Looking for a comprehensive guide to project management software?
Managing a project can seem like a herculean task. I mean, you have to handle multiple tasks, documentation, meetings, reviews — the list goes on!
Luckily, you have project management tools that make this process a breeze!
They bring everything under one roof and help your team manage things smoothly.
But how do you pick the right one from the hundreds of tools available?
Feels like getting lost in the world of Narnia, right?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
- Guiding you on how to select the right project management tools
- Reviews of the best tools on the market today
We have everything you need in this article!
And to make this fun, we’ll ask the characters from The Chronicles of Narnia movies for some help.
This Article Contains:
(click on the links to jump to a specific section)
- What is project management software?
- Why do you need project management software?
- What you should look for in a project management tool
- Top 7 project management software
(includes key features, pricing, pros, cons and customer ratings)
Let’s get started!
What Is Project Management Software?
Project management software is a tool that helps project managers and teams manage their tasks or projects effectively.
While these tools are mostly used for project planning and resource management, they can also help you:
- Schedule your project plan
- Allocate tasks to team members
- Monitor project progress
- Collaborate effectively with your project team and external parties
- Budget your expenses
- Track project time
- And everything else involved in the project management process!
Well, almost everything!
As projects have become increasingly complex, project management tools have evolved to cope with them. Remember, they need to take care of all the aspects of project portfolio management.
The goal of any project management tool is to give your team a centralized space to manage all your project team activities. From project planning to execution, your management tool is supposed to handle everything.
And with the right project management software, you won’t have to use hundreds of other tools: it’s going to have everything you need built-in.
Why Do You Need Project Management Software?
Ever wonder why there are so many articles on project management software?
A project management software allows you to organize better, collaborate smoother, and increase your teams productivity.
Not to mention, everyone uses it!
But doing something just because everyone else does is never a good idea, like the concept of shaking hands for Tumnus, the faun, here:
Here are a few reasons why you need a project management software tool:
1. Better organization
If all your project management activities are handled within the same app, it’s going to be easier to organize everything, right?
You won’t be switching from here to there, for managing projects and everything else. All you need is neatly stored and categorized inside the same app.
2. Smoother collaboration
Lucy and Susan used Dryads (the spirits of Narnian trees) to relay information to their brothers in the world of Narnia.
But in the real world, you’ll need collaboration tools for this.
This is why most project management tools have built-in comment sections that support active team collaboration.
It helps your team exchange ideas and collaborate over multiple projects effectively. It also makes it easier for them to recommend project changes and take action on any important updates.
Additionally, as everything is stored within your project management app, it’s easier for the whole team to stay updated about a project’s status.
3. Increased productivity
Structured organization and streamlined collaboration lead to increased productivity.
Think about it.
If it’s easy to access all your project material, and it’s easy to collaborate with your team, you’ll get through tasks quickly, right?
As everything is available within the same project management app, you’ll have no difficulty mapping out multiple projects, monitoring progress, and executing effectively.
What You Should Look For In A Project Management Tool
You now know that you need a project management tool.
But how do you choose the right one?e
Unfortunately, you don’t have a prophecy that outlines which one’s the right fit for you:
But don’t worry, to pick the right tool, just look for the one that has these four key things:
1. Comprehensive project management software features
Remember, your project management tool has to manage your entire project process.
It needs to have the project management software features to deal with that.
Only look for a management tool that can manage all the aspects of your usual project management process.
Ideally, it should include:
- Project planning: to plan your projects effectively
- Collaboration software: to help your team collaborate easily
- Project progress tracking: to monitor your project’s progress
- Document storage: to carefully store and create important project documents
- Goal-setting: to give your team a set of deliverables to work towards
- Reminders: to remind you of your deadlines
- Distinct statuses: to keep you updated about project updates
- Client access rights: to update your clients about their project’s progress
Note: Your company may not currently need all the features of a task management tool. However, avoid choosing a tool that’s too simplistic. Otherwise, you’ll face many project management challenges!
The best option is to choose a tool that’s easy to use for basic project management but packed with powerful features that’ll become important as you scale up.
Remember how Jadis, the White Witch, could conjure anything she wanted using the magical potion?
Project management tools should too!
I mean, this is your tool. It should adapt to your team and your needs.
Not the other way around!
Only look for a task management tool that can adapt to your company’s unique needs. Whether it’s the interface, the statuses, the reminders, the views; everything should be customizable to suit your team’s needs.
If you’re using a tool that isn’t built for your team, it’s only going to slow you down; not speed things up!
There’s no point in having a feature-rich tool that you can’t use, right?
If a task management tool is difficult to use, it’s not worth it.
Your team is going to waste time figuring out how to use it, instead of working!
A project management solution is supposed to simplify your project and resource management process, not complicate it.
While your project management tool is supposed to have everything you need to manage multiple projects, it might not be enough.
Remember how Lucy and her siblings needed some extra tools for their battle?
Thank you, Father Christmas!
Likewise, sometimes you just need to use external tools.
For example, every company needs to expense tracking software and resource allocation.
But most project management tools don’t come with those features built-in.
So a good project management solution must have native integrations with external tools to ensure that everything remains unified.
This way, although the project management tool can’t support this feature by default, it can use your external tool to give you the functionality you need.
The Top 7 Project Management Software In 2021
Here are the top seven project management tools that’ll help you streamline your work and skyrocket your team productivity:
Used by teams in companies ranging from startups to enterprise companies, this project management platform has everything you need for managing projects and boosting productivity immediately.
Here’s a closer look at some key features of this productivity app:
1. Multiple Views for varying project needs
ClickUp project management gives you Multiple Views to adapt to all work preferences.
Different divisions in your company might prefer different tools. For example, your marketing team may prefer list-based tools, while your software development team might like an Agile or Scrum tool instead.
And working with a tool which you don’t prefer might make you feel like Mr. Beaver here:
So rather than using separate tools for different departments, why not use a tool that can adapt to different departmental needs?
Luckily, that’s exactly what the ClickUp project management tool does!
Here’s a closer look at how ClickUp’s modularity enables this:
A. Required Task Views
ClickUp has two required project task views that cater to the two most common project management approaches:
1. Board view
The Board view is perfect for fans of the Kanban approach. The drag and drop interface lets you quickly move individual tasks around and cope with the principles of the Agile methodology.
2. List view
The List view is a good view for people who like working with GTD-style to-do lists. This task list view lists down all your tasks in a simple checklist that can be checked off as you move along.
B. Box view
The Box view is the perfect view for a project manager.
It gives you high-level overviews of everything going on in your organization.
As every task is sorted by assignee in the Box view, you can quickly take stock of everyone’s workload and assign tasks accordingly.
ClickUp’s Calendar view will help you plan and manage your project schedule in no time.
You can even toggle between each Calendar view, such as:
- Days: to view all scheduled project tasks on a given date
- 4-Days: to view your tasks that are scheduled over a rolling four day period
- Week: for a look at your weekly project schedule
- Monthly: for a bird’s eye view of your what’s coming up over the next month
D. Me Mode
ClickUp’s “Me” mode only shows you comments, subtasks, and task lists that are assigned to you. This helps you block out distractions and only focus on things that concern you.
2. Assigned Comments to ensure that your comments never go unnoticed
Worried that people are taking too long to take action on your comments?
Not anymore, Edmund!
With ClickUp’s Assigned Comments (one of ClickUp’s many proprietary features) that won’t be an issue.
This feature lets you instantly convert a comment into a task and assign it to project team members. They’ll be notified of this and it’ll then pop up in their task tray, where they can start to take action on it.
However, that isn’t all.
Once done, they can even mark the task as resolved to reduce the need for any follow-ups!
3. Docs to create project documents and wikis easily
Imagine going through thick documentation files to find important project information.
With ClickUp Docs, you can create and store important project documents alongside relevant projects, making them easily accessible. It’s a powerful knowledge base tool for any company!
ClickUp’s Docs also let you:
- Store important company and project documents in a secure, accessible space
- Nest pages within documents for further categorization and organization
- Use rich customization to extensively format your documents (like Google Docs)
- Edit the access rights to each doc to ensure that only the right people access it
- Make your docs private or publicly accessible to create a self-help desk for your customers
- Make docs that can be indexed by Google and appear in search results
Want to always keep track of everything assigned to you?
Luckily, you don’t need to go anywhere for that.
Just open your ClickUp Inbox!
It contains every task, reminder, and notification assigned to you. You get a quick look at your past, current, and future tasks to help you take action on anything immediately.
With your Inbox, you won’t have to worry about forgetting what you have to do ever again.
But that’s not all!
ClickUp’s Profiles are the perfect way for a project manager to keep up with the workload of their project team members.
They can view:
- The tasks they’ve completed
- The tasks they’re currently working on
- The tasks they’ll be working on in the future
This way, in case someone has too much work, a project manager can quickly assign tasks to someone else instead. It’s the easiest way to ensure that everyone has an equal share of the workload!
5. Gantt Charts to monitor project timeline
One of the key things that a project management platform does is keep track of your project timeline.
They’re perfect for visual project management and tracking how your project plan is progressing.
Take a quick look at your Gantt chart, and you’ll have everything you need to determine if things are on track or not.
And what if your project timeline isn’t on track?
Just use the Gantt chart to quickly readjust tasks and items and you’ll be back on track in no time!
The best thing about ClickUp’s Gantt Charts is that they can automate tons of processes:
- They can automatically readjust task dependencies whenever scheduling changes are made
- They can automatically calculate your project progress percentage based on completed tasks/total project tasks
- They can compare your current project progress vs. your expected progress to determine how well things are progressing
- They can calculate your critical path to identify the most vital project tasks to meet your deadlines
6. Custom Task Statuses to create task stages that reflect your project needs
Remember, your project management solution needs to adapt to you.
Unfortunately, most project management tools give you a standard set of project statuses that you have to adapt to.
And in most cases, a default project status doesn’t accurately reflect your project’s stage.
I mean, can you imagine using the same task statuses for your content development tasks as well as your software project?
The ClickUp project management tool, however, adapts to your needs. It gives you fully customizable statuses for all your projects.
For example, if Lucy’s project is “rescue Edmund”, she can create a ClickUp project status like “reach Aslan’s camp” to ensure that her project proceeds smoothly.
She (or any project manager) is not limited to standard project status like “Open” or “Closed” — they can get as detailed and accurate as they want with each custom status!
But that’s not all! ClickUp goes beyond just offering basic project management features.
Here’s a quick look at some more features of this productivity app:
- Native Time Tracking: track time for efficient time management
- Priorities: tackle the most important tasks and subtasks first
- Custom Field: build anything into your Agile project workspace according to your needs
- Task Dependencies: ensure that tasks are always attempted in the right order
- Native Integrations: with video conferencing, bug tracking, and other tools for easy project management
- Detailed Reporting and Insights: for breakdowns of how your Agile team and company are doing
- Powerful iOS and Android Mobile Apps: stay on top of your projects even when you’re on the move
- User-friendly interface with rich customization
- Multiple Views (ClickUp’s flagship feature) with rich customization
- Project Management Automation to automate recurring tasks
- Can create detailed web forms with the Form view feature
- Quickly assign tasks to multiple teams for better resource allocation
- Powerful project performance reports that help analyze project success
- Checklists to break complex projects into task lists
- Monitor team members’ real time activity with Pulse
- Native Time Tracking to track the time your projects take
- Custom status for varying project needs
- Offline and online project management support
- Offers powerful third-party app integration for streamlined collaboration
- Custom Access Rights to share multiple project space with project stakeholders without compromising your privacy
- Feature-rich free plan
- Available as powerful apps for mobile, desktop, and web
- No white-labeling available
- No tags for Docs
- No provision for exporting Dashboards
Check out ClickUp’s product roadmap here.
ClickUp has three pricing options.
- Free Forever plan: unlimited tasks (projects) and members and 100MB of cloud storage space
- Unlimited plan ($5/user per month): unlimited projects and members and an unlimited number of integrations + advanced reporting
- Business plan ($9/user per month): unlimited projects and members and two-factor authentication + Google SSO
- G2: 4.7/5 (1000+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (1800+ reviews)
Asana is a popular online project management software that’s known for its clean, simplistic approach to project management.
Unlike other tools like Microsoft Project, this PM software is fairly user-friendly and will help you breeze through your tasks.
With Asana, planning for the battle against Jadis shouldn’t be too hard anymore.
I mean, the name “Asana” itself is just a letter away from “Aslan”, the lion!
- Unique visual timeline for easy project plan
- Activity feed for easy project collaboration
- Supports multiple views
- Create recurring tasks to save time
- Helpful drag and drop interface
- Easy setup and onboarding
- Can use a project template to plan projects quickly
- Has an integration with various software, like expense tracking tools
- Powerful to-do lists to tackle tasks
- Can’t add multiple teams to a project task
- Can’t assign comments to your project team
- The management solution isn’t built for managing complex projects
Asana has three pricing plans:
- Basic free version
- Premium variant ($10.99/user per month) for a small team
- Business variant ($24.99/user per month) for loads of features
- G2: 4.3/5 (6500+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (8600+ reviews)
Wrike is a comprehensive management solution built to handle any complex project and task, just like Atlassian’s Jira tool. With full task visibility and control given to users, this productivity app makes managing projects a breeze.
With Wrike in hand, Mr. & Mrs. Beaver won’t have to discuss projects in burrows and hideouts anymore!
Provided they’re already experts at project management since Wrike isn’t the easiest tool to get used to!
Here’s a closer look at why it’s a good resource management app:
- Three-pane interface that’s built for quick work management
- Detailed analytics and reports for visual project tracking
- Customizable forms and requests
- Good collaboration features
- Comprehensive project management capabilities for complex projects
- Can add multiple assignees to a project task
- Built-in expense tracking, file sharing, and document management features
- Can integrate with Dropbox, Google Drive, and collaboration tools like Slack
- This project management app is not user-friendly
- Mobile apps aren’t as powerful as their web-based application
- Can’t assign comments to team members
Wrike has three versions:
- Free tier: for a small team of up to five members
- Professional version ($9.80/user per month): for up to 15 members
- Business version ($24.80/user per month): for up to 200 members with advanced features
- G2: 4.2/5 (1100+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.2/5 (1500+ reviews)
Trello is a popular Kanban board based task management software. Like other Kanban based PM tools, it’s known for its user-friendliness and takes no time to get accustomed to.
Since Trello isn’t the most feature-rich tool out there, it’s easy enough for Jadis’s clumsy dwarf to use!
(Stop hogging secretly on those Turkish Delights, Ginarrbrik!)
- Kanban board interface for simple project management
- Good scheduling features
- Multiple power-ups for added functionality
- Drag and drop functionality for quick changes to your dashboards
- Easy project setup and onboarding
- Powerful mobile apps and web-based software
- Helpful project task lists with customizations
- The management solution only comes with a Kanban board view
- Not built for heavy project management
- Reporting or timesheets feature is only available as power-ups (which may have separate costs)
- Butler Bot is limited to one command with free plans
Trello has two pricing plans:
- Free plan for a small team
- Business plan ($9.99/user per month) for a large team
- G2: 4.3/5 (10,400+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (16,400+ reviews)
While it may not be the most modern tool out there, it still gets the job done – like Father Christmas:
- Powerful comment sections for efficient project team collaboration
- Detailed reports and timesheets
- Built-in due date reminders to keep up with deadlines
- Good scheduling and workflow management features
- Powerful online project handling
- Highly customizable management app
- Supports integrations with apps like Slack and Google Drive
- Mobile apps aren’t as powerful as the desktop and web-based application
- This project management platform doesn’t support multiple views
- Can’t assign comments in the web-based application
- No free plan available
Workzone has two pricing plans:
- Team ($24/user per month): for simple features and 100GB of storage
- Professional ($34/user per month): for 150GB of storage and additional features
- G2: 4.3/5 (40+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (110+ reviews)
ProofHub is a simple project management tool and collaboration tool that helps streamline your work processes.
Like Teamwork projects, its user-friendliness is what makes ProofHub a good project management system.
It’s not the most powerful solution out there but will do what it can to help you, sorta like Tumnus the fawn.
- Simple UI with user-friendly dashboards
- Highly customizable management app with support for multiple languages
- Supports custom access rights for guest access
- Good security features
- Powerful mobile apps for iOS & Android devices
- Has native integrations with Google Docs and Dropbox
- Easy onboarding with a simple learning curve
- Built-in reports and timesheets
- No free plan
- Not built for complex project workflow management
- Limited third-party app integrations
ProofHub offers two plans:
- Essential ($45/month): for 40 projects, 15GB of storage, and unlimited users
- Ultimate Control ($89/month): for project management collaboration features and 100GB of storage
- G2: 4.4/5 (25+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (40+ reviews)
Podio is a unique management tool that relies on its app market to give you the features you need for managing projects effectively. Like Mavenlink, it’s not a comprehensive solution but it should be enough for most small businesses.
Why not establish your own Turkish Delight business, Edmund?
With Podio, you might be able to do it!
- Powerful app market with an extensive list of SaaS apps for added functionality
- Activity stream for simple project team collaboration
- Podio API for added customization
- Drag and drop functionality
- User-friendly interface with simple onboarding
- Powerful mobile apps for online project handling
- Has an integration with software like invoicing and file sharing apps
- Not built for complex project management
- File size limit of 100MB doesn’t allow you to attach larger files
- No project planning or reporting features available in the base plan
There are four Podio versions:
- Free: offers basic project management features and access to the app store
- Basic ($9/month): for unlimited projects and tasks
- Plus ($14/month): for automated workflow management
- Premium ($24/month): for interactive dashboards and added customization
- G2: 4.1/5 (330+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.3/5 (260+ reviews)
Managing your work processes without project management software is like trying to defeat Jadis without Aslan.
Sure, you could still do it but a good project management tool is going to simplify resource management, improve team collaboration, and boost productivity immediately!
While there are tons of project management tools available in the market, like Liquidplanner, MS Project, and Zoho Project, the seven we listed here are easily the best ones.
And among those seven, ClickUp is clearly the best project management software.
With its attractive pricing plans and comprehensive project management software features, it has everything you need from a project management tool.
So why not sign up for a free account today to become an efficient project manager like Aslan?