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Compare The 15 Best Project Management Software Of 2021

This project management software review covers 15 tools and all the info you need: pros and cons, pricing, features, integrations, and screenshots to help you choose something that fits your needs.

By 01/12/2021 22 Comments

The 15 Best Project Management Software List

This is a snapshot of the project management solutions I selected for this list. Each one is flagged with something they do particularly well to help you quickly narrow down your search.

  1. ClickUp logoClickUp

    Best for unlimited users/seats

  2. monday.com logomonday.com

    Best for building custom workflows across teams

  3. Forecast.app logoForecast.app

    Best AI-native project planning tool

  4. Hive logoHive

    Best for collaboration & messaging

  5. Wrike logoWrike

    Best for scaling organizations

  6. PSOhub logoPSOhub

    Best for integrating project management with CRM

  7. FunctionFox logoFunctionFox

    Best for creative teams and agencies

  8. ProWorkflow logoProWorkflow

    Best for unlimited client/contractor access

  9. Celoxis logoCeloxis

    Best for customer-facing teams

  10. awork logoawork

    Best UI for usability & intuitiveness

  11. GanttPro logoGanttPro

    Best Gantt chart creation tool

  12. Nutcache logoNutcache

    Best for advanced time tracking

  13. Xebrio logoXebrio

    Best for project requirements management

  14. Kissflow Project logoKissflow Project

    Best for workflow automations

  15. TeamGantt logoTeamGantt

    Best for visual planning

Below you’ll find an overview of the top project management software on this list, with screenshots, feature overview, and pricing.

Jump to project management tools reviews

Us project managers love project management software. Without it we can find ourselves drowning in an endless sea of spreadsheets, post-its and paperwork. It can be the only thing that separates us from complete carnage.

So you know the benefits of the software, and you know you need something to help with organization and collaboration. But the commonly asked, ‘What is the ‘best project management software?’, is probably the wrong question to ask. Instead, try asking ‘What’s the right project management app for our project and team?’ It’ll depend on the project, your workflow, your team, its size, your existing PM toolkit and of course your budget.

To make figuring this out easier, I’ve put together this article as a comparison of project management tools that you’ve probably already encountered in your search. I’ve noted what each does best, the advantages of the tools, links to in depth reviews, and screenshots to give you a glimpse of the interface. I’m hoping this takes some of the grunt work off your plate and filters out some of the noise.

Project Management Software DPM Logo Soup Template

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The 15 Best Project Management Tools Reviews

In this post, I’ve tried to cover a broad spectrum of project management solution options. Which one you settle on will come down to your workflow functionality and what feature set you need to make that run smoothly. Sometimes tools are so similar that it comes down to free plans, pricing scalability, or user interface to help choose between them—I’ve added all of these details where relevant.

  • freemium version
  • Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/user/month

ClickUp - Best for unlimited users/seats

Small and large teams can easily plan projects, assign team members, and track progress.

ClickUp is a project management software tool with powerful features for managing and completing all your team’s projects in one platform. Users can plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage resources in a centralized workspace, as well as communicate and collaborate with team members and guests.

Task management features include task checklists, subtasks, and task templates, as well as the ability to filter, sort, search for, easily reorder, and view tasks in the manner most convenient for the team. Users can also create Gantt charts, calendars, and timelines to visualize tasks.

ClickUp also includes features for creating, sharing, and collaborative editing for Wikis and documents. Users can comment on documents and tasks, assign comments, and chat with other team members for increased communication and collaboration. Reporting features include the ability to create custom dashboards, as well as six built-in report types for team reporting.

ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.

ClickUp’s free plan is robust and includes all primary features. The unlimited plan starts at $5/user/month and offers additional functionality.

Pros

  • Free forever plan allows unlimited members
  • Unlimited file storage on all paid account tiers
  • Can email (set-up) a task directly from Outlook

Cons

  • Read-only guest permissions are limited to paid account
  • Reporting suite is limited to paid plans only
  • Granular customization options results in a time consuming set-up
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $11/user/month

monday.com - Best for building custom workflows across teams

monday.com offers a visually clear and intuitive interface to help you see your important project data at a glance.

monday.com is an award-winning project management software used across diverse industries by companies like Hulu, BBC Studios, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal Paris, Adobe, and Deezer.

monday.com features for managing projects include resource and project management, time tracking, collaboration, and reporting features. For example, users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress. And while monday.com doesn’t offer a complete set of tools for project accounting and invoicing solution as other tools, you can use monday.com to track hours, timelines, and invoices.

Overall, it’s a highly customizable tool that lets you work in whatever methodology—Kanban or otherwise—that fits your project and team. You’ll also find some useful workflow tools for automating parts of your process. Read our in-depth monday.com review for a complete overview of the tool, as well as a short video tutorial of basic features.

monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier.

monday.com is free to use for up to 2 users. Paid plans start from $11/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Huge focus on collaboration
  • Long list of supported integrations
  • Easy to customize a workflow or Board
  • Helpful visual/color coding customization

Cons

  • Complex pricing rubric
  • Gantt charts locked to mid-level plan
  • May be too robust for small teams
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $31.76/user/month

Forecast.app - Best AI-native project planning tool

Users can track their actual hours against estimated hours and monitor progress on tasks.

Forecast is an all-in-one platform for resource and project management, used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agency, software, and consulting companies. It’s equipped with tools to manage everything from quote to invoice, plus it offers intelligent automation to predict project delivery dates, forecast capacity needs, and become more efficient. Their AI uses cumulative learnings from hundreds of thousands of projects and creates rules based on that user data.

Let’s talk about features. The Auto-Schedule feature is great for project scheduling, providing estimates, automatically assigning resources to tasks. It’s got a drag-and-drop module that lets you adjust plans and resources in an instant. Another cool feature is that the tool automatically builds a budget for every project with key financial metrics to track planned vs. actuals. It also supports various billing types (fixed price, time & materials) side-by-side and in real-time. It has advanced up-to-the-minute reports you can customize.

Forecast also introduced a one-of-its-kind feature to manage projects in a retainer setup. A dashboard with retainer periods and totals lets you track the financials of ongoing projects without losing sight of staff workloads and time spent on delivery.

Forecast integrations include several turnkey integrations with mainstream project management tools and two-way sync with Jira on the market. It also complements accounting systems like Quickbooks and Xero with PM capabilities.

Forecast costs from $31.76/user/month (€27/user/month) with a 10-seat minimum requirement. They offer a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Predictive tasks for spreadsheets
  • Can manage resources across multiple projects
  • Easy to plan projects and timelines

Cons

  • Milestone data is lumped together rather than separated
  • Additional fee for onboarding/training
  • Higher learning curve.
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $12/user/month

Hive - Best for collaboration & messaging

Plan projects and tasks, on Kanban-style boards, assign team members, and track progress.

Hive is a project management tool and collaboration platform that powers companies like Starbucks, Uber, WeWork, and IBM. As the world’s first community built software, Hive’s product roadmap is built entirely of customer requests.

With flexible project views, dependencies, unlimited projects, and thousands of integrations, Hive streamlines your work in one centralized platform. Used by teams of varying sizes, from 10 people to 1,000, Hive is a great option for a diverse range of companies and work styles.

Hive’s time tracking, analytics, and flexible view capabilities allow for transparent understanding of other team members work and upcoming projects. Hive also has full email integration in their project management tool, which allows you to send and receive Gmail and Outlook messages from the app. Choose Hive if you’re in the market for a well-laid-out, comprehensive project management tool that can be scaled up or down based on team needs.

The tool starts with a free package for 1-2 users, and the Hive Teams package is $12/user/month when billed annually.

  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $9.80/user/month

Wrike - Best for scaling organizations

Create Gantt charts in Wrike, and switch between list, board, and table views for tasks.

Wrike is an award-winning project management software suitable for teams of five or more, as the software allows for an unlimited number of users. The tool is highly configurable and allows users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.

Wrike’s simple interface enables users to switch between Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views, allowing them to choose how to visualize their priorities. Wrike also features task lists, subtasks, schedules, shared workflows, file sharing, and real-time communication and collaboration. Users can get advanced insights on their project with performance reporting tools, resource management and allocation, and more.

Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. You can switch between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and stream (for notifications and messages). Wrike also has a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a ‘Getting Started’ guide, and a thriving community.

Wrike also offers a variety of specific solutions depending on the type of team or organization — including marketing teams and professional service teams. Users can also try a variety of templates for common organizational processes. Feel free to check out our in-depth Wrike review if you want more details or fancy watching our brief features tutorial video.

Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.

Pricing starts at $9.80/user/month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.

Pros

  • Different ways to view the same data
  • Holistic, comprehensive task modeling
  • Many options and opportunities to customize

Cons

  • No subtasks in the freemium plan
  • No offline access
  • Commenting system is pretty basic
  • 30 days free trial, no credit card
  • From $8.50/user/month (annually)

PSOhub - Best for integrating project management with CRM

Plan, track, and optimize projects and workload throughout the project life cycle.

PSOhub is professional services automation (PSA) software that provides all-in-one project management, enabling users to maintain visibility into all facets of the process, from deal won to deliverables and all the moving parts in between. PSOhub was designed with marketing and creative agencies in mind, but it can be used by anyone from accounting firms to architects to managed IT services companies and beyond.

Key features include predictive project management, accessible task management, smart contract management, real-time resource management, time and expense tracking, and invoicing. PSOhub’s best features are its self-driving tools, which automate project setup, milestone alerts, time tracking, and more. While automated and self-driving features handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks, users can focus less on administration and more on serving clients.

Integrations include CRMs like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Dynamics 365 and accounting software like Quickbooks, Xero, and more. Additional integrations are available via Zapier and PSOhub’s API.

PSOhub costs from $8.50/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • Robust time tracking tool built-in
  • Excellent integration opportunities
  • User-friendly, easy to onboard

Cons

  • No freemium plan
  • Resource management module limited to highest plan
  • 14 days free trial
  • Premier plan starts at $50/month for the first user, plus $10 USD/month for each additional user

FunctionFox - Best for creative teams and agencies

Build, view, and adjust project schedules using FunctionFox’s Gantt charts.

Built by creative professionals for the creative industry, FunctionFox features user-friendly tools to help you create detailed project schedules, track your progress through interactive gantt charts and calendars, manage your resources with action assignments and to-do lists, and communicate and collaborate through the project blog. FunctionFox is entirely web-based so it allows both in-office and remote users to work together seamlessly.

FunctionFox’s intuitive project scheduling tool allows you to allocate work to your team through action assignments, mark out important dates within a project using milestones, and schedule project meetings. Keep a close eye on your team’s capacity through to-do lists and the availability tool, and monitor project timelines with interactive gantt charts and project calendars. The project blog feature allows your team to communicate in real time, and the tool also offers flexible, comprehensive reports that can be exported in an Excel format.

FunctionFox is easy to use and made even easier with the tutorials and support provided. All customer support is unlimited, ongoing, and included in the subscription cost. The FunctionFox website also includes a help center, and there are detailed help files included within the software itself.

Project scheduling tools are included in the FunctionFox Premier plan. Compatible with all up to date web browsers, users can also schedule projects and monitor deadlines while on the go using the mobile site, an iPhone/iPad, or Android apps.

Pricing for the Premier plan starts at $50 per month.

Pros

  • User-friendly, modern interface
  • Time tracking is built in
  • Easy to produce reports
  • Ability to archive past projects/clients

Cons

  • More integrations welcomed
  • Limited invoice customizability
  • No free plan available
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $20/user/month

ProWorkflow - Best for unlimited client/contractor access

ProWorkflow’s master project dashboard provides an overview of project details, Kanban boards, timelines, assignees, project tasks, and more.

ProWorkflow is a complete online project management solution. Teams can track projects from conception to completion and report back on all activity that happens in the meantime.

ProWorkflow considers tasks one of its most important assets, allowing you to specify start and finish dates, task assignees, hour allocations, and rates. It can then determine which of your staff might be available, based on how many tasks they’re assigned to, when all of those tasks will be active, and how much time was allocated to these tasks. Tasks allow for both file sharing and messaging, so you’ll always be fully informed and up to date on project progress.

The tool allows users to edit every aspect of the project throughout the whole project lifecycle, including things like dates, assignments, categories, and more. There are many elements that can be manipulated using click and drag functionality, such as the Gantt chart, the Kanban board, or assigning users to tasks.

The tool is also fairly straightforward with its layout — for example, all active projects and associated data can be found on the projects page, all info related to time can be found on the time page, etc.

ProWorkflow integrates directly with all of the most popular accounting platforms, like Xero, MYOB, and Quickbooks, as well as with popular file storage platforms like Google Workspace, Box, and OneDrive. There is also integration with SSO, like Azure. For everything else, the tool also integrates with Zapier.

ProWorkflow costs from $20/user/month and comes with a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Intuitive structure and navigation for organizing project information
  • Custom fields and no user caps make the system highly scalable
  • Powerful reporting tools enable easy insights into past efforts

Cons

  • No asset/inventory management functions
  • Budget/cost tracking largely based around hours spent, making profitability hard to track
  • Workload and availability don’t account for leave/holidays/part-time staff
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $22.50/user/month

Celoxis - Best for customer-facing teams

Celoxis includes a portfolio dashboard where users can view project data across their portfolio.

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 tools in PM, 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 a real-time project tracker, 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 manager software programs to be available both in SaaS and on-premise flavors. SaaS costs $22.50/user/month (annually) and on-premise costs $450/user one-time. Both require a minimum 5-user sign-up and come with 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • In-app timer for task tracking
  • Customizable widgets for groups or individuals
  • Percentage of project tasks-per-user feature
  • Very interactive Gantt chart

Cons

  • Some difficulty with report building
  • Complex menu structure
  • Resource planning is not automated
  • 14 days free trial + 30 day money back guarantee
  • From $11.76/user/month

awork - Best UI for usability & intuitiveness

awork's clean and intuitive interface minimizes distractions and enables a fast learning curve.

awork is a project management software with an intuitive interface that allows creative teams and project teams to quickly adopt it within their day-to-day workflows.

awork includes features for organizing projects and tasks in to-do-lists, creating boards and timelines, managing resources, and collaborating with teammates. For example, teams can plan all their clients’ timelines based on project templates, then assign the team based on their availability and start collaborating on tasks and files immediately.

awork has time tracking options built into the project management workflow, so teams can track their progress against project milestones. Customizable visual reports allow teams to further track metrics and progress.

While it features direct integration with common billing tools, awork does not offer the option to calculate charge rates or monetary budgets.

awork’s interface helps ensure a fast learning curve for all users, including non-specialists, and does not require any in-depth project management knowledge. Personal onboarding support and a wide range of tutorials and best practices are included with an awork subscription.

awork’s integrations include communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Google Assistant, as well as with several billing solutions. More integrations are accessible via Zapier. Unlimited use of awork’s open API is also included.

awork costs from $11.76/user/month (10€/user/month). They also offer a 14-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Focus on intuitive interfaces
  • Unlimited access to personal support
  • Easy to automate recurring workflows
  • Clever time tracking options

Cons

  • No option to customize forms
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $8.90/user/month

GanttPro - Best Gantt chart creation tool

GanttPRO offers an intuitive interface for robust project management and team collaboration.

GanttPRO is a project management software based on Gantt charts and useful for managing all kinds of projects and teams from different spheres. It stands out for its intuitive interface and powerful features.

The software includes features for breaking down projects in an efficient manner into subtasks, sibling tasks, and subprojects, as well as set dependencies and milestones. To get more visibility, users can choose between the Gantt chart, Board views, and task dashboards. GanttPRO also offers handy task management features such as statuses, priorities, duration & estimation, progress, dates and deadlines, assignees, and more.

GanttPRO allows teams to collaborate in real-time using comments, mentions, and attachments. Also included are resource management and workload features for monitoring team member workload and tasks.

GanttPRO offers integrations with Jira, Google Drive, Slack, and other applications.

GanttPRO costs from $8.90/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Intuitive interface with a short learning curve
  • Multiple and flexible project views
  • Professional Gantt chart templates

Cons

  • Light on integrations
  • Lack of options to create recurring tasks
  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $6/user/month

Nutcache - Best for advanced time tracking

Nutcache offers Kanban boards, task prioritization, task status, and more features critical to the project lifecycle.

Nutcache is an all-in-one project management software designed for teams of all sizes. The tool enables users to easily manage every stage of the project lifecycle, from the initial project estimate to final billing through budget, time, task, and expense tracking.

Nutcache offers all the features you need to organize your workload better and see tasks that need to be completed or prioritized. Tasks can be grouped by either due date or project as well. Use the Gantt chart to plan, track, and visually organize tasks with easy drag-drop-and-click editing techniques.

Nutcache lets you use custom workflows, divide work into manageable chunks, assign multiple assignees to a task, define budget alerts, set budget tracking by hour or amount, use KPIs to stay on budget, and has a promising roadmap of features to come (like the introduction of a freelancer version of the app).

Integrations include Dynacom Accounting, PayPal, 2Checkout, Stripe, Authorized.Net, QuickBooks Online, Google Sign In, Google Drive, GitHub, Slack, and hundreds of other apps through Zapier.

Nutcache costs from $6/user/month and offers a freemium plan for up to 20 users with some feature limitations. Paid plans come with a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Free version offers unlimited projects & tasks
  • Good time tracking & approval solution
  • Flexible project workflows

Cons

  • Limited 3rd party integrations
  • Reporting system can be improved
  • Gantt charts need more flexibility
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $7/user/month

Xebrio - Best for project requirements management

Xebrio lets you manage your projects from requirements to releases with end to end traceability.

Xebrio project management software covers every phase of the project development lifecycle from project requirement analysis to deployment. Xebrio helps teams by enabling precise and comprehensive requirement analysis and tracking, milestone tracking, hassle-free collaboration and task assignment, and issue tracking.

Xebrio breaks complex, sizeable projects into smaller, manageable chunks. It is a project management software that allows you to get a clear picture of product requirements and user stories, allows you to include all stakeholders in high-level planning, lets you manage and assign tasks quickly, communicate and collaborate effortlessly, track issues, plan sprints and releases and keep a close eye on time and budget constraints too.

Noteworthy features include approval workflows, requirement traceability, Kanban boards, task lists, file sharing, milestone tracking, and software development project management solutions (integrates QA, interconnected test builds, test cases & test plans, integration & deployment metrics).

Xebrio costs from $7/user/month and comes with a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • In-app discussions, file sharing, & messages
  • Easy to accommodate stakeholder access/views
  • Affordable entry-level plan
  • End to end traceability of Requirements

Cons

  • No free plan available
  • Plans/packages not outlined on website
  • Heavy focus on software dev features
  • freemium version
  • 15 days free trial
  • From $35/month (Includes 5 users)

Kissflow Project - Best for workflow automations

Kissflow Project allows users to plan the team’s work, see who’s working on what, and deliver great results with minimal tracking.

Kissflow Project is a collaborative project management tool designed to focus on collaboration, transparency, coordination, and productivity. Tracking features are streamlined to provide a clearer view of items and tasks that actually matter.

Kissflow Project’s customizable platform gives you total control and adapts to your team’s needs. It offers multiple views for projects, including Kanban boards, list views, and swimlanes. The Project States function helps users reduce the amount of tracking they need to do by allowing team members to mark tasks with one of three statuses — on hold, in progress, and done.

The tool allows users to share project plans, documents, and other files, as well as discuss projects directly within the software. Team members also get reminders when due dates are approaching. Another great feature is the ability to set priorities and assign team members to them.

Kissflow integrations include native Microsoft and G suite integrations, and the platform offers a REST API and webhooks.

Pricing for Kissflow Project starts at $35 per month.

Pros

  • Multiple views like Kanban, lists, and swimlanes
  • On hold, in progress, and done states available for tracking progress
  • Powerful reporting features

Cons

  • No Gantt chart
  • No ability to set up recurring tasks
  • Not intended for complex projects
  • freemium version
  • 14 day free trial
  • From $24.95/month

TeamGantt - Best for visual planning

TeamGantt offers intuitive Gantt chart features for mapping out tasks and projects on timelines.

Used by Amazon and Netflix, TeamGantt is a project management tool with a freemium version for smaller groups and teams who don’t yet need an upgrade to a paid plan. Obviously, TeamGantt specializes in Gantt charts and other task planning but they also track workloads and team availability, collaboration features like chat and tagging, and customizable alerts.

Project managers should be aware that TeamGantt works best for simple projects but the software struggles to handle more complex projects across multiple teams. For example, it is not easy to gauge project status at a quick glance.

TeamGantt scores well in the Usability segment of the evaluation criteria, as it is incredibly flexible to use. The tool is accommodating to however you may want to set up and track your projects, no matter their structure or constraints. Additionally, providing an easy “read-only” URL makes it great for sharing with outside parties for input.

TeamGantt costs from $24.95/month and has a freemium version of the software for up to 3 users.

Pros

  • Flexible setup/tracking for projects
  • Share charts without recipient logging in
  • Easy drag-and-drop task duration
  • Really easy to learn

Cons

  • Dependency functionality can get complicated
  • Doesn’t have in-app notifications
  • Views lag behind changes

Best Project Management Software Comparison Chart

Find below a summary of the best tools available on the market.

Software Overview Free Option Price Site
ClickUp ClickUp logo Read ClickUp features & functionality Freemium version Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/user/month Check out ClickUp
monday.com monday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $11/user/month Check out monday.com
Forecast.app Forecast.app logo Read Forecast.app features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $31.76/user/month Check out Forecast.app
Hive Hive logo Read Hive features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $12/user/month Check out Hive
Wrike Wrike logo Read Wrike features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From $9.80/user/month Check out Wrike
PSOhub PSOhub logo Read PSOhub features & functionality

30 days free trial, no credit card

From $8.50/user/month (annually) Check out PSOhub
FunctionFox FunctionFox logo Read FunctionFox features & functionality

14 days free trial

Premier plan starts at $50/month for the first user, plus $10 USD/month for each additional user Check out FunctionFox
ProWorkflow ProWorkflow logo Read ProWorkflow features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $20/user/month Check out ProWorkflow
Celoxis Celoxis logo Read Celoxis features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $22.50/user/month Check out Celoxis
awork awork logo Read awork features & functionality

14 days free trial + 30 day money back guarantee

From $11.76/user/month Check out awork
GanttPro GanttPro logo Read GanttPro features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $8.90/user/month Check out GanttPro
Nutcache Nutcache logo Read Nutcache features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From $6/user/month Check out Nutcache
Xebrio Xebrio logo Read Xebrio features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $7/user/month Check out Xebrio
Kissflow Project Kissflow Project logo Read Kissflow Project features & functionality Freemium version

15 days free trial

From $35/month (Includes 5 users) Check out Kissflow Project
TeamGantt TeamGantt logo Read TeamGantt features & functionality Freemium version

14 day free trial

From $24.95/month Check out TeamGantt

Other Project Management Software To Consider

Below is a list of additional PM tool options. Check them out if you’re looking for the best software for your agency or studio:

What is project management software?

Project management software is software that helps project managers (PMs) plan, execute and control their projects across the five phases of the project lifecycle. It’s a suite of tools to help project managers, the project team and stakeholders work together more effectively. The ultimate goal of the software is to help deliver value more efficiently by facilitating organization, communication, and management.

This software covers a huge range of functionality – some tools focus on a discrete aspect of project management, like resource management, time tracking, or Gantt charts, while others like do try to do it all.

Different tools offer features to facilitate every phase of your work, from planning the initial outline or proposal before you begin and then reporting on your successes or shortcoming after everything is said and done. Along the way, you’ll probably need access to tools for proposals, note-taking, collaborative document building, internal messaging, stakeholder communications, creating and assigning tasks, plotting milestones, planning sprints, imaging user stories, data and analytics reporting, project portfolio management, and budget tracking, and timeline scheduling. The best software will attend to the majority of these needs so that you don’t have to bounce between tabs or use multiple apps.

Although some PM software can be installed on-premise, most new tools are offered online as a software-as-service or SaaS which means new features and functionality are rolled out.

What Is Best-In-Breed Software?

Many of the PM solutions on this list focus on being jacks-of-all-trades, packing as many features as possible to assign tasks, navigate team collaboration, flag status, perform resource allocation, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam.

Another kind of tool—the “best-in-breed” or “one trick pony”—does the opposite and hyper-focuses on doing one thing really, really well. You can find specialized tools for things like resource scheduling, communication, managing tasks, making Gantt charts, creating reports, managing digital assets, and managing requirements. Tools like Slack (comms), Dropbox (storage), and Todoist (lists) are examples of these uber-specialized tools. Specialized tools can be great—especially for a small team working with niche requirements, fewer clients, or complex projects with unique needs.

Do I need more than one tool?

Sometimes! And that’s okay. However, if you’re not careful, you end up with a collection of unrelated SaaS software that doesn’t sync properly. You use one tool for communication, another for file sharing and yet another for task management and none of them will speak together behind-the-scenes. You run the risk of duplicate work, entering the same data into each application.

There’s a better way. Instead of using dedicated tools and manually tying them together, use a project management tool with shared-data functionality built-in. This facilitates better briefing and contextual communication.

What are the key Features of a Project Management Tool?

In defining a good project management tool I’ve focused on tools that facilitate the “doing” aspect. That means getting people together to create something, and get from A to B.

So what does it take to deliver a project? I’ve identified five key aspects of functionality that makes delivering projects easier. You can use them to get rid of your post-its and spreadsheets, and to run your project more efficiently.

  1. Project task lists: Projects are made up of sub-tasks, sub-sub-tasks, checklists, and to-do’s. Being able to outline what needs to be done, by when & by who, is critical to delivering a project well. Individual task lists as well as those accessible by the entire team are essential. In-house project team and/or remote team members should be able to assess any project or task progress at a glance.
  2. Schedules: Timelines, calendars, and Gantt charts help you track progress and know where tasks fit within the broader scheme of a project. This is key to being able to deliver a project on time. A robust, visual, and editable schedule is key to any good project plan.
  3. File sharing: No one likes having to waste timing trying to dig around for random files. The ability to organize and share key project files and assets is important for delivering projects efficiently.
  4. Communication: A good collaboration tool that allows for contextual project-specific communication enables you and your team to hash things out quickly. Regular communication with your team and client is vital for tracking progress and keeping everything in line.
  5. Reporting: It’s your job to know whether or not a project is on track and to use this information in communication. Therefore, it’s essential to know how a project’s tasks are progressing—will it be delivered on time, or not?

With any software, you have to draw a line between what’s essential and what’s not. In my criteria, I’ve focused on the execution of a project. That means I haven’t focused on mind map planning, billing, post mortem, or other above-and-beyond capabilities. However, if the tools above touch on any advanced functionality (pre-project estimating, post-project aspects, etc.), that’s great! That’s just not my focus here.

What Do You Think?

What do you think I’m missing from this project management system review? Have different criteria for selecting a PM tool? 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 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.

22 Comments

  • image 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!

  • image 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?

    • image 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!

  • image 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

  • image 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.

  • image 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

  • image 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…

    • image 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.

  • image 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.

  • image Juby Johnson says:

    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!

  • image 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.

  • image Paul Towers says:

    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

  • image 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.

  • image 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.

  • image Jennifer says:

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

  • image Ola Rybacka says:

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for collecting and reviewing these tools, it’s helpful for all those who are looking for the perfect project management software for their team!
    In TimeCamp, we tested lots of tools, e.g., Asana, Basecamp, Todoist, JIRA, Hipchat and finally, Trello and Slack together. They all meet our expectations in the beginning, but unfortunately, we noticed some lack of features and the necessity to use two or three apps instead of one. It forced us to create our tool called HeySpace, that combines the functionalities known from Trello and Slack: Kanban boards and chat/private conversations. Now everything is in one place; we finally collaborate efficiently without exchanging the endless chain of emails.

    Here you can find out more about the HeySpace: https://hey.space.

    Warmest regards,
    Ola at TimeCamp

  • image Milena Seba says:

    Thanks for sharing. The tool I use is Fanurio.

    Fanurio (https://www.fanuriotimetracking.com) can do project management, time tracking and invoicing. It can be used on Windows, OS X and Linux. A license costs $59 and you can use it forever.

  • image Malcolm West says:

    Hi Ben,

    I know you have mentioned PROJECT in a box before in other posts about free software but maybe you were not aware that we also provide multi-user platform tools for SMEs and corporates which covers all your functionality areas but also with a strong thread of methodology running through them.

    If you want me to fill in the gaps sometime just drop me a line.

    Others can find out about our Live Edition multi-user profile here: https://www.projectinabox.org.uk/live-edition/

    Malc

  • Great Post! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep up the good work.

  • image Brian says:

    Great list and wonderful reviews!

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