to find the perfect Project Management solution, I recently put the smartsheet service through its paces to see how it would fit the bill. Billing itself as an Online Project Collaboration tool, it features a familiar spreadsheet-like interface as […]

smartsheet logoIn my ongoing and seemingly never-ending pursuit to find the perfect Project Management solution, I recently put the smartsheet service through its paces to see how it would fit the bill.

Billing itself as an Online Project Collaboration tool, it features a familiar spreadsheet-like interface as its data presentation method, which should make a lot of folks feel right at home.

Unfortunately, I was able to disqualify smartsheet from contention for my purposes pretty quickly. There is a certain minimum level of functionality that I would think is required for a project management tool and as of right now Smartsheet just doesn’t fit the bill. I kept waiting for an Aha! moment when things would just click or I would discover the hidden menu items to access the project management functionality.

Smartsheet functionality like integrated file uploading and discussions (coming soon) are indeed upgrades to a traditional spreadsheet, but fall short of the consolidated messaging, task and deadline tracking that I would expect to find in a project management application. For example, there doesn’t seem to be a way to view all tasks assigned to me across all of my project sheets.

I think the flaw is that for me a spreadsheet is inherently the wrong vehicle for project management and building on enhanced functionality isn’t going to change that, no matter how well it’s done.

Smartsheet isn’t a bad application, and if you insist on using a spreadsheet for this purpose it can be a worthy upgrade. My recommendation though would be to also investigate one of the other project management solutions available that we have covered like Basecamp, DeskAway, or Joint Contact before making any decision.

Smartsheet Version 2 is currently in Beta and is an update to their existing Classic service. Free beta accounts are currently available while post launch pricing is not yet available.

Do you use spreadsheets for project management? Would an upgrade to Smartsheet be a benefit to you?

  1. Scott, as you noted we are in Beta for v2 of our app, so not all of the features are hooked up yet.

    For a list of the Beta and Fall 2008 features visit. https://www.smartsheet.com/beta-features

    Below is a link to a web worker daily branded Smartsheet to try out.

    https://www.smartsheet.com/b/signup?lx=fYTQta1UF%2FT36gWPMLqrZg%3D%3D

    Phil
    Smartsheet

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  2. How does smartsheet compare to basecamp and other online PM tools?

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  3. Have you looked at Accomplice http://accomplice.vertabase.com yet? Its a desktop app for Windows that some have called Task Management Nirvana.

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  4. Team,
    I have been using this on demand project management solution called Clarizen. Has all the collaboration capabilities of Basecamp, but also solid project management capabilities. Very intuitive, designed for people who want to get in and start using without having to ‘learn’ how to use the system. Also you can interact with the system via email. Check our their free 30 day trial at http://www.clarizen.com

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  5. Honestly – just looking at the Project Management Space, i find so many Basecamp clones. I often stumble upon these PM tools which are often exactly like BC – layout, colour scheme et al. From that perspective i think SmartSheet is not following the herd. Like i’ve said on previous posts – i’ve been pretty satisfied with Deskaway throughout. Support is great, features keep steadily growing and i do believe they have a team that knows what it’s doing. I will look forward to innovative project management solutions at the same time i wouldn’t want solutions that deviate from the core.

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  6. alicemclane Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Yeah, it’s a bit funny. Everybody says that spreadsheets are inconvenient and everybody wants to get away from them. Scott, have you had a look at Wrike?

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  7. Excellent File Sharing collaboration tool.
    http://www.singlewrench.com

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  8. [...] in July when I originally covered the beta of Smartsheet Task Manager and Project Collaboration service, I had some reservations [...]

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