Need help keeping track of projects, tasks and teams? We help you select the right app for your business.
UPDATED: Project management applications can help anyone keep track of projects, whether they’re a project manager by profession or just part of a smaller project. Even for small businesses that need to track everyday tasks, these tools can make it easier to keep tabs on those tasks and your team.
One problem is there are so many project management apps available, and while that's a good thing (with competition ensuring many offer free plans), selecting the right one for your business can be a challenge. To help you make that choice, here are four of the better cloud-based options, ranging from the simple for business basics to the more complex for larger projects.
LiquidPlanner claims to be the only project management solution that is dynamic enough to help teams in fast-moving environments. The three main tenets of the solution are to: focus on the priorities; adapt to changes; and visualise the impact of proposed changes before rather than after the fact.
It has a number of features included that are designed to deliver on its dynamic promise, including smart schedules, resource management and contextual collaboration.
The main premise of the software is the acknowledgement of the fact that projects evolve and need tools that can evolve in line with the changes and knock-on changes required.
Price: US$9.99– US$69 per user/per month depending on the size of your business
Main idea: Good teams plan, great teams execute.
The 2017 edition of TeamWork Projects comprises lots of tools for project managers and teams to keep tabs on how projects are progressing. You can create task lists, track how long it takes to complete a task, upload files for everyone to access and message other team members. Project managers are also able to assign tasks to people and track their progress from one place, while account managers can bill clients based upon the time inputted by everyone involved in the project.
TeamWork Projects doesn’t have the most attractive interface, but its feature-set make up for this and it’s now becoming one of the most widely used platforms to help organisations keep up to date with everything happening in their business.
There’s no free plan but there is a 30-day free trial and pricing is quite reasonable for businesses with multiple users. The Small Office plan costs US$69 per month, which gets you unlimited users, 50 projects and 20GB of online storage. The Professional plan bumps that up to 150 projects and 100GB, while the Business plan offers 300 projects and 400GB.
Price: US$69 per month (Small Office plan); US$169 (Professional); US$269 (Business)
Main idea: With detailed time tracking features and direct client billing, TeamWork Projects is perfect for businesses that need to bill clients regularly.
Trello is at the simpler end of the project management scale. It’s one of the many apps that use a Kanban-board like drag and drop interface for managing projects. Each project has its own board, while tasks are cards. These progress across columns as the project progresses, with each column a stage in the process.
You can assign tasks to others in the team and add labels to make it clear where they fit in the project. There’s a wide range of integrations in Trello, including Google Drive for document storage, Slack for instant communication, and you can set deadlines for tasks too.
Trello is a cloud-based app that offers a pretty good free plan with limited features for unlimited users. However, but you’ll have to upgrade to the Business Class plan for the additional integrations and other features such as larger file attachments. There’s also an Enterprise plan with advanced tools such as two-factor authentication.
Price: Free plan; US$9.99 / user / month (Business Class)
Main idea: A very visual project management tool that’s simple to use and boasts a huge array of integrations.
Formerly AtTask, Workfront puts a focus on task prioritisation, helping businesses make sure the most important elements of a project are completed first. Everything can be presented in a visual report so everyone in a team can view the work lifecycle. Project leads can assign work, track deadlines, check status updates and approve work, with collaboration features to comment on submissions too.
It uses a drag and drop interface for assigning different team members tasks and move the priority of tasks around, making it simple for anyone to use, whether an organisation is using agile, waterfall or an alternative project management methodology to complete projects.
Workfront offers three plans – Standard, Select and Premium – with the higher-end plans offering more features such as collaboration tools and more storage per user. The cost starts at US$30 per user per month, but unfortunately Workfront doesn’t advertise its pricing on its website.
Price: From US$30 per user per month
Main idea: An all-in-one project management tool, suitable for use with any methodology.
Wrike is a cloud-based project management suite, which is quick to set-up and easy for everyone to use, whatever their level of project management training. Wrike is one of the more expensive project management suites we examine in this feature, but that’s because it’s so simple to use. It allows you to track time too, making it a perfect solution for projects that are billed per-task, for example.
There’s also a load of social collaboration tools built into Wrike and users can track their own tasks from a single dashboard. Other features Wrike supports include assigning tasks, tracking deadlines and schedules so you always have a real-time overview of how a project is developing.
There’s a free plan with limited functionality for up to five users, and other subscription plans with features for businesses of different types and sizes. There’s a Professional plan (for up to 15 users), which has additional features such as support for sub-tasks and unlimited collaborators. The Business plan (for 5–200 users) adds more features such as custom fields and workflows, and there are also Marketing and Enterprise plans.
Pricing: Free plan; US$9.80 / user / month (Professional); $24.80 / user / month (Business)
Main idea: A great tool for getting up and running quickly, with the ability to see an overview of a project from a single dashboard.
Our advice is to take full advantage of the free and trial options to see how suitable each application is for your business. If none of these apps works for you, there are plenty more to choose from, with many different interfaces and feature-sets, such as:
- Comindware Project
- Microsoft Project
- Office 365 Planner
- Zoho Projects.
This feature is based on an article that originally appeared at IT Pro.