Quickly compare the best project management software for small teams with overviews, pricing, free trial, and evaluation criteria to consider.
If you are a project manager for a small team, you have probably thought to yourself at least once: “Are these docs and spreadsheets really the best project management software for small creative teams?”
The right software or combination of software can make your workflow more organized, more efficient, and more informed. However, as a small team, you’re probably trying to avoid software that costs a lot, takes a specialization to learn, or weighs your team down with a bunch of complex features you don’t need.
In this post, I’ll talk about how to navigate managing a small team with the right apps and tools as well as outline some of the best, lightweight small business project management software.
Project Management Software for Small Business Comparison Criteria
What are we looking for when we select the best project management software for small teams for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is the user interface easy to navigate, lightweight, and fast to load and update?
- Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? What is the learning curve like?
- Flexible Alerts – Can users customize what alerts they receive, where they receive them (in app, email, SMS, etc.), and when they receive them (activating a night mode, etc.)?
- Asset Storage – Is there room within the software to house logo images, text files like meeting minutes, marketing assets, and so on?
- Team Collaboration/Communication – Are there simple chat, direct messages, mentions, and file sharing features?
- Knowledge Base – Is there space within the app to log and address common issues, FAQs, onboarding and training materials, and wiki entries for the benefit of the whole team?
- Project Types – Is the software able to handle everything from simple to complex projects? Does the project management platform allow for global contributions from teams all over?
- Integrations: Does the software connect with other popular tools that might come in handy for small teams, like Google and Microsoft products?
- Value for $: Is the price affordable for small businesses and small creative teams? Does it offer scalability options in the case of team expansion?
Best Project Management Software Key Features
- Project plan features such as templates, filters, mobile app use, and task lists
- Team collaboration automation, streamline features, subtasks
- Real-time commenting and notifications between team members
- Invoicing, scheduling, and billing features
- Real-time help desks and customer feedback
- Task management features
The Digital Project Manager is reader-supported. We may earn a commission when you click through links on our site — learn more about how we aim to stay transparent.
Overviews Of The Best Project Management Software For Small Business
Here’s a brief description of each of the best small business management software that are featured on this top 10 list.
monday.com is an easy-to-use project management tool that saves small businesses money in two ways: offering free/affordable entry-level plans and being super user-friendly to cut back on money lost on training and onboarding. They are used by teams at Uber, Adobe, Hulu, and Unilever, so your SMB can feel like its playing in the software big leagues.
monday is flexible and scalable with 5 pricing plans available so that it can grow with you. With their freemium plan, you’ll already have access to unlimited project boards, 200+ free project/task templates, 20+ column types, and their iOS and Android apps. Pay particular attention to the free project template library—here, you’ll find pre-made outlines for editorial calendars, marketing campaign planning, CRM charts, event planning, HR forms, and more. The usefulness of this section for small businesses can not be overstated.
monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible through a paid plan with Zapier. They also have an apps marketplace with free and paid add-ons to boost your functionality. Again, I cannot stress the level of flexibility and scalability with this form.
monday.com is free to use for up to 2 users with some feature limitations. They also offer a free 14-day trial of their paid plans.
Hubstaff Tasks is a project management tool with multiple task tracking and collaboration features. Its interface is based on the Kanban methodology; it lets you organize tasks in different project stages, which are represented by columns. Each task can be categorized using color-coded labels. One of its notable features is custom workflows. These let you automate assigning tasks to team members at different project stages and moving them forward with one click.
You can create checklists within each task and track them from the project view using progress bars. Files can also be attached to task cards, but the free plan only allows up to 100 MB of storage per user. Switching to the sprints view displays all your assigned tasks, organized by sprint. You can move tasks to current or future sprints or to the backlog with a drag-and-drop mechanism similar to Kanban.
Hubstaff Tasks integrates with Active Collab, Asana, Breeze, ClickUp, GitHub, GitLab, Insightly, JIRA, LiquidPlanner, Mavenlink, Paymo, PivotalTracker, Podio, Redbooth, Redmine, Teamwork Projects, Trello, Unfuddle, Wrike, Zoho Projects, Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and other apps. You can boost your integration options with a paid plan through Zapier, unlocking hundreds of other possible connections.
Hubstaff Tasks is free for up to 5 users and 10 projects. The premium plan starts at $5 per user per month.
CROOW is a project management platform with a simple and flexible structure for project collaboration. The tool supports waterfall and agile methodologies, offers multiple views such as Gantt and Kanban, and automates workflows through customizable templates.
The tool includes project planning features for managing to-dos, timelines, and deliverables. Users can also create tasks, assign due dates, and communicate with team members through comments and message boards. Another great feature is the option to create custom workflows that correspond with specific project plans.
CROOW offers additional project and business management features such as automated processes and notifications, forecasting and reporting on dashboards, and Kanban and Gantt views. Users can also manage workloads with resource scheduling capabilities, as well as manage digital assets within the platform. CROOW also provides users with the use and integration of their Agile Management System framework.
CROOW offers a freemium plan, as well as paid plans starting at $20 per month.
Forecast is a project management software for small business that unites your projects, resources, and financials in one AI-powered platform. Project managers can leverage Forecast’s workflow automation capabilities to create smart schedules, estimate timeframes and budgets, and populate timesheets instantly. Forecast is currently used in over 40 countries by an assortment of agencies, consulting companies, SMBs, and enterprises.
PMs can control the workflow by building out detailed task lists and flagging clear priorities. Task cards allow every team member to easily comment, share files, and register time spent. Everything related to the specific task appears in one place, including dependencies and subtasks. You can put together projects for any type of work: fixed price, time and material, or retainer.
Forecast’s AI learns from previous work and suggests the number of hours you normally register on similar tasks to help you log time faster. You can monitor time registrations from a team perspective and notify each member if they forget to enter something in. Time tracking utilization on a company-wide level is calculated for you for easy alerts, estimates, and reporting.
Forecast integrates with Slack, Microsoft Teams, iCloud Calendar, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Outlook, Harvest, Trello, Asana, GitLab, Github, and dozens more using a paid plan through Zapier. Higher-tier subscriptions include native integrations with Timelog, Xero, QuickBooks Online, JIRA, Azure DevOps, Salesforce, Okta, OneLogin, and Azure Active Directory.
Forecast cost from $29/user/month with a minimum of 10 users and offers a 14-day free trial.
- freemium version
- 10 days free trial. No credit card required
- From $4/user/month, billed annually
Zoho Projects is an online project management tool that lets teams plan, track, and collaborate on project work. The tool is scalable for small businesses and mid-size businesses.
Zoho Projects allows users to set up project plans, as well as create and assign ad-hoc tasks across the team. The tool also includes features like flexible work hours, baselines, and critical paths in Gantt charts, team based work allocation, and task reminders. Time tracking and resource utilization features help managers ensure that employees are not over or under worked.
Users can automate task transitions and workflows, track activities and progress by using the advanced reports, and manage budgets with expense management features. Collaboration features include team-wide and individual discussion management, a meeting tab to facilitate virtual meetings, a social feed to interact with and keep track of all your project activities, a forum to discuss ideas and solutions, and a central document management module to manage all information. Mobile applications are also available.
Zoho Projects has several integrations with Zoho apps like Zoho CRM, Zoho Cliq, Zoho Meeting, as well as with other third party apps like Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Zapier, Zendesk, and ServiceNow.
Zoho Projects offers a free plan as well as a 10-day free trial for paid editions, which start at $4 per user per month.
With Kissflow’s easy automation, streamline and organize subtasks all while taking advantage of their multiple easy-to-use task lists, kanban, and matrix viewer for simpler insights.
Wrike - Small business project management tool that excels in easy workflow visualization with drag-and-drop dashboards and charts
Their agile development software transforms team collaboration, customization to suit specific cases and organizations, and aims to eliminate needless meetings and endless email threads by incorporating real-time commenting and notifications between team members.
- freemium version
- 30 days free trial. No credit card required.
- From $9/user/month (starting from 5 users)
Teamwork - Easy to use project management software designed to keep multiple projects moving forward from one central workspace
Trusted by over 6,000 businesses and 20,000 agencies, Teamwork provides tons of project management features, as well as offering a free project management system.
TeamGantt - Planning software for small business with easy-to-use Gantt chart tools for advance scheduling and quick wireframing
This project management platform is packed with collaborative tools and useful features such as project plan templates, project planning filters, and is mobile app friendly.
Trello - Web-based Kanban-style list-making application with chat and file storage to bolster collaboration across small remote teams
Helping teams move forward, Trello insists on providing an easy learning curve for their software. Their learning board is just the beginning – offering collaboration tools and software tools to take care of any simple project.
The Best Project Management Software For Small Business Summary Chart
|monday.com||Read monday.com features & functionality|| |
14 days free trial
|From $17/month for 2 users||Check out monday.com|
|Hubstaff Tasks||Read Hubstaff Tasks features & functionality|| Freemium version |
|From $5/user/month||Check out Hubstaff Tasks|
|CROOW||Read CROOW features & functionality||Freemium version||From $20/month, billed annually||Check out CROOW|
|Forecast.app||Read Forecast.app features & functionality|| |
14 days free trial
|From $29/user/month||Check out Forecast.app|
|Zoho Projects||Read Zoho Projects features & functionality|| Freemium version |
10 days free trial. No credit card required
|From $4/user/month, billed annually||Check out Zoho Projects|
|Kissflow Project||Read Kissflow Project features & functionality|| Freemium version |
15 days free trial
|From $35/month (Includes 5 users)||Check out Kissflow Project|
|Wrike||Read Wrike features & functionality|| |
14 days free trial
|From $9.80/user/month and has a freemium version for up to 5 users||Check out Wrike|
|Teamwork||Read Teamwork features & functionality|| Freemium version |
30 days free trial. No credit card required.
|From $9/user/month (starting from 5 users)||Check out Teamwork|
|TeamGantt||Read TeamGantt features & functionality|| Freemium version |
14 day free trial
|From $24.95/month||Check out TeamGantt|
|Trello||Read Trello features & functionality||Freemium version||From $9.99/user/month||Check out Trello|
What Do You Think About This List of Best Software to Run a Small Business?
Have you tried out any of the project management software for small teams listed above? What tools do you rely on for project management for small business? Let us know in the comments below.