SmartSheets: A Universal PM Platform

Smartsheet: Millions of Users

Product Summary:

No software to download here, this project management tool is ALL online and web-based. 

Forbes Magazine referred to the SmartSheet software interface as relatively simple." The design layout is visually reminiscent of the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program. The program was put to market in 2006. After a slow start due to reports of being difficult to use, the programming team made some significant changes in the interface by cutting 60% of the software's features. The decrease in clutter made the program much more welcoming and less intimidating. By 2010, the software was sporting nearly one million users in almost twenty-thousand companies.

Below are listed, first, the original interface of SmarSheet in 2006. Following image is the current software interface.

Imgaes provided by, Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48695661

How to use

An Overview.

This very professionally produced 4 minute video demonstrates the major functions of the software and explains how the software and mobile apps can easily communicate.

Getting Set up.

This 9 minute video demonstrates how to start the Smartsheet application and set up a project.

This software is loaded with help and assistance. Upon loading the trial software (30 day trial of full software package), numerous options for clarification immediately popped up offering click-based definitions, video instructions, and labeled areas of the app to clarify names and locations of app functions. A screen capture of the logon help screen is provided below:

In addition to all of the help that's provided to the user with in the context of the software, the company hosts it's own site on YouTube that you can subscribe to for assistance with sheet building or management.

Interpersonal and collaborative communication functions very similarly to Facebook posts or board threads. Also, the notification center keeps track of communications and changes made to the sheet. 

The project can also be viewed across several different visual formats including a calendar, card stacks, and timeline. The dashboard can also be customized to provide specialized views of data that allow the user to see project progress across one or more projects. 

Tool
Advantages:

Clearly the Smartsheet program is versatile, here are some of the perceived advantages of the program on first glance:

  • The program's lack of industry specific design allows it to be tweaked by the user to custom fit projects from any industry.

  • Custom views the same information in different ways. This change in view may provide project perspectives that might otherwise be missed.

  • Smartsheet can be tested before investing. A thirty day trial period and access to all of the training sessions give any potential user a clear view into what the program can and cannot do.

  • Customer support is ever-present. After registering and getting access to the trial version, an email from an actual person greeted me each day asking if I had any questions and also made suggestions of training videos that might help a user get started with their project.

  • Seemingly high degree of app and mobile device integration. To use the app on a mobile device the app must first be downloaded. The app interface is a little different than the web-based layout for maximizing functionality.

  • Reasonably priced in comparison to comparably featured apps.

Tool
Disadvantages:

A professional project manager may be able to find more drawbacks to this software, but on the surface, there do not appear to be many of them.

  • Lacks industry specific lens - each industry has it's own unique set of needs for managing projects. When something is too general in it's scope, the time required to compensate for that generality may be costly.

  • Some may think that the interface for the software is outdated. The website Merchantmaverick reviewed Smartsheet gave it 4/5 stars but noted that the app's look was old. Additionally, author Julie Titterington stated that the software had a moderately steep learning curve. Link to the review: Click here

References:

Smartsheet Grabs $26M After 'De-Enterprising' its Collaboration Software". Venturewire. December 3, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2015.

Strauss, Karsten (March 12, 2013). "Former Microsoft Analyst Wants To Disrupt MS Excel, Project". Forbes. Retrieved September 11, 2015

Titterington, R. B. (2016, December 01). Smartsheet Review 2018 | Reviews, Ratings, Complaints, Comparisons. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.merchantmaverick.com/reviews/smartsheet-review/