You’ve almost certainly seen an advert for this product while watching videos on YouTube. Monday.com has become an incredibly popular work management tool, or Work OS. Previously called daPulse, Monday.com gives a transparent and very visual way to manage daily work – whether you’re a team of one or one hundred. Here’s an introduction into its pros and cons.
What is Monday.com?
At its core, Monday.com is a productivity and collaboration tool that draws on tabular data. It’s a low-code platform that allows you to manage processes, projects, and workflows the way you want to – add your tasks and your team members, and you can start tracking your day-to-day work in minutes. Collaborators can do things like add comments, upload a file, track time, set a deadline, or change a completion status in a highly visual interface.
You can connect with lots of external tools (as we’ll see below) and set up ‘workflows’ to automate all kinds of actions – for example, pinging an email when a deadline approaches, assigning particular tasks to a specific team member, archiving tasks once defined criteria are met, etc.
To get started, you create a ‘board’ and add all the columns you require depending on what information you’re going to need to collect. Let’s say you’re using a board to manage your blog creation – each row of your table will represent a blog post task (you can have sub-tasks under this) and you’ll probably have columns such as task owner, priority, category, brief, file attachments, photos, timeline/deadline, link to final URL, etc. Once your basic structure has been created, you can choose to visualise the data in a variety of ways:
- File gallery
You can also create an online form so that people can add data to your board in a user-friendly way. For example, if you were creating an events calendar you could have members of the public submit event information through a form instead of giving them access to Monday.com.
You may end up with multiple boards to manage different departments or teams in the business or different projects or workflows. You can create ‘dashboards’ that bring in data from different boards so that you have an overview of everything in one place. Boards and dashboards can be shared with entire teams, specific individuals, or kept private to you (you can even have columns in an otherwise shared board hidden from everyone but yourself/chosen individuals).
You can invite your colleagues onto the platform and organise them into teams. Known as ‘members’, these users will count towards your subscription costs. You can also invite ‘guests’ and give them access to whatever you need, but they won’t count as members on your subscription.
What’s good about Monday.com?
A platform like this is great for centralising work and having your communications organised in a manageable way. Rather than endless and confusing email threads, teams can collaborate, discuss, and review in one place. Anything that you have previously been using a database, Google doc, or spreadsheet for is a good candidate for a work management tool such as this.
With mobile and browser apps, everyone can stay in the loop regardless of where they are or what they are doing. Monday.com gives you a lot of control and transparency, too.
Although you can start with a blank table, there are dozens of templates to get going with. They are grouped by sector (for example, education, real estate, and construction) to help you get inspired and cover a wide range of purposes, from customer onboarding to grants management to product roadmaps to creative asset planning. And they come pre-populated, so you can understand how they work straight away. Once you’ve loaded the template, you can get rid of any columns that aren’t relevant and add in extra ones you may need. Within a few minutes, you’ll be ready to invite collaborators and start work!
You can use Monday.com to build any kind of management platform you need, whether that’s operations, sales, CRM, marketing, product development, or HR. It’s really scalable, and with automations and integrations you can custom-build a very powerful engine to help run your business.
You can take customisations to the next level by using Monday.com’s API. Built on GraphQL, it supports operations boards, items, column values, users, workspaces, and more. This is a skilled job, of course, but with support from a developer you could build your own integrations with external tools and really streamline your work processes.
Monday.com is a publicly traded company with hundreds of millions in annual revenues and a valuation in the billions. This means it has the market share and the funding to keep growing and improving, so there’s probably a lot of security in going with this option. It appears to be very highly rated by the vast majority of its users.
What’s not good about Monday.com?
Monday.com is a work management tool rather than a project management tool. Although you can use it to run a project, if you come to Monday.com thinking it is PM software and will help you manage your large and complex projects, your list of what’s not good will be extremely long.
For some, Monday.com’s configurability and complexity will be a downside because they just want to do something simple and will find the learning curve and set-up time too much. If your needs are very simple, you might prefer a tool like Trello or Notion. You will probably go through a period of trial and error while getting things set up the way you need them because there’s really no right or wrong way to do things.
One issue that came up for a client is that you can’t create recurring tasks or events. If there’s a job you need to do every Tuesday morning, you’ll have to create 52 tasks a year for it. That’s going to make Monday.com unusable for certain businesses.
Other cons tend to be small enough issues on their own that become very frustrating by virtue of coming up so often. For example, you can’t pick the relevant option from a checkbox field by starting to type it, as you can in a competitor product such as Airtable. You have to click into the field first and then either start typing or scroll down to the correct entry (even if you find the option by typing, you’ll still need to click to select rather than simply hitting the return key).
For date fields, you have to click into the field and then click to pick the date from a calendar. No, you cannot simply type the date! This means that for future or past dates, you may end up clicking a dozen times for one single entry. All this clicking around can make Monday.com feel clunky and slow to use.
Although time tracking is a native feature (which is great!), you cannot simply type an amount of time into the time tracking column. Monday.com expects you to start and pause the tracking of time for any given task. If you need to change what has been recorded (let’s say you took a phone call in the middle of a task), you must click in and change the start and end dates and times manually. Again, lots of clicking to simply change 50 minutes to 40 minutes.
Another small thing that seems inexplicably rigid is that you cannot specify your own colours but have to use the palettes provided. Given Monday.com’s USP of being a highly visual interface, this does seem weird.
Monday.com’s pricing is very confusing, as I discuss in the final section of this blog.
How does Monday.com work with Xero?
In the app Marketplace, you’ll find an integration called Luxie Tech for Xero. It will allow you to easily create Xero invoices, timesheets, and contacts from your Monday.com data, and there are plans to let data sync the over way too. The subscription is around €50/month.
You can, of course, create your own integration with Xero using middleware. Integrately and Zapier are two major tools that will help you to automate tasks such as invoice creation, bank transactions, credit notes, etc., starting at around €20 per month.
Are there other integrations for Monday.com?
Monday integrates with many third-party applications if you need to add additional functionality, with ready-to-use automations you can activate with one click (for example, turn on the Zoom integration and with one click you can have all future Zoom meetings appearing as items inside Monday.com).
Monday.com also has two satellite products called WorkForms (forms for requests, feedback, and data collection) and Canvas (a whiteboarding tool). WorkForms data can be brought into your Monday.com workspace, but Canvas appears to be a standalone product for now.
How much does Monday.com cost?
Monday.com’s pricing does feel unnecessarily complex when you first try to get up and running. One reason is that there is the main Monday.com platform, called “work management” and then optional additional products – or workspaces – you can layer on top if your needs are more complex. These are Monday sales CRM, Monday projects, Monday marketer, and Monday dev.
To be clear, you could absolutely create boards within the base work management product to tackle work such as CRM or marketing. These additional products just contain more capability and integrations to take on more complex workflows/needs. And here’s the issue – you’d need to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve on Monday.com in advance, otherwise you could build your solution on the work management product only to discover later on that you want to use a feature that’s only available in one of the additional products and have to move everything over to that.
Working out if you need just the base product or also need one of the other products is just the start. For each of the five products, you also have Basic, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise plans. So, you’ll also have to comb through the features to make sure you’re on the right plan for your chosen products. When it comes to the other users on your plan (the members, as discussed above) you don’t simply pay per user but must choose “up to” 3, 5, 10, etc. Luckily, guests are free, so you at least don’t have to worry about counting them!
Their pricing makes it hard to get a like-for-like comparison with alternative products, but it’s generally accepted that Monday.com is at the higher end of the pricing range, through not the most expensive. If you put its features and capabilities to good use, it does offer good value. Don’t forget that some of the integrations you can use with Monday.com will also require a subscription, although not all by any means.
With any major tool that you’ll use every day, it pays to spend time thoroughly testing it for your own use before you choose. What is a pro or con for one company will be very different for another. Alternatives to Monday.com include Wrike, Asana, Smartsheet, ZenHub, and Airtable.