If you’re looking for the best project management tools for your company, you’re certainly not the only one. In fact, it’s been found that more than 3 out of 4 high-performing projects use this type of software. This is certainly understandable since the right one can make it a lot easier to keep track of the project progress. Many of these tools also offer excellent collaborative features. But before you select a project management tool for your team for the first time, consider these 16 factors.
16 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Project Management Tool
But which one is the best? There’s no one answer for everyone since project managers have different needs and preferences. However, you can probably make a more suitable pick by focusing on the following factors:
There are several features in project management software that is the most often sought by those who use these tools. These include budget management, time tracking, and file sharing. Project managers also appreciate Gantt charts and email integration.
Other tools, like video chat and social media, maybe nice but are comparatively seldom used.
One survey found that organizations that use PM software spend an average of $861 a month on these tools. That’s a large amount of money for a small business, though. It’s because only larger firms are more likely to spend on such software.
However, some of these PM tools do offer free plans. That gives you an opportunity to try them out to see if it helps and to help you to familiarize yourself with how it works. Just keep in mind that in most cases, free plans tend to offer only limited features.
Many people use these tools to help project members work together more efficiently. This means you need to check out if the software allows your own team members to collaborate more easily to finish the task.
4. Customizability and Ease of Use
Can you customize these tools? It’s best if you can set up the software so that you can use it more easily. Some of these tools can offer excellent features, but the learning curve can be a bit steep.
You’ll also want to check out the integrations. Often, you’ll maximize the usefulness of the PM software if it can work in tandem with your other 3rd-party programs.
Sooner or later, you may run into some problem with your PM software that you can’t figure out by yourself. It’s better if you can have an expert on this tool to guide you. So, check for live support, whether by phone or live chat. These methods offer more immediate answers to your problems than the usual email.
6. Maximizing the Benefits: How to Use PM Tools Properly
While these project management programs have crucial differences between them, there are basic steps you need to take to use them properly. You can make sure to maximize the benefits you enjoy from these tools by taking the following steps:
7. Project Analysis
What you first need to do is to take a good look at your project to focus on the parts where you might need some help. You then have a better idea of what goal you wish to achieve with your PM software.
You need to figure out if you have to collaborate with clients or with any other 3rd parties. You should also check if you need the tools loaded on your computers or if you can work with a web-based system. See if mobile apps are needed as well, especially if your team members are often on the road.
8. Picking the Right Plan
For most PM platforms, you have several pricing options to pick from. Choose according to what you can afford and what kind of savings you can get when you use the project management tools. Take note of how many users there will be as well.
The costs of the plan you pick should provide you with the right set of features that can make it a lot easier for you to oversee your projects. You can always first try out free plans if you’re unsure. That way, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. In addition, you can familiarize yourself with a particular PM tool, so that you’ll find it easier going when you upgrade to a paid plan.
9. Familiarize Yourself with the Navigational Panel
Once you pick the right plan, you’re then confronted with the navigational panel. This will contain all the tools and features, and so you need to be comfortable with it. You should train yourself to use it so that you can find each feature you need quickly.
Most of these panels tend to offer similar components. These include a calendar that helps you track the progress of the project, while you see your daily tasks. You have various tasks folders too, along with sub-tasks. There should also be an inbox for messages from team members, along with a separate report section.
10. Start by Creating a New Folder
This is the standard first step for any project. Each project needs to have its own folder. The folder will then have its own name and folder description.
11. Start the Project
You can either start a new project or add a current project to the folder. After naming the project, you usually have to set a start date and an end date. Then you pick the kind of view you want (such as a calendar view or a to-do list).
12. Add Team Members
Each team member can report on how they’re doing, while they’re also kept aware of the progress of the project.
13. Add Tasks
You can define what needs to be done to complete the project, and assign tasks for specific team members. You can also divide a large task into sub-tasks. All these tasks should have the crucial info noted on the PM platform. This will include which team members are assigned to complete a task and the due dates for each task.
14. Set Priority Levels
Some tasks are more important than others. It may be crucial to note which ones are of higher priority. This is so that team members can then focus on the higher priority tasks, and make sure they’re completed on schedule.
15. Dashboard Reports
The dashboard contains the progress reports and metrics, to let you know if the project is progressing on schedule. If a particular part of the project seems to be going slow, then you can focus more on it right away.
Check out the collaboration features of the PM platform, and see how these can improve matters. These can include live chats for immediate communications between specific team members, as well as file-sharing.
Here Are The Top Project Management Softwares
These days, project management tools aren’t exactly scarce. There are plenty to choose from. Your best bet, though, is to start with these excellent options:
Basecamp: Project Management & Team Communication
Our favorite project management tool of all time. This is also-cloud based, which means there’s no program to download. You won’t have it update it manually, either. It offers a complete set of tools that you don’t really need another program for project management.
This is excellent in breaking down a large and complicated project into smaller parts. You can then concentrate on specific parts as you need to.
- Lots of templates to choose from
- File management for each project
- Still offers many integrations, such as for TaskClone and Zapier
- There’s a message board for ideas and announcements
- You can consult your to-do list
- Easy to share spreadsheets, documents, and other files
- Calendar system
- Available group and single chat
- Client portal
- A single dashboard displays all key metrics
- You can schedule notifications
- Available free plan
- The paid plan comes with a 30-day free trial period
- No charges based on user number—additional users don’t lead to additional costs
- Works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
- Plenty of tutorials for in-depth learning
- Allows for easy collaboration
- Highly customizable
- The free plan doesn’t give you customer support
- The paid plan still doesn’t have phone support
- Problems with your Internet connection can leave you stranded (since the PM tool is cloud-based)
You need to just pay $99 a month, regardless of the number of users. For large teams, this is quite economical.
Workzone: Project Management Software
Quite a few managers regard this as a topnotch choice, and you may agree after a while. It does offer a rather sophisticated set of features, though beginners may require a bit of time to learn the system. The pricing isn’t fixed as well, and you’ll have to contact the Workzone people to get a quote.
- Displays to-do list in real-time
- Lots of templates
- Great features for collaboration
- Document management
- Integrates with lots of other software including Google and Dropbox
- Templates for project reports
- Budget management
- Terrific for a business with many clients
- 24/7 phone and email support
- Beginners may not find it easy to use
- No fixed price
- No portal for external users and clients
Monday.com: The Work OS That Makes Teamwork Click
This used to be called Dapulse, but its new features merited a new name as well. It works for small or large teams, and it helps that you’re able to use a mobile app with it. The new features offer a lot of convenient, time-saving tools, though you first need time to learn them all.
- You can synchronize color-coded timelines with your calendar
- Clients can use an external portal
- Lists can be copied and pasted
- Map view for location-based projects
- Many templates to choose
- Resource management tools
- Convenient undo button
- Can be used for complicated projects
- Multiple languages, including even Dutch
- Customized plans based on the number of users
- Unlimited boards and users
- Great integrations
- Comprehensive 1-on-1 training available
- Free trial period
- Fantastic 24/7 email and phone support
- Not so easy to learn on your own
- Hard to add sub-tasks
- Can be quite expensive
The plans can cost from $25 to $59 a month, but that’s only for 5 users. Additional users will cost more. There’s also an Enterprise plan that you can get a quote for.
Clickup: An All-In-One Suite To Manage People, Projects
An all-in-one suite to manage people, projects, and everything in between. ClickUp is a cloud-based collaboration and project management tool suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. Features include communication and collaboration tools, task assignments and statuses, alerts and a task toolbar. If your business has to solve numerous problems, Clickup can be the answer you need. It offers many important features, while a freemium plan is also available.
- Makes it easier for different business groups to collaborate
- Task management
- Time management
- Wide integration
- Goal tracking
- Permits automatic document importation from other apps
- Task priorities
- Contact management
- Efficient dashboard view
- Extensive customization
- Freemium plan offers basic services
- 24/7 quick customer support
- Ineffective calendar view
- Not as user-friendly as it ought to be
There’s the freemium plan we’ve already mentioned. The Unlimited plan is $5 a month for each user, and the Business plan costs $19 per user. There’s an option for the Enterprise plan as well, which can be customized for your needs.
ProofHub: All-in-One Project Planning Software
ProofHub is a project planning software with every tool your team needs to get work done faster, together. This, too, offers a complete set of PM tools so you won’t need to get additional software to upgrade its capabilities. Its fees are also very reasonable, with no extra fees for additional users. Just make sure your internet connection is reliable, as this is completely cloud-based.
- Available in many languages
- Terrific templates
- Gant charts to track progress
- Permits adding your own theme, logo, and colors
- Multiple integrations, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Outlook
- Permits simultaneous viewing of multiple files
- Kanban-style boards
- Highly customizable
- Imports CSV files
- Allows for easy allocation of tasks and sub-tasks
- Calendar lets you manage events, milestones, and reminders
- Lots of command shortcuts for efficient use
- Detailed tutorials
- 30-day free trial period
- May not be easy for newbies
- Some features are hard to use, even after a lot of time using the PM tool
- Requirements management and workflows can be better
- No phone support
There are several plans available, with the priciest at $45 a month.
Wrike: Leading Work Management Solution
Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management software that scales across teams in any business. The Wrike platform helps organizations align work with the most important business objectives, create new efficiencies, and drive results. This is popular all over the world, with more than 100 million tasks completed in the Wrike platform; and you can get it in German and French. It also works with Android and iOS.
- Multi-panel UI
- Drag and drop editor
- Easy to prioritize tasks
- Very user-friendly
- Integrates with many email marketing tools and CRM apps
- When integrated with Tableau, gives you advanced data insights
- Plenty of tools that can help
- This can be the sole platform you need for everything
- Plenty of automation
- Dependable security protocols
- 24/7 support, via phone, live chat, and email
- Some newbies may not find this easy to use
- Can be confusing to oversee tasks
The Professional plan costs about $10 per user, for up to 15 users. The Business plan works for 5 to 200 users, but it costs about $25 per user. However, there may be some discounts for a higher number of users.
There 3 other plans for an unlimited number of users, and these can be customized to suit your needs perfectly.
All of these plans come with a free trial period, though they’re limited to just 5 users.
MeisterTask: Task Management for Teams
MeisterTask is a cloud-based Kanban-style collaborative task-management application. MeisterTask utilizes Kanban boards, sharing similarities with such applications as Trello and Asana. The software can be used in a web browser, or through applications for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Maybe they used a German-sounding name for this because it’s just so darn efficient. The system environment can be customized to fit your needs, and then you’re able to smoothly organize all your tasks. You don’t even need to download (and consequently update) the software since it’s all web-based. The company has headquarters in Vienna and operates offices in Munich and Seattle.
- Mobile use (works with Android and iOS)
- Multiple checklists that let you break down long lists into sub-lists
- Time tracker
- Project portfolio management
- Kanban-style boards
- Terrific security protocols
- Wide integration
- Lets you import directly from other apps (including Asana and Trello)
- You have your own URL where you can see your schedules and tasks
- The interface is intuitive and easy to use
- Efficient automation
- Great team collaboration due to predefined workflow
- Easy to customize
- Easy to set up recurring tasks
- Great tutorial videos
- Doesn’t work with Linux
- Only the Business plan comes with phone support
- Subtasks aren’t immediately visible
- No reminder features
There’s a simple free plan but with limited features. You get workflow automation and wide integrations with the Pro plan, and that’s $8.25 per user each month. The Business plan is probably your best bet, but that will set you back almost $21 per user each month. An Enterprise plan is also available, which you can customize for your needs.
Teamwork: Project Management, Helpdesk Software, CRM
A free plan is available, but if you have the budget then you’re able to use a lot of apps based in the cloud. This also works with both Android and iOS. With this, you can manage the project efficiently, assigning and overseeing tasks with ease.
- You have a clear view of all projects at once with the Panorama feature
- Another view (the Board view) automates the workflow
- Timeline visualization with the Gantt charts
- Risk register feature for risk management
- Portfolio view lets you check on all your projects
- There’s a client portal
- Key metrics are shown on a personalized dashboard
- Kanban-style board
- Free plan for up to 5 users
- A 30-day trial period for other plans
- Free guides and tutorials
- 24/7 support, with a phone, live chat, and email
- Cluttered interface
- Not really friendly for newbies
Paid plans cost $9 to $15 per user each month, and there’s another custom plan as well. You can save up to 20% of the costs if you pay for a year upfront.
Podio: Project Management & Collaboration Software
This web-based PM tool is quite useful, with a complete set of tools for you to use. In addition, it’s also easy to use for those newbies just starting out with it (or even with just project management tools in general).
There’s even a free plan you can try out, though the features will be limited. Still, those can help and when you’re used to them you can then try the more sophisticated paid plans.
- A comprehensive set of project management tools
- SSL-certified, with AES 256-bit encryption for storage
- Logic-based (if this, then that) workflows
- Efficient automation for sales pipeline and tracking the project budget with filter and reporting options
- Several different calendar options, such as workspace calendar and personal calendar
- Plenty of online communications options, including IM, chat, and video and audio communications
- Lots of integrations with apps, including OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive
- Plenty of customization options
- Easy to use, intuitive interface
- Great templates
- Terrific tutorial videos
- A free plan for up to 5 users
- Paid plans are quite affordable
- Unlimited storage (even when using the free plan)
- No archiving
- Doesn’t permit the use of markup tools
- No support over email or phone
The Basic plan costs $7.20 per month, the Plus Plan goes for $11.20, while the Premium plan still costs a reasonable $19.20 per month. All these plans, including the free plan, are meant for teams of up to 5 users. You’ll have to get a quote for a custom plan if you have more than 5 users.
Asana: Work Management Platform
This project management system is SaaS-based and it has a lot of fans. Asana is the work management platform teams use to stay focused on the goals, projects, and daily tasks that grow business. It does help that it comes with a versatile language capability, so it can be used in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German. It also works with Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux.
- At least 50 templates
- Many types of viewing options, including calendar view and list view
- You have custom fields for crucial metrics
- There are a focus mode and a “my tasks” list
- Automatic email updates
- CSV import for business data
- More than a hundred integrations
- Versatile PM tools
- You can prioritize tasks easily
- File-sharing and updates in real-time
- You can get training, as well as tickets and email support
- Permits 3rd-party API customization
- easy to share files and data
- There’s a free plan, though with limited features
- No phone support or live chat
- Not so easy to assign tasks
Aside from the free plan, you can go with the Premium plan that can get as low as $11 per user. The Business plan goes for $25 per user, while the Enterprise option is quite-based, as you can customize the features of the plan.
GanttPRO: Project management software based on Gantt charts
GanttPRO is a project planning tool based on Gantt charts. 500K+ managers from different spheres and businesses of all sizes already chose it for robust management. The online tool offers an intuitive interface with a visually appealing Gantt chart timeline. Though it offers a plethora of features and covers most of the project management needs, the learning curve is really short: it takes just a few minutes to figure out what the Gantt chart maker possesses.
With GanttPRO, any manager can break down a complex project into smaller manageable tasks.
- Robust task management (assignees, statuses, priorities, duration, estimation, cost)
- Team and resource management
- Team collaboration (comments, attachments, notifications, mentions)
- Gantt chart timeline, Board view, Task list view
- Personal calendars
- Import from MS Project and Excel
- Reusable blocks of tasks, even for different projects
- Custom colors, custom columns, skins, view modes
- Very easy to use Web-based tool
- Dozens of ready-made templates for different professional spheres
- Free fully-featured trial
- Advanced Export
- Robust sharing feature via public URL
- Time tracking
- Plenty of tutorials, FAQ, Live chat support
- Mobile apps are still under development
- Not enough integration options
There is a free 14-day fully-featured trial. The Individual plan costs $15 per user per month. Team plans start at $5.90 per user per month.
Milanote: Easy-to-use tool to organize your ideas and projects into visual boards.
Milanote is a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.
- Write notes & to-do lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web
- Organize visually using the flexible drag and drop interface.
- Boards by default are a private place to think, but with a single click you can create a shared workspace for collaboration with your team
- Milanote is filled with hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a mood board to writing that perfect creative brief.
- Write notes & to-do lists
- Upload images & files
- Save text, images & links from the web
- Add notes & photos from your phone
- Flexible drag and drop interface
- Boards can be a private place to think or a shared workspace for collaboration
- Doesn’t work offline
- Default color scheme
Free version available with no time limit. PRO version $9.99 per month (monthly and annual plans)
It’s actually surprising how many companies don’t use project management tools. Perhaps they’re wary about the costs. But with the free plans available, this isn’t a proper excuse. Try out any of these tools on our list, and you will see right away just how well you can oversee a project with these tools. These can help make sure you finish a project on time, and that’s a goal worthy of your focus.
Also, check out our take on the Best Project Management Practice For Complex Projects