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16 Project Management Software Tools

By 03/01/2017 27 Comments

The hunt for the best project management software

PM’s love project management software – with good reason – without good project management software, whether we’re in agencies, marketing communications or consulting, we can find ourselves drowning in an endless sea of spreadsheets, post-its and paperwork. Our project management software and toolkit can be the only thing that separates us from throwing our toys out of the pram and having a total meltdown.  To get stuff done and projects out the door, we need a process to get projects done, a workflow for driving projects through the agency and the right project management software to make it happen.

A selection of the best project management software tools

In our review of the best project management software and project management tool solutions we’ve sought to find solutions that are not just IT PSA project management solutions but which have at least some consideration for agency challenges – the creative process and integration into development. So here is a review of some of the best project management software worth considering if you’re looking for project management software for your agency or studio:

Clarizen project management software review
  • 30 days free trial.
  • From $60/user/month.

Clarizen – http://www.clarizen.com/

Clarizen is an enterprise grade professional services automation software solution, designed to speed up the way you do business – integrating work, content and process tightly together to enable more efficient working. Clarizen’s real focus is making projects happen faster with timesaving workflows. Clarizen is a great project management software tool if you have lots of repeatable projects that require repeatable processes as the workflow automation is pretty flexible and powerful.

It covers off the PPM basics of task lists, schedules, docs and files, communications and reporting without breaking a sweat. Clarizen’s project planning tools   are a powerful mix of functionality across the planning, executing and controlling of a project. Within planning are project workflows, a full featured resource, schedule and task planning tools, with project and portfolio optimization so that you can easily and quickly align projects to business objectives.

For project execution, Clarizen enables everyone on the team to be aligned with a dashboard that enables teams to work better together and see how their contribution fits into the bigger picture – from the project timeline and milestones, to budget, project discussions, and sharing documents.

Instead of being obligated to make educated guesses, project managers can make accurate data-based decisions that align project selection and investment with big picture priorities. Changing tasks and schedules takes a few clicks, and project managers can run hypothetical scenarios to proactively see the impact of resource changes before they go live, and alert end users via their personal dashboard of any changes to their workload. Because resource scheduling is built-in, Clarizen delivers real-time insights into all available resources, schedules and tasks.

Clarizen has some really powerful integration options out the box that are worth considering if you’re have other business-critical systems already in place. You can combine the power of Clarizen with other enterprise tools including Jira, SharePoint, Tableau, Salesforce and Intaact, among others with subscription to an App integration so you don’t have to play around with the API’s yourself. As well as the enterprise tool integrations possible, Clarizen has an App marketplace to add additional functionality into the system including helpful add-ons like active directory sync, Excel reporting integration and priority automation – many of which are free.

Clarizen offer a free trial and costs from $60/user/month.

Paymo project management software review
  • 15 days free trial.
  • From $9.56/user/month.

Paymo – https://www.paymoapp.com

Paymo is a full featured project management software tool targeting small to medium businesses, with tools to manage a project from brief through to invoicing with a set of tools that cover project management, collaboration, time tracking, team management, timesheets, and accounting. Paymo is a cost-effective solution if you’re looking for an end-to-end agency powering platform.

Project execution is covered robustly with solid task management functionality which gives the ability to brief resources easily through tasks which can be templated and defined with task durations allocated, and hours budgeted to complete the task. You can add files to tasks, comment on tasks and create dependencies between tasks. Helpfully, they also support multi-user task assignment so more than one person can be held responsible!

The project schedule is an integral part of Paymo. You can create project milestones and they have an inbuilt critical path generator so you can see the tasks that are holding up a project, and the latest that each activity can start and finish to keep the project on track. Paymo generates Gantt charts to illustrate start and finish dates as well as the summary elements of projects.

Paymo supports file sharing and the ability to attach files to tasks, and organize files within a central file storage location for each project.

Project communication is well supported. Email notifications are provided for important updates which are automatically sent to resources, like being assigned a new task or being removed from a task. There is also a dashboard where you can see the recent activities, collaborate with other team members using a designated discussion area, and create shareable notes.

With built-in timesheets (and ability for automated time tracking), financial management and project reporting are very rich. You can set a project budget and measure an outcome against that budget and include tracking of expenses for a project or work item enabling you to view the financial health of a project in terms of estimate vs actual budget. Reports can be exported and downloaded with the ability to create reports to show the time allocated and/or spent on certain tasks or projects or users within projects.

Paymo has some useful add-ons and integrations. Paymo for mobile and desktop allow you to track time with a dedicated app that can analyse your desktop activity to auto-assign it to a project. With their Zapier integration you’ll be able to connect Paymo with more than 500 apps including Google Apps, QuickBooks Online, Slack or Xero. They also have their own API  so you can do your own integrating if you’re feeling nerdy.

Paymo offers a free version ideal for freelancers. Paymo regular plans costs from $9.56/user/month.

Celoxis project management software review
  • 30 days free trial.
  • From $25/user/month.

Celoxis – https://www.celoxis.com/

Celoxis is a comprehensive and web-based all-in-one platform for project portfolio management and work collaboration. One of the world’s most adopted project management software, Celoxis is the software of choice for brands like HBO, Rolex, Virgin Care, KPMG, Singapore Post, Del Monte, LG and Deloitte for streamlining their projects, processes and people.

Celoxis’ real world project schedules and powerful interactive Gantt Charts packs all of the team and work dynamicities including  geographically distributed project teams working in different timezones,  part-time resources, unavoidable absences, interim resource swaps, and even inter-project dependencies.

Task management within Celoxis is strong and unique. Teams get an edge over other tools by eliminating multiple software they’d use otherwise. Celoxis lets them see their tasks and to dos, report bugs, manage tickets, or fill time all from a single tool. They also get relevant notifications to their inbox and can send updates directly even without logging in. Collaboration is powerful with project discussions, @mention comments, file sharing, document version control, and activity stream. 80% of their typical actions such as starting a timer, attaching a file or updating status can be done straight from their dashboards.

Celoxis provides a single source of truth for executives with real-time project status, resource availabilities and utilization, timesheets, project finances, risks, issues and to-dos.

Celoxis comes with powerful analytical capabilities and their rich and interactive charts breathe new life into your project data. Organizations can leverage their built-in best practice reports and dashboards to gather 360-degree real-time insights around project health, tracking actuals vs estimates, team utilization and profit margins. With their exhaustive custom field library including formula fields, you can easily track all of your financial KPIs such as NPV.

Celoxis is extremely customizable and flexible when it comes to different organizations and industries. With their unique custom apps, you have the power to create and configure intuitive project and business processes within the project management system.

Celoxis is one of the few project management software to be available both in SaaS and On-Premise flavors. SaaS costs $25/user/month and On-Premise costs $450/user one-time. Both require a minimum 5-user sign-up and come with 30-day free trial.

Ravetree agile project management tool - logo
  • Free demo and trial.
  • From $29/user/month.

Ravetree – https://www.ravetree.com/

Ravetree is a work management software platform that empowers teams to deliver work faster, be more informed, and spend less time searching for information. Project-driven organizations around the world use Ravetree to manage their projects, resources, and client information—all in one place.

Ravetree project management software tool - dashboard screenshotCompanies love Ravetree’s elegant and clean user interface, which makes it easy to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and clients. Ravetree eliminates the pain of moving between different applications, relying on cumbersome spreadsheets, and entering the same data in multiple places. Other tools are geared towards either project managers or team members, but not both. Ravetree has solved this problem by providing the powerful features needed by project managers, while offering the usability and intuitiveness needed by team members who just want to get work done.

Ultimately, companies benefit from having a single source of truth from which they can optimize their operations and easily see the big picture. Ravetree has a 5-star customer support rating, and takes pride in being a customer focused company. Training, setup, and customer support are 100% free. Schedule a demo today to find out why companies are moving from the other platforms to Ravetree.

twproject project management software
  • 15 days free trial.
  • From $28.50/5 users/month.

Twproject – https://twproject.com/

Twproject is a proven, reliable and project management software solution that’s, full-featured and easy-to-use. Twproject is a flexible solution making it a great choice both for small companies and enterprise ones. Twproject is a web-based project management solution that minimizes the effort of administrative tasks and lets you focus on what’s really important for your company to grow, what requires to your projects to complete. With Twproject collaboration is easy, with its integrated chat and discussions, data is easier to collect and tracking task progress will become easier too.

twproject project management software tool - dashboard screenshotTwproject includes an interactive Gantt chart that visualizes your plans and allows you to easily update them in real time, adding assignments and dependencies. With the Gantt editor you can create tasks and sub-tasks, also attaching complete to-do list, that can be prioritized and ordered by the team also with the help of a Kanban tool.

Twproject Gantt chart let you also schedule your sub-tasks in time, with milestones and dependencies. Once your Project is planned and assigned to the right resources with estimation and delivery dates you can start working on them and Twproject will help you do it the right way.

With Twproject you can organize your projects documents easily with folders or linking them directly to your file system. Your team will be able to reach all the information in one place only.

Twproject integrates a project forum and a chat where the team can communicate and share ideas and comments. All data is stored in the project and saved for reporting.

The built-in reporting is also powerful. Twproject can be integrated with Jasper report to create amazing reports, all lists are exportable and customizable to your specific needs.

With Twproject you can even plan your resources, it is a business management software that combines the functionality of project planning, time tracking, bug tracking, task management and document management, everything in one software only.

Twproject starts from $28.5 for 5 users per month

wrike project management software
  • 14 days free trial.
  • From $49/5 users/month.

Wrike – http://www.wrike.com

Wrike is an enterprise grade all-in-one project management software and real-time collaboration tool. Wrike’s toolkit functions across project planning, collaborating, reporting, workflow automation and 3rd party integrations. Wrike is a good project management software tool if you’re looking to create efficiency with workflow management.

Wrike connects tasks, discussions, and emails to your project plan to provide a big picture of project progress with real-time updates and cross-project reports and newsfeed. Wrike helps accelerate project delivery by helping your resources to prioritize their tasks and connects the tasks with discussions, files, and emails to your project plan.

Task management within Wrike is strong, as tasks are handed off, new contributors get the complete context, access to previous decision-making discussions (including proofing), and relevant files are already attached, so they have all the info they need.

Project schedules are pretty powerful within Wrike – they’re live and dynamic so that the whole team can see make changes and update their part of the workload at any time and see any changes in real-time. Helpfully, their Dynamic timelines can show cross-project charts, so you can see the whole picture and avoid any clashes between projects. Best of all, people are automatically notified whenever changes to the schedule are made.

Project communication with Wrike is powerful with real-time team collaboration with discussions, files attached to tasks, and a built-in live document editor which enables real-time collaborative text editing right in your workspace.

Wrike helps you see the tasks, projects and project portfolio – with multiple teams and multiple projects running concurrently, Wrike’s real-time dashboard keeps you on top of your team’s work without extra email and status meetings. There’s a handy resourcing overview to show you at a glance, who’s working on what, the dependencies and duration for the task, and when it should be completed. It helps you build repeatable processes, streamline operations, and get real-time visibility into the status of specific clients, projects, and key milestones.

Wrike has some pretty powerful project and business reporting built in to give insights with some pretty, and interactive infographics. The reports and helpfully automatically updated with the most recent data every 15 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about recreating reports or pulling new information. There are endless options – you can use their reporting tool to get valuable business insights and project snapshots to create highly customizable, detailed, real-time reports very easily.

Wrike costs from $49/5 x users/month.

teamwork projects logo - project management software tool
  • 30 days free trial.
  • From $9/user/month.

Teamwork – https://www.teamwork.com

Teamwork is a powerful and full-featured project management software tool that competes with Basecamp, Asana, Mavenlink and Liquid Planner with a suite of tools to manage a project from brief through to invoicing. The project management software tools cover project management, collaboration, time tracking, team management, timesheets, and accounting. With a pricing model that’s based on projects, not users, it can be a very cost-effective solution if you’re looking for an end-to-end agency powering platform.

With built-in time tracking apps for mobile and desktop, timesheets are a breeze (and they stacks of integrations for third-party time tracking apps including Harvest, Toggl, and Time Doctor too). Financial management and project reporting are very rich and the integration with invoicing is very simple. You can set a project budget and measure an outcome against that budget and include tracking of expenses for a project or work item enabling you to view the financial health of a project in terms of estimate vs actual budget. Reports can be exported and downloaded with the ability to create reports to show the time allocated and/or spent on certain tasks or projects or users within projects.

Teamwork has gone to town with their available integrations – if you’re already using lots of other tools, it’s likely that Teamwork integrates with them well. They’ve got integrations that cover everything from file storage, accounting, help desk, CRM, time tracking, communications, productivity, forms, project management, dev tools, charts, marketing, social and collaboration.

Teamwork offers a free project management software solution for a couple of projects but paid plans cost from $9/user/month.

Monday project management software review formally dapulse
  • 14 days free trial.
  • From $29/5 users/month.

Monday – https://monday.com/

Currently using spreadsheets to manage projects and looking for something better? If you’re looking for a simple project management tool to help you keep track of getting stuff done check out Monday.

Formerly known as Dapulse, it’s probably the only project management tool that positions themselves as ‘not a project management tool’! The reason for this is because they’ve done away with a lot of the trimmings of the other project management tools and focused instead on helping bring clarity to the project overview and the sequence of work that needs to be done, to get projects out the door. It includes a great project dashboard tool with a Gantt chart style overview giving a bird’s eye view of all the tasks and projects on the go. Check out the full list of features here.

monday (formerly dapulse) project management software tool dashboard screenshot

Monday takes a slightly different approach to task lists – it’s a kanban style project management tool that uses boards, with rows and columns that you can use to organise the process of just about anything. You have to put tasks on a board, and then you add in the steps to get that task done. If you’re currently using spreadsheets to manage your projects, you’ll be able to transfer your projects over incredibly simply; and you’ll have a set of tools that’ll send alerts and notifications, and automate the manual processes you’ve created. Each row on the board is a task, and each column is a configurable step in the process for getting tasks done such as task status, assignee, due date, or hours spent.

So task lists and project schedules are covered well in the core product offering, Monday includes basic file sharing, and project communication can be done within the tool. What it’s lacking is built-in timesheets, so while project tracking is good, project reporting with budgets and hours is limited – you’ll need to rely on 3rd party integrations. You’ll need to set up Zaps, but you’ll be able to use their Zapier integration, to integrate Monday with lots of other tools including – Slack, Toggl, Harvest, Jira, Github, Smartsheet, Quickbooks and many more.

Monday costs from $29/5 users/month but use the code MondayDigitalPartner to get 15% off.

Nut Cache project management software review
  • 14 days free trial.
  • From $5/user/month.

Nutcache – http://www.nutcache.com/

Nutcache is a very affordable project management software tool with some great functionality across project management, project dashboards, collaboration, expense management, time tracking, and billing and invoicing. If you’re looking for a complete agency project management solution, that’s cheap (or free if your team is less than 20 people), it’s a good place to start.

Nutcache enables you to flexibly manage projects with boards, lists or cards to reflect your preferred project workflow – it’s here that you can add tasks, subtasks, checklists, set deadlines and upload relevant files as well as invite team members and clients to collaborate and comment on different tasks. You can get notified each time a card or list is modified or browse through a card’s activity, using notes and comments for updates. The project dashboard overview provides low-level reporting by providing a summary of project information – with task tracking and budget and deadline information you can easily review a project’s status.

Timesheet reporting and expense tracking is built in, with the ability to run multiple timers on projects as you work so your time logging can be done for you. Online invoicing, and payment is possible through online payments through Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.net or 2Checkout so you can invoice and track payment easily.

Nutcache has a free version of their project management software tool for up to 20 users; thereafter it costs from $5/user/month.

Citrix Podio project management software review
  • 30 days free trial.
  • From $9/user/month.

Citrix Podio – https://podio.com

Podio covers task lists, project schedules, file sharing, communicating and reporting reasonably robustly. The emphasis of Podio is really around tasks, workflow automation and project communication – it’s a great project management software tool to use if you’re often working on the same sort of projects that have a defined process.

The workflow automation that’s possible is very powerful; it can ensure no one takes sneaky shortcuts and with the ‘when x, then x’ IFTTT type automation, you can let Podio do lots of the heavy lifting of task assignment for you. The weaker aspects of the tool are in scheduling and reporting. For scheduling, although you can put in milestones and deadlines, and see dates on a calendar view, there’s no ability to make a Gantt chart or real project schedule without an extension like SmartGantt.

Rather than being constrained to a particular workflow or process, with Podio you can very easily create customized ‘apps’. Apps are workflows for your projects that you can build with a drag and drop tool within Podio to ensure your projects follow the correct process.

Out the box, Podio has some nice integrations with other services including Dropbox, Evernote, Zapier, GoToMeeting and Freshbooks to name just a few. An interesting feature of Podio is that their built-in feature set is extensible with extensions – built by third-party developers. These can add additional functionality for things like time tracking, performance dashboards, Gantt charts, resource scheduling, and CRM. And if you need a completely bespoke integration, you can use Podio’s open API (which they use themselves for the front end of Podio) in various language flavours, to connect Podio to other services.

Podio costs from $9/user/month.

Zoho Projects project management software review
  • 10 days free trial.
  • From $25/20 users/month.

Zoho Projects – https://www.zoho.com/projects/

Zoho Projects might not be the sexiest project management software tool on the market but it’s powerful and competitively priced for the feature set, easily covering task lists, project schedules, file sharing, communication and reporting and more. It’s a good choice if you’re already using Google Apps and need timesheets and bug tracking built-in too.

zoho project management software tool - dashboard screenshotFunctionality includes: robust task lists with the ability to add milestones, task lists and tasks, subtasks, recurring tasks and dependencies. Project schedules can be managed easily within the calendar or reports and Gantt charts – which link to your tasks in real time to provide a detailed visual on the progress of your tasks vs the baseline. Docs and file collaboration is strong with the ability to share files and work on them together while a version control system makes sure that everyone has access to the latest copy.

There are options to integration directly with Google Apps which then provides a very rich, integrated experience for including single sign-on, integration with Google Drive, Google Calendar and Gmail. There are also options for integration with Dropbox.

Communication within Zoho Projects is very strong with the ability to chat with all in a project or create subgroups or chat individually. These conversations can be made public with clients or kept private within your project team. Additionally, anything about a project where you need opinions from others can be discussed in the built-in forums where notifications about these posts can be sent to specific team members.

Zoho Projects has some pretty advanced analytics and business intelligence built-in, to provide in-depth insights into your team’s progress. You can easily create a slew of reports like project status, burn down charts, hours utilized, planned vs actual reports that helps your entire team connect the dots and put those project insights into action. Helpfully, you can also embed reports and dashboards across websites, blogs and applications for wider consumption.

Finally, there are a few extra nuggets worth mentioning – project gamification (yes, really, it’s a thing! Check out Gamescope, iOS/Android mobile apps, timesheets, bug tracking, and a Zoho Projects API  to push or pull data into or from Zoho Projects for application mashups.

Zoho Projects costs from $25/20 projects/month. And yes, there’s a free version, but the free project management software version is so basic it’s barely worth mentioning!

workfront logo - project management software tool
  • Free demo.
  • From $100/user/month.

Workfront – https://www.workfront.com/

Workfront, formally known as AtTask, is a full-featured, enterprise grade project management tool which covers almost anything you could possibly want or need from project & portfolio management tool including time & resource management, capacity planning, workflow automation, collaboration tools, file sharing, customizable reports & dashboards, as well as a help desk & issue tracking among others. If Workfront doesn’t have it, it’s probably not worth having so Workfront is a great tool if you’ve got a large team working on complex, inter-connected projects.

workfront project management software tool - screenshotWorkfront’s project schedule and timeline tool is robust with the ability to create project tasks, subtasks, and predecessors, allocate resources based on availability, assign necessary time frames, and monitor progress and milestones in interactive, real-time Gantt where you can even drill right down into a task’s business value and resource requirements.

Workfront supports great project collaboration with a single view of all tasks, milestones, conversations, commitments, and supporting materials that drive projects and productivity. Members of a project team can work independently and use their initiative rather than waiting on a project manager – they’re able to give assignments to each other—or even to themselves and get handy updates until the task is completed.

Project reporting is well supported with more than 50 reports out-of-the-box, giving you simple ways to analyze the health or status of your projects and the ability to combine multiple reports and create a dashboard that you can set as your home page.

Workfront has surprisingly good agile support with a fully formed iteration planning process and familiar storyboard that helps prioritize your work. You can create stories, tasks, and view your team’s entire backlog, then assign and easily prioritize the backlog by dragging items. Helpfully, Workfront allows you to toggle between a traditional view of projects and tasks and the agile view status columns and a real-time burndown chart.

Workfront has some interesting enterprise features including a digital asset management (DAM) solution that makes it simple to manage and connect your brand, files, and teams from one central location which enable you to connect work-in-progress files with completed assets, so your entire workflow is connected from beginning to end so you can easily curate, store, and distribute final assets in Workfront DAM – a complete solution for all of your marketing work.

Workfront has strong integration support with connectors for leading cloud solutions like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Docs, and SharePoint as well as applications like ExactTarget, Salesforce.com and Jira, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), Jive and ProofHQ among others.

Workfront offers a free trial and costs from (approx) $100/user/month.

Liquid Planner project management software review
  • 2 weeks free trial.
  • From $9.99/user/month.

Liquid Planner – http://www.liquidplanner.com/

Liquid Planner is a project management tool that eschews guesstimates and best case scenarios with fixed estimates and timelines without incorporating mechanisms for adjusting these estimates based on reality. It’s a system that requires diligent prioritization but allowances for the complexity and vagaries of project management.

Liquid planner call it Dynamic Project Management – a system that accounts for uncertainty and instead creates schedules are reliable, realistic and sustainable with priorities driving the schedule. Liquid Planner’s schedules are intelligent and captures the inherent uncertainty of projects. Rather than providing simple estimates, Liquid Planner allows you to provide ranges of time to complete tasks, and then calculates when you’re most likely to get done. It takes everyone’s availability and priorities into account, then creates a robust schedule that takes uncertainty into account.

Liquid Planner supports an agile approach and you can plan out sprints by building task, dependencies, estimating efforts and assigning your team members.  Project communication and collaboration is built into Liquid Planner with tools to provide visibility into what the team is working on, and collaborate at the task level. You can follow the tasks that you care about most or drill down to the comments on your biggest project and see the history of all your task activities. As work takes place and priorities change, you can easily move items around and instantly see the impact these changes make on the schedule.

With built in time tracking, project reporting is powerful within Liquid Planner- you can use it to create dynamic reports and shareable dashboards to gain insights into project performance and resource optimization. As you build and manage a pipeline of pending, approved and active projects, you can analyze your portfolio to gain deep insight into resource requirements, costs and profits. LiquidPlanner provides your team with rich insights across many dimensions such as labor costs across product launches, identification of your most profitable client portfolios, and what exactly is delaying your biggest projects.

Liquid Planner has some good integrations so you can integrate with the tools you already use including Salesforce, Dropbox and Zapier. They also provide their own RESTful API allows you to connect other additional services to their application.

Liquid Planner offer a free trial and costs from $9.99/user/month.

ClickUp - Project Management Software
  • 2 weeks free trial.
  • From $5/user/month.

ClickUp – https://clickup.com/

ClickUp is a beautifully intuitive project management platform that eliminates the frustration of needing several different tools. Built for teams of all sizes and industries, ClickUp’s fully customizable and proprietary features make it a must-have for agile teams that want to keep everything from design to development in one intuitive place.

ClickUp is perfect for those who find other project management platforms either too simple, or too complex for their needs.

With 3 different views (Board, List, and Box), and a total of 52 fully customizable features for each project, ClickUp is truly in a class of it’s own in terms of raw flexibility and functionality.

Little things matter and ClickUp’s elegant hierarchy keeps even large projects simple and easy to handle. Other project management methods for grouping tasks frankly are not manageable in comparison with Click Up.

ClickUp increases efficiency by facilitating contextual team collaboration, enabling team members to always be clear on what they need to do next. With linking tasks and assigning comments, design and development disconnects are a thing of the past. Click Up is the only project management platform to have an all encompassing rich text editor – no more complicated markup.

Keep design and development in one place by commenting and creating tasks directly on images. With ClickUp you’ll never have to use multiple apps for design again.

ClickUp supports an agile approach with features that provide visibility into what every member of your team is working on, allowing them to to collaborate in every area of a project at the task level.

Being relatively young compared to its competitors, ClickUp takes advantage of the latest technology including machine learning. Features such as “Smart Search” and “Smart Estimates” make your team more productive over time.

Out of the box, Click Up has nice integrations with other services, most notably Slack and Github. In fact, Github commits can be automatically associated with tasks in ClickUp – you can finally track and manage Git activity with project management. Add the Slack integration to automatically unfurl ClickUp links posted in Slack and then perform actions like changing assignee or status directly from Slack.

All-in-all ClickUp is a project management tool your team will actually love using. It makes it simple and enjoyable for every member of your team to collaborate, focus on what’s important, and get more done at work. With ClickUp’s uniquely beautiful design and user experience, they echo for project management tools, what Slack did for communication.

ClickUp is free for up to 100mb storage and paid plans start at $5/user/month.

workbook agency project management tool
  • 30 days free trial.
  • From $19/user/month.

Workbook – http://workbook.net/

Workbook is an agency-powering project management software tool used by some of the world’s biggest digital agencies  – it’s a project management software suite packed full of features for project and resource, CRM, collaboration and file sharing, forecasting & accounting.  It’s a great tool if you’re looking beyond just project execution, to tightly monitor agency and employee profitability and tie financials closely with the details of projects.

workbook project management software tool - dashboard screenshotOut of the box, the task management aspect of Workbook is very strong, and tightly linked with financials so you can make decisions not only on priority, but also knowing the financial impact of decisions. Workbook allows you to add tasks to your team, upload a briefing, add files, communicate details and give information on how many hours are budgeted and watch how each task progress. WorkBook automatically send notifications when a task is done, a new comment has been added or if a team member request additional time to complete a task.

Project schedules are a key part of the Workbook offering with the ability to create Gantt charts, link tasks and create dependencies as well as share the Gantt chart with clients through the Client portal. There are tools too for team resourcing give you the right tools to quickly view available capacity, who’s doing what and when. WorkBook synchronizes with user’s calendars so you are aware of everything that’s going on without logging into Workbook.

Project communication tools are robust, with workflows built in with the ability to ensure the right people are notified at the right time – for example, if a project is likely to over-run. Each employee has their own inbox in which the company feed of information and notifications about approvals, overdue tasks, incomplete time sheets, budget overruns among others.

Combined with built-in timesheet and expenses, it’s the optional integrated finance and accounting module is really what sets WorkBook apart from many other PPM tools. By integrating the finance system directly into projects, there is much better visibility on financial health of projects and clients and a great emphasis on project profitability. Arguably, being profitable is probably the single most important thing in any business and in WorkBook you can measure your project profitability analysis against clients, projects & jobs, job types across numerous KPI‘s.

Workbook costs from $19 / user / per month.

Summary Of The Best Project Management Software Tools

Find below a summary of the best project management software tools available in the market.

SoftwareOverviewTrial/DemoPriceSite
Clarizen project management software reviewClarizenRead overview30 days free trial.from $60/user/month.visit website
Paymo project management software reviewPaymoRead overview15 days free trial.from $9.56/user/month.visit website
Celoxis project management software reviewCeloxisRead overview30 days free trial.$25/user/month.visit website
ravetree project management software tool - logoRavetreeRead overviewFree demo and trial.from $29/user/month.visit website
twproject project management softwareTwprojectRead overview15 days free trial.from $28.50/5 users/month.visit website
wrike project management softwareWrikeRead overview14 days trial.from $49/5 users/month.visit website
teamwork project management softwareTeamworkRead overview30 days free trial.from $9/ user/month.visit website
tool review monday project management software tool dapulseMondayRead overview14 days free trial.from $29/5 users/month.visit website
Nut Cache project management software reviewNutcacheRead overview14 days free trial.from $5/ user/month.visit website
Mavenlink project management software reviewMavenlinkRead overview10 days free trial.from $19/ user/month.visit website
Citrix Podio project management software reviewCitrix PodioRead overview30 days free trial.from $9/ user/month.visit website
Zoho Projects project management software reviewZoho ProjectsRead overview10 days free trial.from $25/20 projects/monthvisit website
Workfront project management software reviewWorkfrontRead overviewFree demo.from $100/ user/monthvisit website
Liquid Planner project management software reviewLiquid PlannerRead overview2 weeks free trial.from $9.99/ user/monthvisit website
ClickUp - Project Management SoftwareClickUpRead overview2 weeks free trial.from $5/user/monthvisit website
workbook agency project management toolWorkbookRead overview30 days free trial.from $19/user/monthvisit website

Other Project Management Software Tools To Consider

Although not included in this review of project management software, below is a list of additional PM tool options if you’re looking for the best project management software for your agency or studio:

Please note, this post contains promoted links.

Best in breed – the one trick (project software) ponies

But what is the ‘right project management software?’ There are lots of tools out there that do a single project related job, really well. These are the specialist one-trick-pony tools for project management planning, scheduling, milestone tracking, communication, collaboration, task management, file sharing or project reporting; Tools like Slack, Microsoft Project, Harvest and Dropbox are examples of these specialist project tools. Specialist, dedicated, best in breed, project management software and tools can be great, especially when you’re working in a small team, when you’ve got niche requirements for your tools, or when you’re working with just a few clients or projects.

Project Management Software Enables You To Work Smarter

However, if you’re not careful, you can end up with a collection of unrelated, independent, SaaS online project software, each with their own subscription, that don’t talk to each other properly. You can find yourself using one tool for communication, another for file sharing and yet another for task management, and you end up entering the same data into each project management software application .

Maybe there’s a better way? Instead of using dedicated tools and manually tying them together or integrating them with API’s, there is project management software on the market with powerful shared-data functionality built-in. This project management software facilitates project management tasks within a project to enable better briefing, management of tasks and deadlines, contextual communication and easier sharing to enable a more efficient and straightforward management of a project, project team, and client.

What Makes A Good Project Management Software Tool?

In defining what makes a good digital project management software we’ve mainly focussed on tools that enable and facilitate the ‘doing’ aspect of a project – getting people together to create something amazing for a digital world.

So what does it take to deliver a digital project? We’ve identified five key aspects of project management software functionality that we think makes delivering digital projects easier. These is the kind of project management software that you could use and get rid of your post-its, spreadsheets, documents and emails, to run your project more smartly and efficiently.

  1. Project task lists – projects are made up of sub-tasks, and sub-sub-tasks, checklists and to-do’s, so being able to brief your team and outline what needs to be done, by when, by who, is critical to delivering a project to meet requirements.
  2. Project schedules – whether it’s a timeline, calendar or Gantt chart, knowing where tasks and sub-tasks fit within the broader scheme of a project, as well as the important milestones is key to being able to deliver a project on time.
  3. Project file sharing – No one likes having to waste timing trying to dig around for random files, so the ability to organize and share key project documents, files, and assets among the team and with the client, is important to deliver a project efficiently.
  4. Project communication – Contextual project specific communication to hash things out quickly and the ability to be able to chat with your project team as well as your client is vital to keep tasks on track and on brief.
  5. Project reporting – As project managers, it’s our job to know whether or not our project is on track, so it’s essential to know how a project’s tasks are progressing to know whether or not the project is going to be delivered in full, and on time – or not.

But You’re Missing Stuff…

Yes, lots. With any project management software, you have to draw a line between what’s essential, and what’s not. In our criteria for project management software we’ve focussed on the ‘doing’, execution aspect of a project, and not so much on the planning or billing aspect – or apps, integrations or other functionality. For that reason, we’ve not focussed on the pre-project estimating or resourcing, or the post-project timesheets, expenses or billing aspects of some project management software.  Check out our article on the best resource scheduling tools, if you’re looking for that. That said, there are many similarities between these project management software tools so we’ve tried to highlight functionality or features that we think make them unique.

What Do You Think?

What do you think we’re missing from this project management software and tools review? What else is there to project management tools that we haven’t considered? What do you think of our criteria for selecting a PM tool for your agency or studio? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any suggestions, tips or thoughts on using this kind of PM software – why not share them using the comments below?

Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager. I've been in the industry for more than 10 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from video virals to CMS’, flash games to banner ads 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.

27 Comments

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Ben – Thank you for the awesome article! Great tips and resources 🙂 I think it is really helpful bringing up the aspect of a “one-trick pony” as many businesses and teams do not realize the fantastic all-in-one platforms that are out there and end up with load of halfhearted integrations and paying for multiple subscriptions. If I may suggest – have you heard of taskworld dot com ? It was rated as one of the best platforms on the market by the software review experts at Capterra, recommended by Tech Crunch, Huffington Post and Forbes. We’ve got the most user-friendly platforms plus built-in chat and an analytics stack that’s unmatched on the market. Feel free to email me at jessica dot z at taskworld dot com for more info if you’re doing another feature like this – I’d appreciate it! Thank you and have an awesome day!

  • […] with a handful of resources and so there’s no urgent need for resource management or specialist project management software. Usually, everyone simply gets together for a quick huddle, agrees on the resource management […]

  • Rob Donaldson says:

    Hey Ben. Where is your comparison with or comment on Microsoft Project? NOTE I am not a user of MP BUT as a Project manager in the building industry for many years I found MP was the most frequently used software in this industry?

    • Ben Aston says:

      Hi Rob, thanks for your comment and it’s a great question. In this list of tools I’ve tried to focus on tools which have broader functionality for project management as a discipline, supporting the delivery of a project, not just managing a timeline, budget and resources in the way that Microsoft Project does.

      It’s a great tool though!

  • John Paul Saming says:

    Hi Ben, Thank you for the list, finally a blog post including some new tools. I’ve tested a lot of them in the past months because my company was searching for a tool to stop wasting time and resources. Our main problem was about managing resource time, most of my colleagues were not completely aware about priorities and always over scheduled. In the end we decide to buy Twproject that is a very useful tool. I suggest you to take a look at it. It is a software that is quite easy to use and offers an interesting set of functionality, including the import from MP (we used it before Twproject for our gantts)

    here is the link in case you are interested https://twproject.com

  • Brian says:

    Hi Ben, thank you for nice roundup. I tried some tools for managing my projects, but that tool doesn’t fulfil my necessity. So I talk with my business adviser and got useful advice. Then make my decision, recently signed up with the Apptivo. It helps to manage my team and pretty good to use.

  • Yara says:

    Hi Ben! Thanks for the article. I know it’s impossible to review everything at once, but you might want to add Deskun to the list, it’s a project management system inside Gmail. I just though I’d mention this one, we started using it recently and it’s not bad.

  • Nice list! If you have time then look for Task Ray and Leankor, they are also good tools. You can see here

  • […] about Waterfall | Waterfall Project Management Tools | The IT Project Manager: How to Manage Waterfall […]

  • ShaneIII says:

    So you list best free full featured project management (Bitrix24) among ‘others’. Even though nobody else gives you free Gantt, client management, quotes and invoices. Sure you’d expect most popular free project management platforms (Asana and Trello) listed on top. Nope, not there. Hmm…

    • Ben Aston says:

      Thanks Shane,

      In the article, I didn’t list try to make a list of free project management software at all! We were trying to find the best project management software tools based on functionality.

      And, let’s be real, Bitrix isn’t really free if you really want to start using it properly; it’s like most of the others; yes there’s a free option but to start leveraging it’s real power, you have to pay.

  • […] about Waterfall | Waterfall Project Management Tools | The IT Project Manager: How to Manage Waterfall […]

  • Sanket says:

    Hi Ben, Thank you for this wonderful post. We are creators of Sagilo (https://sagilo.com), a new project management tool. During our research we happen to come across your post. We would really appreciate if you could have a look at our app. It has support for agile development along with a wiki section. Also it does has a free account with no restriction on features except for number of users and projects.

  • Hey Ben, Excellent post man! I am a newly promoted project manager in my organization and was surfing internet for some tools efficient enough to minimize my manual task and can manage all my task related to the project. so in my search I found your article that solved my most of the problems. So thanks for sharing!

  • […] about Waterfall | Waterfall Project Management Tools | The IT Project Manager: How to Manage Waterfall […]

  • […] to add to this list, but you will also begin to cross things off as you gain new skills and tools for the […]

  • […] often see teams jump into creating process, tools and templates. I get it — these are tangible deliverables. Creating them can make you feel […]

  • […] aren’t necessarily digital forward, a lot of our tools are. So we use a lot of the same tools for project management and process as digital agencies obviously email and Slack and Trello and Flow and Harvest and all […]

  • Eddie Pate says:

    How come you don’t have Hitask in this list? I’ve been following this blog for a year now and haven’t seen it on any list.
    Just give it a glance. You won’t regret it.

  • Hey Ben,

    Great work on putting together such a comprehensive list of task management tools and apps.

    Full disclosure, but I am a Founder of a task management software company myself called Task Pigeon (https://www.taskpigeon.co). If you get a chance I would love for you to take a look and share your feedback?

    I know its a competitive space, but I didn’t find anything that worked 100% how I wanted to and that’s why I decided to launch Task Pigeon. We have managed to grow quite well over the last 6 months and really focus on providing an easy to user interface that enable staff to get on with getting things done.

    Talk soon

    Paul

  • […] paying out each month. I bet you’re using time tracking tools like Toggl or Timedoctor, project management tools like Basecamp or Asana, project communication tools like Slack or Hipchat, reporting tools like […]

  • […] probably don’t need it – you could get away with not having it. But yes, if you had the best project management tools, you could probably run your PM team and deploy your resources more effectively and efficiently. […]

  • Vishal says:

    Awesome Tools !! I came across your blog, and here I found most valuable information about project management software tools. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • […] the timezone differences, it’s hard to get people on the phone some times. I use mainly two tools, I think, with the teams. One is Slack, which I think is phenomenal. It’s a lot of fun to […]

  • ros42 says:

    Well that’s one great list you made there, thanks for sharing it !
    May I add a free online tool our team developed, it’s called Zenkit. You can know more about on https://zenkit.com , we’d love your feedbacks.

  • Jennifer says:

    Hey,
    Great list of tools but you have missed few like vidupm.

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