Software

Airtable Review: Using Airtable for Project Management

Jonathan Friedman
November 9, 2020
Airtable Review: Using Airtable for Project Management

Airtable. Maybe you've used it before, or perhaps you are considering using Airtable for project management with your colleagues. This Airtable review will help you determine if Airtable is worth buying for your team to plan and execute project management. We'll also shed light on why we believe TrueNxus is a better alternative for managing projects.

In this Airtable review, we'll go over some critical Airtable features and their limitations and pricing to help you decide if it is the right project management tool for you. Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.

What is Airtable?

Airtable is a powerful work management tool that is flexible and dynamic in the number of use cases. If you are very comfortable with spreadsheet-based applications like Microsoft Excel, or Google Sheets, Airtable will feel like a simple alternative. As can see in this Airtable review, Airtable can help you and your team perform the following:

It has everything you need for effective work management for small teams that work with one another day-to-day in a single online location.

Who uses Airtable?

As you can see in this section of our Airtable review, Airtable is useful if you are a small team that plans and executes repeatable task management. While Airtable advertises as a work management tool that you can use for anything (i.e., project management, event management, sales pipeline), it's best used by small teams that work with one another every day.

Below outlines a set of users that benefit from Airtable.

Advantages of Airtable

Airtable has a lot of benefits to offer to its customers. In this section of our Airtable review, we'll take a closer look at Airtable's pros.

1.  It’s a spreadsheet

Airtable is like a spreadsheet. It has the general look and feel of a spreadsheet-based application like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. With pre-built templates, you won't have to start from scratch as you do with Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

If you are comfortable with Microsoft Excel, Airtable will be easy. Additionally, suppose you are used to building and managing project plans in Microsoft Excel. In that case, Airtable will seem like a simple alternative because you'll now have online collaboration and standard project templates to leverage.

2. Coordinate the project in one location

Unlike traditional spreadsheet-based tools, you'll coordinate with your project team in one online location. You'll no longer have version control issues as every project team member will be able to access the same information from one place.

Additionally, you'll be able to attach files and share them. For example, say you've now completed a deliverable, and you want to share it with the team. Upload it to Airtable.

3. Collaborate on ad-hoc or repeatable task management

Given Airtable is like a spreadsheet, it's no wonder that Airtable is also a perfect option for ad-hoc or repeatable task management. If you and your team typically create checklists or to-do lists that you need for a small project or a repeatable process, you can do these in Airtable with ease. Airtable provides you the ability to perform task management in many views: grid, calendar, form, kanban, and gallery. Furthermore, you and your team can collaborate like Google Docs or Google Sheets and update the text as one unit. No more emails and hand-offs.

4. Use cases are endless

The potential use cases of Airtable are endless, so long as it's just for you or a small subset of people that you work with day-in and day-out, and the work is task-based.

Disadvantages of Airtable

Unfortunately, Airtable has many drawbacks and limitations when it comes to using Airtable for project management. In this section of our Airtable review, we'll take a closer look at Airtable's cons.

1. It's  just a task management tool

Airtable may be one of the best work management tools in the market. However, when you break down its capabilities for project management, it's only suitable for task management. Sure, Airtable has various views: grid, calendar, form, kanban, and gallery. However, each is different visualizations of a task list for yourself or your small team - you're limited to performing task management, not project management.

Also, don't take my word for it; see their website. You'll find Airtable showing you an endless view of lists! If you're looking to manage projects that require people from other teams, you won't find what you need with Airtable.

Airtable screenshot

2. It's nothing more than a collaborative spreadsheet

At the core of what Airtable is trying to do is replace the product suites like Microsoft (i.e., Word, Excel, OneNote, SharePoint) and Google (i.e., Sheets, Drive). However, we at TrueNxus would argue that they lean toward replacing spreadsheet-based products like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. Typically you would create checklists or to-do lists in spreadsheet-based tools. However, if you are a power user of any spreadsheet software (i.e., MS Excel, Google Sheets, Smartsheet), Airtable won't get the job done. While Airtable provides you with a spreadsheet-like view, it doesn't have the formulas or pivot tables you need to analyze the data.

As a result, you'll soon realize that Airtable is just a set of collaborative spreadsheets, and let's be honest; Google Sheets and Smartsheet are the leaders in spreadsheet-based applications.

3. No Timeline or Gantt chart-like view exists in cheaper plans

Project management requires the ability to view the project plan across time. Sure, Airtable has a calendar and a Kanban board. However, once you have more than a few tasks that need to be executed over multiple days or weeks, or you start having dependencies, neither a Calendar nor a Kanban board will cut it. It does a terrible job at allowing you to visualize the project schedule. As a result, you'll begin looking for software with a Gantt-chart, and Airtable's Gantt-chart is an add-on app, only available when you purchase a Pro plan, which starts at $24/user/month.

For example, see TrueNxus's Timeline.

Project timeline, or gantt chart

4. Reporting is non-existent

Airtable does not have any reporting capabilities, which are necessary for project management. If you are executing a project with more than a couple of stakeholders, you're going to need to monitor and report progress with more than a few bulleted lists with dates attached to them. You are going to need to pull together a project status report to track the project's health, and you won't find any feature in Airtable that will provide you with the capabilities to do so.

Unlike Airtable, TrueNxus provides you with an out of the box status report that gives you and senior leadership the insights you all need to know to clear roadblocks, make decisions, and move the ball forward.

Project status report

5. You cannot see everything you are responsible for

Airtable allows you to visualize every task you are assigned on a specific spreadsheet. However, you have to go into the page and search for your name or filter to do this. Then you have to do this every time.

While this is hugely inefficient in its own right, it's even more annoying and unproductive if you want to see every task you are assigned to across multiple projects because you can't. You should be able to see everything that you are responsible for completing. Additionally, you should be able to see how others impact your work, which is task dependencies. If a task is dependent on another task, you have to go into the board and find the task and see if anything has changed.

Who has time for such inefficiency? With TrueNxus, there is a section called My Work that provides you a view into everything you're on the hook for, including any dependencies that you may or may not be assigned.

MyWork

Airtable pricing

Without a breakdown of Airtable's pricing, an Airtable review is only half done. So let's take a look at Airtable's pricing.

Airtable has a free version, but if you need more than a place to create a collaborative spreadsheet, you're going to need Airtable apps, which require you to upgrade to a paid pro plan. The pro plan starts at $24/month/user ($20/month/user when billed annually).

How does TrueNxus pricing compare to Airtable pricing?

At TrueNxus, you can sign up for monthly or annual billing. If you choose annual billing, it's only $8.33/month for your first 5 licenses. That's only $100/year for 5 licenses. Then, each additional user is only $7.50/user/month when billed annually.

Now, let’s compare TrueNxus and Airtable Standard annual plans on pricing alone.

When comparing the two with similar project management features, it’s a no brainer! TrueNxus is cheaper by at least $1,100/year for 5 licenses. Then next question you may ask is, why is TrueNxus cheaper? Well, that’s easy. We are lean, and we believe in value-based pricing. We believe project management software is only worth anything when you are either (1) managing multiple projects, or (2) requiring collaboration amongst various stakeholders. 

Suppose you’re only one person or a team of 5. In that case, TrueNxus will undoubtedly increase productivity and efficiency. Still, we believe that once a group of 5 or more needs to work together, that’s when the value provided goes into overdrive, and that’s why we only increase pricing once the number of people exceeds 5. Unlike Airtable, we at TrueNxus only charge you for the value we are providing.

TrueNxus, a better alternative

TrueNxus is the most pragmatic project management software in the market. With TrueNxus, you’ll be able to manage all of your organization’s projects. 

You’ll have all of the features you need to plan and execute projects successfully.

1. Multiple views

Your project management software needs to be able to provide personalized views. A view that makes sense to you may not make sense to your teammate. These views need to be in sync as well.

TrueNxus provides you with the following views:

Project plan

List

A list is a table that allows you to manage your project plan easily. Organize the work into groups such as workstreams, or any logical way to categorize tasks.

Project timeline, or gantt chart

Timeline

Visualize the project as a Timeline, a Gantt chart like view that lets you understand how the entire project fits together. Make updates to the project plan through an interactive interface.

2. Automated project status reports

Project status report

Let TrueNxus analyze the project health real-time giving senior leadership and the project team the insights they need to make decisions and move the ball forward. Reporting may be the biggest deficiency when you try using Airtable for project management.

3. My Work

View all of your work in one place

Know what you’re on the hook for delivering. View every task, and every dependency, that is important to you, across every project, in one location.

4. Dependencies

Dependencies

Be accountable when others are reliant on you. Understand dependent tasks, change implications, and adjust course as needed.

5. Automated notifications

Automated workflows - notifications

Stay productive and get notified when changes occur. With TrueNxus’s 20+ out-of-the-box automated notifications, you will have the transparency you need to stay in-the-know. As a result, TrueNxus creates efficiency by informing you immediately when changes to the overall project plan occur, such as when roadblocks impact dependencies.

6. Comments

Collaboration by comment in the webapp

Collaborate directly in the app. Communicate with project team members and chat with one another directly in tasks.

7. Project charter

OKR with a project charter

Leverage OKR and create a project charter. Collaborate as one team and establish the project objectives, benefits, and risks from the very beginning.

8. Privacy

Project privacy

Ensure confidentiality when necessary. Make projects private to create a safe place for sensitive work.

Learn more and see all product features.

TrueNxus advantages

TrueNxus disadvantages

Nothing else. We’d love for you to sign up for a free trial (no credit card needed) and let us know what you think. We love feedback!

TrueNxus pricing

TrueNxus has flexible pricing so that you only pay for what you need. Both monthly and annual plans are available. If you sign up for a yearly plan, you get 2 months free.

Pricing is simple. For teams of up to 5 users, it’s only $10/month. Then, for teams larger than 5 users, you’ll only pay for each additional user - $9/user/month. If your team size changes, your bill will be prorated.

Airtable review conclusion

While Airtable is a great tool, it has several drawbacks, as shown in this Airtable review. Fortunately, you can use project management software like TrueNxus to solve all of Airtable's limitations. If you want even more information, like a side-by-side comparison of the two software providers, see why TrueNxus is a better Airtable alternative.

TrueNxus has everything you need to plan and deliver successful projects but at a fraction of the cost of Airtable.

See for yourself, and sign up for a free trial today (no credit card needed).