10 Best Program Management Tools & Software
Once upon a time, program managers would gather in rooms with pen and paper, whiteboards, sticky notes, and an overflowing coffee pot. They’d hash out ideas for hours, deliberating on program management tools, tactics, project deliverables, KPIs, scheduling, and the like.
In retrospect, it wasn’t pretty—but it got the job done.
Program management has greatly evolved in the last decade or so. It wears a different face. Now, teams plan brilliant programs without meeting in person, spending hours on Zoom calls, or drafting a tree’s worth of sticky notes that’ll never get a second glance. (You know what we’re talking about.)
Program management software has changed everything.
Thanks to these tools, teams are now able to execute projects to unprecedented perfection. They’re able to dial-in workflows, nail the deliverables, stick to the budget, and execute individual projects on time, every time.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. First, let’s figure out what is program management, what makes great program management tools, and highlight the top options to help you choose the right one.
- What is program management?
- What makes a great program management software?
- 10 best program management software tools
- Which program management software takes the crown?
What is program management?
Program management involves using a tool or software to organize, execute, and oversee a program with multiple, related projects. The goal is to automate program execution and make projects more closely aligned with the overarching enterprise and business objectives.
Let’s face it—manually mapping out, defining, and tracking all the dependent projects within a program stinks (with a capital S).
Program management software removes bottlenecks from the whole process, ensuring that your projects remain within schedule and budget for the entirety of their existence.
Get this, though—program management and project management are not one and the same.
While program management entails articulating the goals and objectives of a program and how it will impact the business, project management involves managing the operations of an individual project within a program.
Once you understand that simple fact, you’ll be well on your way to knocking your profitability goals out of the park.
Why use a program management tool?
If you’re running multiple projects at the same and want to stay on top of all of them with zero hassle, having program management software is a no-brainer.
Here are a few noteworthy benefits of such a tool:
- Effortless project planning and scheduling: None of your projects will ever fall through the cracks
- Improved team collaboration: The tool provides your team with proven methods and automated workflows to collaborate on projects by discussing tasks, dependencies, timelines, outstanding work, etc.
- Real-time budget management: With a software tool of this caliber, you get the financial picture of each project across key financial metrics, being able to track planned vs. actual spending and spot where you’re earning or burning money
- Enhanced productivity: When you can track every individual task or project from a single, do-it-all platform, you and your team can make more informed decisions and be more productive. Program management tools do precisely that
- Fewer team meetings: Unscheduled meetings are never fun—you know that, we know that, everyone knows that. Project management software helps scrape off those unwarranted, time-consuming meetings and keep communication in check
What makes a great program management software?
When choosing an excellent program management tool, here are six features to look out for:
- Project tracking: Your software of choice should seamlessly combine new and existing projects on one platform and ensure a company-wide view of progress
- Resource planning: A tool worth its weight in gold should have a Workload view and pretty visuals that allow you to spot resource bottlenecks and keep tabs on everyone’s workload on the fly. It’s not even a debate
- Dashboards: A dashboard provides a dedicated, high-level view of how your program is performing, so there’s no jumping from one project to another
- Reporting: Solid up-to-the-minute reporting ensures you are making the right decisions, every single time. No more guesswork. No more wishful thinking
- Timesheets: Without this feature, you won’t get complete visibility into your team’s day-to-day activities, let alone their actual hours to finish individual projects. It’ll be chaos after chaos after chaos
- Portfolios: “Program management tools shouldn’t have portfolios,” said no one ever. Good software incorporates portfolios—what you get is a bird’s eye view of how all your projects are progressing, and you can also drill in for more details to address risks
Let’s get this fact out of the way: not all program management software is created equal. Fortunately, you can reduce the thousands of software solutions out there into a few that are worth looking at!
Now that you know a thing or two about the beautiful world of program management, let’s quickly shift gears and look at the top program management tools out there (No. 1 will make you grin ear-to-ear).
10 best program management software tools
ClickUp is a free project management solution that allows every team to manage projects, collaborate smarter, and bring all work under one tool. Whether you’re new to project management apps or are a total power user, ClickUp’s customization can stretch to any team size—remote or in-office—for the best productivity of your life.
- Collaboration and communication between project teams
- Easy, on-the-fly project management
- Intuitive and easy-to-use interface
- Metrics and performance tracking
- Workflow customization
- Time tracking
So how exactly does one manage a program on ClickUp? Glad you asked!
Feel free to choose between the Timeline view, Calendar view, and Gantt Chart view. ClickUp’s Gantt Chart view lets you visualize your projects with quick, on-the-go sorting, helping you map out an entire program’s workflow. Then, you can create cascading views to easily see what important projects are coming up next.
Want to plan out your projects over a complete timeline or create visual Roadmaps? Try the Timeline view!
But if you’d rather organize these projects on a flexible calendar that keeps everyone on the same page, ClickUp’s Calendar view is for you!
That’s not all. Here are more features that prove ClickUp’s status as the undisputed champion of program management tools:
- Mind Maps: Whether creating a project plan, organizing ideas, or visualizing project structures, use Mind Maps in ClickUp to structure thoughts on a massive scale
- Priorities: Organize work by importance so your team knows which projects are urgent and which ones have a flexible timeline
- Time tracking: Plan smarter and beat the heck out of your schedule with powerful time tracking insights
- Workload view: Plan, measure, and monitor your team’s capacity based on hours, tasks, and points
- Task dependencies: Link similar projects and tasks together to easily jump between related work
- Goal tracking: Set milestones to signify when an important stage in the program is complete
💸 ClickUp pricing
- Free Forever Plan (best for personal use)
- Kanban boards
- Unlimited tasks and members
- Collaborative Docs
- 24/7 Support, and more
- Unlimited Plan (best for small teams ($5/member per month)
- Everything in the Free Forever Plan
- Resource management
- Unlimited Storage, Dashboards, Custom Fields
- Agile reporting, and more
- Business Plan (best for mid-sized teams ($12/member per month)
- Everything in the Unlimited Plan
- Custom reporting
- Advanced automation, time tracking, and Dashboard features
- Timelines, Mind Maps, and more
- Business Plus Plan (best for multiple teams ($19/member per month)
- Everything in the Business Plan
- Subtasks in multiple Lists
- Custom permissions
- Custom capacity in workload
- Personalized admin training, and more
👉 If you need a full software suite to handle your Enterprise workloads and processes, we’d love to help set you up for success! Please contact Sales when you’re ready.
- G2: 4.7/5 (3,880+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,480+ reviews)
2. Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint is a great program management tool that lets you collaborate effortlessly and securely with team members across devices, departments, and workspaces. You can use it to drive program efficiency by sharing common applications and resources on portals and home sites.
But on the downside, it has limited integrations outside the Microsoft ecosystem. So if you work with multiple apps, you may have to explore other program management tools that let you do so.
🔑 Microsoft SharePoint key features
- SharePoint mobile apps that allow you and your team to stay in the know with personalized, targeted news
- Dynamic and productive team sites for every program team, department, and division
- SharePoint’s content management feature maximizes the velocity of knowledge
- Dashboard to view all program workflows and metrics
💸 Microsoft SharePoint pricing
- The pricing plan for this program management software starts at $5 per month
💬 Microsoft SharePoint customer ratings
- G2: 4/5 (7,711 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (3,522 reviews)
3. Oracle Primavera
With Oracle Primavera, you can plan, schedule, and control large-scale programs and individual projects on the go. The software solution allows you to identify hidden risks in your program schedule before they become a thorn on your team’s side.
However, you can’t prioritize projects by importance, meaning your team will never know which ones are more urgent and which ones need to be on the backbench.
🔑 Oracle Primavera key features
- Out-of-the-box benchmarks allow you to compare current projects with previously delivered ones
- Oracle Intelligence Cloud Service lets you make proactive, AI-supported decisions
- Team member interfaces for gathering status updates
- Adaptable views
💸 Oracle Primavera pricing
- The pricing plan for this software tool starts at $2,570 per year
💬 Oracle Primavera customer ratings
- G2: 4.4/5 (360 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (151 reviews)
Anyone who’s been around the program management block probably knows Smartsheet. It’s a tool that teams use to manage project workloads, supercharge collaboration, and streamline processes across an entire program.
Smartsheet also promises to bring all your program management needs under one roof, which it does. However, it will require extra effort to find what you need because their interface is hard to navigate.
🔑 Smartsheet key features
- Intelligent workflows for driving productivity across teams
- Collaboration tools to keep program teams aligned
- End-to-end solutions for resource management
💸 Smartsheet pricing
- The pricing for this program management tool starts at $14 per month billed annually
💬 Smartsheet customer ratings
- G2: 4.4/5 (5,340 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (2,223 reviews)
Check out the great alternatives to Smartsheet.
This software has a lot to offer program management teams craving automation, from its intuitive interface to customizable workflows to easy-to-use reporting tools.
Wrike also offers robust Gantt Charts to help teams move deadlines and easily readjust program timelines.
That said, it would have been a much better software with integrations and goal tracking capabilities.
🔑 Wrike key features
- Time tracking tools to empower teams to make the most of every minute
- Offers flexible Kanban boards for visualizing all projects on-the-go
- Custom charts and graphs for seamless portfolio management
- Allows teams to assess risks in shared RAID logs
💸 Wrike pricing
- Wrike offers a free plan. Paid plans start at $9.80/user per month
💬 Wrike customer ratings
- G2: 4.2/5 (2,343 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.2/5 (1,697 reviews)
Learn more about these Wrike alternatives.
LiquidPlanner’s idea is that while the software focuses on building flexible program schedules, your team can get more done with unprecedented confidence.
Through its robust dashboard, LiquidPlanner brings all your stakeholders on the same page. Subsequently, your projects won’t be in isolation because of the many integrations it supports.
However, its interface, together with the blatant lack of enterprise project management capabilities, double up to make LiquidPlanner unfeasible for most program management teams.
🔑 LiquidPlanner key features
- Offers automatic resource-leveling to eliminate overload and improve resource utilization
- Intelligent insights to support key decisions across the program lifecycle
- Smart estimation for complete risk mitigation
💸 LiquidPlanner pricing
- This program management tool offers a free version with limited features. The paid plan starts at $15 per month
💬 LiquidPlanner customer ratings
- G2: 4.2/5 (226 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (633 reviews)
Named after the most stressful day of the week, this program management tool is beloved for its intuitive functionality and a broad range of essential integrations. With Monday, you can manage all of your projects in one workspace. Even better, the tool comes with dozens of free templates for project portfolio tracking, team tasks, and more.
You probably think there’s a catch somewhere—and you’re right!
There’s a problem with Monday: limited task dependencies. The only way to set them up is with dates, making them less than functional for many real-world applications.
Program management teams that get attracted by its intuitive user interface and attractive pricing soon find themselves back in the market looking for more.
🔑 Monday key features
- Provides built-in time tracking capabilities for monitoring the entire timeline of projects—down to the minute
- Ability to view data as a map, table, calendar, timeline, Kanban, and more
- Countless automations to automate the repetitive work in seconds
- Customizable templates for quick and easy program setting
💸 Monday pricing
- This program management tool offers a free forever plan for up to 2 seats. The paid plan starts at $8/seat per month billed annually
💬 Monday customer ratings
- G2: 4.7/5 (3,219 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/7 (2,515 reviews
These Monday alternatives are worth checking out.
This software is a big name in the program management realm. On one side of its reviews are customers satisfied with its key strength, which is resource management and issue tracking.
Celoxis specializes in helping teams solve complex project management issues with meticulous engineering, unparalleled simplicity, and a beautiful user interface.
However, Celoxis’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Given that the team gave everything to issue tracking, the software falls short in other program management aspects—like workload management and time tracking, to name a few.
🔑 Celoxis key features
- Supports real-time visibility into budget spends, receivables, and profitability across individual projects
- Project planning functionality for building plans that seamlessly adjust to changing program goals
- Project request tracking for collating program requests from various sources
- Provides customizable portfolio dashboards
💸 Celoxis pricing
- The pricing for this program management tool starts at $25/user per month
💬 Celoxis customer ratings
- G2: 4.3/5 (63 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (245 reviews)
9. Planview Clarizen
Up next is Planview Clarizen, a tool that allows program managers to increase project effectiveness, utilize purposeful collaboration, and drive focus across the entire program lifecycle.
On top of that, it provides a 360-degree view of all program resources, schedules, and tasks—complete with full context and real-time insights.
However, the interface leaves a lot to be desired and will require quite a learning curve before you and your teams understand it fully.
🔑 Planview Clarizen key features
- Powerful project portfolio management functionalities for concise planning and swift program execution
- An all-action project delivery dashboard that puts your teams in perfect rhythm
- Fully automated workflows that let you do your job the way you want to
💸 Planview Clarizen pricing
- The pricing for this program management tool starts at $45/user per month
💬 Planview Clarizen customer ratings
- G2: 4.1/5 (516 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.2/5 (162 reviews)
Asana allows you to increase program visibility while simplifying follow-ups and feedback.
However, your teams will find it hard to fall in love with Asana—or they may not fall in love with it at all.
The tool lacks feature parity for true all-in-one program management! Task checklists, smart notifications, and native time tracking are just a few features that are obviously lacking in Asana.
🔑 Asana key features
- Charts, graphs, and real-time insights that enable you to spot trouble before it causes mayhem
- Fully-fledged, user-friendly dashboards that allow you to manage everything from one place
- Invitation feature that lets you invite trusted teammates on the go
- Powerful portfolios for incisive projects tracking
💸 Asana pricing
- Asana has a free version that’s available for teams of up to 15 people. The premium plans start at $10.99/user per month
💬 Asana customer ratings
- G2: 4.3/5 (7,923 reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (10,245 reviews)
Check out these Asana alternatives.
Which program management software takes the crown?
We put ClickUp at position #1 because it’s the one and only true program management superhero—the Professor X of this realm, the crème del a crème of all program management tools in existence.
All of these features are incredibly important to program management. For instance, without organizing projects by importance, you can’t tell which ones are worth the punch in the shorter term. You’ll merely be drawing circles in the dark—and let’s face it, that’s no way to run a program.
The best time to adopt ClickUp as your go-to program management tool was yesterday; the second-best time is now.
What are you waiting for? Get ClickUp for free today and open the door to superior, top-of-the-line programs.