Project Management Software Reviews: 15 Most Popular Applications
Project management solutions help you plan, execute, and deliberate processes, resources, knowledge, and best practices to meet project goals. Projects have different parts that need to move together to achieve a goal: talents, budget, schedule, communication, quality check, documentation, administration, to name a few. These solutions help you keep all the project aspects in sync, while lending to you clear visibility of tasks, activities, and updates across the organization vertically and horizontally.
Today, top project management software systems consist of standard functions, such as, task management, overview dashboards, collaboration and communication tools, scheduler, and administrative controls. Some software will offer all those features, while other solutions may only have a couple of them. To help you rummage through the pile of popular services, we analyzed the best SaaS project management solutions, highlighting the value propositions for each one.
1. Wrike – score 9.7/10
After weighing all the elements that make a great project management software, we believe Wrike has the best mix of features and capabilities to top our list. It lends to you as a project leader all the essential benefits not only of a robust solution, but one that delivers top-notch tools for insights, visibility, security, communication, collaboration, and task management. Wrike also won our Best Project Management Software Award for 2016, and it is used by many Fortune 500 companies including Google, Adobe, HTC, EA Sports, and Stanford University.
We call it a visual project management for the great visibility it affords to users, which is one of its most useful characteristics. Wrike lets you view tasks, activities, and updates across projects or down the subtasks. Moreover, our top project management solution has excellent scalability both in pricing and team size. It is ideal for small units and large organizations, and it offers the best value for money from its freemium (for up to 5 users) to the quote-based and fully customized enterprise plan.
Another major thing we like about Wrike is the way it adapts to almost any workflow. The vendor claims its users have already created thousands of unique fields, and we couldn’t agree more on how useful these can be. This novel trait makes it flexible to use across departments, from marketing and creatives to project management and product development. If motley teams working on their respective programs need to collaborate on a single project, the transition will be easy because Wrike is really agile and adaptive.
You can also tag and file items by folders without duplicating records. Any update is likewise recorded automatically to ensure everyone is using the most recent data. Also notable is its patented email integration with Apple Mail and Outlook. Wrike lets you open their preview panes right into the project management task view. This is intuitive, saving you the hassle of moving back and forth between apps.
We also like Wrike for its ability to simplify communication amidst piles of tasks, activities, and records. The use of @mention to contact any team member or an outsider–a supplier, for example–is ingeniously adapted from social media dynamics. Its Activity Stream has the simplicity and efficiency of a Facebook newsfeed, which becomes your point of reference for all project updates. This ensures nothing slips through the cracks.
Wrike also has robust analytics that helps you draw insights from real-time data. Forthcoming delays and problems are easily anticipated by mashing data to generate daily, weekly, or monthly outlook. Other admirable Wrike features include a free mobile app for iOS and Android and a comprehensive integration platform.
2. Asana – score 9.6/10
Asana is less impressive in agility compared to Wrike, but we find Asana powerful for its communication and collaboration tools. It actually won our Expert’s Choice Award for 2016 partly because of that. This project management solution is popular among fast-growing local businesses, but also preferred by a diverse set of big companies, such as, TED, Uber, The New Yorker, and Salesforce.
We took notice of the software’s smart inbox, which lets you sort important messages and updates from noise, and convert important messages to tasks at once within the project management UI. Team members can also share notes, attach different file formats, and comment, share, or like updates. With these tools at hand, all parties are clear on their responsibilities and next steps.
Asana works best for companies with remote teams, where clear communication is essential. Off-site employees can log in anywhere there’s internet connection and check right away what their project updates are. You can drastically reduce the need for regular meetings, which usually take away time from people to do their actual job.
Other great features of Asana are: creating subprojects within a project; compatibility with different types of browsers and devices; and a wide array of user roles you can set.
3. Dapulse – score 9.5/10
Dapulse is a smart communication and collaboration solution you can use to enable your employees to work in sync in one place. This system streamlines contributions and discussions to keep all team members in the loop and ensure high quality performance. The main benefit of dapulse is it displays progress comprehensively and allows your employees to track the status of business operations which can motivate them to contribute more effectively.
End users also have it easy as dapulse offers a neat and understandable collaboration interface that is based on social networks. All members can build a profile and interact with others. The learning curve is very short and the vendor also offers a training kit to help beginners.
The highlights of dapulse include smart integrations and affordable prices. Basic plans start at just $5/month for robust search and unlimited storage. You can easily move on to higher enterprise packages that start from $24/month if you want to make use of advanced functionality and security and VIP support.
4. Clarizen – score 9.5/10
Clarizen delivers enterprise project management functions, but we like it primarily for its end-to-end collaboration framework. The solution is user-friendly but only to a point as general users have to learn advanced project management principles if they want to max out the software’s defined work structure layout. Probably beacuse of it’s advance features it is a solution used by many Fortune 500 companies.
This project management solution focuses on helping you to create an accurate methodology; thus, you need a disciplined approach to accomplishing goals. This works best for structured planning (example, building a bridge), but may be less agile for open-ended projects (example, advocacy campaigns). Its end-to-end dashboards show all parts of the project, including unplanned activities that may be useful in unexpected outcomes, and all relevant documents and reports.
As with Wrike, you can use rules in Clarizen that match your workflows to automatically prioritize information, such as, budget, resources, and tasks. This ensures the critical parts are handled with urgency and more care.
5. JIRA – score 9.4/10
Wrapping up our top five is JIRA. This brand offers a wide range of business solutions but is best known for its project management software. It’s most popular among agile teams for project planning, tracking, releasing, and reporting. The software is used by over 51,000 customers worldwide, including eBay, Spotify, and LinkedIn.
Notably, JIRA is one of the remaining few business solutions that has an on-premise platform. This makes the software a good fit for companies who are still wary of SaaS, but don’t want to be left out.
Like Wrike, JIRA gives you complete visibility. It allows you to cut through the clutter and bypass project cycles, if need be. You can capture, set, and assign priorities for each team and each member. Similarly, you can generate quick insights by collating user stories and case studies to unearth best practices and avoid wasteful efforts.
JIRA is also known for its enterprise features, including: advanced workflow engine; robust search via its Query Language; and a wide array of integrations via REST and Java APIs.
6. Projectplace – score 9.4/10
Projectplace has all the standard project management features, but we find its work collaboration tools most notable, especially if you’re a Kanban follower. They allow you to involve teams even outside your organization, just as Wrike and our other top five solutions. This aspect gives greater agility in anticipating, managing, and addressing external factors that impact on your project goals.
We also found its real-time conversation feed an easy and fast way to get a daily overview of all tasks, activities, and issues. Furthermore, each member can create his or her own to-do list, while you keep a master to-do list. This gives you the flexibility to micro or macro manage projects. There are times you’ll need to focus on a specific problematic part of the whole project, and the member’s to-do list can help you identify the gaps or ensure actions are taken.
As one of the leading solutions in our list, ProjectPlace features many great functions, such as: real-time communication, scalable features for task management, reporting, and mobile apps.
7. eXo Platform – score 9.4/10
We found eXo Platform similarly robust to Projectplace, but it focuses more on open-source social collaboration. If your projects require close collaboration of members via their social networks, this project management software will help you establish a social intranet. This is especially useful for projects involving customers or communities (ex. crowdsourcing). It is designed for enterprises, but small businesses with a budget to payi $2,400 in annual fees will also benefit greatly using eXo Platform.
The software connects to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google + allowing you to link up to the social feeds of members right away. For privacy concerns, members can also create a software-specific account. eXo Platform creates a social graph and activity streams related to the project.
Because it’s open source, this project management solution is highly extendable. You can integrate wikis, forums, calendars, and documents to create an overarching collaboration infrastructure for both internal and external participants.
8. Mavenlink – score 9.3/10
We found this project management solution to be unique in a way that it emphasizes project accounting. Aside from the regular features such as time tracking, resource planning, and collaboration tools, Mavenlink helps you monitor resources and costs across project phases. It is used by large companies like Coca-Cola, Salesforce, and Buzzfeed, but it is also ideal for small businesses considering that the entry price point is only at $4 per month.
With Mavenlink it is easy to keep track of expenses so you can quickly plug small leaks that, when aggregated, may jeopardize targets. Likewise, it lets you monitor closely the time spent on tasks, so you can reallocate your budget if necessary.
For collaboration, Mavenlink features a centralized location for all conversations, tasks, activities, and financials. Depending on user permissions, team members have full or partial visibility of this information.
9. Nutcache – score 9.3/10
Nutcache is one of the most powerful tools for streamlining your quote-to-billing process, which is its key value proposition. If you’re looking for a software to address this specific need, Nutcache is a good choice. It can automate repetitive billing and collection workflows, from generating estimates to payment options and managing expenses.
But Nutcache has also evolved beyond an invoicing app. It also features collaboration tools and task management, making it one of the contenders on our top project management list. The software is free for up to 20 users–one of the best deals in the category.
Aside from its efficient invoicing, the software features time-tracking, reporting, and a centralized place to manage your project activities.
10. Trello – score 9.2/10
If you want an incredibly easy way to collaborate, Trello may be the answer: boards, lists and cards. The interface is visual and, arguably, the most fun to organize things and move them from A to Z. The catch is, Trello may be a little less agile to handle complex projects that require advanced tools such as reports and insights. For small, medium, and short-term projects, Trello is definitely worth the shot.
Users can put lists, tasks, activities, updates, color codes, and other essential information on the cards. You can set rules to allow any team member to comment, modify, or attach files to the cards, as you move each card towards a goal, deadline, or across teams or departments. This visual approach to project tracking makes it easier to see the big picture, not only of the total result, but of each phase or level of the project. Plot these cards together and it is easy to see where the project is heading without drilling down to graphs, tables, and documents.
Another good thing about Trello is it has a freemium plan and one of the lowest entry price points at $5 per month. It also has iOS and Android apps to give you more mobility.
11. Workfront – score 9.2/10
Formerly called AtTask, Workfront is included in our list because of its wide range of customization capabilities. You can tweak it in unlimited ways to match your specific workflows or reporting needs. At a $360 price entry point, this software is suggested primarily for medium and large companies.
We like Workfront not only for its customization reach, but also for being user-friendly and intuitive. It is a robust system that features GANTT charts, AGILE project management, and enterprise-grade security. It is useful for capacity planning, project prioritization, and task management. Likewise, it has industry standard collaboration tools, plus 80 standard reports to choose from.
Other notable features of Workfront include: request management; social recognition; notifications and updates; and API integrations.
12. Basecamp – score 9.1/10
Basecamp earns a spot on our list for a curious reason: aside from having the usual collaboration, document, and task management tools expected in a popular software, the vendor itself had experienced outgrowing traditional communication and work methods commonly used by small companies. In short, Basecamp knows the growing pains of companies firsthand, and that empathy translates to functions you really need if you’re an expanding company.
The result is a collection of tools and workflows that help you organize things on a single platform, weaning you away from tons of emails, meetings, and disruptions. You can also ping or chat with specific members to draw attention to important discussions, even as you maintain the big picture throughout the project’s lifespan.
More than 100,000 companies use Basecamp today, and it is often the first cloud project management software for many firms. Onboarding is as easy as setting up an email account and technical support is available 24/7.
13. Podio – score 9.1/10
Podio is another project management solution worth your attention, especially if you want to closely involve third-parties in your project development. That’s because the vendor won’t charge you for bringing freelancers, clients, or suppliers into the platform, only users from your end are billed. This setup works perfectly for small companies that rely on a lot of outsourcing.
It has the usual user permission feature, too. You have granular admin capabilities that let you control who can and can’t access or edit information. This also helps define roles for each member. Like most top project management solutions, Podio can be tailored to match your processes. This allows your team to work in a structure they are most familiar and efficient.
Podio also features social, real-time, and mobile collaboration tools. Plus, it has a basic CRM and sales tracking as well as calendaring integration with Google and MS Exchange.
14. ProjectManager – score 9.0/10
ProjectManager is a powerful, feature-rich project management solution that enables users to handle and manage all aspects of their projects. It is a comprehensive system that performs routine tasks effortlessly. ProjectManager comes with an intuitive, easy to use dashboard that you can customize with just a few clicks.
Creating and mapping plans is easy when you are able to collaborate, and that’s all thanks to ProjectManager. Collaboration on projects is quick and seamless with team members able to update their tasks wherever and whenever they are. Real time updates are reflected in the dashboards, giving users a quick glance of their tasks, project status, and more. Reports are easily generated, giving managers insight on time, budget, and team workload among others.
15. OpenProject – score 8.4/10
OpenProject is a very popular open source project management platform created to help project managers and their teams improve the efficiency of their work and enhance the way they collaborate. The system comes with core and advanced tools and functionalities to improve productivity of individuals and groups, create more workable road maps and plans, execute plans and schedules efficiently, and provide high quality results within schedule and budget.
With OpenProject, managers can easily create schedules and environments that empower all members of their team, spark their creativity, and optimize all their resources. Transparency on all levels can be achieved by sharing plans and product road maps with clients, shareholders, and colleagues.
15. Ganttic – score 8.0/10
Ganttic is an online platform for resource planning scheduling and management. The tool offers user-friendly visual interface as well as interactive Gantt charts which facilitate your company’s real-time collaboration and discussion. It can be used by an unlimited number of users. Collaboration is fast and easy with Ganttic.
It does an excellent job at scheduling projects, people, facilities, and equipment. Visual planning and scheduling are also made very simple with the tool’s drag-and-drop functionality.
In any business, planning and scheduling are as key components as bookkeeping. However, businesses, particularly the small companies, are often not doing it at all, in most cases because plans get modified all the time and rescheduling these plans by means of traditional planning tools can be really time consuming. Ganttic is a solution that makes this process far more efficient.Category: B2B News