17 Best Project Management Software & Tools for 2021

Home » Resources » Project Management SoftwareUpdated: July 11, 2021

You found our list of the most popular project management software & tools.

Project management software are programs that enable online collaboration between teammates.These tools simplify the roles of project leaders by automating simple tasks, organizing workflows, and facilitating smooth communication between all team members. The purpose of this software is to help leaders plan, execute, adapt, and finish projects

This software is a type of HR software, and may be more useful with project management books.

This list includes:

  • free project management software
  • open source project management software
  • online project management tools
  • project management apps
  • project management tools for remote teams

Let’s get to it!

List of project management tools

From online Kanban boards to communication platforms, here is a list of virtual project management tools that help leaders stay organized.

1. Trello

Trello is one of the best project management apps. The main layout of the online platform mirrors list-style Kanban boards. First, managers create different columns, then team members move cards between sections upon the completion of tasks, showing visual progress.

Users can add members, due dates, labels, and checklists to cards, simplifying the assignment process. Plus, teammates can comment, add attachment and links, and share cards, making Trello a centralized hub for the project. Leaders can create and invite teammates to multiple boards, using templates beyond the traditional Kanban format.

Full disclosure: TeamBuilding uses Trello, and it makes our lives much easier. 🙂

Learn more about Trello.

2. Monday

Monday is a team management software that consolidates projects to a single workspace. The program enables leaders to structure projects, assign tasks, organize workflows, solicit updates, and deliver feedback with ease.

Collaboration features like spreadsheets, checklists, and comments allow teammates to communicate effectively outside of meetings and emails. Tools like timelines, boards, and tables help group members visualize progress goals and progress, and the minimalist design has a pleasing aesthetic.

Plus, Monday can function as a quasi-CRM that tracks sales pipelines, as well as appealing to other industries like marketing, IT, software development, construction, or any virtual office environment.

Learn more about Monday.

3. Asana

Asana is a work management software designed to help teams hit project deadlines and achieve collaborative goals. The program includes basic digital project management tools like boards, timelines, assignment capabilities, team calendars, and automated tasks. Notable features on Asana include a streamlined workflow system, status monitoring portfolios, and goal setting and tracking tools.

Asana’s design favors strategic planning and objective-focused workflows, enabling leaders to draw meaning from dashboards at a glance. By gauging metrics like workloads, task progress, and schedule gaps, project managers can proactively reroute operations and align team members on objectives.

Asana has applications across many industries, and its cross-functionality makes it a valuable asset for highly collaborative remote or hybrid organizations.

Learn more about Asana.

4. Slack

Slack is an online communication platform and one of the best project management tools for remote teams. The program’s threads, channels, direct messages, and mentions streamline conversations and decrease the need for lengthy emails or meetings. Slack increases project efficiency by enabling group members to communicate instantly and condense conversations into easily searchable threads. While Slack may not be able to replace more traditional project management software, it compliments other tools brilliantly and integrates with many apps. Plus, the informal nature of chats offers great opportunities for virtual team building activities.

Team Building uses Slack, and our crew has no complaints. 😊

Learn more about Slack.

5. Basecamp

Basecamp helps organizations manage remote teams by offering an array of online tools. The platforms consolidate assignments and resources into one centralized workspace, so there is no question where employees should turn for information or instructions.

Basecamp’s most distinguishing features are:

  • message boards
  • automatic check-ins
  • schedules and to-do-lists
  • file storage
  • chat capabilities

Other highlights include available client access permissions, reporting features, built-in search engine, and multi-project agendas.

These applications aim to replace software like DropBox and Slack, with an all-in-one solution that enables workers to switch quickly between programs. Basecamp is an excellent project management option for companies looking to simplify their software systems, and folks who do not want to juggle too many passwords!

Learn more about Basecamp.

6. Paymo

Paymo is a remote work and project management system for dispersed teams and freelancers. The platform combines time tracking, team collaboration, and project management tools to manage all components of online projects. Paymo uses Gantt chart and Kanban boards, and you can view all projects on a single board or chart. The software also includes milestone tracking, project projection, reporting, and resource reallocation features that help leaders keep the team on task. Users can invoice clients from the platform, and Paymo integrates with online payment systems as well as other remote work apps.

Learn more about Paymo.

7. Wrike

Wrike is a project management platform with many innovative features. Some of Wrike’s most praiseworthy functions include customizable dashboards and request forms, AI-driven risk management predictors and smart automation, visual proofing, interactive timelines, voice command capabilities, and high-level, reliable security. Wrike is user-friendly and team-centric, facilitating smooth collaboration through automatic approvals and discussion features. Plus, Wrike’s reporting capabilities are useful for both team updates and presentations to stakeholders, and analytics help leaders plan and shift direction more effectively. The program is a great fit for cross departmental collaboration, and its flexibility and tweak-friendly nature enables leaders to build the perfect project workflow tool.

Learn more about Wrike.

8. ClickUp

ClickUp is a cloud-based project management and collaboration platform. Layout and organization set this program apart from other software. ClickUp employs a hierarchy structure composed of distinct groups, categorizations, lists, and workspaces and offers multiple views to keep projects separate and project leaders organized. Task management tools include subtasks and nested subtasks, checklists, assigned comments, and templates.

ClickUp boasts native integrations with various time tracking software, cloud-based tools, and other popular platforms, and has a file importing system that makes for easy transition. Plus, ClickUp is available as an app compatible with any mobile device.

Learn more about ClickUp.

9. Jira

Jira is an issue and project tracking software popular with agile software development teams. The platform began as a bug tracking and reporting tool and gradually morphed to include other project management capabilities. Jira contains features like Scrum and Kanban boards, digital roadmaps, agile reporting metrics, and the ability to connect issues to code. Automation saves time and helps users better manage processes. The software service is available in multiple tiers and as cloud and self-managed versions.

Learn more about Jira.

10. Confluence

Confluence is a digital knowledge management tool that allows project group members to store information in one central repository. This tool takes the place of cloud-based document storage solutions like Google Drive and Dropbox, gathering all of the project need-to-knows in one location. The entire team can access and add to the wiki, so teams can document projects in real-time. Confluence compliments Jira by design, and works well with other project software too.

Learn more about Confluence.

11. Miro

Miro is one of the best online project management tools. This online whiteboard platform empowers remote collaboration between distanced colleagues and is useful for occasions like virtual meetings, brainstorming sessions, and online storytelling workshops. Creative teams and design professionals especially benefit from the program’s visual-friendly format. Miro also hosts mapping and diagram functions and Agile workflow visualizations.

Miro integrates with several apps like Slack, Dropbox, Salesforce, and other project management tools, and has solid security features.

As an added bonus, Miro shares tons of templates and project management resources with users.

Learn more about Miro.

12. SmartSheet

SmartSheet is a collaboration and work management tool that streamlines teamwork into a central platform. Like many other project management programs, SmartSheet includes staples like project dashboards, task assignment tools, reporting capabilities, programmable automation tools and alerts, and multiple views.

SmartSheet’s showpiece is 10,000 ft, a resource management tool that helps leaders:

  • build strong teams
  • estimate group capacity
  • schedule accurately
  • forecast and resolve potential conflicts
  • gauge progress
  • track time
  • gain insights from reports

Adaptability is another key characteristic of the program; SmartSheet’s design enables organizations to pivot and change quickly to retain a competitive edge in the ever-shifting business landscape.

Learn more about SmartSheet.

13. Mavenlink

Mavenlink is project management technology and professional services automation software, or PSA. The program is designed for professional services businesses in fields like marketing, public relations, IT, engineering, and management consulting.

Mavenlink offers software solutions in five main areas:

  • Resource management
  • Project management
  • Team collaboration
  • Project accounting
  • Business intelligence

Features like proposal generation and client communication search tools are especially useful for professionals in the business service sphere. Mavenlink also integrates with professional platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, QuickBooks, and Xero.

Mavenlink prides itself on a resource-first approach that empowers leaders to make educated, data-driven decisions resulting in well-selected and well-prepared teams and achievable objectives. Plus, the company boasts a world-class customer service team and makes continual improvements based on user feedback.

Learn more about Mavenlink.

14. FunctionFox

FunctionFox is a web-based project management application that caters especially to creative professionals. The platform includes timesheet software, permitting freelancers and in-house teams to both plan and track creative projects successfully. Alerts keep teams conscious of deadlines, and discussion threads and real-time chats eliminate communication breakdowns. FunctionFox’s advanced reporting capabilities help creative-minded professionals understand data and accurately assess project progress. Distinctions between billable and nonbillable hours let leaders gauge the teams’ efficiency.

Learn more about FunctionFox.

15. WorkZone

WorkZone is a middle of the road project management platform. It boasts more advanced features than more basic software and a user-friendly interface, billing itself as the “just-right” fit for most teams.

Highlights include:

  • robust document sharing capabilities with features such as image markup and commenting with email alerts
  • project management tools like task dependencies and workload reports
  • custom branding options
  • multi-layered security

WorkZone targets a wide audience, but aims to ensure smooth adoption within each organization. Their customized approach includes needs assessments, success planning, setup and customization, comprehensive training, and ongoing coaching.

Learn more about WorkZone.

16. OpenProject

OpenProject is one of the best open source project management software tools. The tool is available in both self-managed and fully-hosted versions.

Program capabilities include:

  • issue and bug tracking
  • time tracking, cost reporting, and budgeting features,
  • product roadmap and release planning tools
  • custom workflows
  • meeting management features
  • collaboration mechanisms
  • the ability to build personalized project Wikis

These features are just a few of the highly useful cost-free benefits that make OpenProject’s community plan so effective. The community plan often ranks as one of the best free project management software. Premium plans include extended options like Agile boards, attribute highlighting, and intelligent workflows.

Learn more about OpenProject.

17. Workfront

Owned by Adobe, Workfront is a leading provider of enterprise work management solutions.

Notable features of Workfront:

  • client portal
  • milestone and cost-to-completion tracking
  • idea management tools
  • scenario planner

Workfront employs a goal and data-driven approach, seeking to inform action through insights and analysis. The platform hosts a wide range of tools that suit various departments and industries, streamlines operations into one central workplace, and distills complicated processes into organized dashboards and automated functions. Workfront is scalable and personalizable, which is a boon for large and growing businesses with niche needs.

Learn more about Workfront.

Conclusion

Project managers juggle many responsibilities within high-pressure, time-sensitive environments. Choosing the right project management software helps leaders stay calm and organized and keeps projects on track. With so many companies transitioning to hybrid or fully remote work models, project management platforms ease collaboration between distributed teams. Plus, these handy tools collect all relevant resources in one space for easy reference and reporting.

Next, check out our list of the best time tracking software, this one with employee monitoring software and this one with employee engagement software.

FAQ: Project Management Software

Here are answers to common questions about project management software.

What is project management software?

Project management software are programs that enable team members to collaborate together on project. These platforms often include assignment and scheduling functions, capabilities, visualization tools, trackers and data analysis, and dashboards displaying important project metrics like budget or time.

What is the best project management software?

The best project management software simplifies processes like assignment and delegation, communication and meetings, progress updates, expense tracking, and project wrap-up. Some of the most popular project management tools include Trello, Asana, Monday, Wrike, Basecamp, and Jira.

Why is project management software important?

Project management software is important because it facilitates collaboration between dispersed teams. Project management platforms provide managers with tools to organize, mobilize, and monitor team members to ensure projects stay on track and on budget.

How do I choose project management software?

When choosing project management software, first consider the needs of your organization and employees. Each program has advantages and disadvantages. For instance, if most projects involve teammates in multiple departments, then investing in a large, all-inclusive platform with cross functional capabilities is a good investment.

If selecting software for a single team, then choosing a tool tailored to your industry might be a better bet. Evaluating the characteristics of your teams and typical projects helps point you in the direction of a suitable platform. Be sure to read up on software choices, paying particular attention to the features the software maker highlights. If possible, choose a platform with a free version, trial period, or easy-to-cancel subscription model so that you can try the application risk-free.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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