Top 15 promising project management tools to make your productivity skyrocket

Looking for the right PM software for your team/business, but overwhelmed by choices? Columnist Alexander Kesler has the run-down on some of the top tools on the market.

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No sane person would try to manage a project without the help of dedicated software. But with so many options and so little time, how do you find the right one for you? There are literally hundreds of tools designed to help you each step of the way, but most of them are tailored for businesses of different sizes or from different industries — and that’s not always obvious.

To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular project management tools on the market. We tested a variety of tools and scoured established review sites such as PC Magazine and Tech Republic for opinions, as well as user reviews on Capterra and G2 Crowd, to give you the most balanced perspective. Of course, this also means that in the meantime the developers might have made some changes to the software. Still, you should be able to find all the information you need to pick out a favorite.

From small to mid-sized companies, there is a program out there for you!

1. Teamwork Projects

How it works

Teamwork Projects is a pretty standard project management program: it lets you assign tasks, track time and billable hours, and even manage expenses, all within a straightforward interface. While it doesn’t have any standout, innovative features, it’s good at what it does, specifically all the basic functions you need to successfully manage your projects. Also, if you need to keep an eye on things from a distance, there’s a mobile app available for iOS and Android. The lack of integrated chat is a downside, however.

User-friendliness

Teamwork Projects’ Interface is simple and intuitive. The website has a smart design, with customizable colors that will surely please more visually oriented users.

Pricing

Teamwork Projects comes in several plans, all supporting unlimited users, ranging from an untimed free version (limited to two projects) to the $249 Business Plan (500 projects).

What it does best

Teamwork Projects combines powerful features and customizability in a very user-friendly and visually appealing package.

Highlights

  • Variety of plans for different types of users
  • Pleasant and functional design
  • Solid core functionalities

Best suited for: small teams, due to its flexible pricing

2. Zoho Projects

How it works

Zoho Projects is one of the most popular programs of its kind — and for good reason. It supports a variety of apps and services, and other Zoho software is also available. Its free version supports Google Apps, but it’s limited to one project and 10MB of storage space (yes, that’s megabytes). With referrals, you can reach a total of five projects for free.

User-friendliness

Zoho Projects is feature-packed, while keeping a clean and intuitive appearance, making it easy to create even complex projects.

Pricing

If the free version doesn’t cut it for you, its paid plans range from $25 per month for 20 projects and 10 GB to $80 for unlimited projects and 100 GB storage.

Highlights

  • Clean, intuitive and responsive interface
  • Feature-rich
  • Social media-like feel
  • Great chat feature

Best suited for: small to mid-sized companies

3. JIRA

How it works

Atlassian’s JIRA project management tool was developed with small to medium-sized teams in mind. It has basic features like scrum and Kanban boards, and it also offers agile reporting and portfolio planning. While its main feature is bug and issue tracking, it also has custom filters, developer tool integrations, customizable workflows, a robust set of APIs and mobile apps.

User-friendliness

JIRA strikes a good balance between usability and power. Basically, it gives you all the features you need while remaining easy to navigate and use.

Pricing

JIRA’s plans range from $10/month for up to 10 users to $1,500/month for 2,000 users, so there’s an option for almost any team (the other increments being 15, 25, 50, 100 and 500 users).

What it does best

JIRA is best known for its workflow mapping and issue tracking.

Highlights

  • Good learning curve and ease of use
  • Excellent ticketing system
  • Many filtering options

Best suited for:  small and medium-sized teams (10 to 2,000 people)

4. Trello

How it works

Trello is a visual collaboration tool based on Kanban-style management. It is a flexible and lightweight app, but that comes at a price: there is no billing or time tracking, and you won’t find any Gantt charts, either.

User-friendliness

Trello’s interface is easy to learn and highly visual, making it easy to use, even for less tech-savvy users.

Pricing

The free version is quite functional by itself, aside for the 10 MB limit for file attachments. That limit can be raised to 250 MB if you upgrade to a Gold account, while Business class ($10/user/month) and Enterprise (custom pricing) accounts add admin controls to top-tier users.

What it does best

Trello’s flexibility is a huge plus. It works with a wide array of third-party apps, so that you can customize it to fit your workflow.

Highlights

  • Simple and flexible
  • Accessible

Best suited for: teams of 15 people or fewer. Per user fee racks up for larger teams.

5. Volerro

How it works

Volerro is another board-based project management program that offers Kanban view. It is easy to use, while also packing some compelling features, like marking documents within the browser and some analytics (although nothing too advanced in either respect). If you rely on remote work a lot, we might have found a dealbreaker: Volerro doesn’t have any mobile apps. It also has almost no integration with other services.

User-friendliness

Volerro’s interface is rather self-explanatory, so you probably won’t need tutorials to learn to use it (they are available if you need them, though).

Pricing

There’s a free version that’s limited to three projects and 100 MB of storage, one for Business Teams at $8/user/month (unlimited projects, storage based on number of users) and an Enterprise version with custom pricing.

What it does best

Volerro’s communication tools are definitely the highlight of the tool.

Highlights:

  • Good communication tools
  • Intuitive interface with drag-and drop capabilities
  • Optional Kanban view

Best suited for: small teams that don’t rely on reporting and remote work

6. Nutcache

How it works

Nutcache is an all-in-one business and project management application. Aside from time tracking and reporting, which are pretty standard PM features, a standout feature is Nutcache’s excellent invoicing system that even lets you track customer behavior, such as delayed payments to help you identify bad clients. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t included in the free version.

User-friendliness

Nutcache is reportedly easy to use and has a great workflow.

Pricing

The free version is limited to 20 users and 1 GB of storage. There’s also a Pro version ($6/user/month), and an Enterprise version ($12/user/month), both bringing extra features, as well as a Large Account option, which is essentially a custom plan.

What it does best

Nutcache has powerful invoicing and estimates features. It can create custom invoices, send recurring invoices, automatically send copies to users’ inboxes and track overdue invoices.

Highlights:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Excellent invoicing system

Best suited for: small to mid-sized businesses focused on expense management

7. MS Project

How it works

Microsoft Project is a popular PM solution that’s very capable while still retaining a degree of simplicity, at least just enough to make it accessible for almost any user. It is very rich in PM features, almost to an intimidating extent, and includes various scheduling, budgeting and reporting tools. It is available both on-premise and in the cloud.

User-friendliness

MS Project strikes a good balance between its features and usability. Given the sheer number of tools it offers, it’s surprising how it still manages to be accessible even for less tech-savvy users.

Pricing

You can buy MS project outright (Project Professional — $1,159.99 or Project Standard — $589.99) or opt for a subscription (Project Pro for Office 365 — $25/user/month, Project Lite add-on module — $7/user/month, and Project Online — $33/user/month).

What it does best

MS Project’s greatest strength is its power, specifically the numerous features it offers.

Highlights:

  • Very powerful and packed with features

Best suited for: teams that need a powerful PM solution and don’t mind the learning curve

8. Redbooth

How it works

Redbooth is a cloud-based project management and team collaboration service with a different take on things. Instead of Gantt charts, it uses Workspaces, which represent projects. Within these Workspaces, the user creates task lists, which (surprise!) contain tasks. In turn, these tasks can be assigned and given a due date.

User-friendliness

Redbooth’s interface is free of clutter and easy to learn and use.

Pricing

Redbooth comes in two plans, Pro ($5/user/month billed annually) and Business ($15/user/month billed annually), and both can be tested for free for 30 days.

What it does best

Redbooth’s true focus is communication — and that shows, because you get dedicated workspace chats, commenting features, screen sharing and HD video conferencing, among others.

Highlights:

  • Clean user interface
  • Screen sharing and video during calls
  • Capable mobile apps
  • On-premise installation option

Best suited for: small and mid-sized companies

9. SprintGround

How it works

SprintGround is a solid task management solution targeting small to mid-sized businesses. It provides task management and collaboration, as well as release planning, while also capturing customer feedback and tracking changes.

User-friendliness

SprintGround has a generous number of features, but it still remains easy to use.

Pricing

The free plan is limited to three users, two projects and 50 MB of storage. The paid plans range from a flat fee of $25/month for the Starter to $5/user/month for the Enterprise version (21+ users). Note: Prices on the website are in Euros, so costs for US customers may vary based on currency exchange rates.

What it does best

An interesting feature is that customers can submit bug reports, feedback or ideas through the platform, based on which SprintGround then recommends innovation ideas to improve the product.

Highlights

  • Easy to use
  • Uses artificial intelligence to provide ideas by capturing customer feedback

Best suited for: small to mid-sized IT businesses working in software development

10. Celoxis

How it works

Celoxis is a powerful yet affordable project management program you can use to manage your project portfolios, workflows, expenses, time sheets and resources.

User-friendliness

Celoxis is streamlined and simple to navigate, even without prior training.

Pricing

The subscription service will run you $25/user/month, while the on-premise version costs $450.

What it does best

Some of its main strengths are its time-tracking feature and the numerous resources, projects, tasks, bugs and issues it can manage. The latter is also the reason it’s well-suited for large companies that manage multiple projects at once.

Highlights

  • Customizable apps and workflow
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Excellent resource allocation and reporting tools
  • Strong email integration
  • Good customer service

Best suited for: enterprise teams managing multiple projects

11. Ganttic

How it works

Ganttic is a resource management and real-time collaboration platform that aims to simplify the planning process through its visual interface, drop-and-drag scheduling and fully customizable user fields. Its main feature is resource management, and this shows in the flexibility the tool has (you can enter any kind of resource) and the fact that the company charges per resource instead of per user.

User-friendliness

Ganttic’s highly visual interface is easy to use and flexible.

Pricing

Ganttic has a free version that’s limited to 10 resources, while the paid tiers range from $25 per month to $599 per month based on the number of resources you can manage.

What it does best

Ganttic’s ability to track any kind of resource will make it a great option for companies looking for that flexibility.

Highlights

  • Unlimited customized reports
  • Customizable resource planner
  • Good customer support
  • Synchs with Google Calendar

Best suited for: companies that need to manage a large number of different resources

12. Paymo

How it works

Paymo is a PM solution designed with growing businesses in mind. It’s a well-rounded Kanban-based task management, time tracking and invoicing program meant to manage the entire project life cycle, from creation until payment. It’s surprisingly simple for a program that does so much. Customer support is also responsive and helpful.

User-friendliness

Given its generous array of features, Paymo is quite user-friendly.

Pricing

Paymo’s pricing is very straightforward: $8.95 per user per month gives you access to task management, visual Kanban boards, milestones and project templates. You can extend that with add-ons like Project Accounting at a fixed $9.95 per month or the Gantt chart add-on at $19.95 per month. As per the norm, you can try Paymo for free for 15 days.

What it does best

Paymo shines when it comes to advanced billing and time-tracking.

Highlights

  • Support for over 18 languages and three different user types
  • User-friendly interface
  • Comprehensive reporting tool

Best suited for: freelancers; small and mid-sized businesses, especially globally-dispersed teams

13. Nozbe

How it works

Nozbe is a robust to-do-list-style PM program that lets you get tasks and projects done. After adding tasks, you can drag and drop them, filter them and create templates for future projects. You can even use your current Evernote notes, Google or Microsoft Office documents, Dropbox or Box files, as well as sync Nozbe with Google Calendar or Evernote Reminders.

User-friendliness

While Nozbe’s interface is fairly intuitive and easy to use, it can feel slightly dated at times.

Pricing

Nozbe’s free offering is limited to one member, so if you really want to give it a fair chance, you’ll have to use the free 30-day trial. The paid plans are the Pro account at 8€ per month billed annually (two members included, 4€ for every additional member) and the Business account at 80€ per month billed annually (10 members included, 8 € for every additional member).

What it does best

Nozbe’s great third-party app integration is definitely a huge plus. It syncs seamlessly with an array of popular apps.

Highlights

  • iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux and web apps
  • Support for guests users
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Batch task editing

Best suited for: teams of any size that work on multiple operating systems

14. Genius Project

How it works

Genius Project is an enterprise-level PM solution that helps you oversee your projects from start to finish. It’s a flexible tool that suits multiple types of projects, as well as real-time reporting and data analysis.

User-friendliness

Due to the sheer number of features it offers, Genius Project requires some time to learn. Routine tasks, however, are easy to accomplish.

Pricing

Genius Project’s pricing varies based on the customer’s needs and is only available if you contact the company directly.

What it does best

What really makes it stand out is its optimal security. First of all, you can install it on your own servers to manage security yourself. However, the second option, the online version, is even more attractive because it’s hosted on SSAE 16 and SOC 2 compliant servers. This is a particularly appealing feature for companies that work with sensitive data.

Highlights

  • Optimal security
  • Affordable
  • Third-party app integrations and flexible API

Best suited for: enterprises in need of a capable and secure PM solution

15. Project Insight

How it works

Project Insight offers a variety of PM tools for enterprises. It is fully customizable and perfect for teams working on multiple projects at once. It also has excellent reporting tools.

User-friendliness

Project Insights’ layout is clean and well-conceived, but also customizable. Routine tasks proved easy to perform.

Pricing

In terms of pricing, the Team Member plan will run you $30/user/month, while the Power User plan starts at $65/user/month.

What it does best

A standout feature is project prioritization, which basically means that the program automatically generates a weighted score for projects based on your goals, KPIs and other factors. Of course, this is especially useful for businesses that manage multiple projects at the same time.

Highlights

  • Project prioritization, a great feature
  • Interactive Gantt charts
  • Fully customizable

Best suited for: companies in the professional services, IT or software-development industries


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Alexander Kesler
Contributor
Alexander is a visionary B2B marketing leader with over 15 years of experience in building highly successful organizations. As a founder and CEO of INFUSEmedia, he specializes in driving growth through omnichannel marketing. Alexander is a graduate of Babson College with a degree in Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and International Business.

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