Below you’ll find an overview of the top project management software on this list, with screenshots, feature overview, and pricing.
Us project managers love project management software. Without it we can find ourselves drowning in an endless sea of spreadsheets, post-its and paperwork. It can be the only thing that separates us from complete carnage.
So you know the benefits of the software, and you know you need something to help with organization and . 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.
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.
- Free forever plan allows unlimited members
- Unlimited file storage on all paid account tiers
- Can email (set-up) a task directly from Outlook
- 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
monday.com is an award-winning project management software used across diverse industries by companies like Hulu, BBC Studios, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal Paris, Adobe, and Deezer.
monday.com features for managing projects include resource and project management, time tracking, collaboration, and reporting features. For example, users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress. And while monday.com doesn’t offer a complete set of tools for project accounting and invoicing solution as other tools, you can use monday.com to track hours, timelines, and invoices.
Overall, it’s a highly customizable tool that lets you work in whatever methodology—Kanban or otherwise—that fits your project and team. You’ll also find some useful workflow tools for automating parts of your process. Read our in-depth monday.com review for a complete overview of the tool, as well as a short video tutorial of basic features.
monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier.
monday.com costs from $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
- Huge focus on collaboration
- Long list of supported integrations
- Easy to customize a workflow or board
- Helpful visual/color coding customization
- Complex pricing rubric
- Gantt charts locked to mid-level plan
- May be too robust for small teams
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.
- In-app timer for task tracking
- Customizable widgets for groups or individuals
- Percentage of project tasks-per-user feature
- Very interactive Gantt chart
- Some difficulty with report building
- Complex menu structure
- Resource planning is not automated
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.
- Different ways to view the same data
- Holistic, comprehensive task modeling
- Many options and opportunities to customize
- No subtasks in the freemium plan
- No offline access
- Commenting system is pretty basic
Hive is a project management tool and collaboration platform that powers companies like Starbucks, Uber, WeWork, and IBM. As the world’s first community built software, Hive’s product roadmap is built entirely of customer requests.
With flexible project views, dependencies, unlimited projects, and thousands of integrations, Hive streamlines your work in one centralized platform. Used by teams of varying sizes, from 10 people to 1,000, Hive is a great option for a diverse range of companies and work styles.
Hive’s time tracking, analytics, and flexible view capabilities allow for transparent understanding of other team members work and upcoming projects. Hive also has full email integration in their project management tool, which allows you to send and receive Gmail and Outlook messages from the app. Choose Hive if you’re in the market for a well-laid-out, comprehensive project management tool that can be scaled up or down based on team needs.
The tool starts with a free package for 1-2 users, and the Hive Teams package is $12/user/month when billed annually.
- Excellent built-in communication features
- Great all-in-one option for SMBs
- Intuitive & pleasant UI
- Easy to integrate with other tools
- Reporting functions could be expanded
- Vastness of capabilities means steep learning curve
- Mobile version limited in functionality
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.
- Sheet-to-sheet linking
- Many project templates & resources
- Ease of sharing
- Easily customizable dashboards
- Jira, Salesforce, Dynamics connector limited to Premier plan
- Changes don’t update in real-time
- Can't customize chart colors
Kintone is a customizable project tracking software platform used by teams at Volvo Trucks North America, Japan Airlines, Shiseido, and over 23,000 organizations worldwide. Their unique approach to project and task management lets you build a wide variety of customizable “apps” either from scratch, using templates or from your existing spreadsheets, for data management, business processes, and workflows. Kintone apps can be customized for project management, sales CRM, customer databases, expense reports, shared to-do lists, equipment management, product feedback, and much more.
Kintone lets you build no-code project tracking apps by dragging and dropping elements that you want to see onto the page: rich text fields, date fields, drop-down menus, number fields with built-in calculations, spaces for attachments, user or group selection menus, related data from other apps, tables, and more.
Once you’ve built the app you want, you can use it to more easily manage whatever data and tasks you and your team need to track. And with custom notifications and reminders as well as detailed permissions settings, your project tracking solution can look and work however you want it to.
What makes Kintone particularly great for project tracking are the features to filter and prioritize tasks by data field or team member to generate custom reports or dashboard views, as well as the ability to automate reminders and handoffs between team members for multi-step workflows.
Kintone’s built-in communication features also allow teams to discuss projects directly in the app and in topic or project-based threads. Dedicated “spaces” organize everything your team needs for your project, including task-tracking apps and searchable conversation threads.
There are so many ways to customize Kintone it can be hard to know where to start. Read the starter blog “What Can You Build with Kintone?” or watch Creating an App from Scratch for a quick look at how the drag-and-drop builder works.
Kintone lets you expand its capabilities with both free native plugins built by the Kintone team as well as integrations with other tools like Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Tableau, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eventbrite, WordPress, QuickBooks, MailChimp, and many more through a paid plan with Zapier or via API integrations.
Kintone costs $24/user/month with a minimum requirement of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) and discounted prices for nonprofits and educators. Kintone’s team also offers a free custom app build as part of the free trial process.
- 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
- 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
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.
- Predictive tasks for spreadsheets
- Can manage resources across multiple projects
- Easy to plan projects and timelines
- Milestone data is lumped together rather than separated
- Additional fee for onboarding/training
- Higher learning curve
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.
The Gantt chart maker allows teams to collaborate in real-time using comments, mentions, and attachments. Resource management and workload features for monitoring team members workload and tasks are also included.
You can integrate your projects with Jira, Google Drive, Slack, and other applications. GanttPRO is widely used in software development, construction, healthcare, finances, events, education, and many other spheres.
Basic plans for 1 user start at $7.99/month if billed annually.
- Intuitive interface with a short learning curve
- Multiple and flexible project views
- Professional Gantt chart templates
- Light on integrations
- Lack of options to create recurring tasks
Zoho Projects is a project management application that can handle projects of all sizes and levels of complexity. The tool comes with features that imitate social networking sites such as feeds, forums, and discussions and is available on mobile for iOS, Android, and other systems.
For project planning and monitoring, Zoho Projects’ Gantt chart features let you break large projects down into manageable sections and actionable tasks, plan and visualize different tasks and milestones, and create tasks lists to help you plan in better detail. Zoho Projects’ Gantt charts can also be used for resource allocation, so you can visualize your project schedule and the team’s workload. The resource usage table tells you who is available, who is busy, and who is overloaded.
With Zoho Projects, you can define dependencies between tasks and assign them to the right people, schedule events in your calendar, and monitor the percentage of work that’s been completed once the work has begun. Automate routine tasks at regular intervals by setting up a recurring task, and set reminder emails for tasks.
You can also create or download project documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, as well as upload and share files for team collaboration. Record the hours spent on tasks and compare them with what you had originally planned. This can be done manually or with the help of an integrated timer. Entries are automatically recorded in your timesheet, and generating invoices from this information requires only a few clicks.
Being part of the Zoho ecosystem allows you to connect to several of Zoho’s other services such as Zoho Books and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well, like Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Zapier, Zendesk, and ServiceNow. Integrations via Zapier and Zoho Flow are also supported.
Zoho Projects costs from $5/user/month and offers a 10-day free trial. Zoho Projects also offers a free plan for up to 3 users and 2 projects.
- Unlimited number of projects
- Easy workflow automations
- Robust communication features
- Time-track multiple tasks at once
- Does not integrate with Quickbooks
- Lacks some reporting features
- Lack of file type export options
Used by Amazon and Netflix, TeamGantt is a project management tool with a freemium version for smaller groups and teams who don’t yet need an upgrade to a paid plan. Obviously, TeamGantt specializes in Gantt charts and other task planning but they also track workloads and team availability, collaboration features like chat and tagging, and customizable alerts.
Project managers should be aware that TeamGantt works best for simple projects but the software struggles to handle more complex projects across multiple teams. For example, it is not easy to gauge project status at a quick glance.
TeamGantt scores well in the Usability segment of the evaluation criteria, as it is incredibly flexible to use. The tool is accommodating to however you may want to set up and track your projects, no matter their structure or constraints. Additionally, providing an easy “read-only” URL makes it great for sharing with outside parties for input.
TeamGantt costs from $24.95/month and has a freemium version of the software for up to 3 users.
- Flexible setup/tracking for projects
- Share charts without recipient logging in
- Easy drag-and-drop task duration
- Really easy to learn
- Dependency functionality can get complicated
- Doesn’t have in-app notifications
- Views lag behind changes
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.
Asana has a colorful, rich, and inviting user interface with everything from compartmentalized productivity items to playful cartoon animations that “zoom” across the screen to celebrate finishing a task. This scored them very well in the UX category of the evaluation criteria.
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.
One minor gripe is that having an active, real-time chat function would benefit this app in particular. Asana bills itself as more of a holistic solution to the project and task management but communication is limited to cumbersome comment sections.
Asana starts at $10.99/user/month and has a freemium version of the software.
Workzone is a great project management software for marketing, agency and operations teams of 5+ users. It’s powerful but it’s still easy to use and adopt. Organizations small and large run their projects and keep their teams in sync—it’s been used and developed for 20 years, so the company has built some really useful features to answer real-world problems.
Some of Workzone’s standout features include a useful all-projects dashboard, personalized to-do lists, and an interactive Gantt chart. Workzone also offers secure file management and creative review tools, customizable project intake forms, workload management, time and expense tracking, and powerful reporting. Flexible permissioning allows for giving different levels of access to different users, providing extra layers of security and control.
For new teams who aren’t used to working with a project management software, Workzone is a smart choice because they assist in implementing the software—their team helps your team build the foundation, processes, and discipline you need to get the most out of the software and use it to manage projects successfully. Their level of support is hard to find—they offer needs assessment, success planning, setup and customization, training, and ongoing coaching.
The tool integrates with standard industry software including various communication, IT, file sharing, time tracking, accounting, marketing, and CRM software. You can extend Workzone’s functionality through their extensive APIdeveloper API and Zapier.
Workzone pricing starts at $40/user/month for up to 5 users. Price per user lessens with the number of users…for instance, for 15 users the price per person starts at $24/user/month.
- Allows creation of templates from existing projects
- Easy to customize tasks using flexible notes system
- Email reminders to keep things flowing
- Completed projects aren’t automatically archived
- Delayed tasks negatively affect independent tasks on the timeline
- Better file access permissions welcomed
WorkOtter is easy to set up and use end-to-end project and resource management solution with a standout user experience and a library of “magic dashboards” to get PMOs automated quickly. Ideal for IT, Engineering, Consulting, or small/medium enterprises who value simplicity and a vendor partnering approach. It’s easily configured and fully integrated solutions for today’s PMOs.
The entire interface can be configured with drag and drop simplicity and works across mobile and desktop devices. Resource capacity planning includes portfolio what-if scenario planning and innovative ASK/GIVE interactivity between project and resource managers. Create your own “magic dashboards” or leverage over 100 templates designed and built by actual clients over many years.
WorkOtter syncs bi-directionally with MS Project, JIRA, and Excel. Teams can sync with Outlook and collaborate by email (without logging in). Document management integrated with Sharepoint, Dropbox, Box, and more. Integrates easily with Salesforce, Teams, Slack, QuickBooks, and more through open Swagger APIs. Dashboards and reports can also be emailed or exported in Excel, XML, CSV, Word, or PDF formats.
WorkOtter manager licenses cost $35/user/month and team members cost $20/user/month (billed annually). Implementation, support, and other license types are available. Perspective clients get an interactive demo, PMO best practice suggestions, cost estimates, and a PPM business case.
- Easy to communicate with others on project
- Interactive visuals to gauge initiative impact
- Open APIs allows to pipe data directly to clients
- Better tailored to experienced PMs, not beginners
- Creating processes can be time consuming
- Some features are limited to desktop, not mobile
MS Projects 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.
This PM software is particularly easy to use and learn if you are at all familiar with the Microsoft family of products, which most offices are these days. Online tutorials and forums can fill in any gaps, making the learning curve small. Thus, it evaluated well in Usability.
Side note: This is a standard and industry-accepted tool, but it’s not perfect. One major downside is that it’s not easy to run on iOS. If you like MS Projects but are looking for similar options that run on a Mac, check out my post on MS Project options for Mac.
MS Projects integrates easily with other Microsoft and Windows products.
One con is that this software tends to use quite a bit of memory and CPU, which is a common problem with Microsoft products.
MS Projects starts at $12.80/user/month and has a free 30-day trial.
- 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
- Limitations on collaboration tools
- Steep learning curve
- Poor customization options
|Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/user/month||Check out ClickUp|
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out monday.com|
30 days free trial
|From $22.50/user/month||Check out Celoxis|
14 days free trial
|From $9.80/user/month||Check out Wrike|
14 days free trial
|From $12/user/month||Check out Hive|
30 days free trial
|From $7/user/month||Check out Smartsheet|
30 days free trial
|From $24/user/month||Check out Kintone|
14 days free trial
|From $31.76/user/month||Check out Forecast.app|
14 days free trial
|From $7.99/user/month||Check out GanttPro|
10 days free trial
|From $5/user/month and offers a 10-day free trial||Check out Zoho Projects|
14 days free trial
|From $24.95/month||Check out TeamGantt|
30 days free trial
|From $10.99/user/month||Check out Asana|
|From $24/user/month||Check out Workzone|
|From $20/user/month||Check out Workotter|
30 day free trial
|From $12.80/user/month||Check out Microsoft Projects|
Need expert help selecting the right Project Management Software?
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What is project management software?
Project management software is software that helps project managers (PMs) plan, execute and control their projects across the five phases of the project lifecycle. It’s a suite of tools to help managers, the and stakeholders work together more effectively. The ultimate goal of the software is to help deliver value more efficiently by facilitating organization, communication, and .
This software covers a huge range of functionality – some tools focus on a discrete aspect of project management, like resource management, time tracking, or Gantt charts, while others like do try to do it all.
Different tools offer features to facilitate every phase of your work, from planning the initial outline or proposal before you begin and then reporting on your successes or shortcoming after everything is said and done. Along the way, you’ll probably need access to tools for proposals, note-taking, collaborative document building, internal messaging, stakeholder communications, creating and assigning tasks, plotting milestones, planning sprints, imaging user stories, data and analytics reporting, project portfolio management, and budget tracking, and timeline scheduling. The best software will attend to the majority of these needs so that you don’t have to bounce between tabs or use multiple apps.
Although some PM software can be installed on-premise, most new tools are offered online as a software-as-service or SaaS which means new features and functionality are rolled out.
Learn more about the different tools used in project management here.
Other Project Management Solutions:
Find the best project management app for:
- Enterprise – Enterprise project management software
- Agile – Agile project management software
- Remote teams – Remote project management software
- Web-based – Web-based project management software
- Free – Free project management software
- Online – Online project management software
- Mac – Best project management software for mac
- Microsoft – Alternatives to MS Project
- Agencies – Project management software for agencies
- Individuals – Project management for individuals
- Creatives – Creative project management software
- Visual planning – Visual project management software
- Marketing – PM software for marketing agencies
- Advertising – PM software for advertising agencies
- Multiple Projects –PM software for multiple projects
- Small Business – Project management software for SMBs
- Startups – Project management software for startups
- Architects – Project management software for architects
- Construction – Construction project management software
What Is Best-In-Breed Software?
Many of the PM solutions on this list focus on being jacks-of-all-trades, packing as many features as possible to assign tasks, navigate team collaboration, flag status, perform resource allocation, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam.
Another kind of tool—the “best-in-breed” or “one trick pony”—does the opposite and hyper-focuses on doing one thing really, really well. You can find specialized tools for things like resource scheduling, communication, managing tasks, making Gantt charts, creating reports, managing digital assets, and managing requirements. Tools like Slack (comms), Dropbox (storage), and Todoist (lists) are examples of these uber-specialized tools. Specialized tools can be great—especially for a small team working with niche requirements, fewer clients, or complex projects with unique needs.
Do I need more than one tool?
Sometimes! And that’s okay. However, if you’re not careful, you end up with a collection of unrelated SaaS software that doesn’t sync properly. You use one tool for communication, another for file sharing and yet another for task management and none of them will speak together behind-the-scenes. You run the risk of duplicate work, entering the same data into each application.
There’s a better way. Instead of using dedicated tools and manually tying them together, use a project management tool with shared-data functionality built-in. This facilitates better briefing and contextual communication.
What are the key Features of a Project Management Tool?
In defining a good project management tool I’ve focused on tools that facilitate the “doing” aspect. That means getting people together to create something, and get from A to B.
So what does it take to deliver a project? I’ve identified five key aspects of functionality that makes delivering projects easier. You can use them to get rid of your post-its and spreadsheets, and to run your project more efficiently.
- Project task lists: Projects are made up of sub-tasks, sub-sub-tasks, checklists, and to-do’s. Being able to outline what needs to be done, by when & by who, is critical to delivering a project well. Individual task lists as well as those accessible by the entire team are essential. In-house project team and/or remote team members should be able to assess any project or task progress at a glance.
- 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.
- File sharing: No one likes having to waste timing trying to dig around for random files. The ability to organize and share key project files and assets is important for delivering projects efficiently.
- Communication: A good collaboration tool that allows for contextual project-specific communication enables you and your team to hash things out quickly. Regular communication with your team and client is vital for tracking progress and keeping everything in line.
- Reporting: It’s your job to know whether or not a project is on track and to use this information in communication. Therefore, it’s essential to know how a project’s tasks are progressing—will it be delivered on time, or not?
With any software, you have to draw a line between what’s essential and what’s not. In my criteria, I’ve focused on the execution of a project. That means I haven’t focused on mind map planning, billing, post mortem, or other above-and-beyond capabilities. However, if the tools above touch on any advanced functionality (pre-project estimating, post-project aspects, etc.), that’s great! That’s just not my focus here.
What Do You Think?
What do you think I’m missing from this project management system review? Have different criteria for selecting a PM tool? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any suggestions, tips or thoughts on using this kind of PM software. Why not share them using the comments below?
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