Project management software can be a valuable tool that you can use to create, plan and manage all your projects from start to finish. It can replace all your post-it notes, reminders, notes-to-self, to-do lists and scribbling pads you’ve been using up until now. Quality project management software can help you stay up to date with what’s going on in your organization, what your team is working on and how to best progress to complete your projects.
Software like this works equally well for small teams needing to execute basic works, as well as for enterprise-grade organizations. Obviously, there’s no standard project management software suitable for all. It’s more of an exercise in matching your requirements to the lists of features of individual software tools.
We’ll help you figure this out with a list of desirable features that the best project management software should offer.
Features to look for in project management software
At the very basic, project management software should cover team collaboration, task management, support file management and email integration. Complex projects might require additional features like scheduling, resource management, workload distribution, financial management and real-time tracking.
Here’s what’s usually on the table with project management software:
- Task management – allows you to plan, create and manage a list of tasks from start to finish, including subtasks and recurring tasks.
- Scheduling tasks – including mapping critical paths and setting up milestones.
- Manage workload and set up dependencies – add team members, assign users to tasks.
- Project tracking on dashboards – get a clear line of sight across projects using Kanban boards, Gantt charts and similar tools.
- Collaboration tools – you want to be able to share emails, files, discussions, links, updates, messages, edits and comments among team members and externally.
- Email notifications – triggered when set events occur in the system.
- Resource management – of people, material and budget, cost-to-completion tracking.
- Time tracking – to measure employee or billable hours. Good if you can export this to payroll software.
- Mobile apps – especially for remote locations and team members on the move.
- Third party integrations – access your existing apps from within the software.
- Reporting – both to team members and customers.
- User control and security – especially for enterprise grade projects.
This list of features can be intimidating, but your tool doesn’t need to have all of them. Treat the above as your buffet of things available – you’re probably going to end up enjoying just a portion of them.
The first thing you should think about is whether you need a cloud-based tool or an in-house solution that installs on your local computers.
Cloud-based software has the advantage of being accessible via a browser or mobile apps from any location. Further, payment is via a subscription model (usually on a per-user basis, with discounts for annual payments). Tools like this many offer a free trial or a forever-free plan that can work for individuals and small teams.
To help you make your ideal selection and pick a project management software that fits, we’ve narrowed down the list to only the tools that have earned their spot on the market and have proven to deliver good results.
Best project management software
A forever-free package; Business Class package at $12.50/mo/user; Enterprise at $17.50/mo/user, rates decrease the more users you have.
- Create a board for any project and invite your team
- Add comments, attachments and due dates to cards
- Unlimited boards and board templates
- Advanced checklists
- Map view, calendar view
- Card Repeater, 100+ app integrations
- Scheduled commands (calendar and due date)
- Varying levels of automation
- Advanced admin permissions, deactivate members
- 2FA, Domain restricted invites
Basic pack at $10/mo/user; Standard $12/mo/user; Pro $20/mo/user. Minimum 3 users.
- Unlimited free viewers and boards
- Multiple project management templates
- Automate routine work like due dates and update notifications
- Advanced account permissions
- Data driven insights
- Integration with multiple apps
- Timeline and calendar views
- Communication with context
- Activity log for varying periods
A forever-free basic plan for individuals and new teams; Premium $13.49/mo/user; Business $30.49/mo/user.
- Track company goals and milestones collectively
- Visualize movement of your work through various stages
- Use timeline to plan and track work
- Automate tedious manual tasks
- Streamline work requests
- Calendar view to check schedule
- Monitor status in real time
- Manage your team’s workload
- 100+ integrations
- Convert common processes into templates
30-day free trial; Beyond that, a flat rate of $99/mo.
- All projects kept organized by default
- Message boards, to-dos, automatic check-ins and more for every project
- Integration with many third-party tools
- Centralizes your notifications
- Managers can keep tabs on milestones, tasks and team members
- Hill Charts to show exact project status
- Space to make announcements, store employee documents and socialize
- Unlimited projects, users and clients
- Advanced client access
- 500GB storage space, project templates
For individual and small teams it ranges from $8/mo to $78/mo; Nozbe Teams is free for up to 5 users and 5 projects, Beyond this, rates increase with number of users.
- All-in-one hub for team communication
- Create unlimited project sections
- Add tasks and assign people
- Add attachments or comments to tasks
- Invite non-team members to work with you
- Integrations with many other tools
- Secure infrastructure
- Advanced productivity reports
- Store documents, data and files on your account
- Nominate an unlimited number of team admins
Free plan for 2 users; Pro and Business packages at $12/mo.user and $18.75/mo/user.
- Kanban boards to plan and track projects
- Sort, tag and organize tasks
- Delegate responsibilities to team members
- Visual project timelines
- Create task dependencies and set filters
- Detailed productivity reports
- HD video meetings
- Store and share files
- Comments and conversations
- Workspace templates
Free for 5 users; Professional at $9.80/mo/user; Business at $24.80/mo/user.
- Custom fields and workflows
- Shared real time reports with scheduled notifications
- Report templates and graphical analysis
- Request forms
- Project and task approvals
- Calendars and time tracking
- User groups and permissions
- Salesforce integration
- Branded workspace
- 50GB storage; 15GB video downloads per month
14-day free trial; Professional package at $45/mo/user paid annually.
- Internal and external dashboards
- Document storage
- Virtual members
- 100 clients, 2000 active tasks
- Google Drive, Dropbox integrations
- Comments with tasks
- Time tracking
- Access to API
- Drag and drop prioritization
Standard $3/mo/user; Express $4/mo/user; Premium $5/mo/user; Enterprise $6/mo/user.
- Task management
- Task automation
- Time tracking
- Social project management
- Charts and reports
- Project administration
- Issue tracking
- Gantt charts
- Project timesheets
- Mobile project management app
Basic cloud-based plans start at $7.50/mo/user; Higher plans at $22.60 and $41.50; On-premise solutions cost $619.99.
- Interactive dashboards
- Dynamic scheduling
- Visual representation of projects
- Easily create automated workflows
- Uses secure, flexible platform, Azure
- Build visual, interactive roadmaps
- Granular detail for each task
- Powerful, customizable reports
- Grid, Board or timeline view
- Timesheet submission and resource management
A forever-free plan for up to 5 users and 2 projects; Pro plan at $12.50/mo/user; Premium at $22.50/mo/user.
- Dashboards and Gantt charts
- Workload management
- Project time budget
- Burndown reporting
- Subtasks, dependencies and milestones
- Board view and calendar view
- Task templates and project templates
- Tags and filters
- Project owner and updates
- Time tracking
Starter at $49/mo; Pro at $99/mo; Business at $149. Rates are not linked to number of users.
- One comprehensive tool for project management
- Set goals and timelines
- Automating progress
- Kanban, list and swimlane views
- Real-time team collaboration to share ideas and collect feedback
- Access and share files
- Create tasks directly from project discussions
- Direct messaging
- Time tracking and reporting
- Customize project home screen to fit your workflow
A forever-free for 10 users; Standard at $7/mo/user; Premium at $14/mo/user.
- Scrum and Kanban boards
- Customizable workflows
- Agile reporting
- Roadmaps and advanced roadmaps
- Advanced permissions and automation
- Password policies and session duration management
- Audit logs and admin insights
- Project archiving
- Encryption in transit and at rest
- Anonymous access and IP allow listing
A single cloud-based plan at $25/mo/user; On-premise is $450/user – one time payment.
- Collaborate to manage projects, resources and processes
- Track project requests
- Custom fields, workflows and KPIs
- Dynamic planning with scheduling tools
- Interproject dependencies
- Multiple resources per task
- Project tracking via dashboards
- Automatic email alerts
- Project accounting
- Dynamic dashboards and reports
Small office $11.95/mo/user; Business $18.95/mo/user.
- Convert project into estimates
- Milestones and critical path
- Resource calendar views
- View all tasks across projects by priority, due date or project using Kanban boards, Gnatt charts and similar tools
- File management
- Time tracking and invoicing
- Set up dependencies
- Integration with popular apps
- Set task priorities and task hours budget
A forever-free plan limited to 100GB of storage; Unlimited plan at $9/mo/user; Business at $19/mo/user.
- World-class feature customization
- Guest user with read-only access
- Automations, sprint automations and mind maps
- Monitor goals and manage strategy
- Import existing projects
- Events and reminders
- Resource management
- Time tracking
- Unlimited users, storage and tasks
- Multiple view formats – list, board, box, and more
Two editions are available – Unlimited and Enterprise. Price available only on request.
- Configurable workflow automation
- In-context collaboration
- Centralized digital proofing and approval process
- Clarizen Bot to increase engagement across other collaborative apps
- Automate repetitive processes, workflows and alerts
- Track and report on time and expense
- Real-time visibility enables data-driven decisions
- Unlimited projects and cases
- Resource management and financial planning
- Permissible number of business rules
Two packages at $45/mo and $89/mo, no per-user fee.
- Choose a project manager for notifications and accountability
- Custom roles with prescribed responsibility and access
- Prioritize tasks with deadlines and labels
- Kanban boards and Gantt charts for visualization
- Integration with your existing apps
- Markup tools to review and annotate files
- Personalize your ProofHub account
- Choose a language for your interface
- Time sheets, time estimates and time tracking
- Chat facility for quick conversations
A starter suite for free; $69/mo for 24 users.
- Automatic task time tracking
- Calendar task display
- Task counters and reports
- Deadline control and rating by supervisor
- Task dependencies and tasks from emails
- Comes with several dozen integrations
- Project calendars and interactive printable Gantt charts
- Team chat and video conferencing
- Extranet groups for external users
- Billable hour tracking and invoices
Free for 5 employees; Basic $9/mo/user; Plus $14/mo/user; Premium $24/mo/user.
- Content, context and conversation in one place
- Updates in real time
- File sharing integrated into every area
- Open, private and employee workspaces
- Podio chat and instant messaging
- Video and audio calling inside Podio
- Personal tasks for individual team members
- Customizable calendars for overview
- Import and export to Excel
- Open API that you can build on