Smartsheet is a reliable tool for project management and task tracking. But some teams outgrow it. They need a tool that goes beyond spreadsheets and traditional project & task management.
Based on our experience, here’s what teams are looking for in a Smartsheet alternative:
- Top-level visibility that gives decision makers the ability to see what's happening across multiple projects and teams to make data-driven decisions.
- Better reporting features and data visualization to inform strategic decisions and monitor performance.
- Quick onboarding and implementation so their teams don’t waste time and can start delivering results straight away.
- Flexibility so they don’t have to change their existing business processes but can adjust the tool to match their current and future needs.
- Advanced analytics powered by integrations with existing business tools. This is crucial for faster collaboration and better decision-making.
- Business impact: Traditional project management software is great for just that. Project management. But result-driven teams and organizations need strategic tools that help deliver business results faster while staying aligned with the business overall strategy.
In this article, you’ll find the five best Smartsheet alternative tools. We’ll start with our own - Cascade.
Cascade: A Strategy Execution Platform for Results-Driven Teams
Cascade is the #1 strategy execution platform that helps more than 15,000 teams around the globe streamline their planning process, strategy execution, and decision-making.
Cascade’s features and intuitive design equips teams with all the tools they need for highly effective project management while staying aligned with the organization’s long-term strategic goals.
As described by its users, Cascade is a game changer that brings all plans, goals, progress, tracking, and updates in one place.
It offers robust reporting and monitoring capabilities crucial for fast strategy execution and adaptability.
Cascade is not a project management solution. It’s so much more than that. With strategic alignment and execution at its core, it’s the only strategy execution tool that helps organizations empower their people to deliver business outcomes faster.
Here are some benefits that make Cascade a great Smartsheet alternative for PMOs, project managers, and teams that want more than traditional project management software.
Drive strategic alignment
Syncing projects and initiatives with your organization's strategic vision is vital to achieving the right outcomes. With Cascade, your teams can build project portfolios, programs, and individual project plans that align with your company's strategic plans.
Using Cascade, you can see every plan made in your workspace from a birds-eye view. This simple tree structure as shown in the example above, lets you analyze how the different plans are aligned and progressing across your organization.
On top of that, each team can understand how their efforts impact and contribute to the high-level plans.
Stay on top of progress
Measuring performance and progress is crucial for strategy execution. Using Cascade, you can track KPIs, goals, and progress at all levels of your organization in one place. Say goodbye to endless spreadsheets and manual work to keep all information up-to-date.
Cascade connects teams and guarantees easy access to information needed for alignment, better collaboration, and teamwork.
Achieve full visibility
With Cascade, it’s easier to get a complete picture of what’s happening across your project teams and initiatives. The platform helps you streamline the business reporting process at the individual and board level. You and your teams will spend less time preparing data for status reports and more time on work that moves the needle.
There are two ways to do this in Cascade:
They consist of chart widgets that have real-time data, historically allowing users to look back and understand what has happened in time periods, using available data sources.
An example of a dashboard in CascadeB. Reports
In Cascade, reports help you review and evaluate progress by observing in-depth raw data from the past and converting it into an actionable narrative.
An example of a report in Cascade
This feature will help you build reports tailored to your audience by taking advantage of customizable fields and filters:
- You can change your report’s headline or add a text box where you can add extra comments or a quick update on key milestones.
- You can also filter your report by:
- Owner or owners
- Progress: Choose to filter progress by less than, greater than, equal to, or not equal to a certain percentage of the expected progress.
- Health: Choose among At risk, On Track, Behind, Achieved, Exceeded, Not Started, and Not Tracked.
Filtering to this granular level will help you identify underperforming areas and act before it’s too late!
Keep all information in one place
Data-driven decisions are crucial for business performance. Cascade's powerful integration functionality can help. You will be able to pull data from over 1,000 workplace apps, including Excel, Google sheets, Jira, MS Teams, Outlook, Salesforce, Analytics, and many more.
Cascade's team of migration experts has handled 1,000s of migrations and change management scenarios with ease. Powerful APIs and bulk importers make it easy to switch without breaking a sweat.
- A dynamic approach to strategic planning and project management with customizable strategy frameworks, such as OKR framework, V2MOM, Balanced Scorecard, Cascade’s Model, and Hoshin Kanri framework
- A free forever version is available. Perfect for smaller teams (up to 4 users) but you can upgrade to the paid version if you need advanced features to stay on top of your strategy
- Excellent customer support makes onboarding and implementation stress-free and speedy
- Live dashboards and robust analytics to support strategy execution and decision-making
- The ability to visualize how each project contributes to your company’s overall strategy
- Using Cascade, all organization stakeholders can collaborate and work towards the same goals
- Loved by its users for ease of use and its flexibility to adapt to existing business processes and project management needs
- 1,000+ integrations so you can build an ecosystem that supports collaboration and fast strategy execution
- While it does have some pretty cool project management software features, task management is not its primary focus.
- Free forever plan for smaller teams (up to 4 users)
- Teams Plan: $24 per month (minimum of 5 users).
- Enterprise Plan: Contact Sales
Recommended reading: Best 7 Project Portfolio Management Software For Portfolio Managers in 2022
ClickUp is a productivity platform that allows teams to plan, manage, and collaborate on tasks and projects.
With comprehensive task management tools, ClickUp offers features such as in-app chat functionality, whiteboards for ideation and planning sessions, and project status templates.
One noteworthy mention is ClickUp's Docs feature which lets teams collaborate and create project-related materials inside the platform and then link them to various projects, initiatives, and planning activities.
- In-app notifications for seamless communication between team members
- Prebuilt templates for faster onboarding
- Customizable workspaces and dashboards
- Excellent project management features like time-tracking, kanban boards, adding task dependencies, due dates, and automating work processes
- Some users mention difficulty navigating the platform.
- It doesn't offer features to align project plans with the company’s strategic plans
- Can’t assess how individual project contributes to the company’s strategy
Pricing per month
- Free Forever: $0 per user
- Unlimited Plan: $5 per user
- Business Plan: $12 per user
- Business Plus Plan: $19 per user
- Enterprise Plan: Contact Sales
Wrike is another solid cloud-based project management software with a focus on team collaboration. Overall, the platform is user-friendly and suited for people who want a no-frills work management platform.
Users can create a centralized workspace for their team and utilize tools to streamline planning and monitoring. In addition, Wrike offers key features such as pre-built project management templates, integrations with other workplace applications, and excellent security.
- Various visibility options to monitor progress, including Kanban boards, calendar view, and Gantt charts
- The platform offers a high degree of customization and flexibility
- Automation to speed up administrative activities such as approval requests
- Features to enhance collaboration include email notification updates, project templates, and file sharing
- Some people find the user interface difficult to navigate
- Heavily focused on task management
Pricing per month
- Free Plan: $0 per user
- Professional Plan: $9.80 per user
- Business Plan: $24.80 per user
- Enterprise Plan: Contact Sales
Microsoft Project Management (MS Project) is one of the oldest players in the project management space. It’s a project management tool that offers users a robust and reliable solution to manage large initiatives. MS Project's powerful functions make it a solid choice for users with complex portfolio management needs.
MS Project has advanced features you'd expect from an enterprise-level solution, including timesheets, roadmaps, reporting, resource management capabilities, and in-app collaboration features.
As a final note, MS Project might not be suitable for small teams due to its complexity. However, it's worth checking out if you are a part of a larger organization or a team with significant project management experience.
- A powerful project management tool to track projects and allocate resources
- Good for large-scale planning and scheduling
- Offers web-based and on-premise server-based options for businesses
- Robust reporting features
- Users mention that MS Project is one the costliest solution on the market
- A steep learning curve for inexperienced project managers
Pricing per month
MS Project doesn’t offer a free trial. Its paid plans start at $10 per user/per month.
- Project Plan 1: $10 per user
- Project Plan 3: $30 per user
- Project Plan 5: $55 per user
Basecamp is a Smartsheet alternative that has been around for nearly two decades. It describes itself as a platform for companies of all sizes that simplifies project management and removes the complexity of task tracking, project planning, and real-time collaboration.
With Basecamp’s project management software, users can set to-do lists, monitor roles and responsibilities, check project progress, share files, manage project milestones, and track progress across teams and projects.
- Intuitive web and mobile integrations allow users to work from anywhere, anytime, on any device
- Free access for contractors and customers
- Collaborative features include file sharing, time tracking, and an in-app messaging system
- Simplified per-user pricing structure
- Lacks fundamental functionality tools such as adding subtasks and time tracking.
- Some users have reported that the user interface isn’t intuitive.
Pricing per month
Plan: $11 per user.
What tool should you choose?
You can consider several alternatives if Smartsheet does not meet your needs. Make sure you choose a solution that aligns with your team’s needs, budget, goals, and existing business processes.
All the options we covered offer robust features that help your team manage projects effectively. However, Cascade is the only purpose-built solution that goes beyond traditional project management and offers you a dynamic platform to execute your strategy.
With Cascade, you can link projects with strategic plans, streamline your reporting process, and get full visibility into what’s happening across your teams.
Are you ready to give it a spin? Start for free today and try it out. No credit card and no sales talk until you feel ready to take your project management to the next level and hit business results faster.
Editor’s note: We’ve done our best to give an honest overview of all the great tools that are out there. If you spot a mistake, please let us know.