What is the top project management solution for you? Do you need something that is easy to use? Something that scales to your growing needs? One that adapts to a variety of methodologies? Many project management systems are all of these and more, but after a thorough review of features and capabilities, our review team boils down the list to three.
In this article, we will compare monday.com vs. Wrike vs. Smartsheet. Overall, monday.com emerged as our number one pick on the strength of its simplicity and affordability. Wrike and Smartsheet are not far behind. In our comparison, we examined the different features and offerings of these three PM solutions and you’ll also learn that, in certain situations, one may be better than the other two.
With so many capable online project management software solutions available on the market, many companies may wonder if it’s actually worthwhile to conduct research into such solutions. It’s tempting to simply settle for the first popular solution you can find. While you will most likely get a decent system that way, doing at least some extra research still makes sense. After all, you will be investing in a product that you’ll be using every day. It is therefore important to make sure you pick one the one that fits into your company and industry requirements.
If your company is operating across the globe, you would want to know where much of the action is taking place. Moreover, it is to your benefit to learn how much wastage is happening in each country or region, the better to align your goals. You should also get an idea of the scale of opportunities and common project issues facing your business and how PM tools can help, especially in countries or regions where a lot of wastage is happening.
Source: PMI, "2018 Pulse of the Profession." 2018.
First, understand: What is project management software? Knowing what it is will lead you to some other important factors. It would also help if you are aware of developments, facts and figures, and statistics related to project management. These will enrich your knowledge as you embark on your search for a PM solution.
As for the software itself, you’ll be looking for a fast and responsive application usable on multiple devices. While you can get separate collaboration apps, you’ll find that most of the leading collaboration tools are also actually project management platforms. Aside from collaboration functions, the PM solution must have the essential features for scheduling, intelligence, task management, and communication. These are necessary so you can undertake simple to complex and diverse projects. Among other things, the app should be 100% secure and easily integrate with most of the systems you’re already working with.
To save you some time we selected 3 best project management software solutions that should fit the needs of almost every company. While you should still do your own research and spend some time with each solution using a free trial, our list should be a good starting point for your search.
Our team has tested hundreds of various project management solutions, both great and really bad. We analyzed apps for all kinds of industries, company sizes, and geographies. In the end, we selected three products that we think are the current leaders on the market that offer the most comprehensible and user-friendly set of features. These products are:
monday.com is the current frontrunner in our project management and collaboration software categories. The software approaches project management in a specific manner and provides a platform where participants are not only able to perform better but are motivated to do so. The tool is packed with scheduling and task management features that minimize manual entry errors and ensure prompt delivery. Similar to Wrike and Smartsheet, monday.com is cloud-hosted, well-integrated and fully mobile-responsive. The solution is suitable for all teams of whatever size and for projects regardless of industry and complexity. You can try it out yourself with a great free trial plan offered by the vendor.
The selling point of monday.com is its customization and full visibility over your project. Every action, even seemingly insignificant ones, can be viewed and linked to the person responsible for it. A big part of what is happening within this system can be attributed to its almost unlimited configuration, streamlined monitoring, and diverse reporting options.
Monday.com features you should know about: you can easily create separate Pulses for each project, task, or item which really contributes to keeping your work organized.
Wrike is used by many Fortune 500 companies and is able to serve businesses from all scales and industries, and across all geographies. Its applicability in diverse environments and the ability to help address late delivery and poor decision making makes it an effective solution to deal with project management problems. Another thing that makes it stand out is the introduction of software improvements year after year. If you’d like to see the software in action we suggest trying it out with a free trial plan first.
You can easily sign up for Wrike free trial here.
The selling point of Wrike is its top-notch data management. Using Wrike, you will have access to intuitive 3-pane project views that let you easily evaluate the health of your projects. Once assembled in organized folders, data can be efficiently shared or migrated to third-party systems, and subjected to complex analytics for traditional or custom reporting.
Wrike feature you should know about: its enterprise-grade audit reports that will allow you to reduce costly errors.
Smartsheet likewise ranks high in our top project management software collection. It is a powerful solution that combines the best functionalities of work productivity suites and project management apps. It likewise comes with document sharing tools for comprehensive workflow and collaboration. Best of all, it has a familiar, user-friendly spreadsheet-like interface that has earned for it hordes of business users.
You can easily sign up for Smartsheet free trial here.
If you are coming from Google or Microsoft Office-extensive work environments, you would appreciate how Smartsheet seamlessly imports data from them. If you happen to be using external apps and services, Smartsheet works quite well with them including leading solutions like Salesforce, Dropbox, and Amazon Web Services.
Smartsheet feature you should know about: It integrates quite nicely with Microsoft, even allowing users of Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory to log into Excel and Smartsheet with the same credentials.
The truth is all of these products will offer great value for what you invest in them, and it is mostly nuances and specific or unique features you have to consider to pick one that best fits your business needs. In other words, these apps will take you to the same destination but will offer you a different path to get there.
To note, these are great at managing general projects. If you deal with industry-specific projects, for instance, construction, it’s better to go for an industry-specific system, for example. these 20 construction management software. Otherwise, let’s get into the details of our monday.com vs. Wrike vs. Smartsheet comparison.
The process of creating projects with monday.com and Wrike is very similar, depending on how detailed you want them to be and how well you handle creative tasks.
monday.com allows you to create a project item row called Pulse. You can add as many pulses in one go and connect them with teams or assigned individuals. With Pulses, you are absolutely free to add/remove information, and even write descriptive notes for each Pulse. For subtasks, you can use the checklist feature to drill down on any to-do item of your team, stay organized, and get full visibility over project stages.
On the other hand, Wrike lets you create projects and list them on the right panel where their status will be displayed in different colors. In both cases, tasks and subtasks are added as cards and are automatically linked to projects and people in charge of them.
Meanwhile, Smartsheet takes a unique approach – creating projects starts with a spreadsheet-looking dashboard where each row can be set up to show various tasks, the person assigned to the task, deadlines, and status, among others.
The vital priority indicator for all three systems is the assigned due dates. In this regard, monday.com balances time efficiency with flexibility, taking into consideration individual and team workload. This why in this regard the user is expected to tag pulses and appoint relationships.
In its project-task-subtask hierarchy, Wrike connects related activities automatically to save time. It provides a drag-and-drop mechanism for the user to pull in the cards he wants to see, star some of them, and to arrange them in the desired way.
Smartsheet offers unique templates to organize tasks by priority. Each priority group may then use yellow, green or red color codes and others to present the progress of each task.
Visibility won’t be an issue with any of the three solutions. To start with, in monday.com all projects, tasks, and business operations are listed on the mainboard and visible to all users. In addition, notifications are also available and the progress status per project (pulse) can be distinguished with color blocks and solved/unsolved indicators.
Wrike offers a 3-pane layout and activity stream where it records everything that is happening inside it. The software organizes and tags data in folders and uses @mentions to make sure all users know when a change has been made.
With Smartsheet, the user can just easily add Modified and Modified By columns to see when and who modified a project. Selecting any cell in a sheet will allow the user to look at the history of that cell, easily giving you an idea who is doing most of the work. Moreover, there are alerts and notifications functions that give real-time project status.
All three systems make it easy to assign tasks, as the administrator or supervisor can create and feed agent accounts and regulate their role and access to information. The main idea is to keep teams on the same page and make sure no changes go unnoticed. The three solutions offer built-in communication tools, but they are also good at integrating with popular third-party communication software.
Engaging your team with Wrike is quite easy. All updates come up on the Activity Stream, and all shared activities are tracked using a specific Dashboard widget. If you want to include a particular member in the discussion, you just have to @mention the person.
The heart of Smartsheet is its advanced spreadsheet, allowing multiple items to be inserted among the rows and columns. It also has all the needed tools like automated reminders, notifications, status reports, activity logs, detailed user history.
monday.com is the most flexible of the three systems. You get a live updated social media-style activity feed, and users can trigger discussions at any time, not necessarily relating to them or to a Pulse.
One thing that is common for all three systems is that they store information for reporting purposes. Depending on the integrations, that information is also exportable to third-party systems.
Powerful reporting is one of the reasons why our top PM software list came down to exactly three apps.
In Wrike, you can trigger a progress summary or pull off a performance chart to see how projects are faring. It can also generate audit reports and track individual performance in large teams as well as monitor any type of malicious activity.
Smartsheet features a powerful Report Builder that allows you to select those sheets to be included in the report. It can provide high-level insight into tasks that are behind schedule, awaiting assignment, and so on. The sheets can be shared or sent as an attachment—or saved as PDF or Excel files to be sent out on a pre-defined schedule.
monday.com is a predominantly custom-reporting system. The advantage of this is that you can get unique reports on certain areas and stages and dig into granular details. Likewise, it can cover most traditional reports, including an annual summary highlighting the salient project and team performance.
monday.com offers integration with nearly two dozen external apps and services. It works with some of the most popular platforms and solutions used by project teams like Zapier, Slack, Jira, Github, Asana, and Trello. It also has integration with everyday Google tools such as Gmail, Calendar, and Drive. Developers can also use the system’s REST JSON API capable of handling and authenticating CORS requests.
Wrike is an open API system that can be coded to work with every app or business system in your corporate ecosystem. In its original form, you can use it with leading email service providers (Gmail, Apple Mail), cloud storage & sharing apps (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive) and Microsoft Office products. Wrike is also commonly used with QuickBooks and Salesforce products.
Aside from an open API feature, Smartsheet easily works with such apps as Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, Google Apps, Evernote, DocuSign, Box, iCal, Zapier, and JIRA, among many others.
All three systems are designed to be responsive and compatible with all devices and browsers. They can display information equally well on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices. There are also specifically designed mobile apps for Android and iOS for all three project management solutions, allowing you to access and bring your project data and connect with your teams while on the go.
monday.com is known for its world-class support provided via phone, email, and live chat. Likewise, you can submit tickets or go for self-service from the vendor’s comprehensive knowledge base. If you want to get experience and insights from product users and the vendor’s team of experts, there is a vibrant online community you can join in. In addition, there are regularly updated and conducted video tutorials and webinars on everything about monday.com and how it can be used for marketing and as CRM.
Wrike users have access to high-quality support via several channels, including phone, email support, live chat, tickets, and training. Access to support doesn’t depend on the plan you’re using – free plan users are served in the same way as enterprise ones.
In the case of Smartsheet, users can contact technical support via live, phone or email support. They may also submit an online ticket. Smartsheet also provides training for those who request it.
Wrike is a PCI-DSS and SOC 1/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402 certified system that encrypts sensitive data with HTTP for all pages and backs it up in multiple locations and GEO regions.
Smartsheet security is provided at three levels: data center security and redundancy, data security and user security. The first level features multi-site data redundancy while the second level provides data encryption for stored data. For the third level, multiple security layers are employed including global security controls.
Monday.com implements industry-leading measures to protect data in a secure physical location. Traffic is encrypted at 256-bit and sent through TLS 1.2, adhering to the FIPS 140-2 certification standard. There is also a variety of external security audits and penetration tests that detect and solve vulnerabilities.
Among the three products, monday.com offers the lowest, most flexible, and widest choice of pricing schemes. There are four plans – Basic, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise – with the last one quote-based. The Basic plan starts at $39/month billed annually. But that price is already good for 5 users. The same goes for Standard at $49/month and Pro at $79/month. The price goes up as you add more users. For Basic, you get unlimited free viewers, unlimited boards, and 5GB storage, among others. The other plans give you more features and storage from 50GB to unlimited. A free trial is offered with unlimited users and boards.
Wrike has five plans starting with a free one for 5 users but it’s just a simple, shared task list. However, there’s the Professional plan that’s good for 5 to 15 users at $9.80/user per month. This gives you full project planning and collaboration features. Next is the Business plan (5 to 200 users) at $24.80/user per month for robust work management with customization and executive reporting. The last two plans are custom priced for an unlimited number of users. Wrike for Marketers is tailor-made for marketing teams while Enterprise provides comprehensive solutions for large teams and projects.
Smartsheet offers two packages with two plans each. The Standard package consists of an Individual plan at $14/month and a Business plan at $25/month (good for 3 licenses). The former provides real-time work and collaboration features while the latter gives you full visibility into project workflows, metrics, and status. On the other hand, the Enterprise package comes with both quote-based plans – Enterprise with all Business plan features plus enterprise-specific tools, and Premier plan with all features plus premium options.
Based on our comparison of monday.com vs. Wrike. vs. Smartsheet, all three systems are perfectly capable of handling corporate project management needs, and the difference among them comes down to personal preferences and nuances. monday.com, Wrike, and Smartsheet are all cloud-hosted, mobile-optimized, integrated, and reasonably priced.
You can’t go wrong with monday.com, especially if you’re running a creative or product management team that prefers to arrange data in a business-specific manner. The system’s Pulses and live activity feed are unique and designed to secure public access to information for all users in the system. At the same time, monday.com’s interface is highly visual and interactive as well as simple to use. But the drawback is that Pulse configuration requires a little bit of manual work on your part. Although, once you hurdle that it’ll be a breeze to use.
If you decide to go with Wrike, you will gain effective collaboration built around individual activities, excellent monitoring, and a neat hierarchical environment to arrange subtasks in a comprehensive manner. Nevertheless, it is slightly less customizable compared to our other top PM performers.
Smartsheet has all the essential features of a project development suite packaged in a powerful, easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface that doesn’t require much learning to start running. However, some people have already gone past the use of spreadsheets and are more into the modern, visualized system of workflows.
All areas considered in our point-to-point comparison of features and capabilities, monday.com is our top pick and the highly recommended solution. Flexibility and customization is the name of the game for modern project teams and undertakings. monday.com gives you the agility through the proven Kanban-style approach in managing and delivering projects. It can also be configured to fit your workflows and processes, and not the other way around.
It’s often been dubbed by project managers as the Swiss knife of project management for many good reasons, foremost of which is its versatility. Its tools and features can be applied to other business functions like sales, marketing, CRM, and inventory as well as industry-specific projects like engineering, consultancy, construction, digital business, media and communication, and others. But don’t take a word for it, you can see for yourself how this solution performs firsthand. Simply sign up for monday.com free trial here.
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