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There are seemingly countless project management software solutions available, so figuring out which is best for you is tough. You want to plan, manage, and control your projects better but need to figure out which tool is the best fit. I've got you! In this post, I make things simple, leveraging my experience managing big, complex projects and using dozens of different PM tools to bring you this shortlist of the best project management software.

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We’ve been testing and reviewing project management software since 2012. As project managers ourselves, we know how critical and difficult it is to make the right decision when selecting software.

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How To Choose Project Management Software

With so many different project management software solutions available, it can be challenging to make decisions on what project management software is going to be the best fit for your needs.

As you're shortlisting, trialing, and selecting project management software consider the following:

  • What you want to use it to do - Start by identifying the project management feature gap you're trying to fill to clarify the features and functionality the PM software needs to provide.
  • Who will need to use it - To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who will be using the software and how many licenses you'll need. You'll need to evaluate if it'll just be the project management team or the whole organization that will require access. When that's clear, it's worth considering if you're prioritizing ease of use for all, or speed for your project manager power users.
  • What other tools it needs to work with - Clarify what tools you're replacing, what tools are staying, and the tools you'll need to integrate with, such as accounting, CRM or HR software. You'll need to decide if the tools will need to integrate together, or alternatively, if you can replace multiple tools with one consolidated project management tool.
  • What outcomes are important - Consider the result that the software needs to deliver to be considered a success. Consider what capability you want to gain, or what you want to improve, and how you will be measuring success. For example, an outcome could be the ability to get greater visibility into project performance. You could compare project management features until you’re blue in the face but if you aren’t thinking about the outcomes you want to drive, you could be wasting a lot of valuable time.
  • How it would work within your organization - Consider the software selection alongside your workflows and delivery methodology. Evaluate what's working well, and the areas that are causing issues that need to be addressed. Remember every business is different—don’t assume that because a tool is popular that it'll work in your organization.

Honestly, it's a lot to digest—and there's a lot of pressure to get it right so I'd suggest using our project management software advisory service to help you shortlist software that'll be a good fit for you and your organization's specific needs.

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Best Project Management Software Reviews

Here’s my in-depth review and analysis of the best project management software. I’ll walk you through pros and cons, features and functionality, to help guide you to a better understanding of each tool’s capabilities and suitability for your projects.

1

Smartsheet

Best for low-code project management automation

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
7400 reviews

Freemium version available

From $7/user/month

Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-like project management platform. It’s a nice platform if you’re comfortable working in Excel but want a break from complicated formulas, as Smartsheet performs all the calculations for you across multiple sheets.

Why I picked Smartsheet: The platform makes it easy for you to automate workflows and create work applications, which is the main reason I included it on my list. You have all the workflow automation capabilities that are available for all users. This module within the software lets you automate almost any activity you can think of in a visual drag-and-drop environment. A few examples include alerts for change of status, automated approval requests, and responding to update requests from your email or Slack.

Additionally, you have the software's work applications. I like that these are intuitive web and mobile apps that you can build to work with Smartsheet's WorkApps. WorkApps is a no-code platform where you can build apps from a template or directly from sheets, forms, reports, and even external content. I found these so powerful—they even include role permissions you can configure for your team.

Smartsheet Standout Features & Integrations

Features include Bridge - a business process automation builder that can help you build workflows in a no-code interface and dashboards that can give you a real-time view of your KPIs, critical trends, and summary reports. Additionally, the document builder integrates directly with DocuSign and lets you send docs for e-signatures while tracking the status of each one.

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.

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
2

Wrike

Best project management software for scaling organizations

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.2
2545 reviews

Free plan available

From $9.80/user/month

Wrike is an award-winning project management software that qualifies as a suitable companion for any organization looking to scale.

Why I picked Wrike: I chose this tool because it offers flexible plans that can support any team size, starting with a free plan that is perfect to manage tasks in small teams. In addition, the features that Wrike offers go anywhere from lists and simple status fields to approvals, proofing, resource management and budgeting.

The robust Enterprise features for teams with additional security and granular permission needs were another reason I added this software to my list. They even have a special tier for complex organizations that have specific requirements, which I thought was a useful addition.

Wrike Standout Features & Integrations

Features include visual proofing that will help your team receive multi-tier approvals from the client and workflow automations to make those repetitive tasks go away. You can also access project portfolio management features that will let you know if your project initiatives are contributing to the company's strategy and goals, and cross-tagging for projects that require input from other initiatives in the business.

Integrations in Wrike include 400+ pre-built native integrations that include Asana, Airtable, BambooHR, Chargify, Clearbit, HubSpot, Jenkins, Mailchimp, Replicon, Salesforce, and Slack. Additionally, you can build custom automations using its API.

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
3

ClickUp

Best project management software for remote work teams

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
4135 reviews

Freemium plan available

From $9/user/month

ClickUp is a project management productivity app with powerful features the allow you to plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage resources in a centralized workspace, regardless of your physical location.

Why I picked ClickUp: I selected ClickUp because of how well they approach the idea of making an app that replaces all others. The features included in this software make it an option for remote teams since they mainly encourage collaboration. From the ability to tag people in conversations to collaborative documents and whiteboards that help users co-create, I really believe that you won't need to leave this platform unless it's to bill the client.

ClickUp Standout Features & Integrations

Features include the whiteboards that let you brainstorm with your team to come up with a bulletproof plan and the collaborative docs that work as a Wiki where everyone can join and add to the conversation. I also thought it was cool that you can access an in-app chat and proofing features that can help you streamline approvals on marketing collateral with the client.

Integrations include native ones with Slack, HubSpot, TogglTrack, Figma, Loom, Sentry, G Suite, Dropbox, Clockify, and Calendly. Additionally, you can connect to another 1,000+ apps using a paid membership with Zapier. Finally, if making custom integrations is within your reach, there is a public API you can use for it.

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
4

Visor

Best for real-time collaboration with unlimited viewer-only accounts

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
5
3 reviews

Free plan available

From $9/user/month

Visor offers a flexible project management platform with custom workflows, project roadmaps, and collaboration tools. The tool helps you create free and colorful Gantt charts and spreadsheets that connect to SaaS apps like Jira.

Why I Picked Visor: This software provides several collaboration features for busy project teams, including the ability to assign tasks and responsibilities to team members. I picked it because it allows team members to focus on specific project components while keeping others informed of their progress. With the drag-and-drop interface, task lists can be easily customized, due dates can be set, and notes or comments can be added for further context. I like that within the project workspace, users can share files, send messages, and make comments.

Visor offers a distinctive collaboration feature by displaying a comprehensive view of project progress. By showing completed tasks, upcoming deadlines, and potential roadblocks, team members can quickly identify areas needing attention and take appropriate measures. I find that this feature assists teams in staying on schedule, decreasing the possibility of missed deadlines or delays.

Visor Standout Features & Integrations 

Features include Visor's two-way syncing to SaaS apps ensures that your charts and reports stay accurate without manual work. Its 2-way sync also allows you to build workbooks that can combine information from multiple tools in one place and create multi-app workflows. 

Integrations include Jira Software, Salesforce, and Hubspot. You can also import data from Google Sheets and Excel.

Pros

  • Free plan for 2 workbooks & 5 views each
  • Free unlimited viewer-only accounts
  • Live support via phone & video call

Cons

  • Unlimited audit trail locked to highest plan
  • May cost extra for monthly integration sync credits
5

Quire

Best PM software for personalized sublists and temporary hiding of non-relevant tasks

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
74 reviews

Free trial available

$8.95/user/month

Quire is an award-winning project management software for remote teams that aims to simplify workflows and encourage communication and collaboration. It is trusted by hundreds of thousands of users all over the world, including those from big companies across diverse industries such as Google, IBM, Dyson, Nasdaq, and Stanford.

Why I picked Quire: I chose this software because it's built for teams that struggle to take big goals and make them more manageable. I can see how it will help you with this by creating and tracking tasks and subtasks within each greater project item. Three main view modes in Quire include a nested task list view, Kanban view, and timeline view. Quire also helps users manage and track their tasks regardless if they are solo users or working as a team.

Quire Standout Features & Integrations

Features include a Gantt chart builder, task templates, sorting & filters, data search, and customizable tags, and task management. I like that the team collaboration and project management features include file sharing, attachments management, comments on tasks, multiple assignees, real-time updates, and a flexible reporting suite.

Integrations include Slack, Github, Google Workspace, Microsoft, and many more tools, as well as thousands of integrations through Zapier (paid plan required).

Quire Plans & Pricing

Quire is free to use for 16 projects and 10 users. Paid plans start from $8.95/user/month and come with a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • Easy to customize
  • Free to use
  • Excellent for time tracking
  • Intuitive user interface & dashboard

Cons

  • Additional communication tools welcomed
  • Mobile app not as robust as web
  • More integrations needed
6

FigJam by Figma

Best for a highly flexible and collaborative solution

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
1032 reviews

Free plan available

From $3/user/month

FigJam is a collaborative virtual whiteboard platform, developed by Figma. It's a highly versatile solution that facilitates various types of teamwork including brainstorming, workflow design, and strategic planning.

Why I picked FigJam: I included this tool on my list because of how different it is from traditional project management tools. Where other platforms offer structured Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and task lists, FigJam takes a much more freeform approach. It's essentially a blank canvas, that lets you organize your ideas, thoughts, and plans however makes the most sense for your team.

That said, you won't be totally left to fend for yourself with this software. It offers plenty of ready-made templates for everything from project kickoff brainstorms to project roadmaps, timelines, and flowcharts. You can use these as a starting point to craft your own workflows and outline your project plans.

FigJam Standout Features & Integrations

Features include pre-built project management templates, audio and live chat, stamp and emoji reacts, external collaborator access, calendar and timeline widgets, bitmoji avatars, music player, and mobile app.

Integrations include Figma, Microsoft Teams, Asana, Jira, Mixpanel, and Github.

Pros

  • User-friendly and intuitive interface
  • Integrates with Figma for design collaboration
  • Offers community templates for various uses
  • Real-time collaboration capabilities

Cons

  • Limited sharing access for non-Figma users
  • Onboarding and account support locked to enterprise plan
  • No offline access available
7

Microsoft Project

Best for teams that work in the Microsoft ecosystem

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
23 reviews

30-day free trial

From $10/user/month

MS Project is Microsoft’s answer to project management. This tool lets users manage agile projects using simple, visual task boards that support Scrum, Kanban, or custom workflows and choose whatever methodology makes sense for the project: agile, waterfall, or hybrid.

Why I picked Microsoft Project: This PM software is particularly easy to use and learn if you are familiar with the Microsoft family of products. Most offices are these days, which is why I decided to include it on my list. Online tutorials and forums can also fill in any gaps, making the learning curve small. Ultimately, I found all of this made it a user-friendly option.

Side note: This is a standard and industry-accepted tool, but it’s not perfect. One downside I found is that it’s not easy to run on iOS. If you like MS Project but are looking for similar options that run on a Mac, I'd suggest evaluating some other options.

Microsoft Project Standout Features & Integrations

Features include kanban boards, timelines with milestones, Power BI dashboards, resource requests, visual heatmaps to identify over-allocation, built-in templates, reporting, task management, and portfolio management.

Integrations include other Microsoft software, like Outlook, Excel, Skype, and more.

Pros

  • Can generate a Gantt chart from a spreadsheet
  • Helpful project template descriptions for guidance
  • Driver prioritization module for ranking strategies/objectives
  • Integration with other Microsoft software

Cons

  • Limitations on collaboration tools
  • Steep learning curve
  • Poor customization options
8

Airtable

Best for building project databases

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
1339 reviews

Free plan available

From $24/user/month

Airtable is a project management solution that lets users add attachments, long text notes, checkboxes, links, barcodes, and more to records in other tables.

Why I picked Airtable: Powerful filtering, sorting, and grouping give you the freedom to arrange your work in whatever way works best for your team, which is what made this platform a good fit for my list. The user interface is sleek, modern, colorful, and attractive, and I found it a pleasure to use and navigate. This software scored well in my UX consideration for the evaluation criteria I've outlined in this article.

One thing to consider is that the learning curve for Airtable is made troublesome by a general lack of tutorials and training on their site. Certain features, like posting assignments, might be tricky to teach or learn in my opinion.

Airtable Standout Features & Integrations

Features include rich field types, desktop and mobile apps, Gantt, timeline and list views, automations, and in-record commenting features.

Integrations. Airtable has built-in support for many popular apps and a robust API. Use Zapier, Workato, Integromat, or Automate.io to connect Airtable with over 1000 websites and apps like Asana, Basecamp, Box, Evernote, Facebook, Github, MailChimp, Slack, and more.

Pros

  • Flexible for small businesses
  • Rollups and Lookups to organize data
  • Forms easy to distribute and embed
  • Color-code lists and project items

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Time consuming to build custom tables
9

Paymo

Best PM software for invoicing clients

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
561 reviews

15-day free trial + free version available

From $5.95/user/month

Paymo is a project management, time tracking, and invoicing platform that helps you manage your projects and keep an eye on profitability under the same roof. Paymo suits freelancers, small and medium teams, or businesses as it helps creatives navigate projects and tasks, keep track of their time, and bill clients from the same platform.

Why I picked Paymo: In my opinion, this is the best project management software to use if you're working in consultancy and the creative/marketing industry. I say this because it lets you streamline your workflow as you manage a creative project. It also lets you get a good grasp of task details and status (task management) using multiple views, task lists, Kanban, and Gantt charts.

I like that the software lets you see how many hours you’ve put in (time tracking)—and how that fares with your initial estimates. You’ll be able to then send invoices to your clients and be paid through online payment gateways like Square, Stripe, PayPal, and others. On top of all that, you can manage everything on the go using the mobile app, which I found super useful.

Paymo Standout Features & Integrations

Features include a resource scheduling module and resource management to help manage leave days and set up bookings for clients. Another feature I like is the automatic time tracking feature that you can use to record time spent on activities without any extra admin work. The app will run in the background and record the time you use in each app.

Integrations include limited pre-built connections and integrations via Zapier. Pre-built integrations include Google Calendar, Xero, Quickbooks, Slack, Jotform, Typeform, Pabbly, Pomodone, Skyvia, Rethink, and Shift. A paid subscription with Zapier or Integromat can help you connect thousands of additional apps.

Pros

  • View all projects on a single Kanban board
  • Seamless time tracking
  • Easy to use project filters
  • Free for 1 user

Cons

  • Not great at tracking a large number of projects
  • No way to invite collaborators/reviewers
  • Some data export limitations
10

Forecast

Best AI-native project planning tool

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
253 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Forecast is an all-in-one platform for resource and project management, that is 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.

Why I picked Forecast: Let’s talk about features. The Auto-Schedule feature is great for project scheduling, providing estimates, automatically assigning resources to tasks, and was a big reason why I included this tool on my list. It’s got a drag-and-drop module that lets you adjust plans and resources in an instant. Another cool feature I appreciated is that the tool automatically builds a budget for every project with key financial metrics to track planned vs. actuals.

Additionally, the software 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, which I think makes it a flexible option. 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 Standout Features & Integrations

Features include resource management, project accounting, business intelligence, retainer budget-type projects, auto-schedule, and AI-based recommendations.

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.

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
11

Backlog

Best project management software for software developers

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.5
162 reviews

30-day free trial

From $35/month

Backlog is a cloud-based project management tool perfect for developers to manage projects, tasks, code, bugs, and collaborate with other teams. It allows you to assign, track, and release work, right in one app while ensuring transparency and accountability across teams. They also provide a mobile app on both iOS and Android for collaborating on-the-go.

Why I picked Backlog: Backlog provides a range of useful collaboration features, including task management tools. These include subtasks, checklists, and custom fields, plus it offers milestones, file management, wikis, and more. I chose it because it's more than a project management app, it’s also a bug tracker and version control system in one. For these reasons, I think this is a good option for software development teams.

For collaborating on code, Backlog provides SVN and Git repositories, a different viewer and inline comments, plus pull requests, merge requests, and branches. I also noticed that visually, the app provides burndown charts, Git graphs, Kanban boards, and Gantt charts, so project managers and users alike can quickly assess projects at a glance.

Backlog Standout Features & Integrations

Features include data security and access options that let you select who can see your workspaces. Specifically, the one that lets you configure the IP addresses that can see certain boards. I also appreciate how the tool lets you organize and track every release and update so you can stay on top of your work.

Integrations include Nulab’s other apps and the ability to import data from Redmine and Jira.

Pros

  • Easy bug identification and logging
  • Can customize the issue characteristics for each project
  • Easily separate tasks through projects and milestones

Cons

  • Can’t assign multiple members to bug
  • Difficult to backup all contents and versioning
  • Can’t sort using multiple filters at the same time
12

MindGenius

best built-in mind mapping capabilities

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
20 reviews

14 day free trial

First year $160, year two onwards $56

MindGenius 20 is an intuitive software tool that provides many different views of your project information to help you and your team make the right decisions. These include Gantt charts, Kanban boards, a resource view, a categories view, a priority view, and a status view, which I find makes it a flexible solution. The software also includes mind mapping tools so users can brainstorm tasks and then prioritise them, which are among the reasons I chose to include it on my list. In my opinion, the mind maps are great for providing clarity and spotting gaps in information or knowledge earlier in the process.

The planning features include drag-and-drop Gantt charts and the ability to toggle between the resources, categories, priority, and status views to see tasks from different perspectives. You can link all views and charts to your initial mind map brainstorm to keep the team aligned with the initial objectives and stay on track.

MindGenius 20 is a highly customizable visual tool that lets you work in whatever methodology - kanban or otherwise - that fits your project and team. MindGenius 20 integrations include the Microsoft Office Suite, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

Pros

  • Easily reduce or enlarge the scope
  • Excellent mind map functionality
  • Easily alternate between mind map and Gantt chart

Cons

  • Not intended for managing complex projects
  • CPU intensive program
  • Better suited to smaller teams
13

Teamwork.com

Best for remote teams

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
1100 reviews

30-day free trial

From $13.99/user/month

Teamwork is a work and project management software that helps in-house teams and agencies improve collaboration, visibility, accountability, and ultimately, results. It is a flexible, fully-featured project management solution that helps you to manage the entire project lifecycle from start to finish.

Teamwork includes features that help you structure your projects and milestones: create task lists, tasks, and subtasks to break down the work into action items for your team. You can add due dates, priority, descriptions, supporting documents, or tags to help mark up your tasks with useful information. There's also a useful 'Workload' feature that provides a big picture of your team’s capacity. The collaboration features in this project management software are great—collaborate with clients and/or your internal team with comments on tasks.

Overall, Teamwork is an intuitive and highly customizable tool. It has a lot of features, so it does come with a learning curve to get up to speed. However this is made much easier with ongoing webinars, access to help docs, an online resource center, and a dedicated customer support team.

Teamwork integrates easily with other tools including Gmail, Harvest, HubSpot, QuickBooks, Slack, Dropbox, and more.

Teamwork costs from $10/user/month. They also offer a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • Features can be turned on/off (tasks, messages, time, risks, billing)
  • Easy zoom in/zoom out on project plans
  • Easy to communicate task status with clients or team

Cons

  • No CSS template option for advanced customizability
  • No industry-specialized project templates or formats
  • No way to measure your team's capacity
14

Asana

Best online task management software for complex projects

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
8328 reviews

30-day free trial + free plan available

From $13.49/user/month

Asana is a task management solution with automation tools, a rule builder, and other workplace management items. Asana’s Timeline lets users create a plan that shows how the pieces of a project fit together and help keep work on track as things change.

Why I picked Asana: Asana has a colorful, rich, and inviting user interface that made it an obvious addition for my list. I like that it has everything from compartmentalized productivity items to playful cartoon animations that “zoom” across the screen to celebrate finishing a task. This scored it very well in the UX category of my evaluation criteria.

Asana lets you view your data in the following views: board, list, timeline, and calendar. You can store and visualise information on your projects including tasks, subtasks, milestones, task assignees, sections, custom fields, and so much more.

Asana Standout Features & Integrations

Features include resource, project, and task management, automations, reporting, and a workflow builder.

Integrations include Jira Cloud, Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, Tableau, Slack, Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, CSV Importer, JotForm, EverHour, OneDrive, Zoho Cliq, Box, Mailbird, Instabug, DRopbox, Gitlab, Trello, VElocity, Tick, and many more per their website. Additionally, users can connect Asana to Zapier, Automate.io, and others to integrate with hundreds of more available apps.

Asana Plans & Pricing

Asana starts at $10.99/user/month and has a freemium version of the software.

15

Hubstaff

Best easy agile project management software

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
393 reviews

14-day free trial

From $7/user/month

Hubstaff Tasks is a project management software with multiple task tracking and collaboration features. I chose it because its interface is based on the Kanban methodology; it lets you organize tasks in different project stages, which are represented by columns. Each task can be categorized using color-coded labels. One of the more notable features I spotted were its custom workflows. These let you automate assigning tasks to team members at different project stages and moving them forward with one click.

You can create checklists within each task and track them from the project view using progress bars, which I find helps create clarity. Files can also be attached to task cards, but the free plan only allows up to 100 MB of storage per user. Switching to the sprints view displays all your assigned tasks, organized by sprint. I like that you can move tasks to current or future sprints or to the backlog with a drag-and-drop mechanism similar to Kanban.

Hubstaff Tasks integrates with Active Collab, Asana, Breeze, ClickUp, GitHub, GitLab, Insightly, JIRA, LiquidPlanner, Mavenlink, Paymo, PivotalTracker, Podio, Redbooth, Redmine, Teamwork Projects, Trello, Unfuddle, Wrike, Zoho Projects, Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and other apps. You can boost your integration options with a paid plan through Zapier, unlocking hundreds of other possible connections.

Hubstaff Tasks is free for up to 5 users and 10 projects. The premium plan starts at $7/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Generous freemium plan for small teams
  • Easy/quick to get up and running
  • Excellent project management templates
  • Simple to onboard new clients

Cons

  • No WIP limits
  • Limited 3rd-party integrations
  • No mobile app

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these tools closely related to project management software that we've tested and evaluated.

Video Walkthrough Of Project Management Tools

Check out our video on the top project management tools:

Selection Criteria For Project Management Software

Selecting project management software requires a detailed analysis of its functionality and how well it meets specific use cases. My approach is rooted in extensive personal experience, having tried and researched numerous project management tools. Here’s how I evaluate these solutions, broken down into specific criteria, each with its own set of weightings to reflect their importance in the overall selection process.

Core Project Management Software Functionality (25% of final scoring): To be considered for inclusion on my list of the best project management solutions, a solution had to support the ability to fulfill common use cases. These include:

  • Task assignment and progress tracking to ensure accountability and visibility.
  • Collaborative workspaces for team communication and idea sharing.
  • Time tracking for accurate project progress and productivity analysis.
  • Resource allocation to prevent overutilization and ensure balanced workloads.
  • Reporting functionality for insights into project status, resource usage, and performance metrics.

Additional Standout Features (25% of final scoring): Here, the evaluation looks for innovative and unique features that set a tool apart from its competitors. Software that offers cutting-edge technology or solves specific challenges scores higher.

  • Innovative Integration Capabilities: Look for project management solutions that offer unique integrations beyond the standard email or calendar tools. For instance, integration with AI for predictive scheduling or with virtual reality for immersive project planning sessions.
  • Advanced Analytics and Reporting: Solutions that provide deeper insights with predictive analytics, trend analysis, and customizable reporting dashboards stand out. This feature is particularly useful for complex projects requiring detailed performance metrics and forecasts.
  • Customization and Scalability: Solutions that allow for extensive customization of workflows, fields, and interfaces cater to unique project needs. Scalability is key for accommodating growing project sizes and team numbers.
  • Enhanced Security Features: Project management solutions with advanced security protocols, such as end-to-end encryption for file sharing and multi-factor authentication, provide added protection for sensitive project information.
  • Unique Collaboration Tools: Look for solutions that go beyond basic chat functions, offering features like live editing of documents, virtual whiteboards, or integrated video conferencing.

Usability (10% of final scoring): Usability testing focuses on the software’s interface design, ease of navigation, and overall user experience, including mobile app usability. Tools that provide intuitive, clean interfaces with minimal learning curves score higher here.

  • Interface design should be intuitive, with easy navigation and a clean layout. Drag-and-drop functionality for scheduling and task management is a must.
  • The platform should offer customization options to tailor the interface and workflows to the team's needs.
  • Mobile and desktop app coherence is important for a seamless user experience across devices.

Onboarding (10% of final scoring): This aspect evaluates how quickly and efficiently new users can get started with the software. It includes the availability and quality of training materials, the simplicity of the setup process, and any support provided to help new users acclimate.

  • Quick setup processes, with minimal steps to get started.
  • Comprehensive training materials such as videos, templates, and interactive tours that cater to users with varying levels of tech-savviness.
  • Community forums or in-app support for real-time assistance during the initial setup phase.

Customer Support (10% of final scoring): The quality, responsiveness, and availability of customer support are assessed. Software with multiple support channels (such as live chat, email, and phone support), quick response times, and comprehensive support content are favored here.

  • Availability of 24/7 live chat support for immediate assistance.
  • A responsive email support system with a short turnaround time.
  • In-depth resource libraries like FAQs, user guides, and case studies.

Value for Money (10% of final scoring): This criterion evaluates the software’s pricing structure against its feature set, considering different team sizes and project needs. Software that offers transparent, flexible pricing models with a strong feature-to-cost ratio is rated favorably.

  • A transparent pricing model that scales your team size and project needs.
  • Free trials or demo versions to test functionality before purchasing.
  • Package options that cater to different sizes and types of teams.

Customer Reviews (10% of final scoring): Customer feedback from various sources is analyzed to gauge user satisfaction, focusing on usability, support, and overall impact on project management efficiency. Software with consistently high ratings and positive testimonials scores higher.

  • Consistent high ratings for usability and customer support.
  • Positive feedback on specific features such as ease of use, integration capabilities, and the effectiveness of onboarding resources.
  • Testimonials that highlight the software’s impact on project outcomes, team collaboration, and productivity gains.

Through this comprehensive approach, focusing on core functionalities, standout features, usability, onboarding, customer support, value, and customer reviews, I aim to identify project management solutions that not only meet but exceed expectations, ensuring teams have the tools they need to succeed.

As of 2024, project management software trends are evolving rapidly, reflecting a clear trajectory toward more intelligent, flexible, and integrated tools. I have identified several key trends and features shaping the future of project management technologies.

  • Increased Integration with Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is becoming a cornerstone of project management tools, with features like Smart Answers, Smart Status, and Smart Goals becoming standard. These capabilities allow users to leverage natural language to generate status updates automatically and draft goals with AI assistance, enhancing decision-making and efficiency​​. And features like machine learning algorithms are becoming critical for task prioritization, intelligent resource allocation, and proactive risk assessment.
  • Advanced Blockchain Applications for Security: The incorporation and adoption of blockchain technology in project management software is a notable trend. Blockchain enhances project security and data integrity, offering tamper-proof project records and secure financial transactions. This increases transparency and accountability throughout the project lifecycle​.
  • Enhanced Integration Capabilities: The seamless integration between project management software and other key tools (e.g., CRMs, Accounting Tools, etc.) signifies a trend toward creating more cohesive ecosystems. This interoperability facilitates better collaboration between technical and non-technical teams and streamlines workflows by syncing tasks and communications across platforms​​.
  • Focus on Customization and Flexibility: Features like Capacity Planning, Goal Templates, and Custom Project Icons point to a growing emphasis on customization. These updates allow organizations to tailor the software more closely to their specific processes and goals, improving resource management and aligning success metrics across teams​​.

Most Rapidly Evolving Features

  • Smart Workflows and Onboarding: AI-driven features are rapidly evolving, with developments in Smart Workflows and Smart Onboarding designed to automate and optimize project setup and team ramp-up processes. This reflects a push towards leveraging AI for not just task management but also for streamlining project initiation and team integration​​.
  • Automated Time Tracking: Project management software solutions are increasingly offering Automated time tracking tools to ensure time tracking compliance from their teams. They provide real-time insights on team workloads, enhance project efficiency, and can contribute to accurate project budgeting and resource management.

Novel and Unique Functionality

  • Smart Digests and Bundles: Unusual yet highly practical features like Smart Digests offer summaries of project changes over specified timeframes, providing quick catch-up capabilities. Bundles, which allow for the application of rules, fields, sections, and task templates across multiple projects, represent a novel approach to scaling project management practices efficiently​​.

Most Important and In-Demand Features

  • Capacity Planning and Goal Setting: The ability to visualize staffing trends and create standardized goal-setting processes are among the most sought-after functionalities. These features cater to the pressing need for better resource allocation and clear, measurable objectives within project management​​.

Features Becoming Less Important

  • Feature-Less Platforms: While not explicitly mentioned, the emphasis on AI and integration suggests that standalone, manually-intensive features are becoming less important. The shift towards automation and intelligence indicates a lesser demand for features that do not leverage these advancements to simplify or enhance user experiences.

The evolution of project management software in 2024 is characterized by a stronger reliance on AI, enhanced integration with other business tools, and increased customization to meet the specific needs of organizations. These changes emphasize efficiency, adaptability, and a holistic approach to team management.

What Is Project Management Software?

Project management software is a tool to help individuals and teams plan, resource, manage, schedule, and organize project tasks and resources to deliver projects efficiently and effectively. Collaboration features keep team and tasks organized, helping to hit milestones, align on deliverables, deliver within budget and timeline constraints, and ultimately meet project goals.

By consolidating project planning, task management, resource allocation, time tracking, and communication into a single tool, PM software allows effective management and control of project variables. It provides real-time visibility of project status, enabling project managers to make quick decisions and adjust a project to keep it on track.

Features Of Project Management Software

Project management software stands as a cornerstone in the realm of project planning, execution, and monitoring. It equips teams with the necessary tools to align their efforts, meet deadlines, and track progress effectively. Selecting the right software involves understanding the key features that contribute to a streamlined project management process. Here, I highlight the most crucial features to look for when searching for a solution that solves your specific needs.

  1. Task Management - This feature allows for the creation, assignment, and tracking of tasks. It's vital because it helps in breaking down projects into manageable activities, ensuring that every team member knows their responsibilities.
  2. Time Tracking - Time tracking enables the recording of the amount of time spent on tasks. It's essential for monitoring project progress, estimating future tasks more accurately, and ensuring time is efficiently allocated.
  3. Collaboration Tools - These tools facilitate communication and collaboration among team members. They're important because they ensure everyone stays informed and can contribute ideas and feedback in real-time, fostering a cohesive work environment.
  4. File Sharing and Document Management - This feature allows for the centralized storage, sharing, and management of project documents. It streamlines access to project materials, ensuring that all team members have the latest versions of documents. Some PM software even offer more complex DAM functionality.
  5. Resource Management - It's crucial to ensure that projects stay within budget and that resources are optimally utilized. Resource management helps in allocating and tracking resources such as budget, personnel, and project deadlines.
  6. Project Planning and Scheduling - Project timelines, calendars, and Gantt charts help you track progress and know where tasks fit within the broader scheme of a project. This includes features for creating project plans and schedules. It's important for setting realistic timelines, ensuring that projects have a clear roadmap to ensure that deadlines are met. Some PM software are even designed explicitly for project scheduling.
  7. Reporting and Analytics - Reporting tools provide insights into project performance, resource utilization, and more. They're essential for making informed decisions, identifying trends, and adjusting strategies as needed.
  8. Risk Management - Risk management features help in identifying, assessing, and mitigating project risks. They're vital for anticipating potential issues and implementing strategies to address them proactively.
  9. Integration Capabilities - The ability to integrate with other tools and software is important for ensuring a seamless workflow and minimizing the need to switch between different platforms.
  10. Project dashboards and reporting: Project tracking features are essential to successful project delivery. It’s essential to know how a project’s tasks are progressing—will it be delivered on time or not and what are major blockers that
  11. Mobile Accessibility - Mobile accessibility ensures that team members can access the project management software from anywhere. It's essential for maintaining productivity and allowing for real-time updates and communication, even on the go.

Choosing project management software with these features can significantly enhance a team's ability to manage workloads, meet deadlines, and track project progress effectively. It's not just about managing tasks; it's about empowering teams to work more cohesively and efficiently, ensuring that every project is a step towards success.

Benefits Of Project Management Software

By leveraging project management software, businesses can effectively coordinate their resources, keep track of project progress, and ensure that their projects are completed within the stipulated time and budget. Here are five primary benefits of project management software:

  1. Enhanced Collaboration: Project management software fosters a collaborative environment by providing a central platform for team members to communicate, share documents, and track project updates. This centralized communication eliminates misunderstandings and ensures everyone is on the same page.
  2. Improved Project Planning: Effective planning is crucial for successful project execution. The best solutions offer features for scheduling, resource allocation, and milestone tracking, enabling users to create more realistic and achievable project plans.
  3. Better Resource Management: Allocating resources efficiently is key to project success. Users can view resource availability, manage workloads, and prevent over-allocation, ensuring optimal use of both human and material resources.
  4. Enhanced Risk Management: Identifying and mitigating risks is easier with project management software. It provides functionality for risk assessment, tracking, and response planning, which helps in minimizing the impact of potential issues on the project.
  5. Data-Driven Decision-Making: With real-time data and analytics, project management software enables informed decision-making. Users can track performance metrics, analyze trends, and make adjustments to keep the project on track and within budget.

Project management software can have a transformative impact on how projects are managed and executed. By integrating these tools into their processes, organizations can optimize efficiency, improve communication, and drive successful project outcomes, ultimately contributing to their overall growth and sustainability.

Costs And Pricing For Project Management Software

Project management software varies greatly depending on the type of software you require. While on-premise project management software can cost you hundreds of dollars per user, cloud-based options are more price-friendly.

For software buyers with little to no experience, choosing the right plan starts with your team's size, project complexity, and budget constraints.

You'll want to take your time to analyze the different plans, what they offer, and if the features you unlock with each plan make sense for how your operation will grow.

Here's a pricing and plans table that breaks of typical plan options and their pricing:

Plan TypeAverage PriceCommon Features
Free$0Task management, basic reporting, limited user access, limited storage
Basic$7 - $15 per user/monthEnhanced task management, project templates, file sharing, basic integrations, all features of Free plan
Intermediate$20 - $30 per user/monthAdvanced reporting, customizable dashboards, more users and storage, additional integrations, all features of Basic plan
Advanced$30+ per user/monthResource management, advanced security, premium support, API access, customizable features, all features of Intermediate plan



When selecting a project management software plan, consider the scale of your projects, team size, and specific needs like reporting, integration, and security. Smaller teams or those new to project management might start with a Free or Basic plan, which offers essential features without overwhelming complexity. As your team grows or project needs evolve, upgrading to Intermediate or Advanced plans can unlock more sophisticated tools and customization. Ultimately, the right choice balances functionality with budget, ensuring a tool that not only meets your current needs but can also scale with your organization.

Project Management Software FAQs

Here are some of the frequently asked questions I receive about project management software.

Why Use Project Management Software?

If you don't want to find yourself drowning in an ocean of notes, Slack messages, and spreadsheets, you need to use project management software. Successful project execution has never been more important and project management software provides the tools you need to streamline processes, optimize resource usage, and make data-driven decisions.

Let's review some specific reasons you should consider implementing a PM software solution.

Key Business Functions Supported by Project Management Software

  • Resource Management: See exactly who's working on what and ensure your team doesn't get overbooked. Identify resource bottlenecks early on and avoid costly delays.
  • Collaboration and Communication: These tools create a central hub for project updates, files, and communication. Stay aligned, reduce email overload, and improve team clarity.
  • Scheduling and Task Management Break projects into manageable tasks with clear dependencies and deadlines. Visual tools like Gantt charts provide a clear view of project timelines.
  • Risk Management: Anticipate potential issues and develop mitigation plans. Keep an eye on your project's health to avoid roadblocks that can derail progress.
  • Budgeting and Cost Tracking: See exactly how project spending aligns with your initial budget. Manage costs efficiently to prevent overruns and maximize profitability.
  • Reporting: Create dashboards, reports, and insights that inform stakeholders and help you make better decisions based on data.

Project management software is truly a game-changer, and here's why you, as a project manager, should be excited to use it:

  1. Enhanced Efficiency: Streamline workflows to cut down on wasted time and resources. You'll get more work done with the same budget and team.
  2. Improved Visibility and Accountability: Get a real-time picture of project progress. This transparency helps you make timely interventions and ensure everyone stays on track.

If you're not already using project management software, I strongly encourage you to start exploring your options. It will equip you with the tools you need to consistently deliver projects on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.

You can find more details on each of these items in the 8 reasons to use project management software.

How Do You Implement Project Management Software?

Implementing project management software will look very different depending on the size of your organization.

  • For a small company, it’s counting how many people need access to the software, buying the licenses, and configuring the product.
  • For a mid-sized organization, it triggers a change management project. You have to plan for a new tool because you may already have a system in place. This system (good or bad) currently works, and people are used to it. Therefore, a PM tool implementation involves meeting with the users affected by the change and getting buy-in from stakeholders.
  • For a large corporation, it means change management plus strategy. At an enterprise level, your decision on a new tool implementation involves reviewing the tool and how it impacts the users, projects, company goals, and strategy. Add to that the security requirements of an implementation of this scale, and suddenly it’s not that straightforward.

Whatever the size of your organization, I suggest you schedule a demo and meeting with the vendor. Then, ask for available training services and if they support the initial product configuration. Finally, run some numbers and make sure you have enough money to support this implementation and a bit more (planning for growth).

Please note that this is the case for online project management software and not on-premise. Hosting services on your servers will require extensive planning, no matter the company size.

What Can You Do With Project Management Software?

Project management software allows you to streamline your work.

  • You can collaborate with your team in a centralized platform, comment on tasks, tag people who need to get involved in the conversation and have stakeholders interact with the project through portals or guest accounts.
  • With project management software you can also give visibility to everyone on the team of the project timeline. This will help keep your team aligned and alert them when the timeline has shifted.
  • PM software lets you automate parts of your work that are repetitive, such as pinging individuals when a task is completed, or approvals are received. Nowadays, workflow automation is a feature that more vendors are trying to incorporate into their offering.

Should I Choose Software Based On My PM Methodology?

The short answer is yes. Your PM methodology will directly relate to the features you need to complete projects successfully. Therefore, it will influence your choice of software to use.

A traditional methodology like Waterfall, will demand you have access to a task list, dependencies, and milestones. Meanwhile, an agile methodology like Kanban will require a board view where you can visually arrange tasks according to project stages or collaboration features that allow your team to coordinate efforts better.

Having said that, if you are familiar with project management pricing, you can already tell that a Kanban board view is a feature that prevails in higher-tier plans. Consequently, it will impact your budget and, ultimately, your decision of which software to choose.

What Is The Easiest Project Management Software To Use?

The easiest project management software is the one that is easy to use and learn. And although this might be different from person to person, I do have a list of some tools that fit this criteria, like Wrike, monday.com, and Hive.

In this list of the easiest project management software, I compare them and give them start ratings based on ease of use and available documentation.

What Is The Best Project Management Software For Small Business?

The best project management software for small business is Zoho Projects or any other tool like it. A solution that offers a decent amount of features for a low price per user, and can scale with you as you grow.

What Is The Best Project Management Software For Large Organizations?

The best software for large organizations is one like Adobe Workfront. A software that keeps your information safer than the secrets inside Area 51. Also known as enterprise project management software, this is the top-tier offering of any vendor and usually requires you to schedule a demo before you have access to pricing information.

What's The Best Free Project Management Software

Honestly, there aren't any really good free project management software options for managing projects with teams. If you're managing a project by yourself you'll find a few tools that offer free plans for 1 user. If you are interested in a list of free and freemium options, have a look at our list of free project management software. You'll find free project management software - isn't really free - it has its limitations. While some restrict the number of users, others limit the number of projects, file storage space, or offer less knowledge support for you to learn to use the software.

If you're really strapped for cash, you can use Google Workspace or Microsoft Office (Excel, PPT, and Word) if your company is already paying for it. But you're going to find it tough.

Otherwise, open source project management software exists, like ProjectLibre, but it comes at a cost, usually in terms of usability and functionality. Being community supported, free versions have limited functionality and without paying, do not have the customer support level of a paid tool.  the open-source learning curve to be a little steeper since there's less support for community versions of the software.

Security And Data Privacy Within Project Management Software

Security and data privacy are critical in project management software to protect sensitive information, comply with regulations, build trust, prevent unauthorized access, maintain data integrity, ensure business continuity, and minimize both internal and external threats.

Therefore, improper security measures mean this data can be vulnerable to unauthorized access, theft, or breaches, potentially leading to significant financial and reputational damage.

Here are some of the security features you can expect to see:

  • Compliance with European standards: With GDPR came a revolution in how SaaS companies handle data privacy for their customers. The common theme is for these companies to work with the hosting services of massive companies, like Amazon, and have servers in different parts of the world.

Author's Tip

Some vendors allow you to select the location where you would like your instance to be hosted. Make sure you ask.

  • Data encryption: Data encryption to keep your information hidden from 3rd parties. This encryption is normally in transit and at rest. This means your information is protected while being sent or simply stored.
  • Security certifications: Expect the vendor to be certified in ISO 27001, SOC2 Type I, Type II, CSA STAR, and similar.

Some vendors will be more transparent than others when displaying their security and data privacy information, but they all have it. If you cannot see that right away, ask for clarification during your demo call.

Other Project Management Software Reviews

We've curated specific lists for you to find the perfect project management apps and PM tools by category.

project management software logos list

What's Next?

Choosing a project management software can be very hard. Remember that if you want to have more information about a specific use case, you can always schedule a demo with the vendor. This will clarify how the tool can solve the particular problems you are trying to solve.

The Digital Project Manager has tons of useful content to help you win at work! You can stay up to date by subscribing to the Insiders Newsletter. New content and interesting PM-related conversations will drop into your inbox every week.

By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com. I've been in the industry for more than 20 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. I'm a Certified Scrum Master, PRINCE2 Practitioner and productivity nut!