There’s no magic bullet when it comes to project management tools for executing projects successfully, but there are some that are better than others.
If you’re looking to improve productivity and increase your ability to run projects effectively, then consider the 5 software products discussed in this article.
What does a project manager do?
Project managers act as change agents, wearing multiple hats to drive progress in different areas of the project. The end goal is to ensure the solution of change is implemented on time and on budget.
Why use a project management tool?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur working on a side project, a small business owner juggling several work streams simultaneously, or a team leader improving department processes – project management tools can help you in many ways:
- Gain high-level visibility of all moving parts of a project
- Offer multiple visualizations to plan and schedule milestones
- Assign and track tasks and sub-tasks linked to broader deliverables
- Collaborate more closely with internal and external stakeholders
- Identify and manage risks and issues more quickly
- Generate reports, dashboards, and other views to control project progress
- Enable a productive remote working environment for project teams
- Make better decisions by having access to meaningful project data
Let’s look at 5 of the best project management tools that provide all of the above benefits, and more.
Founded in 2016, ClickUp is the newest project management tool on this list. Nevertheless, age is just a number – ClickUp has made a big impact in the project, task, and workflow management space. It was voted as #2 in the Top 100 Fastest Growing Products for 2021
ClickUp is highly rated by many renowned project management experts, and it’s used by hugely reputable companies such as Google, Uber, and Booking.com.
Feature highlights of ClickUp
- Task Tray – minimize tasks and easily reopen them again, even after switching to a different workspace section
- Custom views – create custom task views using an abundance of options for listing, sorting, and filtering
Pros and cons of ClickUp
- The free version is truly free – it offers advanced features that are plentiful for many project managers and teams
- A rapidly growing community of power users and enthusiasts – great for product support
- Detailed tutorials, training videos, and documentation to get the best setup in place
- “ClickApps” make it seamless to create different workspace configurations according to project needs
- From a marketing perspective, ClickUp presents itself as “one app to replace them all” – as great as the product is, it’s tricky to agree with this statement
- Since the tool is so flexible and comprehensive, beginner project managers will need to invest time in learning the fundamentals
Known in the market as a “Work Operating System” (Work OS), “Monday.com” is a well-established project management tool. It offers packaged solutions to many types of business-related challenges (and not only to help manage projects more effectively).
Also highly regarded, over 100,000 teams use “Monday.com“, including teams in the likes of Adobe, Coca-Cola, and Hulu.
Features highlights of “Monday.com“
- Task linking – flexibility to link tasks across different workspaces and projects
- Simple automations – creating basic yet effective automations is relatively easy, even for beginners
Pros and cons of “Monday.com“
- Advanced collaborative work management features with many templates available to help hit the ground running
- Highly active community with professional services consultants available to assist with implementations and support
- Excellent mobile apps on both iOS and Android
- Customizable “Columns” to organize project views, including time tracking of individual tasks
- The free version is suited to individuals only – most of the powerful features (such as automations and different views) are unavailable
- Requires time to learn the tool given its vast feature set
A mammoth in the project management software space, Asana is a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. Many people and organizations consider Asana the go-to tool for managing their projects more easily.
Asana keeps moving with the times by continually making improvements to its product offering, and it boasts of powerhouse customers including Amazon, Google, and Deloitte.
Feature highlights of Asana
- Workload management – real-time overview of how busy your project team members are
- Task dependencies – clarity on which tasks can and cannot start
Pros and cons of Asana
- Strong support community including ambassadors and certified pros ready to help
- “Asana Academy” resources available for free in order to learn the tool properly
- Quick to start productively managing basic projects with list and board views
- The admin console provides useful insights on the overall status of your Asana instance – including members, billing, security, and apps
- No built-in time tracking capabilities
- The costs of working with Asana can become expensive if more than 15 project members require access, or even if a timeline view and milestones are required
Of the 5 superior project management tools outlined in this article, Trello is the most concentrated on project and task management workflows. It predominantly utilizes Kanban-style boards to offer a simplified view of project activities.
Recently Trello significantly enhanced its product features – it now offers a lot more than its reputable board views. Even before its revamp, Trello‘s customer base included leading tech companies such as Google, eBay, and Spotify.
Feature highlights of Trello
- Board cards – smooth experience when reordering cards (horizontally and vertically) on boards
- Keyboard shortcuts – browser-compatible keyboard shortcuts to increase productivity
Pros and cons of Trello
- Straightforward to learn and adopt quickly – beginner-friendly
- A perfect fit for small project teams working on minor and relatively basic projects
- The free version permits rudimentary automations and third-party integrations
- Suitable for common agile frameworks – fast to configure and deploy a Scrum board
- Only the board view is available in the free version
- The larger the project, the more difficult it is to manage it efficiently and successfully – this is especially true if there are additional layers of governance in place for processes like change requests and approvals
Created in 2006, Wrike is a long-time major player in the project management tools marketplace. Citrix acquired Wrike in early 2021 – with the direct backing of a tech giant, it’ll likely evolve into something greater.
Wrike is an enterprise-friendly project management platform, and over 20,000 customers rely on it for running their project workflows. Some of the biggest brand names form part of that number, including Airbnb, Dell, and Ogilvy.
Feature highlights of Wrike
- Data analytics – high-level project visibility via predefined data insights, such as task conflicts, and top project team performers
- Budget reports – using custom fields, create budget reports and dashboards to control project costs
Pros and cons of Wrike
- Large selection of templates dedicated to project management workflows including agile and project portfolio management
- An engaged community where staff and users share tips, tricks, how-to guides, and discuss product enhancements
- Built-in time tracking functionality with useful tracking reports
- Enterprise-ready with advanced project management features to help successfully deliver large and complex projects
- The free version is useful for small project teams but it lacks notable features to more reliably and effectively manage projects
- Subscription fees can add up quickly if a medium-sized project team requires access to most of the features
What challenges are you facing with managing projects through to completion? No matter what they are, these 5 project management tools will help increase your chances of delivering successful projects.