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10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]

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Quickly compare the best project management software for startups with pricing, main use case, and evaluation criteria to consider.

In this post, I’ll speak to the specific tools useful for any startup project manager. Startup project management requires that you keep your finger on the pulse of an organization that’s not really established yet—roles shift, products change often from MVP to final version as you work to more agile/scrum methodologies, and your org has to be ready to scale at any moment.

Startups are different from small businesses, as team members are often working across many areas of the business and rely on transparency and quick access to updates happening anywhere in the organization in real-time.

Project management for startup companies tends to need speed, reliability, flexibility, and interconnectivity with other useful apps. Startup projects don’t have time to waste and tend to need software that can keep up with them. Here’s our pick of the best project management software for startups in 2020.

10 Best Project Management Software For Startups

Here’s our pick of the best project management software for startups in 2020.

Looking for more? Check out our main article on best project management software.

MS Project Common Questions

What is Microsoft Project?

What is Microsoft Project?

Microsoft Project is a project management tool used by different types of users, with varying levels of access. The software provides tables, views, filters, fields, calendars, and a database for doing things like:

  • Developing project plans
  • Assigning resources
  • Tracking time & progress
  • Creating Gantt charts
  • Creating & managing budgets
  • Balancing workloads
  • Scheduling tasks & resources
  • Creating graphical reports
  • Storing project data in a shared database

Is Microsoft Project useful?

Is Microsoft Project useful?

For a lot of agencies, yes. In many cases, the default project management tool for creating project plans is still Microsoft Project, and it provides a lot of useful tools. For starters, Microsoft Project is not just a fuzzy old tool that Microsoft doesn’t really care about—they’re introducing some really smart integrations with Power BI, Internet of Things, bots and machine learning that are awesome. In fact, your best choice might be to buy MS Project.

What are the benefits of Microsoft Project?

What are the benefits of Microsoft Project?

Here are some of the main benefits that MS Project can provide:

  • Deploy resources as efficiently and effectively as possible, reducing downtime and increasing utilization.
  • Provide a big picture view of organizational capacity to prevent overbooking and support hiring decisions.
  • Forecast revenue by providing reports on upcoming projects and planned resource deployment.

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How much does Microsoft Project cost?

How much does Microsoft Project cost?

It’s simple and affordable to subscribe to an Office 365 version of Microsoft Project for just $30/month.

In fact, now you can pick up a copy of Microsoft Project on Amazon for less than $600.

There’s also been an interesting shift in the Microsoft Project alternative world with pricing that it’s worth being aware of. The cloud-based, online Microsoft Project alternatives are now almost all charging by the user— rather than by the number of projects—which is making common Projects alternatives on average cost about $180/user/year; much more expensive than they used to be. They’re also nearly all transitioning from being simple Gantt chart tools to trying to include project, task and resource management tools. In short, making your choice of an MS Project alternative is becoming more complex. Microsoft project costs $9 per user per month for the cloud-based, pay-as-you-go version.

Is Microsoft Project easy to use?

Is Microsoft Project easy to use?

Yes and no. Microsoft Project is used by many large organizations, and MPP files are still an industry standard. However, for many of the digital projects that we manage, Microsoft Project management does far more than we ever need it for. It’s got stacks of features that most people never use, hasn’t really changed that much in 30 years, and doesn’t necessarily do much to streamline processes. MS Project is still useful, but there are reasons why some agencies are looking for more lean and collaborative Microsoft Project alternatives.

Is Microsoft Project free?

Is Microsoft Project free?

No, Microsoft Project is not free as a stand-alone solution. It is included in the Office for Windows Suite, so users who already pay for Office for Windows can use Projects for free.

Is Microsoft Project the best project management software?

Is Microsoft Project the best project management software?

It depends on what you need to use it for. MPP files are the still the industry standard, and Microsoft Project is a secure, trusted legacy system. For complex, enterprise level project planning, Microsoft Project should be at the top of your list. However, there are alternatives to MS Project that have better support for collaboration and are rated as being much easier to learn and use—many of which are in the list below.

Just realized that you need a different type of tool? Check out these other reviews:

Startup Project Management Software Comparison Criteria

What are we looking for when we select project management software for startups for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:

  1. User Interface (UI): Is the interface modern, simple, and easy to understand and navigate?
  2. Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training to reduce the learning curve?
  3. Features & Functionality:
    1. Scalability – Does the tool offer easy, affordable ways to scale as your portfolio and team grows along your roadmap? Plans that offer unlimited users is great for startups as they can quickly grow along with their use of the tool.
    2. Multi-Device –Can you access the tool across multiple channels, like PC, tablet, and smartphone for on-the-go ease?
    3. To-Do Lists – Does the software offer task management features: lists, sheets, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and/or other ways of creating, assigning, and visualizing different tasks and subtasks? How about automated follow-up reminders to help stay on top of shifting priorities?
    4. Collaboration/communication – Does the tool offer team management software features: easy ways to chat, tag users, store old messages, search a collective knowledge base, and other features that startups need for team collaboration?
  4. Integrations: Does it connect with software you most likely already use, like Slack, Dropbox, Evernote, Excel, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and email integration? If it doesn’t have file sharing built in, you’ll definitely want to make sure it integrates with a file management tool to keep all of your file versions for different projects in a central location. Software development teams will probably want a pre-built integration with Jira.
  5. Value for $: Is the price accessible for small teams and startups? Does it offer a free plan to start, or any free trials or freemium subscriptions?

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Overviews Of The Best Project Management Software For Startups

Here’s a brief description of each of the best project management tools for startup companies.

Freedcamp logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial period
  • From 1.49/month/user

1. Freedcamp – Intelligent project management system used by Airbnb and Google with iOS, Android, and Desktop applications.

Freedcamp screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
Trello logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • freemium version
  • From $9.99/user/month

2. Trello – Agile project management tool with modest plans for startups and integrations with over 100 popular apps.

Trello screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
Wrike logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $9.80/user/month and has a freemium version for up to 5 users

3. Wrike – Powerful tool used by over 20K customers that simplifies planning and turns strategy into an actionable workflow.

Wrike screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
Teamwork logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • freemium version
  • 30 days free trial. No credit card required.
  • From $9/user/month (starting from 5 users)

4. Teamwork – Project management tool that helps in-house and remote teams improve collaboration with chat and basic CRM.

Teamwork screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
TeamGantt logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $24.95/month

5. TeamGantt – Plan and manage your projects with this super-easy-to-use Gantt software that incorporates easy collaboration with your team.

TeamGantt screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
monday.com logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $17/month for 2 users

6. monday.com – Popular work OS with a user-friendly, colorful interface used by over 100,000 organizations to automate routine work.

monday.com screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
Basecamp logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • freemium version
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $99/month unlimited users

7. Basecamp – An all-in-one collaboration software for busy startup teams that need a streamlined workflow experience with minimal fluff.

Basecamp screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
Asana logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • freemium version
  • Free 30 days trial
  • From $10.99/user/month

8. Asana – Project management ideal for startups with their freemium basic plan that proactively addresses risks and reports updates to stakeholders.

Asana screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
Zoho Projects logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • 10 days free trial
  • From $18 for 6 users

9. Zoho Projects – Cloud-based project management software to help startups plan their projects, track work efficiently, and collaborate with a team.

Zoho Projects screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
Notion logo - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]
  • freemium version
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $8/user/month

10. Notion – Project management organization with over 30 types of content to build your best workflow and store critical knowledge in team wikis.

Notion screenshot - 10 Best Project Management Software For Startups [2020]

The Best Project Management Software For Startups Summary Chart

SoftwareOverviewFree OptionPriceSite
FreedcampFreedcamp logo Read Freedcamp features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial period

From 1.49/month/user Check out Freedcamp
TrelloTrello logo Read Trello features & functionality Freemium version From $9.99/user/month Check out Trello
WrikeWrike logo 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
TeamworkTeamwork logo 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
TeamGanttTeamGantt logo Read TeamGantt features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From $24.95/month Check out TeamGantt
monday.commonday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $17/month for 2 users Check out monday.com
BasecampBasecamp logo Read Basecamp features & functionality Freemium version

30 days free trial

From $99/month unlimited users Check out Basecamp
AsanaAsana logo Read Asana features & functionality Freemium version

Free 30 days trial

From $10.99/user/month Check out Asana
Zoho ProjectsZoho Projects logo Read Zoho Projects features & functionality

10 days free trial

From $18 for 6 users Check out Zoho Projects
NotionNotion logo Read Notion features & functionality Freemium version

30 days free trial

From $8/user/month Check out Notion

What Do You Think About This Startup Management Software?

Have you tried out any of the above tools for startup companies? Which did you like best? Is there any project management software for entrepreneurs that you would recommend be added to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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