Imagine two startups of exactly the same size. They are both given a test project by a prospective client that they need to complete within two weeks. Now imagine that, two weeks later, startup A has already finished their project and has submitted it, while startup B is only half-way done.
Why was startup A able to finish the project so much earlier than startup B? Most likely because it was better organized and used project management software.
In this article, we’ll explain the definition of PM software, why PM software is important, and which top 5 project management tools you should keep in mind.
According to the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PDF), project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.
This application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques is extremely important, and if we return to our example from the introduction, is the reason why startup A was, and startup B wasn’t, able to meet the client’s project requirements.
Of course, when we talk about projects, the big question is “how do we manage them?”
There are two ways. One is to manually manage your project, perhaps using sticky notes, whiteboards, notebooks, etc. and the other is to rely on PM software.
What is project management software? The best way to define it is as a tool, or a collection of tools that improve the efficiency of the team involved in a project and help them track deliverables.
So, which of these two is better and which should your company employ? Well, if the statistics of high-performing companies are anything to go by (and we firmly think they are), then project management software is the clear winner here.
Well, in theory, yes, but in practice, this doesn’t seem to be the case, as only 22% of organizations used project management software in 2018, according to Wellingtone’s The State of Project Management Annual Survey 2018 (PDF).
With that in mind, this article aims to blow away any doubts you might have about the necessity of project management and why PM tools are important if you want to complete your projects and meet their requirements.
So, why do we need project management? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to simply manage the project team? Also, why do we need project managers? They just get in the way as it is.
Unfortunately, many organizations – in fact, 58% of them, according to PMI (PDF) – have this sort of thinking and don’t fully understand the value of project management.
Furthermore, organizations that use proven PM practices also waste 28 times less money than those that lack such practices.
Suffice it to say, that sort of thinking does little to help organizations achieve success. This is why we think it is essential to talk about why project management is important.
Let’s think of a team like an army. Without project management, that team is like an army without its general, officers, discipline, strategy, and overall sense of direction. In other words, they are but a rabble that can easily be dispersed by an organized foe.
On the other hand, a team that employs project management tools is like a well-disciplined, organized army, with a clear purpose, that rolls over its opponents.
Project management brings direction to a project: it brings vision, purpose, and motivation. Lack of project management means a lack of all these things. It means that the team working on the project won’t know what its objectives are – it won’t have a strategy, leadership, focus…
But project management also helps to be realistic and keep your head on the ground. It removes the rose-tinted glasses and takes us back into reality when it comes to what our company can realistically deliver, by what deadline, and for what budget.
And, finally, project management is also there to guide us in the right direction when it comes to the quality of what we are supposed to deliver. It’s not all about hitting the deadline or staying within the budget. If the quality of what we have delivered as part of that project is sub-par, we can hardly call that a “successfully completed” project.
According to a 2019-2024 forecast by Mordor Intelligence, the project management software market is expected to reach a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10.17% in this period.
Furthermore, another paper, this one by Transparency Market Research, states that the market for project management software will reach $6.68 billion by 2026.
So, who are the leaders in this race? As there are dozens of project management tools and software available today, the choice was hard to make, but in the end, here are the top 5 project management software that we think stand above the rest are:
Bitrix24 was introduced in 2012 as “a new collaboration solution for amplifying productive interaction inside companies”. Since then, more than 8 million organizations, including startups, small and medium businesses, and large corporations have chosen Bitrix24 as their go-to solution for project management.
This is because Bitrix24 offers a full suite of tools for work and communication that helps organizations to complete their projects and track deliverables successfully, on time, and within budget.
With such project management tools as the Gantt chart, Kanban board, and time tracking, Bitrix24 will help your organization complete projects and manage the team, all while keeping the big picture in view.
Project calendars, chats, and a document management system will keep everyone in sync and introduce transparency to your projects, while recurring tasks automation and task dependencies will enhance personal and team productivity.
Perfectly suited for businesses of any size, Bitrix24 cloud and on-premise solutions offer unmatched scalability, integration with third-party apps, easy customization, security, and price.
What are some of the features that make Bitrix24 the leading free project management software? Bitrix24 is chock-full of useful features, so we’ll just name a few here:
Finally, Bitrix24 offers several price ranges, depending on the size of your company and project needs. For up to 12 users, Bitrix24 is completely free, including 5GB of online storage, including some basic features.
However, for those who want a little more, especially when it comes to project management, Project+ at $55.20/month provides even more features.
By the way, Bitrix24 is among the very few solutions that shun the per-user pricing model in favor of paying for the whole account, which is very attractive for big or growing companies.
If you are looking for solid and tested PM tools that will help you increase productivity, then Wrike is an excellent choice. Best suited for teams of 20 and above, Wrike is equally useful in managing projects and ongoing work.
It offers integration with the most popular apps and programs, including G Suite, Adobe, Microsoft OneDrive, MS Office Salesforce, GitHub, Slack, and more.
And, if it needs any other stamp of approval, Wrike is already trusted by more than 18,000 customers around the world, including companies such as Mars, Hootsuite, L’Oreal, and Tiffany & Co. among many others.
As for the features, Wrike provides:
Wrike is free for up to 5 users, while Professional ($9.80/month per user) and Business ($24.80/month per user) also offer a free trial. For those with a need for a tailor-made solution for marketers or enterprises, you need to contact Wrike for pricing.
One of the best-known and most popular cloud-based project management tools, Asana more than deserves a place on any list of top PM tools like this one.
Here, the focus is on time tracking, reminders, and to-do lists, but that doesn’t mean that Asana lacks in productivity-improving features. Far from it.
With this software, project managers get a tool that enables them to:
Asana pricing starts for free for Basic (only requires signup) and also includes Premium ($10.99/month per user), Business ($24.99/month per user), and Enterprise, depending on your project needs and team size.
Monday.com comes with plenty of automation options and dashboards that will help project managers to get much more out of their projects and teams. It also includes seamless integration with Google Drive, MailChimp, and other apps and programs.
If you need a PM solution that will help you keep track of what everyone is doing and ensure that your team is meeting deadlines, able to communicate, and manage work, Monday is a great choice.
What really sets Monday apart from the rest is the ability to view projects at a glance and track their progress the way it works best for you – whether it’s with a Kanban view, chart view, calendar view, timeline view, map view, or something else.
Monday.com also allows you to create dashboards, customize and automate your workflows, and import your data with ease, as well as view analytics and create reports.
When it comes to price, Monday.com doesn’t have a free plan like some other PM tools on our list, but they offer a free trial for every plan. This includes (prices are for 5 users):
For a lot of companies and individuals that are looking for a project management solution for the first time, Basecamp is often the first PM software whose name pops up. That’s not surprising given the fact that Basecamp is one of the oldest solutions on the market, backed by a reputation that spans over 10 years.
Basecamp includes a wide range of features, including:
Basecamp has two pricing options. For personal use, small teams, freelancers, and startups, Basecamp Personal is free and includes 1GB of storage space. On the other hand, for larger projects and businesses, Basecamp Business is $99/month, regardless of how many users you have, allowing for better scalability. Plus, you also get a two-month free trial.