In this post, I’ll speak to the specific tools useful for any startup project manager. Startup project management requires that you keep your finger on the pulse of an organization that’s not really established yet—roles shift, products change often from MVP to final version as you work to more agile/scrum methodologies, and your org has to be ready to scale at any moment.
Startups are different from small businesses, as team members are often working across many areas of the business and rely on transparency and quick access to updates happening anywhere in the organization in real-time.
Project management for startup companies tends to need speed, reliability, flexibility, and interconnectivity with other useful apps. Startup projects don’t have time to waste and tend to need software that can keep up with them. Here’s our pick of the best project management software for startups in 2022.
Startup Project Management Software Comparison Criteria
What are we looking for when we select project management software for startups for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is the interface modern, simple, and easy to understand and navigate?
- Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training to reduce the learning curve?
- Integrations: Does it connect with software you most likely already use, like Slack, G Suite, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Dropbox, JIRA, Evernote, Excel, Salesforce, Proofhub, and so on? If it doesn’t have file sharing built-in, you’ll definitely want to make sure it integrates with a file management tool to keep all of your file versions for different projects in a central location. Software development teams will probably want a pre-built integration with Jira.
- Value for $: Is the price accessible for small teams and startups? Does it offer a free plan to start, or any free trials or freemium subscriptions?
Key Features Small Business Task Management Tools
Here are some of the features I look for when evaluating a project management system for startups and small businesses.
- Streamlined work management features: Most startups don’t have a lot of resources to dedicate to training and onboarding, so the tool must offer simplified “get-up-and-go” project planning with a manageable learning curve.
- Team collaboration software and file-sharing: Communication and distribution of limited (but expanding) assets are critical to getting any startup off its feet.
- Real-time updates between team members: Things are moving fast and changing often so it’s imperative that different team members are getting the most current information as soon as possible.
- Roadmap with automated follow-ups: Not only will your startup squad need a crystal clear roadmap for where they are going but you will want some way to ping team leaders if a project or task requires follow up or course correction.
- Collaboration tool that can span different projects: Startups are juggling many projects at once, from social media upkeep to product development to hiring; you’ll need an app that unifies collaboration for all branches in a central location.
- Scrum boards for backlog visibility: This helps busy teams visualize what needs to be done for each sprint and put a pin in items that are lower priorities. It also helps startup PMs keep track of great ideas for their product roadmap and future vision.
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monday.com may seem like the most popular project management software that players in the big leagues use today. Though that is mostly true, monday.com is also one of the most helpful tools startup teams should consider implementing early on so that they can eventually join the bigger players. As a bonus, monday.com is easy to set up and we know how important it is to stay on track on all of your projects as you grow.
monday.com knows how important collaboration is for creative teams so it lets you connect in a variety of different ways without ever leaving the platform: commenting, file attachment, @-tagging, “liking” posts, and assigning tasks with point-and-click ease. You can also build team-specific dashboards and project boards so that everyone can easily see what is being worked on.
monday.com integrates with the tools you already know and love, making the transition for your startup team hassle free. Integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible through a paid plan with Zapier.
monday.com costs from $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
Miro is a collaborative online whiteboard with over 1,000 templates including mind maps, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, product wireframes, research boards, and flowcharts. It’s trusted by 99% of the Fortune 100, and used by teams at TransUnion, HP, Upwork, Cisco, Qlik, and Atkins. Miro’s visual platform is built for hybrid work, and has robust resources for continuous learning like Miro Academy, online events, and a community forum.
One of Miro’s many functionalities is as a project management tool with a focus on interactive, visual work boards. Project management is seamless with built-in video conferencing, Agile workflows, ideation and brainstorming templates, and wireframing tools. Paid plans allow guest and visitor access so you can collaborate with clients and stakeholders.
At The Digital Project Manager, we use Miro to map out content clusters and to visualize content workflows from start (brainstorming ideas) to finish (publishing the content on our site).
Miro has integrations with a whole suite of tools, including Zoom, Figma, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Jira, Slack, Google Drive, Box, Airtable, Notion, Azure, and Webex. Some integrations are limited to paid plans only.
Miro is free to use for unlimited members with up to 3 editable boards. Paid plans start at $8/user/month (billed annually).
- Free forever plan available
- Intuitive and easy setup
- Built-in communication features for streamlined collaboration
- Visitor/guest accounts locked to paid plans only
- Zooming can be jumpy on larger projects
- Free version does not allow high-quality export to pdf
Kissflow Project is a collaborative project management software that gives users the ability to keep track of progress and see everything at a glance. Make use of Kanban, list, and matrix views to gain insight on your projects in the best way that works for you and your small team.
What makes Kissflow Project great for startups is their easy to use customizable form builder that comes with more than 25 field types that you can simply drag and drop into place. You can use forms to standardize and optimize task or content requests so that all necessary information gets collected in one go. This is great for small teams who don’t have time for a lot of back-and-forth.
Kissflow integrations include native Microsoft and Google Workspace integrations, and the platform offers a REST API and webhooks.
Kissflow Project costs from $7/user/month and they offer a 14-day free trial.
Asana is a popular project and task management tool. It has a free plan for up to 15 users that contains much Asana has to offer, although you miss out on some of the more advanced features. However, this entry level free plan is a great place for startups to jump in.
You can create unlimited projects and tasks and then assign them to up to 15 employees. It’s easy to assign due dates to each task so everyone knows when work needs to be done. Moving tasks around is easy thanks to the simple drag and drop interface.
You can create task dependencies so the right people are notified when work needs to be done. And managers can get an overview of projects in the relevant dashboard, as well as see work in both calendar and list views.
Asana also excels due to its integrations. You can integrate with over 100 different apps including Microsoft Teams, Slack, and most G Suite products. If you need more functionality, pricing for paid plans starts at $10.99 per user per month.
Asana is free to use for up to 15 collaborators.
Freedcamp is a project management software that comes with something that most startups today consider as the industry standard: a robust mobile app that’s available on iOS and Android. This means that startups without an office or with limited available computers can access project management data on their personal smartphone device or tablet.
Freedcamp lets users save passwords, create invoices, back up and edit files—all this on top of the project templates, CRM features, and white labeling capabilities you would expect from a solid project management tool. Freedcamp also has calendars, discussion boards, milestones, a team/process wiki builder, issue tracking, and a time tracker too.
Freedcamp integrates with thousands of solutions through Zapier (which requires a separate paid plan of its own).
Freedcamp is free to use with some feature limitations. Their paid plans cost from $1.49/user/month, which you can try through their 14-day free trial.
Trello is a project management solution that is most known for its Kanban boards. It offers startup teams a comprehensive tool that can be quickly set up and understood with its intuitive drag-and-drop interface for customizing boards and a no-code workflow automation builder. Their free plan lets you run 250 automated command runs per month, which is noteworthy because many PM tools limit automations to paid subscription plans. Startups take note!
Trello is great for startup teams thanks to a feature-packed free plan that Kanban board cheerleaders in particular will appreciate. You get unlimited cards, unlimited members, up to 10 boards per workspace, a list of free integrations with other PM tools (Google Drive, Slack, etc.), unlimited activity logs, mobile app access, and 2-factor authentication for log-ins.
Trello integrates with Confluence, Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, and other third-party apps you typically find in a modern tech stack.
Trello is free to use. Paid plans cost from $5/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
Wrike is a project management solution that lets users customize workflows, set timelines by creating Gantt charts, prioritize important tasks with a pin feature, collaborate with proofing and approving features, and track time within the platform.
Wrike has a free plan for unlimited users…and that includes at least 20 external collaborators! Collaborators are a user type in Wrike that can be assigned to contractors or stakeholders that may not be a part of your core team. They will have access to the “My To-do” tab and the Wrike inbox, plus they can create tasks, folders, projects, and spaces. As an account owner, you’ll be able to limit what they can and cannot see.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Wrike is free to use for unlimited users with some feature restrictions. Paid plans cost from $9.80/user/month with a 14-day free trial. Plans come with free collaborator seats at 20 collaborator invites or 15% of your license count, whichever is greater.
Teamwork is a project management software that lets users manage multiple products across their lifecycle without it being complicated to use. But that doesn’t mean it’s a simple tool. It comes with advanced features built to scale with your organization as you grow.
Teamwork offers a variety of ways for users to view their data, collaborate on it, and iterate. Take advantage of project and task management features like templates, time tracking & invoicing, custom fields, custom workflows, workload resource management, as well as utilization reports.
Teamwork integrates with Slack, Xero, Hubspot, Google Drive, Dropbox, QuickBooks, and Zapier.
Teamwork costs from $10/user/month which you can try free for 30 days. Teamwork offers a free forever plan for individuals and small teams with access to limited features.
TeamGantt is a project management tool that offers the most comprehensive Gantt chart building tool. They promise users a simple, easy-to-use, online Gantt chart maker for planning, scheduling, and managing projects. Simply drag and drop tasks according to start and end dates, link dependencies, and flag milestones.
TeamGantt lets you view all of your projects in one screen so you can easily see where things may come in conflict with each other. Your team can also see workloads and team availability to facilitate management of resources. Planned and actual timeline views allow you to gain even more insight on where estimations went wrong so that you can better allocate resources in the future.
TeamGantt integrates with Trello, Basecamp 2, Dropbox, Slack, and Zapier.
TeamGantt costs from $24.95/user/month. TeamGantt offers a free forever plan for 3 people with limited use of features.
Basecamp is a project management software that startup creative and technical teams can leverage for real-time chat, to-do lists, file storage, and documents/calendars. All for unlimited users on any plan level. Not to mention, the Basecamp team wrote a book on remote work which sort of makes them an authority on online project management.
Basecamp has two features that make stand-ups easier: “campfires” (AKA quick real-time group chats) and automatic check-ins (pre-scheduled Q&As). The campfires are a great way to meet with targeted team members for conversations, brainstorming, and file sharing. Automated check-ins can replace or enhance the stand-up process, asking things like: What are you working on today? What is impacting your work? Are there any roadblocks you want to address?
Basecamp integrates with tools for software development, time tracking, invoicing, accounting, reporting, charts, planning, and so much more.
Basecamp costs from $99/month. Basecamp also comes in a free but limited version.
Need expert help selecting the right Project Management Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Project Management Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out monday.com|
|From $8/user/month||Check out Miro|
14 days free trial
|From $7/user/month||Check out Kissflow Project|
14 day free trial period
|From 1.49/month/user||Check out Freedcamp|
Free 30 day trial
|From $10.99/user/month||Check out Asana|
|From $5/user/month||Check out Trello|
14 day free trial
|From $9.80/user/month and has a freemium version for up to 5 users||Check out Wrike|
30 day free trial. No credit card required.
|From $10/user/month (starting from 5 users)||Check out Teamwork|
14 day free trial
|From $24.95/month||Check out TeamGantt|
30 day free trial
|From $99/month unlimited users||Check out Basecamp|
Other Project Management Software For Startups Options
Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for handy project management software for startups, check these out.
- Asana – Best for easy user adoption
- Notion – Best for engineering teams
- Kerika – Best for task boards and whiteboards
- Odoo – Best open source project management software
Just realized that you need a different type of tool? Check out these other reviews:
- Time tracking software to help track time and easily manage timesheets and invoices.
- Resource scheduling software to help you allocate equipment, rooms, staff, and other resources.
What Do You Think About This Startup Management Software?
Have you tried out any of the above tools for startup companies? What do you think are the best project management tools for startups and small businesses? Is there any project management software for entrepreneurs that you would recommend be added to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
Looking for another type of project management tool? Start with this list of tools.