What is the best project management software? 15 platforms for businesses.
Project management software are playing a vital role in today’s emerging dynamic. They are crucial in achieving our project optimization goals. These tools are so effective that the PM software industry now has countless stakeholders and a global market.
This round-up covers 15 of the best project management software of 2021 and presents a detailed breakdown of what different solutions this industry has to offer for startups, freelancers, professionals, agencies, and businesses of various sizes.
What is Project Management Software?
Project management software is a purpose-driven solution that aids in the successful completion of a project. This entails everything from its planning to closure, for any kind of project, executed by a team or an individual, using any combination of resources.
Common features – It probably seems to you that PM software can substitute humans! After all, they are designed to carry our thoughts and help us act! The crux of every project management software is streamlining collaboration, organization, and resources via technology. Common features of general PM software include:
- To-do lists
- Gantt Charts
- Chats & Calls
- Task Management
- Time Tracking
- File Sharing
Use cases – The modern age has brought a number of innovations in this field. Agile Project Management was created so tight deadlines could be met and self-motivation could be put to better use. PERT prioritizes time management and future planning, while Crystal is for creative teams who love a people-centric approach.
Trends – The PM software industry has caught up by introducing specialized software and advanced customizability for each of these methodologies. We also see PM software to increasingly implement enterprise management tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Invoicing, Budgeting or Expense Management.
Suitable for startups – This particular variation has attracted a new market – startups, SMEs, freelancers, consultants, etc. At a small cost, project management software can help them get rid of the chaos their line of work is associated with. One can prepare job applications, proposals, track time, bill clients, manage tasks, formulate a budget – what not!
Benefits for you – This list covers the best project management software suitable for individuals, agencies, startups, freelance projects and small to medium-sized companies. Our suggestions can prove beneficial if your routine is getting the better of you.
Best Project Management Software 2021 – Top 4
|★★★★☆ | 4.5/5||★★★★★ | 4.7/5||★★★★★ | 4.9/5||★★★★★ | 4.6/5|
|from $9.99/month||from $10.99/month||from $39/month||from $99/month|
|Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
Let’s start this list off with a name we have all heard! Trello is one of the most popular Kanban-style PM platforms on our list.
Akin to the Kanban philosophy, Trello makes everything visible to everyone in the form of lists on a board. Collaboration is mainly via chat and file sharing. It is suitable for personal planning as well as big teams as the focus is always on the big picture, the hodge-podge of a project is usually out of the scene.
One of the best features of Trello is its customizability. Trello offers a variety of ‘Power-Ups’ that allow app integrations like time-tracking, reporting, calendars, etc. Teams choose the combo that suits their style and pay for that only. Trello also incorporates trigger-actuated macros for automating menial tasks which is suitable to manage lots of repetitive tasks.
Trello offers a free version with limited features. Paying customers can choose between Business Class and Enterprise packages. Pricing depends on the number of users and annual/monthly subscriptions but overall, it is a mid-priced application.
★★★★☆ 4.5/5 | Suitable for: Startups, freelancers, individuals and large teams
Top features: Workflow automation, collaboration tools
Apps: macOS, iOS, Android | Pricing: Free Personal plan. Business from $9.99.
Asana is another widely used project management software, just like Trello. It’s more focused on collaboration and tasks but sports a similar interface, thus well-suited for all kinds of teams.
The essence of Asana is to enable team members to manage their group and personal routines, and also know where they stand in the entire project. Classic PM tools like Gantt charts, timelines, and deadlines are the main ingredient of this software.
The visuals are quite intuitive, letting the user decide between things like a Kanban board, a timeline, or lists. Users can enrich their experience with a variety of app integrations for important tasks like time tracking and file sharing.
Pricing is pretty market-competitive, with three paid options to choose from in addition to the Basic free plan. Thus, Asana is among one of the best project management software for freelancers and start-ups that are in an early stage of their business.
Basecamp is one of the oldest players in the game and its design exhibits the experience. This best project management software is for those with a minimalistic management approach. The features are easy-to-use timeless classics like to-do lists, message boards, chat with file sharing, and scheduling.
Their exclusive Hill Charts set them apart from competing software. This is a PM approach where a team divides its whole project into two phases: ‘figuring things out’ and ‘making it happen’. Individual tasks are tracked and kept in either category, and the chart is updated in real-time. These real-time changes are very effective in keeping things under control.
Pricing is an interesting topic with Basecamp. They charge a flat $99/month fee which makes financial management a lot easier, and it should be a point to consider if complicating pricing irks you. However, it is not the cheapest either.
Nifty is one of the best project management software that meets the modern-day standard. It is used by teams skewed towards agile and digital management and is well-known for its lag-free data processing. It provides extensive collaboration tools to allow a high variation of use cases.
The basic version of the software comes loaded with PM features like task management, milestones, time tracking, file sharing, documentation, and Gantt charts. Its developers have put significant effort into in-app integrations, which is clear from the 1000+ options it offers.
Its dedication to real-time PM is evident through its reporting features, which generate timely reports for managers and provide insight for effective decision-making. Nifty also allows the convenient import of full-scale projects from a variety of other best project management software. If you choose this, you would not be wasting much time to shift your projects.
Nifty offers four unique pricing packages to its clientele with 14-day free trials. Combined with its quick import functionality, the 14-day trial might be worth a try for you. After that, you can join from $39/month which gives you 10 team members and unlimited guests.
★★★★★ 4.9/5 | Best for: Startups, freelancers, individuals and large teams
Top features: Milestones, Workflow automation, Collaboration, Time tracking
Apps: macOS, iOS, Android | Pricing: from $39.99. Various plans.
The name of this app speaks for itself. Teamwork is developed as a collaboration tool for teams aiming to operate at full capacity without compromising on productivity.
Users can organize their workflow neatly on a board, assign and pick tasks, and monitor the progress of their team. Time tracking and Gantt charts allow for efficient time management. Collaborative tools offered by Teamwork include the usual chat and file sharing. You can also upscale your experience via app integrations for various PM-related software.
One of the appealing features of Teamwork is their project template concept. Just like when designing a website using templates, Teamwork users can build their projects on a pre-defined project template, which is amazingly time-saving.
Teamwork is among the best project management software that is suitable for teams of all sizes. This is evident through their 4 distinct pricing plans, which in our opinion, are quite affordable compared to the other options on this list.
★★★★☆ 4.4/5 | Best for: Agencies, small and larger teams, individuals
Top features: Board view, portfolio, workload, templates
Apps: iOS, Android | Pricing: Free plan. Pro from $9.99/month
monday.com is a relatively simpler software but what it does have is pretty unique in its own right. The internet backs us with plenty of positive reviews to offer for this application.
They adapt the dashboard ideology which is centered on housing the entire project framework on a single board, or a screen in this case. Tasks, sub-divided into categories, are clearly visible this way. To get the project going, team members can communicate via chat and file sharing and prepare a timeline.
What differentiates this app from other best project management software is its UI/UX. The boards are cleverly color-coded so they are much more cohesive. The automation features are cherry on the top, allowing users to minimize wastage of time.
monday.com includes several app integrations, but they have gone a step further in this regard. Users can develop their own ‘monday Apps’ using an easy-to-code platform and enjoy whatever app they deem fit for their purpose.
★★★★☆ 4.5/5 | Best for: HR, Agencies, Marketing, Software Development.
Best features: Remote work, Chats, File Sharing, Colored boards
Apps: macOS, iOS, Android | Plans: Basic $8/month – Pro $16/month
Wrike is an agile project management software that focuses on ease of use, customizability, and work management. This means it is made for marketers, developers, digital agencies, etc.
Wrike’s core features are more or less similar to its competitors. Users can customize the interface to have lists, a Kanban board, or a dashboard. Chats, file sharing, app integrations, Gantt charts, time tracking, it offers the whole lot. Visual reports and interface are well-developed aspects of this software.
The pricing plans are structured in a way that Wrike is best-suited to mid- to large-sized teams. We say this because its cheaper pricing plans are composed rather conservatively. Hence, if you are a small team or a startup, you might miss out on its top-notch functions.
★★★★☆ 4.3/5 | Suitable for: Small and large teams. Individuals. Agile Development
Best features: Templates, App Integrations, Chats, File Sharing
Apps: iOS, Android | Plans: Free Plan, Pro from $9.99/month
Hive is an online project management software that is used by teams of all kinds and sizes, in any industry or market segment.
The leadership has not restricted itself to any style of management, which is precisely its main selling point. Hive runs various contemporary PM templates side by side. One can either view their project on a Kanban board, Gantt chart, Calendar, or a simple table, whatever fits their mindset.
Besides this attractive element, the software integrates all basic features like chat, automation, personal planning, etc. Several crucial elements like time tracking, external users, and analytics can be added by spending a bit more. It also boasts 1000+ app integrations, which makes it quite flexible and customizable.
Overall, Hive is up-to-scratch PM software that you might find the best fit for your setup.
★★★★☆ 4.4/5 | Suitable for: Agencies, PM, Operations, Teams. Individuals.
Top features: Layouts, Workflows, File Sharing, Templates
Apps: iOS, Android | Pricing: $12/month, Add-ons from $4/month | Website.
The creators of Flow have directed their efforts to create a centralized project management software that is easy on the eyes. Basically, they have adopted an approach similar to Hive.
Project progress can be viewed on a Kanban board, chart or calendar depending upon your choice. Flow has gone a step ahead by offering alternate viewing options for task and resource management, which add to user convenience. Apart from the usual collaborative and planning features, there are automation features as well as app and email integrations.
We have noted a few downsides as well. The dedication to a multi-faceted platform has the adverse effect of restricting it to an audience that is not aligned with any particular PM philosophy. If your team prefers a certain PM style and works according to it down to the last detail, Flow might not be for you. Besides this, however, a number of internet critics have praised Flow for its simplicity and versatility.
★★★★☆ 4.1/5 | Best for: Individuals and teams
Highlights: Project schedules, Message boards, File sharing
Mobile: iOS, Android | Price: Basic $6/month, Plus $8/month | Website.
On to the top gun! Slack is not only one of the best project management software on our list but without doubt the most popular one. It is designed for all project managers and does not limit itself to a specific industry or target group.
Slack is popular among project managers owing to its rich set of tools. Some of its standout features include a sound audio/video call solution to augment the chat, its unique idea of ‘Channels’ that are used for discussions, much like a forum, and impressive layout customization options.
Owing to its popularity, Slack has a growing number of APIs for various apps and is offered as an integration into many other project management software. It itself has provision for valuable app integrations to supplement its features.
It is to be noted, however, that it is expensive. Slack lies on the upper end of the entire PM software pricing range and is probably not suited to you if you are just starting.
★★★★☆ 4.1/5 | Suitable for: Any team size. Freelancers.
Highlights: Channels, Video/Audio, Message boards, File Sharing
Apps: macOS, iOS, Android | Price: Free plan, Basic $8/month, Pro $15.
Notion is a cross between professional project management software and a personal planner. This approach makes workflow management comprehensive and offers an all-round platform for users for all of their affairs. The Notion website expounds on its product by explaining its three core features:
‘Team Wiki’, which is an organized database for all data deemed necessary to be accessible. ‘Project & Tasks’, which is the heart of the software, providing a platform for PM via dashboard views, task management, time management, etc. Finally, the ‘Notes & Docs’ section is a hybrid personal planner/company planner where content of any type can be uploaded to keep oneself up-to-date with the team.
This best project management software might not be that feature-packed but it does offer more personal freedom and personalized planning. To get a hang of it, you can try the free ‘Personal’ plan, and upgrade to Personal Pro, Team, or Enterprise plans if you like it.
★★★★☆ 4.1/5 | For: Teams, individuals, students
Best features: Projects and tasks, File Sharing, Time management
Mobile: iOS, Android | Price: Free plan, Pro $4/month, Team $8/month/user
ClickUp is truly an all-inclusive PM tool. They have managed to incorporate almost every project management software aspect and still not overdo it. You can be an engineering firm, an airline, an HR consultancy, or anything else, ClickUp can serve you well.
This tool gets its appeal from its customizability and vast pool of features. A user can choose from 10+ views, the colors their screen displays, the automation codes their software runs; anything that can be a personal preference can be customized. Much appreciated by its users, ClickUp’s UI also neatly lays out all those management options.
ClickUp further sports resource management, time and project tracking, app integrations, and goal tracking among other tools. One thing we have noted is that ClickUp is more generous when it comes to pricing. The prices are market-competitive but the low-priced plans do offer a more decent package as compared to competing products.
★★★★☆ 4.0/5 | Best for: Teams. Individuals.
Best features: Tasks, Chats, Goals, Files, Tracking, Ressource Management
Mobile: iOS, Android | Price: Free plan, Pro from $5/month/user
Podio has a very professional vibe to it, suiting teams with a specific management style in mind. It works well for all teams, regardless of size and style, but you do have to be clear in your approach beforehand. It has an exhaustive list of features to offer.
Management tools include task and workflow streamlining tools, CRM, and file sharing. An extensive collection of APIs and extensions are available for any other function you want, including important ones like time tracking and budgeting.
The customizability of Podio has received mixed reviews from a number of customers though. Many have pointed out that the initial setup is quite tedious as there is a lot to do. Once done though, it is easy to internalize the digital workspace. Pricing wise, the cheaper plans are not as abundant. The real deal starts at the PLUS package, priced at $14/month.
★★★★★ 4.6/5 | For: Small and large teams. Individuals. | Website.
Best features: Unlimited storage, Automated workflows, Visualizations, Sheets
Apps: iOS, Android | Pricing: Free plan, Basic $7.20/month, Plus $11.20/month
Plutio is an application that is custom-built for entrepreneurial activities. Small businesses, startups, freelancers, etc. will find it worth checking out.
There is an entire portfolio of business-related functions like invoicing, proposals, contracts, and CRM. Each of these features offer a well-rounded selection of tools that is adequate for running business operations. Complementing this toolset is a dedicated PM interface with digital workspaces, task management, time tracking, and so on….
Plutio is also working on further expanding its outreach by introducing new features. Its ‘Forms & Surveys’ tools and collaborative inbox feature will be interesting to try out. Overall, if you are looking to centralize your project management, business leadership, and commercial activities in a neat workspace, Plutio can do the job for you.
There are three pricing plans namely Solo, Studio, and Team. It is worth noting that each one is designed for a certain target market and not according to number of accessible features. For example, Solo suits freelancers and is enough for them in all respects.
★★★★☆ 4.0/5 | Suitable for: All teams. Individuals. |Website.
Best features: Projects & Tasks, Tracking, Templates, Real-time collaboration, File Sharing
Apps: iOS, Android | Pricing: Solo $15/month, Studio $20/month, Team $30/month
15. Liquid Planner
Liquid Planner is a regular project management software with a twist. The team behind it believes that a PM software should help users anticipate risks and assist in decision-making, and its features reflect this thinking.
Features include solid resource and time management facilities. The software monitors activity and points out risky areas ahead of time, like an employee who is likely to miss a deadline. Its algorithm goes as far as taking into account task pre-requisites and employee vacations, which is rare for similar PM tools.
The UI/UX is often praised for its drag-and-drop provision. The workspace houses the entire workflow with proper visibility and expression. It comes with a great built-in time-tracking application as well. It has, however, also been noted that the interface is difficult to learn at first owing to the software’s specialized utility.
Liquid Planner is relatively expensive though, its Professional plan starts at $45/user/month. Smaller teams need to be extra sure before subscribing.
★★★★☆ 4.0/5 | For: Teams, Agencies.
Best Features: Cross-product visibility, Ressource/Risk management, Tracking
Apps: iOS, Android | Pricing: $45/month/user
How to Choose the Best Project Management Software?
At last, we are done with our research. We hope that the information presented has resulted in some informed decisions, but we are also sure that there still is an unclear faction.
One problem with PM software is that they seem exactly the same at first. To be able to decide which one you need, you need to pay attention to the nuances. To help you make your decision, we would like to share a few factors you might want to consider.
Project Management Style – First of all, you need to be clear of your PM methodology. Some software can suit all management styles while some are specifically curated for a certain team, make sure you shortlist only the ones that match your thinking.
Features – Another factor to keep in mind is the list of features they offer. You might be really keen on the video conferencing feature, no need to settle for one that does not have it. Never forget that project management software are all about providing maximum comfort to its users so they could function at their best!
Team Size – It matters a lot. A freelancer would be okay with a simplified software but a full-fledged team with 100+ users definitely needs a software that is designed for big projects.
Infrastructure – This is often the most overlooked factor by PMs. You need to be sure that getting a PM software is a sustainable decision, otherwise, it can be counterproductive. Make sure that the IT infrastructure is up to the mark, your team is on-board and able to operate the new software, the existing projects can be conveniently shifted over to the new interface, etc. It is easy to skip these things if you are new, be careful.
Budget – No need to mention this but just for the sake of clarity, you have to consider the profit and loss factor while buying PM software as well. It certainly is unwise to subscribe to a Professional plan when you could easily get your job done with the Basic package.
Best Project Management Software 2021 – Summary
We wholeheartedly hope that our readership has gained something from this discussion. It was a bit lengthy but the topic is not that simple too. Project Management is taken very seriously in this era and we just want to be sure you know what you need.
Whatever software you select, it will define your team’s dynamics and your leadership standard. Data organization, real-time management, and smooth communication are the key to your success.
To conclude, modern project management software with their specialized interfaces and customizable features can be a real productivity-booster. This way, everything a team does in real life can also be done remotely in a virtual workspace with much less effort.
What Is The Best Project Management Software 2021?
- Trello | ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
- Asana | ★★★★★ 4.7/5
- Basecamp | ★★★★★ 4.6/5
- Nifty | ★★★★★ 4.9/5
- TeamWork | ★★★★☆ 4.4/5
- Monday.com | ★★★★☆ 4.5/5
- Wrike | ★★★★☆ 4.3/5
- Hive | ★★★★☆ 4.4/5
- Flow | ★★★★☆ 4.1/5
- Slack | ★★★★☆ 4.1/5
- Notion | ★★★★☆ 4.1/5
- ClickUp | ★★★★☆ 4.0/5
- Podio | ★★★★★ 4.6/5
- Plutio | ★★★★☆ 4.0/5
- LiquidPlanner | ★★★★☆ 4.0/5
What is the best project management software in your opinion? Feel free to add your list in the comments below.