Pros & Cons of Smartsheet: Analysis of a Popular Project Management Software - (2023)

What are the pros and cons of Smartsheet?

The Smartsheet pros and cons are demonstrated by its familiar spreadsheet-like UI that powers managing operations, tracking and automation workflows, and intelligent business reports. It streamlines collaboration using data-driven automation. There is no auto-save, however, and the old-school UI may be out of favor with modern users.

If project reworks are killing your projects, there is no better time to engage the services of a comprehensive project management software. When you decide to embark on the task, one of the solutions you will most likely encounter is Smartsheet.

The reason: Smartsheet is easily one of the leading project management tools in the market. It’s robust, powerful, and comes with features that many businesses rely on to ensure their projects meet specifications, eliminating the risk of customer ire and demand for rework. But is Smarsheet for you?

In this article, we’ll present the strengths and weaknesses of this popular project management solution for you to evaluate the application properly. We’ll cover its main capabilities and extensions that typically find favor with many of its happy users. This rundown of Smartsheet pros and cons should help you decide to either send it on top of your buy list or tick it off entirely.

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(Video) Day 1 - Collaboration Week

Pros and Cons of Smartsheet Guide

  1. Your vehicle for digital transformation
  2. Manage projects from start to finish
  3. View data from any angle
  4. Patience and a bit of learning required
  1. Collaborate, not just share information
  2. Report Builder: no more taxing report creation
  3. The case for spreadsheet look

Your projects could be set for failure earlier than you could have anticipated. Manual planning, wrong estimates, poor sourcing of materials and scope creeps could kill your projects even before you get midway of your deadline schedule.

In concrete terms, 50% of the reasons for project failure are attributed to bad estimates and missed deadlines, scope changes and insufficient resources. If your business is working on limited funds, you could be filing for bankruptcy faster than you could entertain the thought.

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While project management tools are not exactly your holy grail to 100% success, the fact that 77% of the high-performing projects make use of it speaks of its potential to get your business through the riskiest phases of your business.

If an outright purchase of the tool is not in your immediate sight, however, you would do well to brush up on properly assessing project risks. This should let you navigate the fine details of managing your projects, from negotiations to signing the contracts.

What is Smartsheet?

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Project management tool Smartsheet is an online project management system that lets you plan, capture, and track your projects at speed. Sporting a spreadsheet-like user interface, it allows for cloud-sharing and integrates with file storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

Smartsheet helps businesses accelerate projects at the pace it should make. This allows them to compete in today’s data-driven world, where volume and velocity are given top priority. Gantt charts give managers and team members a quick summary of where their projects stand in terms of schedule and who’s doing what.

Smartsheet allows you to resolve mission-critical, high-value work processes in your organization. This could be in terms of efficiently managing your facilities, streamlining budget and planning and providing quality customer experiences.

Smartsheet works well across multiple industries, from construction, manufacturing to education and retail, among others. It’s easy to set up for teams, even for those working remote sites.

Smartsheet gives you the following key features:

  • Quick file attachments
  • Automatic update requests
  • Permission-driven access
  • Drag-and-drop cards for quick sharing
  • Filter item views
  • Effective resource management
  • Task/path management
  • Link projects and cell values
  • Create shareable reports
  • Smartsheet RESTful API

Smartsheet Pros & Cons

Your vehicle for digital transformation

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With a common source of truth, you eliminate data silos and time-consuming information searches.

You hear everywhere that agility is the key to driving your business to growth and success. Back in your workplace, you face the frustrating reality where your team members spend a substantial amount of their time finding data critical to an ongoing project.

It’s the whole information silo jam once again. You cast a wary look at your ad-hoc, error-prone processes but don’t know where to start. With Smartsheet, you get a central repository of all information as well as a system to enforce processes that are uniform for all teams, making for an easy review and accountability at any stage of a project.

Manage projects from start to finish

Beyond being a simple task or nifty productivity tool, Smartsheet gives you a powerful end-to-end work execution platform. You can use it to deploy new processes at scale while providing comprehensive automation workflows, collaboration among teams, and provide complete insight through powerful report tools. No data silos, less time spent switching between applications.

Workflow automation ensures you minimize errors from recurring processes. With a centralized data storage, there’s really no need to send head-splitting emails back and forth among team members, supervisors and managers. Participation and accountability prevail throughout the workplace.

View data from any angle

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Create, edit and share Smartsheet insights according to the preferred structure of the recipient.

Data is the gold coin of your projects, but they amount to nothing if they appear meaningless to any of your working teams. Smartsheet empowers any team to view data from their own perspective, so they get the assist they need from performance metrics that could decide the outcome of their projects.

The visualizations are never static too: you can create, edit and share them following the structure preferred by the recipient so they can see what’s going with ongoing works easily. They can toggle project view, calendar view, or simpler grid or card view.

Smartsheet may sport the look of traditional spreadsheets that people like, but it’s a lot meaner in capabilities. It a project management system that brings you closer to the power of standalone business intelligence platforms.

Patience and a bit of learning required

Smartsheet is built to mimic a spreadsheet and, in most cases, that is already enough. However, the part where project management comes in can be a bit tricky to master; with all the tools at your disposal, you will need to spend a little more time to see how each tool works with the others.

On the bright side, once you have learned how each part of the tool works, projects can be done taking half the time that it used to.

You will also have to exercise care when saving your works: the mobile version of the application lacks an auto-save feature for one, while the Web application features a save button near the upper-left.

Having no certainty that your work is saved can be a curse or a blessing as you’ll need to save frequently. The application recognizes this and reminds you from time to time to save so that you don’t lose any work. Smartsheet also prompts you to reload a page when you fall out of sync, such as in cases when the connection drops or someone else creates changes in the document.

Collaborate, not just share information

While you may mistake Smartsheet for a functional file sharing tool, the application goes beyond a simple common storage solution for disparate files. More essential is how the application serves as a common platform for planning, creating and organizing teams and projects while maintaining efficient communication throughout.

Working with others entails service request and request updates—functions that Smartsheet easily covers while making it easy to see why the requests are there through a comprehensive request form, all built in Smartsheet. It speaks of how Smartsheet easily ranks among the leading collaboration tools out there.

Report Builder: no more taxing report creation

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Eliminate taxing report creation with Smartsheet Report Builder.

It’s that part of project management that can cause severe headache and stress even days before the fact: reporting. Collecting the required inputs can be a major pain in itself, and there’s still that collating effort that doubles the hard work of the first.

Smartsheet eliminates this taxing reporting scenario by enabling you to roll up information straight from the sources that you need. It could be from your Accounting team, your Design team or your team on the site: it doesn’t matter: Smartsheet gives you a report builder so you can let it weave its magic and gather all the data you need from these or any other team to give you all the crucial data that you need.

The case for spreadsheet look

While Smartsheet is really more than a spreadsheet—look at how it allows you to use cards the same way you would with kanban-based counterparts—it doesn’t have the sophisticated look of other modern project managers.

Smartsheet, of course, has its own troops of supporters: it’s the perfect UI if you’re looking for a tool that’s simple and not too distracting. The Android version of Smartsheet is a testament to this—there are no impressive visuals, but it does present the Web experience efficiently on a smartphone. Viewing and editing sheets are simple and efficient, even on the phone.

Does a Smartsheet purchase make sense for your business?

So here we wrap up our Smartsheet pros and cons. Smartsheet is an extremely powerful, unique hybrid solution to manage projects and automate workflows based on useful, real-world data. The time-saving functions ensure that you deliver projects on schedule and within allocated resources.

Users who have some background with spreadsheets will most likely love the choice of UI. Those who don’t will need to spend a little time to get the hang of it. Once they do, however, they shouldn’t have any issues navigating this project management tool and handle projects efficiently.

If you’re interested to see how Smartsheet works in real time, you can check out their 30-day FREE trial. It allows you instant access without the risk of installing anything. If you’re not convinced, you can cancel anytime, without paying for anything. It’s a win-win situation for trying out a feature-rich project manager.


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By James Anthony

A senior FinancesOnline writer on SaaS and B2B topics, James Anthony passion is keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge practices (other than writing personal blog posts on why Firefly needs to be renewed). He has written extensively on these two subjects, being a firm believer in SaaS to PaaS migration and how this inevitable transition would impact economies of scale. With reviews and analyses spanning a breadth of topics from software to learning models, James is one of FinancesOnline’s most creative resources on and off the office.

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