“”
Best ToolsPM Tools

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 06/08/2021 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. monday.com - Best free plan with work templates
  2. ClickUp - Best for unlimited users/seats
  3. Smartsheet - Best for flexibility & customizability
  4. Hive - Best for collaboration & messaging
  5. Kintone - Best for custom project workflows
  6. Wrike - Best for scaling organizations
  7. Forecast.app - Best AI-native project planning tool
  8. FunctionFox - Best for creative teams and agencies
  9. GanttPro - Best Gantt chart creation tool
  10. Celoxis - Best for customer-facing teams
  11. awork - Best UI for usability & intuitiveness
  12. MeisterTask - Best for WIP limits
  13. Zoho Projects - Best for integrations & add-ons
  14. Nutcache - Best for advanced time tracking
  15. Xebrio - Best for Project Requirements to Release Management

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 project carnage.

So you know the benefits of the software, and you know you need something to help you organize and collaborate on your project. 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.

I’ve also included a list of project management software for various use cases—the best options for construction, agile teams, free and open-source, and so on. This can be a great way to quickly narrow down your options when you have specific needs. Check out the additional tool list in the below section if you think that will help.

project manager on a blue background with text "your personalized recommendation for project management software from the digital project manager"

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.  Project Management software is 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 the organization, communication and management of the project.

Project management software covers a huge range of functionality – some project management 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 project 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 project management 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 . Regardless whether you prefer web-based or on-premise,

Project Management Software DPM Logo Soup Template

The Digital Project Manager is reader-supported. We may earn a commission when you click through links on our site — learn more about how we aim to stay transparent.

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.

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $11/user/month

monday.com - Best free plan with work templates

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

monday.com is a great project management software because of the way the tool has done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical management tools and focused on simple, visually intuitive layouts that help clarify the sequence of work.

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
  • No option to create recurring tasks
  • 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
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $7/user/month

Smartsheet - Best for flexibility & customizability

Smartsheet Dashboard.

Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-like project management tool. It has won a few awards for quickly becoming a favorite business app. It’s a nice project management software if you’re comfortable working in Excel but wants a break from complicated formulas—Smartsheet performs all the calculations for you across multiple sheets. You can also add customized brand logos and set color themes for individual projects.

Smartsheet has useful project management features such as workflow automation and visualization of tasks in Gantt, calendar and card views. Team members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminders, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed. The Critical Path feature highlights all the tasks which directly impact your project completion date to keep an eye on important milestones. Reporting is a strong feature of this tool, with editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel.

Check out our in-depth Smartsheet review if you want a deep-dive into the tool or to watch our short tutorial video of some basic features.

Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.

Smartsheet costs from $7/user/month, with a minimum of 3 users and a maximum of 25 users. They also offer a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • Sheet-to-sheet linking
  • Many project templates & resources
  • Ease of sharing
  • Easily customizable dashboards

Cons

  • Jira, Salesforce, Dynamics connector limited to Premier plan
  • Changes don’t update in real-time
  • Can’t customize chart colors
  • 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. With AI-based analytics, thousands of integrations, flexible project views, and more, 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 one of the first full email integrations in any 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 costs $12/user/month when billed annually.

Pros

  • Flexible project layouts
  • Native email & messaging
  • Has infinite subtasks
  • Add external users without paying for a seat
  • Have desktop app or an add-on
  • Can view notes on the mobile app

Cons

  • Calendar tools are pretty basic
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $24/user/month

Kintone - Best for custom project workflows

Filter projects and tasks by name, start and end dates, status, manager, team members, and more.

Kintone is a project management platform that allows project managers to track, prioritize, and review their team’s tasks for any given project workflow—no matter how complex.

This highly-customizable platform gives users the power to create a tailored project management solution using its drag-and-drop interface built for non-coders. Users can design the necessary workflows and easily review all related tasks.

Kintone’s customization features include the ability to create automated reminders, filter tasks or project phases by data field or team member to generate custom reports or dashboard views, and automate handoffs between team members for multi-step workflows. You can also view, edit, and update workflows from the platform’s mobile or desktop applications, so oversight doesn’t stop when you leave your desk.

One of the Kintone’s most valuable features is its built-in communication channels. These chat tools allow you to discuss projects with your team directly in the database, meaning your conversations and data stay connected. You can also create “spaces” for conversation organized by topic, team, project, or department. The best part is these spaces stay visible to everyone, so teammates who miss a discussion can come back later and catch up.

Kintone’s project management tool also features integrations with Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Tableau, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, and many more through Zapier.

Kintone starts at $24/user/month.

Pros

  • Flexible pricing that includes special deals for schools and NPOs
  • Admin accounts have access to tons of customization tools
  • Data is easy to pull and manipulate into good looking reports

Cons

  • No single-user plan available (minimum 5 users)
  • Limited to 5GB/user storage on every pricing tier
  • No native templates for common project types or documents
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 $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
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $22.50/user/month

Celoxis - Best for customer-facing teams

Portfolio Dashboard

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
  • freemium version
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $8.25/month

MeisterTask - Best for WIP limits

MeisterTask enables users to manage tasks on Kanban-style boards, create checklists, attach files to tasks, and more.

MeisterTask is a web-based task and project management tool that is perfect for managing agile projects on simple, Kanban-style boards. The tool offers user-friendly interfaces, intuitive functionality, and seamless integrations with other software in the project ecosystem.

The tool includes colorful, customizable project boards, as well as other features designed to make projects more streamlined, productive, and effective. Workload management is enabled through the timeline feature: a Gantt-style overview of tasks that allows users to pinpoint bottlenecks and keep work flowing smoothly. Automations can also be established to speed up manual work and to complete recurring tasks automatically.

Other task management features include due dates, time tracking, assignees, watchers, checklists, tags, and more. MeisterTask also enables communication with comments, @mentions, notifications, and inline file attachments (including integrations with external cloud storages). MeisterTask is simple to use and doesn’t require any formal onboarding or training.

MeisterTask’s integrations include Slack, Microsoft Teams, G Suite, Zapier, IFTTT, MindMeister, and more.

MeisterTask costs from $8.25/month and offers a freemium plan for up to 3 projects. Their paid plans come with a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface with intuitive functionality
  • Includes the ability to automate recurring steps
  • Gantt-style Timeline feature for scheduling tasks on a calendar

Cons

  • Recurring tasks limited to paid users
  • There is no Linux desktop application
  • No subtasks possible, only checklist items
  • 10 days free trial
  • From $4/user/month billed annually. They have a freemium version for up to 3 users and 2 projects.

Zoho Projects - Best for integrations & add-ons

Get an in-depth view of status for tasks, projects, milestones, bugs, and more.

Zoho Projects is an award-winning collaboration and project management software from Zoho. It offers flexibility and customizations to suit the needs of traditional project managers as well as agile teams.

With an easy Gantt chart generator, Kanban style task management, coupled with high-level features such as resource utilization charts, critical path, baseline and automation features, Zoho Projects offers a complete and unique experience for teams of all sizes.

All aspects of the UI from theme colors to arrangement and visibility of the various modules can be changed to suit a user’s preferences. By converting projects into templates, users can reuse previously created timelines and assignees for future projects. Zoho projects also offer free onboarding for its customers, free support and a comprehensive online help guide for all users.

Zoho Projects stands out in cases where there are multiple hand-offs involved. It is especially popular among IT companies, consultants and education organizations. With Blueprints, users can create and automate workflows, notifications, and escalations. The tool is used by over three million users and hundreds of big brands across the globe.

Being part of the Zoho’s ecosystem allows Projects to connect to several of Zoho’s own services such as Zoho Books, Zoho CRM, and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well.

Zoho Projects costs from $4/user/month (billed annually) and comes with a 10-day free trial. They have a freemium version for up to 3 users and 2 projects.

Pros

  • Unlimited number of projects
  • Easy workflow automations
  • Robust communication features
  • Time-track multiple tasks at once

Cons

  • Does not integrate with Quickbooks
  • Lacks some reporting features
  • Lack of file type export options
  • 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 to Release 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

Best Project Management Software Comparison Chart

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

Software Overview Free Option Price Site
monday.com monday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $11/user/month Check out monday.com
ClickUp ClickUp logo Read ClickUp features & functionality Freemium version Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/user/month Check out ClickUp
Smartsheet Smartsheet logo Read Smartsheet features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $7/user/month Check out Smartsheet
Hive Hive logo Read Hive features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $12/user/month Check out Hive
Kintone Kintone logo Read Kintone features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $24/user/month Check out Kintone
Wrike Wrike logo Read Wrike features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From $9.80/user/month Check out Wrike
Forecast.app Forecast.app logo Read Forecast.app features & functionality

14 days free trial

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

14 days free trial

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

30 days free trial

From $8.25/month Check out MeisterTask
Zoho Projects Zoho Projects logo Read Zoho Projects features & functionality

10 days free trial

From $4/user/month billed annually. They have a freemium version for up to 3 users and 2 projects. Check out Zoho Projects
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

Other Project Management Software To Consider

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

Best-In-Breed Project Software: What Is It? Is it useful?

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 project status, perform resource allocation, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam.

Another kind of project management 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 project requirements. Tools like Slack (comms), Dropbox (storage), and Todoist (lists) are examples of these uber-specialized project 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 online project management 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, contextual communication and more straightforward management of project teams and clients.

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 of a project. That means getting people together to create something, and get a project 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, spreadsheets, and emails, and to run your project more efficiently.

  1. Project task lists – Projects are made up of sub-tasks, and 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 to deliver a project efficiently.
  4. Communication – Contextual project-specific communication with a good collaboration tool to hash things out quickly and chat with your team and client is vital to track progress and keep everything in line.
  5. Reporting – As project managers, it’s our job to know whether or not our 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 project management software, you have to draw a line between what’s essential and what’s not. In my criteria for project management programs, 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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Brian says:

    Great list and wonderful reviews!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.