Let’s talk about desktop project management software. Are you tired of having 15 tabs open at all times, one of them being the project management software you use every day? Would you like to get notifications right on your desktop telling you about the activity in your projects?
This list is a specific branch from our best project management software list. In this post, I will talk about desktop project management software. Believe me when I say it wasn’t an easy feat finding these tools. After several days of research and what felt like Frodo’s journey from the Shire to Mordor, I finally got your winners.
The software on this list is mostly cloud-based project management tools, but digging deeper into the ones that offer you a desktop experience. A software that you install in your computer, lives there, you can configure to give you notifications on your desktop and finally free you from the chains of the browser experience.
You will notice that I’ve highlighted some of them for their ability to provide offline connectivity (look for the word ‘offline’ in brackets) since I believe it is important for you to know which software can work without an internet connection.
What do I look for when I select the best desktop software? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is the tool visually friendly? In the case of the tools who have a SaaS version of it, I will focus on the similarity between the desktop and online versions.
- Offline synchronization: I will point out which project management app is good for managing projects on-the-go.
- Integrations: I’ll look into the expansion capabilities of each tool through integrations with other productivity software.
- Licensing: I will look at the costs of having the desktop version (if any) and how it compares to cloud-based software.
Desktop Project Management Software Key Features
We expect a desktop app and desktop software to have the same features as cloud-based solutions. Let’s list here some of the features that you can find in these project planning tools.
- Integrations: Connecting the software to other platforms. i.e. Google apps.
- Task management: Ability to track project tasks and move them within the project workflow.
- Communications: A place within the software where team members communicate to increase team collaboration across multiple projects.
- Automations: Feature that allows you to streamline recurring tasks by allowing the software to trigger actions on your behalf.
- Views: Workspaces that show your information in different ways, including task list, Gantt chart, kanban board, and calendar view.
- Resource management: A feature where we can see our team’s workload, or how many projects they are assigned to, for example.
- Templates: Pre-made content that can serve as a starting point for your projects.
- Access Control: The ability to set permissions per user so that only the right people edit the tasks.
- Dashboards: Section within the platform where you can monitor the overall progress of your projects.
- Time management: Module that helps you track individual tasks and measure their impact on your deliverables.
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Overview Of The 10 Best Desktop Software You Need In 2022
Here’s a brief description of each project management solution to showcase noteworthy features in their desktop environment, and screenshots to give you an idea of the user interface.
monday.com is a self-proclaimed workOS that is constantly developing new features and products for their users. Mid-2020 was when they re-released the desktop version of their platform and the one being discussed in this review.
The user interface is as friendly as the browser, having the same color scheme, buttons, and visuals around your workspace. Unfortunately for this desktop tool, there is no offline synchronization. This means you will still have to be hooked up to an internet connection if you want to track that project progress.
One final thought. I noticed this app is a little slower with navigation and loading, so bring out all your mindfulness knowledge to let go of the added stress.
monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible through a paid plan with Zapier.
monday is free for up to 2 users. Paid plans cost from $6/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
For all of Gen Z, Microsoft Project is the Asana of years past. This tool was first released in 1984 and was a project manager’s favorite for a long time, you know, before the internet mostly. Although a classic, Microsoft has never stopped reinventing the tool and adapting it to current project needs.
The interface is as friendly as it can be given that it’s based on spreadsheets. The real win comes from its availability as a stand-alone offline desktop software. If you are the only one who needs visibility of the project plan, and travels constantly, this might be your best choice.
The desktop version lacks the integrations that you love from other online tools. If you want to expand your platform’s functionality with integrations though, you should check out Microsoft Project for the web where you can have integrations with the Microsoft suite and more starting at $10/user/month.
MS Project’s one-time license starts at $679.99
Known for their Kanban-style task management view, this $425 million acquisition by Atlassian started making its way to our desktops in 2017. When the desktop version was released, Trello had already built a mobile version of their browser experience and gone through the process of mirroring their features on another platform.
Their desktop app clearly shows the results because it feels exactly like the software I used to use back in 2014 at my marketing agency. I’ve always liked how intuitive and visually appealing their boards are. Choosing a background for your board is such a silly thing but I love the feeling that level of personalization gives me.
Regarding offline synchronization, they have it! but only in their mobile app. Better than nothing, right? At least I can get some work done when I travel.
Integrations are called power-ups, and you can add as many as you want to a board regardless of your plan.
Trello has a free plan and their paid plans start at $5/user/month.
Bloo, founded in 2018, is a project management tool that wants to serve small businesses. Their price point is lower than other software companies of the category and removes the ‘per user’ payment that we’ve gotten so used to. Flat fee for the month, people!
Their desktop application can be installed through your Google Chrome browser, and it requires an internet connection to work. The interface is very friendly, as you can see in the screenshot. Testimonials from users point out the same thing as well as how easy it is to learn to use it.
If you are looking to do some offline work, their mobile apps (iOS & Android) have offline mode! As the platform is updated every month, we might see offline mode in their desktop app soon.
Integrations: None. Automations: yes.
Pricing flat fee at $50/month. Unlimited everything.
Starting as an open source project, ActiveCollab has been in the market for over a decade. Although not one of the top contenders in productivity tools, this product checks all the boxes for this list.
After using it for a few minutes, it was clear to me that this is a friendly interface. The layout is consistent throughout the different modules, which makes it easy to find your way around it. With a list, column, and timeline view, it has all the necessary ingredients for you to bake your next project.
ActiveCollab has both a mobile and desktop (beta) version of their software, but there’s no offline mode on any of them.
They have a free plan and their paid plans start at $6.25/user/month with a 14-day free trial.
Teamwork is a software with an interesting approach. Although at first glance their user interface looks clean-ish, it’s packed with functionality. In the screenshot above you can see all the options that appear next to each task once you hover over them, making it a little tough when you are first getting your hands on it.
Other than that, the experience using it is great. Lots of colors, big buttons and highlights to see where you are positioned in the platform help navigate it. Now, about you working while you are waiting for your next flight… not possible. The software becomes useless once you lose internet connection.
Teamwork integrates with 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.
Teamwork is free for up to 5 users. Paid plans cost from $10/user/month and come with a 30-day free trial.
Smartsheet is used by some of the biggest brands in the world such as Cisco, Uber and Lego. Their desktop software is a chrome app that is integrated with the Google apps ecosystem. This means you can import contacts, spreadsheets, and more from your Google Drive.
Smartsheet has never been my favorite in terms of friendliness as their interface is a little dull. However, it is practical! Unlike their mobile app, the desktop version allows you to build automated workflows, manage users, project settings, and edit dashboards.
No offline mode, so you’ll have to enjoy your subway ride by being with your thoughts.
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 paid plans cost from $7/user/month and come with a 30-day free trial.
ClickUp is a force to be reckoned with. This San Diego based productivity platform wants to be a one stop shop for us. Because of that ambition, I found in my research that they are constantly updating their platform, releasing new features every week! Whoa!
Their desktop app has been built as a native app for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This means it was designed, planned, and adapted to run smoothly on your computer. Visual friendliness is high as it is easy to find your way around it and feels uncluttered.
As you can see in the screenshot above, ClickUp has offline sync for its desktop app! Time to go to that cabin by the lake with no internet service. You’ll be able to keep creating tasks and reminders or tracking time and the app will automatically sync your information when it recovers an internet connection.
ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.
ClickUp is free with limited storage for an unlimited number of users. Paid plans start at $5/user/month and offer a free-trial.
Hive is a productivity company based in New York. According to user reviews, one of the main reasons people like it is because of how easy it is to learn, and I agree with them. The first time you get your hands on Hive, as any new user, you begin clicking around. After a few minutes I found myself repeating the phrase “it makes sense”.
Their user interface is intuitive and simple. Anything can be found after a couple of clicks, and can be a good tool to adopt as your operation grows. At a competitive price, it has the features needed for teams of all sizes. Unfortunately for this desktop app, it does not work unless you have an active internet connection.
Hive integrates with Google Drive, MS Teams, Slack, Salesforce, Jira, and many more via a paid plan through Zapier.
Hive is free for up to 2 users. Paid plans cost from $12/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
Wrike is a collaborative work management platform that decided to replicate the browser experience within their desktop app. This added multiple tab functionality gives it on my scale a 10/10 in user friendliness.
Regarding offline mode, the desktop version does not have it. I decided to label this tool as an offline desktop app because their mobile app allows you to work while on the road. So, if you have to travel for work, make sure you download their mobile app so you can keep working offline. Tasks will sync once you regain internet connection.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Wrike is free for up to 5 users. Paid plans cost from $9.80/user/month and come with a 14-day free trial.
The 10 Best Desktop Software You Need In 2022 Summary
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out monday.com|
|From $10/user/month||Check out Microsoft Project (offline)|
|From $5/user/month||Check out Trello|
|From $50/month||Check out Bloo|
14 days free trial
|From $6.25/user/month||Check out ActiveCollab|
30 days free trial
|From $10/user/month||Check out Teamwork|
30 days free trial
|From $7/user/month||Check out Smartsheet|
Offer a free-trial
|From $5/user/month||Check out ClickUp (offline)|
14 days free trial
|From $12/user/month||Check out Hive|
14 days free trial
|From $9.80/user/month||Check out Wrike (offline)|
This space will be populated with your recommendations on desktop software that other project managers can take advantage of when working on their next project. Let me know in the comments!
What is desktop project management software?
Project management desktop software refers to tools that live in your computer and are independent from browser applications that live inside one of the tabs in your internet browser.
Desktop software should perform the same as cloud-based software, offering task management, resource management, and collaboration options to name a few.
What do you think about this list?
There you have it! A list of software you can consider for your team or company if you are looking to move away from apps that only live inside browsers. If you have tried any software other than the ones on this list and think it should be considered, let me know in the comments.
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