Best project management tool for planning and scheduling projects with an online Gantt chart
Projects are getting more complex by the day. Why? Because geographically dispersed teams and remote work have become more and more common. If we add that to the already complex nature of our profession, it’s imperative that we pick the right project management software to help us smoothen our team interactions and collaboration.
If you want to upgrade your existing tool, don’t know where to start researching or are overwhelmed by how many tools you’re currently using and want a solution that can centralize everything (or almost everything), you are in the right place. The in-depth reviews below highlight some of the best project management tools and their features. These tools offer a wealth of benefits, from tracking project progress in real-time and enabling team conversations around tasks to accessing project information from a mobile app.
Which one you settle on will come down to your workflow functionality and what set of features you need to make your projects run smoothly. Sometimes tools are so similar that it comes down to free plans, pricing scalability, or user interface to help you choose between them—I’ve added all of these details to support your decision-making.
How We Picked The Best Project Management Software
I evaluated and compared the most popular project management tools on the market, both for their reviews and user interface. Then I weighed factors that make a software a good option for project management, such as the ones that follow.
Usability: How intuitive the software is, as well as the available resources to learn the tool. Whether that is a wiki, help center, training videos within the platform or interactive tours when you start using the software.
Standout features: Here, I focused on the available features and if they 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, provide valuable insights or help us automate our work.
Integrations: I looked at software that could help expand the platform's functionality. These integrations can be pre-built, through a third party software, or custom-built using an API.
monday.com is an award-winning project management platform used across diverse industries by companies like Hulu, BBC Studios, Coca-Cola, L'Oréal Paris, Adobe, and Deezer.
Why I picked monday.com: monday.com features for managing projects include resource and project management, time tracking, collaboration, and reporting features. For example, users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress. And while monday.com doesn’t offer a complete set of tools for project accounting and invoicing solution as other tools, you can use monday.com to track hours, timelines, and invoices.
Overall, it’s a highly customizable tool that lets you work in whatever methodology—Kanban or otherwise—that fits your project and team. You’ll also find some useful workflow tools for automating parts of your process. Read our 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 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 via Zapier.
monday.com Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $10/user/month (billed monthly) and has a 14-day free trial. They also offer a free plan for up to 2 users.
- Helpful visual/color coding customization
- Easy to customize a workflow or board
- Long list of supported integrations
- Huge focus on collaboration
- May be too robust for small teams
- Gantt charts locked to mid-level plan
- Complex pricing rubric
Wrike is an award-winning project management software suitable for teams of five or more, as the software allows for an unlimited number of users. The tool is highly configurable and allows users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.
Why I picked Wrike: Wrike’s simple interface enables users to switch between Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views, allowing them to choose how to visualize their priorities. Wrike also features task lists, subtasks, schedules, shared workflows, file sharing, and real-time communication and collaboration. Users can get advanced insights on their project with performance reporting tools, resource management and allocation, and more.
Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. You can switch between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and stream (for notifications and messages). Wrike also has a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a 'Getting Started’ guide, and a thriving community.
Wrike Standout Features & Integrations
Features include pre-built templates, custom request forms, interactive Gantt charts, visual proofing, workflow automations, time tracking, project portfolio management, and dashboards.
Integrations in Wrike include 400+ pre-built native integrations, like the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Wrike Plans & Pricing
Pricing starts at $9.80/user/month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.
- Many options and opportunities to customize
- Holistic, comprehensive task modeling
- Different ways to view the same data
- Commenting system is pretty basic
- No offline access
- No subtasks in the freemium plan
ClickUp is a project management app with powerful features for managing and completing all your team's projects in one platform. Users can plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage resources in a centralized workspace, as well as communicate and collaborate with team members and guests.
Why I picked ClickUp: ClickUp has features for creating, sharing, and collaborative editing for Wikis and documents. Users can comment on documents and tasks, assign comments, and chat with other team members for increased communication and collaboration. Reporting features include the ability to create custom dashboards, as well as six built-in report types for team reporting.
Task management features include task checklists, subtasks, and task templates, as well as the ability to filter, sort, search for, easily reorder, and view tasks in the manner most convenient for the team. You can also create Gantt charts, calendars, and timelines to visualize tasks.
ClickUp Standout Features & Integrations
Features include real-time reporting, whiteboards and shared documents for collaboration, task management with different views, goal tracking, and templates.
Integrations include native ones with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.
ClickUp Plans & Pricing
ClickUp's free plan is robust and includes all primary features. The unlimited plan starts at $9/user/month and offers additional functionality.
- Can email (set-up) a task directly from Outlook
- Unlimited file storage on all paid account tiers
- Free forever plan allows unlimited members
- Granular customization options results in a time consuming set-up
- Reporting suite is limited to paid plans only
- Read-only guest permissions are limited to paid account
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: Smartsheet has useful project management features such as workflow automation and visualization of tasks in Gantt, calendar and card views. Team members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminders, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed.
Further, the Critical Path feature highlights all the tasks which directly impact your project completion date to keep an eye on important milestones. If you are the type that wants everything personalized, including your tools, you can also add customized brand logos and set color themes for individual projects.
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.
Smartsheet Plans & Pricing
Smartsheet has three plans and starts at $9/user/month, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 25 users. They offer a 30-day free trial.
- Easily customizable dashboards
- Ease of sharing
- Many project templates & resources
- Sheet-to-sheet linking
- Can't customize chart colors
- Changes don’t update in real-time
- Jira, Salesforce, Dynamics connector limited to Premier plan
LiquidPlanner is a project management solution with built-in Planning Intelligence to assist your planning, scheduling, and managing uncertainty.
Predictive scheduling dynamically adapts to change and manages uncertainty. The platform runs Monte Carlo simulations across your portfolio which analyzes the probability of your project outcomes based on variable factors. Therefore, you always know in real-time when work will be done.
With LiquidPlanner, you can also experience automatic resource leveling and priority-based planning across multiple projects and dependencies.
Tip: Setting a target start and finish to a project will assist predictive scheduling in calculating within a given timeframe. Add them from the edit project screen.
LiquidPlanner's plans start at $15/user/month and offer a 14-day free trial.
- The automatic scheduling engine helps with resource planning
- Redesigned UI
- Great customer service
- Easy to use and learn
- Links within tasks open in the same tab instead of a new one
- No financial features
Height is the all-in-one project management tool that can be customized to accommodate workflows on a team-by-team basis and includes visualizations like Spreadsheet (table), Kanban, Calendar, and Gantt.
Why I picked Height: Besides the multiple views, the platform offers real-time chat per task. This effortlessly ensures that all conversation about work happens in context, is searchable, and only notifies the people for whom the information is relevant.
Its robust offering includes a command center where you can customize keyboard shortcuts for almost anything you can think of, macOS and Windows apps, and SOC 2 Type II compliance for data protection.
Height Standout Features & Integrations
Features include customizable workflows, task forms to collect user data, multiple task views, real-time chat, and smart lists with dynamically pulled filters.
Integrations include Notion, Slack, Discord, GitHub, GitLab, Sentry, Zendesk, Figma, Slab, Fivetran, and many more through Zapier.
Height Plans & Pricing
Height's pricing starts at $8.50/user/month and comes with a free 30-day trial. One last thing, guest accounts are free in all paid plans.
- Guest account permissions
- macOS and Windows apps
- Request collection through forms
- No automations (coming soon)
- Relatively new in the market
Zoho Projects is a project management application that can handle projects of all sizes and levels of complexity. The tool comes with features that imitate social networking sites such as feeds, forums, and discussions, and is available on mobile for iOS, Android, and other systems.
Why I picked Zoho Projects: For project planning and monitoring, Zoho Projects' Gantt chart features let you break large projects down into manageable sections and actionable tasks, plan and visualize different tasks and milestones, and create tasks lists to help you plan in better detail. Zoho Projects' Gantt charts can also be used for resource allocation, so you can visualize your project schedule and the team's workload. The resource usage table tells you who is available, who is busy, and who is overloaded.
With Zoho Projects, you can define dependencies between tasks and assign them to the right people, schedule events in your calendar, and monitor the percentage of work that's been completed once the work has begun. Automate routine tasks at regular intervals by setting up a recurring task, and set reminder emails for tasks.
You can also create or download project documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, as well as upload and share files for team collaboration. Record the hours spent on tasks and compare them with what you had originally planned. This can be done manually or with the help of an integrated timer. Entries are automatically recorded in your timesheet, and generating invoices from this information requires only a few clicks.
Zoho Projects Standout Features & Integrations
Features include task management, task automation, blueprints, time and issue tracking, reporting, and forums for detailed discussions with your team.
Integrations. Being part of the Zoho ecosystem allows you to connect to several of Zoho’s other services such as Zoho Books and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well, like Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, Zapier, Zendesk, and ServiceNow. Integrations via Zapier and Zoho Flow are also supported.
Zoho Projects Plans & Pricing
Zoho Projects costs from $5/user/month and comes with a 10-day free trial. They have a freemium version for up to 3 users and 2 projects.
- Time-track multiple tasks at once
- Robust communication features
- Easy workflow automations
- Unlimited number of projects
- Lack of file type export options
- Lacks some reporting features
- Does not integrate with Quickbooks
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 into subtasks, sibling tasks, and subprojects, as well as set dependencies and milestones. To get more visibility, users can choose between the 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. 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.
- Professional Gantt chart templates
- Multiple and flexible project views
- Intuitive interface with a short learning curve
- Lack of options to create recurring tasks
- Light on integrations
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. Nifty 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. Nifty also has some great collaboration features, such as individual discussion threads that are project-specific.
Nifty is flexible to your team's project workflow, and the cross-organizational project overview tab provides insights into high-level timelines, as well as task-level deep-dive analyses for projects. Nifty's help center assists with ensuring maximum team efforts on the platform.
Nifty allows you to import 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.
- Easy document storage, creation, and management
- Multitude of integrations
- Good chat feature within the system
- No native integrations with Financial planning tools
- Time tracking & reporting is available with paid account only
- Guests & clients can only be invited on paid plans
Hive is a project management and collaboration platform that powers companies like Starbucks, Uber, WeWork, and IBM. As the world's first community-built software, Hive's product roadmap is built entirely on customer requests.
Why I picked Hive: With flexible project views, dependencies, unlimited projects, and thousands of integrations, Hive streamlines your work in one centralized platform. Used by teams of varying sizes, from 10 people to 1,000, Hive is a great option for a diverse range of companies and work styles.
Hive’s time tracking, analytics, and flexible view capabilities allow for transparent understanding of other team members' work and upcoming projects. Hive also has full email integration in their project management module, which allows you to send and receive Gmail and Outlook messages from the app. Choose Hive if you’re in the market for a well-laid-out, comprehensive project management tool that can be scaled up or down based on team needs.
Hive Standout Features & Integrations
Features include automations, reporting and analytics, time management, portfolio management, forms to gather client information, and video chat within the platform.
Integrations include Zoom, Jira, Slack, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and many more through a Zapier integration.
Hive Plans & Pricing
The platform starts with a free package for 1-2 users, and the Hive Teams package is $16/user/month with a 14-day free trial.
- Easy to integrate with other tools
- Intuitive & pleasant UI
- Great all-in-one option for SMBs
- Excellent built-in communication features
- Mobile version limited in functionality
- Vastness of capabilities means steep learning curve
- Reporting functions could be expanded
Celoxis is a comprehensive and web-based project management software. It comes with powerful analytical capabilities, and its rich and interactive charts will breathe new life into your project data.
Why I picked Celoxis: First, project schedules and powerful interactive Gantt charts pack all of the team and work dynamicity, including geographically distributed project teams, part-time resources, unavoidable absences, interim resource swaps, and even inter-project dependencies.
Further, task management within Celoxis is strong and unique. The platform lets you see your tasks and to-dos, report bugs, manage tickets, or log time from a single tool. You can also get relevant notifications to your inbox and send updates to someone, even without logging in.
Collaboration is also available through project discussions, @mention comments, file sharing, document version control, and activity stream. Additionally, 80% of your team's typical actions, such as starting a timer, attaching a file or updating status, can be done straight from the dashboards.
Celoxis Standout Features & Integrations
Features include a real-time project tracker, task management, resource availabilities and utilization, timesheets, project finances, risks, issues and to-dos.
Integrations include pre-built connections with Google Drive, Outlook, Microsoft Project, Excel, Salesforce and hundreds of other tools like JIRA, Slack & Trello.
Celoxis Plans & Pricing
Celoxis is one of the few project manager software programs to be available in both SaaS and on-premise. SaaS costs $25/user/month and on-premise costs $450/user one-time. Both require a minimum 5-user sign-up and come with a 30-day free trial.
- Very interactive Gantt chart
- Percentage of project tasks-per-user feature
- Customizable widgets for groups or individuals
- In-app timer for task tracking
- Resource planning is not automated
- Complex menu structure
- Some difficulty with report building
Airtable is a project management solution that lets users add attachments, long text notes, checkboxes, links, barcodes, and more to records in other tables. Powerful filtering, sorting, and grouping give you the freedom to arrange your work in whatever way works best for your team.
The user interface is sleek, modern, colorful, and attractive, making Airtable a pleasure to use and navigate. This software scored well in the UX consideration for the evaluation criteria listed earlier in this article.
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.
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.
Airtable starts at $10/user/month and has a freemium version of the software.
- Color-code lists and project items
- Forms easy to distribute and embed
- Rollups and Lookups to organize data
- Flexible for small businesses
- Time consuming to build custom tables
- Steep learning curve
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. It’s got a drag-and-drop module that lets you adjust plans and resources in an instant. Another cool feature is that the tool automatically builds a budget for every project with key financial metrics to track planned vs. actuals. It also 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.
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.
Forecast Plans & Pricing
Forecast costs from $29/user/month with a 10-seat minimum in an annual plan. They offer a 14-day free trial.
- Easy to plan projects and timelines
- Can manage resources across multiple projects
- Predictive tasks for spreadsheets
- Higher learning curve
- Additional fee for onboarding/training
- Milestone data is lumped together rather than separated
MS Projects 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.
This PM software is particularly easy to use and learn if you are at all familiar with the Microsoft family of products, which most offices are these days. Online tutorials and forums can fill in any gaps, making the learning curve small. Thus, it evaluated well in Usability.
Side note: This is a standard and industry-accepted tool, but it’s not perfect. One major downside is that it’s not easy to run on iOS. If you like MS Projects but are looking for similar options that run on a Mac, check out my post on MS Project options for Mac.
MS Projects integrates easily with other Microsoft and Windows products.
One con is that this software tends to use quite a bit of memory and CPU, which is a common problem with Microsoft products.
MS Projects starts at $12.80/user/month and has a free 30-day trial.
- Integration with other Microsoft software
- Driver prioritization module for ranking strategies/objectives
- Helpful project template descriptions for guidance
- Can generate a Gantt chart from a spreadsheet
- Poor customization options
- Steep learning curve
- Limitations on collaboration tools
MeisterTask is a web-based task and project management tool that is perfect for managing agile projects on simple, Kanban-style boards. The tool offers user-friendly interfaces, intuitive functionality, and seamless integrations with other software in the project ecosystem.
The tool includes colorful, customizable project boards, as well as other features designed to make projects more streamlined, productive, and effective. Workload management is enabled through the timeline feature: a Gantt-style overview of tasks that allows users to pinpoint bottlenecks and keep work flowing smoothly. Automations can also be established to speed up manual work and to complete recurring tasks automatically.
Other task management features include due dates, time tracking, assignees, watchers, checklists, tags, and more. MeisterTask also enables communication with comments, @mentions, notifications, and inline file attachments (including integrations with external cloud storages). MeisterTask is simple to use and doesn’t require any formal onboarding or training.
MeisterTask’s integrations include Slack, Microsoft Teams, G Suite, Zapier, IFTTT, MindMeister, and more.
MeisterTask costs from $8.25/month and offers a freemium plan for up to 3 projects. Their paid plans come with a 30-day free trial.
- Gantt-style Timeline feature for scheduling tasks on a calendar
- Includes the ability to automate recurring steps
- User-friendly interface with intuitive functionality
- No subtasks possible, only checklist items
- There is no Linux desktop application
- Recurring tasks limited to paid users
14-day free trial
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|From $9.80/user/month||Visit Website|
Freemium plan available
30-day free trial
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14 days free trial
|From $15/user/month||Visit Website|
30 days free trial
|From $6.99/user/month||Visit Website|
10 days free trial
|Free up to 3 users + starts at $5/user/month||Visit Website|
Best project management tool for planning and scheduling projects with an online Gantt chart
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14 days free trial. No credit card required.
|From $39/month||Visit Website|
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30 days free trial
|From $22.50/user/month||Visit Website|
Free-forever plan with limited functionalities, but you can upgrade to a paid plan with ease
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14 days free trial
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|From $10/user/month||Visit Website|
|From $8.25/month||Visit Website|
Best for building custom project workflows
Best project management software for team collaboration
Best for software developers
Best online task management software for complex projects
Best easy agile project management software
Best for creative teams and agencies
Best for software teams
best built-in mind mapping capabilities
Best UI for usability & intuitiveness
Best for unlimited client/contractor access
Need expert help selecting the right Project Management Software?
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It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
What is project management software?
Project management software is software that helps project managers (PMs) plan, execute and control their projects across the five phases of the project lifecycle. It’s a suite of tools to help managers, the and stakeholders work together more effectively. The ultimate goal of the software is to help deliver value more efficiently by facilitating organization, communication, and .
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 like do try to do it all.
Different tools offer features to facilitate every phase of your work, from planning the initial outline or proposal before you begin and then reporting on your successes or shortcoming 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, data and analytics reporting, project portfolio management, and budget tracking, and timeline scheduling. The best software will attend to the majority 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 which means new features and functionality are rolled out.
Learn more about the different tools used in project management here.
Other Project Management Software Reviews:
We've curated specific lists for you to find the perfect project management app by category.
- Enterprise – Enterprise project management software
- Agile – Agile project management software
- Remote teams – Remote project management software
- Web-based – Web-based project management software
- Free – Free project management software
- Online – Online project management software
- Mac – Best project management software for mac
- Microsoft – Alternatives to MS Project
- Agencies – Project management software for agencies
- Individuals – Project management for individuals
- Creatives – Creative project management software
- Visual planning – Visual project management software
- Marketing – PM software for marketing agencies
- Advertising – PM software for advertising agencies
- Multiple Projects –PM software for multiple projects
- Small Business – Project management software for SMBs
- Startups – Project management software for startups
- Architects – Project management software for architects
- Construction – Construction project management software
- Helpdesk - Helpdesk software
Which PM software should I choose?
I hate to break it to you, but it depends. The software you should choose is the one with features that solve your current needs. At the same time, you should choose a product that can 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 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.
What is Best-Of-Breed Software?
Many of the PM 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 find specialized tools for things like resource scheduling, communication, 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.
Do I need more than one tool?
In an ideal scenario, you wouldn't. 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.
If the tools can talk to each other, it can reduce manual update work and the number of times you switch between apps.
What features should I look for when evaluating Project Management software?
I’ve identified five key aspects of functionality that makes 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.
- Schedules: 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 schedule is key to any good project plan.
- 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.
- Communication: 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.
- Reporting: It’s your job to know whether or not a project is on track and to use this information in communication. Therefore, it’s essential to know how a project’s tasks are progressing—will it be delivered on time or not?
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.
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.
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