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Business projects have become immensely complex over the last two decades.
Coordinating across teams and departments gets challenging. Throw in a couple of remote employees or contracted workers and you’ve got a mess of late night phone calls, video conferences, and panic.
More often than not, projects are finished late and with an inflated budget. Or worse, they’re completed incorrectly. Life is becoming increasingly difficult for the people that need to scope, organize and time manage complex business projects.
Fortunately, once your business has graduated from project plans, like GANTT Charts and spreadsheets, you can turn to project management software to organize and manage your workflow.
What is project management software?
Project management software helps entrepreneurs and other business users manage complex projects all of the intricacies involved.
I’ve seen everyone use project management software — from real estate agents, to consultants, to tech entrepreneurs, to sorta-preneurs working on side projects.
Project management applications help teams work together to meet their goals while managing tasks, time, and costs. A typical project management suite might include:
- Task management
- Resource allocation
- Time tracking
Depending on the size of your business and your needs, you might need one feature more than another. So it’s important to do a little diligence.
The Top 10 Project Management Software Tools
Generally speaking, project management can be organized into a few key areas. I’ve assessed all the tools on this list based on these.
Planning is the process of selecting appropriate team members, determining what resources you’ll need for the project, and assigning tasks. Proper planning will also help you understand and forecast the time it takes to complete tasks and a project as well as assign resources as needed.
Project managers schedule completion dates for all the tasks needed in a large and complex project. This allows them to put together a timeline for the project and more accurately assess the allocation of resources.
Resource allocation features found in project management applications help managers determine where time and resources are invested. A company needs the ability to look at and fluidly manage a project’s resources.
You can’t predict everything. At times, even the most perfect plan doesn’t play out as predicted. Good project management software allows fine-tuning control and monitoring so that projects can be managed efficiently.
Time tracking software found in project management applications will typically track the amount of time a team member spends on each of their assigned tasks. This measures their productivity in a tangible and relevant way, but it also provides meaningful data for future projects.
Being able to look at tasks, how they’re assigned, and when they’re completed is often the primary use of project management software. Having this ability allows project managers to understand the flow of the project and how it’s completed. This is invaluable if there’s a large project that requires resources from multiple departments, oftentimes, the tasks involved will be connected to other tasks and dependent on still others.
Just about every project management application will have settings for permissions so that a project manager can determine whether a team member can view or change certain tasks.
Expense Tracking and Budgeting
More than likely, your company already uses a separate, stand-alone application for budgeting. But it’s worth mentioning that some project management applications also come with the ability to do so along with the ability to track expenses.
Reporting and Analysis
Reporting and analysis allow managers to look at data in different ways. This can be assessed in terms of different metrics and different ways to organize the information presented so that the project manager and stakeholders can more easily digest the information.
Aside from task functionality, collaboration may be among the most important features of project management software. These features can help team members stay connected to each other as well as other departments.
Project management software almost always features a way for documents to be assigned to tasks and shared. This makes it easy to see what documents are relevant to the tasks at hand and makes it much more efficient in finding necessary resources. More robust applications can also feature an audit trail that keeps a history of each file or document added.
Many organizations have their own form of messaging, but messaging built into a project management application can be beneficial in the sense that all conversations relevant to the project can be traced and referenced.
Now that we have a thorough understanding of what a task management solution can do for your business, we’ll take a look at some of the best project management software on the market today.
Monday.com is an immensely popular project management application that will help your team work well together and collaborate so that your projects get completed on time and on budget.
It’s extremely easy to use with a great interface, so team members will pick it up quickly. Automatic notifications, time tracking, custom workflows, timeline views, dependencies, and integrations round out the features in this comprehensive task management solution. It’s among the best project management software out there.
- Monday.com is extremely easy to use and has a slick interface.
- You have API access for custom development.
- The application is highly customizable.
- You can’t track the number of people on boards or time spent on tasks without upgrading.
- It can be on the expensive side when compared to other solutions.
Monday.com starts at $5 per month, per user and goes up from there, depending on the tier you need for your business.
Read Growth Marketing Pro Monday.com user reviews here.
Smartsheet takes the concept of spreadsheets and makes a task management app out of it. It’s a hybrid app that’s capable of task tracking and resource management as well as budgeting and reporting.
With Smartsheet, team members can collaborate on plans, track tasks, and manage projects seamlessly. There’s a full range of management tools for resource and document management, reporting for projects, and a robust timeline tracking feature.
Depending on your industry, this novel approach may work better for your business over more traditional task management software.
- Smartsheet is a powerful application that has countless customization options.
- If you’re accustomed to spreadsheets, the learning curve will be minimal.
- Smartsheet is cloud-based, so it’s great for distributed teams.
- It’s not the greatest application for pure task management.
- There’s no free tier.
- Some users have reported that it can be a bit slow when there’s a lot of data.
There is no free service with Smartsheet. There’s a standard version that runs you $19 per month, per user and a business version that costs $32 per month, per user.
Read Growth Marketing Pro Smartsheet user reviews here.
Workfront offers a unified task management application that can integrate your business from end to end, giving project managers a holistic view of business operations. It’s a fully-featured task management app that can incorporate methodologies such as Agile and Waterfall, in whole or in part. It’s designed with marketing and information technology processes in mind, and it excels at managing these processes.
Workfront is fantastic for teams that need strong collaboration features. There are excellent communication features and there are even built-in recognition systems for giving kudos to team members.
- Workfront is highly adaptable and customization to your unique business processes is easy.
- Good features for collaboration.
- Strong digital asset management.
- If you haven’t adopted specific methodologies for your business, setup can take some time and effort.
- If you’re looking for a task management solution, Workfront may be too complex.
Workfront comes in four tiers: Enterprise, Business, Pro, and Team. The company doesn’t publish its costs, so you’ll need to get in contact with them directly for pricing.
Read Growth Marketing Pro Workfront user reviews here.
If you’re part of a small team that needs a simple, affordable solution for task management, Trello is a good option. Its focus is around using Kanban boards to view and manage tasks, and there are plenty of features for this methodology. However, on the whole, Trello is rather limited, so larger organizations may want to look at other solutions.
- The Kanban boards are easy to use and great for simple project management.
- There’s a robust free tier.
- Collaboration in this app is fun, featuring stickers and emojis.
- Trello doesn’t come with any reporting features, so analysis can be difficult.
- There isn’t a lot of wiggle room when it comes to structuring and organizing the boards.
- There aren’t any hierarchies or dependencies between tasks.
Trello’s free tier is fully featured, however, they also offer a Gold tier at $5 per month, Business tier at $12.50 per month, and Enterprise starting at $20.83 per month.
Read Growth Marketing Pro Trello user reviews here.
5. Evernote Business
The classic note-taking app has grown substantially over the years. It now offers full-fledged project management features if you upgrade to the enterprise plan, complete with time-tracking and collaborative document features. If your business processes are heavy on document management, Evernote Business could be a good option.
- It has nice time-tracking features.
- Web clipping is a great feature for capturing and sharing information.
- Evernote has excellent document collaboration features that work seamlessly.
- For what it offers, Evernote can be a bit pricey.
- The app itself can feel a bit sluggish at times.
Evernote does have a free tier, but for task and time management, you’ll have to upgrade to the Business plan, which is $14.99 per user, per month.
Basecamp is a very organized and easy-to-use collaboration tool. The organization of multiple projects is where Basecamp shines, with features like separate teams and needs for each project. But it’s important to keep in mind that, while Basecamp is great for collaboration, it’s not necessarily designed to be a project management tool.
Where Basecamp is limited, however, is in the way you manage each particular project. It doesn’t have features like task reporting and management or Gantt charts. But for a simple collaboration tool, it’s very handy.
- Basecamp focuses on the organization of multiple projects and teams, which can be great for businesses that have a lot of smaller, concurrent projects.
- It’s an excellent tool for team collaboration.
- As a task or project management tool, it falls short.
- The email notifications are a bit excessive.
- It could use more seamless integration with other productivity applications.
Basecamp has a free tier that’s a bit limited. Basecamp Business will cost you a flat rate of $99 per month with no per-user charge.
Read Growth Marketing Pro Basecamp user reviews here.
Jira was originally used to track issues and bugs, however, it’s expanded since then and now features good project management features.
The tasks are referred to as “issues,” owing to this history, but it’s simple to organize projects, assign team members, set priorities, and so on. It’s organized to work well with Agile and Kanban methodologies, so if this is part of your business processes, it will work very well. It’s a solid task management app for small to medium-sized teams.
- Jira has multiple reporting interfaces for seeing the progress of projects.
- Excellent collaboration features.
- The application improves continuously with frequent updates.
- It can be a little overwhelming for smaller teams.
- When projects are more dynamic, the application can be cumbersome to use.
Jira costs $10 per month for up to 10 users and then $3.50 per month for 11 to 100 users.
Airtable is another solution that opts to take the spreadsheet approach to task management but with a nod towards databases. If your projects are data-heavy, this could be an excellent task management solution for your organization. With its predefined layouts, displaying just about any kind of data is easy and accessible.
- Airtable has an excellent interface, and it’s easy to switch between layouts when viewing your data.
- It has fantastic support for collaboration.
- It integrates well with several services.
- If you have no experience working with databases, the learning curve can be a bit steep.
- You can’t link the databases.
- It’s a bit on the expensive side.
Airtable Pro costs $24 per user, per month. If you opt for annual billing, you can lower that to $20.
Wrike is a fully-featured project management application. It’s infinitely scalable, so whether you’re a small business or in an enterprise environment, it works great. The mobile application is comprehensive and allows you to manage your projects or even track time from your smartphone.
Collaboration in Wrike is comprehensive and fully-featured, offering users an easy-to-use platform for organizing and sharing their work.
- Quick and easy setup.
- Very nice interface with intuitive user experience.
- Wrike has built-in time tracking.
- The mobile app is excellent.
- It can be a little more expensive than similar applications.
- The best features are limited to the higher-tier plans.
Wrike’s Professional Package will run you $9.80 per user, per month. However, to gain access to all of the reporting and permissions features, you’ll need to upgrade to the Business Package, which comes in at $24.80 per user, per month.
Asana is a complete task and project management app that many teams swear by. Asana’s interface is easy and accessible with minimal learning, yet it still has powerful features for managing projects. It offers integration with apps like Slack and Outlook, so productivity is easy.
- It’s extremely easy to use and has a simple setup.
- The free tier is very capable.
- There’s a handy timeline view for managing task dependencies.
- Asana has excellent third-party integrations.
- Notes and discussions can be easy to miss at times unless you drill down into tasks.
- Not the best solution for work that’s graphically intense.
Teams of up to 15 people can use Asana for free. Asana Premium will cost you $13.49 per user, per month, or $10.99 if billed annually.
Proofhub is a popular project management solution that is known for effortless communication and collaboration features. Tasks can be allocated on Kanban boards and the drag and drop facility across various stages keeps everyone updated on task progress. Collaboration on files and feedback process becomes effortless as teammates can attach files at a central location.
The exhaustive list of project management features like Gantt charts, timesheets, kanban boards, reporting, announcements. Discussions, chat etc. makes ProofHub versatile solution that can cater to the needs of all kinds of teams.
- No need to spend on various different tools as ProofHub is a complete package with an exhaustive feature list.
- Simple interface with no learning curve.
- It is not heavy on the pocket because there are no per user charges.
- Limited Integrations ( coming up with more integrations shortly )
It comes with a free trial. The ultimate control plan begins at $89/month for unlimited users when charged annually.