April 25, 2024

Advancing Digital Excellence

Pioneering Technological Innovation

15 Best Project Management Software for 2024

33 min read

As organizations worldwide continue to adapt to an increasingly competitive landscape and a rapidly evolving business environment, the demand for effective project management solutions has never been greater. Companies of all sizes are recognizing the need to streamline workflows, enhance collaboration and boost overall productivity. Implementing the right project management software can help businesses stay ahead of the curve by ensuring projects are completed on time, within budget and with optimal resource allocation.

Top project management software comparison

Alongside pricing, here are some of the most important features that set apart the best project management software on the market. The table below illustrates which of the top 15 project management tools include these key features.

Microsoft Project: Best for collaboration on large projects

Microsoft Project logo.
Image: Microsoft Project

An awesome project management solution for Microsoft fans and established teams is Microsoft Project. The software is great for communicating with medium and large teams and offers a variety of purchase options. It’s not included in Microsoft 365, but you can integrate it after purchase. Subscriptions come with a one-month free trial.

Pricing

Microsoft Project comes in an on-premise version or cloud version, as well as subscription and one-time purchase versions.

  • Project Plan 1: $10 user/month, cloud version, web browser only.
  • Project Plan 3: $30 user/month, cloud version, offers online and desktop.
  • Project Plan 5: $55 user/month, cloud version, offers online and desktop.
  • Project Standard 2021: $719.99 one-time buy, on-premise.
  • Project Professional 2021: $1,409.99 one-time buy, on-premise.
  • Project Server: An on-premise subscription that is offered by Microsoft partners.

Standout features

  • Comes in cloud and on-premise versions.
  • Multiple work views, including grid, Gantt charts, board and home dashboard.
  • Communication and collaboration on projects, tasks and schedules.
  • Reporting templates to manage projects and resources (Figure A).
  • Timesheets for payroll, invoicing and tasks.
  • Enterprise resource planning for big teams.
Resource utilization dashboard in Microsoft Project.
Figure A: Resource utilization dashboard in Microsoft Project. Image: Microsoft

Top integrations

  • Integrates with most Microsoft products but must be set up manually.
  • Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft Teams.
  • Outlook.

Pros

  • Awesome for medium and large teams.
  • Good for project resource management.

Cons

  • Microsoft products can have a learning curve because its software is dense with features.
  • Can be costly for small or new teams.
  • No free plan.

Our star rating

We scored Microsoft Project in four key areas — features (3.9/5), pricing (2.8/5), ease of use (1.8/5) and service and support (4.2/5). Cumulatively, Microsoft Project received a good TR score of 3.4 out of 5 based on our analysis of the software in terms of the four key areas compared to similar tools.

Why we chose Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is a perfect solution for teams with Microsoft tech stacks already. It’s ideal for managing projects with complex project requirements. It can also be used as a standalone solution without buying Microsoft 365. It’s a great choice for staying on the same projects page in large teams.

For more information, read the full Microsoft Project review.

monday work management: Best for teams of all technical levels

monday.com logo.
Image: monday.com

monday work management is a reputable project management brand with a flexible platform for teams of all flavors. While initially intimidating, the monday work management interface is packed with features and offers extensive configuration management capabilities. While other solutions lean into a few views of project data, monday work management gives users the most flexibility in adding and configuring valuable visualizations.

Though I ran into hiccups using monday work management, the project management software excels in customization, giving teams the expected control to optimize workflows.

Pricing

  • Free trial available.
  • Free: $0 for up to 2 seats.
  • Basic: $9 per seat per month if billed annually, or $12 per seat per month if billed monthly.
  • Standard: $12 per seat per month if billed annually, or $14 per seat per month if billed monthly.
  • Pro: $19 per seat per month if billed annually, or $24 per seat per month if billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: Quotes are available upon request.

Standout features

  • Visualize project data through multiple tables, Kanban, Gantt charts and dashboard views.
  • Personalize colorful interfaces that bring project data to life.
  • Customize and share surveys for data collection via the WorkForms tool.
  • Access integrations for developers, marketing, CRM and project management.
  • Utilize pre-built automation and a long list of options for creating automation rules (Figure B).
monday’s automation center.
Figure B: monday’s automation center. Image: monday.com

Top integrations

  • Jira Service Management.
  • GitHub.
  • Slack.
  • Dropbox.

Pros

  • Clean user interface not bogged down by the platform’s extensive features.
  • Robust configurations for setting the workspace and tools to team specifications.
  • Designed for a multitude of use cases across industries and functions.
  • Highly effective tool for small businesses.

Cons

  • An evident learning curve for new users when implementing advanced features.
  • Import engine failed to pull most existing data into the platform.
  • Manually inputting data to reconcile imports was the biggest pain point.

Our star rating

Based on our evaluation, monday work management received a perfect TR rating of 5 out of 5. It scored highly in features with a 4.9 out of 5, as it offers a comprehensive set of functionalities. monday work management earned a near-perfect score of 4.3 out of 5 for pricing and also received an excellent score of 5 out of 5 both for ease of use and service/support.

Why we chose monday work management

We chose monday work management for its outstanding versatility as project management software. It’s a powerful tool for a variety of project management use cases and offers robust features for team collaboration tools, automation features and customization.

For more information, read the full monday work management review.

ClickUp: Best for teams on tight budgets

ClickUp logo.
Image: ClickUp

The fastest mover in the project management software space is ClickUp. Only five years after its founding, the San Diego-based startup has grown into one of the top project management solution providers. ClickUp far exceeded my expectations with a stack of project views and tools to enable productivity and collaboration for a wide variety of functional teams.

Add in ClickUp’s handful of affordable subscriptions for different team sizes and it’s difficult not to consider this budding project management software.

Pricing

  • Free Forever: $0; best for personal use.
  • Unlimited: $7 per user per month if billed annually, or $10 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Business: $12 per user per month if billed annually, or $19 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: Quotes are available upon request.

Standout features

  • Visualize project data through the List, Board, Gantt, Calendar, Workload and Map views (Figure C).
  • Create and modify tasks or bulk edit tasks from a list of potential operations.
  • Manage granular configurations of platform features and security.
  • Track and visualize project data through the Dashboards view.
  • Import data from monday, Asana, Trello, Jira Software, Wrike, Basecamp and Todoist.
The many views ClickUp has to offer.
Figure C: The many views ClickUp has to offer. Image: ClickUp

Top integrations

  • Zoom.
  • Github.
  • HubSpot.
  • Loom.

Pros

  • Widest and most affordable range of plans to meet different-sized team needs.
  • Robust configurability for customizing and managing platform workflows.
  • Access to over 1,000 integrations, such as mind map tools, for developers, business suites, storage and more.
  • Unlimited project members right from the free plan.

Cons

  • Slight variance between the imported file and platform results.
  • Some platform actions are less intuitive and require additional troubleshooting.
  • Occasional lagging between moving pages and lingering platform notices.

Our star rating

ClickUp earned a perfect score of 5 out of 5 in all categories. It excels in features, pricing, ease of use and service and support.

Why we chose ClickUp

We picked ClickUp as one of the best project management software for its affordable pricing plans, comprehensive features and customizable workflows. In addition, the user-friendly interface makes it a top choice for users of all technical levels.

Read our ClickUp review or see how ClickUp compares to Notion.

Smartsheet: Best for spreadsheet lovers

Smartsheet logo.
Image: Smartsheet

Launched in 2005, Smartsheet’s project and work management platform is one of the safest bets in the project management software market. From onboarding to using the platform, I was impressed by the interface’s user-friendliness and the features’ extensibility. Smartsheet offers an upgrade from traditional tools by adding accessible user experience features, needed integrations, robust customization and no-code capabilities to a spreadsheet interface.

Smartsheet pricing is among the highest on the market and there is no unlimited free plan. Still, I believe the platform’s benefits more than justify consideration for small teams up to enterprise organizations.

Pricing

  • Free plan
  • Pro: $7 per user per month if billed annually, or $9 per user per month if billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Business: $25 per user per month if billed annually, or $32 per user per month if billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Enterprise: Quotes are available upon request.

Standout features

  • Create, import and manage project data on a central cloud-based platform.
  • Visualize project data through the Grid, Gantt, Card and Calendar views (Figure D).
  • Flexible options for setting and adjusting project field data.
  • Access to WorkApps, the platform’s no-code tool for building web and mobile apps.
  • Activity logs for tracking change management with filters to identify actions.
Visualize project data through Smartsheet’s Card view.
Figure D: Visualize project data through Smartsheet’s Card view. Image: Smartsheet

Top integrations

  • Microsoft Teams.
  • Slack.
  • Salesforce.
  • Zapier.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface for moving from legacy spreadsheet tools.
  • Extensive documentation and access to onboarding assistance.
  • Prebuilt project and automation templates to get to work fast.
  • Issue tracking can be carried out within a familiar spreadsheet interface.

Cons

  • Several tools are add-ons, requiring an additional purchase.
  • Security features are limited to the Enterprise subscription.
  • Premium support is only available for higher-tier plans.

Our star rating

Smartsheet received an overall mark of 3.8 out of 5 in our evaluation of the tool. It scored 4.6/5 for features, 2.3/5 for pricing, 3.5/5 for ease of use and 3.8/5 for service and support.

Why we chose Smartsheet

While Smartsheet is ideally suited for users who prefer a spreadsheet-style interface, it offers several advanced project management features that help streamline processes and save time. The clean and simple layout makes for an easy learning curve. Users who don’t want to start from scratch can use the customizable templates from the library.

Read our Smartsheet review or check out how Smartsheet compares to monday work management.

Teamwork: Best for time tracking and budgeting

Teamwork logo.
Image: Teamwork

As the name implies, Teamwork is project management software that enables team and workload management. The Ireland-based platform offers a similar range to other top project management solutions but excels in time tracking, budgeting and stakeholder management. Whether it’s personnel or a third-party contractor, Teamwork is fit for optimizing the globally distributed workflows of tomorrow.

While a few actions during my experience with Teamwork didn’t seem as intuitive as other platforms, the platform and its potential to organize team projects are impressive.

Pricing

  • Free Forever: $0 per month for up to 5 users.
  • Deliver: $9.99 per user per month billed annually, or $13.99 per user per month billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Grow: $19.99 per user per month billed annually, or $25.99 per user per month billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Scale: Quotes are available upon request.

Standout features

  • Visualize project data through the Gantt, Kanban, board, dashboard, calendar and table views (Figure E).
  • Build and generate reports of project data to share via CSV, Excel and PDF.
  • Create project templates, dashboards, risks and project-level tags for reuse.
  • Integrate with Zapier, Google Drive, Box, Slack, Microsoft, HubSpot and more.
  • Access built-in Teamwork apps for collaborative spaces, IT help desks, customer relationship management and web chats.
Board view in Teamwork.
Figure E: Board view in Teamwork. Image: Teamwork

Top integrations

  • Slack.
  • Google Drive.
  • Microsoft Teams.
  • Usersnap.

Pros

  • Strongest time tracking and workload management capabilities of the products I reviewed.
  • Deep range of features emulating the best in the project management software market.
  • Free 30-day trial, an unlimited free plan and affordable annual subscriptions.

Cons

  • Basic Agile support and burndown reports are only available with higher plans.
  • Configure notification settings or get ready for a full inbox.
  • Modifications sometimes take several seconds to load.

Our star rating

Based on our analysis of Teamwork, it has received a score of 3.7 out of 5 in our review. Teamwork earned a solid 4 out of 5 for its features. However, the pricing of Teamwork is not as competitive, scoring 2.9 out of 5. The cost may be a deterrent for smaller teams or businesses with tight budgets.

Teamwork excels when it comes to ease of use, receiving a rating of 4.5 out of 5. Teamwork scored a 3 out of 5 for service and support, meaning there may be room for improvement in terms of responsiveness and availability.

Why we chose Teamwork

Teamwork offers excellent tools for time tracking and budgeting and has the capacity to handle projects of all sizes. The extensive range of features, including multiple project views, team collaboration tools and integrated file sharing, earns Teamwork a spot on this list.

For more information, check out our full Teamwork review or see how Teamwork compares to monday work management.

Confluence: Best for project document management

Confluence logo.
Image: Confluence

Confluence is team collaboration and project management software with outstanding document management and knowledge-sharing features. It’s suitable for any size or type of team. Users such as project managers can also use Confluence to create and track tasks on one centralized platform.

Pricing

  • Free: No cost for up to 10 users.
  • Standard: $6.05 per user if billed monthly, or $600 per year for 1–10 users.
  • Premium: $11.55 per user if billed monthly, or $1,150 per year for 1–10 users.
  • Enterprise: Customized pricing.

Standout features

  • Extensive template library includes customizable templates and blueprints for a variety of use cases (Figure F).
  • Version control and history feature to track changes to files over time.
  • Atlassian Analytics tools to gain valuable insights.
  • Bulk archive feature to archive multiple outdated or obsolete pages in one go.
A project management template in Confluence.
Figure F: A project management template in Confluence. Image: Atlassian

Top integrations

  • Jira Software.
  • Trello.
  • Salesforce.
  • Zendesk.

Pros

  • Strong in-app learning content.
  • Outstanding document management tools.
  • Centralized knowledge hub.

Cons

  • Limited team collaboration tools.
  • Performance issues with a large volume of data.

Our star rating

Based on our analysis of Confluence, it received an overall excellent TR score of 4.5 out of 5. To break it down, Confluence scored 4.6 out of 5 in terms of features, 4.4 out of 5 for pricing, 4.2 out of 5 for ease of use and 4.4 out of 5 in terms of service and support.

Confluence is rated highly across all criteria, with its features, pricing and quality of support and service being particularly strong. While there are some minor areas for improvement in ease of use, it still offers a solid and well-rounded user experience.

Why we chose Confluence

Confluence offers some advantages over other competitors, such as a centralized knowledge repository, robust document search and discovery feature and file sharing. Users already using Atlassian products will find Confluence a powerful addition to the ecosystem.

For more information, read our full Confluence review or see how Confluence compares to Notion.

Trello: Best for simple projects

Trello logo.
Image: Trello

Trello is the ideal tool for users who want simplified project management. Its Kanban-based interface makes it a project management app that’s easy to manage and track any type of project. While it might not be able to handle complex projects, Trello offers enough features to handle core project management tasks, including task automation to handle recurring tasks, file sharing and team collaboration.

Pricing

  • Free: Up to 10 boards per workspace.
  • Standard: $5 per user per month if billed annually, or $6 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Premium: $10 per user per month if billed annually, or $12.50 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: Range from $7.38 to $17.50 per user per month when billed annually. Your actual rate depends on the number of users in your organization.

Standout features

  • Project checklists to help break big projects into more manageable tasks.
  • File attachment feature with drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Automate workflows through Trello’s built-in automation builder .
  • Extensive library of pre-built templates (Figure G).
A budgeting and time tracking template in Trello.
Figure G: A budgeting and time tracking template in Trello. Image: Atlassian

Top integrations

  • Dropbox.
  • GitHub.
  • Jira Software.
  • Slack.
  • Google Sheets.

Pros

  • Generous free plan.
  • Highly visual interface.
  • Variety of add-ons.
  • Powerful automation tools.

Cons

  • Heavily reliant on the Kanban view.
  • Not designed to handle complex projects.

Our star rating

After evaluating Trello based on four criteria, it scored an overall TR rating of 4.5 out of 5. Trello offers a wide range of features, which earned an impressive 4.8 out of 5 and 4.4 out of 5 for affordability. Ease of use is one area where Trello really excels, earning a perfect score of 5 out of 5. In terms of service and support, Trello scored 3.3 out of 5. While Trello offers customer support, some users have reported experiencing delays or difficulties in resolving their issues.

Why we chose Trello

Trello earns a spot on our list of the best project management software with its feature-rich free plan, collaboration tools and outstanding ease of use. The kanban-style interface is visually appealing and feels intuitive. In addition, the efficiency offered by Trello helps simplify project management.

For more information, read our full Trello review or see how Trello compares to Basecamp.

Wrike: Best for portfolio management

Wrike logo.
Image: Wrike

The newest subsidiary of Citrix, Wrike was already one of the biggest names in project management software even before its backing by the cloud computing giant. With the capacity to manage entire project portfolios, Wrike’s feature set includes custom request forms, risk predictions, invoicing software and enterprise-grade security. I found the platform incredibly powerful, with clear use cases for small businesses, enterprise organizations and various team functions.

Upon first glance, the user interface is busy and Wrike’s learning curve is likely the steepest in the project management software space. That said, few vendors offer the same extent of enterprise capabilities.

Pricing

  • Free trial available.
  • Free: $0 per user per month.
  • Team: $9.80 per user per month.
  • Business: $24.80 per user per month.
  • Enterprise: Quotes are available upon request.
  • Pinnacle: Quotes are available upon request.

Standout features

  • Visualize project data through Gantt charts, Kanban boards and the table, list, board, timelog and analytics views (Figure H).
  • Add and edit task duration, approvals, time entries, subtasks, files and dependencies.
  • Access project templates for Agile, creative, IT operations and project management office teams.
  • Utilize customer-managed encryption keys and external encryption key storage via Amazon Web Services.
  • Access to over 400 app integrations and two-way sync with almost 30 other apps.
A reporting dashboard in Wrike.
Figure H: A reporting dashboard in Wrike. Image: Wrike

Top integrations

  • Power BI.
  • Salesforce.
  • Zoom.
  • Google Drive.

Pros

  • Plans for teams managing complex workloads, marketing and professional services.
  • Extensive interoperability and workflow capabilities with business-critical applications.
  • Enterprise-ready with premium security and data privacy controls.

Cons

  • More expensive than most project management solutions.
  • Steep learning curve for maximizing the extent of platform features.
  • Several tools are only available as add-on features or with higher subscriptions.

Our star rating

Based on our hands-on testing and analysis of Wrike, the PM tool scored an overall impressive mark of 4.6 out of 5.

  • Features: Perfect score of 5 out of 5.
  • Pricing: Good score of 3.5 out of 5.
  • Ease of use: Excellent rating of 5 out of 5.
  • Service and support: Impressive rating of 5 out of 5.

Why we chose Wrike

Wrike is known for its ease of use and team collaboration, making it ideal for project managers who handle multiple projects. It’s also a project management tool that’s great for managing complex projects. Another key reason why we chose Wrike was its scalability, making it a great choice for hyper-growth teams.

Zoho Projects: Best for multiple project visualizations

Zoho Projects logo.
Image: Zoho Projects

Under the Zoho portfolio of solutions, Zoho Projects offers teams a stack of features for tracking tasks, issues, time and resources to maximize collaboration and productivity. Users can visualize and adjust project data through views such as a traditional spreadsheet, simple list, kanban board or Gantt chart in real-time or automate mapped workflows with the Blueprints tool.

Zoho Projects offers a lot of functionality, considering it’s the most affordable project management software. This makes it great for small teams. However, it also lacks some of the personalization and advanced features included in the top tier of platforms.

Pricing

  • Free: $0 for up to 3 users.
  • Premium: $4 per user per month if billed annually, or $5 per user per month if billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Enterprise: $9 per user per month if billed annually, or $10 per user per month if billed monthly. A free trial is available.

Standout features

  • Visualize project data through the classic spreadsheet, plain list and kanban views.
  • Create project baselines to compare expected versus real progress on tasks.
  • Track time for tasks to inform workload and resource management (Figure I).
  • Integrate with critical apps such as Google, Microsoft, code repositories and more.
  • Access Zoho Apps, such as Mail, Docs, CRM, Desk, Analytics and Forms.
Time tracking in Zoho Projects.
Figure I: Time tracking in Zoho Projects. Image: Zoho

Top integrations

  • Zoho CRM.
  • Slack.
  • Google Suite.
  • Zapier.

Pros

  • Least expensive subscription plans among the top project management platforms.
  • Robust feature set considering its affordability.
  • Familiar interface and bundling value for existing Zoho customers.

Cons

  • Lagging when moving between different platform pages.
  • Limited options for viewing project data relative to competitors.
  • Some platform actions, such as creating multiple subtasks, aren’t intuitive.

Our star rating

In our evaluation of Zoho projects, the platform scored an overall excellent mark of 4.2 out of 5.

  • Feature: 3.3 out of 5.
  • Pricing: 5 out of 5.
  • Ease of use: 3.7 out of 5.
  • Service and support: 5 out of 5.

Why we chose Zoho Projects

If you’re looking for value for money, it doesn’t get any better than Zoho Projects. This low-cost project management app offers outstanding value. You get multiple channels for team collaboration and communication, as well as a quick and easy setup. Additionally, for its paid plans, you get unlimited projects.

For more information, read our full Zoho Projects review.

Notion: Best for freelance teams

Notion logo.
Image: Notion

In Notion, teams can collaborate, organize projects, run Agile sprints and work with guests, all in one workspace. The user interface is beginner-friendly and the Free version is great for exploring the platform. You can work with contractors, clients and coworkers on all sorts of projects. Small teams, startups and freelancers will love the affordability and bigger teams will enjoy the collaboration, automation and advanced security options.

Pricing

  • Free: Up to 2 users, limited collaboration and up to 10 guests.
  • Plus: $8 per user per month if billed annually, or $10 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Business: $15 per user per month if billed annually, or $18 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: More security and admin features; see sales for pricing.

Standout features

  • Multiple work views, including list, table and kanban.
  • Team workspaces in all plans.
  • Notion AI add-on for improving writing.
  • Create documents for notes, knowledge wikis or projects with a template gallery available (Figure J).
  • Export workspace in multiple formats.
  • Security capabilities like HIPAA compliance, SSO and domain management.
A project management template in Notion.
Figure J: A project management template in Notion. Image: Notion

Top integrations

Notion offers an open API for building your own connections with your tech stack. Common connections include:

  • Zapier.
  • Slack.
  • Nightfall AI.
  • Canva.
  • Google Drive.
  • OneDrive.

Pros

  • Great for remote work with plenty of guest users, like freelancers or clients.
  • Affordable collaboration in all plans.
  • Unlimited synced databases in paid plans.
  • Priority support in paid tiers.
  • Basic automation, open API and guest access in all plan tiers.

Cons

  • Limited blocks in the Free plan if you add more than one user.
  • Most security features are limited to Business and Enterprise tiers.

Our star rating

Notion earned a TR near-perfect score of 4.5 out of 5 based on our analysis of the following four categories.

  • Features: Perfect score of 5 out of 5.
  • Pricing: Excellent score of 4.4 out of 5.
  • Ease of use: Good rating of 3.7 out of 5.
  • Service and support: Impressive rating of 4.3 out of 5.

Why we chose Notion

Notion is a uniquely strong tool because of its flexibility to handle design, development and writing projects with the option to collaborate with people outside your workspace. It’s great for single users and small budgets but still offers plans that scale up to meet enterprise needs.

For more information, read the full Notion review.

Todoist: Best for low-budget teams

Todoist logo.
Image: Todoist

One of the simplest project management tools is Todoist. It includes simple collaboration features at affordable prices. It may not be the best choice for teams with complex projects or large amounts of data, but it’s an excellent project management app for individuals and small businesses looking to improve how they organize their tasks.

Pricing

  • Beginner: $0/month for 5 active projects and 5 users.
  • Pro: $4 per user per month if billed annually, or $5 per user per month if billed monthly for 300 active projects and 5 users.
  • Business: $6 per user per month if billed annually, or $8 per user per month if billed monthly for 500 active projects and unlimited guests and users.

Standout features

  • Has member, guest and collaborator user types.
  • Task management with reminders and timers (Figure K).
  • Admin security controls over different user types.
  • Work templates for diverse use cases such as education, design and writing.
  • Integrations for time tracking, productivity, scheduling and automation.
Task management in Todoist.
Figure K: Task management in Todoist. Image: Todoist

Top integrations

  • Slack.
  • Gmail.
  • Outlook.
  • Jira.
  • Toggl Track.
  • Zapier.
  • Google Sheets.

Pros

  • Allows collaborators and guest users to collaborate on a low budget.
  • Great for teams that don’t want to spend on complex software.

Cons

  • Not as feature-rich as other competitors.

Why we chose Todoist

Todoist is a great alternative for teams that don’t see the appeal of all the bells and whistles in most software. Its simple collaboration features and low costs are great for startups as well as small and large teams. If the majority of the tools on this list overwhelm you, give Todoist a try.

For more information, read the full Todoist review.

SmartSuite: Best for growth

SmartSuite logo.
Image: SmartSuite

SmartSuite has transparent pricing for plans at multiple stages of growth. Its free plan provides access to the majority of features, including automation and control over user role permissions. Teams can find strong features, such as automation and classic features such as task lists, which make it a project management tool that’s suitable for managing projects of any scale.

Pricing

  • Free Forever: Allows for 3 users.
  • Team: $10 per user per month if billed annually, or $12 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Professional: $25 per user per month if billed annually, or $28 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: $35 per user per month if billed annually, or $41 per user per month if billed monthly.

Standout features

  • Multiple work views, including grid, Kanban, timeline and calendar.
  • Team collaboration features such as commenting, activity history and real-time updates.
  • Chat support for all plans.
  • Task management with time tracking and resource allocation (Figure L).
  • 200 templates for solutions (projects).
  • Allows 15 supported languages for global collaboration.
  • Native integrations as well as the Zapier integration for connecting with your preferred tech stack.
Time tracking in SmartSuite.
Figure L: Time tracking in SmartSuite. Image: SmartSuite

Top integrations

  • Slack.
  • Google Drive.
  • OneDrive.
  • HubSpot.
  • Invision.

Pros

  • Data import and export in all plans.
  • Paid plans start with 50GB of file storage.
  • Upfront pricing and 14-day free trial.

Cons

  • Priority support only in Enterprise.
  • Security such as single sign-on and two-factor authentication are limited to higher tiers.
  • Requires free trial before purchase.
  • Can be pricey the more users you have.

Why we chose SmartSuite

SmartSuite is one of the few software applications with upfront pricing for each tier and offers access to the majority of features in all tiers. There will be limits, of course, but this tool’s free plan is great for getting an accurate feel for the software.

For more information, read the full SmartSuite review.

Airtable: Best for building custom solutions

Airtable logo.
Image: Airtable

With Airtable, you can develop your own app to meet your business needs. The software provides a tool for app building called Interface Designer. It lets users tailor-make their own apps in a simple drag-and-drop interface. You can build apps for all sorts of projects, from event planning, project management, marketing, HR, education, design and so much more. It’s a great option for teams working on niche projects that need more customization.

Pricing

  • Free: 5 editors and unlimited bases with 1,000 records per base.
  • Team: $20/user/month billed annually, or $24/user/month billed monthly.
  • Business: $45/user/month billed annually, or $54/user/month billed monthly.
  • Enterprise Scale: More security, admin permissions, automation and overall scalability; contact sales for pricing.

Standout features

  • Multiple work views, including list, calendar, kanban and Gantt.
  • Simple app-building tool for all tiers.
  • AI for streamlining workflows.
  • Gallery of work use case templates (Figure M).
  • Marketplace for extensions by Airtable or third parties.
  • Full users are editors and limited users are commenters.
  • Multiple layout options in Airtable.
Multiple template options in Airtable.
Figure M: Multiple template options in Airtable. Image: Airtable

Top integrations

  • Slack.
  • Google Drive.
  • Salesforce.
  • Zendesk.
  • WordPress.

Pros

  • Extensive template gallery.
  • Ability to add extensions to upgrade features, set or build your own extensions with JavaScript.
  • Automation is available in all plans, as well as the ability to add automation integrations.
  • All plans allow comment-only users to give editors feedback.

Cons

  • Support is very limited for such a robust tool.
  • Paid plans are very expensive, especially for small teams.
  • It can have a learning curve.

Our star rating

Airtable earned a TR score of 3.8 out of 5 based on our evaluation of the following four criteria.

  • Feature: Perfect score of 4.9 out of 5.
  • Pricing: Poor score of 1.4 out of 5.
  • Ease of use: Excellent rating of 4 out of 5.
  • Service and support: Impressive rating of 4 out of 5.

Why we chose Airtable

Airtable is one of the best choices for teams that want their project management solution to be more reflective of their needs. It has a free version that’s great for exploring capabilities before making any commitments and ready-to-go templates to speed up production.

For more information, read the full Airtable review.

Asana: Best for extensibility

Asana logo.
Image: Asana

One of the most popular project management software solutions, Asana is the work management platform started by former Facebook developers in 2008. The Silicon Valley-based company has grown dramatically in that time and the platform’s extensibility affirms why so many businesses choose it. From viewing team member workloads to adding strategic goals and setting user security policies, I believe Asana has something for every team.

Though some actions were less intuitive, Asana made up for them with the documentation and resources to guide platform projects efficiently.

Pricing

A 30-day free trial is available for these Asana plans:

  • Personal: $0 per user per month.
  • Starter: $10.99 per user per month if billed annually, or $13.49 per user per month if billed monthly.
  • Advanced: $24.99 per user per month if billed annually, or $30.49 per user per month iif billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: Custom quote.
  • Enterprise+: Custom quote.

Standout features

  • Visualize project data through the list, board, timeline, calendar and workload views (Figure N).
  • Manage and create project data with custom fields, rules and forms.
  • Enable the built-in time-tracking tool to visualize time spent on tasks.
  • Import data from Airtable, Google Sheets, monday work management, Trello, Smartsheet and Wrike.
  • Assign tasks and track project progress.
  • Add integrations for communications, files, finance, IT, reporting, sales and security.
Visualizing a project through Asana's board view.
Figure N: Visualizing a project through board view. Image: Asana

Top integrations

  • OneDrive.
  • Slack.
  • Jira Software.
  • Harvest.

Pros

  • Robust feature set competing with the best in project management software.
  • Friendly user interface and flexible controls for different tools.
  • Extensive import options including multiple top project management platforms.

Cons

  • At times, the interface is less intuitive than competing project management platforms.
  • There is a steep learning curve for deploying some features and advanced tools.
  • Occasional error messages and lag occur when moving between platform pages.

Our star rating

Based on our assessment, Asana has received an overall rating of 3.9 out of 5. For features, Asana excels with a score of 4.9 out of 5. However, in terms of pricing, Asana has received a below-average score of 2 out of 5. The pricing plans offered by Asana can be quite expensive, especially for small businesses or startups. This might limit the accessibility of the platform for some users who are working with limited budgets.

On the bright side, Asana scored a perfect 5 out of 5 for ease of use but received a slightly above-average score of 2.9 out of 5.

Why we chose Asana

Asana is outstanding task management and team collaboration software. It’s flexible, fast, feature-rich and offers a generous free plan. The flexibility offered by Asana means it can be used by businesses of all sizes. In addition, you get several import options, making it easy for users to transition to Asana from other software or to use Asana with other applications.

Explore our Asana review or see how Asana stacks up against Notion.

Jira Software: Best for development teams

Jira Software logo.
Image: Jira Software

Atlassian’s portfolio of collaboration, code management and security solutions is led by its flagship project-tracking software, Jira. In response to a growing number of general-use project management solutions, Jira offers a mix of project data views, reporting and configuration capabilities with the Work Management platform included in its suite of products.

Jira is ideal for organizations already using Atlassian products or teams relying on integrations such as the private repository host BitBucket. Otherwise, its general project management functionality is below par relative to the broader project management marketplace.

Pricing

  • Free: $0 for up to 10 users.
  • Standard: $8.15 per user billed monthly and $850 annually for 1–10 user tier.
  • Premium: $16 per user billed monthly and $1,600 annually for 1–10 user tier.
  • Enterprise: Available for teams with more than 201 users and only billed annually. Contact Jira Service Management sales for pricing information.

Standout features

  • Visualize project data through list, board, timeline and calendar views (Figure O).
  • Import existing work to create project issues and collect data through forms.
  • Access a summary page embedded with key performance indicators for progress, priorities and workloads.
  • Integrate with Jira Service Management and other Atlassian tools.
  • Starts with 20 pre-built templates for finance, marketing, human resources and legal teams.
Jira’s Kanban view.
Figure O: Jira’s Kanban view. Image: Atlassian

Top integrations

  • Github.
  • Lucidchart.
  • Confluence.
  • Microsoft Teams.

Pros

  • More than 500 integrations and 3,000 extensions for workflow apps.
  • Bundle with Atlassian’s portfolio of tools, such as BitBucket, Crucible and Trello.
  • Built-in tools for tracking effort against tasks.
  • Great issue tracking capabilities.

Cons

  • Higher learning curve for non-software development teams.
  • Not as intuitive as other top project management tools.
  • Still a developing application relative to Jira Service Management’s accolades.

Our star rating

Jira has received an impressive TR rating of 4.6 out of 5, indicating its overall satisfaction among users. It received a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for features.

It earned an excellent score of 4.4, 4.0 and 4.3 out of 5 for pricing, ease of use and service and support, respectively. This demonstrates that Jira excels in features, pricing and support. Users also find the software easy to navigate and understand.

Why we chose Jira Software

Jira is one of the best project management software for its Agile support, bug tracking and issue management capabilities. While these features are most suitable for software development, they can be used for a variety of other applications.

For more information, read our Jira Software review or see how Jira compares to Asana.

What are the key features of project management software?

The key features of project management software vary depending on the specific tool, but generally, these are some of the most important features to look for when evaluating a solution.

Task management

Effective task management capabilities enable users to create, assign, track and update tasks, providing a clear overview of individual responsibilities and overall project progress. This feature is essential for keeping teams organized and ensuring that everyone understands their roles and deadlines, contributing to the successful completion of projects.

Customizable workflows

Customizable workflows allow teams to create and modify workflows according to their unique processes and preferences, ensuring the software is adaptable to their specific needs and requirements. This flexibility enables teams to tailor their project management system to suit their project types, methodologies and industry best practices, ultimately improving efficiency and effectiveness.

Collaboration and communication

Project management software should foster seamless collaboration and communication among team members through features such as real-time chat, file sharing, commenting and notifications. These tools help keep everyone on the same page and make it easier to coordinate work, resolve issues and ensure that projects stay on track.

Multiple views

Providing various views, such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, list views and calendar views, allows users to visualize project data in different ways, catering to individual preferences and enhancing overall project comprehension. This feature helps teams monitor progress, identify potential bottlenecks and plan work more effectively.

Native time tracking

Time-tracking capabilities help teams monitor the time spent on tasks and projects, facilitating better resource allocation and promoting efficient time management. This feature enables organizations to optimize productivity, manage budgets and accurately bill clients for work completed.

Custom fields

Custom fields enable teams to add personalized data points to tasks and projects, making it easier to track, filter and report on the unique information relevant to their organization. This feature provides additional flexibility and customization, ensuring teams can capture and manage the data that matters most to them.

Document and file management

Integrated document and file management features allow users to store, share and collaborate on project-related files, ensuring easy access and organization. This functionality helps keep essential documents and resources centralized, streamlining communication and reducing the risk of misplacing or duplicating files.

Reporting and analytics

Comprehensive reporting and analytics tools help users gain insights into project performance, identify bottlenecks and make informed decisions based on real-time data. These features enable teams to continuously improve their processes, allocate resources more effectively and optimize overall project success.

Resource management

Effective resource management capabilities enable teams to allocate resources such as personnel, equipment and budgets optimally, ensuring projects are completed efficiently and cost-effectively. This feature helps organizations balance workloads, avoid overloading team members and prevent resource conflicts.

Third-party integrations

Integration with other tools and software, such as customer relationship management systems, accounting tools and productivity suites, can enhance the project management software’s functionality and streamline workflows. This feature enables teams to connect their project management system to other essential tools, reducing manual data entry and facilitating a more seamless working experience.

What are the benefits of project management software?

Project management software offers a multitude of benefits that can significantly enhance team productivity and efficiency. Let’s delve into some of the most compelling advantages that these tools can provide.

Improved organization and prioritization

Project management software offers a comprehensive and structured approach to organizing tasks and projects, making it easier for teams to stay focused and prioritize work. It enables users to break down projects into smaller, manageable tasks and assign deadlines, ensuring that teams can effectively allocate resources and time to critical activities. By categorizing and prioritizing tasks, team members can better understand their responsibilities and overall project progression, reducing confusion and miscommunication.

Enhanced collaboration and communication

A key benefit of project management software is the facilitation of team collaboration and communication. By providing a centralized platform, team members can easily share information, documents and updates on their progress. This visibility allows for more effective communication, faster decision-making and better issue resolution. Additionally, such tools often have integrated communication features, such as chat or comment sections, which can help streamline communication and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Time and resource management

Project management software helps teams efficiently manage their time and resources, ultimately leading to increased productivity. These tools often include features such as time tracking, workload balancing and resource allocation, which allow teams to make informed decisions about how to best utilize their time and resources. By monitoring progress and identifying bottlenecks, managers can make adjustments and reallocate resources as needed to keep projects on track.

Accurate budget tracking and financial control

Managing budgets is a critical aspect of any project and project management software can help ensure financial control. With features such as cost estimation, expense tracking and financial reporting, teams can monitor budgets and avoid overspending. This level of financial control and visibility not only helps projects stay within budget but also supports better forecasting for future projects.

Increased accountability and transparency

Project management software increases accountability and transparency by providing a clear overview of tasks, responsibilities and deadlines. This visibility helps ensure team members understand their roles and take ownership of their work. Moreover, the software allows for real-time progress tracking, making it easier to hold individuals accountable for meeting deadlines and completing tasks. This improved accountability fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility within the team, leading to better overall project outcomes.

Streamlined reporting and analysis

Finally, project management software simplifies reporting and analysis by consolidating data from various sources into customizable dashboards and reports. This enables stakeholders to access relevant information quickly and make data-driven decisions. By providing insights into project performance, teams can identify areas for improvement and implement changes, ensuring projects stay on track and meet objectives.

Considerations for project management tools

Use cases and audience

Most project management software solutions speak to a broad audience of potential use cases. Across industries and departments, the use cases mentioned most for project management tools include:

  • Agile, scrum and other software development methodologies.
  • Campaign and client management.
  • Content creation and digital asset management.
  • Event planning and management.
  • Issue, request, ticket and bug tracking.
  • Lead tracking and sales pipeline.
  • Onboarding and offboarding personnel.
  • Product management and features backlog.
  • Resource, time and workload allocation.
  • Integrations.

As with the two software development project management picks, the range of integrations offered by top project management platforms is a crucial differentiating factor. Teams across the globe increasingly rely on a stack of applications to conduct everyday work. Considering project management software is meant to enable productivity in teams’ existing workflows, the lack of critical integration is a dealbreaker.

Customer support and service

Finally, teams relying on project management software for critical business operations also need to ensure the level of technical support meets expectations. Teams are bound to encounter unexpected outages, roadblocks and platform issues, making regular availability by phone or web chat essential to business continuity.

How do I choose the best project management software for my business?

The best project management software should offer a combination of user-friendliness, customization and scalability to meet the needs of your team and organization. It should be intuitive and easy to navigate, allowing users to perform tasks with minimal training. The software should also be adaptable, providing the ability to tailor features and workflows to suit the organization’s specific requirements. Scalability is another essential aspect, ensuring that the software can accommodate growth in team size, project complexity and workload.

Effective communication, time and resource management and comprehensive reporting are vital features of a top project management tool. Collaboration and communication features should streamline information sharing, while time and resource management capabilities help optimize productivity. Robust reporting and analytics functionalities are crucial for continuous improvement. Integration with other tools, such as CRM systems or productivity suites, can further enhance efficiency.

Lastly, consider the security, reliability and cost-effectiveness of the software. Robust security measures, such as encryption and access controls, are necessary to protect sensitive project data. Reliability in terms of uptime and responsive customer support ensures a seamless experience. The best project management software should offer value for money, balancing features and functionality with cost. Evaluating customer reviews, case studies and testimonials can provide valuable insights into the tool’s suitability for your organization’s specific needs.

2024 Project management trends

AI in project management

AI is becoming increasingly integrated into project management. And we’ll continue to see more of this in 2024 and beyond. Many top-rated project management solutions, such as ClickUp, Notion, Zoho Projects, monday work management and many more, now offer AI tools to help with project management processes.

AI lets project managers automate certain repetitive tasks, enhance decision-making processes and predict risks and outcomes more accurately. AI can also assist in generating real-time project insights and help track resource usage and team member capacity and availability.

Generative AI, in particular, is revolutionizing project management by automating content creation, report generation and even project plan and document drafting. We’ll see more of this, which will allow professionals like project managers to focus more on strategic decision-making and less on administrative tasks.

Hybrid project management

Hybrid project management, which blends traditional and agile project management methodologies, will see increased adoption in 2024. As organizations continue to strive for flexibility and faster delivery, hybrid project management offers the best of both worlds by combining the structured approach of waterfall with the iterative and adaptive practices of agile.

This approach will allow project teams to be flexible and adapt to changing requirements while still maintaining structure and organization.

Emphasis on soft skills

While technical skills are important, project managers will need to focus on developing their soft skills. Effective communication, leadership, teamwork and emotional intelligence will be vital for managing virtual teams, navigating conflicts and building strong relationships with stakeholders.

Resource optimization

Resource optimization will continue to be a key trend in project management. With limited resources and increasing project complexities, project managers will need to find ingenious ways to allocate and utilize resources efficiently. This may involve leveraging technology, outsourcing certain tasks or implementing agile resource management strategies.

Cloud-first approach

The shift towards cloud-based project management tools continues to dominate, with teams maximizing the flexibility to collaborate from anywhere. This trend is particularly relevant in the context of the ongoing preference for remote and hybrid work models. These work models demand tools and systems that support seamless access to project data, real-time collaboration and integration across geographic locations.

Additionally, cloud-first approaches are becoming more popular as they help organizations reduce their need for substantial upfront investments in project management tools as the pay-as-you-go models associated with cloud services present a more economic solution.

Greater focus on data analytics

Data analytics is playing a pivotal role in project management, offering insights that drive informed decision-making. Project managers are leveraging data analytics to monitor project progress, identify risks and optimize processes, ensuring projects are aligned with strategic objectives. As data continues to deliver valuable actionable insights, project managers will double down on data analytics for more data-driven project management.

Methodology

To compile this list of the best project management software, we considered project management tools across factors like features, cost and user experience. The 15 tools we chose all approach project management in a unique manner. We set out to find the uniqueness of each tool by testing each tool where possible. This answered our questions on the user experience and usability of the tools and helped us understand both the strengths and shortcomings of each tool. It also revealed the best quality of each software. We also kept an eye on the integrations available to each tool.

Where we were unable to get direct access to a tool without having to first subscribe, we used demos to understand the workings of the tool in consideration. Then we compared our findings with the reviews of verified users to understand whether our experience was common or whether we were outliers.

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