15 Best Project Management Software Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor

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Project management software makes it easy to plan projects, allocate tasks and keep teams organized so that deadlines and goals are met. With so many project management solutions on the market today—all with different pricing, plans and features—the decision on which to choose can be difficult. To help, Forbes Advisor analyzed dozens of the leading providers and selected the best project management software in 2024, based on pricing, features, customer support and more.

Slack, Microsoft Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce, Timely, Google Drive and more

The Forbes Advisor Small Business team is committed to bringing you unbiased rankings and information with full editorial independence. We use product data, hands-on testing, strategic methodologies and expert insights to inform all of our content to guide you in making the best decisions for your business journey.

Slack, Microsoft Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce, Timely, Google Drive and more

Slack, Microsoft Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce, Timely, Google Drive and more

Slack, Microsoft Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce, Timely, Google Drive and more

ClickUp is best for teams that rely on Scrum for product development. While it includes all the features you would expect from a great project management app, it goes further with templates and features that allow for an Agile software development process. Plans with these features start at free for startup teams and increase to $12 per member per month (if billed annually) for multiple teams.

ClickUp’s feature offering is robust. It offers collaboration tools (such as real-time editing, mentions, calendar sync, and role creation and permissions), preset and custom automation recipes, reporting dashboards, project-tracking tools (such as checklists, timelines, Gantt charts, Kanban boards and dependencies) and over 1,000 integrations. Use templates or customize dashboards so your team works on its own terms.

It also offers advanced task management, making it one of the best task management software options on the market. In my opinion, because of its advanced features. When testing ClickUp, I appreciated the clean layout of the dashboard. It was easy for me to find tasks I needed to complete, comments I’d been tagged in and which to-dos were most important to other people (in the Trending section). I don’t personally use Scrum to manage projects but ClickUp’s Scrum tools made it easy to run sprints and retros.

James Wilkinson, CEO and co-founder of Balance One Supplements, saw a lot of success from using ClickUp: “We had nothing but a Frankensteinian collection of spreadsheets, email chains and siloed communication. Since then, ClickUp has changed everything for us. The results have been dramatic: Before ClickUp, our product development process often suffered from bottlenecks. We would be reaching out to designers and engineers to get information on project status or request changes, and it would take seven to 10 days for us to get a response. It wasn’t uncommon to have missed deadlines and misunderstandings with people on our team. Since implementing ClickUp, we’ve reduced project completion times by 40%. This translates directly to increased output: We are now able to launch 20% more new product campaigns per month.”

I tend to prefer more visual representation of tasks, which is why I like Kanban and Gantt charts. With that said, I also appreciate linear representation, so I wasn’t too sure about the mind mapping tool but after trying it I found it was much easier than I expected (I wasn’t playing in an open field because there are still boundaries in ClickUp). I also really liked ClickUp’s reporting section because it caters to almost everyone: It includes charts, graphs and numbers.

As an individual user, the free plan from ClickUp was serviceable for my needs. I don’t think I’d ever need to upgrade because I tend to stick to a waterfall style of project management. With that said, $7 per user for the Unlimited plan might be worth it for the unlimited integrations and custom fields. The Business plan seems better for a more established and bigger team that needs timesheets and workload management.

If you’re like me and you work at odd hours of the day or night (sometimes the wee hours are the most creative), 24/7 support is handy. However, ClickUp’s promise of 24/7 support is a little misleading in my opinion. You have 24/7 access to the ClickUp help center, not to support agents. Plus, live chat support (there is no phone support) is only available to paid plan users. The chatbot is helpful but it isn’t perfect. When looking for actual support hours, I didn’t get my answer. So I requested a live agent and ClickUp was a bit buggy when connecting me (it never connected).

It’s rare that I use a mobile app for project or task management, but it is nice to have when I don’t want to pull out my laptop. I was able to easily respond to comments, check progress of tasks I’d assigned and create reminders for myself (or others). Not all features on the browser or desktop app are mirrored on the mobile app, but I doubt I’d want to use a whiteboard feature or Gantt chart from my phone.

With robust features, ClickUp is great for any team looking for advanced project management capabilities. But, it is best for companies with Scrum Agile product development, marketing or sales teams.

Regardless of budget limitation, monday.com offers something for everyone. Even if you are working on a team of two with no budget, monday.com can help you get your project done on time and with limited risk. If you are a small two-person team, you can enjoy monday.com for free. If you’re part of a growing team, use advanced project-tracking features, automations and integrations for as little as $9 to $19 per team member per month, if billed annually (minimum of three seats per plan).

Along with most project management software today, monday.com offers multiple project views, so it’s keeping up with its competitors. In my experience with monday.com, I found I preferred its table view for managing single projects. The color coding of statuses, customization of columns and inclusion of headshots or initials helped me know where each task stood and who was responsible—at a glance. In fact, the Kanban view was too cluttered for my taste because monday.com tries to give you all the fields in one card.

Jeffrey Weide, a project management expert and our advisory board member, likes the platform’s user experience: “It’s visually appealing and with UX designed for end users. It’s a flexible tool for a variety of processes and tasks for integrated teams.”

Creating automations was an easy task. It’s as simple as filling out fields to determine if this happens, then this happens, or condition triggers and actions. I was able to quickly create automated workflows for redundant work so I could focus on completing other work.

I also appreciated how easy it was to read reports but options are limited. The only way to see your data any way you want is to upgrade to the Enterprise plan and I don’t have the budget for that (which is fine because I don’t love creating pivot tables anyway). What I don’t love is that advanced features are mostly locked behind the higher-priced plans. In short: Love the automations; don’t love that they’re on the Standard plan and up.

We named monday.com one of the best free project management apps available, and it’s definitely a free all-in-one work management solution I’d choose for myself if all I needed were task and project management. However, its pricing structure could be frustrating for small teams that want to upgrade.

The free version is only good for two people, but paid plans have a three-person minimum, so you’re looking at paying at least $27 per month for the entry-level plan. Then, you have to purchase seats in five-seat increments up to 30 and then in 10-seat increments. So, it can get pricey.

Similar to ClickUp, monday.com offers 24/7 support but paid plan users do have access to live chat (not just a chatbot). You also have the option to request a call from an agent if nothing in the help center answers your question. I had no problem finding answers in the help center. In fact, I was able to search for “chat” and find out that monday.com doesn’t have a built-in direct messaging solution.

Although the mobile app theoretically allows you to create tasks and manage your work, it doesn’t always work as intended. I had a few issues with the app getting out of sync with the browser version and I had to force quit a few times. When it did work, I could do the basics, similar to most other project management mobile apps.

Startup businesses on a shoestring budget should consider monday.com. It offers a free version and free trials so users can test more advanced tiers as their companies can afford them.

One of the main selling points for choosing Asana over other project management software is its multitude of collaboration tools. Along with most PM software, Asana allows you to comment on tasks and projects, but it also includes in-app chats for one-on-one conversations or even group chats. Aside from making communication easier for your team, Asana also gives you multiple project views, including Kanban-style boards, calendars, workload views and more.

Jeffrey Weide, our advisory board member, also noted Asana’s collaboration tools: “Asana is a communication-focused project software that helps with task management, team collaboration and streamlined workflows.”

I want to give Asana credit for how it handles task dependencies. I like a big-picture view but I also tend to work in the trenches of a project, so it helps to see specific call-outs when a task is blocked by another task. Asana makes this clear with its “blocked by” language and then points directly to the issue. Sure, it’s calling out a mistake I made in planning, but I’m going to take it as constructive criticism, thank you very much. Creating tasks and connecting integrations are intuitive so I was able to use Asana for many years for personal projects.

When I needed more advanced features to manage multiple projects and people, I needed to upgrade to a paid plan. This was the only way to access automated workflows and timeline views with task dependencies. Asana is more customizable at this point with custom fields and project templates. If I worked with more external collaborators, I’d probably spring for the Advanced plan because I really liked the approval feature, which allowed me to accept, reject or return work to a user if I wanted changes; this saved me time because I didn’t have to send an email.

There are a couple of ways you could interpret collaboration in project management software and for Asana, it’s all about communication. I like that I can add comments on a task, tag users or even have a chat without having to pull up a different app. Asana meets most of my collaborative needs admirably, I think, but it does so through integrations. I added Google Chat to Asana, which made the most sense for me because I tend to work in a project management app and my Google Workspace. Sure, I felt silly talking to myself in Asana via Google Chat, but this is how I test software.

The free plan from Asana worked well for me but only for small projects. The Starter plan is pricier than other project management software I’ve used but it offers a lot of features I needed for more advanced project planning, so I think it was worth the cost. I’d likely only upgrade to the Advanced plan if I was running an agency and I required proofing and portfolio management.

When you opt for a paid plan, Asana automatically sets your seats at five users, which might seem a bit misleading. I was able to edit the seats and choose monthly or annual payment but there is a minimum of two users for the Starter plan, which isn’t clear on Asana’s pricing page. That means it would cost me nearly $22 per month (billed annually) if I opted for the Starter plan for just me (and one other seat).

Although I recognize that beggars can’t be choosers, I didn’t love that I had limited access to live customer support with Asana. I tried using the chatbot to get a hold of an agent but it only offers to submit a ticket to support. Still, Asana offers 24/7 support access through its help center and chatbot. Most of my questions were answered in the help articles, anyway.

As with most project management mobile apps, everything in Asana’s mobile app is smaller or there are fewer features compared to the desktop/browser version. I had a few issues with the widgets and had to refresh a few times to make them reappear. I liked that I could update a project’s status or respond to a comment on the fly but that’s about all I’d use Asana’s mobile app for.

Asana can work for any size business, but it’s most ideal for midsize companies that need to collaborate with clients or across departments.

Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, Google apps, Github, Zendesk, Zapier and Zoho apps

Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, Google apps, Github, Zendesk, Zapier and Zoho apps

Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, Google apps, Github, Zendesk, Zapier and Zoho apps

If you consider the list of third-party app integrations Zoho Projects allows, it may seem short, but if you add on the whole of the Zoho software ecosystem, you’ll likely find all the tools you need. Businesses that are starting out may prefer to choose Zoho for all of its apps to round out their tech stack for easy integration. Plus, Zoho Projects (and its complementary apps) are typically priced below the industry average, so it’s affordable for all business sizes.

Jeffrey Weide, our advisory board member, also finds Zoho affordable: “Zoho Projects is cost-effective programming that can link into other Zoho programs and mobile options to help you integrate these tools on the go.”

Beyond the affordability and native ecosystem of apps, I found Zoho Projects to be one of the easiest project management tools I’ve used. The dashboard had all my tasks listed at the top, with more granular views of what needed my attention below. Rather than show me how I screwed up a project plan (it’s been known to happen; please, no judgment), it didn’t even allow me to create conflicting task dependencies. I know Zoho Projects doesn’t offer a ton of integrations but I also use Zoho Invoice, so I was able to easily create invoices for work I’d done in my project management platform.

I’m a big fan of the shortcuts Zoho Projects offers such as the time tracking feature that you can access from the Kanban board—I didn’t even have to click into a task to start a timer. In fact, the only things I didn’t love about this project management software were the few bugs I came across (I had an issue with assigning a task to a user that appeared as an option but the platform told me there were no matches) and customer support (more on that below).

As useful as the free plan is, Zoho Projects is much better if you upgrade because you gain access to so many more features. The templates and recurring tasks saved me so much time setting up projects but I tend to create projects similar to each other, so this made sense for me. Time tracking helps with figuring out billable hours and I was able to use Zia, the AI chatbot. Zia was a bit like a virtual assistant for me by retrieving data when I asked for it.

As much as I like Zoho Projects’ free plan, I’d say its Premium plan offers one of the best value-to-cost ratios. For $4 per user per month (billed annually), I’d happily subscribe to it to unlock a lot of advanced features, though I was disappointed to see workflow rules are only available on the Enterprise plan. That said, the Enterprise plan only costs $9 per user per month (billed annually), which is even cheaper than Asana’s entry-level plan.

Unfortunately, my experience with Zoho Projects’ customer service wasn’t as positive as my experience using the platform. My attempts to get in contact were difficult, at best. The first time I couldn’t get through to anyone because I tried to contact support outside of their working hours (I never did get the actual range). So the 24/7 support it claims has more to do with the chatbot, help center and ticket submission.

All things considered, Zoho Projects’ support isn’t bad; I did get a response to my ticket within 24 hours and most answers can be found in the help articles.

Perhaps it was the recent update, but I had more bugs with the mobile app than the browser version of Zoho Projects. The app crashed for me a few times and I couldn’t easily access support tickets from the app. I expected the mobile app to not have as many features, so keeping that in mind, it’s fine for quick updates to tasks. I wouldn’t use it as my primary project management tool though.

Zoho Projects is a great pick for small businesses that want to integrate other Zoho apps. It’s especially useful if you’re just starting out and you want to stick to the Zoho ecosystem, as the integrations will be seamless.

Smartsheet is similar to Airtable in that it’s primarily a spreadsheet project management tool, but it comes with features to enhance it. It’s a highly customizable application, so you can use premade templates to create the type of project you need and then tweak the details to better suit your needs. Its workflow automation is available to all plan users and includes triggers, alerts, reminders and assignments.

Given that Smartsheet is essentially an enhanced spreadsheet application, it’s the automations that would sell me on signing up for it. One of the things that drives me crazy about collaborative spreadsheets is that I have no idea when someone’s changed something. With Smartsheet, I was able to create an automated alert for whenever someone added or changed a row. In hindsight, this isn’t the best idea unless you love constant alerts. But hey, I got what I wanted. And it was easy to create that automation.

A lot of my work requires me to do repetitive tasks, so I use copy and paste often. With Smartsheet though, I could set up rows with conditional formatting so I could apply the same format to each row. This cut down so much on the manual work I was doing so I could focus my attention on, well, other manual work that no project management tool can help with.

Another thing I liked about Smartsheet was its project dashboard. When I have to show stakeholders where I am with a project and how much work is left, I don’t want to create a new report every time. The dashboard shows automatically calculated completions and it’s easy to read, whether your stakeholders prefer pie charts or bar graphs.

There are a couple of features that are nice to have but only available on the higher-priced plans. I found it was much easier to manage a team and their work with the workload management feature. I could see my team’s workload in one window, determine who had too much going on, and then reassign a task from a project timeline.

In fact, Smartsheet offers a lot of additional features that help add functionality to its simple spreadsheet platform, but I don’t love that they’re all kind of à la carte. Most of these advanced features for data synchronization, resource management and advanced automations are costly add-ons.

Jeffrey Weide, a project management professional of 20 years, appreciates Smartsheet for its customization features: “There is a great drag-and-drop and customization element to their dashboards that is helpful if you are starting a PMO or other function that requires status updates to leaders across remote or disperse environments.”

The free plan only allows you two sheets and it lacks forms, template sets, API calls, proofing and other advanced features, so it’s really only suitable for my personal projects. I do like that there are 100 automations per month on the free plan. However, the Pro plan only costs $7 per user per month if you pay annually and it unlocks a lot of the advanced features from Smartsheet.

On one hand, Smartsheet is easy to use. On the other hand, it’s a complex system and I needed help figuring out a few things at times, but live support wasn’t readily available. I had to make do with the help center. In fact, there’s no live support for the free or entry-level plan. It’s an add-on that costs more and is only available to Business and Enterprise plan users.

With all that said, the help center is useful and I was able to figure out how to do something without having to resort to sending an email or spending more money.

There are a few frustrations I’ve had with Smartsheet’s mobile app, such as project planning, but I think that’s just because of the medium. I like that I can access reports easily and it’s scaled well for my phone. Plus, the offline feature is fantastic for when you don’t have service or a Wi-Fi connection. And the times I’ve used the barcode scanner, it was quick and easy.

Project teams that prefer spreadsheets for data and project management are likely to take to Smartsheet quickly. The automated workflows, forms and proofing features make it much easier to get work done quickly and efficiently, whether you’re collaborating with teammates, clients or both.

Notion offers one interface to handle all of your content creation projects from start to finish. Not only can you design your content from the platform, but you can also create checklists, store your documents or rich content and share your content from one platform. With a free personal plan and small business paid plans that increase to just $8 per month per user (when billed annually), even freelance content creators can afford this luxury.

Notion is a wide-open playground for writers, but I appreciated the templates available because I need boundaries. Using Notion this way made it much easier for me to create project plans and wikis. Once I was comfortable with the tools and menus, I started to think of all the ways I could use it to my advantage. When I was freelancing, I would’ve loved this platform to create a knowledge base with unlimited files for myself and my virtual assistant so we could easily share samples of my work with clients.

Carl Rodriguez is the founder and owner of NX Auto Transport and he shared with us how using Notion has helped his company:

“Notion stands out for its versatility and adaptability. While many users see it as a note-taking tool, it can be so much more. One unique feature I love is its ability to create interconnected databases. For example, I use it to manage both my project tasks and my team’s performance reviews. By linking these databases, I can see how individual tasks contribute to larger goals and track progress over time. This level of customization and integration is not something you find in many other tools.”

Karolina Gorska, a Senior HR Coordinator, has found success using Notion for HR-related work and as a CRM tool. “The first tool I’ve ever used for project management was Notion. We produce a lot of content as HR and Notion is especially helpful with that. I like the interface, as I’m not a very technical person and I still find it incredibly easy to get around in. Notion is also a great place to keep and build your CRM. One of the most important things about it for me is that it lets you tag each entry. This way I could create groups that are simple to filter out, according to my needs.”

One of the best things about Notion is the guest access it allows. Even the free plan allows up to 10 guests on your board. I really like Notion for its collaborative features. An upgrade to the Business plan unlocks collaborative workspaces, which is where the real magic happens, in my opinion.

I found this incredibly helpful when I was working with a colleague on a project where we both needed to brainstorm. We were able to work on the same block in real time. It’s an uncommon feature for a project management platform.

I’m also a fan of Notion’s AI assistant because it reduces the number of programs you have open and helps you create whatever you want in Notion. For example, rather than using a search engine to help me develop a content plan, I tried using Notion’s AI and got a few ideas. It’s also a fast way to find an obscure piece of data. I do these kinds of searches all the time in Slack because I remember I had a conversation with someone (but who?) on some date (when was that though?) but all I remember is the term “oscillating ostrich.”

I like Notion’s free plan, but it’s unlikely I’d use it as my primary project management tool because it’s so limiting. The thing is, I’d say the same about the entry-level plan because you really get the same features as the free plan but without limits and the addition of live support.

I’d rather spring for the Business plan that includes more security features and collaborative workspaces. And Notion’s AI assistant is great but it’s $8 per user per month in addition to the plan price, billed annually, which ups the cost considerably.

It’s nice to see that Notion uses its platform, too—at least that’s how it appears with Notion’s help center. Unless you subscribe to a paid plan, the help center is the only support you’ll get but it’s a useful knowledge base. I had to use it to figure out why I couldn’t delete an unused workspace (it turns out you can’t do that on mobile). Chances are you won’t need live support because the available documentation is pretty expansive.

I like that most project management software offers a mobile app but it’s never going to be the same as using the platform on your desktop or a browser. Notion’s mobile app includes a lot of the same features but the toolbar looks different. To me, it was a bit like learning a new version of the same thing (or learning two Latin languages) because of the differences and similarities.

I mostly used the mobile version for note-taking and quick status updates. I liked that I was able to add my workspace as a widget so I didn’t have to go through menus in the app to find the area I access most often.

Notion would be the best fit for content creators who are solopreneurs or have small teams.

Teamwork makes working with and managing client relationships seamless. Paid plans offer unlimited collaborators. This means service-oriented freelancers, consultants and agencies can work directly with clients within the interface to create a deliverable that uniquely meets client needs and expectations.

The biggest benefit I found using Teamwork as my project management platform is that it’s set up ideally for an agency. When working with clients, I need to keep information about those clients separate and I’m able to do that with Teamwork’s client view. With the option to add collaborators, I could share project progress with clients and not risk them changing anything or accidentally deleting something.

Another reason you might want to go with Teamwork for project management is if you need billing and invoicing features. Although being able to offer rate sheets and create invoices is uncommon for project management software, it’s a core feature of Teamwork. I could track billable hours and turn those into invoices for clients, which makes it clear why this software is meant for agencies.

Michael Ashley, the founder of AshleyInsights, likes the features offered by Teamwork. “Teamwork is great for small businesses. It offers a wide range of features, including task management, team collaboration, time tracking and project reporting. I believe Teamwork is especially useful for larger projects that require detailed planning and coordination among team members. One standout feature that I found with Teamwork, was its Gantt chart functionality, which provided a visual representation of project timelines and dependencies, making it easier for me to track progress and identify potential bottlenecks.”

I also liked that you don’t have to integrate a chat program to communicate with your team in Teamwork; there’s a built-in chat feature. Though I do find some of the pre-built reports helpful, not all of them are necessary in my opinion. I suppose I could use them to share information with stakeholders who don’t want to look at project views but I found time, risk and planned vs actual reports the most helpful for my needs.

I’m never going to be a fan of user minimums or caps and Teamwork employs this across all of its plans. The free plan only allows up to five users, though that is generous, I’ll admit. To upgrade to the entry-level paid plan, you’re looking to spend nearly $30 per month (billed annually) for three users. Solopreneurs wouldn’t get the biggest bang for their buck here; however, Teamwork makes up for this by offering some advanced features even on the lowest-tier plan.

Teamwork offers live chat or email support, along with its help center. Although I was able to find most of the answers to my questions from its support documentation, I did reach out for help one evening. I didn’t get a response the same night but I heard back from an agent the next morning. Support hours are 7 a.m. to midnight ET on weekdays, so I was a bit surprised it took nearly 12 hours for them to get back to me. Still, the agent was helpful and friendly.

One of the frustrating things for me about mobile project management apps is that they almost always have incomplete or buggy features. I was able to perform basic tasks using the app but it lacks some functionality compared to the browser version and the user experience isn’t the best. I found the app’s navigation to be a bit clunky, but to be fair, I find most project management mobile apps suffer from the same issue.

Client-facing professional service providers and agencies will find Teamwork uniquely meets their needs.

Wrike is a popular project management solution for all types and sizes of businesses, but it stands out with its commitment to automation with artificial intelligence (AI) assistance. There’s a whole category of features devoted to “smart” actions, including search, replies (via mobile) and text recognition. Nearly all of the AI-assisted features are available on all plans (even the free plan). Only AI-assisted project risk prediction is limited to the higher-paid tiers.

Jeffrey Weide, our advisory board member, mentioned why he likes Wrike: “It’s a project software focused on security, complex projects and high control. It’s a great option for larger PMOs or enterprises.”

At Wrike’s core are task and project management features, and I had zero issues learning how to use them. I’m a big fan of the customization of dashboards so I could create my personal “home page” for projects; I just chose the widgets I wanted, such as my tasks, tasks I was following and overdue tasks. The project views look and work as you’d expect, with drag-and-drop functionality on the board view and table view with color-coded status and priority tags.

I rarely notice role assignment features but I tried to invite a collaborator to work on a single task and I couldn’t set permissions at the task level. No big deal though; I just created a project with the one-off tasks and allowed collaborators access to that project only. For simple projects, Wrike worked well for me because I only needed a Kanban board to manage them.

Although I could go on and on about all of Wrike’s added value with its integrations and advanced analytics, I want to tell you about its AI features. They’re available for all plans (except risk prediction) and it’s a bit like having a built-in ChatGPT.

It was so easy to brainstorm and fill in with project plans and task descriptions. It wasn’t perfect by any means, and I certainly wouldn’t use the suggestions without adding specific instructions for my projects, but it was nice to have the assistance. As a caveat, it is worth noting that these features are still experimental right now.

The free plan may be enough for you regardless of team size because Wrike doesn’t limit your user count. And you still get most of the AI features, which is rare among most project management software that offer AI tools. However, it was a bit too limiting for my needs when I had a complex project to run.

For Gantt charts, better security and integrations, I’d have to upgrade to a paid plan. And most collaboration and resource planning tools require you to upgrade to the Business plan, which costs $24.80 per user per month (billed annually) and requires at least five users.

Support seems to have changed a bit recently. Many users have reported that live chat and requests for callbacks don’t work at all. Others have noted that email support is backed up by almost two weeks.

In my experience, I didn’t even have the option to contact support (I was using a free trial); I was only given the option to request a call from sales. I get why Wrike would do this but in its help center, there’s a note that even trial users should have access to live chat support. Any time I tried to log in to my account to contact support, I got an error and reloading only sent me back to my Wrike dashboard.

Wrike’s mobile app isn’t great but it isn’t the worst experience I’ve had either. In my opinion, it isn’t simple enough to be useful on a phone. Using a Gantt chart on a small screen is difficult, at best. And it takes too many clicks to get to a task so it isn’t a time-saving option. With all that said, I liked that I could stay on top of comments in real time.

Wrike provides a lot of value for its free and low-priced plan users with its AI-assisted tools for mobile and desktop apps. However, the richest feature sets are limited by higher pricing, user minimums and added costs, which means Wrike is likely best for larger companies with bigger budgets.

Given Jira’s history as a bug-tracking tool, it makes sense that it’s best used by product teams and developers. However, it is versatile enough to work for any type of project manager who needs to plan, assign, track and manage tasks and projects. Features such as roadmaps and dependencies make it clear that Jira is best suited for product developers.

Jeffrey Weide, our advisory board member, also sees Jira as a robust tool: “Jira is a great project management program to help with task and issue tracking, agile sprints and reporting for project progress.”

Although I’m not a product developer, I can appreciate the simplicity of Jira’s project management platform. Even the free plan includes most of what I need to manage a project, whether I want to use a Kanban board, list view or a timeline. In fact, I was kind of surprised to see a Gantt chart on Jira. Creating dependencies is as easy in Jira as any other Gantt chart software; I was able to simply drag and drop the link icon up or down to a task.

What I don’t love about Jira is the user experience and how I tend to interact with project management software. From the list view, I couldn’t just click on a task name to open the task, it would just allow me to edit the task name. Same with the timeline view; I had to click on the bar on the timeline, not the name of the task. To me, that’s not intuitive. But it didn’t take long to retrain my brain.

If anything is difficult about Jira, it’s the language it uses. Not everyone who needs project management software knows what issues or epics are but Agile teams will be familiar with the terminology. I didn’t have trouble using any of Jira’s core features but I could see how the issue feature would be a little confusing. With that said, creating a custom issue type is easy; I was able to drag and drop the fields I wanted to use to collect the information I’d need.

Other than commenting on tasks and using @mentions to bring others into a discussion, there isn’t a lot of collaboration in Jira. That’s likely because Confluence is Jira’s complementary program that brings real-time collaboration into the project management platform.

One of the best things about Jira is that it offers a feature-packed free plan for up to 10 users. I was able to create multiple project boards, plus automations, custom workflows and backlog management. It is a bit limiting as far as automations and user roles are concerned.

A Standard plan billed monthly requires at least 10 users and starts at $81.50 per month, or about $8.15 per user. This plan has the same features as the Free plan, but offers more security and admin features, such as advanced roles and permissions, audit logs and support during business hours.

I was a little surprised that Jira didn’t include a live chat option in its platform but the help center articles were useful for me. The best support options are only available to the high-tier plans, so free plan and entry-plan users are stuck with community forums or ticket support.

I think the phrase “your mileage may vary” works here for the mobile app experience. For me, Jira’s mobile app is easy to use for basic functionality. I had no trouble updating tasks and issues. Now if I wanted to create a whole new project and adjust settings, that’s something I’d do on the browser-based platform. I did run into a few errors and issues with tools not appearing as I expected (my keyboard didn’t show up when I tried to search for something) but bugs happen.

Who should use it: Although Jira offers a free and low-cost entry-level plan, it’s most useful at the Premium level and it’s intended for dev teams that need task dependencies, high-level project and resource planning and roadmapping features.

Confluence is a robust project management tool that has four plans to choose from, one of which is free forever. In the Free plan, you can have up to 10 users with one site. You get unlimited spaces and pages, and access to whiteboards, databases and macros. It’s a unique type of project management software and may work best as a complement to a more traditional project management system. There is access to a structured page tree organization, page versioning and use of the template library. You also get access to the multitude of apps and integrations compatible with Confluence.

Jeffrey Weide, our advisory board member, shared why he likes Confluence: “It’s great for teams needing to share repositories of information such as versioning, tasks and documentation. You’re able to directly tag people in comments or pages, plus you get the ability to link up to other programs like Azure DevOps or Aha.”

One of the ways in which I’ve used Confluence is as a knowledge base for my work. I create style guides and documentation that I need to share with others who work with me. Confluence makes it easy for me to create these living documents and I’ve had editors collaborate with me on them.

The whiteboard feature is great. It’s so easy to work with others remotely on the same whiteboard and Confluence gives you standard shapes, sticky notes and emojis to use on the boards. The most notable features missing are traditional project and task management related.

Although Confluence isn’t a standard project management tool, it offers lots of templates to help you create projects for backlogs, budgets and project schedules. The templates helped me to create projects that work the way I expect but I still felt like the software was missing elements. It makes sense if you realize that Confluence is meant to work in conjunction with Jira. It’s really a collaboration tool that works well with the project management tools in Jira.

Given that I would use Confluence sparingly for brainstorming and documentation, I’d likely stick with the free plan. However, the Standard plan unlocks permissions and external collaboration. But that would cost $600 per year for up to 10 users (even if you only choose the software for a single user).

Support for Confluence is similar to Jira, which tracks because they’re both under the Atlassian umbrella. So, free plan users only get access to help files and community forums. I used some of the documentation to help me with the proofing feature.

Confluence’s app is usable enough, but I needed to wait a beat or two before doing anything because it runs slowly. I was able to comment on posts and tag others easily enough. I also like that I can upload images from my phone, which may be the only reason I’d use it because it saves me the steps of uploading and downloading from a cloud storage service and then to Confluence.

Whiteboards are useful in project management because they allow brainstorming and community notes to be maintained. Confluence has an easy-to-access whiteboard tool that managers and team members can utilize at all times.

Airtable is a supercharged spreadsheet that allows the integration and management of traditional and rich data points (such as photos, videos and other files). While it is most famous for its spreadsheet-like interface, it also allows for other project views, including Kanban card stacks and gallery, grid, calendar and Gantt/timeline views.

Perhaps the best thing about Airtable is how incredibly flexible and customizable it is. That leads me to the worst thing about Airtable: It’s so open-ended that it can be overwhelming to set it up to work exactly the way you want it. I especially like the advanced filtering options so I can find exactly what I need.

As far as core functionality goes, Airtable is easy enough for task and project management at the user level. At the admin level, I found it incredibly time-consuming and complex to set everything up the way my team needed it. Automations are useful for my needs in that I’m able to create a task with all the fields I need to track different things such as status, due date, assignee, editor, publish date and URL. I’m also able to set it up so a document is created in Google Drive with an outline.

With all that said above, Airtable is difficult to use to meet the varied needs of different teams. Not every team uses the same outlines, fields or statuses, and Airtable gets increasingly more complicated when you try to make it work for everyone.

Airtable has a forms feature that I think is helpful for collecting data from external collaborators. It also offers an easy-to-read dashboard that I’ve set up to track the data that is important to me. I can see at a glance which tasks are in which stages, so I know where I need to focus my attention.

I touched a bit earlier on the integration with Google Drive but it’s worth mentioning that Airtable also integrates with Dropbox and Salesforce, which is helpful for importing data. I think one of the most frustrating issues with Airtable is for users who have no admin powers. You’re at the mercy of whatever the admins decide to set up for you, so it might not be the best option for larger companies unless they allow workspaces for each team.

Jeffrey Weide, our project management expert, also notes that “AirTable also has unlimited data-entry use for things that can be used by non-licensed team members to contribute information. You can also easily create data collection forms for anonymous or authenticated users for staff/status updates or minor customer relationship management (CRM) jobs.”

Airtable is expensive compared to most project management software. The free plan is enough for me to use it as a solopreneur but for teams it costs $20 per user per month (billed annually), and that’s the low-priced plan. To get the best of Airtable (customization), choose a paid plan.

As a user, not admin, I submitted a ticket via the support bot in the app. There was no option to contact a live support agent directly, which to me is an inconvenience at times and an issue when you have a business-critical problem with Airtable. I was experiencing slow loading times and errors. I received an email to let me know that I would hear back from support in six hours or less, which is pretty much the majority of a workday, which I find unacceptable.

The best use of the Airtable mobile app, in my opinion, is for viewing reports and data. As far as updating records and tasks, I find it’s hit or miss. I’ve added new tasks but found it difficult to input all the data. This is partly because I’m trying to do work on a mobile phone and app and partly because Airtable didn’t build as much functionality in the mobile app as the browser-based app, which is standard for most project management software.

Airtable is known for its ability to help companies easily import, track and visualize data (even rich data). This makes Airtable ideal for companies with projects centered on traditional spreadsheet-compatible data.

Trello is a Kanban board-style project management tool. It has four plans to choose from starting with the Free forever plan. This plan is perfect for individuals or very small teams looking to stay organized with their projects. It is iOS and Android compatible with respective mobile apps and has two-factor authentication.

Jeffrey Weide, our advisory board member, shared when he likes Trello: “Trello is a great product for those not requiring a full subscription service to manage tasks or projects. They offer a multitude of simple options that include Kanban boards and Gantt charts, plus can work with small groups. There are advanced features in their paid subscriptions as well.”

Full disclosure: I’ve used Trello for years for personal projects. It’s one of the easiest-to-use project management systems I’ve come across and I’ve introduced it to many people I’ve worked with who had never used project management software before. Creating a project and tasks is intuitive and moving a card from stage to stage with the drag-and-drop functionality is quick and easy.

The 10 boards I get on the free plan are plenty for me, and I have yet to run out of automations for my workflows. The only reasons I might upgrade are for the custom fields and unlimited guests on the entry-level plan. Bigger teams would probably do well with Trello’s Premium plan which offers more project views. The timeline view is as easy to use as the Kanban board (with drag-and-drop functionality here, too).

A Power-Up is just Trello’s name for an add-on and these are unlimited and free for all users (any cost goes to the third party, not Trello). I found I was able to bypass some of the advanced features available on higher-paid plans by using integrations instead. For example, there’s an export Power-Up that costs $6 per month (or $18 for a year), so if that’s all you need, it can be more affordable than upgrading to Trello’s Premium plan.

Trello is one of the most cost-effective project management solutions out there. The free plan is robust enough for my needs and it only costs $5 per user per month (billed annually) for the entry-level plan. Double that cost for the Premium plan and you’ll get most of the advanced features Trello offers and unlimited automations.

Atlassian is the parent company of Trello (along with Jira and Confluence), so you can expect the same type of support. Free plan users get access to help documentation and community support while paid plan users can submit tickets. Phone support is only available to Enterprise plan users.

I was able to set up Trello easily enough but I did use the community forums to ask about admin issues. I got an answer from community users the same day and a staff member the following day.

Trello’s mobile app is one of the few I’ve kept on my phone because I use it for personal projects. I’ve used it to track my out-of-state moves and my international travel. I was able to access all of my boards, tasks and comments easily. Adding and editing tasks was easy. I also like that Trello includes quick actions so I can add an attachment or checklist without having to go through menus to find the features.

Trello’s Kanban-style board with drag-and-drop features makes organizing a project and collaboration easy. It’s intuitive to use, and teams respond well to its format.

Coda makes collaboration easy with an interface that feels like a doc but engages with collaborators like an app. There is a free plan you can start with, but if you upgrade to a paid plan, you only pay for document creators—editors are considered free collaborators. All plans get unlimited forms for collecting information.

At the core of Coda are collaborative documents and forms. There are plenty of templates to give you a quick start with the project management software. I chose a project dashboard because it makes the most sense for my team. It must be a lightweight system because it loads quickly. This is where I’ll admit I didn’t expect there to be any task or project management features in Coda and technically there aren’t; rather, you have to build the functionality yourself (or use a template).

When I first started with Coda, it seemed a bit too complicated to use but it’s really easy to edit layouts and documents to make it do what you want. To me, it’s like a cross between Notion and Airtable but much easier to use. Also, I found I could make as many documents and forms as I’d like on the free plan; the biggest limitation is I could only make big docs (50-plus objects and 1,000-plus rows) for myself. Smaller docs you can share with editors as you’d like.

Carl Rodriguez, founder and owner of NX Auto Transport, shared his thoughts with us on using Coda for his business:

“Coda excels in its ability to create interactive documents. It’s like combining a spreadsheet and a word processor but with the power to create dynamic workflows. One lesser-known feature I’ve found incredibly useful is the ability to embed live data from other sources. For instance, I can pull in real-time sales data from a Google Sheet and display it directly in my project planning document. This allows me to make informed decisions without switching between multiple tools or tabs.”

Along with most project management software, Coda offers integrations but similar to Trello, it calls them something different; in this case, they’re “packs.” There are hundreds of these connectors and the options range from communication tools like Zoom and Slack to inventory management systems and payment processors. Of course, they’re only available on paid plans.

There are AI tools included with all plans but the free plan only allows you to try it out with a single question, edit or automation. Each tier gets 2,000 to 12,000 AI tool credits (it works similarly to automations in other software). It’s a bit like having Grammarly or ChatGPT in the app with you.

I’m considering using the free version of Coda for personal projects because I like how customizable it is and the limitations aren’t that limiting. Given that Coda only charges per document maker, it can be an affordable option.

The Pro plan starts at $10 per user per month (billed annually) but you can share editable documents with as many users as you’d like. Think of it like admins and users; you pay for admins but not users, which makes this an affordable option. The Team plan costs $30 per doc creator per month (billed annually) but you also get advanced packs, private folders and document locking.

Customer support via live chat isn’t instant. Usually, there’s an estimation of how long an agent will take before they get back to you though (for me, it was two hours). The chatbot was actually helpful, though, because it directed me to an article that answered my question. All plans get access to live chat and email support but for in-document support, you need to be on a Team or Enterprise plan.

Unfortunately, the functionality of Coda’s browser-based app doesn’t translate well to mobile. I was able to edit my documents but it was a tedious process. Plus it was difficult to impossible to modify layouts. If I continue to use Coda, I’ll only use the mobile app for quick text additions or to answer a collaborator if I’m tagged and nowhere near my laptop.

When you want customized forms to gather information, Coda is the pick of the platforms. It allows you to create and brand forms to make information gathering straightforward.

Todoist is a great way to stay on track with personal and team projects. It’s similar to any other project management software in that you can create tasks, subtasks and multiple projects, and assign tasks to other users. There’s also an AI assistant to help reduce manual work. There’s a free plan available but it’s fairly limited.

Getting started with Todoist is easy with its walk-through as soon as you sign up for an account. For the most part, I found it intuitive to create a project and task but that’s where it ended. As I set priorities and added subtasks, the app seemed to change the priorities of my tasks. It also took several clicks for me to add labels; after creating a label, Todoist prompted me to add tasks to that label, which is not how I like to work. I wanted to create a bunch of labels that I know I’d use but I had to exit one label and click on the menu option to create a new one.

Adding a task to a board in Todoist is easy but along with filters, it’s tedious. You can’t really use keyboard shortcuts to set up a project. I had to click a lot to add due dates, labels and to add the task; tab and enter don’t work to move from field to field or to save a task. I also wanted more control over how tasks are treated in each column; for example, if I move a card into the final column, it should mark the task as complete. As it is, if you mark a task as done, it’s just gone to the archive.

Michael Ashley, the found of AshleyInsights, shared his thoughts on Todoist with us:

“Todoist is excellent for its simplicity and ease of use. I like its straightforward interface and intuitive task management features. It’s great for small business owners who need a no-frills task management tool that helps them stay organized and focused on their priorities. One feature I particularly liked about Todoist was its natural language input, which allowed me to quickly add tasks and set deadlines without navigating through multiple menus.”

The AI assistant can help by suggesting tasks or breaking down a task to make it easier to hit your goal or deadline. I tried using the AI assistant to apply filters to tasks but it didn’t work for some reason. Reminders are a nice-to-have feature but they’re only available on paid plans.

Todoist’s Beginner plan is free for up to five users, so it’s a good pick for ultra-small teams. However, you only get up to five personal projects, which isn’t the best for complex or collaborative projects. I’d likely use it for myself if I stick with Todoist.

The Pro plan is affordable at $4 per user per month (billed annually) and allows up to five people but this also includes the AI assistant, calendar views and up to 150 custom filters. If you need Todoist for a whole company, the Business plan is the most viable option at $6 per user per month (billed annually) because it has far fewer limitations and all the features available.

Todoist offers a help center so you can problem-solve on your own but if you need extra help, you can submit a ticket. There is no live support available. After a series of questions to categorize my question, I was able to submit a ticket. There was no estimation of when I would get a response but I did get an email from an agent about 10 hours later with instructions on how to use AI effectively.

If I were to keep using Todoist I might do so just to track my personal tasks. The paid versions can act as a reminder or habit app, so I like it for that purpose. However, I ran into some bugs with this app randomly closing. For project management, it leaves a lot to be desired. Sorting tasks seems to be broken at times (I could only sort once but after exiting the app and trying again, it worked) and it just feels like I have to find loopholes or workarounds to make the app do what I want.

Staying on track is the key to project efficiency and completion. Todoist is ideal for keeping organizations on task with ease.

TeamGantt is primarily a Gantt chart project management tool that’s easy to use, even for beginners. In my opinion, the free plan is only viable for a solopreneur. The paid plans are much less limited with reporting, workload management, priority support and portfolio management.

If you’re just looking for Gantt charts, TeamGantt could be a good option for managing a single small project. The core features are included on all plans, so I was able to effectively manage a project with tasks, subtasks, dependencies and milestones. The dynamic Gantt chart is so easy to use to add tasks, set dependencies and track a project’s progress.

Admittedly, I’m familiar with Gantt charts but I prefer Kanban- and list-style project management. With that said, I’d say TeamGantt is easier to use than most Gantt chart software. My biggest complaint is that I can’t click on a taskbar on a chart or the line to the left to open a task, so I have to slow my roll with clicking to actually open a task window.

Erwin Vico, CEO of Slick Cash Loans, has found TeamGantt to be the best project management software for his company:

“We have been using TeamGantt for a few years, and we find it effective and efficient for implementing projects. The flexibility that it has for collaboration is excellent. TeamGantt is the best tool we have found to easily build and maintain project plans, with automation built in for resource planning. Being a browser-based tool allows for collaboration and seamless across our project management team as well as clients and other departments. The built-in integrations and open API allow us to sync our work in Team Gantt with other tools we use in our business. My favorite part is that the Team Gantt team is always accessible for customer support and working through user-voted enhancements.”

Beyond the basics are workload management, baselines, time tracking and hourly estimating. Time tracking is easy enough to use and I like that I can view multiple projects at once. Another great feature, which is common with Gantt chart software, is the ability to see planned versus actual time.

And although I’ve seen workload management handled in a similar way, I like how TeamGantt handles it. The workload window is minimized by default but you can pull it up at any time and it just resides below your project. This helps you reallocate resources without having to jump from screen to screen.

Depending on the size of your business, TeamGantt could get pricey; the Lite plan costs $19 per manager per month (billed annually). You do get five collaborators per manager though, so it’s affordable in that sense. To get the more advanced features, which I think are necessary for fully formed teams, you should consider the Pro plan, which costs $49 per manager per month (billed annually).

There is a phone number on TeamGantt’s website but it doesn’t seem to be for customer support. Rather there’s live chat and email support should you need it. Our experience was quick and our question was answered thoughtfully. In fact, the agent who responded in less than five minutes stuck around to answer a follow-up question.

Given that the mobile app is named “TeamGantt Companion” in the app store, you should probably expect it to be as such. I certainly don’t expect full functionality of a Gantt chart platform on mobile. I did just fine using it to view projects in list view and commenting on tasks.

TeamGantt is ideal for companies planning on using Gantt charts to stay organized and on task. It is the most user-friendly platform for Gantt chart creation.

This list was a result of careful evaluation of 16 popular project management software platforms that small businesses use. We looked at each contender using our rubric that considers seven categories of 27 project management factors important to small businesses. Next, we gave each criterion a weighted score and tallied all the scores together to land a final star rating.

Some factors we considered when choosing inclusions for this “best of” list include:

Project management software is a digital platform/tool that businesses or individuals use to plan projects, allocate and track project resources, schedule project timelines and tasks, assign tasks, track progress, capture and implement knowledge and ideas, and collaborate with team members for project completion. It further helps companies stay organized via document storage, search and organizational features.

Slack, Microsoft Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce, Timely, Google Drive and more

To choose a project management software, consider each provider’s cost and added fees, overall features and functionality offerings, reporting, integration capabilities, necessary features vs. feature overload, customer reviews and customer support. In this section, we walk you through how to approach this assessment.

Project management software has basic features that most projects need to be successful. However, extra or unique features make some software options better for certain teams or businesses. It’s important to do your research to understand what unique features might make your project more successful based on your team approach, type of business or type of project. Some highly utilized project management tools and features include:

Look for tools and designs that can help your organization use the software easier, despite barriers such as little knowledge of best practices or a cumbersome number of tasks that must be completed on a daily basis. Choosing the right ease-of-use features for your organization depends on many factors, including your company’s tech-savviness and size. However, some ease-of-use features commonly used by small to midsized companies are:

Reporting within project management software presents key data in a meaningful way to help you understand the success or needed improvements in your projects. The best project management software offer dashboards that break down data in the form of graphs, tables and the like to make gleaning insights from the data instant and intuitive.

Determine the types of key performance indicators (KPIs) you may need to track and the types of needed reports to help you track them. Then, when evaluating your considered software, explore its reporting and analytics options and dashboards to determine if they have what you need.

Common reports that may be helpful in a project management software include project status, health, team availability, risk, variance and timeline reports. Common KPIs include percentage of tasks completed, return on investment (ROI), schedule variance, planned vs. actual hours and the planned project value.

Next, evaluate whether the software will continue to meet your needs by exploring whether you can customize the reports or dashboards to meet needs as they arise. Customization options may include the ability to add or remove columns or create new reporting views.

Customer reviews offer real-world insights into what it is like to use your considered software and do business with its provider. Search your considered software on tech review sites such as Capterra and TrustRadius. Read the reviews of past and current users. As you do, you are likely to learn the glitches the software experiences, hidden costs not highlighted on the provider’s website and how the software compares to competitor solutions.

Access to quality customer support ensures that, should a glitch happen in the software, your entire project isn’t derailed. To learn more about your chosen provider’s customer support, search for it on review sites such as TrustRadius and look at the company’s plans to understand what will be available to you and when. Aim to at least ensure support will be responsive during your normal business hours and via the mediums your team is accustomed to using.

As you look at the feature set, remember that startups have different needs in project management software than do large enterprises. For example, enterprise companies may need to manage projects with execution steps that span the globe, while startup projects are more likely to span one or two locations. Demos can help you determine what tools are useful for your organization’s size and which will unnecessarily create a steeper learning curve.

Though one software plan or tool may be best for your organization at your current size, those needs are likely to change as you grow. For example, as you grow, you may need a software or plan with greater automation capabilities to scale operations or greater file storage capacity. So, while it is important to choose a software without unnecessary features, it is equally important to choose one that will continue meeting your feature needs as they grow.

Pricing for small to midsized business (SMB) project management software generally ranges from free to $20 per user per month, depending on the features you want. Most also offer a discount of between 15% and 50% for paying your bill annually. In addition, many companies can use such software for free, including startups, nonprofits and educational institutions. Free trials help users assess whether they want to upgrade from a free plan to a paid one.

More specifically, most providers offer a free plan with a limit on the number of users allowed. For example, monday.com allows two users on each free account. As plans scale up, more users are allowed. In addition, higher-tiered (and so, more expensive) plans offer more robust features, such as more storage, viewers, customer support, security, collaborative tools, automations, customizations and charts. Enterprises often have to request a custom quote.

Significant changes are occurring in nearly every industry as technology advances and attitudes surrounding work and leadership evolve. Project management is no exception, and the styles and strategies for managing both the technical and human aspects of team projects are being adapted to accommodate the new workplace landscape emerging in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are the 2024 project management trends that we anticipate growing in the year to come.

In our post-pandemic world, fully remote and hybrid work options are here to stay. Gallup reports approximately 56% of full-time employees can fulfill job requirements entirely from home. The transition to fully remote work during the pandemic further illustrated productivity and effectiveness in the workplace could be maintained, even when a majority of employees were working from home.

From a project management standpoint, this transition has its pros and cons. Working in the same physical location as other team members promotes team-building and spontaneous collaboration that can be otherwise limited in a virtual workspace. Despite the perks of in-person collaboration, however, remote employees enjoy the flexible nature of working from home and report increased satisfaction with their work. When given the choice, many remote employees would prefer to remain remote or partially remote instead of returning full-time to the office.

As we move into 2024, project managers are challenged with navigating team dynamics and productivity in an increasingly digital environment. Jeffrey Weide says part of this is finding project management software that meets your remote team’s needs, “but also helps integrate the existing products you use for communication, productivity and scheduling whenever possible.”

In recent years, companies have enacted increasing numbers of change initiatives to organizations and the structures within. Project managers are learning to integrate the requirements of these change initiatives into project management strategies and plans. It is crucial to create a flexible methodology for integrating change initiatives with specific steps and protocols that your team can follow. These skills will continue to be relevant in coming years as companies grow and conform to the ever-evolving workplace standards.

Project success strategies have traditionally relied upon adherence to a single project management methodology. Recently, an increasing number of companies have merged multiple approaches to project management in an effort to increase flexibility and create a style that’s adapted to the needs of the individual project. Hybrid approaches also work well when faced with the task of integrating the expectations of new change initiatives presented by company leaders.

Project managers increasingly are asked to expand the scope and scale of strategies in growing workplaces. Rather than simply focusing on individual projects in isolation, project managers are being tasked with learning how individual projects relate to one another and how they work together to advance the goals of the company. This type of understanding can promote the strategic use of a project manager’s skills and help them to consistently make decisions that align closely with the company’s vision.

Artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning and data collection and analysis are rapidly becoming critical elements in project management strategies. According to PwC, 77% of high-performing projects utilize project management software to help streamline their work and meet their goals.

AI has the capacity to evaluate outcomes and provide insights into performance strengths and weaknesses, provide organized data to guide important decisions, predict outcomes, estimate timelines, analyze risk and optimize resource distribution. Project management tools and software can also automate time-consuming administrative tasks normally performed by the project manager, leaving the project manager free to focus time and energy on more critical or more nuanced tasks. “Many of the paid products are now offering AI or automation considerations, which can be a great time savings and help offset the costs from a staffing and overhead perspective,” says Weide.

Project managers who take the time to understand how the AI and automation processes in their organization can complement their role will be well-prepared to take advantage of this resource.

Project management is important in business because it helps you complete projects successfully and hit goals for yourself and your clients. Coordinating a multifaceted project for which several people owe deliverables, keeping everyone organized and ensuring the output meets expectations—all this while under the stress of a deadline—presents a challenge for even the most experienced project manager. These challenges become more feasible through project management best practices.

Companies should choose the best project management software based on their needs and budget. However, monday.com is a very popular project management software among small businesses for its breadth of features, price and available free version.

Individual project management software is set up by one person with one view, such as a spreadsheet view. Collaborative project management software offers one source of truth but also tools that allow people to work on their terms and within their individual roles, such as real-time editing and task-assignment capabilities. Finally, integrated project management software allows for the management and tracking of multiple projects.

Project management software helps you to plan, organize, budget and track the progress of a company project. It also unites a team around shared goals so all are working toward a successful project completion. In dispersed teams, growing businesses or across multiple departments, this can be difficult to do without a software people can join and access from their own devices wherever and whenever they work.

There are several options available when it comes to project management methodologies. For example, there is the waterfall method, which follows a linear path and often has between five or six different phases that rely on the deliverables provided by the previous phase. Another option is the lean method, of which Kanban is a part. Kanban is the process of visualizing your workflow. The lean project management method is geared toward reducing waste and delivering value in a short period. Another commonly used method is scrum. Scrum references a simple framework employed by organizations, businesses or individuals, breaking down complex, overarching projects into smaller increments, with each part completed over a predetermined block of time which is known as a “sprint.” Others that you might consider include extreme programming (XP), critical path method (CPM) rapid action development, Six Sigma or a hybrid of two or more of these methods. All of these methods work well with project management software.

Like most types of software, the best project management software programs offer many levels of security. When choosing this type of software, you want to look for security features like two-factor authentication (2FA) or multifactor authentication (MFA), documentation that shows frequent security updates and patches, intrusion detection, the monitoring of user activities, data encryption and privacy protection.

For the best chance at success, every project needs an owner who is responsible for its completion and success. Project managers exist to fill this need, keep a team on task and ensure the project meets the needs of all stakeholders. This designation could be a subset of responsibilities—or an official job title.

A diverse range of industries requires the skills of a talented project manager. You can be a project manager in construction, publishing, finance, professional services, utilities and many other industries. Despite the final result of the projects looking very different across these industries, the steps and skills to keep a team organized fluently translate across the business world.

Amy Nichol Smith spent more than 20 years working as a journalist for TV and newspapers before transitioning to software and hardware product reviews for consumers and small businesses. She has been featured in publications such as L.A. Times, Tom’s Guide, Investopedia and various newspapers across the U.S.

Rachel Williams has been an editor for nearly two decades. She has spent the last five years working on small business content to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. She’s well-versed in the intricacies of LLC formation, business taxes, business loans, registered agents, business licenses and more.

Jeff Weide is the Academic Director of Health Informatics at University of Denver, Operations Manager for the COVID Rapid Response Program for CDPHE/Insight Global, and Owner/Founder of SHAPE Consulting, LLC. For 20 years, Jeff has been a project and program leader, strategic health leader, management consultant/coach, and process improvement facilitator. Other organizations that Jeff has worked with include Thomas Jefferson Health, Denver Health, STRIDE Health, PMI Mile Hi, Florence Crittenton, and the US Air Force. This variety of work has given Jeff insights on the multiple challenges facing project leaders, organizations, team members, and stakeholders.