Should you use Smartsheet?

Should you use Smartsheet?

What is Smartsheet?

Let’s say you’re trying to find the perfect project management tool for your business. You’ve looked at Jira, Hubspot, Asana, Monday, and on and on. But none of them are quite right. You wish there was something you could just build yourself without much complication, like coding and databases etc… Enter Smartsheet.

Smartsheet describes itself as a dynamic workspace that empowers teams to manage projects, automate workflows, and rapidly build new solutions—using no-code tools they love, and backed by the security IT needs. For the most part, I agree!

How does Smartsheet work?

I recently have been working on building an event planning/project management system for a client using Smartsheet. Overall the experience has been great. Smartsheet allows a user to create standard spreadsheets, reports and dashboards, that provide all sorts of additional tools and views, like Gantt Chart and Calendar view.

When creating a new spreadsheet a user can work in their own “Sheets” space or in a shared workspace that is accessible by selected team members. Sheets, reports and dashboards can be interwoven using formulas to create a nice workflow and automated system when it comes to making calculations, filtering, and populating data through the various pieces of a project. This allows users to easily create reports and dashboards that are fed by multiple sheets for the purpose of sharing summarized or snapshot info with shareholders. The dashboards include widgets, including various charts, text, images, embeds, and more to effectively convey the data.

Smartsheet downsides

One drawback, as with any system that includes built-in logic and automation complexity, is that some features I have needed are not obvious or available. As an example, when creating a chart widget in a portfolio dashboard, I was unable to use text for the chart, but rather had to create a new sheet that took my statuses (not-started, in-progress, complete) and converted them to numbers. Not a huge deal, but a bit of an inconvenience.
Smartsheet downsides frowning

So is Smartsheet recommended or not?

Regardless, I do recommend Smartsheet for the organization that is looking for a highly customizable solution with the time and team to build it based on spreadsheets. Some prior spreadsheet skills and experience is a big help, although Smartsheet does an excellent job providing guidance as you go, even to the point of prompting user actions as formulas are being entered.

Smartsheet Marketplace

The other element of Smartsheet to note is that they are a marketplace. The base software is very useful, but there are also a number of paid add-ons available. This of course has it’s benefits and drawbacks. If a user has the budget they can access some very handy additional tools that help with some more advanced automation and the ability to scale. On the other hand, this leaves some functionality out of the base system and requires additional cost to access.


At the time of writing, my event planning management work is still in progress, but overall I am glad to be using Smartsheet and finding it very useful.

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