monday.com is one of the most appealing and colorful project management tools out there. It is filled with colors which make it easy on the eye and loaded with features which take away a lot of burden off your shoulders. It offers a wide array of customization options which make it just the right project management tool for everyone.
- Allows adding numerous attributes to a task.
- Easy customization and editing of tasks.
- Allows sharing projects without compromising privacy.
- Premade project templates for various industries.
- Easy to export data and share files.
- Easy for users to communicate and collaborate.
- Multiple view options make it versatile.
- Kanban boards are available.
- Allows integration with other applications to increase efficiency.
- No Gantt charts.
- Takes time to get used to the tool.
There is no definite blueprint when it comes to project management. Individuals, organizations, and even project management software present different ways of how projects can be completed.
Some tools such as Process Street prefer having to do lists for all the activities in a project, while tools such as Paymo are focused on taking a particular task through different stages of the workflow. There are plenty more approaches, such as the ones to complete projects and jobs.
It would not make much sense to directly compare these approaches to decide which one is better, as there are way too many parameters and variables to measure. In the end, all these methods end up helping you get the job done anyway, and it all boils down to personal preference.
monday.com is a project management tool which doesn’t seem to focus on approaches. Instead of sticking to one approach or method of doing things, it seems to offer great flexibility and freedom so that the user can decide how to get the job done.
However, it is not necessary that it will turn out to be as useful a tool as it is projected. In this review, we will assess the ways monday.com uses to handle projects and help you find out if it will be able to serve your purpose or not.
We will move through all the essential components of task management and analyze what is it that monday.com does to take care of them. We will see how much freedom it provides when it comes to laying out the jobs in a project, and subsequently, how easy it is to monitor their progress.
In organizations, the essential ingredient for any successful campaign is communication and sync between various departments. It will be another one of our areas of interests in this review.
We will let you know if there is an appropriate balance between the ease of use and functionality of this tool. By the end of this review, you will have a better idea if this the project management tool for you or not.
Beginning: It’s all made of boards and columns
So, let’s get started with Monday. No, not the week but this tool!
The first thing you need to do to manage a project is to list down its tasks and other measurable attributes at some place. And this where Monday gets going.
You can list projects inside boards on this tool. Boards are where you will get all the information about your activity when you list it.
monday.com follows a tabular approach, in which you can list out tasks or activities in a row, and then have as many necessary columns as you want against it.
You can have as many tables as you want in a board, but all them will have the same structure, i.e., all those tables will have the same number of columns along with their necessary attributes.
It is up to you if you want to list these groups as different stages of your project, or use different groups as segregations for various departments and teams of your organization, etc. monday.com allows you to name these groups however you want, which assists in identification.
But the component which offers flexibility to monday.com is the column option. This tool not only allows you to add columns but offers a wide array of options for them. There are plenty of column categories which make your groups and board more engaging and useful.
Let us go through some of these column categories.
When you visit monday.com’s website or look at some pictures of it on the internet, you may find it to be the most colorful project management tool among the lot. This first column category is responsible for most of the vividness that you encounter.
It is called ‘Status,’ and it allows you to color code the cells. You can add a Status column in the table, assign a color to various statuses, and keep changing the statues as a particular task progresses.
Most monday.com users seem to be in love with this feature as it allows them to simply skim through all the data they have on their screens and identify the ones which need their immediate attention.
The tool allows for the addition of multiple status columns in a table, so you can have color coding set up on your table for all kinds of purposes.
The next kind of column is ‘Text,’ which is the most basic one you will find. You can use it for simple plain remarks you want to add on your table. However, if you want something for some longer notes or remarks, then they have got ‘Long Text’ columns for you.
There is a category called ‘People,’ and you can assign team members on a row using this one. It allows additions of multiple members in a single cell, which further helps in team collaboration. We will discuss team management in the later details of this section.
There is a life cycle of any project, or you may want to make sure that a task is handled within a said time period. The ‘Timeline’ category helps you introduce this life cycle feature on the table. It keeps on filling automatically as time progresses.
You will be able to appreciate it, even more, when you realize its usefulness when we discuss ‘Views’ in later sections of this review.
If you are not into monitoring progression in this manner, then you can choose a ‘Date’ column instead of it. It allows you to pick a date directly from the calendar.
A choice as trivial as choosing to mention a month before the date or vice versa can create a lot of confusion between clients and organizations, especially if it is an international partnership. The Date column keeps you safe from all that hassle.
If you are already impressed and bored by the various categories of columns on monday.com, then let me warn you, it is just the beginning. Even though these explanations don’t incite a lot of excitement, their actual use within the application will definitely soar your spirits.
Let us not delve so much into the details of these column categories and have just a brief look at some of them.
The remaining column categories include Checkbox, Link, World Clock, Item ID, Files, Vote, Rating, and many more. You can have a World Clock column to ensure you don’t reach out to your foreign client at unpleasant times, whereas Checkbox can help you convert tables into checklists.
There are some column categories which can take flexibility to a whole new level if used properly. You can have a Dependency column which allows you to set up a conditional logic with some other column in the table. It opens up the door for so many opportunities.
There is a Dropdown column to help you pack more options within each cell and make the table more diverse. And there is a Formula column to help you take care of mathematics if you happen to use it in your table.
But it is not just columns that make this tool so versatile. There are some subtleties present here and there on these tables which make them suitable for most kinds of projects that one may come across in any organization.
Create boundaries as needs arise
monday.com allows you to create different folders in which you can place these boards. So, you can create different folders for different clients or teams or any other sorting mechanism that you may want to employ.
When you create a new board on the platform, it provides you with three privacy options. The first option is ‘Main.’ It lets all your team members have a look at your projects and their details.
The next option is ‘Private.’ In this category, you can choose which team members will be able to see that project. Finally, there are ‘Sharable’ boards, which allow you to let selected guests have a peek at your look as well. You can choose to involve some team members to view projects if you want.
In case there is a situation when you want don’t want to hide the complete table from a member but just some content of it, you can select columns you want to hide.
When you select a column, it involves the options to restrict viewing or editing of that column. One can select whatever attribute they want to restrict, and even mention those who are supposed to be exempted from this rule.
This feature can be especially helpful in some instances. Let us assume there are some financial details mentioned on your boards which need to be present there for better efficiency. But all the members don’t need to know about it to get their parts done.
In this case, you can hide the column containing the financial details from those who are not supposed to know about it and keep it visible for members who might need that data.
The same logic can be applied for restricting the editing of columns. You can ensure that only those people modify specific columns who have the necessary authority and knowledge.
Flexibility is the key
The platform is a fantastic project management tool not because it allows you to create detailed boards where you can lay out tasks and related details.
It is the flexibility that comes along with each and every element of this tool, which makes it stand out from the rest. It lets you tinker with as many details as you want.
Changing names and descriptions of groups is as easy as clicking on them and typing in the new details. You can drag and drop columns across the groups, move pulses within a group, or move them to some other group or even to some other board.
Clicking the small arrow present at the top of every column will serve with several modification options. You can edit titles, manage column permissions, collapse column, duplicate it, etc.
You can change colors on different groups and make them easily identifiable or denote their importance using it. The possibilities are endless. It’s up to you how you decide to go about using this dynamic tool.
There are pre-made templates for boards. When you create a new board, you can choose one of the different templates available.
They have got tons of templates sorted according to various industries and departments. If you want to create a new board for a marketing project, you can simply select the relevant template from the list and save yourself a lot of time.
All you need to do is pick a suitable category for your projects such as HR or Manufacturing or Freelancer and then pick a template from that category which goes well with your needs.
The template will already contain all the necessary columns which are generally needed in one such project.
But people have different approaches when it comes to project management. As we mentioned, monday.com is all about flexibility, and you can go about making changes in these templates if you feel they are not molded according to your needs.
In any case, templates will save you a lot of time if your project is from one of the categories listed for templates. And since there are so many categories, it is highly likely that your project will fall under one of those categories.
Once you trim all the details on the template, you are good to go and take care of the job.
The boards on Monday can take care of almost all the facets of project management. It can be inventory management, workflow management, event management, job recruitment, investment hunt, etc.
It is mind boggling how you can use the same pulses and columns to manage such a diverse variety of tasks and jobs.
It is the same reason which makes monday.com such a useful tool for organizations. They ensures that there is a strong communication channel between various departments of an organization.
Tables have always been a great way to keep track of things, be it projects, items, employees, clients, etc. monday.com tries to utilize the power of tables to achieve excellence in project management, and so far they seem to be doing an excellent job of it.
You can export these tables to excel files if needed as well.
Speaking of files, projects involve documents. The platform allows you to share files and documents for the project on the platform itself. You can attach all the files relevant to a project so that you, as well as the other members involved in a project, can use them for reference.
This feature allows users to stop switching between different tabs by accessing the file from the project management tool itself. It is the subtle features like these which make life a lot easier for everyone involved in the project.
Collaborate with teams and clients
Projects may involve a lot of people, depending on their nature. Some may involve only a single individual, while there may be some which involve teams from different organizations at a single time.
There are instances when clients want to stay in the loop for any big or small development on the project they have outsourced.
The key to any collaboration is that there must be a clear and valid communication channel between all the parties involved in the project. Everyone needs to be on the same page to ensure everything goes as planned.
In case there is a roadblock, everyone should be aware of it so that they can adapt accordingly.
monday.com provides not just one, but multiple channels for communication for all the stakeholders involved in a project. They allow users to collaborate with team members and guests alike.
Let us begin this discussion with the essential feature that one needs for team collaboration- building a team.
To do so, you will first need to invite members on your account. You can do so by simply sending invites to their email address from your dashboard. As these people accept your invitation, you will be able to see them in your members list.
You can create teams by either adding already existing members on your account to a team or send specific invites for team members. You can add one member to multiple groups as well.
Once you have all the members and teams in place, sharing information and collaborating becomes a cake walk on the platform. You can assign a task to members by adding a ‘People’ column and then mentioning them in it.
If you need to assign tasks to teams, then you will have to add a ‘Team’ column. You can simply mention teams in this column to assign jobs to teams.
Even though you assign specific tasks to people on your monday.com account, they will be able to view other boards and data on your page. You will either have to make your boards private or hide columns you don’t want others to view.
On monday.com, every single row is called Pulse. There is a comment icon in every cell which contains the name of that Pulse. You can use this icon to leave messages for other team members.
You can chat with others in a threaded conversation and eliminate the need to send emails within the organization and wait for replies. You can send direct messages to individuals by mentioning their names with an @ sign before it.
You can do the same when it comes to mentioning teams in a comment. There is also an option to leave comments on cells under ‘Status’ columns. It helps you to be share information when a task moves from one workflow stage to another.
The software allows you to share Boards not just with team members, but with people from outside as well. All you need to do is create sharable boards and invite guests on it. It can be anyone ranging from your client to a freelancer whom you hired.
Sharable boards make sure that you collaborate with other parties without exposing your other boards or data with them. All the properties of sharable boards are the same as those of regular ones.
Some people may wonder why members and teams can view projects and groups they have not been assigned. Well, the explanation is simple. It is to keep everyone on the same page.
Let us take the example of some manufacturing industry. It has got a sales team and a production team. A product manufactured by the production team will always reach clients in the end. However, there is never a direct communication channel between production teams and clients.
The sales team is responsible for all the negotiations with the client. When you create a board for some product and include both the teams on it, then both the sides will get benefitted from it.
The sales team will be able to view how much progress has been made in production and convey the same to clients without the need to generate unnecessary enquires.
Similarly, the production team can see how sales are being acquired and be prepared for what’s coming.
A lot of people don’t consider tables as good monitoring or visualization tool. Even if you color code stuff or follow a checklist approach where you can strike off elements, tables are difficult to skim through.
They took care of this drawback of tables on its platform and introduced board views. Board views provide a different perspective on all the information present inside the tables.
These ‘views’ make data a lot more interpretable, and since there are so many board views available, you get that dash of flexibility once again.
When you add a view to your board, it shows the visual interpretation with the option to hide it and see only when necessary. There are multiple options when it comes to these views. Let’s analyze what do these views have got to offer.
The ‘Files view’ will show you all the files that you have attached to that project. Having all the files assorted at one place prevents the need to scroll through the update section looking for a specific file.
You can switch between thumbnail and list view as per your preference and download or preview the file if needed. monday.com allows you to directly reach the update under which the file was uploaded as well.
It helps to have all the files arranged at one place if it is a project with a longer time duration or if there are a lot of resources involved.
The ‘Map view’ will show you the locations which you have added in the locations table. This is one very interesting way to look at the available information, and hardly any project management tool tries to bring this to the table.
In the ‘location’ column, you can choose to either mark a location or a country. Depending on what you enter in that column, you will get to see a marker on the map for that place.
You can click on the marker to bring out some more information about it. You can also view the pulse and have a comprehensive look at all the information for that location, which you have got on the table.
This view can be especially useful if the tool is being used by a corporation serving to clients across the globe, or a smaller business catering to clients around a country or a city.
The ‘Timeline’ view is the closest thing to a Gantt chart that one will get on monday.com. Even though it is not a Gantt chart, it allows one to monitor tasks the same way. The only difference being that ‘Timeline view’ does not show the relationship between various tasks.
You will not be able to see the dependency between multiple tasks in this view, but monday.com doesn’t seem to bother much about that. It is not easy for some people to digest the fact that they ignored one of the most popular project management techniques.
They have been quite vocal on the relevance of Gantt charts in the modern day project management scenario. According to them, Gantt chart focusses on tasks and resources, whereas their ‘Timeline view’ focusses on the most important resource- humans.
We believe that it boils down to personal preference in the end, and even if you are one of those people who prefer Gantt charts, you should give their ‘Timeline view’ a shot. It shows the lifecycle of individual tasks, and therefore, for all of the projects as well.
You can adjust timeline elements by directly interacting with them. When you click on a timeline, you will also get all the information mentioned in that pulse.
The view shows you who is responsible for a task and helps you know more about the workload on a team member.
The next option is ‘Chart view.’ It is an amalgamation of three different types of views. In ‘Charts view,’ you can choose to view data organized under a pie chart or a bar graph, or a line graph.
You can switch between these three infographics within the view. You can choose which column to show on the chart as well. The option to choose what goes on different axes of graphs helps make them a lot more useful.
The ‘Calendar view’ is again one of the useful ones. As expected, it shows you the schedule for the month, week, or day. You can once again interact with the items listed on the calendar and modify them as needed.
You can choose which columns you want to see inside the calendar dates. If you wish to plan some new task, then you can do so by simply clicking on a date on the calendar and adding the task along with the relevant details.
This view helps take care of scheduling. You can plan way ahead of time and be prepared for the upcoming tasks.
This next view is not much about the better interpretation of data, but about better input. When you add a Form, it will show you a sample form with the same number of entries as in the column. These entries will be named the column by default.
You can go ahead and change the name of the entries into questions or something more interactive. There is an option to mark a feel as required so that the person filling the form can’t leave that entry as blank.
There is also an option to hide a particular entry if it is something that you want to manage yourself. There are a few more setting options which help one make changes such as the message to be displayed after the form is submitted or where the user is redirected once she submits the form.
Once you modify the form, you can share the link with those who are supposed to fill the form. When these people fill and submit the forms, the entries will reciprocate inside your board.
It can help you acquire a rich database or conduct a survey with all the data already assorted in the table.
The next option is ‘Broadcast.’ It is for you to share a board with others without the need for them to become a member of your team or create an account of monday.com. With the help of this option, you can put up boards on your website or send them to your clients to showcase how much of the work is done.
The next board view is ‘Kanban.’ Luckily, the makers of the software don’t seem to have a similar distaste for Kanban boards as they have for Gantt charts.
Kanban method is another one of the popular project management techniques where a project moves through various stages of the workflow. This method is still widely used on production lines around the world. It is an effective way to ensure that a job goes through all the essential stages needed for completion.
In this view mode, you will get all the tasks arranged according to their status column. You can make the status column such that it denotes the stages of the workflow. As you update the status of a task under this column, it will move along the workflow stages in the Kanban chart as well.
Another way to move tasks across workflow stages is to drag and drop them in the Kanban board. You can even change the order of the status boards in this view.
All the different views we mentioned, help one get creative and efficient with their projects. It helps in better analysis and sharing of information at the same time.
It is nearly impossible to stick to a single application and stay productive. There are so many different productivity applications with each one of them being good at one thing or another, that it is difficult to neglect their importance.
And even if you somehow manage to work without some of these amazing applications, you may have to use some of the popular ones since virtually everyone is using them, and you need to work along with others.
However, since there are so many different applications specializing one thing or another, one ends up with way too many platforms to handle and switch.
monday.com allows you to integrate a lot of productivity applications with this platform. It means you can enjoy the functionality of your favorite applications and easily manage all of them on a single platform.
Adding applications on the software is straightforward. You can simply choose the application which would help with handling tasks on monday.com.
You can integrate this tool with a lot of the popular applications, and a lot more in the pipeline for inclusion. Twilio, Gmail, Dropbox, MailChimp, and Slack being some of the available applications.
Integration with Dropbox and Google Drive means that it will be easier for the user to manage and add files, while apps like Twilio and MailChimp promise better communication capabilities.
However, the most exciting part about the integrations on the platform is the kind of automated systems you can set up for your boards.
You can use applications such as MailChimp to create a new pulse whenever a contact is added or use apps like Gmail to automatically send a mail when you update the status of the task.
You can make use of the Zendesk integration to monitor how your support team handles a query ticket or create a better ecosystem for them to handle tickets using monday.com and Zendesk.
You can map a lot of conditions when you set up an integration. It helps you utilize the integrated application to the fullest of its capabilities and eliminate a lot of mundane steps. You can have these applications do all the boring stuff for you so that you can focus on the more important tasks.
You get to enjoy the functionality of conditional logic if you know how to use these conditions appropriately. It will help you get a lot more done in fewer steps.
There is no doubt that monday.com platform is exceptionally good when it comes to managing and monitoring projects. Once you get used to the features, you will hardly sweat about anything related to project management.
Everything revolves around tables on this platform. The columns can easily be customized, and you can have exactly the right number of rows as per your needs.
The tool allows you to take care of privacy by allowing you to share selected content from project tables. One can share the same table with team members and clients with suitable privacy settings for each column.
You will find it easy to monitor tasks and their progress while using monday.com. The status column and the option to add comments on various tasks allows one to keep track of projects and tasks on the whole.
Same can be said for collaboration between team members. They made sure it is easy to assign responsibilities to teams and individuals. There isn’t much room left for improvement in this section.
It is easier to visualize various aspects of projects with different board view options available on monday.com. You can view all files related to a project at one place or all the locations mentioned in a project on a map and a lot more.
There won’t be any issues when you would want to use monday.com along with other popular productivity apps. The app integrations make lives only easier.
monday.com hardly gave us any reason not to recommend it to other users. It comes with a free trial option, and we look at it as a great opportunity for anyone who is thinking of investing in a project management tool.
It is definitely worth a shot, and we think not many people will be disappointed after giving it a try.