Any project manager knows that having the right tools to plan, manage and monitor projects is essential to keeping things on track. These top nine project management tools can help project managers and their teams perform at their best.
What is project management software?
Project management software is typically a comprehensive software solution used by project managers, teams and other stakeholders to plan, execute, monitor and collaborate on projects. It ensures that tasks, milestones and deliverables can be met on time and on budget. It also provides a single source for project documentation and communication between project stakeholders.
How do you choose project management software?
There are many project management tools available, but not every one of them will meet your business and project goals. Some excel in task management, some in collaboration, some in workflow management, and so forth. Some will be more focused on supporting teams using a specific project management methodology, and others may be geared toward particular industries. Selecting the best project management software for your projects or business, in general, will depend on different factors, including these:
- Business goals and strategies
- Project types and complexities
- Project methodologies being used
- The needs of in-office or remote teams and stakeholders
- Your company size
- Your business industry
- The roles of each team member and their experience using software
What are the features of project management software?
Project software features can differ immensely from the basic handling of tasks to expansive Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software that handles portfolios of projects across an entire organization. Some common features to look for include:
- Automated task and workflow management
- Budget planning and management
- Collaboration capabilities
- Dashboards that can be customized by user role
- Key Performance Indicators and other data
- Resource planning and management
- Multiple task and project views including, calendar, Gantt and kanban
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The project management software selection process
The key to finding the best project management software requires taking a look at not just the current projects on the horizon, but also the long-term goals of your business. It’s also important to know exactly how particular project management tools will meet these needs. This typically involves sending out Requests for Information (RFIs), Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and Requests for Quotes (RFQs) to compare each vendor solution before selecting the right one. What are these?
In project procurement, the first step in requests is the RFI. Companies will typically send vendors an RFI to get more information about their services in relation to how those services can meet the company’s needs. This is an initial exploratory step.
If companies are unclear on how to resolve a particular issue, they may send multiple vendors an RFP seeking their solutions. This document is more formal and contains specific guidelines.
Vendors are often sent RFQs to determine which of them will most effectively and accurately meet project goals and needs within a specified budget.
If your company isn’t sure where to start, here are some of the best project management tools to look at first.
The best project management software
Adobe Workfront is a work management platform that is built for enterprises. It helps teams connect projects to company-wide strategy. It also helps teams connect, collaborate and execute on complex workflows—from anywhere. Teams can manage their tasks, resources and scheduling; it also automates workflows. Adobe Workfront offers three pricing models, Enterprise, Business and Pro. Contact Workfront for pricing.
Key features of Workfront include:
- Resource management tools to address resourcing gaps
- Project and task management to help your teams excel
- Automated workflows that handle routing, reporting, approvals, and enforce compliance
- Collaboration tools that keep everyone in sync and improve decision-making
From the small stuff to the big picture Asana helps teams stay organized and connected. The solution focuses on the goals, projects and daily tasks to help teams keep things moving in the right direction by helping you plan and structure your workload, follow tasks, track deadlines and keep teams aligned. Asana has a free Basic trial and plans starting at $10.99 per month up to $24.99 per month.
Key features of Asana include:
- Visual workflow management to build and track your processes
- Project management and collaboration tools to manage your teams, resources and timeline
- Agile management tools to track launches and iterations and help with sprint planning
- Digital kanban boards to easily track progress and quickly identify roadblocks
Liquid Planner is a project management solution that is designed for dynamically adapting to change and managing projects during uncertainty. It’s focused on project planning, predicting outcomes and improving performance. Liquid Planner helps teams better manage time and align their work with project priorities. It offers four plans, a free plan, an Essentials plan, a Professional and an Ultimate plan. Paid plans start at $15 and go up to $35.
Key features of Liquid Planner include:
- Smart estimation helps teams manage uncertainty to mitigate risk
- Predictive schedule forecasting to estimate when work will be complete and continuously adapt to changes as they happen
- Balancing of workloads to avoid resource overloading and improve utilization across projects
- Intelligent insights
- Data-driven insights to improve team and project performance and better support decisions
Mavenlink is a modern industry cloud solution for the service industry. This platform is purpose-built to provide project clarity and control. The platform provides project and resource management, team collaboration, business intelligence and an automation engine.
Mavenlink offers four pricing tiers starting at $19 per month: Teams, Professional, Premier and Enterprise. A free trial is available on the Teams and Professional tiers.
Key features of Mavenlink include:
- Project-wide visibility to help you understand everything better and make informed decisions
- Automated processes to remove manual work and data silos, and save time and money
- Project Pulse to reveal the real-time health of a project
Monday.com is a Work OS that gives you and your team confidence to run projects and workflows and manage all aspects of the project lifecycle from start to finish with ease. Monday.com offers a wide range of annual and monthly pricing models, starting with a basic free account. Paid plans start at $11 per seat/month through to an enterprise account; annual pricing is discounted.
Key features of Monday.com include:
- Automated workflows to help teams reduce errors and complete value-added work
- Workflow management to identify over and under-utilized resources
- Project collaboration tools to keep stakeholders always connected
- End-to-end project and task management
Planview is a fantastic platform for portfolio and work management that’s focused on accelerating the strategic delivery of project portfolios. Its aim is to empower companies to achieve the things that matter the most, from the point of ideation through to impact. Planview enables innovative products, services and customer experiences. Contact Planview for a free trial, pricing and demos.
Key features of Planview include:
- Enterprise agile planning to enable new ways of working, connecting strategic plans and funding to agile delivery
- Project portfolio management allows leaders to optimize program and project portfolios, balance capacity, focus on resources and improve delivery
- Work management to plan, manage and visualize the progress of teamwork
- Strategic portfolio management that enables EPMOs and other stakeholders to bring strategy to life
Tempus is purpose-built standalone strategic portfolio management,
resource forecasting, and capacity planning software that integrates with other platforms to take resource management to the next level. It ensures resources are optimized without running the risk of resource overallocation, a problem that’s often an issue in most projects and across portfolios. Tempus is available with a 30-day free trial. Contact ProSymmetry to find out more.
Key features of Tempus include:
- Resource portfolio management (RPM), a business capability, helps effectively utilize resources to deliver on business strategy
- What-If analysis helps quickly test hypothetical resource scenarios to visualize impacts on resources and your entire portfolio
- Scalable API built on flexible architecture for custom integrations
- Strategic portfolio management that supports the entire execution lifecycle
Trello offers a customizable, well-recognized tool that uses boards, lists and cards to manage projects. This intuitive platform’s features enable teams the ability to quickly establish and customize workflows for almost any type of project, from personal home-based tasks to enterprise-level complex ones. Trello offers four plans, starting with a free plan, up to an Enterprise plan at $17.50 per user/month based on annual billing.
Key features of Trello include:
- The ability to view board data from multiple angles
- Open any card to uncover an ecosystem of checklists, due dates, conversations and more
- Built-in no-code automation that reduces tedious tasks
- The ability to connect apps that your team already uses into your workflow
Wrike, a Citrix company, is scalable collaboration and project management software that helps you and your teams plan, manage and gain visibility into all projects. It simplifies project planning and collaboration that’s focused on removing barriers and creating clarity for teams to help them exceed their goals. Wrike offers a basic free account, plus three monthly pricing models, Professional, Business and Enterprise–that start at $9.80 per month per user. They also offer Wrike for Marketing and Creative Teams and Wrike for Service Delivery Teams and there’s a free trial is available for all three pricing plans.
Key features of Wrike include:
- Collaborative work management to increase productivity and enhance team collaboration
- Customized workflows that provide a clear picture of work progress, without manual emails
- Wrike’s Proof tool to streamline collaboration and visually share feedback and digital assets
- End-to-end project and task management
When evaluating project management tools, remember, many may offer features that differentiate them from competitors, including nice-to-have features. The key in finding the right one for your projects is first identifying your project and business goals and then isolating the vendor and solution that can most closely meet your essential requirements over the nice-to-have features.