Project management software helps managers, administrators, and other employees deliver complex projects in rapidly changing environments. This is done through the software’s features helping you manage tasks, such as scheduling, productivity, and budgeting.
But how you choose and implement that software is crucial. Connie Emerson, lead faculty member for Northeastern’s project management program, describes the importance of carefully considering which tools you use:
It seems today that some organizations bring in multiple tools that don’t connect with each other. Not having a strategy for the software’s overall use can get in the way of providing value. Over a period of time, employees become frustrated and blame project management when, in fact, it’s the lack of process used to select and integrate the tool.
Therefore, when selecting the right project management software, it’s important to look at your specific needs and requirements.
There are several prominent project management tools available today you can test—each with unique features and benefits. These software platforms are chosen based on extensive reviews and ratings of what’s popular. All are free or offer a free trial for users to check out before making the commitment.
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5 Popular Project Management Tools
Wrike is a platform focused on task management. It works best for long-term projects that boast several users and subtasks. Wrike offers agile project management, issue tracking, and budgeting.
Wrike’s key features include team collaboration tools, so members can organize projects using a single dashboard. Members can then assign tasks, track deadlines and schedules, and prioritize assignments. They can also record project progress through methods including Gantt charts, a cascading bar chart that illustrates project schedules. Project managers can view their team’s work as detailed spreadsheets, timesheets, task checklists, or in the software’s Activity Stream.
Wrike is free for up to five users. From there, you can purchase a package of $10 per user each month for up to 15 users or $25 per month for larger businesses. More than 8,000 corporations use this software, which is best for mid-sized companies and enterprise.
Smartsheet is a project management application with a spreadsheet-like interface to help teams collaborate, plan projects, and manage tasks. The software offers numerous features, such as reporting, document management, resource management, and time tracking.
If you need to create customized tables, lists, or spreadsheets, then this is a helpful tool. Smartsheet is a versatile platform for surveys, collecting high-volume information, and generating forms to gather additional input.
Smartsheet succeeds in its simplicity—you don’t need extensive training to jump in and start using it. This project management software includes a 30-day free trial. Afterward, it’s $14 per month for individuals, $15 per month for each team member, or $25 per month for businesses. Smartsheet’s customization makes it ideal for freelancers, small to mid-sized organizations, and enterprises.
Basecamp’s platform includes an easy-to-navigate interface, activity summaries, and an auto-saving function. It’s best used for to-do lists, keeping track of due dates and schedules, and file sharing. Basecamp is also flexible with its selection of plug-in services. It includes a practical interface and straightforward design.
The software allows for strong communication with teams through its automatic reminders, platform for scheduling team meetings, running reports for specific deliverables, and communication boards. It’s also convenient to use internally and with external vendors.
Basecamp is free for teachers and students, and other users can receive a 30-day free trial. Afterward, it’s $99 per month for businesses, with 10 percent off for nonprofits and charities. Basecamp has been repeatedly featured as a top software platform for small to mid-sized businesses and enterprises.
Asana is optimized for team collaboration. This project management software is flexible and well-designed for managing team workflows and task management. It features email communications and efficient dashboards, allowing for easy collaboration with team members. Asana’s inbox allows users to receive relevant project updates they can convert into actionable tasks.
This software is helpful for teams and companies that handle multiple projects at once. Important features include task management, assigning, and reporting.
Trello is used for planning various tasks and projects, and allows for clear visualization with its to-do lists and project updates. This free project management software works best for collaborative brainstorming.
The platform includes a simple, accessible interface and a digital board to create, organize, and prioritize tasks via cards. Drag and drop cards, add comments, include members, and attach documents to assigned tasks. There are checklists within each card, and you can assign background photos for each project.
Trello makes it easy to collaborate, assign tasks, and export materials. You can also use it to schedule company meetings, create your own to-do list, and assign teammates to different projects.
Trello is free for all teams, and you can upgrade to $10 per user each month for integrations (so data from other applications can stay in one place), 250 megabytes of attachments, and other features. Enterprises can get Trello for $21 per month. Trello is designed for freelancers and small to mid-sized companies.