⭐ Showing its importance in SaaS, project management plays a crucial part in every sector in one way or another.
⭐ Project management involves the organization, planning, and execution processes regarding a specific purpose.
⭐ Project management tools are the means teams use to carry out the entire operation while benefiting from robust features.
⭐ Employing project management software optimizes project cycle management since they provide users with many benefits and perks, such as better team collaboration and facile resource allocation.
⭐ My personal best-performing project management systems this year are monday, Wrike, Notion, Smartsheet, and Jira.
I don’t know about you but we’re now back in our commuting phase 🚌
AND I’m not the one to lie about the fact that it has several advantages—such as befriending other project managers around the office building.
We all have a common pain point: Complex and outdated project management software solutions.
This week, I dedicated my time to finding the most powerful project management tools on the market and listed them in this article to help fellow project managers out.
Below, you’ll find:
- What is project management
- What is a project management tool
- Why do we use project management tools
- Core benefits of project management software
- Top 12 project management tools for project teams in 2023
What is project management?
Project management is the cycle that includes initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and completion in order to reach a particular goal.
During this cycle, project teams create to-do lists to bring about defined project objectives and follow a precise work order to develop team deliverables within the allocated amount of time.
If teams can maintain quality standards and complete a wide range of project activities on time and on budget, then the project becomes a success.
What is a project management tool?
Project management tools are platforms that contain powerful features in pursuit of meeting project needs single-handedly.
Thanks to these features, teams can follow an organized workflow and guarantee the business KPIs and goals are met.
Even though PM tools differentiate among themselves, they have one thing in common: All are here to help teams with project planning, managing, and tracking to ensure a successful project.
Why do we use project management tools?
Teams, especially remote teams, use third-party project management tools because even their basic features assist agile teams effortlessly since they can break down complex projects into smaller units that are more manageable.
Plus, these remote team tools serve as productivity tools as well due to their multi-faceted nature that allows a more engaging platform that includes a range of features that focus on bringing more comfort to business life, such as real-time communication, time tracking, and workflow automation.
3 Core Benefits of Project Management Tools
👉 They are no-code.
Almost all third-party tools are no-code—which means that teams with no prior coding experience can easily adopt and utilize these platforms.
👉 They’re easy to set up and employ.
Most project management tools put importance on user interface and onboarding in order to become user-friendly. This way no user gets confused when interacting with the platform—neither exploring nor setting it up at the very beginning.
Plus, these tools get regular updates and optimizations to boost users’ experience and general convenience.
👉 They offer unmatched performance.
This performance is all thanks to the advanced features that stand out from the crowd by allowing teams to drive employee efficiency in the long run.
To do so, these programs tend to come up with features that save a lot of time by putting an end to all the repetitive tasks through automation.
Top 12 Project Management Tools for Project Teams in 2023
There are so many online project management tools out there but not all are made to carry out a process full of tasks and deadlines.
That’s why I tried out various project management software solutions in the last two sprints and here are my top 12 picks:
- monday.com — best for simplifying complex projects thanks to the easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface
- Wrike — best for illuminating tasks and responsibilities via various project views
- Smartsheet — best for using Excel-like features when supporting larger teams
- Zoho Projects — best for setting task dependencies for cross-functional teams
- ClickUp — best for streamlining each activity and process with the most functional features
- Notion — best for enhancing your work and tasks via AI
- Trello — best for supporting teams’ workflows via the automation wizard Butler
- Asana — best for using reporting features on both desktop and mobile app
- Microsoft Project — best for integrating with other Microsoft business applications
- Jira — best for tracking work hours and increasing employee efficiency and performance
- Airtable — best for building your own project management solution to reach your project goals faster
- Basecamp — best for helping teams start creating projects from scratch with an easy-on-the-eye view
1) monday.com – the most popular project management software for simplifying complex projects thanks to its easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface with several onboarding items
monday.com reigns this list as it proved itself by living up to its reputation.
Before I start mentioning the features and use cases that are worthy of the hype, let me fill you in on the fact that this platform serves as a Work OS—building the foundation for not only simple projects but for projects of all sizes.
Back to my first point, no matter how new you’re to to-do lists, this software helps you along the way by providing an intuitive interface that is pretty uncomplicated to pick up; most of the elements having drag-and-drop features is a big plus as well.
monday.com has a very colorful theme dominating the platform, which definitely facilitates the decision-making process and increases transparency and team engagement; the visual theme comes in handy, especially when remote teams utilize automation to observe project milestones and dependencies AND create workflows collaboratively for a project timeline.
SO IF your team is looking for a user-friendly solution that needs no coding or vouching, try monday.com for 14 days FOR FREE!
The project management software that will actually work for your team
Manage simple to complex projects and everything in between with monday.com
- Individual Plan: €0 (up to 5 seats).
- Basic Plan: €10/user per month.
- Standard Plan: €12/user per month.
- Pro Plan: €20/user per month.
- Enterprise Plan: To get the detailed price for all enterprise-level features, please get in touch with monday.com’s sales team.
2) Wrike – the greatest workflow tool with various project views to illuminate tasks and responsibilities
When I tried out Wrike for the first time, I was captivated by how it enabled me to view my task lists.
With just one click, teams can choose between the views below to organize their individual tasks:
- Gantt chart
- Files (in which teams have the opportunity to check the files added to tasks).
With great views comes great responsibility 🕸️ —but don’t worry because all these views share one diagram in common: work breakdown structure. Not only does WBS break down the components of a large project into smaller tasks but also minimizes the amount of time spent on a multi-step project.
One another detail I want to highlight regarding this platform is that it is VERY innovative. Just this year, it welcomed the AI Work Creation feature which supports teams when finding and adding simple tasks to workflows.
Knowing this powerful tool always leaves room for improvement, it could be the best shot for small or medium-sized businesses that need a solid starter pack with practical functions.
- Team Plan: $9.80/user per month when billed annually.
- Business Plan: $24.80/user per month when billed annually.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact Wrike’s sales team.
- Pinnacle Plan: For this plan, please contact Wrike’s sales team.
3) Smartsheet – Excel-centralized platform with standout features & integrations to support larger teams
Talk about good onboarding ✅
As the title suggests, Smartsheet is a simple project management tool that has a wide range of customizable features that support the standardization process of work (especially for creative teams).
BUT there is one specific feature that sets it apart from the others: It has spreadsheets that teams can fully customize to increase engagement and retention.
You could say it’s a match made in heaven for Excel lovers 💗
While teams can find other tools that have similar project views, there is one detail that might change their mind: These spreadsheets are all INTERACTIVE—which enables teams to:
- edit and analyze data quickly,
- collaborate more effortlessly,
- and integrate the platform with other tools without hassle.
If what you need is a simple project management tool to increase both employee efficiency and team collaboration, Smartsheet is a must-try!
- Free Plan: Free for one user.
- Pro Plan: $9/user per month.
- Business Plan: $32/user per month.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact Smartsheet’s sales team.
4) Zoho Projects – best project management app to set task dependencies for cross-functional teams
While I was trying out Zoho Projects the thing that struck me the most was the task dependencies section which (almost) needs no explanation.
Teams can either connect the current tasks to each other by drawing a line from one task to another in Gantt chart view OR they could just add one task and add the other as a dependency or successor.
I believe in the sea of unlimited tasks, being able to check project tasks that are connected is really important, especially if it’s cross-functional teams that work together for projects regularly.
So, this one is for the frequent users of other Zoho software since this project management software option can swiftly integrate with your CRM and help desk AND promise to handle all business operations on a single platform as an entire team full of interdisciplinary members.
Zoho Projects Pricing:
- Free Plan: Free for 3 users.
- Premium Plan: €5/month per user.
- Enterprise Plan: €10/month per user.
5) ClickUp – a decent project management tool with the most functional features that streamline each activity and process
Throughout this journey of trials, the ONLY tool that asked me if I used other PM tools (to be able to import our tasks) was ClickUp—which is a very effective gesture that probably conquers the hearts of many along the way.
Later on, as I was exploring the platform, I noticed that there is a “Me Mode” that doesn’t stop with only displaying the tasks under the account holder’s name but also assigns each task opened to the same name as long as the mode is enabled.
Such a lifesaver 🤯
Plus, ClickUp has a feature that lets people outside of your organization into the platform to enable teams to work with agencies and labels them as guests, restricting their view to shared items only.
- Free Plan: Free for personal use.
- Unlimited Plan: $9/month per user.
- Business Plan: $19/month per user.
- Business Plus Plan: $29/month per user.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact ClickUp’s sales team.
6) Notion – the most powerful project management tool for enhancing your work via AI
Here comes the fan-favorite of all creative teams: Notion.
I can understand what they are on about as Notion isn’t your simple task management software; it is a platform that offers a wide array of use cases for teams to adopt it as a solution.
One use case that caught my attention was projects in which teams manage their project schedule on a customizable dashboard where they could let their imagination run wild as AI got their backs.
With Notion AI, individual users can acquire significant assistance in several ways. For example, it provides teams with action items based on a project, translation of a copy of choice, and simplification of a chosen text.
AND I had to test Notion AI out as well during my trial: I asked it to improve the proposal I wrote and it did wonders (check above!!!)
- Free Plan: Free for personal use.
- Plus Plan: $8/user per month when billed annually.
- Business Plan: $15/user per month when billed annually.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact Notion’s sales team.
7) Trello – project management platform that truly supports teams’ workflows via the automation wizard Butler
This project management software tool happens to be a great choice for reinforcing business processes with automations.
For starters, teams can choose what they need to automate and then fill out the Automation tab (that I took a screenshot of and inserted above) with the details required to enable the automation.
With the rule-based automations of Trello, teams are capable of running agile projects WHILE getting the aid of automations non-stop when it comes to topics that include repetitive tasks, time tracking, manual work, and real-time updates.
Moreover, Trello is home to several power-ups, including 200+ native integrations—allowing different teams to make use of collaboration features on a single platform.
So, does Trello serve as an agile tool? Without any doubt, it does ✅
- Free Plan: Free for personal use.
- Standard Plan: $6/month per user.
- Premium Plan: $12.50/month per user.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact Trello’s sales team.
8) Asana – task management tool with incredible reporting features on both desktop and mobile app
Personally, I love it when a popular tool proves itself to be useful in many ways – just like Asana does.
First of all, Asana has robust reporting features that increase efficiency by far as it takes a (really) short amount of time to prepare a report whether it’s a project progress update or a performance analysis report.
For example, the right side of the Status Update tab displays crucial items that could help teams build a report from scratch, such as milestones, (completed and uncompleted) tasks, and approvals.
The second function I wanted to mention is how good Asana’s UI is on both desktop and mobile apps; it includes all the elements a good UI should have: high usability, an engaging layout, and a color palette that’s easy on the eye.
Especially on the calendar view; try it out to see how right I am!
- Basic Plan: Free for individuals and small teams with unlimited tasks and unlimited projects.
- Premium Plan: $13.49/monthly pricing per user.
- Business Plan: $24.99/monthly pricing per user.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact Asana’s sales team.
9) Microsoft Project – the best online project management tool to choose if you’re a part of the Microsoft app habitat
Next one in line: Microsoft Project.
MS Project is ultimately a PM tool with beautiful project templates but here I want to highlight the greatest advance it has: Connecting it to the other MS products.
You have no idea how crucial it is to have this standalone product integrated into other Microsoft 365 software that all teams utilize—then everyone will be able to use this platform as a collaboration tool where data can be easily analyzed and reviewed.
Project managers won’t need to switch between applications as they will have access to go from one tool to another with a click: For example, checking the message boards on MS Teams and then jumping back to the custom dashboards has never been this convenient.
Talk about real-time collaboration ✍️
Microsoft Project Pricing:
- Project Plan 1: $10/monthly pricing per user.
- Project Plan 3: $30/monthly pricing per user.
- Project Plan 5: $55/monthly pricing per user.
10) Jira – one of the most popular project management software to track time and increase efficiency
This project management app of Atlassian is known by many BUT there is one core feature that deserves more mention than the product itself: time management.
I found out that managing my time and creating a work log to add it is relatively clear than any other PM tool I have ever used due to the robust user interface and practical buttons that make it simple for every single user to adapt to the practice itself in Jira.
Each card displays the time logged in when opened, helping teams take up where they left off; teams can also set notifications to log work logs in case they forget before logging off.
- Free Plan: Free for 10 users with unlimited project boards.
- Standard Plan: $7.75/month per user.
- Premium Plan: $15.25/month per user.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact Jira’s sales team.
11) Airtable – a decent work tool for building your own project management solution to reach your project goals faster
Airtable is a work tool that lets you have all the control to build the application of your dreams.
This platform streamlines the way your teams work by not only offering a template but also by involving the necessary items on display, such as drag-and-drop elements, views, and automations.
With these essential features, all teams can create custom workflows, apply any project management methodology, and even create individual projects to keep up with personal tasks—which ensures that the project deadline is met ✍️
It also offers a page where you can check how you can implement Airtable for your project management needs FOR FREE.
- Free Plan: Free for individuals and small teams.
- Team Plan: $24/month per user.
- Business Plan: $54/month per user.
- Enterprise Plan: For this plan, please contact Airtable’s sales team.
12) Basecamp – great online project management software that has an easy-on-the-eye view to help teams start creating projects from scratch
Basecamp is a software that can handle critical tasks effortlessly via agile workflows that work to your advantage no matter what.
Timeline workflows, for instance, show you several crucial items at once: the status of projects, time-bound and common goals, tasks at hand, due dates, and assignees.
Let’s take it one step ahead and create a page that includes all of your necessary assets, shall we?
- Message board 👍
- To-dos list 👍
- Docs and files 👍
- Schedule 👍
- Group chat 👍
- Project progress 👍
You have no idea how easy Basecamp makes things for you until you try, but you don’t need to wait, ’cause it offers a free trial for 30 days.
- Basecamp Plan: $15/month per user.
- Basecamp Pro Unlimited Plan: $299/month when billed annually (unlimited users).
It is important to be aware of the changing needs of your business and how technology can help you and your agile team achieve success.
For this specific success, firstly forget about traditional project management and focus on project management solutions with advanced features.
But let’s be honest: There is a wide range of project management software tools that can be of aid.
I hope that this list has given you a better idea about the best software for project management out there, so you can find one that best suits your needs in 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you manage a project?
To manage a project successfully, teams should share the workload among themselves, design a project timeline together, develop solid project objectives, and most importantly, keep each other updated in all cases.
What tools are needed for project management?
For project management, teams should use tools that include a work breakdown structure, workflow automation, time tracking feature, reporting system, and multiple project views.
What is the #1 rule of project management?
The number #1 rule of project management is to have a robust project management platform that improves team performance and productivity to reach project objectives and overall business goals.