Project management expert Joy Gumnz describes project management as the “train engine that moves the organization forward.”
If that’s true, project management software is that train’s upgrade to the 267 mph, high-speed Shanghai Maglev.
Think of all the tasks you need to track in your day-to-day life. Now scale that to the tasks, deadlines, deliverables, messages, meetings, and projects for one team, department, or an entire organization.
Project management software helps you visualize, track, and gain insights for every project. But which are the top project management software, and how do you pick the best one for your team?
Wrike, Basecamp, Monday.com and Asana — we could go on for 50 more with the advancements in project management software.
But today, we’ll cruise through the top 10 project management software in 2022, covering price, pros and cons, benefits, and more. Here’s a quick sneak peek of our top picks:
- Zoho Projects
But first, let’s cover the basics.
What is Project Management Software?
Project management software helps you plan projects and distribute resources to meet team deliverables and deadlines. You can access a whole host of features from each one, from time tracking and Gantt charts to instant messaging and task assignments.
As of 2020, only 25% of businesses use project management software. But COVID rushed every organization into work-from-home and hybrid work models, causing a much bigger demand for project management software. That explains why the market for project management software is expected to reach almost $10 billion in four years!
Bottom line? The best project management tools and software pump up productivity and help businesses make the best use of their resources.
But there’s more under project management software’s sleeve:
Benefits of Project Management Software
Without project management software, your organization depends on tedious tools with a huge potential for human error. This might look like individual checklists, notepads, and Excel or Google Sheets.
Of course, Google Sheets has impeccable collaboration capabilities and helps you stay organized. But pairing that with project management software will take your workflow to the next level.
You won’t spend nearly as much time:
- Searching for files
- Attending meetings (83% of people spend up to a third of their workweek in meetings — yikes!)
- Assigning work via email
- Checking for status updates
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some benefits of using project management software:
- Better visualization and progress tracking: Project management software helps you visualize an entire project, making them easier to plan and track. Team members can give updates in seconds, minimizing the time needed for brainstorming meetings and emails.
- Easy delegation: Task assignments are the holy grail of project management software. For example, Asana lets you delegate with a simple click and drop-down. No need to share files or details either — everything’s already there.
- Quick communication: Your project might need input from your marketing, SEO, and UX teams in one day. Project management software closes the communication gap with mentions, comments, and private messages. Ultimately, this saves you the time of waiting for an email response.
- Easier project planning: Projects entail weeks or months of work with endless tasks, edits, pivots, collaborators, deadlines, and dependencies. You can set deadlines, dependencies, deliverables, and permissions within seconds, speeding up your planning process.
- Improved transparency: Break down department silos and view project progress and assignments from every angle. Of course, the best project management software will still offer permission capabilities for confidential information.
Looking to become an expert in project management? Check out these courses on Udemy to take your skills to the next level.
Project Management Software Comparison
Best Project Management Software
- Best for Customization: monday.com
- Best for Agile Projects: Wrike
- Best for Task Management: Asana
- Best for Small Businesses: Zoho Projects
- Best for Content Creation Teams: Airtable
- Best for Big Teams: ClickUp
- Best for Client Collaboration: Teamwork
- Best for Remote Teams: Basecamp
- Best for Predictions, Reports, and Insights: LiquidPlanner
- Best for Beginners: Toggl Plan
|How We Chose the Software On This List|
|Our dedicated content team reviews project management software regularly and has experience working with much of the software on this list. We tested capabilities and browsed through consumer reviews to give you the best, unbiased project management review.|
Monday.com users cite immense flexibility and user-friendliness simultaneously with a high learning curve. This contrast is due in part to its endless features and options for customization. Of course, the software’s customizable workflow management features help businesses find efficiencies in business processes — it just takes time to master them.
You can choose from over 200 project templates, from invoicing and resource management to project roadmaps and lifecycles. The best part? Users can customize every detail, down to the last column. With this much flexibility in information, businesses can tailor monday.com’s displays and analysis to best meet their goals and stakeholder needs.
Other notable features include notifications, Kanboard and calendar views, automations, and data visualization. Our main qualm? Pricing. When you dissect it, monday.com’s pricing is more expensive than competitors. Moreover, its layered pricing model makes it difficult to narrow down the best fit for your business.
- Immense customization capabilities
- Easy collaboration
- Visually appealing interface
- Wide choice of templates
- Unclear pricing model
- Limited task dependencies
- High learning curve
- Limited mobile capabilities
- Individual: $0/month
- Basic: $24/month (3 users)
- Standard: $30/month (3 users)
- Pro: $48/month
- Enterprise: Custom
Best for: Customization
Whether you’re a marketing manager, product owner, or creative director, Wrike has a dedicated project management platform for you. Users adore its scrum and agile features, and immense customization features like field-specific templates.
Wrike is especially useful for risk management. Its Project Risk Prediction feature notifies teams about projects at risk of going over deadlines. You can use all your traditional project management features on Wrike, including task dependencies, Gantt charts, progress reports, live editing, integrations, and more.
Team members might experience a high learning curve, but customers report an overall user-friendly platform after taking time to settle in. Notably, the software’s Gantt chart views are drag-and-drop, making it smooth and easy to adapt project details to new developments.
But if you think about your day-to-day operations, a team works on more than just projects. Ongoing work might not have a set deadline or deliverable, yet Wrike helps you manage that, too.
- Field-specific, dedicated templates
- Risk prediction
- High learning curve
- Basic: Free
- Professional: $9.80/user/month
- Business: $24.80/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Best for: Agile projects
Asana is a household name in the project management space — it’s great for collaboration, progress tracking, and customizations. However, some project management experts consider Asana a task management tool rather than a project management tool because it doesn’t manage budgets or resources.
However, it sets itself apart in our list with one of the most capable free plans. Of course, free users can’t access forms, certain dashboards, and task dependencies — but task assignments, calendar views, integrations, task filters, and messaging features are more than enough for some smaller businesses. Plus, you can pick from endless templates, like HR, social media calendars, meeting agendas, and more.
The platform recently launched a new video feature, where users can videotape themselves discussing a project and sharing it directly on the app. Moreover, Asana’s mobile app is arguably just as functional as its desktop version.
- Incredible free version
- Flexible and customizable
- Fantastic collaboration capabilities
- Limited resource management
- No time tracking
- Basic: Free
- Premium: $13.49/user/month
- Business: $30.49/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom
Best for: Task management
Note: If you decide to go with Asana, we highly recommend checking out this Project Board Template Bundle to get your Asana in gear as fast as possible.
Zoho Projects is a fantastic project management software for small businesses and startups because of its competitive price and user-friendly interface. However, big names like Dell and Stanford University also use it.
We especially like the software for time management — a huge plus for transparency and budgeting. You can track time and manage timesheets, and even view rich reports that show you how labor hours are split across tasks and team members.
As for integrations, Zoho has a whole suite of other business solutions that Zoho projects links to, like Zoho CRM, Zoho Desk, and Zoho Mail. Of course, you can also link the software to big solutions like Google, Microsoft Suite, Github, Slack, Zapier, and more.
Overall, Zoho Projects offers immense project management capabilities at a truly competitive price. And if you’re a one-person entrepreneur just starting out? You can use it for free.
- Collaboration through chat and mentions
- Automated workflows
- Excellent time-tracking features
- Reliable customer support
- Limited search functions (only within each project, not all projects)
- Chunky dashboard
- Unclear process for bug reporting and tracking
- Free: Up to 3 users
- Premium: $5/month/user; Up to 50 users
- Enterprise: $10/user/month; Unlimited users
Best for: Small businesses and startups; Time-tracking
Are you a data-driven professional? Most project management professionals appreciate, if not rely on, data to pump up productivity. Airtable has you covered with some of the most impressive reporting features on our list. You can display data in many formats — charts, graphs, dashboards, you name it — to gain business insights or even impress investors.
On top of that, you can customize data on the software’s versatile UI to meet your reporting needs. But you don’t need to rely solely on Airtable project data to create reports. Instead, the platform allows you to import data through various integrations and analyze it with the help of Airtable’s endless templates and drag-and-drop features.
A growing number of content professionals are flocking to Airtable for its visually appealing content templates, such as the social media calendar, content calendar, and marketing campaign tracker.
Unfortunately, Airtable loses points for its price point. It’s super easy and fun to use, but the $20 per team member can really add up on that pro plan (which features more views like Gantt charts).
- Fantastic personalization through integrations
- Data-rich reports
- Clean, appealing UI
- Limited communication features
- Limited customization for permissions and access
- Free: Up to 5 users
- Plus: $10/user/month
- Pro: $20/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom
Best for: Content creating teams
If you have a large team of employees, a monthly $20 per user can really add up. We like ClickUp for big teams primarily because of its affordable price point. Additionally, you can manage multiple teams in Spaces, projects in Departments, and tasks into Lists. The “Everything View” resembles Asana’s default project view, where you can see where every task stands — in progress, completed, or unassigned.
The platform also offers near-unparalleled customization and flexibility through its multiple templates. Some reviewers even enjoy using the platform for personal use, like planning out finances and other goals, tracking progress through the software.
Unfortunately, ClickUp falls short in its frequent bugs and high learning curve. Additionally, users complain that the platform’s endless features present a sharp learning curve for the average member.
- Progress updates and statuses
- Flexible and customizable workflows
- Immense amount of features
- Frequent bugs and crashes
- Overwhelming features and high learning curve
- Slow loading and feeling of disorganization
- Limited utility for time tracking feature
- Free: Ideal for solopreneurs
- Unlimited: $5/user/month
- Business: $12/user/month
- Business Plus: $19/user/month
- Enterprise: Custom
Best for: Big teams
Companies that offer client-facing services, to the front! Teamwork is the best project management app on our list for agencies and service providers that require frequent consultation and collaboration with clients. You can even invoice them right on the software.
Have a client that values transparency? Or a contractor that would perform best with collaborative live editing? Teamwork provides a user-friendly interface to help teams stay on track with every possible task — all with customizable permissions. You can choose from various templates to meet your unique niche’s needs.
High-tier plans that enable the best possible client collaboration are pricey, making it too expensive for a new business. However, Teamwork confidently offers a 30-day free trial for every pricing tier to help you get comfortable with the platform.
- Ability to collaborate directly with clients
- 30-day free trial
- Budget and resource management
- Free Forever: Up to 5 users
- Deliver: $13.99/user/month
- Grow: $24.99/user/month
- Scale: Custom
Best for: Client collaboration
Basecamp is the only project planning software with a flat business rate. The company charges $99 for unlimited projects and users — a breath of fresh air for medium and large teams. The free plan is suitable for students and small-time freelancers, but the business model offers priority customer support, client access toggling, and various project templates.
But here’s the thing: Basecamp is a robust remote work solution but not a specialized project management software. Of course, they have adequate PM features like task management assignments, project views, notifications, and to-do lists. But the software falls short with time tracking, task dependencies, and project visualization.
Our take? The task dependencies are important for managing complex projects, so that’s a lost few points for BaseCamp.
Finally, Basecamp has a soft spot for students and non-profits, as seen by the unique 15% discount.
- Comprehensive remote work solution
- High-value pricing model
- Notifications and alerts
- 30-day free trial
- Lacks project view variety
- No time tracking or task dependencies
- Personal: Free
- Business: $99/month flat rate
Best for: Remote teams
Remember when we discussed Airtable’s impressive data-driven reports? LiquidPlanner reaches a tie with its rich management and insight tools. Overthinking project management professionals can map out best and worst-case scenarios with the software’s impressive data analytics. LiquidPlanner also uses team capacity, priorities, and estimates to forecast completion and schedule dates with 90% accuracy.
We love the software’s schedule bars, which offer regularly updated predictions that automatically change based on real-time resource changes.
Of course, the platform covers all the important PM features, like task lists, personalized views, time tracking, and resource management.
- Best and worst case scenarios
- 90% accurate forecasting
- Time tracking
- Lengthy set-up
- Limited search functionality
- High learning curve
- Essentials: $15/user/month
- Professional: $25/user/month
- Ultimate: $35/user/month
Best for: Predictions, Reports, and Insights
Toggl Plan isn’t the most comprehensive PM software. However, it’s an adequate project tracking software for beginner freelancers, students, and small teams. Tracking and visualizing progress is intuitive and simple, removing the difficult learning curve many other software have.
If you’re familiar with the company’s original, singular time-tracking app Toggl, you’ll enjoy the two tools’ easy integrations. Timelines are shareable and transparent, and you can manage resources with workload tracking.
- Visually appealing color coding
- Simple, user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop navigation
- Beginner-friendly software to stay on track
- No task dependencies
- Limited export capabilities
- Team: $9/user/month
- Business: $15/user/month
Best for: Beginners
Things to Consider When Choosing a Software Tool for Project
The best software for project management meets your organization’s unique needs. Here are some aspects to consider:
- Security: Do you deal with confidential information regularly? Look for project management software with clear security guidelines like role-based access or double encryption.
- Price: Productivity and efficiency helps you save and scale, but not before you’re ready. If you’re a fresh chick in your business, you probably don’t need the most expensive project management software (even if it has wicked features).
- Client access: Some teams work exclusively internally, while others need regular client feedback. Make sure your project management software has acceptable guest access features.
- Integrations: If you can’t live without Slack, think about how seamless it would be to integrate it with your project management software. Some of the project managing software on our list has hundreds of integrations.
- Trial: How confident are you in a simple demo? If you crave more freedom to explore software before purchase, check which ones offer a free trial.
- User-friendliness: Investing in project planning software should bring you an ROI for productivity, efficiency, and revenue. If your team can’t navigate the software, say goodbye to that productivity.
- Features: Write a list of specific business needs you hope to solve with project management software. Is it quicker communication? Automated tasks? Compare that list with a software’s features.
- Automation: The best project management software saves your team time from tedious, repetitive tasks through automation.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
|The demand for project management software is at a record high. The market will almost double from $5.37 billion in 2020 to a projected $9.81 billion in 2026.|
Today’s business, student, or freelancer has no excuse for not using project management software. Even new businesses can enjoy basic free plans and 30-day free trials for more pricey platforms.
Project management software delivers an ROI through:
- Strategic insights
- Increased productivity and organization
- Improved business process
- More time in the day
- Resource savings
Interested in finding more productivity hacks?
- What is the Easiest Project Management Tool to Use?
Trello is probably the easiest project management to use, though Asana comes a close second. You only need a few minutes to set it up, and countless users report finding its interface extremely user-friendly!
- Which is the Best Project Management Software?
The best project management software depends on your organization’s needs, budget, and team. Asana is one of the most popular project management software for its free trial; however, we recommend comparing your goals with each software’s features to pick the most suitable choice.
- Do You Need Project Management Software?
Today’s organization needs project management software, even if it’s a simple project management app like Nifty. Project management software boosts productivity and transparency, improves communication and collaboration, and streamlines your workflows.
- Do I Need More Than One Tool?
One project management software should take care of all your assignment, progress tracking, reporting, and collaboration needs. However, you might decide to supplement it with dedicated communication or document management software.
- What is the Best Project Management Software for Small Businesses?
In terms of budget, Zoho Projects and Asana offer great capabilities for small businesses under the free plan. This helps you save money as you scale your business.
- Can I Share My Projects With People Outside My Organization?
Some project management software allows guest access, which is useful for sharing projects with clients and external stakeholders. However, most software requires you to toggle permissions to share specific internal content.
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Chrissy is a writer/editor with a keen interest in finance, business management, and academic topics. She has experience working with government agencies, banks, and innovative startups to use content to boost visibility and profits.