Monday.com Review: Project & Task Management with Basic CRM Tools
Monday.com is a SaaS tool for collaborative working. It helps teams organize their work and keep tabs on where they are in the process. Is it an application for managing projects? No, in a strict sense; however, I can see why some people might refer to it as that (more to come on this). In reality, it functions more like a collection of highly personalized spreadsheets in which each member of a team logs the tasks they are responsible for completing and updates the spreadsheets with status reports and other information that is pertinent to the project. Every member of the team is able to view the current status of all active tasks in this way, which makes it simple to delegate work from one person to the next or to step in immediately if an individual becomes unexpectedly unavailable. Monday.com has a user interface that is contemporary and appealing, and it is also relatively simple to navigate. If you compare Monday.com to other apps, many of which offer a free tier of service in addition to more user-friendly subscription options, you may find Monday.com to be more competitive.
If you're familiar with other work-management apps like Airtable or Asana, Monday.com might bring those to mind for you. Even in appearance, Airtable and Monday.com are quite comparable to one another. In spite of this, our editors have decided that Asana is the best option available in this category because of its adaptability, extensive list of supported integrations, value, and generous free tier of service for newcomers and small businesses.
Monday.com Plans and Pricing
You don't need a credit card to try out Monday.com for a full two weeks without spending a dime. After that, you will be required to pay a fee to maintain an account. Because the prices vary depending on the number of people on the team, the level of service provided, and the length of the commitment, you will need to look at the intricate pricing rubric to determine the exact amount.
Monday.com does not impose a fee on a per-person basis. Instead, it offers discounted rates for parties of a certain size up to a certain limit. For instance, the starting price for a team of up to five people is $49 per month. The starting price for a team of up to 20 people is $199 per month. If your group consists of 16 people, you are required to pay for a plan that accommodates up to 20 people. If your team consists of 60 people, you are required to pay for a plan that supports up to 100 people. The closer the size of your team is to the maximum allowed, the more reasonable the rates will become.
In addition to determining the size of your team, you can select from one of the following four levels of service: Basic, Standard, Pro, or Enterprise.
Basic starts at $39 per month for five people and includes 5GB of storage, an unlimited number of boards, and 24/7 support. The basic plan has significant limitations. You don't get Timelines, Calendar views, Map views, advanced search, time tracking, or other advanced features from Monday.com. You don't even get integrations. I can't think of a compelling reason why anyone would pay for this tier of service.
Standard starts at $49 per month for five people. It expands the storage space to 50GB. You can invite outside guests to join your board, but they count against your member allotment at a 4-to-1 ratio. In other words, four invited guests count as one member. Standard includes the Timeline, Calendar, and Map views that are absent from the Basic plan. This tier includes advanced search but not time tracking. The Standard plan does allow for integrations, but you are limited to 250 actions per month between two integrated apps. Standard also includes the ability to set up automations, which are limited to 250 actions per month. This is the most popular tier, which should be robust enough to handle the needs of smaller teams and growing businesses.
Pro starts at $79 per month for five people. Storage is unlimited, and you get all features except a few that are reserved for Enterprise customers (such as single sign-on, HIPAA compliance, and audit logs). The monthly integration and automation allowance is increased to 25,000 actions.
Enterprise accounts have custom pricing and all features are included.
You can pay monthly, annually, or for two years in advance for any of Monday.com's plans and for any number of people, with larger discounts for longer commitments.
How Do the Prices on Monday.com Compare?
The pricing structure and plan options available on Monday.com are overly complicated. To begin, a completely free option for using this product's service ought to be available. Second, in order to determine which subscription plan is most suitable for your needs, you will need to invest a significant amount of time in researching the app and keeping track of the number of integration actions you perform each month. Third, the pricing structure is so convoluted that it is difficult to evaluate it in relation to other apps that perform a similar function. But let's give it a shot.
Comparable apps have a first-tier paid plan that ranges in price from approximately $12.50 to $13.50 per individual per month. If the size of your team is exactly the same as the maximum number you pay for, the prices listed on Monday.com appear to be comparable to those found in this range. Otherwise, the price paid by each individual will be higher. For instance, if your team consists of 16 people but you are required to pay for up to 20 participants, the per-person rate will increase. If there are exactly 20 people in your party and you are paying for 20, the rate that you are paying per person is comparable to the market average.
When looking into more direct comparisons, Airtable is a good place to begin your investigation. You can sign up for a free account with this service, which, despite having some features disabled, still provides you with a generous 2 GB of storage space for your data. The Plus plan begins at $12 per person per month, and the Pro plan can cost as much as $24 per person per month. Paid plans are available. Airtable, in contrast to Monday.com, only charges you for the people who are part of your team. If you make changes to your team during the middle of a billing cycle, such as adding or removing members, the company will either give you a refund in the form of an account credit or prorate the additional fee.
One more app that could be considered comparable to Monday.com is Trello. It is similar to Airtable in that it provides a free tier of service. The paid plan for Business Class begins at $12.50 per person, per month, as a starting point. Trello also provides an Enterprise plan, and its website features an interactive tool that you can use to estimate the cost of this plan based on the number of employees in your company.
Asana's prices begin at $13.49 per person per month for a Premium account, which is a little higher than the prices of the other apps that have been mentioned up until this point. However, in contrast to the others, Asana does provide a free tier of service; consequently, you are free to use the product indefinitely if it satisfies the requirements of your team or if you want to gain practical experience with it before upgrading.
What Exactly Is Monday.com?
Monday.com appears to have developed from collaborative spreadsheets at some point. Think about how powerful Google Sheets could be if it were created by a highly skilled designer. Monday.com can be accessed either as a web application or on a mobile device (iOS and Android).
The initial configuration consists of a straightforward grid. You have the ability to decide what goes into it. In this region, what are more commonly known as sheets are referred to as boards, and you are permitted to have more than one board visible at any given time. There are also some similarities between Monday.com and kanban apps; in fact, there is a kanban board view that you can use; however, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.
In most cases, a task or some other item that needs to be monitored can be found in each row. The columns each represent a different aspect of the task at hand, such as the due date or the person who is tasked with completing it. You are the one who decides how the columns should be defined, as well as the options that should be made available for each column.
You could, for instance, have columns that are specifically dedicated to the various stages of completion. Let's say that the objective is to complete the fulfillment of an online order. It's possible that the first column will show whether or not payment has been received. Is it owed, in process, or paid already? This cell could be updated by the individual responsible for keeping an eye on the payments. In the following column, you will likely find information indicating whether or not the items have been packed and prepared for shipment. That cell might need to be updated by someone from the fulfillment department. It's possible that the column that comes after that one indicates whether or not a shipping label has been printed. As a consequence of this, everyone who is responsible for ensuring that a sale goes smoothly from the point of payment to the point where it is shipped can update the sheet together and monitor the process.
You should go to your profile page, open the notifications section, and decide what kinds of updates you want to receive via email before you set up your first board on Monday.com. This can be done by going to your profile page. The fact that you are automatically signed up for everything on Monday.com is one of my biggest pet peeves. As part of the signup process, why don't companies simply ask us what notifications we want to receive? It is counterproductive to inundate new users with emails about each and every action they take on their accounts, especially when the products in question fall into the productivity category. Please.
The process of signing up requires you to invite other people to participate alongside you. When that is finished, you can turn your attention to making boards.
You have the option of starting from scratch or using templates provided by Monday.com. Using templates is useful. I would encourage new users to explore them, not only to find ones they might use but also to get a sense of the many ways you can use Monday.com. I would encourage new users to explore them, not only to find ones they might use.
You are able to personalize every aspect of the boards on Monday.com, regardless of whether you create one from scratch or begin with a premade template. You get to choose how many columns will be used, the meanings of each column, the options that will be available for the cells that are contained within the columns, and even the colors that will be associated with the various options.
The initial setup requires both time and a certain amount of trial and error. In this regard, Monday.com is very comparable to other online project management applications such as Asana, Trello, and Airtable. Because each of these applications offers a high level of personalization, there is no one best way to utilize them. It may take you several weeks or even months to determine what you want to track and the most effective way to represent the workflow of your team.
Learning how to use Monday.com requires no time at all, in contrast to the patience that may be required to perfect your processes. The app is relatively easy to use, in addition to being slick and responsive. The majority of actions can be completed with just one or two clicks. You can reorder the components on the page by dragging and dropping them into new positions. The tools for commenting and discussing are just as easy to use as they are on other platforms, such as social media.
You have the option of using folders to organize your boards. You also have the ability to manage which boards are shared with clients from outside the company, which boards are visible to all members of the team, and which boards are private and only visible to you.
After you've gotten the hang of things, you'll want to investigate the various views that you can incorporate into your boards. Table is the name of the view that is similar to an Excel spreadsheet. You have the option to add a Calendar view for boards that contain dates. The Map view is useful for bulletin boards that include a geographical location. In addition, there are views for the Kanban board, the chart, and the timeline. The members of the Monday.com team abhor Gantt charts with a passion, but the Timeline view is essentially a more simplified version of those charts. No matter what name you give it, the end result is the same. You see the tasks as spanner bars that stretch across the dates when the work will be finished. In spite of this, the chart cannot be considered a true Gantt chart because there are no dependencies.
In the conversation panel that is attached to any row, you and your teammates can talk about the work that is being done. There are several tabs contained within the panel. You are able to write and post an update in the first one; however, due to the layout of this section, it is better suited for conversation. This is because it allows you to like someone else's comments, reply to them, and use the @ symbol to bring someone's attention to a specific comment. The following tab, which is labeled Info Boxes, is where you can "add a note" as well as "add files" and "add Q&A." I am a little perplexed as to why there are so many separate areas to essentially do the same thing, which is to discuss the task or work. The third and final tab displays an activity log. Here, a history of actions taken for the task or row in question is displayed for you to view.
Integrations and automations, out of all the features that Monday.com offers, are possibly the most important ones.
You can connect your Monday.com account to other applications that your team uses if you subscribe to a supported tier of service. More than fifty different applications are supported as of the time that this article was written. Some of these applications are Slack, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, Jira, Zendesk, Stripe, Toggl, BitBucket, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Mailchimp. The integration of one app with another makes it possible to automatically transfer data between the two. As an illustration, you are able to synchronize all of the dates from a specific board with your Google Calendar. If you add a new date to the board, that date will immediately be added to your Google Calendar. By removing the need to copy data from one location to another, integrations can help your team save time and improve efficiency.
Your team will save time overall thanks to automation. You might already be familiar with automations if you have used services like IFTTT, Zapier, or Apple Shortcuts, or if you have played around with smart home products. A "if this, then that" statement is the fundamental building block of any automation (which is where IFTTT gets its name). If it's six o'clock, then lower the brightness of the lights in the living room. "If someone marks a task complete in my Monday.com Product board, then send an email to my manager," you can find the full instructions here.
Monday.com already has a set of its automations configured and ready to use. You have the ability to select which ones you want to make active and then modify them so that they correspond to the specifics of your work. One of the automations, for instance, instructs users to "Create an item for every time period." When you select this form of automation, you will have the ability to choose both the time period and the item. It's possible that you'll wind up with something like "On Fridays, make a task that's labeled Log Your Hours." Notifications, changes to a task's status, recurring tasks, and even the transfer of a task from one board to another can all be accomplished with the help of Automations. "When a task on Board A is marked Complete, then move it to Board B," it says in the instructions.
Features of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Monday.com advertises itself as a sales and customer relationship management (CRM) solution, which is why we've included it in our roundup of small business CRM software to see how it stacks up against the other products we've tested in this category. Despite the fact that it can be adapted to a wide range of project-related needs, Monday.com is best known for its CRM capabilities. In the beginning, we noticed a lot of parallels between Monday.com and HoneyBook, which is also an all-encompassing business management solution that comes with strong CRM hooks. HoneyBook has a slightly higher monthly subscription fee than Monday.com does, but it provides its users with unlimited projects and clients and places a greater emphasis on the CRM aspects of managing a small business.
HoneyBook is designed for smaller companies, while Monday.com offers different pricing tiers to accommodate larger companies and even enterprise users. This is another key distinction between the two services. This helps it mitigate the difference between its overall business management orientation and a pure-play small business CRM, such as Onpipeline or, to a lesser extent, our Editors' Choice winner in that category, Salesforce Essentials. Onpipeline and Salesforce Essentials are both examples of CRM software that are designed specifically for small businesses.
For one thing, Monday.com is driven by teams and projects, whereas specialized CRM solutions are driven by sales and pipelines, and this distinction becomes immediately apparent the moment you set up the tool. Therefore, despite the fact that Monday.com provides some fundamental CRM and sales features, in addition to integrations with third-party tools, it is highly unlikely that it will serve as the sales nerve-center or the hub for your customer contact information. The question that should be on the minds of potential subscribers is whether or not Monday.com provides sufficient CRM functionality to satisfy their growth needs for an adequate amount of time, or whether or not they will wind up needing to migrate so quickly that they might as well choose a more specialized solution right away.
The first time you use Monday.com, a web-based wizard will guide you through the process of determining the nature and scope of your company's needs, as well as the most important requirements. Customer relationship management is one of these available choices, and if you make this selection, you should be given the opportunity to pick the Simple CRM alternative. This reveals links to a CRM Learning center as well as a Sales Pipeline template that you can use. This is essentially a guide that offers pre-recorded video demonstrations with step-by-step instructions on how to sync email, invite users, customize templates, and add checkout automations.
The pricing structure of Monday.com appears to be fair; however, there is a requirement for a minimum of three seats, which may be prohibitive for start-up companies or entrepreneurs who want to test out the service to see if it meets their requirements. There is a trial that lasts for 14 days, but as was previously mentioned, that is not nearly enough time to evaluate the entire breadth of the solution. Existing Monday.com users who have an immediate need to expand into CRM may find that the tool is sufficient to meet their requirements. On the other hand, we believe that the vast majority of small businesses that are looking for just the CRM functionality will probably be better served by solutions that are more tailored to small businesses.
Project Management vs. Work Management
Figuring out how to categorize Monday.com and other apps that do similar things is probably the most difficult challenge they face. PCMag draws a distinct line between project management apps and other types of work management tools and apps for team collaboration. We do this because we believe there should be a clear distinction between the two. There is occasionally some overlap, and the distinctions are not always entirely cut and dried. In any event, Monday.com belongs to the hazy, undefined space of work management applications and not to the realm of project management.
Why, then, is Monday.com not a mobile app for managing projects? Project management software is, to put it in the most literal terms possible, designed for the management of projects. A project will always have a beginning point, an ending point, and a deliverable. The construction of a home is considered a project. The creation of a website is considered a project. The work that is ongoing is not the same as projects. The fixing of bugs, the writing of blog posts, the management of marketing teams, and the answering of support emails are all examples of ongoing work. There are also other kinds of work that are neither ongoing nor projects, and these kinds of work can be distinguished easily. One example of this would be taking on a new member of staff. A case could be made for it being a project, couldn't it? Perhaps, but only if you consider the employee to be the "deliverable." Having said that, recruiting new employees and ensuring that a business has enough workers is an ongoing task.
The management of large and complex projects, such as sending a manned spacecraft to the moon and back, can be handled by software designed for project management. When it comes to creating a detailed plan for a project that could take a decade or longer to complete, work management apps are not as effective as they are when it comes to visualizing the day-to-day picture of work.
It is important to have realistic expectations when signing up for a tool such as Monday.com because the tool has certain capabilities and limitations. It's a good option to consider if you're looking for an app to help you manage your work. If you are in need of an app to manage projects, it is in your best interest to look for apps that can be easily categorized within that field. PCMag's in-house testing and reviews have led us to conclude that Zoho Projects, Teamwork Projects, and LiquidPlanner are three of the best project management software options.
The Bottom Line
Monday.com holds up admirably when compared to other options for work-management software. It has a fairly simple interface, and the features that stand out the most are ones that add the most value. However, the pricing is a major deterrent for customers. In contrast to Asana and Airtable, Monday.com does not offer a free tier of service for its users. A free tier of service provides you with the opportunity to cultivate a deep relationship with the tool while you work out all of the kinks involved in using an application that requires a lot of practice and experimentation. You will never obtain that from a free trial period of just 14 days, which is all that Monday.com has to offer. In addition, Monday.com has a complex pricing structure, which makes it difficult to determine which level of service you require and whether you are going to wind up overpaying for it (because you might not need all the licenses you must pay for).
If you are seriously contemplating using Monday.com, I would strongly recommend that you try out Asana before making a final decision. Although they appear to be very dissimilar, the two share a lot of common ground conceptually. If you don't find what you're looking for in Asana, Airtable is another strong alternative.