Project management (PM) systems can improve communication, streamline workflow and ensure deadlines are met. Selecting the right one is crucial.
But choosing the best project management software isn’t easy. Some tools are too costly, others may lack the features you need.
We’ve selected the top project management systems to help you find the system that suits your needs best.
Ranking Methodology for Our Top List
To create this list we look for the highest-ranked products on multiple Software Ranking services to find their top 50-100 products. Then, we read through multiple user and expert reviews on each product and compile a list of Top Features and Key MetaData.
Next, we obtain demo copies where possible or review any available recorded demos for each product. We also ask experts to evaluate the US/UI design and usability. Finally, we look at the search intent data for each product, website traffic trends, Google trends, and Social Listening tools.
We take all of these different factors into consideration and use all of this data to give each product an overall score. This is then used to rank each one to find the best project management software available today.
As mentioned, there are many project management software programs to choose from. Selecting the best one will depend on your business’s specific needs. For example, this software could be especially useful to large companies that have to handle a variety of complex projects at the same time. Project management tools are also useful for mid-market companies and small businesses to get organized and manage workflow streams. But they are great for personal use also.
Using the ranking system discussed above, we have compiled a list of the best project management software systems and tools. These products are the best of the best and have been whittled down from the software available from more than 100 different suppliers.
Nevertheless, we do not suggest that you rely on our list alone. Each of our chosen software solutions has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some systems will be better suited to one application than another. Therefore, your final choice will depend on exactly what you want to use the project management software for.
Before you make a final decision we recommend creating a shortlist of preferred options. Ideally, you should test out each one. At the very least you should request a demonstration of the features and capabilities. Some providers also offer a free version or a free trial, which is the ideal way to test out whether the software is the best fit for you. However, it’s important to be aware that free versions are likely to be limited, and you won’t get all the best features of the program in the demo version.
However, before you make any decision, let’s take a deeper dive into the world of project management.
Project Management Software Overview
Before taking action to find the best project management software for your needs, read on to learn more about these programs and their many uses.
What is a Project Management System?
A project management system, as its name suggests, is a tool that can be used to manage projects — no matter how large or small. The best project management software incorporates tools that can be used to integrate workflows, track deadlines, assign and reassign tasks, synchronize separate tasks, and so on. It simplifies the distribution of resources and the control of outputs with the ultimate goal of achieving objectives.
Through this tool, managers can run several projects, analyze their performances and track individual or team progress. Such software can be used in any kind of business and there are numerous project management systems that are either PC or browser-based. The best of these tools can manage the planning, cost control, scheduling, resource allocation, communication and collaboration software, quality and time management, and administration systems.
It is extremely important for people in a leadership position to have a macro-level view of the progress of their projects and the best project management software not only allows this but makes it extremely straightforward.
How Can a Project Management Tool Help My Business?
A project management system can be used in any kind of business, be it large, medium-sized, or small, that needs to integrate separate parts of a project or projects together. The best project management tools can be used by a wide range of industries for planning, scheduling, resource allocation, and more. Using such software is a practical solution for project managers, leaders, and employees. It is even efficient for personal use if you have to handle numerous tasks.
The best project management software can help you with:
- Task delegation — You will be able to assign tasks, keep track of them and reassign them if necessary.
- Scheduling — the best project management software offers tools that will help you with time management.
- File sharing — You can attach files, and share encrypted and large files
- Team Communication — project management tools enable the centralization of team communication and help with collaboration.
- Detailed Reporting — the best project management software allows you to generate reports that give insights on project completion, budget status, and more.
What Does Project Management Software Mean?
Project management or PM systems (or software) are software programs used for planning a project, as well as executing, scheduling, controlling, and allocating resources to that project. Through this software, the best project managers (PMs), or other users can control and manage different aspects of the life-cycle of the project. Project management is the discipline covering the application of tools and processes in order to meet project goals and specific deadlines.
Main Features of the Best Project Management Tools
Finding the best software for you and your team may not be easy. But the first step to finding the most suitable tool is to understand its most important aspects and must-have features. The best project management software will include the following features:
Third-Party Integration — The integration with third-party programs creates an ecosystem that allows you to maintain your business workflow more efficiently.
Report and Analysis — These features enable you to get information for previous changes to tasks, the number of tasks created and updated, number of tasks closed, hours and storage spent or used, and so on.
User Role Management — A project can carry critical business strategies and information such as financial data, customer information, and more. The user role management feature provides a tool to restrict access to confidential project information.
Time Tracking — This is a highly important feature for effective project management, especially when projects have tight deadlines. This is one of the best features as it helps you plan your tasks by making the best use of a limited timetable.
Benefits of Using the Best Project Management Systems
Businesses often have numerous projects to start and finish and keeping everything organized while planning and executing them is highly necessary. Time restrictions and a heavy workload can become a problem for team management. Fortunately, today, technology has advanced and offers some of the best systems and apps that can help with project planning, resource allocation, time management, etc.
Project management systems are among the most useful tools that a company can invest in if it wants to become as competitive as possible. These systems and tools offer plenty of benefits including enhanced customer relationship management, effortless project planning, balanced resource management, improved team collaboration, and effective internal and external communication. Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the benefits that the user gets from using the best project management software systems.
Enhanced customer relationship management (CRM)
A highly cited benefit of using project management tools is increased customer satisfaction. Completing projects within a set deadline will enhance your reputation in the eyes of the client or customer. If they are satisfied with the results of your completed project, they will likely contact you again for future work.
The best project management systems offer tools that enable managers to narrow their focus when needed. This means that they can improve the deliverability of their team and enhance the rate of success. Better interactions with clients will always lead to more sales.
The benefits that such CRM tools offer will massively impact your business for the best. They enable you to meet quality standards, budgets, and time requirements with ease.
Effortless project planning
It is an essential part of project planning and management to deliver a high-quality product while keeping the cost within the client’s budget, as well as delivering the project on schedule. Finishing the project on time is a must for any organization if it wants to build a loyal customer base and a good reputation in the industry that it operates in.
Unfortunately, much of the time spent planning a project can go to waste. That’s when project management tools come into their own. These software programs can make accurate predictions of when projects can be completed, capturing the triple constraints of cost, schedule, and scope.
When it comes to project planning, the main benefit of using project management solutions is automation. Such systems help managers establish a solid foundation for their projects by providing tools to keep track of the progress of workloads.
Balanced resource management
People, places, and the work that needs to be done are the main project resources that must be properly managed. Such resources include the company’s team, the facilities, the tools used, the materials needed, and so forth. Of course, balancing the availability of resources with the organization’s capacity is hard work. Furthermore, the difficulty of this task increases when you have to take tight schedules and budgets into consideration. Companies cannot thrive without proper planning and allocation of resources to make sure teams have what they need when they need it.
A resource management software program is essential in such situations, to ensure that projects keep to their budgets and stay on schedule. Employees and managers know that to deliver successful projects and encourage higher standards of work, they need an effective resource management plan. This will provide a strategy to ensure teams are not overwhelmed with work or left with no work at all. The importance of such a tool should not be underestimated.
Improved team collaboration
By promoting better resource allocation and time management, project management systems can also help to improve team collaboration. Individual tasks are often part of a bigger project that the whole team is trying to complete. Project management tools provide managers with a way to facilitate collaboration on projects by taking into consideration the timeline of tasks, any dependencies, the overall workload, etc.
The success of a project depends on the performance of each member of the team involved. The coordination and harmony among team members can play a vital role in whether the project will be a successful one or not. So to create great teamwork a manager needs to form a sense of belongingness among the team’s members. By using a fast and reliable communication medium it is possible to motivate your employees to participate in group discussions and to level up the teamwork.
Many project management programs can help make these team communication successful by enabling built-in chat tools. Furthermore, you can select members to join a discussion, create discussion topics, add comments, share ideas, spotlight people and more.
Effective internal and external communication
Communication both internally for the team and externally for your stakeholders, customers, or clients is essential for the progress of your team’s tasks. The best project management software can help by developing a funnel for communication. For example, document sharing enables people to find information easily, thus providing clear and transparent communication.
Using the best project management software, good internal communication systems can be developed so that team members know how and where to obtain the information that they need. But it is not enough to just make information available, rather the available information needs to be targeted to be most effective.
Organizations also need to be able to communicate just as effectively with customers and suppliers. Using the best project management software programs, they can offer their customers the ability to only view data that is relevant to them.
In this way, readers can provide direct feedback or make edits and review progress.
Which companies should buy project management software programs?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee or freelancer looking to keep track of a few projects, a small business owner or manager, or even a multibillion-dollar company executive, everyone can make use of cloud-based project management programs to help them manage their workloads. Of course, not every tool will be useful for everyone as some have been developed to fulfill specific needs. For instance, some of the best project management software programs and apps have been designed for use by large companies, while others are geared towards small and mid-sized (SME) businesses.
Enterprise customers need software with a feature-heavy focus and premium customer support. The best EPM (Enterprise Project Management) software is designed to help companies that need to manage multiple projects. It allows managers to get an overview of the organization’s progress, manage multiple projects and align the resources according to the company’s vision. It is also useful for tracking, planning, and managing schedules. Communicating, collaborating, and executing a project becomes easier through the use of EPM software.
Small and Mid-size Businesses
SMEs need lighter-weight functions with good self-service customer support. There are some management tools that can help SMEs track and plan projects on visual dashboards. The best tools also offer insights on employee performance and the ROI (return on investment) of projects.
How much do the best project management software programs cost?
There are different types of pricing models for these management tools. Some are priced per user, some have per month pricing, while other tools offer volume-based pricing.
For small businesses, tools that fit their workload may have prices that range from $19 to $99 per month. For medium-sized businesses, prices may range from $25 to $300 per month. Meanwhile, EPM prices range from $39 to $750 per month.
Types of Project Management Software Programs
The different types of PM software can be organized according to their industry, functionality, or the tool used as their base. They can be divided into individual PM software, collaborative PM software, and integrated PM software.
Individual PM Software
This type of software is designed to be used by a single manager. It can take the form of a simple app or a spreadsheet that is used by the manager. It can be installed across the organization, but the individual spreadsheets will not have a connection with each other in this user interface.
Collaborative PM software
Collaborative software programs work by bringing teams together. The planning data can be viewed, accessed, and worked on by each member of the team. The best type of collaborative software is customizable. However, with these software programs, you can only work on a single project at a time, even if it’s accessible to others. It doesn’t offer the possibility to link data from various projects so this is a drawback.
Integrated PM software
Integrated PM software programs are known as the best ones because they allow several projects to be managed at the same time. This type of software connects data from current and previous endeavors, so every member can access information about the projects. It provides tools that can integrate data and permit the observation of various projects in a dashboard interface. It creates permission-granted access to each task and involves portfolio management, time tracking, messaging, and more.
Relevant Trends Buyers of the Best Project Management Software Programs Should be Aware of
The project management field has seen dramatic changes recently thanks to technological advances, and it’s likely to change even more. As a result, the best project management tools available also continue to undergo significant changes. This means that organizations also need to keep up with these trends. The most relevant trends right now in the PM software industry include:
These offer solutions to support collaboration and scheduling using the Internet and are likely the new norm. More and more companies are taking advantage of these solutions, which are innovating the implementation of project management. Cloud-based packages make tasks easier to manage, are independent of a specific platform, making them accessible from any location, and also work on different devices.
As mentioned above, the best project management software tools will soon be accessible from any location. Each staff member can be involved in the project if they have a reliable internet connection and a suitable device. For access on the go, the best PM software will need to be mobile-optimized. Soon such tools will not require complicated installation or costly administration fees.
More and more firms have started to realize that collaboration is crucial to their business. Software programs won’t include just the team members but also customers, partners, and vendors. Such solutions that boast more collaboration features are becoming quite popular. PM programs are starting to focus on the collaboration features that allow easier communication and greater involvement between different team members. More companies will use collaboration solutions to handle tasks better and provide more efficient project management support.
More distributed teams
Since companies in the future will have better collaboration solutions, teams will become more distributed. It will become a necessity that the best project management software programs include tools that will enable people across countries to work together without the need to be physically in the office.
Which is the Best PM Software?
Since there are literally hundreds of choices, deciding on the best project management program is a challenging task. However, using our rating system, we have narrowed down the options for you. Our list includes what we have rated as the best Project Management Software programs.
Of course, nothing beats trying out the software for yourself. We recommend trying several different packages before deciding on the one that will suit your needs the best. So, as a starting point, take another look at our list of the Top Project Management Software programs and choose a few to trial.
How to Choose the Best Software for Project Management?
Choosing to invest in PM software is an important decision that could have far-reaching consequences for your business. As a result, you really want to get it right first time. And that’s where we can help.
To start, outline your needs and be clear on what you want to get out of using it. Then check out our list of the best project management software packages. We highly recommend choosing a few of these programs and trying them out before settling on your final choice.
We hope that this article has helped you understand what a software program for project management is and the ways it can help you and your business. Whether you are a sole trader, small, mid-sized, or large business, there are many programs to choose from. However, our list of the best software programs for project management, has been compiled after extensive research and evaluation against a number of benchmarks.
We hope that by outlining the most important aspects, the must-have features, and the benefits such software can bring, we can help you make the right choice for you and your company.