Forget Microsft Excel or Project and Use SmartSheet!
Updated December 23, 2015

Forget Microsft Excel or Project and Use SmartSheet!

Zac Cyrus | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

Team Platform

Overall Satisfaction with Smartsheet

Here at Minnkota Power, we use Smartsheet to manage and track our many construction projects throughout the year. We have essentially replaced Microsoft Project with Smartsheet due to the ease of creating custom GANTT charts and schedules and the ability to share and collaborate on these schedules across our department.

Currently we are only using Smartsheet heavily in the Engineering department, but our Operations department has taken an interest and is ramping up their usage. Occasionally we send out update requests to other departments in the company but I would not consider them to be users of the software. The main problem that Smartsheet addresses is it puts everything in one place. Not only does it eliminate everything being stored in a huge folder hierarchy where no one can ever find anything, but it puts everything online and can be accessed from anywhere! It is also great for reminders and updates on a regular basis.

  • Collaboration - The ability to easily share a sheet with another co-worker or multiple people and have everyone making updates all at the same time is really nice.
  • Integration - Smartsheet integrates with Outlook very nicely. I can easily send updates, notifications, or any other messages to anyone through email. This eliminates having to open up my email and type up a message about a particular row or item in Smartsheet. Using the send row option it just sends a nice snapshot of the row with a brief message! We also use Microsoft SharePoint here at Minnkota as well and I have found the publishing function of Smartsheet to be very useful! This allows a sheet to be embedded into a webpage or SharePoint site for viewing access to any of our SharePoint users, which is everyone at our company.
  • Keeping up with the times - There seems to always be new features or updates coming out for Smartsheet. A lot of other companies do this with their software as well, but usually it just adds a lot of confusion with the product. SmartSheet is all about keeping their product user friendly. Not to much training is really required for Smartsheet. I'd say that most anyone could sign up for the 30 day trial and have a good portion of the product features figured out. However, the best practices take time and a lot of trial and error before you can figure out what works best for your company.
  • Support - Smartsheet has a link on their website where you can shoot an email off about anything. They are usually pretty quick to respond and if what you are requesting is not "possible" then they seem to always have a work-around for everything!
  • There are minor details dealing with the dependency settings on a sheet. For some reason, if you are trying to utilize cell linking, the parent rows can not be used as a source. This really isn't a huge issue and I have been using a work-around for this but it is one thing that would be nice to just be built in.
  • Reporting - Reports are very nice because they can pull information from multiple sheets. However, when information is pulled in, the Parent-Child relationships are not shown. Everything appears to all be on the same hierarchy level. The only work-around I found for this is to apply formatting to the parent rows, basically filling the rows with color or editing the font.
  • A new update is coming out that eliminates the ability for users with Admin access to a sheet to be able to edit column properties. This was one of the strengths of SmartSheet that they seem to be taking away for some reason. Now, I just don't really see the benefit of being an Admin of the sheet versus an Editor. Only Admins that are actual Licensed Users can edit column properties. Seems to be a way for SmartSheet to get more money by forcing companies to purchase more licenses.
  • Replacing Microsoft Project with Smartsheet was a money saver. Smartsheet is relatively inexpensive product that does everything Microsoft Project did for us and more!
  • I would say that our awareness/responsibility has improved. We typically have projects that are multi-year projects and it can be very hard to remember all the details throughout this process. With everything kept and stored on one sheet and the ability to set reminders months in advance, we seldom forget any major aspects of a project anymore.
  • microsoft project,microsoft excel
Microsoft Project has been the standard for creating schedules and GANTT charts for us here at Minnkota Power. Even when I was going through college, this was the software that we learned on. The first time I started using Smartsheet, however, I never wanted to go back to Microsoft Project. Smartsheet is very user-friendly and is actually kind of fun to use! I also like the ability to collaborate on a project schedule at the same time as my co-workers. It reminds me a lot of Google Docs except set up for scheduling and project tracking.
How much information are you trying to manage? Smartsheet is great for all sizes of projects, but you should be sure to choose the appropriate platform and number of licensed users to fit your need.

Smartsheet is well suited for data that comes from multiple sources or people. If you are just using it for your own personal information tracking, then I would just opt for Excel or some other cheaper software. It is also great for anything that deals with a schedule or dates. The dependency settings that are built in are nice and if you are used to using Microsoft Project then you will catch on fast. Even without Project experience though, the dependency settings are easy to learn.

Smartsheet Feature Ratings

Task Management
Not Rated
Resource Management
Not Rated
Gantt Charts
Workflow Automation
Team Collaboration
Support for Agile Methodology
Support for Waterfall Methodology
Document Management
Email integration
Mobile Access
Timesheet Tracking
Not Rated
Change request and Case Management
Not Rated
Budget and Expense Management

Using Smartsheet

2530 - Our entire engineering department utilizes SmartSheet for project scheduling. We also have the operations supervisors using it so they know when projects are ready for construction and can update the project schedules with their own information. This type of collaboration lets us know when projects start and end which allows our Engineering Services department close out projects in a timely manner. SmartSheet is also used for project budget tracking and reporting so that we can monitor project costs on a regular basis and alert project leads whenever their project approaches or goes over their allocated budget.

Smartsheet Implementation