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 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?