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20 Best Project Management Software Solutions For Small Business in 2018

Wrike: No. 1 In Project Management

USER SATISFACTION 99%
OUR SCORE 9.7

This article has been updated to showcase 2018’s 20 best project management software programs and reflect the most current tools and solutions catered for small businesses.

 

Relying on traditional approaches for managing projects no longer cuts it for many businesses. Thankfully, today’s sophisticated new technology allows automating this process to tick off all of its necessary aspects with less effort and potential errors. Without the support of a high-performing project management solution, many businesses are more likely to fail to deliver strategic results.

In fact, only 56% of strategic initiatives meet their original business intent and goals according to PMI. Furthermore, another study, through Gallup News, shows only 2.5% of companies successfully completed their projects.

With the many products available, choosing a project management software to implement for your business can be a daunting process. Buyers prioritize certain factors and features over the rest. For instance, its most desired factor is its functionality which is favored by 40% of users. It’s followed by ease of use with 24% while price, support, implementation training, company reputation, and software popularity come next, respectively. Nonetheless, each project team has their own purpose and motivation in selecting a PM system according to their structure and requirements.

This graph shows what respondents rated as cumbersome project management processes to embed. (Source: Wellingtone)

Top Project Management Software Solutions

In this article, we have updated our 2017 list of leading PM solutions and compiled expanded it to a new list of 20 best project management software for small business in 2018. These are the leading options in the niche that are equipped with robust tools and features to address your business needs. Here’s the list:

1. Wrike

Wrike, a robust end-to-end project management solution that provides practical collaboration, leads our 20 best project management software for small business because of its excellent features and capabilities. The system is built to scale for your growing business and it drives results by being flexible on managing multiple teams and projects in a single tool. Apart from letting you see the bigger picture, the system breaks down large goals into manageable units such as folders, tasks, and subtasks. This easily tracks individual contribution and project progress. Request forms and automation, live editing, and file management organize the project for easier completion.

This award is given to the best product in our Project Management Software category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.
USER SATISFACTION 99%
OUR SCORE 9.7
Wrike won our Best Project Management Software Award for 2018

Its core features also include Gantt Chart, resource management, built-in templates, time and budget tracking, email and calendar synchronization, live activity stream, proofing and approval, and personal dashboard, among others. Its excellent set of tools makes it a good investment.

The system is available for different sizes of teams. It even has freemium plans with basic features while higher-tiered subscriptions (starting at $9.80 per user per month) are packed with more advanced functions and capabilities. You can sign up for Wrike free trial here.

Pros

  1. Freemium basic project management for 5 users
  2. Scalable software that grows with your business
  3. Real-time editing ensures team gets updated with the latest information
  4. Gantt chart functions as a visual timeline for viewing schedules
  5. Time and budget tracking features for accurate budget management

Cons

  1. Needs improvement for UI (user interface) customization
  2. Lacks integration with some popular solutions like BaseCRM and Xero
  3. No built-in chat app

2. Monday.com

Monday.com targets companies of all sizes including SMBs. This PM software streamlines the way teams work by managing workloads and improving communication. It helps in managing schedules and plans ahead using a visual timeline so members can view it easily in a single glance.

Its pricing options cater to growing businesses starting from 5 users. The scalable system lets you start from collaboration features (starts at $25 per month) to work your way up to more complex capabilities such as utilizing API and integrations. There’s no need to worry when your team grows as it can update to over 200 users. You can sign up for Monday.com free trial here.

Pros

  1. The big picture complemented with weekly task list enables you to keep a close tab on team progress
  2. Align goals with deadlines clearly and delegate tasks to teams or members
  3. Easy to use with clear navigation and on-boarding support
  4. Highly customizable care of API to match your growth stages
  5. New features and enhancements regularly added

Cons

  1. No Gmail integration, a problem if you’re dependent on Google apps
  2. No plan for one user (freelance)
  3. Setting up auto reminders takes extra steps

3. Asana

Asana is an effective tool for tracking and managing your team’s projects. Whether it’s for your executing your marketing campaign, achieving your company goals, developing a product lunch, or any mission, the software guides you in meeting these requirements. It works best with small companies transitioning to more complex projects.

Its pricing plans are straightforward as it’s only available for three options – free, premium and enterprise. It offers one of the most comprehensive features for a free plan which sets it apart from other alternatives. It accommodates 15 members, basic dashboard and search, and unlimited projects, tasks and conversations which are suitable for teams that are just getting started.

Pros

  1. Real-time update shows all changes made
  2. Intuitive and simple UI make it user-friendly
  3. Task priority helps teams be more productive and efficient
  4. Robust freemium package inclusions
  5. Goal visualization maintains project progress

Cons

  1. No offline access
  2. Search feature can get clunky
  3. Paid plans may include unneeded features

4. Basecamp

If your emphasis is on collaboration and team communication, Basecamp is our recommended collaboration and project management app. It consolidates to-do lists, spreadsheets and documents and streamlines emails and chats for clear communication.

It’s a good system to start with for first time PM software users. As you get accustomed to its features, you’ll find yourself depending less on separate email threads, cloud storage, chat and calendar apps, and having everything in just one place. However, you may outgrow it as you need more sophisticated task management, reporting, customization and security features for more complex and specialized projects.

It has a flat pricing plan that’s not user-based. It’s priced at $99 per month for businesses accommodating unlimited users. Students and teachers can get it for free while non-profits can enjoy 10% off.

Pros

  1. Visual home screen organizes everything (tasks, statuses, support, teams, notes, etc.) in a centralized place
  2. Discussion boards make it easy to organize related conversations and follow or back-read the topics
  3. Color-coded shared folders allow teams and members to easily access similar set of files
  4. Automatic check-ins provide insights from team regularly
  5. All-in pricing gives you unlimited users and projects

Cons

  1. All-in pricing can also mean you have less flexibility
  2. No sophisticated reporting
  3. No tailored features

5. MeisterTask

MeisterTask is a cloud-based project and task management that utilizes strong visual tools to make it intuitive for teams to work together. With features already giving project administrators full control of their projects, the application still allows you to connect with your team via MindMeister in real time. This gives you the best of both worlds mapping project tasks and assignments.

Along with powerful reporting tools and powerful Kanban dashboards, MeisterTask provides you with a way to classify and mark task relationships, configure what actions you can automate within your projects and connect with any cloud storage service of your choice.

For integrations, MeisterTask connects seamlessly with third-party apps such as Zendesk, GitHub and Slack. You can learn more about this software on their site here.

Pros

  1. Straightforward software streamlines creating projects, lets you add as many team members as you need, assign tasks and more
  2. Flexible project boards can be easily adapted to your existing workflows, the boards fully visible to all team members
  3. Instant communication and sharing serves lets you add team members easily for uploading, downloading and sharing files
  4. Provides wide integration with leading business and productivity apps to improve collaboration, file sharing, communication, and scheduling

Cons

  1. Need for notifications, especially with projects that are well approaching or past deadlines.
  2. Limited functionality in terms of subtasks and lists, which makes working in complex, multi-layered projects difficult.
  3. Android implementations are unstable at times.

6. Trello

Trello is ideal for teams using kanban, the scheduling system popularized by the Japanese for just-in-time processes. If your emphasis is on visual task management, you’ll find Trello’s movable boards highly efficient.

This project management software works best for creatives and software development teams, which require agility in project planning and monitoring. It’s generally offered for free so teams and individual users, including freelancers, can utilize the system. Users may upgrade to a premium plan (starting at $9.99 per month for each user) to access more customization and additional features.

It is a very straightforward and simple PM solution. While this is an excellent quality, there may be circumstances when it can’t handle complex projects that require analytics or customized reporting. Nonetheless, Trello is a good add-on to project management solutions without boards.

Pros

  1. Drag-and-drop simplicity lets you move from planning to execution to accomplish tasks with ease
  2. Good for sharing data related to a task, that is, you can fill the board’s flipside with relevant information
  3. Movable visual boards make it easy to see the progress of tasks
  4. Shared calendar lends to team collaboration greater transparency
  5. Upgradable for more features like integrations, team overviews and, advanced security

Cons

  1. Too simple for complex projects
  2. Can’t provide high detailed look at projects
  3. Can’t view task list by user or due date

6. ConnectWise Manage

ConnectWise Manage is tailored for technology solution companies such as cloud service providers, software developers, professional services, IT service companies, telecom, and security. Project teams that belong in this industry benefit from its targeted solutions, especially when it comes to coordination and collaboration.

It centralizes documentation for everyone to get full visibility on various aspects that empower strategic decision making. Managing project resources and budgets, reporting individual tasks, and tracking progress towards deadlines are only some examples of its functions. As for their pricing, they tailor a personalized quote based on the features you need.

Pros

  1. Gantt Views provides a graphical view of your projects and resources
  2. Dispatch Portal schedules resources and gives a single view of all schedules
  3. Work Plan is created from scratch or with a custom template
  4. Sales to project conversion helps to commence work immediately
  5. Drag-and-drop functionality for quick schedule dispatching

Cons

  1. Limited customization of reporting tools
  2. GUI (graphical user interface) can get crowded
  3. Steep learning curve at first usage

8. FunctionFox

For small creative businesses, FunctionFox is an effective project management and time-tracking solution that’s easy to use and setup. Its robust and intuitive tools streamline workflows and administrative processes by creating projects quickly, scheduling actions, milestones, and meetings, and utilizing interactive charts to connect with real-time data. It also tracks hours and tasks.

Its scalable pricing plans are meant for different types of users. Its classic package starts at $35 per month for one user (additional users is for $5/month each) with features for project tracking and time sheets. Higher-tiered subscriptions are designed for advanced project management and in-house creative teams.

Pros

  1. Cross-platform compatible with Mac or PC users, iPhone or Android devices, and various operating systems and browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Edge, Chrome, or Safari)
  2. Creative professionals’ platform like graphic designers, developers, writers, and engineers, among others
  3. Timesheet with Stopwatch Timer for easy time tracking and recording

Cons

  1. No Gantt charts
  2. Individually runs monthly invoices
  3. No Outlook calendar synchronization

9. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects is an online project management service for planning, tracking, and collaborating on projects. It’s a feature-rich platform with a wide array of integrations. The recently updated interface is intuitive so users can quickly learn its basics.

It organizes complex projects into manageable units for efficiency. It has charts and reports to provide you with in-depth insights on the task’s progress in accordance with the set due date and monitor resources based on who is available, engaged, or overloaded. Collaboration, time-tracking, and issue-spotting are among its key features as well.

All of its subscription plans have unlimited users with costs varying based on the number of active projects. They even have a completely free plan for 1 project with 10mb of storage. Meanwhile, paid plans start at $20 per month for 20 projects up to $100 per month for unlimited projects.

Pros

  1. Gantt charts provide detailed overview of project progress
  2. Reporting tools for advanced analytics
  3. Collaboration software connects all members, including remote ones
  4. Document management handles all files for easy retrieval and access
  5. Integrations include Google Apps and IssueTracker

Cons

  1. Limited file filtering
  2. No automated copying of projects with same users
  3. Dashboard can look clunky

10. Quire

quire

Quire is a free task management platform designed to help teams stay organized in accomplishing complex tasks by breaking down projects into multiple subtasks displayed through an intuitive, unique tree structure. Steady progress for the main task is ensured, as users can continually add an unlimited amount of actionable activities, thus ensuring the project doesn’t end in limbo.

It also features robust collaboration features, allowing for real-time status updates to keep all concerned parties in the loop alongside real-time chat and sharing of ideas for each task and subtask, paving the way for an active forum for sharing opinions and ideas. A wide array of integrations also make it a breeze to actively contribute to the task. Despite being completely free, Quire is a fully-functional task management tool with a reliable and responsive support team.

PROS

  1. Unique tree structure that divides seemingly impossible complex projects into several achievable tasks.
  2. Engaging, real-time collaboration features encourage active participation in each main task and subtask.
  3. Completely free task management platform that doesn’t skimp on functionalities
  4. Useful integrations for collaboration — from live chat with Slack and sharing of files on Google Drive to creating tasks with Siri.
  5. Transparent workplace allows all concerned parties to monitor a project’s status.

CONS

  1. Limited offline functionality.
  2. No API
  3. Limited folders for organizing tasks.

11. Zoho Sprints

Dynamic, agile teams are suited for Zoho Sprints for tracking and planning projects. This tool is developed to have a simple and clutter-free interface so users can focus on developing products successfully. It is designed for teams to move swiftly that’s why it has features like backlogs, progress tracking, logging billable and non-billable hours, analytics and dashboard so you can easily oversee the project.

It has a user-based pricing and they even offer a free plan for 5 projects with 5 users. Bigger teams can choose from $20 per month with a limit of 20 users. If the team has more members, Zoho Sprints also has a $3 per user per month package. All premium plans accommodate unlimited projects.

Pros

  1. Drag-and-drop feature for quickly creating new backlogs and sprints
  2. Scrum board makes your task progress visible in every sprint
  3. Timesheet tracks billable and non-billable hours
  4. Feeds allow social interaction between teams by posting statuses and comments
  5. Reports generate charts and diagrams for analytics

Cons

  1. No budget and portfolio management
  2. Limited customization
  3. Caters to a very specific vertical

12. ProofHub

Proofhub is an online project management and collaboration tool for all users – from freelancers to large enterprises. This web-based software’s includes a rich set of tools and features to solve the problems encountered by growing teams. It has proofing to speed up the process of reviewing files and documents, workflows and boards for managing tasks, and custom roles to set access levels for the team members. The centralized platform unifies all tiers of project management for improved productivity.

Its simple pricing plans (starting at $45 per month) come in two options that are billed monthly. Aside from core features, the higher plan has more advanced capabilities and unlimited projects.

Pros

  1. White-labeling lets you incorporate your branding into the account
  2. Multilingual interface availability
  3. Task management organizes tasks to boost team efficiency
  4. Gantt charts create project roadmaps for resources and tasks
  5. Calendar tracks events and schedules in a single space

Cons

  1. No recurring option for tasks
  2. No two-way calendar syncing
  3. No budgeting management tool

13. Scoro

Scoro is a comprehensive tool for managing and planning your team’s projects. Its intuitive interface lets you and your team see the progress of your projects and how well they are doing. The data gathered helps you determine the next steps you must take. It has a centralized page where you can manage files and comments, expenses and invoices, scheduled meetings and tasks, and time spent and billed.

Allocating billable and non-billable work and monitoring budgets are streamlined. You can configure projects to easily manage your portfolio using tags and statuses. Since it is a work management software, it also boasts other features for streamlining your team’s tasks. Price starts at $22 monthly for every user.

Pros

  1. Web interface is attractive and intuitive
  2. Mobile-optimized interface for small screens of smartphones
  3. Budget management and comparison of projects
  4. Project portfolio configures project tasks and status
  5. Centralized space for managing project tiers

Cons

  1. Not very suitable for large companies
  2. Quite long on-boarding process
  3. No Gmail contact synchronization

14. JIRA

Agile teams creating software programs can benefit from using JIRA. It is a project tracking and management software that’s specifically built for each team member to efficiently deliver their projects. The system is divided into four major tiers: planning sprints and designating tasks, tracking the progress of the project with full visibility of the team’s workflows, releasing the product, and reporting team performance using a real-time, visual data.

When managing a project, you can create your own workflow or choose from templates and customize it. Connecting it with existing tools you use can be done with ease because of its various integration options. Pricing varies for cloud-based and self-hosted deployments.

Pros

  1. Scrum boards helps agile teams focus on tasks
  2. Real-time collaboration between team members
  3. Continuous integration with Bamboo
  4. Development workflow automatically transitions and updates workflows
  5. Knowledge management utilizes product requirements

Cons

  1. No integrated knowledge base
  2. No CI (Configuration Items) management
  3. Limited portal customization

15. Taskworld

Taskworld is a robust project and task management software for planning, delegation, and collaboration. It combines a sleek design with power-packed features that promote intuitiveness. By managing tasks and team communication, it ensures your team aligns toward a common goal. Projects have a set of related tasks while you can consolidate related projects into project groups. It even streamlines workflow organization by providing automated templates.

It has a reliable support that’s available 24/5. They also have workshops, demos, user guide, video tutorials, and multilingual email support to help you get onboard and understand all the software’s features. The subscription plan starts at $10.99 monthly for each user billed annually. Meanwhile, larger enterprises may request a quote if they need a dedicated server and on-premise solution.

Pros

  1. SSL Technology, data encryption, and server authentication protects your data
  2. Interactive calendar syncs OS X, Outlook, and Google calendar
  3. Privacy settings limit other users from accessing some projects
  4. Timeline visualizes project progress
  5. Templates save time by creating workflows

Cons

  1. No budget and portfolio management
  2. Limited board customization
  3. Interface is too simple

16. Genius Project

Project-centric enterprises looking for a project management software that’s adaptable to their business needs should look at Genius Project. You have the option to choose between on-premise or cloud-based solutions. A consultant will assist you using a pre-defined methodology for your industry for an easy deployment. Since it specializes in adapting to your requirements and structure, its configurations are also designed to tailor your workflows, dashboards, labels, charts, and keywords.

It has a wide array of solutions for different businesses (for example, professional services, IT departments, and new product development), industries (such as healthcare, technology, higher education, utilities, manufacturing, financial services, and public sector, among others) and roles (like executives, project management office, project managers, team members, and stakeholders). Its pricing plans are also determined by the user type’s license count.

Pros

  1. Enterprise-grade security ensures load balancing
  2. OBS support configures to multi-regional requirements
  3. Integration to enterprise software applications seamlessly
  4. Cloud-based or on-premise deployment
  5. Gantt charts and project portfolio management ensures efficiency

Cons

  1. Inflexible customer adaptations
  2. Not user-friendly for not very tech savvy users
  3. Not very suitable for task management

17. Podio

Podio is a collaboration and PM software for structuring workflows and making your team members work in sync. Its flexibility makes it suitable for different types of users from start-ups to large companies. It also scales easily for growing businesses. The single tool provides a wide array of components including integrated chat, social collaboration, automated workflows, meeting scheduling, data visualization, calendar, granular access, connected CRM, and project and task management, among others.

Its pricing plans fit for users who need to use it for their next project or for scaling it to their whole department. The basic plan starts at $9 per user per month. Meanwhile, custom pricing is available for larger teams upon request.

Pros

  1. Open-plan online office bolsters transparency and engaging work
  2. Centralized platform unifies content, context, and conversations
  3. Progress reports track the work done and how far the team is from deadlines
  4. File sharing lets everyone share files seamlessly
  5. Task management breaks down workflows and projects into manageable units

Cons

  1. No PDF or image markup tool
  2. Limited free account
  3. Lacks time-tracking tool

18. Microsoft Project

Part of the Microsoft Office family, Microsoft Project is a PM software product designed to assist project managers to develop a plan and oversee its progress. It streamlines portfolio and resource management with integrated tools to help you stay organized and keep track of projects. It’s essential for starting tasks quickly and executing those easily using built-in templates, out-of-the-box reports, and project planning.

The customizable multiple timelines let you view all tasks, upcoming events, and project activities. It is also accessible across various devices like Windows, iOS, and Android phones. Pricing plans come in two categories – cloud-based and on-premise solutions with ranges that vary for different users. Cloud-based deployment starts at $7 per user per month while on-premises have a starting cost of $589.99.

Pros

  1. Gantt charts simplify project planning process
  2. Built-in templates help you get started with projects immediately
  3. Timelines provide views of project progress
  4. Resource planning features manage multiple tasks
  5. Industry standard software streamlines relevant processes

Cons

  1. Not very user-friendly for beginners in PM
  2. Tricky setting resource time estimates
  3. Steep learning curve for some features

19. Office Timeline

Office Timeline is a project management solution for executives, project managers, program managers, and knowledge workers to quickly create timelines and Gantt charts inside Microsoft PowerPoint. It produces professional project visuals to showcase your team’s work. It has a simple, intuitive interface for creating visuals within minutes. It also imports data from Excel or other PM software programs to let you communicate information clearly.

It has a full-featured free option with an unrestricted license for personal and business use. Individuals may also choose to purchase the 1-year license for $49 while businesses can obtain it for $59 for the same license duration.

Pros

  1. Drag-and-drop feature makes navigation in timeline quick
  2. User-friendly interface reduces learning curve
  3. Straightforward and simple timeline and Gantt charts creator
  4. Built into PowerPoint for preferred viewing
  5. Productivity tool saves time creating timelines

Cons

  1. No budget and portfolio management
  2. Lacks expense and time tracking tool
  3. No IT project management feature

20. PAZO

PAZO is built to simplify and streamline inter-departmental tasks to ensure smooth communications and allocation of responsibilities among all employees. Each employee gains access to their very own dashboard for complete visibility and control over their own projects, while manager gain access to an administration module for effective allocation and management of resources. Essentially, this operations management platform benefits businesses with enhanced productivity, a 360-degree view of their business operations, and accelerated work processes.

PAZO can be used in various types of industries, from sales and retail to housekeeping and security operations. It supports all types of devices so users can manage their operations, access pertinent data, and assign tasks on the field. PAZO comes equipped with automation capabilities as well to eliminate mundane tasks and let users focus on other crucial matters.

Pros

  1. Issues assignment and delegation. Report issues to concerned departments. The platform  notifies you for any issues that arise from your work processes as well, and tracks them from assignment to resolution.
  2. Mobile support. Fully take advantage of its functionalities on the go. It also features location tracking as well.
  3. 360-degree view. Get a clear overview of your operations from a dashboard and understand how you can better enhance your operations.
  4. Automate redundant tasks. Its Schedules functionality allows you to automate mundane tasks so you can save more time and focus on other tasks.
  5. Clear communications. Effectively get your message across through various communication options, including chat groups, message broadcasting, and more.
  6. Issues management. Report issues to concerned departments for resolution and get notified through push notifications whenever reports are created, assigned or resolved.

Cons

  1. Minimal collaboration tools.
  2. No offline functionality.
  3. Lacks APIs.
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One Comment »

  • Susan F.Emery says:

    Very Nice article!I have used two from the five management software which you have mentioned, Asana and Wrike, and both of them were pretty great!
    First of all, Asana offered to my company free consultation which is something good for small sized companies like the one I’m working but what made me change software was that I couldn’t export data and that there was no privacy in projects and teams, which triggered some issues in my company.
    On the other hand, I used wrike for a few months but the fact that I couldn’t write reports and use workflows, which I was using in Asana, drove me again to search for a different software.Although, I have to admit that wrike file sharing was very useful!
    At the moment I’m using Comidor which is very good and easy in use.I can write reports, share files, export data and collaborate easily with my colleagues.As far as privacy it can not compare with Asana’s which as I said before caused me some problems.
    I will take your suggestions into consideration and especially trello, but I think it’s too simple and does not provide everything I want.

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