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Comparison of Wrike, Smartsheet and Monday: Top 3 Project Management Solutions

Wrike: No. 1 In Project Management

USER SATISFACTION 99%
OUR SCORE 9.7

What are the top project management solutions in 2018? After a thorough review of features, usability and vendor reliability, our review team boils down the list to three: Wrike, Smartsheet and Monday. Overall, Wrike emerges as the top choice on the strength of simplicity and affordability, with Smartsheet and Monday close behind. In our comparison we will examine how, how much, and how often each service’s power allocation can help your team become more productive.

With so many efficient project management software solutions currently available on the market many teams and companies may wonder if it’s actually worthwhile to conduct a deep 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 as you’re investing in a product that you’ll be using every day. It is therefore, important to make sure you pick one that works exactly according to your needs, the specific requirements of your industry and company size.

If your company is operating across the globe, you would want to know where much of the action is taking place, and consequently which project management solutions are leading the way to give you an idea of the scale of opportunities and common project issues facing your business.

So how are professionals shortlisting their apps? The software choices can only expand (and get complex) as jobs worldwide are increasingly aligned to projects with varying goals.

Source: Project Management Institute: Industry Growth Forecast – Project Management Between 2010 + 2020

Both in the small business and the enterprise scenario, the trick is to prioritize smartly, and make a list of requirements such a software must respond to. Overall, you should be looking for a fast and responsive application usable on multiple devices, where developers made sure you will have all scheduling, intelligence, collaboration and task management tools necessary to undertake 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 solution that should fit the needs of almost every company. While you should still do your own research and preferably spend some time with each solution using a free trial our list should be a good starting point for your research.

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 and offer the most comprehensible and user-friendly set of features. There products are:

  1. Wrikewith a total score of 9.7/10 [ Free Trial ]
  2. Monday.com: with a total score of 9.5/10 [ Free Trial ]
  3. Smartsheet: with a total score of 9.4/10 [ Free Trial ]

1. Wrike

Wrike is a solution our team is particularly fond of. It is listed as a frontrunner in our project management and collaboration software categories. Currently, the system is applied by many of the Fortune 500 companies and is able to serve businesses from all scales and industries, and across all geographies.

This award is given to the best product in our Project Management Software category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.
USER SATISFACTION 99%
OUR SCORE 9.7
Wrike won our Best Project Management Software Award for 2017

Wrike story entails many details that deserve to be examined more closely. First ok all, our experts appreciate the multifunctional and creative nature of this system that makes it applicable in diverse environments. Wrike’s developers certainly realized the problems associated with corporate late delivery and poor decision making, and used their experience to create an efficient solution to deal with these problems. What genuinely helps this product stand out of the crowd, however, is the pursuit of innovative additions that improve it 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-part 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.

2. Monday.com

The software approaches project management in a specific manner, and secures an environment 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 delivery will never be delayed. Similarly to Wrike and Smartsheet, Monday.com is cloud-hosted, well integrated and fully mobile-responsive. The solution should be suitable to all teams regardless of their size or industry. You can also try it out first with a great free trial plan they offer. You can easily sign up for Monday free trial here.

The selling point of Monday.com is its customization: Monday.com is a transparency role model where every action, even seemingly insignificant, can be related to the person in charge of it. A big part of what is happening within this system can be attributed to its almost unlimited customization, 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.

3. Smartsheet

Smartsheet likewise ranks high in our top project management software collection, an extremely powerful solution that combines the best functionalities of work productivity suites, project management applications, and document sharing tools for comprehensive workflow and collaboration—in a familiar, user-friendly spreadsheet-like interface that has won it millions of adopters, including 50% of Fortune 500 companies. 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 happily using third-party applications, Smartsheet happens to be also actively into that, working quite well with Salesforce.com, Dropbox and Amazon Web Services.

The selling point of Smartsheet is its very powerful but deceptively simple-looking spreadsheet-like interface: The smartsheet may be configured so that rows will display individual tasks or progress statuses of much larger projects. The user can then group the task on the basis of who is assigned with what, the priority level, and the corresponding deadline for the task. Moreover, each row may display emails stored within it, files attached to it, with a discussion board connected to the task. A newly created smartsheet notifies interested staff, resolves updates and tracks of document versions, sending alerts for approaching deadlines.

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.

Interesting Alternative: Trello

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Despite the fact that Trello didn’t make it to our top 3 we decided to briefly mention it in our ranking because it offers an interesting and quite unique approach to task management. This can make this software a viable option especially for freelancers who look for a simple solution to organize their work, bot typical companies may want to look into Trello as well.

Those of you who had the opportunity to work with a card-based system before will probably appreciate Trello’s functionality: each task in this tool is added as a separate card that can be fed with comments and uploads, and moved across the systems with a handy drag-and-drop functionality. The unrestricted possibility to feed Trello with data is what makes it easy and useful, having in mind that it also integrates with all apps necessary to import information. Inside, all data is neatly stored and SSL-encrypted for safety purposes, while agents have the possibility to discuss projects in real time, track progress, and complete all activities using their mobile devices.

If you want to try it out Trello offers a free plan for startup users and small teams, and a couple of affordable packages for medium and large businesses.

Comparison Of Project Management Features

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 fits your business needs best. Put metaphorically, these apps will take you to the same destination, but will use a different road to get there.

Creating Projects

The process of creating projects with Wrike and Monday.com is very similar, depending on how detailed you want them to be and how well you handle creative tasks.

Wrike gives you a flexible dashboard in which you can 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 consequently (as cards), and are automatically related to projects and people in charge of them (you will be able to list each phase under pre-made sections).

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Monday.com has a slightly different approach: the system doesn’t distinguish between Projects, Tasks, or Subtasks, but asks the user to create a separate item row (called Pulse) for each of them, and to connect them manually. In Wrike you will be given fields you can customize to trace metrics that are relevant to you, while in Monday’s Pulses you are absolutely free to add/remove information, and even write descriptive notes for each Pulse.

Smartsheet, on the other hand, takes a unique approach: creating projects starts with a spreadsheet-looking dashboard where each row can be set up to show various tasks, person assigned to the task, deadlines, status, among others.

Prioritizing Tasks

Thanks to the active project-task-subtask hierarchy,  Wrike connects related activities automatically to save time. It provide 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 provides 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.

In the time efficiency vs. flexibility game, Monday.com developers decided it was more important to facilitate change management, which is why the user is expected to tag pulses and appoint relationships. The vital priority indicator for all three systems are the assigned due dates.

wrike-prio-1

Monitoring & Managing Projects

Visibility won’t be an issue with any of this systems. Wrike, to start with, offers a 3-pane layout and activity stream where it records everything that is happening inside it, 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. If the user logs in as admin, the User Management Login History will further show team members who are logging in and for how long. 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. Adding a %Done Column will give you a clear idea how a project stands thus far in terms of the deadline. Of course, there’s also the Alerts and Notifications functions that give you real-time status update monitoring for projects.

In Monday.com, all projects, tasks and business operations are listed on the main board and visible to all users, but notifications are also available. In all three cases, the progress status per project (pulse) can be distinguished with color blocks and solved/unsolved indicators.

Communication & Collaboration

All three systems make it easy to assign tasks, as the manager 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 change goes unnoticed.

Engaging your team with Wrike, for instance, will be very easy: all updates come up on the Activity Stream, and all shared activities are tracked using a specific Dashboard widget. If you want to engage a particular member in the discussion, you just have to @mention him/her, and they will immediately be included.

The heart of Smartsheet is its spreadsheet in steroids, and the multiple items that the user can insert among the rows and columns include all the smart collaboration tools that any business would need: automated reminders, notifications, and status reports, for example, ensure the whole team is on the same page. Transparency through activity logs, detailed history, and shared views all accessible in the spreadsheet enable teams to determine which actions are done by who and when, improving the team’s accountability.

Monday.com is once again the most flexible of the three systems, as here you have a live updated social media-style activity feed, and users can trigger discussions at any time, not necessarily relating them to a Pulse. A similar request can be made in Wrike using the page’s URL. 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.

Reporting & Analytics

Powerful reporting is one of the reasons why our top PM software list came down to exactly three apps.

In Wrike, one has to admire the request possibility given to each user: whenever he wants, he can trigger a creative briefing or progress summarizing, draft global reports on all tasks, or pull off a performance chart to see how far projects are from being accomplished. The biggest advantage of Wrike reporting are certainly audit reports, thanks to which the admin can track individual performance in large teams, and avoid in such way any type of malicious activity.

wrike-5

Smartsheet features a powerful Report Builder that allows users to select those sheets to be included in the report. The reports easily 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 pre-defined schedule.

Monday.com, on the opposite, is a predominantly custom-reporting system. It covers most traditional reports, including an annual summary where all tasks are arithmetically related.

Comparison of Integrations

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, JIRA, among many others.

Monday.com offers a similarly satisfying list of integrations, covering the same email providers and storage/sharing systems like Zapier, Slack, Jira, Github, Calendar apps. Developers are also invited to use the system’s REST JSON API capable of handling and authenticating CORS requests.

Comparison of Mobile Support

All three systems are designed to respond impeccably on all devices and browsers, and display information equally well on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices. Specifically designed mobile apps for Android and iOS are also available.

Comparison of Customer Support

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 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.

Monday.com is also known for premium support provided via phone, email, and live chat, and also offers the possibility to submit a ticket or to find answers quickly using their Q&A database.

Comparison of Pricing

Between the three products, Monday.com offers the lowest and most flexible pricing schemes. The Basic plan with 5GB storage costs only $5 per user per month, while migrating to a higher plan is made painless for growing companies ($8 for the Standard Plan, $12 for the Pro Plan, and $24 for the Enterprise Plan with unlimited storage and advanced searching).

Smartsheet offers 4 pricing packages all billed annually: Individual Plan for $14/user/month, Team Plan for $15/user/month, Business Plan for $25/user/month and an Enterprise Plan that is priced according to the specific requirements of the customer—which means the client has to contact Smartsheet to get a proper quote.

Wrike offers a lifetime free package for small teams (for up to 5 users), which covers most of the essential features, and can be also used to examine functionalities before purchasing the advanced version. If you prefer quote-based pricing, and wish to have a specially tailored package for your company, you should consider Wrike’s Enterprise Plan, and contact the company for a quote.

All companies accept credit card payment, and give you the opportunity to choose whether you want  to pay monthly or subscribe on annual level. You can also easily try out all three solutions for free first.

Comparison of Security

Wrike is a Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (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, hosting at facilities that are AICPA SOC 1 examined and tested and ISO 27001 certified. There is also an internal network intrusion detection system and dedicated firewall.

For the second level, Smartsheet provides data encryption for stored data stored with NIST-approved ciphers, along with the strictest third-party security arrangements.

For the third level, Smartsheet employs multiple security layers that include global security controls to manage and audit access, ownership and usage, reports and visibility, granular role-based permissions, data editing limitations, audit trails, SAML2 integration, among many others.

Monday.com also does its best 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 which detect and solve vulnerabilities.

Pros & Cons

As you could probably find out by now, all three systems are perfectly capable of handling corporate project management needs, and  the difference among them comes down to personal preferences and nuances. Wrike, Smartsheet, and Monday.com are all cloud hosted, mobile optimized, integrated, and reasonably priced. Nevertheless, we encourage you avail of the free trial versions first to make sure the working environment provided by the vendor is really up to your team’s liking.

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, you must keep in mind that this affordable (or free for small teams) and well integrated system operates only in the cloud, and allows slightly less customization compared to our other top PM performers.

Smartsheet has all the essential features of project development suite packaged in a powerful, easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface that doesn’t require much learning to start running. The mobile platform support, multiple integration, tight security, and comprehensive customer service makes it a strong contender for the number one position in our review. Be aware, though, that if you are not a paid member, you will probably miss the most useful and powerful feature of Smartsheet. You most likely will ask where those sheet templates are when you need them, since building ones from scratch could prove to be a challenge for some.

Monday.com won’t be a mistake either, especially if you’re running a creative team that likes 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’s interface is attractive and simple to use, but the drawback is that Pulse configuration requires more manual work than the one expected in Smartsheet and Wrike.

Category: B2B News

One Comment »

  • EliP says:

    Thank you so much for this very comprehensive review! It is well appreciated by those of us on the hunt!

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