Smartsheet Review: Online Project Management on Steroids

smartsheet online project managementIf you are wondering how powerful a cloud app is, consider John Rajala. He is the President of Rajala Lumber who runs his business in the cloud with Smartsheet iPad business application – from his lumber mill in Minnesota, United States. More on his story later – read on.

The cloud allows us to work from everywhere, online – so your requirement would be a computer device – i.e. a laptop or an iPad, an Internet connection, and a set of powerful business applications, such as Smartsheet.

What is Smartsheet?

Smartsheet, an online project management and collaboration tool, offers a host of work management applications for users. The applications include the capabilities to manage and track projects, sales activities, marketing, human resources, and more – online, from a single login for your convenience. You can also integrate your Google Apps with Smartsheet cloud solutions.

Not only those, Smartsheet also offer paid crowdsourcing capability – having people to work on your project simultaneously, allowing you to finish your project faster with quality.

Why Smartsheet?

According to Smartsheet, many customers claim that using Smartsheet is easy – it’s like a spreadsheet, but smarter – “spreadsheet on steroids” would be a good way to describe Smartsheet.

I mentioned about a testimonial by John Rajala in the beginning of this article – please watch this video to learn how Smartsheet help John run a business from the North Woods, Minnesota with his iPad:

How to get started with Smartsheet

To start using Smartsheet solutions, you need to sign up first. Unfortunately, Smartsheet is not free – However, their service plans are attractive at affordable price tags, starting from $9.95/month for “Basic” plan to $149/month for “Enterprise” plan. The higher level the plan, the more features you can get, such as more sheets, more storage capacity, more “sheet creators” access, better support, and many more benefits.

You can test the water before paying for anything. Smartsheet offers free 30-day trial – I suggest you to take benefit from it.

Smartsheet claims that the sign up process only takes 60 seconds to complete. All you need to enter is your email address. You can cancel your account anytime, at your convenience.

I have personally sign-up for the free trial, and I do sign up in less than 60 seconds. I entered my email address, got the email from Smartsheet containing a link to follow, click the link and I was brought to a “Welcome” screen to create a password for my new account, and that’s it – you are in.

Here is a video that can give you some ideas on how to use Smarthseet Gantt feature – for more Smartsheet tutorial, you can visit Smartsheet YouTube channel:

Inside your account for the first time, you will be provided tutorials on how to get started – the tutorials are very helpful and I can’t find any reasons why you can’t use Smartsheet – it’s very simple to use.

You first step would be to create a sheet. What is a sheet? In Smartsheet, your work is organized as “sheets”; a sheet stores your information, such as a project, an event plan, a list, etc.

To create your sheet, you can choose from dozens of templates, such as project management, team task lists and many more. You can preview your template before start using it. You can save your created sheets for your personal use and/or share them as public templates for other users to benefit from.

The great thing with Smartsheet is you can’t “escape” tips and guides – those are very helpful to shorten your learning curve. Indeed, what other users said is true; the sheet feels like a spreadsheet, with all the text formatting and such. What put the spreadsheet “on steroids” are the tabs on the bottom part – you can share, discuss, publish or access “smartsourcing” service.

The verdict

Smartsheet is both powerful and professional looking. The cloud solutions offered, along with the neat interface and layout, the tips/guides (with their caption bubbles,) etc. makes Smartsheet a complete package suitable for a business looking for the right cloud-based solutions to manage and collaborate on projects.

If you are serious about increasing your business productivity while eliminating the need to invest that thousands of dollars on custom business management software development, I recommend you to give Smartsheet a try – it’s free to do so, without any catch.

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  • This looks cool, I’m wondering how it could pull people away from tools they’re already using, though. Where’s the unique advantage?

    I use WORKetc, and can manage projects, collaborate on them, and invite outside users to jump in on projects too. And that’s for project management, WORketc combines PM with CRM, billing, email marketing tools, and help desk support. It offers everything I need, and has timesheets integrated for quick logging as well. If I were to go back to a ‘bare bones project management tool’ I’d have to integrate other CRM and billing systems, which would just be a whole new headache!

  • Jesson

    If you are looking for great project management software, you may have a look on http://teamplifier.com Hope you will find all in one here. Its a suitable alternative so far.

  • Susy Bruno

    If looking for an Enterprise Online Collaboration Solution that takes your goals and objectives across boundaries, engaging, building a sense of community, and achieving results ….see http://www.lumoflow.com 

  • Brittany Flather

    David, our video production company is looking into SmartSheet as well and are facing similar concerns. It might be useful to know that the integration apps are promising- we’ve found that you can use Salesforce for a CRM and SmartSheet can dynamically link to your Google Calendar to help your team stay focused day-to-day. We’re currently using a spreadsheet/Intervals combo for billing, so it won’t be a huge transition for us. Interesting software to be sure.

  • Edward

    Excellent review. One more PM tool I want to mention here which helps in planning and organizing projects easily is proofhub(http://www.proofhub.com)