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5 Airtable Alternatives for Next-Level Workflow Management

Airtable is a low-code platform that marries spreadsheets and databases to give companies the ability to connect teams and workflows seamlessly.

Airtable makes it extremely easy to store and share data in relational databases. That’s just a fancy way of saying a spreadsheet you can do more with. That allows teams to access all shared data quickly and easily with much less confusion.

It’s an extremely useful tool that works well for many organizations, but it isn’t for everyone.

So what are the alternatives?

That’s an excellent question I will answer in this post. Let’s go!

What is Airtable good at? 

Airtable centralizes and organizes data and makes for much better team collaboration.

Apart from the data storage, it’s also great for organizing tasks for projects with its Kanban and calendar features.

What is Airtable lacking? 

Airtable’s capabilities are broad, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.

While Airtable can be used for project management, it’s not a dedicated project management software. Nor is it really process management software, either. That leaves a certain gap in its features and abilities which makes it more difficult for some organizations to get everything they need out of it.

For example, while Airtable includes a project planning template, it lacks features such as critical path analysis and expense management.

Another disadvantage is that it’s somewhat limited in its ability to allow collaborators to communicate. There are no chat functions, and users can really only communicate by leaving comments on each other’s tasks.

The best Airtable alternatives

So for those who want something other than Airtable to help them manage their projects, here are five of our favorite products:

1. Basecamp: Best all-in-one

Self-described as the “all-in-one toolkit” for managing operations, Basecamp really does deliver.

Each project on Basecamp has all of its management features on one page. These features include:

  • Message boards
  • To-dos
  • Docs & files
  • Campfire (casual chat)
  • Automatic check-ins

That last feature is great because it allows managers to automate their check-in questions for their team so they don’t have to pester anyone. 

Basecamp features team schedules so everyone can see what the others have on their schedules and when their deadlines are. 

It’s a highly intuitive tool that’s great for teams who are looking for simpler project management software.

Basecamp offers a very simple pay structure. They offer a 30-day free trial for everyone: individuals and businesses alike. And what’s even better is that they don’t even require a credit card in order to access it. You can sign up right now if you wanted to.

After that, Basecamp offers two levels to its pay structure.

The first level is simply called Basecamp and is their cheaper option designed for freelancers, small businesses, and startups. Pricing is just $15 per user per month. Users have full access to all features but are limited to 500GB of storage.

The second level is Basecamp Pro Unlimited. This level is aimed at larger businesses that need more storage as they offer 5TB. There are two pricing options at this level. Companies can either opt to pay monthly at $349/month, or annually, which breaks down to $299/month.

Basecamp is a great option for those just starting out with project management software and those on a budget.

2. Asana: Best tool for managing deadlines

Like most project management software, Asana has multiple ways you can view a project, like:

  • Kanban 
  • Calendar
  • List
  • Spreadsheet

But it has one extra that sets it apart from other tools: timeline. 

The timeline feature gives users a visual representation of the stages of each project from start to finish and helps teams keep track of their deadlines.

Asana also comes with a unique workflow management feature that allows managers to see the overall workload of each team member. It tells managers who is overworked, underworked, or if a project is properly staffed. Features like this save employees from burnout.

One of the best features of Asana is its pricing. 

If you have a small team of 15 people or less, Asana is free forever on the Basic plan. What’s even better is that Asana doesn’t limit many features on this plan. You’re also not limited on storage or number of projects either. The biggest drawback to this plan is that it doesn’t come with the timeline view.

The next level is the Premium plan, which is $10.99 per user per month. With unlimited features, it’s ideal for mid-sized companies that want better project management. Asana Premium also unlocks the timeline feature, which is one of its biggest perks. 

Lastly, there’s Asana Business, which is priced at $24.99 per user per month. This level includes exclusive tools, like the workflow feature, approvals, and advanced reporting. 

3. Trello: Best budget-friendly tool

Trello is a Kanban-style project management tool that is the digital answer to sticky notes on a wall.

In my previous job as a remote project manager, I used Trello to manage multiple projects at once to great success. It’s a great way to collaborate and have all the steps of the project clearly laid out and defined. 

You can see what your colleagues have done or are currently working on in real-time, making it easier to know the status of your project without having to wait for replies from someone in another time zone.

Additionally, Trello allows you to:

  • Set due dates
  • Add subtasks
  • Automate recurring tasks
  • Communicate directly with collaborators

It’s intuitive and very easy for teams to learn how to use. You could have your team using it reliably within a week.

Trello has a Free plan that allows you 10 boards, unlimited cards, and unlimited storage (but only 10MB files). If you have less than 10 projects and are on a budget, this is a great option.

The next plan Trello offers is the Standard, priced at $5 per user per month. It gives users unlimited boards and storage with files up to 250 MB.

Then there is the Premium plan for $10 per user per month. It includes everything the first two plans have, plus unlimited file sizes and different views, including calendars, timelines, and even a map.

Finally, there’s the Enterprise plan for $17.50 per user per month. This plan offers permissions features and unlimited integrations with available third-party apps. 

4. Notion: Best for knowledge management

Where most project management tools focus on data, Notion focuses on knowledge.

What does that mean? Well, Notion’s biggest selling point is that you can use it to:

  • Take notes
  • Create rich documents
  • Create wikis
  • Outline tasks

It’s about putting all of the knowledge contained in a project into one place.

For example, I once had a job writing scripts for a YouTube channel. We used Notion to upload the prompts, scripts, descriptions, and thumbnails. We even used it to leave notes on each other’s work.

The scripts didn’t have to be uploaded to Notion as separate files, they could be put in directly without sacrificing any rich text. 

Notion won’t be able to give you detailed reporting and analytics on data like other tools, but it’s excellent for creative collaboration.

It also includes administrative features for permissions management, checklists, and real-time collaboration.

For small teams of five or fewer people, Notion is free under the Free plan with the ability to integrate with Slack and GitHub and invite up to 10 guests to collaborate. 

Then they offer the Plus plan at $8 per user per month. It gives users the ability to invite up to 100 guests and upload unlimited files.

After that, they have the Business plan, which offers private team spaces and 250 guests for $15 per user per month.

Finally, they offer their Enterprise plan. There is no set price for this, you need to get in contact with them to receive a quote. It features a custom number of guests, unlimited page history, and advanced security.

5. Best across departments

Monday is the most versatile software for project management. utilizes very user-friendly timelines and calendars to structure tasks, giving users a clear picture of when things should be completed. 

You can also change the view to see the project tasks laid out in a Kanban or Gantt chart. 

Monday gives project managers a lot of flexibility in their methodologies, whether they prefer Agile or Scrum.

Monday supports lots of different types of workflows that can be used by most departments. 

These workflows include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Software development
  • Marketing
  • Human resources
  • Sales’s pricing has five levels to it. The lowest level is the Individual plan which is free and allows two users and up to three boards. 

Then there’s the Basic plan, which costs $8 per user per month but only gets you 5GB of storage. 

After that, they have the Standard plan at $10 per user per month, which is the most popular plan. 

The last two plans are the Pro and Enterprise plans. The Pro plan is $16 per user per month, but you need to contact support to get a quote for the Enterprise plan. 

The big difference between the plans is that Enterprise is HIPPA compliant and has features not offered by the others, like reporting and analytics.

Project vs process: Which is right for you?

All of the tools we just covered, including Airtable, are great project management software. However, that means they are all inherently lacking when it comes to process management.

But what is the difference between project and process management, and which one do you need?

Well, the answer is surprisingly simple. Projects are short-term and measurable. There is a clear beginning and end to a project. There may be a budget and specific deadlines that must be met, and you may only ever work on a specific project one time.

Processes are recurring tasks that keep day-to-day operations running smoothly. Processes are things like:

  • Employee and client onboarding
  • Customer lifecycle management
  • Sales
  • Product development
  • Accounting and invoicing

You get the idea. It’s literally impossible to run a business without some kind of process management.

If you’re looking for a management tool for one of the listed processes above, you’re better off with one like Process Street.

Process Street specializes in making recurring processes seamless and easy for teams. With it, you can make checklists that can be automated to make everyone’s lives easier and take boring, repetitive work off of employees’ plates.

It differs from project management software because it keeps all the long-term information about company processes in one place. It keeps things organized and standardizes everyday business practices.

If you want to see what a process management tool can offer and have your questions answered in real time, book a demo with Process Street! Our sales representatives can walk you through the whole process of building a workflow and how the platform can work for entire companies.

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