The Battle of Continuous Improvement Tools: Smartsheet vs. Minitab Engage

Joshua Zable and Stacey McDaniel | 5/30/2024

Topics: Continuous Improvement, Minitab Engage

According to Smartsheet, it enables teams to manage projects, automate processes and scale programs in one powerful platform. Many organizations are using Smartsheet, and in turn, asking continuous improvement (CI) professionals to adopt it. The problem is –many of the features and CI tools that are critical to successfully executing a project are absent from Smartsheet. Minitab Engage is a CI tool specifically designed to start, track, manage, and share innovation and improvement initiatives from idea generation through execution.

Let’s Compare Smartsheet and Engage:

CI roadmaps: Smartsheet lacks the pre-built CI workflows needed to successfully execute projects. Engage has structured problem-solving roadmaps built into each project with a step-by-step interface that makes it easy to track projects from start to finish. Engage users can start from one of these standard workflows and/or define their own:

  • Basic project 
  • DFSS, including CDOV 
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) 
  • Kaizen Event 
  • Just Do It (JDI) 

CI forms: Again, another area in which Engage outpaces Smartsheet. Minitab Engage offers more than 60 CI forms, so you will be sure to find what you need. Some popular forms include:

  • A3
  • Five Whys
  • Gantt Chart
  • Control Plan
  • House of Quality

Want to explore more structured problem-solving?

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Problem-solving tools: Smartsheet does not offer any pre-built smart tools critical to successfully executing CI projects. Smartsheet does offer tools that are built in Excel and can be uploaded to a project file​, but they cannot integrate with your project or enable you to input data and map it to process steps. Furthermore, it doesn’t allow you to share data within projects or integrate with any analytics package, like Minitab Statistical Software to tie your data analysis directly to your project.

Engage offers many process mapping tools including:

  • Swimlanes
  • Shape data
  • Cross-functional maps
  • Value stream maps
  • Organizational Chart

value stream maps(Value Stream Map)

There are also several idea management/brainstorming tools available:

  • Mind Map
  • 4S
  • 8P
  • Fishbone (Cause and Effect Diagram)
  • Man Machines Materials
  • Idea Map
  • CT Tree

mind map

(Mind Map)

Savings trackers and ways to share: If you’re doing one or two projects to drive savings, Smartsheet can track the savings of each one of these projects. The true value of your program needs to be accounted for as a roll-up of all the projects you’re doing. If you are building or managing a comprehensive CI program, you’ll have multiple projects happening simultaneously. Engage offers “out-of-the-box” functionality to help you demonstrate the results of your overall program in real-time and justify increasing the investment to grow and expand it.

Real-time dashboards: Track KPIs and other project metrics with Engage’s dynamic dashboards. See financial summaries, progress toward set targets and monitor project status. View your entire initiative or focus on specific projects, teams, or divisions. 

  • Presentation-ready reports: Easily create reports and dashboards to share with key stakeholders to demonstrate successes
  • Dynamic dashboards: See financial summaries, progress toward set targets and monitor project status. View your entire initiative or focus on specific projects, teams, or divisions

See how much time and money you will save on continuous improvement projects with Minitab Engage

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Smartsheet vs. Engage: The Bottom Line

Smartsheet allows flexibility for project management, making it a popular collaborative work management platform. If you are trying to build up a CI program, or enhance the one you have, the lack of pre-built CI workflows, forms, and tools makes it difficult to achieve and maintain a standard of how projects are executed​. As a result, organizations may find it difficult to implement best practices, replicate success, or deliver expected returns on improvement projects​. Further, without a roll-up of all the projects, explaining the success of the program becomes a tedious exercise rife with potential errors and missed opportunities.

Minitab Engage is an end-to-end platform that provides CI programs with the ability to manage the entire lifecycle of a project in a single application. It is a proven tool that helps organizations ultimately cut costs of these projects.

Take a look at the Minitab Engage features page to see all that it offers.

If you are considering making the jump from a collaborative work management platform, like Smartsheet, to a purpose-built solution that is ready to handle all your needs, let us know. We would be happy to show you Minitab Engage in action!