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.
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.
monday.com is an award-winning project management platform that can help you build custom workflows for your projects.
Why I picked monday.com: I chose this tool because it's customizable in almost every way. Besides all the different task views, custom fields, and collaboration features, monday.com is great at helping you create automated workflows. The automation center is a view where you can select from pre-defined templates and simply click to select the information that is most relevant to you from dropdown menus.
Additionally, I like that it offers template actions built for integrations like Slack, and custom cards that you can start from scratch. If you go down this route, you will be taken to a drag-and-drop builder. You can also read my in-depth monday.com review for a complete overview of the tool, as well as a short video tutorial of basic features.
monday.com Standout Features & Integrations
Features include resource workload and allocation that will give you information on what your team is doing and how busy they are. Another standout is the collaborative docs that help everyone co-author documentation and link to other files within the software. Finally, its customizable dashboards make it possible for you to build views that display the data that is relevant to your operation.
Integrations include pre-built connections to apps like Slack, Google Drive, DocuSign, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more. Additionally, you can connect to thousands of additional apps via Zapier.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
Kintone is a customizable project tracking platform used by teams at Volvo Trucks North America, Japan Airlines, Shiseido, and over 23,000 organizations worldwide.
Why I picked Kintone: This software's 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. I chose to include it because the apps can be customized for project management, sales CRM, customer databases, expense reports, shared to-do lists, equipment management, product feedback, and much more.
I also like that you can build your no-code project tracking apps by dragging and dropping elements that you want to see onto the page. This includes rich text fields, date fields, drop-down menus, number fields with built-in calculations, and more. Once you’ve built the app you want, you can use it to track whatever data and tasks you and your team need. Finally, custom notifications and reminders will keep you up to date.
In my opinion, 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.
Kintone Standout Features & Integrations
Features include a pre-built application library, enhanced process management, private messaging, real-time custom graphs and charts, and granular permission controls.
Integrations. 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.
- 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
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.
- Free plan for 2 workbooks & 5 views each
- Free unlimited viewer-only accounts
- Live support via phone & video call
- Unlimited audit trail locked to highest plan
- May cost extra for monthly integration sync credits
QuickBase is a project management platform that focuses on workflow design, automation, and compliance. It provides a no-code application builder to help you craft and manage various business processes.
Why I picked QuickBase: This software made it onto my list because of its versatility and customizability. Because it's such a flexible tool, it can be applied in all different types of work settings and contexts. You can use it to build clear, streamlined processes for your teams, creating consistency and ensuring standardized best practices are followed.
In addition to outlining your core workflows, you can also automate parts of them. The builder allows you to not just map your applications but also to automate tasks and develop integrations with other tools as needed. This helps you alleviate manual workloads, reduce the risk of manual error, and streamline how work gets done across your organization.
QuickBase Standout Features & Integrations
Features include the software's 'starter apps' and app 'components'. These are tools that help you speed up the creation process. Starter apps are ready-made applications you can implement quickly at your business, while components are pre-configured elements of applications you can piece together to build a bespoke app more quickly. This is super helpful for getting applications up and running in a timely manner.
Integrations include Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Slack, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Trello, Asana, Jira, Zendesk, and Docusign, among others.
- Highly customizable and flexible to suit various contexts
- On-premise options with enterprise level plans
- FDA & HIPAA compliance with higher-tier plans
- Some features come as paid add-ons
- Not all integrations are available with all plans
Ravetree is a work management software platform that empowers teams to deliver work faster, be more informed, and spend less time searching for information. Project-driven organizations around the world use Ravetree to manage their projects, resources, and client information—all in one place.
Why I picked Ravetree: Companies love Ravetree’s elegant and clean user interface, which makes it easy to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and clients. Ravetree eliminates the pain of moving between different applications, relying on cumbersome spreadsheets, and entering the same data in multiple places. Other tools are geared towards either project managers or team members, but not both. Ravetree has solved this problem by providing the powerful features needed by project managers while offering the usability and intuitiveness needed by team members who just want to get work done.
Ultimately, companies benefit from having a single source of truth from which they can optimize their operations and easily see the big picture. Ravetree has a 5-star customer support rating and takes pride in being a customer-focused company. Training, setup, and customer support are 100% free.
Standout Features & Integrations
Features include resource management, client portals, request forms, file management, CRM, time tracking, and billing.
Integrations include native integrations with Box, GitHub, Google Drive, Stripe, QuickBooks, Facebook, Exchange, Gmail, HubSpot, and Xero.
- Easily track multiple projects
- Robust budgeting features
- Distinction between billable and non-billable hours
- Reporting tools are lacking
- No public API
- Home board not customizable
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.
Why I picked GanttPRO: The software includes features for breaking down projects in an efficient manner. For example, I was able to break down my work into subtasks, sibling tasks, and subprojects, as well as set dependencies and milestones. To get more visibility, I also liked that you can choose between a 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, which I found pretty handy. Resource management and workload features for monitoring team members' workload and tasks are also included.
GanttPRO Standout Features & Integrations
Features include task management, resource management, time management, budget tracking, different data views, and templates to get you quickly started on a project.
Integrations include Jira, Google Drive, Slack, and other applications. GanttPRO is widely used in software development, construction, healthcare, finances, events, and education.
GanttPRO Plans & Pricing
Basic plans for one user start at $7.99/month if billed annually and offer a fully featured 14-day free trial.
- 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
Hub Planner is a project management and resource scheduling software that helps you manage your team's projects as well as their time.
Why I picked Hub Planner: This software made my list because it's especially good for resource planning and employee time tracking. I like that you can plan your projects with the budgeting system, which covers internal and external billing rates as well as project spend. Dependencies also allow you to connect projects with one another and monitor overlap in resource utilization.
Resource planning is ultimately the heart of the platform, and where it truly shines. I think it's useful that you can create employee schedules and do capacity planning to make sure each project is well-resourced. Employees can track their time in the system, keeping track of billable and non-billable hours and the time required for various tasks.
Hub Planner Standout Features & Integrations
Features include the software's skills matching capabilities. You can find resources based on the specific skills needed for projects and tasks, and then assign staff to projects based on their workloads and capacity. I also found the drag-and-drop scheduler quite handy and easy to use.
Integrations include DIY options via the Hub Planner API and webhooks. Additionally, you can access thousands of apps using a Zapier account.
- Project budgeting included
- Well-suited to professional service companies
- Resource management included
- Project management is not the primary functionality
- Somewhat rudimentary task management
Nifty is a project management tool that reduces project development cycles and improves team productivity by measuring progress by milestones and ensuring organizational goals remain on schedule.
Why I picked Nifty: I chose this tool because it allows you to manage tasks through Kanban or list views, has a built-in calendar that can be integrated with Google, and includes features for file and document sharing. It also has some great collaboration features, such as individual discussion threads that are project-specific, which I found to be a helpful addition.
Nifty is flexible to your team's project workflow, and the cross-organizational project overview tab provides insights into high-level timelines. Meanwhile, I like that you can also do a task-level deep-dive analysis for projects. I also found the help center to be super useful for ensuring maximum team efforts on the platform.
Nifty Standout Features & Integrations
Features include discussions, task management, time tracking, collaborative docs that can be centrally stored, and reporting.
Integrations include importing data from Asana, Basecamp, ClickUp, and Trello, and has native integrations with Slack, Zoom, GitHub, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Google Calendar, while its Zapier integration connects Nifty with over 1000 additional apps.
Paid plans starting at just $5/user/month.
- Good chat feature within the system
- Multitude of integrations
- Easy document storage, creation, and management
- Guests & clients can only be invited on paid plans
- Time tracking & reporting is available with paid account only
- No native integrations with Financial planning tools
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.
- User-friendly and intuitive interface
- Integrates with Figma for design collaboration
- Offers community templates for various uses
- Real-time collaboration capabilities
- Limited sharing access for non-Figma users
- Onboarding and account support locked to enterprise plan
- No offline access available
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.
- 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
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.
- Flexible for small businesses
- Rollups and Lookups to organize data
- Forms easy to distribute and embed
- Color-code lists and project items
- Steep learning curve
- Time consuming to build custom tables
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.
- 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
Get the PM Software Buyer's Guide
Best for building custom workflows across teams
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)||Website|
Best for low-code project management automation
Freemium version available
Best project management software for remote work teams
Freemium plan available
Best project management software for scaling organizations
Free plan available
Best PM software to build business apps for any process
30-day free trial
Best for real-time collaboration with unlimited viewer-only accounts
Free plan available
Best for no-code applications and workflows
30-day free trial
|From $35/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best for client service businesses
7-day free trial
Best for planning and scheduling projects with an online Gantt chart
14-day free trial
|From $9.99/ per user / per month||Website|
Best with resource management built in
30-day free trial
|From $7/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best project management software for portfolio management
14-day free trial
|From $9 /user/month||Website|
FigJam by Figma
Best for a highly flexible and collaborative solution
Free plan available
Best for teams that work in the Microsoft ecosystem
30-day free trial
Best for building project databases
Free plan available
Best AI-native project planning tool
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best PM software for invoicing clients
Best for teams who use Kanban-style project boards with WIP limits
For small teams looking to combine Kanban and to-do lists
Best project management software for software developers
best built-in mind mapping capabilities
Best online task management software for complex projects
Best easy agile project management software
- Planview Clarizen
Best enterprise project management software
Best for software teams
Best for creative teams and agencies
Best for straightforward planning and management by project
Best for managing complex projects
Best UI for usability & intuitiveness
- Easy Projects
Best for enterprise teams from medium to large companies.
Best for unlimited client/contractor access
Best for advanced time tracking
Check out our video on the top project management tools:
How I Picked The Best Project Management Software
To make the selection of the best project management software, I tested, analyzed, evaluated and compared the most popular project management tools and project management apps in the market today. In selecting the top project management programs, I personally explored and reviewed the pricing, capability, features, functionality, user interface, ease of onboarding, and customer support, based on my hands on experience, and from conversations with other users. I evaluated and weighted the features and functionality that make a project management system a good choice for effective project management.
Project Task Management Capabilities
At its core, every project management software app needs to have powerful task management capabilities to ensure the project team are working on the right tasks, at the right time. Project management systems must allow easy scheduling of tasks, the ability to assign them to resources, and set due dates and dependencies. Additionally, it includes several ways to view that information, such as Kanban, Gantt, calendar, and table views.
When done right, task management can help you track project progress and have custom fields for parameters that are specific to your business operation.
I looked at the project management apps and the way they enable you and your team to interact with each other. Among these collaboration features are mentions, comments, annotations, built-in chats, attachments, and anything that involves team communication.
Overall, user-friendly features will make collaboration easy, and it's even better when they are available on a mobile app. This way, the team can collaborate with more freedom.
Here, I focused on the available categories of features that are helpful in managing projects. It was more about the quality of the features than quantity. Therefore, I focused on the ones that bring our teams closer for collaboration, assist as tracking tools, provide valuable insights or help us automate our work.
I’ve identified five key aspects of functionality that make 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 tasks, sub-tasks, checklists, and to-dos. 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. An in-house project team and/or remote team members should be able to assess any project or task progress at a glance.
- 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 is key to being able to deliver a project on time. A robust, visual, and editable project schedule is key to any good project plan.
- Project file sharing: No one likes having to waste time trying to dig around for random files. The ability to organize and share key project files and assets is important for delivering projects efficiently.
- Project communication and collaboration: 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.
- Project dashboards and reporting: Project tracking tools are essential to successful project delivery. As a project manager, it’s your job to know whether or not the project tasks, and therefore the project project is on track and use this information to communicate to the team and stakeholders the impact. Therefore, it’s essential to know how a project’s tasks are progressing—will it be delivered on time or not?
I looked at software that could help expand the platform's functionality. Therefore, I included information on cloud-based providers that you can connect to. These integrations can be pre-built, through third-party software, or custom-built using an API.
Project Management Software Benefits
Project management software is critical to keep my projects, teams, resources, and dependencies in check. It keeps everyone and everything involved in project delivery, organized and under control. It helps to hit critical milestones, align on deliverables, deliver within the project budget and timeline constraints, and ultimately to meet project goals.
Project management software ultimately helps transform project confusion and chaos into clarity, and gives you the control you need to steer your projects toward their intended objectives and outcomes.
Why should I use project management software?
What is the best free project management software?
What can you do with project management software?
How much does project management software cost?
Should I choose software based on my PM methodology?
The short answer is yes. Your PM methodology will be directly related 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 ultimate goal of project management software?
The ultimate goal of project management software is to help deliver value more efficiently by facilitating organization, communication, and management.
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 try to do it all.
Different tools offer features to facilitate every phase of the project lifecycle, from planning the initial outline or proposal before you begin and then reporting on your successes or shortcomings 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, change management, data and analytics reporting, project portfolio management, budget tracking, and timeline scheduling. The best software will tend to most 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. This means new features and functionality are rolled out as they are built.
What common features can I find in project management software?
Here is a quick list of the features that you can commonly find in different project management software. Not all might be available in the same tool, but all tools will offer a subset of these.
- Project planning
- Task management
- Resource management
- Time and budget tracking
- Project views
What is the best project management software?
I hate to break it to you, but it depends. The best project management software is the one with features that solve your current needs. You should choose a product that can do that and grow with your company as you require more features or improved security. The last thing you want is to have to go through the process of choosing a new tool again further down the road.
Fortunately, most of the current online PM software solutions have pricing plans that you can pay month-to-month and upgrade at any time.
I recommend you start by defining a budget for project management software licenses and go from there. Although these tools come at a low price point, PMs within our community have mentioned that they can get very expensive very quickly. Nothing beats proper planning. If you want more information on how to select the right software for you, check out our buyer’s guide.
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.
Any implementation will have an adjustment period where people are either training on how to use the tool or being less productive than usual. Why? Because they are trying to figure out how to adapt their workflows.
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 is Best-Of-Breed Software?
Many of the work management 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-of-breed” or “one trick pony”—does the opposite and hyper-focuses on doing one thing really, really well. You can many types of project management software for things like:
- Resource scheduling
- 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.
How many project management tools do I need?
In an ideal scenario, you wouldn't need more than one project management tool. However, the reality can be frustrating. You will probably end up using more than one tool. You use one tool for communication, another for file sharing and yet another for task management. An important thing to remember is that the best PM software for you should integrate all these tools you currently use.
It's ideal if the tools are integrated, and can talk to each other. This helps reduce manual update work and the number of times you switch between apps.
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, we 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 project management software has the best special features?
I selected ClickUp as the best tool with special features. ClickUp's tagline mentions them being the app to replace them all, so they have made sure to add everything they can, and not in a sloppy way. The software works great and has a wonderful free version that lets you test all of its features.
Special features include:
- Collaborative whiteboards and documents
- Scrum support to manage sprints within the platform
- Marketing collateral proofing with a comments section
- Over 35 clickApps that extend the software's functionality with stuff like Sprint points, time tracking, and automations.
- Fully customizable dashboards.
Project Management Software Trends for 2024
As you may have noticed, this year is bringing technological changes at an unprecedented rate.
Who is the culprit? AI.
But just like technology is shifting, so is society. Companies are trying to bring people back to the workplace after a few pandemic and post-pandemic periods that demystified remote work.
On the opposite side of that argument, people are exercising their right to speak up and demand better working conditions. And don't forget the 4-day workweek!
Whether we want it or not, these changes affect how we work. Especially when it comes to project management. Suddenly we are expected to deliver our projects the same way we did before, even though the conditions in which projects are developed have completely shifted.
Having said that, we want to help you win at work and stay ahead of the curve, which is why we've identified five project management trends that will affect you in 2024.
1. Constant change of digital tools and tech
I know this is basically what we see every year. But I don't have to tell you how many new tools are coming to market at the moment. We can see the explosion of software that AI is bringing. Tech is changing at an accelerated rate and showing no signs of slowing down.
Because of this, companies will, on average, use more tools and will need to manage tech budgets to control spending. Also, it will push more tools to provide software integration options for users to centralize their information.
2. Mass adoption of hybrid methodologies
We expect an increased adoption of hybrid methodologies as project managers explore the combinations that work best for their team's specific conditions.
Blending methodologies is not new but this time it's being impacted by remote work and having distributed teams. As you blend methodologies, make sure you communicate clearly.
Moving away from a single methodology means you are disrupting the workflows known by everyone. Be clear on how you will be working before starting the project.
3. Focus on soft skill development
The DPM has always been focused on a healthy balance between execution and business. Now the world of project management is catching up and we can see it in the PMIs Pulse of Profession report.
Now there is a heavy focus on personal skills, communication, leadership, and having an innovative mindset. This means that employers will focus more on project managers with a mix of skills and credentials rather than only having a certification.
4. Preference for remote and contract work
You can ask me, Ben, why is this a trend? We are living it! Well, it is a trend because more people will focus on staying this way. As I mentioned earlier, companies are trying to bring people back but we are not liking it very much.
Therefore, people will continue to give preference to jobs that can be flexible and allow people to fit work around their lives instead of the opposite. This also means some people will prefer to freelance and you might find it bleeding into your project teams.
5. Obsession with data
We are living in a time when we can measure almost anything we can think of. On top of that, we are engaging in conversations over metrics, KPIs, OKRs and whatever new acronyms we'll develop.
This means you can no longer be the person who does not do numbers. Your clients will expect you to show them graphs, charts, and statistics that let them analyze your team's performance. You will have to be extra vigilant in setting expectations properly and only choosing the data that makes sense for the project.
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.
- 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.
- Remote teamwork – Remote PM software
- Web-based – Web-based PM software
- Mac – Best PM software for Mac
- Microsoft – Alternatives to MS Project
- Agencies – Best agency management systems
- Creatives – Creative PM software
- Visual planning – Visual PM software
- Marketing – PM software for marketing agencies
- Productivity - Best productivity tools
- Project scheduling - Project scheduling software
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.
We have 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.