One of the great benefits of the explosion of low-cost, easy-to-use, cloud-based software is that there are at least a half-dozen tools to accomplish nearly any task. Project management software solutions Airtable and monday work management take slightly different approaches to solving most teams’ challenges around keeping track of shared projects and work. Let’s explore how Airtable and monday work management compare when it comes to several main features.
What is Airtable?
Airtable is a cloud-based “intelligent spreadsheet” of sorts that allows users to develop robust applications and tools without delving into traditional software development tools.
What is monday work management?
monday work management adds workflow, customizations and integrations on top of task management, allowing users to build complex, collaborative workflows around any date or task-based task.
Airtable vs. monday work management features comparison
Perhaps the most important functional difference between Airtable and monday work management is the fundamental nature of how the project management tools manage data. A simplified explanation is that Airtable, as the name implies, uses a table as its foundation for storing data, while monday work management is oriented around tasks.
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Think of Airtable as the ultimate spreadsheet, where you create a spreadsheet-like set of data, which Airtable calls a base, and then build workflows, integrations and functionality off that base. Airtable is essentially a combination database, workflow engine and set of integrations and collaboration tools.
monday work management uses a task as its core data element, which has inbuilt concepts like due dates, assignees and other fields already defined; there are also pre-built reports, dashboards and workflows. While this task orientation might seem to constrain, the project management software has a rich set of templates and functionality that allows you to configure it for any workflow associated with time, from planning digital media releases to managing a sales funnel.
Airtable and monday work management allow easy signup and provide a rich set of templates to get you started.
By virtue of its template universe, Airtable allows users to share their bases as templates that the general public can access. monday work management lacks this specific feature, although you can share a link to your board and essentially share your work with others, as long as they have the link you’ve provided.
Airtable provides more templates when including the user-contributed universe, though the monday work management templates I sampled generally had more documentation and prepopulated elements that demonstrated how to use the template effectively.
The templates provided by both tools are wildly diverse, from real estate and manufacturing to product release and CRM-like templates, allowing you to quickly access a pre-built example and get a feel for how the tool works.
Airtable and monday work management both offer highly configurable interfaces and similar capabilities to view individual records in various ways ranging from kanban boards to calendar views. These views will change dramatically based on the template the user selects or the customizations that are built.
However, the underlying view for data in monday work management is some variant of a multi-level task list. In contrast, Airtable’s default view is essentially a configurable table that should be familiar to anyone who’s spent time in a spreadsheet.
The power of these project management tools comes when you create and customize additional views and add integrations and workflows that turn Airtable or monday work management from a data repository to a full-fledged workflow engine.
monday work management was designed as a configurable project management tool, and it edges Airtable out on collaboration features. For individual tasks, you can post comments and tag other collaborators using the @ notation, and you can embed files. Chat messages, files and a nice depiction of task updates are separated in a tabbed view.
Airtable offers a familiar iMessage-style chat feed and @ notation and time-sequenced notes on record changes, but the display is not as visual, nor can files be embedded by default.
This shortcoming could be remedied through intelligent integrations to your favorite collaboration software, and both tools integrate with popular tools like Slack, Teams and Basecamp.
How to decide between Airtable and monday work management
Airtable and monday work management are so capable and robust that it might seem challenging to decide which project management tool is right for you. Since Airtable and monday work management have similar feature sets and capabilities, the determining factor might be based on your thought process more than any technical nuance.
If you think in tables and find yourself opening Excel or Google Sheets whenever you have a problem that’s not addressed with one of the tools you have, Airtable will likely feel familiar. Once you figure out Airtable’s interface and automation capability, which is a task made easier using the pre-defined templates, you’ll feel right at home. Since Airtable is essentially a database, it offers nearly infinite flexibility at the cost of requiring more development effort.
If you think in terms of tasks and workflows, monday work management might be the right choice for you. Basically, project managers, planners and individuals who pride themselves on a well-structured task management approach will likely find monday work management more familiar. Workflows and reports can be launched based on task status changes and concepts like reviews and assignees are already included.
monday work management’s inventory of templates does an excellent job of demonstrating how almost any time-based workflow can fit into this task-based model, from construction management to creative production efforts. monday work management also offers its Work OS product, which purports to integrate multiple tools and workflows that a typical business uses, from CRM to software development.
There’s enough overlap in the template sets provided by Airtable and monday work management that you could try each tool for your use case using a pre-populated template. If the data-oriented structure of Airtable feels immediately familiar, it’s likely the right choice for you. If you find the task and workflow-based approach of monday work management to intuitively click, it’s probably a better tool for you and your team.