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Monday.com, formerly known as dapulse, is an online collaboration app. Teams use it to organize and keep track of their work. Is it a project management app? Strictly speaking, no—but I can see why someone might call it that (more to come on this). Really, it's more like a collection of highly customized spreadsheets in which everyone on a team logs the tasks they need to complete and updates them with status reports and other relevant information. In this way, every team member can see all active tasks and their progress, making it easy to pass work from one person to the next or jump in quickly if someone is suddenly unavailable. Monday.com has a modern and attractive interface, and it's fairly easy to use. Considering similar apps offer a free tier of service and more straightforward subscription options though, Monday.com could be more competitive.

If you're familiar with work-management apps, Monday.com may remind you of Airtable or Asana. Airtable and Monday.com even look similar in a lot of ways. Asana is our Editors' Choice in this category, however, for its flexibility, long list of supported integrations, value, and generous free tier of service for newcomers and small businesses.

Monday.com Pricing and Plans

You can try Monday.com for free for 14 days, no credit card required. After that, you have to pay for an account. You'll need to look at the complex pricing rubric to figure out exactly how much, as prices are based on the number of people on the team, tier of service, and length of commitment.

Monday.com doesn't charge per person. Instead, it has prices for groups up to a certain number. For example, a team of up to five people starts at $49 per month. A team of up to 20 people starts at $199 per month. If you have 16 people on your team, you must pay for a plan of up to 20 people. If you have 60 people on your team, you must pay for a plan of up to 100 people. The closer your team size is to the cap, the more reasonable the rates will be.

Beyond calculating team size, there are four tiers of service to choose from: Basic, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise.

Basic starts at $49 per month for five people and includes 5GB of storage, an unlimited number of boards, and 24/7 support. The Basic plan has serious limitations. You don't get Timelines, Calendar views, Map views, advanced search, time tracking, or other features that Monday.com considers advanced. You don't even get integrations. I have a hard time finding a compelling reason anyone would pay for this tier of service.

Standard starts at $59 per month for five people. It increases the storage space to 50GB. You can invite outside guests to join your board, but confusingly they count against your member allotment a 4-to-1 ratio. In other words, four invited guests count as one member. With Standard, you do get the Timeline, Calendar, and Map views that are missing from the Basic plan. This tier includes advanced search, but not time tracking. The Standard plan does allow for integrations, but you're permitted only 250 actions between two integrated apps per month. Standard also adds the ability to set up automations, which are also limited to 250 actions per month.

Pro starts at $99 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 allowance for integrations and automations goes up to 25,000 actions per month.

Enterprise accounts use custom pricing and include all features.

For any of Monday.com's plans and for any number of people, you can choose to pay monthly, annually, or for two years at a time, with greater discounts for longer commitments.

Monday.com updating task

How Do Monday.com's Prices Compare?

Monday.com's plans and pricing scheme are overly complicated. First off, there should be a free tier of service for this product. Second, you have to sink a lot of time into investigating the app and tracking how many integration actions you use each month to figure out the best plan for you. Third, the fee scale is so convoluted that it also makes it difficult to compare it with other, similar apps. But let's try.

Comparable apps cost around $12-$13.50 per person per month for their first-tier paid plans. Monday.com's prices seem like they are close to this range if your team size is exactly the same as the up to number you pay for. Otherwise, the per-person price is inflated. For example, if you have 16 people on your team but you're paying for up to 20, the per-person rate goes up. If you have exactly 20 people and are paying for 20, the per-person rate is in line with the average for the market.

Digging in with more direct comparisons, Airtable is an apt place to start. It offers a free account that has some feature limitations but still gives you a generous 2GB of storage space for your data. Paid plans start at $12 per person per month for a Plus plan and go up to $24 per person per month for Pro. Unlike Monday.com, Airtable only charges you for the people on your team. If you add or subtract team members in the middle of a billing cycle, the company prorates the additional fee or gives you a refund in the form of account credit.

Trello is another reasonable app to compare to Monday.com. Like Airtable, it also offers a free tier of service. The Business Class paid plan starts at $12.50 per person per month. Trello also offers an Enterprise plan, and there's an interactive tool on its website you can use to generate a price estimate for it, based on the number of people in the company.

Asana's prices are a little higher than the other apps mentioned so far, starting at $13.49 per person per month for a Premium account. But like the others, Asana does offer a free tier of service, so you can use the product indefinitely if it meets your team's needs or if you want to get real experience with it before upgrading.

What Is Monday.com?

Monday.com looks like it evolved from collaborative spreadsheets. Imagine Google Sheets in the hands of an extraordinarily capable designer. You access Monday.com as a web app or on a mobile device (iOS and Android).

The initial setup is a simple grid. You choose what goes into it. What would be sheets are called boards here, and you can have more than one of them in view at any given time. Monday.com also shares similarities with kanban apps, and indeed there is a kanban board view you can use, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Each row typically contains a task or whatever it is you want to track. The columns indicate different attributes of that task, such as the deadline or who is assigned to do it. You define the columns as you like, and you decide what selections are available for each column.

For example, you could have columns dedicated to different states of completion. Let's say the task is to fulfill an online order. The first column might indicate whether payment has been received. Is it owed, pending, or paid? The person in charge of monitoring payments could update this cell. The next column might tell you whether the items have been prepared for shipping. A person in the fulfillment department could update that cell. Perhaps the column after that denotes if a shipping label has been printed. The result is that all the people responsible for ushering a sale from payment to shipping can collaboratively update the sheet and track the process.

Monday.com table view

Getting Started

Before you set up your first board in Monday.com, you should go to your profile page, open the notifications section, and decide what kind of updates you want to receive via email. Monday.com signs you up for everything by default, a terrible pet peeve of mine. Why don't companies simply ask what notifications we'd like to receive as part of the signup process? Especially with products in the productivity category, it makes no sense to bombard new users with emails about every single action of a new account. Please.

Part of the signup process involves inviting other people to join you. Once that's done, you can focus on creating boards.

You can make boards from scratch or use Monday.com templates. Templates help. 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.

Everything about the boards in Monday.com is customizable, whether you make one or start from a template. You decide how many columns to use, what each column means, what options are available for the cells within the columns, and even what color to associate with different options.

Setting up takes time as well as trial and error. In that regard, Monday.com is very similar to Asana, Trello, and Airtable. All those apps are so customizable that there's no right or wrong way to use them. It can take weeks or months to figure out what you want to track and the best way to represent your team's workflow.

While refining your processes may require patience, learning how to use Monday.com takes no time at all. The app is fairly intuitive, as well as slick and responsive. Actions rarely require more than one or two clicks. You can drag and drop elements to rearrange them on the page. Commenting and discussion tools are just as intuitive here as they are on social media.

You can organize your boards into folders. You can also manage which boards are shared with outside clients, which are visible to all team members, and which are private only to you.

Monday.com automations

Noteworthy Features

Once you get rolling, you'll want to explore the different views you can add to your boards. The spreadsheet-like default view is called Table. You can add a Calendar view for boards that include dates. A Map view is good for boards that include a physical location. There are also views for Kanban board, Chart, and Timeline. The team at Monday.com downright loathe Gantt charts, but the Timeline view is essentially a lightweight version of just that. Call it what you wish, the effect is the same. You see tasks as spanner bars that spread across the dates when the work will be done. It's not a true Gantt chart, however, because there are no dependencies.

You can discuss work with your teammates in a conversation panel attached to any row. Within the panel are a few tabs. In the first one, you can write and post an update, although based on the design of this section, it's better suited for conversation, as it supports liking someone's comments, replying to them, and using @ symbols to flag someone's attention. The next tab is called Info Boxes, and it's where you "add a note, add files, or add Q&A." I'm a little confused as to why there need to be so many discrete areas to essentially do the same thing: discuss the task or work. The third and final tab shows an activity log, where you see a history of actions for that task or row in question.

Of all the features in Monday.com, integrations and automations are perhaps the most significant.

With a supported tier of service, you can connect your Monday.com account to other apps your team uses. As of this writing, 36 apps are supported, including Slack, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, Jira, Zendesk, Stripe, Toggl, BitBucket, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Mailchimp. Integrations with other apps let you move information between them automatically. For example, you can sync all the dates from a particular board to your Google Calendar. When you add a new date to the board, it automatically shows up in your Google Calendar. Integrations can save your time team by eliminating the need to copy data from one place to another.

Automations save your team time, too. If you've ever tinkered with smart home products or used IFTTT, Zapier, or Apple Shortcuts you may be familiar with automations. Essentially, an automation is an "if this, then that" statement (which is where IFTTT gets its name). "If it's 6 p.m., then dim the lights in the living room." "If someone marks a task complete in my Monday.com Product board, then send my manager an email."

Monday.com has a list of automations already configured. You can choose which ones you want to enable and then customize them to match the details of your work. For example, one of the automation says, "Every time period create an item." When you choose this automation, you get to decide what time period and what item. You might end up with "Every Friday, create a task called Log Your Hours." You can use Automations for notifications, status changes, recurring tasks, or even moving a task from one board to another. "When a task on Board A is marked Complete, then move it to Board B."

Work Management vs. Project Management

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for Monday.com, and other apps like it, is figuring out how to classify it. At PCMag, we make a clear distinction between project management apps and other kinds of work management tools and apps for team collaboration. The distinctions aren't always crystal clear, and there can be overlap. In any case, Monday.com falls into the nebulous gray area of work management apps, not project management

So why is Monday.com not a project management app? In the strictest sense, project management software is designed for managing projects. A project has a start date, end date, and deliverable. Building a house is a project. Launching a website is a project. Projects are different from ongoing work. Examples of ongoing work include fixing bugs, writing blog posts, running a marketing team, answering help emails. There are other types of work, too, that aren't ongoing and aren't projects. Hiring a new employee is one example. Could you make a case that it's a project? Maybe, if you consider the "deliverable" to be the employee. That said, hiring in general and keeping a company staffed is ongoing work.

Project management software can manage large and complex projects, such as sending a manned spacecraft to the moon and back. Work management apps, meanwhile, are good at visualizing the day-to-day picture of work and bad at creating a detailed plan for a project that could take a decade or longer.

When you sign up for a tool like Monday.com, it's important to have clear expectations of what it can and cannot do. If you're in the market for a work management app, it's a good choice. If you need a project management app, you're better served looking at apps that neatly fit into that category. A few top picks, based on our testing and reviews at PCMag, are Zoho Projects, Teamwork Projects, and LiquidPlanner.

Some Value-Adds, But Needs a Free Version

As far as work-management tools go, Monday.com fares well enough. It's relatively easy to use, and some of its more notable features are value-adds. Its pricing holds it back, though. Monday.com doesn't have a free tier of service, while Asana and Airtable do. For apps that require a lot of trial and error, a free tier of service lets you develop a deep relationship with the tool while you hammer out all the kinks of using it. You will never get that from a 14-day free trial, which is all Monday.com offers. Additionally, Monday.com's elaborate pricing structure makes it difficult to figure out which tier of service you would need and whether you're going to end up paying too much for it (because you might not need all the licenses you must pay for).

If you are seriously considering using Monday.com, I would encourage you to first give Asana a spin. Conceptually, the two are very similar, but they look completely different. If Asana doesn't scratch your itch, Airtable is also a worthy contender.


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