With so many different project workflow solutions available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want to manage the execution of your timelines more efficiently but need to figure out which tool is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using dozens of different project tools with large teams and projects, with my picks of the best project workflow software.
What is project workflow software?
Project workflow software is a tool that optimizes and automates project processes, enhancing efficiency and clarity in task management and team collaboration. This software provides a systematic and visual representation of the project workflow, outlining the sequence of activities, dependencies, and milestones.
This tool allows you to create and customize project workflows tailored to the unique requirements of your projects. By visualizing the entire project workflow, you can identify potential bottlenecks, allocate resources strategically, and set realistic timelines.
monday.com is an award-winning project workflow platform that has the functionality to back these accolades.
Why I picked monday.com: They have a feature called subitems, which you might know as subtasks, that allows you to nest activities within your workflow. Subitems can be added at any moment with a couple of clicks, as you can see in the image above.
As your project increases in complexity, monday.com allows you to move tasks between progress stages with their drag-and-drop functionality, create subitems, convert those subitems to main items, and arrange the project in the way you need it to be. Flexibility is clearly the inspiration behind the building of this tool.
Want to take it one step further? monday.com knows that your workflow does not stop at knowing the tasks and their dependencies, but tracking them as well. For that reason, they created an activity log where you can track all the actions performed in a subitem like status updates, task completion, comments, and keep you from being that nagging person I know you hate becoming.
monday.com Standout Features & Integrations
Features include fifteen unique views, resource and project management, time tracking, collaboration, file management, collaborative docs and reporting dashboards.
Integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible through a paid plan with Zapier.
Productive is an all-in-one work management solution designed specifically for the needs of agencies. It offers project, resource, and budget management, time tracking, and team collaboration features.
Why I picked Productive: Agencies can outline their workflows and track their projects through to completion using this software's board, timeline, and Gantt chart views. It helps you plan and execute your client projects efficiently, and assign work according to people's capacity, skill set, and more.
Beyond project and workflow management, the software also has built in time tracking. This helps you refine your workflows and business processes as you monitor the time it takes to complete specific tasks. Billing is also included in the platform, and syncs up with time tracking to ensure accurate invoicing for clients.
Productive Standout Features & Integrations
Features include multiple views (list, calendar, board, timeline, and table), resource and capacity planning, project budgeting, document management, time tracking, billing, and reporting tools.
Integrations include Dropbox, Exact, Google Workplace, Jira, Harvest Economic, Outlook, Microsoft Calendar, Slack, QuickBooks, and Xero. A Zapier integration is also available, which can unlock more integrations with a paid account.
Pneumatic Workflow is a workflow management software you can use to create automated workflows for all your core internal business processes.
Why I picked Pneumatic Workflow: I included Pneumatic Workflow in this list because their software is perfect for organizations that are bogged down in admin processes that aren't automated yet. You can use Pneumatic Workflow to create automated processes with individual tasks assigned to each member of your team as needed. When it comes to HR administration, you can create an assembly-line sequence of activities for your entire HR team.
Pneumatic Workflow Features and Integrations
Features include workflow tools, templates, shareable kick-off forms, conditional logic, a WYSIWYG editor, file versioning, and comment threads to help team members quickly communicate with one another about changes or updates they have made on any given project.
Integrations are available through third-party connections using Zapier and Make. Additionally, you can build custom integrations using the Pneumatic API.
Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform. You can brainstorm, plan, visualize, and manage your projects and access them from anywhere.
Why I picked Miro: It's intuitive and easy to use. You don't need to be a tech wizard to figure it out. Plus, it's not just for project managers or tech teams. Anyone who needs to organize their thoughts, ideas, or projects can use it. Whether you're a teacher, a student, a designer, a marketer, or a CEO, you'll find Miro useful.
You can use it for a wide range of things, from creating user story maps and wireframes to planning your next business strategy or teaching a class. It's also super interactive. You can add comments, tag your teammates, and even vote on ideas. Plus, it works in real time so you can collaborate with your team even if you're miles apart.
Miro Standout Features & Integrations
Features include a large template library, clustering, voting, timer, mind maps, freeform drawing, developer platform, access control, and GDPR and CCPA compliance.
Integrations include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Workspace, Asana, monday.com, Jira, Dropbox, OneDrive, Notion, Airtable, ClickUp, and Unito, among others.
Camunda Platform is an open-source project workflow software that enables organizations to model, automate, and monitor business processes.
It offers a comprehensive set of features for managing and tracking the progress of projects from beginning to end. From process modeling and automation to analytics and monitoring, Camunda Platform makes it easy for organizations to keep their projects on track. It provides users with tools for creating process models that define the steps in a project from start to finish. These models can be used as the basis for automating tasks such as data entry or document processing using BPMN. This eliminates manual work associated with repetitive tasks and ensures that projects are completed efficiently.
Camunda Platform also provides users with powerful analytics capabilities. Users can track the progress of their projects in real-time using dashboard views of KPIs. This allows users to quickly identify areas where processes are not meeting expectations or require further optimization.
It also includes reporting capabilities that allow users to generate reports on the progress of their projects over time. These reports provide useful insights into how processes are performing, enabling users to make informed decisions about how best to optimize their processes going forward. The software includes monitoring tools that enable users to monitor the performance of their processes in real time. These tools provide notifications when certain conditions are met, such as when a task is overdue, allowing users to stay on top of any potential issues before they become serious problems. Additionally, its API enables developers to quickly integrate it with existing tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Trello without having to do extensive development or maintenance work on their end.
“Less expensive than chaos”. That’s how beSlick describes themselves and it’s too good not to share with you. We all know what they are talking about. Just like other tools on this list, it deals with that component of our work that builds predictability. The more “template-based” we make our work, the better it is for the company and ourselves.
There are two main components to beSlick that I want to focus on here. Tasks and templates. Tasks is a section with a checklist of things to do within the project, only those tasks are processes themselves and are based on the templates you create. I can see this working well for those of you working with freelancers that need to deliver content, and I’ll explain why.
When you are creating the template for your project, you can attach documents to the task, such as a creative brief. Then, you can also add file sharing as a requirement for completion. This means the person will have to upload a file with the results, say the design for your Youtube thumbnails. If you need some inspiration, there is a library of 25 common process templates to pick from.
Integrations are available through Zapier, and it gives you access to thousands of other apps.
beSlick offers a free 14-day trial after booking a demo. Paid plans cost from $10/user/month and come with discounts for charity and education organizations.
If you have been reading the reviews of the other tools in this list, you know that a Gantt view is your best friend to have visibility of your workflow. TeamGantt is specifically focused on making the most out of this type of information display and personalizes it to the point where it’s ridiculously easy to see dependencies between tasks.
Why I picked TeamGantt: Their list view is a condensed version of your tasks where you can add start and end dates with ease. If you decide to use the Gantt view though, I recommend that you input the information on tasks that do not take months to be completed. Why? Because the way you set the duration is by dragging your pointer on the chart section from day 1 to the final day of that task.
One thing I really like about this software is that it still is a collaboration tool at heart. Traditionally, the project file is only for you and, after talking to the team in your checkpoint meeting, you update it. TeamGantt has added permission levels to the platform so you can decide how team members can interact with your plan! This will allow them to only update the tasks that concern them and not mess with other people’s activities or mess up your project plan.
TeamGantt Standout Features & Integrations
Features include multi-project display, drag-and-drop interface, workload and team availability, portfolio views, planned vs actual timelines, dedicated mobile apps, real-time progress, and reporting.
Integrations include tools like Slack, Trello, and Dropbox. Additionally, it offers an API for custom integrations and connects to hundreds of other apps using a paid Zapier account.
ClickUp is one of the DPM favorites because they pride themselves in being a single platform that replaces every productivity tool across the company. Let me tell you. they’re not lying so far.
Why I picked ClickUp: Their project management module is called ‘simple project management’. This module is far from simple in terms of functionality. Create your tasks from the task view. An easy click allows you to add subtasks and see them visually connect with lines, so you can see the hierarchy. Ready to add dates? Go to the view section and change the view to Gantt. From there you can click on the board to create a timeline bar for the task and drag it from the side to adjust for duration.
Easy to use, intuitive, and uncluttered. The level of detail achieved in this and the other views is incredible. I take my hat off to Clickup on this one; the Dr. Seuss kind of hat.
ClickUp Standout Features & Integrations
Features include ClickApps that extend the tool's functionality, templates, nested subtasks, over fifteen task views, automations, in-app collaboration using whiteboards and collaborative documents, and custom reporting.
Integrations include apps like Slack, Toggl Track, Harvest, Vimeo, Figma, Zoom, G Suite, and Dropbox. You can also access thousands of additional apps using Zapier and build custom integrations using ClickUp's API.
If you have been in project management for many years, you will enjoy using Smartsheet. Smartsheet is a powerful project management software with a classic feel to it, almost like having an Excel spreadsheet embedded in a cloud-based platform.
Why I picked Smartsheet: You can tell right away that this software focuses on functionality. There’s no loud colors or aesthetically immaculate interfaces. It’s all about the tasks in the project, and how you can make the most out of them.
If you are just starting your project, it is best if you use the grid view. That way you can focus on recording the information in bulk and you can figure out the dependencies later in the Gantt view. If you’re looking to get wild, go to the calendar view once you are done and embrace chaos!
Smartsheet Standout Features & Integrations
Features include dashboards, reports that consolidate multiple sheets, workflow automation, resource management, multiple views, forms to collect information, and digital asset management using Brandfolder.
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.
Teamwork is a project management software that has been designed to scale with your operation, as it has multiple integrations and features that can be plugged into your software as you grow.
Why I picked Teamwork: Finally a project workflow tool for all of us who have attention problems! Sometimes I find myself working on project #3, when BAM! 💥a trigger makes me remember that I forgot to add that task I discussed about 15 minutes ago to project #1. However, I’m in the middle of this update and I don’t want to change views and change my focus. Enter: quick add!
Quick add allows you to add a task to any project from any place you are within the tool. Unfortunately, this button will not allow you to add subtasks but I’m sure the people at Teamwork reading this are taking notes. Even though their Gantt view is not the most visually friendly, workflows are easy to follow with their other views. Table view is good if you are transitioning from Excel or other cell-based software. Table view shows the tasks, dates, priority, and assignee in the same place.
Warning: the default view filter is set to show incomplete tasks only. This will remove any tasks that you complete and that may scare you! Make sure you set the dropdown to view all tasks on the top-right corner. You’re welcome!
Teamwork Standout Features & Integrations
Features include resource management, workload management, intake forms, external collaborator access, project financials, invoicing, retainers, file management, proofing, templates, and multiple reports.
Integrations include Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, Dropbox, Slack, Microsoft Teams, MS Office, Harvest, Quickbooks, Xero, Hubspot, SharePoint, Microsoft Project, SoftSync, and hundreds of others using a paid plan through Zapier.
Best for its 200+ workflow automation options
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)||Website|
Best all-in-one work management solution for agencies
14-day free trial
Best project workflow software for building internal workflows
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $99/month (unlimited users)||Website|
Best for its wide selection of pre-made templates
Free plan available
Best for tracking the progress of projects from beginning to end
30-day free trial
Build your process templates with ease
14-day free trial
Best for visual project planning
30-day free trial
Best for nested checklists
Freemium plan available
Best for its hyper-customizable spreadsheet functionality
Freemium version available
Best for external collaborator work
30-day free trial
Best for agencies and professional services teams
Best for hybrid work teams
Best scheduling features for contractors
Best for project portfolio management
Best for professional services
Best request and approval workflow management
Minimalistic user interface for easy navigation
- Process Street
Workflow management with drag-and-drop editor
Powerful tool with power-ups to cover your workflow wishes
Workflows with custom fields to fit your team
How I Picked The Best Workflow Management Software
This list is compared using the visibility of granular information as a priority. Although most of these tools have customizable, no-code features and automation tools to handle complex workflows, I wanted to bring it back to basics.
Understanding the interconnections between tasks in a project is what ultimately makes it successful. Identifying the critical path or knowing that one section of your project cannot start until another (apparently unrelated) is finished.
After researching the most popular workflow management tool options on the market, I compared them using some of the factors I discussed above. Here’s a summary of the evaluation criteria I used for the finalists:
User Interface (UI)
I look for friendly visual aspects of the tool that make it enjoyable to use. Why? you are going to be stuck to your software for long periods of time.
I look at the overall user experience. Is it easy to navigate? Is it intuitive? How many clicks to create a task, move it, transform it?
Integrations are an important part of a project management tool, as it's the way we can get closest to a true all-in-one solution. Therefore, I look at custom integrations using an API, pre-built integrations, and connections we can make using third-party software.
Value for Pricing
I look at the benefits and if they outweigh the cost of the license. I will highlight the monthly price on a monthly plan, when available. Also, I will tell you if the workflow management solution has a free plan, free trial, and anything relevant to your decision.
What is a workflow?
What is a workflow diagram?
What is workflow management?
Can I automate a workflow?
What key features should I look for in project workflow software?
That’s all!. Interested in taking a step back and looking at the broader picture? This article on the best workflow management software can give you a sense of direction.
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