How can project managers check project status, monitor project progress, conduct project portfolio management actions, and absorb other real-time data? Sure, you can pack all this information into an Excel spreadsheet and hope for the best, but that is a long-outdated method of organizing a project.
Now, there are plenty of PM dashboard software tools that do all the work for you, from time tracking to upcoming due dates to providing solid project status reports as you need them.
Having a bird’s eye view of your project data is vital for project planning, project controls, developing key metrics, and ensuring appropriate resource allocation. However, just “any” dashboard isn’t good enough. You will need something that is customizable, colorful, easy to use, and actionable.
Project management dashboards can take on many different styles, whether they look more like typical Kanban boards or whether you can adapt them to your needs with widgets. Managing a complex project portfolio is much easier if you can see your data neatly organized before you every morning. This helps you build the best roadmap and oversee all elements of work management.
In this article, I will compare and evaluate the best project management dashboard software options on the market in 2021.
What Should a Project Dashboard Contain?
The best project management software dashboard will be customizable enough to feature the information that you find most useful. This might include blocks of visual or text data for project tracking, task status, project timelines, resource management, and tools to track time spent or time needed.
Project Management Dashboard Comparison Criteria
What do I look for when I select the best project management dashboard tools? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is the dashboard clean and attractive? Can different elements of project management be portrayed on the homepage, like sales, social engagement, and task management?
- Usability: Is it easy to customize what the dashboard looks like, build charts and graphs, and brand the dashboard according to company standards? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? Does the company website have webinars, a blog, whitepapers, or other “above and beyond” learning materials?
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations? Does it connect with common tools like BI tools (SAP Business Intelligence, Zoho Analytics), KPI tools (Sisense, Klipfolio), and other commonly used tools like Slack, Salesforce, Google Drive, Jira, and GitHub?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? Project management dashboard software ranges in price from $6 – $30 per month or per user; does the tool fall within that expectation? Does the company offer customizable, enterprise-grade plans?
Project Dashboard Key Features
- Easy Custom Branding – Can you design the dashboard to match your company’s branding strategy with minimal coding knowledge? Is branding available at all paid tiers or limited only to the higher plans?
- Aesthetic Graphs and Charts – Are the generated charts “presentation-ready” without graphic design intervention? Are they something you can feel proud showing off to a C Suite?
- Integration with Niche Data Sources – The dashboard tool should pull-in data from a variety of data sources, from big name software to specialty software.
- Self-Service Analytics – Can different teams and different individuals easily drill down in the dashboard data to glean insights more useful to their specific responsibilities and goals?
- Tactical/Strategic/Operational Dashboards – Can you modify and save dashboard customizations based on tactical needs (understanding the company), strategic needs (chasing a goal), or operational needs (day-to-day operations monitoring)?
Overviews Of The 10 Best Project Management Dashboard Tools
Here’s a brief overview of each of the project management dashboard software on my list showing what it does best, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.
Other Project Management Dashboard Software Options
Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list.
- Trello – Best Kanban-style dashboard
- Smartsheet – Best flexible, no-code project management tool
- Basecamp – Best dashboard for real-time issue tracking
- Scoro – Best dashboard for managing key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Microsoft Project – Best user-friendly option for users already in the MS ecosystem
- Qrvey – Best business intelligence dashboards
- Codaxy – Best drag and drop dashboard interface
- Cyfe – Best open source project dashboard
- ProjectManger.com – Best reporting tools dashboard
- Plecto – Best dashboard software for low-tech team members
- GanttPro – Best dashboard with a focus on Gantt charts
What Do You Think About These Project Management Dashboard Tools?
Whether you need a dashboard to cater specifically to one element of your work, like a timesheets tracker, or an all-in-one management solution, there is a project management dashboard software out there for you.
What project management dashboard tools do you prefer? Would you rather use free project management dashboard software or a more robust, paid plan? Is there any project management software with dashboard support that you would recommend for this list? Let us know in the comments.
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