Project management software helps project managers and teams complete client requirements and manage time, budget, and scope constraints. While implementing a new project management solution may seem intimidating, the time you spend researching your options will result in significant ROI. We’ve researched hundreds of project management platforms to bring you this report on the year’s best project management software.
Top Project Management Software
Project management platforms are expanding their functions and crossing boundaries with their combination of features. That’s good news for project managers, but the array of features, options, and pricing tiers can complicate the evaluation and selection process. From simple project scheduling software to enterprise-grade project planning and management platforms, we’ve researched a list of the best software for project management for different types of industry and business needs.
What Is Project Management Software?
A project management tool helps project managers, teams, and individual contributors complete tasks, organize client requirements, and manage time, budget, and scope constraints.
Companies that use the right project management benefit by delivering projects that provide the expected results within cost and on time. This guide covers the types of project management implementation, the major features you should look for, and what companies of all sizes should consider when making a purchase.
Types of Project Management Software
When project software became available and affordable to businesses, companies replaced their pen-and-paper project tracker systems with project management solutions.
But technology continues to evolve, so desktop applications improved in features, scale, and security that allowed multiple users access to the software over a company’s own data network. When cloud computing presented options and advantages, management software vendors offered their subscription-based products over the internet to businesses of all sizes. It also opened the market to more providers offering a variety of systems.
Online Project Management Software
Web-based project management programs are accessible through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription from any internet-connected web browser. These online platforms cater to businesses of all sizes across industries. Users in various locations can access the tool from different devices such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones to get up-to-date project status and information from a central database.
Today’s online project management software has a rich set of features that can compete with enterprise systems. Many of these apps provide several methods to visualize project tasks and goal progress, collaborate with coworkers, automate workflows, share files, message team members, and integrate with email.
By expanding their feature sets, online management software also fall into the categories of collaboration software or business process management software. Examples of online project management solutions include Zoho Projects, Microsoft Project, and Basecamp.
On-Premise Project Management Software
On-premise project management programs reside on the company’s own server. The server will be inside the company’s data center and managed by its IT employees. Companies often purchase a single on-premise license and may have to purchase additional upgrades or updates. Companies prefer on-premise project software due to concerns about as well as long-term costs.
When the company runs the software on its private servers, they have full control over the data storage and security protocols to protect that data. Enterprises with 50, 100, or more users can save from monthly subscription costs if they purchase one-time license fees used in on-premise project management programs. They also have control over when to schedule software updates to make preparations and not experience any downtime due to an automatic product update inherent in SaaS systems.
Integrated vs Best-of-Breed Software
Today’s project management solutions include several features and tools to manage a wide array of business project scopes. Specialized project software can manage simple projects satisfactorily. A best-of-breed application specializes in one particular capability, such as task management, scheduling, or time tracking.
Integrated suite applications combine several functions like task management, Gantt charting, and time tracking. Businesses prefer integrated tools for a unified solution that provides visibility, improves collaboration, and supports accountability.
Startups and small businesses need simple management software solutions with fewer features that cover basic functionality. Task management, team collaboration, document management, and email integrations are all common features that should be included in your chosen project management tool.
A comprehensive project management solution has more features that cover core project management functions such as scheduling, resource management, and financial management on top of more advanced project management features. A PM suite will have a higher cost but also deliver accurate estimates, dependencies control, unlimited projects within a single instance, real-time progress tracking, and comprehensive reports that justify the price of the solution.
These tools also require more oversight and time to be more effective in managing projects. Larger organizations and teams prefer integrated management software, especially for more complex projects.
Free Project Management Solutions
Free software is available for home use, for very small teams of 1-2 people, and as a fully-featured free and open-source system.
However, many of these simple project management solutions are offered as a free tier by project management vendors that also provide various levels of paid service. Free tiers may have more limited features, may be restricted to a few users, or may come with limited personalized support. However, many small teams and those just testing out a new tool may find these options useful to help in their decision-making process.
Open-source is a valuable option for large teams looking for free management software. These tools provide all of the same features you may find in a subscription or on-premise tool and many of these tools are highly customizable for different project types. However, access to support, implementation help, and custom changes will need to be managed by an in-house or third-party development team.
Industry-Specific Project Management Systems
Not every industry is best served with a standard project management system, and so industry-specific software for project management was developed to reduce the amount of customization a company will need upon implementation. Construction, software development, financial services, healthcare, and law all have features and customizations that make them better suited to industry work.
In industry-specific tools, you can expect to find collaboration tools, expense tracking, portfolio management, contractor management, resource management, and more. These tools may also help you manage a creative team, a remote team, or a specialized project within your larger portfolio.
Best Project Management Tools
The best project management tools support project managers, project teams, stakeholders, and the whole organization in delivering projects successfully. Project management tools help small teams adopt digital transformation, increasing company agility and resiliency. Here are some of the top-rated project management tools, in no particular order.
Wrike is a project management tool that helps teams be more adaptable to new ways of working. It is versatile for different teams, such as marketing, design, professional services, product management, and business operations. The project management app can easily adapt to a variety of business needs, whether for managing agile teams, clients, or remote workers.
Wrike offers a free plan to unlimited users with basic functionality that can be sufficient to manage simple projects. Paid plans include more advanced features, such as shareable dashboards, interactive Gantt charts, custom fields and workflows, automation, and productivity integrations. Enterprise plans have additional security features such as SSO, 2FA, password policies, custom roles, and audit reports suitable to hybrid workspaces.
- Task management
- Project visibility and tracking
- Free plan with unlimited users
- Mobile app needs enhancements
- Users feel the UI could use more colors for easier differentiation
2. Monday.com Work OS
monday.com Work OS is an online work platform that is customizable for various teams, workflows, and use cases. The highly visual project management tool provides a central workspace for users across the organization. Automation, notifications, and team collaboration simplifies management of any kind of work.
The project management tool lets users modify views and dashboards so they get the right information to make confident decisions. monday.com offers a free plan for up to two seats and several paid plans for teams with different work requirements. It has ready-to-use templates, unlimited boards, interactive documents, and custom fields. The software also provides mobile apps, file management, project portfolio management, email integration, calendar sync, and analytics and reporting.
- Task management, creation, and prioritization
- Team collaboration
- Responsive support
- Visual UI takes time to get used to
- Users wish for additional third-party integrations
3. Zoho Projects
Zoho Projects is an online project management tool for businesses of all sizes. It is a one-stop project management solution for any team, whether enterprise or small business. It has users in the construction, software development, real estate, education, and marketing industries. The project management app offers a free plan for a small team of three users, and paid plans for bigger teams.
Zoho Projects can provide unlimited projects, ready-to-use templates, and online storage space to centralize project information. Users can manage tasks, subtasks and dependencies, receive reminders, build schedules, and automate processes. The project management app also includes time tracking, resource management, custom views, and team collaboration tools.
- Free plan for a small team
- Interactive Gantt chart with dependencies and critical path plotting
- Automatic notifications
- Needs additional templates
- Users wish for direct, two-way integration with Power BI and Microsoft Project
Teamwork is a project management tool for teams working on client projects. A central platform lets users manage projects, clients, freelancers, and internal teams with all the features needed to get work done. The PM tool is for companies of all sizes, with a free plan for individuals and premium scalable plans for different teams.
Teamwork provides ready-to-use project templates, multiple work views, team management, time tracking, resource management, and automations. It is collaboration-ready with integrated chat, a document editor, intake forms, notebooks, and followers. Other features are invoicing, billing, custom fields, dashboards, reports, and integration to Teamwork apps and third-party apps.
- Task management, prioritization, and automation
- Comprehensive set of features
- Free plan for a small team of five members
- Requires time for familiarization
- Users wish for faster, automated set up of default projects
5. Jira Work Management
Jira Work Management is one of the best project management tools that connects all business teams. Marketing, HR, finance, and other departments can easily connect and collaborate with technical teams with this platform. Task management features in this project management app enable users across the organization to plan, track, manage, and complete tasks, including repeating tasks. It is free for up to 10 users with scalable paid plans for bigger teams.
Jira Work Management allows users to create and manage unlimited tasks and projects. Users have access to multiple views such as list, timeline, calendar, and board for different perspectives. A drag-and-drop builder lets users create forms to standardize work; automation rules offer multiple actions to choose from. Other features include templates, dependency management, reports, dashboards, and integrations.
- Time-saving automations
- Multiple work views
- Free plan for a small team
- Calendar view needs enhancements
- Users wish for simpler customization for reports and dashboards
Basecamp is a project management tool with integrated team communication that’s suitable for all types of work environments — especially remote working. It helps companies, teams, and individuals organize tasks, find the information they need quickly, and get real-time project progress updates. Everyone involved can collaborate with dedicated tools for project planning, sharing files, or discussing ideas.
Basecamp offers a business plan with fixed monthly pricing that includes all features for unlimited users and unlimited projects. A free plan is also available for a team of up to 20 users. The PM tool includes a to-do list, schedule, docs and files, charts, and automated reports. Users can choose to communicate with message boards, group chat, and direct messages.
- Seamless communication and collaboration
- Configurable notifications
- Free plan with basic features
- Single pricing plan is not ideal for small teams
- Users wish for more drag-and-drop UI capabilities
Kantata (formerly Mavenlink) resource and project management tool is an ideal solution for professional services firms. It also helps companies to maximize resources across all projects. The integrated PSA features allow users to quickly address staffing demands, so users can find available resources with the right skills and experience.
Kantata gives teams needed control across projects and accounting. It has real-time resource management, skills management, a project portfolio view, visual task management, and time tracking. The software also has tools for seamless team collaboration, project accounting, and real-time financial insights.
- Integrated project accounting and financial tracking
- Improved project transparency
- Third-party integrations
- Needs simpler UI workflows
- Missing an issue management feature
Workzone is a project management tool with feature-rich software that is easy to use for all types of real-world project challenges. It promotes transparency, so users can easily visualize where projects stand; all stakeholders can request, share, review, and approve documents easily online.
Workzone lets users manage tasks, projects, and project portfolios. It has interactive dashboards that allow users to switch from overview to details quickly. It also has to-do lists, Gantt charts, dependencies, time tracking, group calendars, and templates. Other features include status alerts, request forms, workload reports, image markup, and file versioning.
- Task management and scheduling
- Project progress tracking
- Responsive support
- Occasional issues with approval flow routing
- Users wish for more intuitive navigation
Freedcamp offers a set of project management tools that offer teams a comprehensive list of features to successfully complete any project. It has multiple work views like task management list, Gantt chart, Kanban board, and calendar. Users can organize their work into tasks and subtasks, private tasks, and milestones. They can also store and organize project files centrally with support for versions and comments.
Freedcamp offers a free plan that includes support for unlimited projects, tasks, users, and storage. Paid plans are also available with advanced features such as issue tracking, templates, reports, a wiki, CRM, and invoices. Other capabilities are third-party integration, and desktop and mobile apps.
- Intuitive user interface
- Email integration
- Free plan with essential features
- Mobile experience lags compared to the web version
- Users wish for better color schemes
Asana work management software enables project and task management across the organization. It provides teams an organized workspace where they can look at project data using different work views such as list, timeline, and board. Users can create and assign tasks, build plans, and track project progress over time, as well as customizing workflows.
Asana is free for up to a team of up to 15 members. This versatile project management tool is applicable for tracking bugs and managing sprints, as well as planning and running campaigns, events, and product launches. The project management app has built-in messaging, file storage, a workflow builder, unlimited dashboards, custom fields, forms, automation, mobile apps, portfolios, workload management, approvals, and proofing.
- Project organization and task management
- Comprehensive set of features
- Free plan for individuals and teams
- Needs better data export functionality
- Users wish for more how-to guides and case studies to maximize use
So, which one is better?
All existing software if used in the right project will produce a quality product. Conversely, if it is used on the wrong project and due to a project analysis error, it will spend more time and money than planned. So, which one is better? It all depends on the project being handled and also how a Project Manager can apply the method properly.
Here, Hemera Academy is here to provide you with training regarding Project Managers which are very useful for developing the business or project that you are currently undertaking. There are many Project Management Software created, but rest assured that there is only one software that is perfect for your organization.
To find which software is best suited for your organization, we can help you find it. Follow the training, and find the best software for your organization.