There are thousands of project management tools available, and finding the right project management software can be a daunting task! Which particular option is the right one for you depends on what your particular needs are. Picking the right tool requires knowing what your goal is. This is true with project management tools as well. To help you, here is the definitive project management tools list to use in finding the right fit for you and your team.
Instead of just an exhaustive list of names, let’s use some visuals to better understand our project management tools list. In the scatterplot above, we graph out 18 of the best project management tools available. Our two axis measure effectiveness in project planning and effectiveness in task and team management. This is not typical for a project management tools list, but there’s a good reason why this is the visual.
There are many different types of project management software. But all project management tools help a project manager primarily in two ways – structuring the project, which is a planning-based activity, and managing the project to completion and delivery. Every tool offers features along these lines, literally. Either they aim to help you plan, structure, and design your project, or manage the team working on it…or both. Many tools call themselves project management tools, but they are more attuned to task management, or team management, for example. So to break down a definitive project management tools list, we highlight those two areas with our graph.
If you’re primarily managing tasks and/or workflow, you want to look at the top left part of the graph. If you’re charged with developing roadmaps, you want to look at the bottom right corner. For versatile options that are OK with both, look from the middle, and move up and to the left to get to the better options.
And so without further ado, here’s the project management tools list you’ve all been waiting for! Click the link to jump down to the relevant detailed entry in the project management tools list, or scroll down to read entry by entry.
- Proggio – Project Management
- Asana – Team Management
- Aha! – Strategic Planning
- DropTask – Task Management
- JIRA – Software Development
Task Management Rockstars
Gantt/Spreadsheet Project Management Tools
The Project Management Tools List
Proggio’s biggest feature is the Projectmap, which you can see above. Instead of using a Gantt chart, Proggio utilizes a team-focused planning system to create a visual timeline that acts as a map or blueprint for a project. The visual presentation of the project is a major strong point – unlike Gantt charts, the Projectmap can be understood by nearly anyone, at a glance. It updates automatically in real time with every change, including task progress reports.
The platform is intuitive, and onboarding is fast and simple. It is also an outlier on the project management tools list in that it does not utilize the familiar spreadsheet feel for project management. Proggio’s planning interface has a whiteboard feel, allowing you to plan a project in minutes. Robust task management tools keep the team on task and on target.
Proggio comes loaded with features, such as budget tracking, resource allocation, and plan vs. actual. It also has a unique full integration with JIRA, which brings timeline planning and project management to software development in a way never done before. Proggio is light on some other features, such that it lacks dashboards.
Proggio is priced attractively. The Starter package costs $8 per user per month billed annually, with a minimum of three users. It is limited to three projects. The Business package costs $15 per user per month when billed annually, with a minimum of three users, and allows for 25 projects and an additional 5 viewers. There is also Enterprise pricing available.
LiquidPlanner is a well regarded and popular project management tool. Like TeamGantt and SmartSheet, it is a Gantt chart based tool with a spreadsheet feel. It takes some time to master it, but the functionality it provides is top notch.
LiquidPlanner utilizes a best case/worst case scenario for planning that creates flexible timelines you can use for better estimations for completion and delivery. The same tool allows you to input tasks by priority and assign their resources, and with an estimation on your part about the effort needed, LiquidPlanner can predict the timeframe needed to complete the task. This feature is very helpful!
Similar to TeamGantt and SmartSheet, project managers who are not familiar with spreadsheets face a steep learning curve. The interface is more similar to SmartSheet than to TeamGantt – that is to say, not very clear or intuitive. Onboarding is a significant time expense. Setting up LiquidPlanner properly for your needs takes time and effort too.
LiquidPlanner is expensive – it starts at $45 per user per month, with a five user minimum, which means an account with LiquidPlanner starts at $2,700 per year. There is no in-system chat option, making communications a minus. LiquidPlanner also has time tracking capabilities.
LiquidPlanner’s predictive capabilities are attractive, but the price and decreased communications capability are minuses. Out of the options on this project management tools list, LiquidPlanner is best for project managers with significant time and money to invest in a tool, who need the predictive capability that LiquidPlanner provides.
Microsoft Project used to be the gold standard for project management software, but time has passed it by. MS Project is a Gantt chart-based project management solution, with a spreadsheet feel. Using it properly more or less requires a high level of familiarity, which takes a long time to create.
Like TeamGantt and SmartSheet, MS Project really feels like a spreadsheet – and unless you are familiar with spreadsheets, you will need to hunt around to find what you are looking for in the app. If you don’t have a few months to sink into learning the platform, it can be a frustrating experience!
Using MS Project in an organization that is not already a “Microsoft organization” can be difficult. The program is meant to be used in conjunction with other Microsoft tools, like Outlook, Skype, and Microsoft Teams. Sending an email reminder to a team member, for example, is set to use Outlook. You can get around this, but it is an annoyance when you’re not an Outlook user.
The difficulties with using MS Project are why it ranks so low for planning and management – it may have the capabilities, but it does not perform. Unless you are an MS Project expert, the learning curve is steep enough that you may be better served using another project management software. There are better spreadsheet-feel Gantt-based options on this project management tools list, and on the market.
Zenkit is a really, really cool tool. It’s a bit like a mind map. You can sketch out ideas and keep track of tasks, visually. By using a canvas approach, you can play with placement and connectors to create real maps of tasks or ideas and how they interact with each other. It’s simplistic, and doesn’t offer a lot of options for long term planning, but it is a very effective tool when it comes to managing tasks and workflow.
Zenkit is best thought of as an “idea management” tool. You can map your idea, break it down into tasks, and track those tasks’ progress. You can even track expenses, too. For smaller projects, this kind of planning approach can be helpful. For larger projects, Zenkit does not have the planning capabilities needed for project management. Zenkit’s project planning seems to be “the total is the sum of its parts,” where task lists are called project plans. This is a definite problem for large projects.
Zenkit has a really intuitive interface, and great visuals. It also has a mobile app. Zenkit is perfect for smaller projects, where management is the challenge. Whether managing the team workflow overall or the nitty gritty of task management, Zenkit is a solid option compared to other tools on the project management tools list.
Basecamp is an old tool. Like an old friend for some, its familiar and it comes with good memories. Basecamp is a collaboration tool, and it hasn’t kept up with the crowd. The interface is hard to figure out – Basecamp has a lot of tools and features, but finding them can be difficult.
Basecamp’s design uses cards for teams and projects, and this creates a silo-like feel for all your different work spaces. The dashboard doesn’t pull information from each card – to get to whatever you’re looking for, you need to drill down somewhere.
Basecamp has a simplified pricing model, where an account costs $99 per month 0r $1000 annually, with 500GB of storage and no limits on team members or number of projects you can create. For large teams this can be an attractive option, but the level of functionality you will receive is in line with the lower price point per user.
Basecamp’s project planning features are very basic, while its collaborative team management features are solid. Basecamp’s bigger features are its collaborative tools and approach. But compared to the rest of the options on this project management tools list, it’s a bit of an also-ran.
DropTask is a task management tool. It is optimized both for single users, and for teams. DropTask presents task management with a unique visual layout, which is intuitive and pleasing on the eye. You can plan tasks using two views – canvas, and list. The canvas view allows you to plan with a mind map style feel, creating categories and populating them with tasks.
The canvas view is a very powerful visual and utilizes drag and drop capability to really use the space as a method of communicating interactions and relationships between tasks. This use of space as a planning/mapping tool is similar to Proggio’s Projectmap, and is unique for task management options on the project management tools list.
DropTask is not built for project planning, though for an occasional simple project the paid Business plan can do the work. For managing your day to day To Do list, DropTask is effective, and easy. For managing tasks and workflow across a team, DropTask’s interface is clear and simple. It can increase productivity for task management with its near-nothing onboarding time, and the learning curve is easy and accelerated.
For planning projects, though, DropTask is just not up to the task. The platform is not built for project management. Use it for workflow, and task management, both personal and across the team. You won’t be disappointed. DropTask has free accounts available for individuals, and costs only $10 per user for its advanced Business plan.
JIRA is the gold standard for agile project management and software development teams around the world. The platform utilizes a ticket based system for tasks, and structures projects around the agile methodology of epics and sprints. JIRA has a timeline, but it serves as more a reporting tool than a planning interface. Projects are planned across boards, and Kanban is used for workflow.
JIRA’s project planning is task based, if not ticket based – this works for software development, but is a clunky way to plan projects overall. Using JIRA for project management outside of software development is a challenge.
For coordinating agile processes across a team, JIRA is a great choice. For software development, JIRA may be the best choice. Using JIRA in any other way is not recommended. Outside software development, the other options on this project management tools list might be a better fit for you.
Trello is a clear and simple Kanban workflow system. The platform uses a Kanban board for task management. This approach is simple, clean, and straightforward – anyone can just jump in and start planning workflow. For small projects, or repeating workflows, Trello is fantastic. Tasks are displayed as cards, and progress is measured by cards moving across a table from “To Do” to “Done.” Trello has an entire universe of add-ons and integrations, some of which provide more traditional project management tools like Gantt chart timelines.
Planning a complex project in Trello is difficult, and requires incredible attention to detail and near constant monitoring of tasks. Using a Kanban board for project planning is dependent on a near perfect recall of everything in the “To Do” column, and knowing when they are supposed to being their trip across the table to “Done.” The lack of a timeline makes it very hard to plan, or track, all those cards.
However, as a task management system, or for team workflow, Trello is a great choice. In fact it may be the best option for workflow management on the project management tools list. Trello’s interface has simple, clear visuals, and this makes for easy onboarding and a short learning curve. Drag and drop, track progress visually, and keep the workflow moving – this is Trello’s strong point, and why it is so popular.
Asana is a team-optimized, collaborative workflow and task management platform. That’s a mouthful, to be sure, but Asana really provides all of it. Asana’s versatility is hard to get used to, at first, but with time you will love the wide and varied capabilities of the software. Of all the options on this project management tools list, Asana is probably the most versatile. Asana is very fluid, and designing what you want it do for you is often the hardest part of the onboarding process. Once you have that nailed down, though, the platform really delivers.
Asana’s weakness is in project management – it has a Timeline feature in its Premium account, but the timeline does not handle project planning well despite its Gantt chart-like feel. The platform also lacks project management tools like time tracking. However, as a task management tool, or a workflow tracker, or an office productivity hub, Asana shines.
Asana provides a limited feature free account, and the Premium accounts are fairly priced at $12 per user per month or $120 per user annually. Overall, for team management and office workflow, Asana is a solid, dependable, productivity driver. There is a mobile app available.
ProjectManager is a Gantt-based project management software. ProjectManager feels like a spreadsheet, and its visuals are very similar to Microsoft Excel. The features are very solid – there are customizable dashboards, reporting, dependency capabilities, budget tracking, time tracking, and task management tools. Integrations with Excel, Word, and Google Docs are available.
ProjectManager’s interface is a clunky, and is not laid out intuitively. It takes time to master the software and get up to speed. Some users complain that when managing a portfolio of projects, ProjectManager is difficult to use because of its layout.
ProjectManager is a little pricey, too. It’s $15 per user per month for a personal plan (which does not include Gantt chart capability!), $20 per user per month for teams up to 10 users, and $25 per user per month for larger teams. For that kind of price point, a Gantt-based spreadsheet feel can be had for cheaper.
ProjectManager has an old timey feel to it, and the other options on this project management tools list probably have shorter learning curves and better layouts.
TeamGantt is named very accurately. It’s a Gantt chart based project management software for teams. TeamGantt’s design is a major plus, and onboarding is easy and simple. The layout is easy on the eye, and tools are where you’d expect to find them. Communication tools are a minus, though, and when managing large scale projects this flaw can really be an issue.
There is one other design flaw that can derail serious projects: the Gantt chart does not update automatically when other users make changes. You need to refresh your page to see the changes made by others. This means the information you are looking at is not in real time. For a complex project, or when working with remote teams, this can be a major problem.
Overall, as a Gantt chart tool, TeamGantt is dependable and straightforward, and a solid option. Collaboration tools are a minus, and the real time issue can be a deal breaker. TeamGantt’s pricing is attractive – a team up to 5 people is only $40 per month, total. With all features unlocked, it is $62.25, total. If it’s a spreadsheet/Gantt chart tool you need, TeamGantt might be the most solid option on this project management tools list.
ClickUp is a productivity tool with team management and task management capabilities. It features an amazing user interface, with clear visuals and intuitive tools. Your team will master the learning curve in no time, and you can use ClickUp to accurately and efficiently manage workflow and tasks across a team.
The main planning interface is a Kanban board. Like Trello, ClickUp’s usage of the Kanban board makes it an effective workflow management tool, but it does take away some planning capability. There is a timeline view available, but it is not a robust project management tool. With complex projects, ClickUp can become difficult to use.
ClickUp has a forever free pricing model, where for individual users the platform is fully functional at no cost. This is unique compared to the other options on the project management tools list – no one else offers a fully functional free plan. For individual users, ClickUp is a very effective productivity and task management tool. For teams, ClickUp costs $5 per user per month, which is an attractive price point for a team management tool.
ClickUp offers great customer support and considers feature requests from all its users. They regularly roll out new features, and there a many add ons available. Overall, ClickUp shines in team management and task management applications, and its intuitive interface makes it a great option in those spheres.
SmartSheet is a Gantt-based project management software with a spreadsheet feel. It is so much like a spreadsheet that it lacks an autosave capability. Like using a spreadsheet on a PC, you will need to click “save” after all changes.
SmartSheet has advanced tools, and a spreadsheet-familiar project manager will love its capabilities. If you are not spreadsheet savvy, the pop up help dialogue will help you, but you will still miss out on so much of the platform’s abilities. It is frustrating – there is a lot there, but like MS Project, without being very familiar with the tool, you will never get to use it to its full potential.
Similar to TeamGantt, the spreadsheet does not update automatically with other team members’ changes. It does prompt you to refresh the page when it is out of sync, though.
SmartSheet can be a bit pricey. The basic Individual plan allows unlimited collaborators, but limits project planning to one user and ten projects. It costs $14 per month. The Business plan costs $25 per user per month when billed annually, with a minimum of three users. There are more features unlocked at this pricing tier, including dashboards and reporting. There are also Enterprise and Premier pricing plans available, each unlocking further features.
SmartSheet’s complicated interface and steep learning curve makes it difficult to use for team- and task management. But for the spreadsheet savvy project manager, SmartSheet might be the most powerful spreadsheet Gantt chart tool on this project management tools list.
Monday is a versatile tool. Primarily a team collaboration tool, Monday is usually used for task management across the team. It can also be used for CRM management, workflow management, team management, and more. It has good visuals and a clean simple interface. Monday is intuitive. It borrows from the spreadsheet and the Kanban board in its presentation, but vastly simplifies the interface and centers on individual tasks. Tools are laid out well, where you expect to find them.
As a project management tool, Monday is lacking. The timeline feature is not a planning tool. Task dependencies, milestones, and deadlines are not central to the planning or workflow system. In fact, Monday does not support dependencies at all. Communications-wise, Monday centers conversations around individual projects. This has its positives, but the lack of a central team-wide area for discussion can be felt.
One other issue with Monday is its pricing plans – they use blocks of users as their tiering system. This means, for example, your 6th user which moves you from the 5 team member tier to the 10 team member tier will dramatically increase your cost per user.
Out of all the tools on our project management tools list, Monday compares most to Asana, especially in its versatility – but Asana is far more attractively priced.
Flow is presented as a project management tool, but its strengths lie in task management and team coordination. Its interface is clean and uncluttered, with a good layout, and is pleasing on the eye. The onboarding is easy, and the learning curve is straightforward. One good feature Flow offers is the ability to send emails to an inbox that then turns those emails into tasks. This is perfect for those sudden flashes of inspiration, or those moments on the train when you remember something.
Flow lacks some basic project management features, like budget tracking and reporting capabilities, and most crucially, a timeline. There is a timeline feature, presented over a calendar – however, this is not a planning tool, but a reporting one. Flow is most similar to Trello, as its main interface is a Kanban board. For agile teams, Flow’s simplicity is a welcome break from the Gantt chart based project management software. However, the planning in Flow is data-entry intensive, and can be difficult.
Flow is an interesting project management tool, as it has better planning features for tasks than traditional task management apps – but its planning is not up to par for project management. As such, it sits near the middle of our graphic above – it is a solid, if unspectacular, choice for someone looking for adequate capabilities for both planning and management. However, whatever your goal is, Flow is not going to outperform the other choices on this project management tools list.
SamePage is a collaboration and communication app, primarily. It has an easy interface and streamlined design, but it is a unique app compared to the others on this project management tools list. It most compares to Google Docs, in that it provides a shared space for everyone on the team to be on the same page, literally. You can customize the page to what you’d like to have there, but it does not offer much in terms of task management or project management at all. You can assign tasks to the team, but the main thrust of the app is not delegating and tracking tasks.
If your project team is built of autonomous team members, SamePage would be helpful. Otherwise, it’s more of a communications tool, as it brings the team to one place, centers the conversation around the elements you want in front of them, and then keeps the chat option on the page itself. It even supports video conferencing. SamePage is a good addition for project teams using platforms lacking in the communication area, but otherwise, it feels like a tool in search of a purpose.
Aha! is a roadmap tool, and as you’ll notice, occupies a special place on the graph above and in this project management tools list. It is top notch for planning projects, strategic planning, and long term roadmaps. It is a superb tool for product management. The “ideas portal” feature is a powerful way to bring in feedback from customers and stakeholders.
When it comes to project management, though, Aha! is simple and direct, which is jarringly different from its feature rich presentation for roadmap planning and product management. Aha! isn’t built for project management, although it can be used for it. You can use the roadmap feature to create a Gantt chart, and there are Kanban boards and task lists, but the collaborative aspect of the platform is lacking.
Aha! can be used for agile workflows, especially with the Kanban board, but this feels like driving a Ford Mustang two blocks to the grocery store. Where Aha! shines is in its long term planning and especially strategic planning capabilities. Aha! integrates with JIRA, Slack, Trello, Dropbox, Zendesk, and some other applications. Overall, planning with Aha! is a treat, but managing anything with it afterwards is clunky and can be difficult.
Wrike is billed as a project management tool with solid collaboration tools. However, Wrike is more tuned to workflow management than project management. It is easy to get started with Wrike – it’s intuitive, and the layout is usually very straightforward. As you can see in the picture above the interface is very plain, which makes it easy to understand, but leaves something wanting in its presentation.
Wrike can be used for project management, and its timeline does not have the same spreadsheet feel other competitors in this project management list feature. You can easily create custom reports in Wrike, and with a few clicks, turn them into scheduled reports too. The timeline has drag and drop capability.
Wrike shines most when used for workflows and ongoing work, as it is oriented to presenting information in lists instead of charts. Wrike has time tracking as part of its task management functions. It does not have an in-system chat function, which limits communications. Wrike has many integrations available, as well as mobile apps.
For a project manager, team, or organization that does not have the time available to sink into learning the other spreadsheet-based options on the project management tools list (like MS Project, TeamGantt, LiquidPlanner, or SmartSheet), Wrike is a competitive alternative with much to offer.