Tuesday, July 28, 2009

They built it the way I would have

Just as a disclaimer – I’m as Smartsheet associate – someone who could potentially make $ when someone follows a link I have and purchases the use of Smartsheet, either it hasn’t happened yet OR Smartsheet is holding out on my million $ check – whatever case has no impact on the following.

I’ve been involved in two separate open source project management tool projects, together they have about 5,000 downloads from SourceForge and neither one would I really use in a business environment (but they were great for learning php, CodeIgniter, SourceForge and 100 other interesting things).

When I think project management tool, I think of:
  • ease of use
  • ability to easily modify what information gets captured
  • NO Gantt charts
  • enhancing communication
  • single stop for all project related information
The most effective tool I’ve used, prior to Smartsheet, was a spreadsheet (MS Excel and Google Docs) – both provided the flexibility and control I wanted, but neither provided real automated reminders, document storage or ability to easily modify look/feel…

When I first started to use SmartSheet it was a spreadsheet on steroids, but mostly a spreadsheet. Over the last year a lot of new functionality was added, including the ability to perform some functions on each cell. The overall user experience is simple to the touch, making one think that there’s little power under the hood. HOWEVER, I’ve come to rely heavily on it (even if others have not – yet). Adding new columns, changing drop down values, add sub sub sub tasks, having dates programmatically change based on prior tasks date changes, timed or event driven email updates, reminders, etc. are all there. It take the hassle out of working with a plan and lets one focus on working the plan.

I’ve worked with and tried about a dozen other PM tools…but I’m still not seeing anything that would compare to Smartsheet….at least for my current needs.

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