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10 Best Project Management Software Of 2023

Contributor,  Author
editor

Reviewed By

Updated: Oct 1, 2023, 3:49pm

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

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 systems on the market today, however, choosing the right option for your needs can be difficult. To help, Forbes Advisor analyzed dozens of the leading providers and selected the best project management software in 2023, based on pricing, features, customer support and more.

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Best Software for Project Management of 2023

  • ClickUp: Best for agile development teams
  • Monday.com: Best for startups on a tight budget
  • Asana: Best for collaboration tools
  • Zoho Projects: Best for integrations
  • Smartsheet: Best for workflow automation
  • Notion: Best for content creators
  • Airtable: Best for data-driven companies
  • Teamwork: Best for client-facing service providers
  • Wrike: Best for artificial intelligence (AI) features
  • Jira: Best for product development teams

Why You Can Trust Forbes Advisor Small Business

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

To compile this list of the top 10 project management software options, we reviewed 16 providers and rated them according to factors such as transparent pricing, types of dashboards available, integration compatibility, access to customer support and customer ratings. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.


Best for Agile Development Teams

ClickUp

ClickUp
5.0
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for one member

Starting price

$5 per member per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

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

ClickUp
Learn More Arrow

On ClickUp's Website

Free version available

Yes, for one member

Starting price

$5 per member per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

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

Why We Picked It

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 $19 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.

ClickUp’s Agile Scrum features put this project management software over the top. Scrum is popular with software developers but is also used by sales and marketing teams. It allows teams to create products that customers love by gathering and incorporating customer feedback after each iteration, or sprint. ClickUp makes this process easy via features such as task progress boards, assignments, checklists, automation tools and collaborative tools to gather feedback.

Learn more: Read our ClickUp review.

Who should use it:

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Free forever plan for individuals
  • Robust features
  • Over 1,000 integrations
  • Advanced task management
  • Easily manage complex projects
  • Pre-built templates
  • Many views available
  • Lots of automation options
  • Top tiers can get pricey for small businesses
  • Time tracking can be glitchy
  • Can be overwhelming for new users
  • Mobile app is not overly intuitive

Best for Startups on a Tight Budget

monday.com

monday.com
4.9
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for up to two seats

Starting price

$8 per seat per month, billed annually

(minimum of three seats)

Integrations

Zoom, Google Docs, Salesforce, Slack and more

monday.com
Learn More Arrow

On monday.com's Website

Free version available

Yes, for up to two seats

Starting price

$8 per seat per month, billed annually

(minimum of three seats)

Integrations

Zoom, Google Docs, Salesforce, Slack and more

Why We Picked It

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 $8 to $16 per team member per month, if billed annually (minimum of three seats per plan).

For small teams with little incoming revenue, the free version offers the ability to manage projects with customizable boards so your team works on its own terms. You can create custom boards using over 200 templates and unlimited docs. Your team members can even work on the go via monday.com’s iOS and Android apps. monday.com is one of the best free project management apps available. But, once you’re ready to move on to more complex, large-team projects, monday.com’s plans grow with your needs.

If you’re working with a growing or mature team, you can manage simple projects all the way up to multiple complex projects. Advanced integrations and plan features allow you to perform work using the tools that help your team best communicate, manage risk, plan and stick to a budget, allocate resources as needed and track your project’s progress, iterations, timing and completion.

For example, automations help your team stay on track with little added effort. With a few clicks, you can set a notification to alert you if any task is over budget or a team member has fallen behind. Further, Gantt charts show you how your project is progressing, and what needs to happen next. Zoom, Slack, synced calendars, Salesforce, Google Docs and other integrations allow for seamless and intuitive team collaboration across your organization.

Learn more: Read our monday.com review.

Who should use it:

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Free version available
  • Free trials to test advanced features
  • Mobile app version
  • Lots of integrations
  • Attractive, easily customizable interface
  • Abundant templates
  • New features constantly added
  • Collaboration across organizations and external teams
  • Gantt and Kanban charts
  • Limited features in the lower tiers
  • Frequent glitches with new features
  • Steep learning curve with advanced features
  • Cluttered boards for in-depth or complex projects
  • Limited reporting options

Best for Collaboration Tools

Asana

Asana
4.7
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for up to 15 collaborators

Starting price

$10.99 per seat per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Slack, DocuSign and more

Asana
Learn More Arrow

Read Forbes' Review

Free version available

Yes, for up to 15 collaborators

Starting price

$10.99 per seat per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Slack, DocuSign and more

Why We Picked It

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.

There is a free version of Asana that can work well enough for up to 15 people and you get a fair number of features to enable you to manage projects, but you’ll miss out on some key features. A paid plan unlocks task dependencies, a timeline view, forms and milestones, a workflow builder and unlimited dashboards. Premium is the lowest-priced plan that costs $10.99 per user per month (billed annually). The Business plan costs $24.99 per user per month (billed annually) and it includes features such as proofing, portfolio management, goals and the ability to lock custom fields.

Although Asana is packed full of features you’d expect of most PM software, there are still hundreds of integrations available, so you can connect software and data you already use to Asana. Cross-team collaboration is built into Asana, so you don’t have to duplicate tasks on separate boards, for example. Asana is easy to use but may not be super intuitive to learn at first.

Learn more: Read our Asana review.

Who should use it:

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

Pros & Cons
  • Free plan available
  • Built-in messaging tools
  • Cross-team collaboration task management
  • Multiple board views
  • Integrates with hundreds of other apps
  • Pricier than industry average
  • May be too complex at the start for some users

Best for Integrations

Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects
4.6
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for up to three users

Starting price

$4 per seat per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, Zapier and Zoho apps

Zoho Projects
Learn More Arrow

Via Zoho Projects's Website

Free version available

Yes, for up to three users

Starting price

$4 per seat per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, Zapier and Zoho apps

Why We Picked It

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.

Zoho Projects offers a free version of its PM software, but it’s limited. You can create only up to two projects and have only three users on the same account. There aren’t many customization options and you only get access to basic reports. The Premium plan costs $4 per user per month (billed annually) and lets you create an unlimited number of projects and includes up to 100GB of storage total. It’s at this level you also get standard project management features such as Gantt charts, custom views and automated tasks. For $9 per user per month (billed annually) the Enterprise plan increases your storage by 20GB and gives you more customization, such as for fields, roles and profiles.

You can expect standard project management features, such as task management, subtasks, task dependencies and time tracking. Plus, Zoho Projects includes built-in messaging for personal or group chats. On the highest-paid plan, you can customize fields, set workflow rules and get resource usage reports across all projects.

Who should use it:

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Connects to all Zoho apps and big-name software
  • Offers a free plan
  • Affordable paid plans
  • No user minimum
  • Includes built-in chat
  • Lots of customization options
  • Customer support is limited
  • Must create project templates
  • Storage space is limited (may require integration)

Best for Workflow Automations

Smartsheet

Smartsheet
4.5
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for one user and two editors (for 30 days)

Starting price

$7 per user per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Google Drive, Slack, Tableau, Miro, Zapier and more

Smartsheet
Learn More Arrow

On Smartsheet's Website

Free version available

Yes, for one user and two editors (for 30 days)

Starting price

$7 per user per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Google Drive, Slack, Tableau, Miro, Zapier and more

Why We Picked It

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.

The biggest difference between free and paid plans is in limitations. The free plan gives you only two sheets and it’s lacking forms, template sets, API calls, the document builder and proofing. However, you get 100 automations per month. The Pro plan costs $7 per user per month (billed annually) and gives you forms, removes limits on viewers, increases storage and attachment file size and allows you to set up permissions for users. Plus you get 250 automations per month.

For more advanced features and fewer limitations, you’ll pay $25 per user per month (billed annually and has a three-user minimum). It’s at this level that you get proofing, unlimited automations, forms with conditional logic and an activity log. Enterprise is meant for larger businesses that need a higher level of security with single sign-on, unlimited attachment storage and a directory integration. You need to contact sales for a quote for the Enterprise plan.

Learn more: Read our Smartsheet review.

Who should use it:

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Free 30-day trial available
  • Workflow automation for all plans
  • Intuitive for spreadsheet users
  • Low-code workflow automations
  • Real-time commenting
  • Card, Gantt and grid views
  • No live support
  • Pricing adds up with time tracking and resource management add-ons

Best for Content Creators

Notion

Notion
4.5
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for one user

Starting price

$8 per user per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Slack, Zapier, Jira, Asana, Google Drive, IFTTT and more

Notion
Learn More Arrow

Read Forbes' Review

Free version available

Yes, for one user

Starting price

$8 per user per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Slack, Zapier, Jira, Asana, Google Drive, IFTTT and more

Why We Picked It

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.

Per Notion, this software is a writing tool, albeit an elaborate one. Create a piece of content, design it and publish it all from one platform. Even add rich content such as images, videos and audio files to your creations. Freelancers who produce content for clients can invite guests (clients) to view, comment or edit pieces for free. Checklist, Kanban, gallery and timeline views allow you to manage the creation process as the professional you are.

To put your services over the top, as a freelancer, you can even create a knowledge base about your services to share with potential clients. For example, you can create packages or tiered pricing pages, your résumé and a branded portfolio to share on your website for potential client consideration. You can also create an internal knowledge base with unlimited files so that you always have samples to share upon client request.

Learn more: Read our Notion review.

Who should use it:

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

Pros & Cons
  • Free version with unlimited pages
  • Low-cost premium plans
  • Highly customizable
  • Lots of storage in paid plans
  • Share with guests and team members
  • Unique productivity features, such as habit tracking
  • Limited integrations available
  • Small business plans lack security features
  • Free plan lacks collaboration features
  • Mobile app can be tedious

Best for Data-Driven Companies

Airtable

Airtable
4.5
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for up to five creators or editors

Starting price

$10 per seat per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Salesforce, Google Calendar, Facebook, Mailchimp, Slack and more

Airtable

Free version available

Yes, for up to five creators or editors

Starting price

$10 per seat per month

(billed annually)

Integrations

Salesforce, Google Calendar, Facebook, Mailchimp, Slack and more

Why We Picked It

Airtable is best for companies that are used to managing projects using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets but want more capabilities. It 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.

Its integration options make this software work for any data-driven company. You can, for example, import data from Dropbox or Salesforce. You can also create a form that can be sent out via a shareable link to collect data from project participants, target users or project beneficiaries. Then, use templates and drag-and-drop features to analyze data from different perspectives, track how the data is used and forecast resource needs for project completion.

Other ready-made extensions or scripts then allow you to visualize your project as it progresses for a more intuitive experience. Access Airtable Marketplace to create a virtual whiteboard for idea brainstorming or an examinable 3D model of your project. You can even use pivot tables, flow charts and other visual data- and project-reporting tools to showcase project progression and successes.

Who should use it:

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Free version available
  • Easy to use
  • Advanced data management
  • Lots of integrations available
  • Project reporting and analytics
  • Attractive interface
  • Easy-to-use templates for various project types
  • Highly customizable
  • Multiple project views
  • Mobile app available
  • Offers one source of data truth
  • Limited features in free plan
  • Plans get expensive
  • Clunky automation features
  • Integrations, scripts and compatible apps require a learning curve to use
  • Limited internal communication features available

Best for Client-Facing Service Providers

Teamwork

Teamwork
4.4
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for up to five users

Starting price

$5.99 per user per month, billed annually

(minimum of three users)

Integrations

Dropbox, Google Drive, SharePoint, QuickBooks, Microsoft Project and more

Teamwork
Learn More Arrow

On Teamwork's Website

Free version available

Yes, for up to five users

Starting price

$5.99 per user per month, billed annually

(minimum of three users)

Integrations

Dropbox, Google Drive, SharePoint, QuickBooks, Microsoft Project and more

Why We Picked It

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. While plans are a bit pricier than competitors’ plans, Teamwork offers a 30-day free trial for all tiers so you are sure of your choice before committing.

Teamwork’s free plan is limited and it is best to upgrade to offer the best client experience. Its first-tier paid Starter plan starts at $5.99 per user per month (with a minimum of three users) while its Deliver plan starts at $9.99 per user per month (with a minimum of three users) when billed annually. Its highest paid plan is $19.99 per user per month (with a minimum of five users and billed annually). Unlike competitor plans, the unlimited collaborators feature and 30-day free trial make these plans worth the price. And, if your project needs more hands for client satisfaction, you can hire freelancers to help without paying for extra seats.

In terms of client-facing features, paid plans offer team chat tools, a collaborative document editor, intake forms, client-access controls as well as the ability to track time spent on work and issue invoices. Clients can directly comment on project deliverables, task lists and milestones to ensure their needs are met throughout the project development process. This means more satisfied clients who are more likely to become repeat clients.

Learn more: Read our Teamwork review.

Who should use it:

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

Pros & Cons
  • Unlimited collaborators on paid plans
  • Free version available
  • Free 30-day trial on all plans
  • Unlimited clients
  • Abundant storage on paid plans
  • Budget tracking
  • Client-management features such as invoicing
  • Few integrations
  • Very limited free plan
  • Pricier than many competitors
  • Limited security features in lower tiers

Best for Artificial Intelligence Features

Wrike

Wrike
4.4
Our ratings take into account a product's cost, features, ease of use, customer service and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available

Yes, for unlimited users

Starting price

$9.80 per user per month (billed annually)

Integrations

Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce, QuickBooks and more

Wrike
Learn More Arrow

Read Forbes' Review

Free version available

Yes, for unlimited users

Starting price

$9.80 per user per month (billed annually)

Integrations

Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce, QuickBooks and more

Why We Picked It

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.

The free plan doesn’t limit the number of users you can add to your account, but there are other limitations that might make it only viable for a freelancer to use. There are no calendars, dashboards, custom fields or advanced reporting and views. Once you upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll unlock those features, plus workflow automations. The low-priced Team plan costs $9.80 per user per month (billed annually), but it requires at least two users and no more than 25 users.

To get to the most useful features, such as custom templates, task approval and resource management tools, you need at least the Business plan, which costs $24.80 per user per month with a five-user minimum (billed annually and caps at 200 users). For the best security and advanced reporting and planning features, you need to request a quote for the Enterprise or Pinnacle plan.

Keep in mind that costs go up if you need specific integrations, marketing tools or two-way sync for Jira or GitHub—Wrike charges for these add-ons.

Learn more: Read our Wrike review.

Who should use it:

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Free plan available
  • No user minimum on free plan
  • Storage limits per user (not account)
  • Custom fields and workflows on all paid accounts
  • Lots of AI-assisted features on all plans
  • Two-user minimum on lowest plan
  • User maximums on paid plans
  • No real-time reports or time tracking on free or lowest plan
  • Job roles and budgeting only available on highest-paid plan
  • Can be pricey with add-ons

Best for Product Development Teams

Jira

Jira
4.3
Our ratings are calculated based on fees, rates, rewards and other category-specific attributes. All ratings are determined solely by our editorial team.

Free version available:

Yes, for up to 10 people

Starting price

$7.75 per user per month

(estimated cost)

Integrations

Slack, Zendesk, Outlook, Google Sheets, GitHub and more

Jira

Free version available:

Yes, for up to 10 people

Starting price

$7.75 per user per month

(estimated cost)

Integrations

Slack, Zendesk, Outlook, Google Sheets, GitHub and more

Why We Picked It

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.

One of the best things about Jira is that it offers a feature-packed free plan for up to 10 users. You can create as many project boards as you need, plus automations, custom workflows and backlog management. Your automations are limited to 100 per month and to a single project. A Standard plan billed monthly requires at least 10 users and starts at $77.50 per month, or about $7.75 per user. This plan offers 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.

The most useful features come with the Premium and Enterprise plans. Premium monthly billing also requires you to pay for at least 10 seats and starts at $152.50 per month (about $15.25 per user) and unlocks advanced roadmaps, sandbox, project archiving, capacity planning and 24/7 support. Jira isn’t the most intuitive project management app unless your team is familiar with Agile project management tools, but there are premade templates that will make it easier for you to adapt to Jira’s style.

Annual subscriptions are also available for slightly lower rates over time. The standard plan starts at $790 per year for 1-10 users, or about $66 per month.

Learn more: Read our Jira review.

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.

Pros & Cons
  • Free plan available
  • Most features available for all plan levels
  • Integrates with popular dev tools, such as GitHub and Figma
  • Manage resources with capacity planning (higher tiers)
  • Limited support for lower-tier plans
  • Complicated guest access allowance
  • Steep learning curve

Forbes Advisor Ratings

Company Forbes Advisor Rating Free version available Starting price Integrations LEARN MORE
ClickUp 5.0 4.5-removebg-preview-1 Yes, for one member $5 per member per month (billed annually) Slack, Microsoft Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce, Timely, Google Drive and more Learn More On ClickUp's Website
monday.com 4.9 4.5-removebg-preview-1 Yes, for up to two seats $8 per seat per month, billed annually (minimum of three seats) Zoom, Google Docs, Salesforce, Slack and more Learn More On monday.com's Website
Asana 4.7 4-removebg-preview Yes, for up to 15 collaborators $10.99 per seat per month (billed annually) Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Slack, DocuSign and more Learn More Read Forbes' Review
Zoho Projects 4.6 4-removebg-preview Yes, for up to three users $4 per seat per month (billed annually) Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, Zapier and Zoho apps Learn More Via Zoho Projects's Website
Smartsheet 4.5 4-removebg-preview Yes, for one user and two editors (for 30 days) $7 per user per month (billed annually) Google Drive, Slack, Tableau, Miro, Zapier and more Learn More On Smartsheet's Website
Notion 4.5 4-removebg-preview Yes, for one user $8 per user per month (billed annually) Slack, Zapier, Jira, Asana, Google Drive, IFTTT and more Learn More Read Forbes' Review
Airtable 4.5 4-removebg-preview Yes, for up to five creators or editors $10 per seat per month (billed annually) Salesforce, Google Calendar, Facebook, Mailchimp, Slack and more View More
Teamwork 4.4 4-removebg-preview Yes, for up to five users $5.99 per user per month, billed annually (minimum of three users) Dropbox, Google Drive, SharePoint, QuickBooks, Microsoft Project and more Learn More On Teamwork's Website
Wrike 4.4 4-removebg-preview Yes, for unlimited users $9.80 per user per month (billed annually) Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce, QuickBooks and more Learn More Read Forbes' Review
Jira 4.3 4-removebg-preview Yes, for up to 10 people $7.75 per user per month (estimated cost) Slack, Zendesk, Outlook, Google Sheets, GitHub and more Learn More Read Forbes' Review

Methodology

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 31 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:

Cost and Fees

Small businesses must always be budget-conscious. For this reason, we looked for project management software with options for less than $8 per month per user. Companies with free versions received bonus points. Pricing accounts for 11% of the total score.

General Features and Functionality

We considered the software’s ability to offer basic project management tools (such as Kanban and Gantt charts) and customize the project management experience to your company’s needs, including via integrations or automation tools. General features amount to 26% of a product’s total score.

Additional Features

To further flesh out the scoring, we looked for functionality that goes beyond generic project management software. Tools that provide client access, invoicing functionality and budget tracking received extra points. This section makes up 20% of the final ranking.

Mobile App

Every project management tool should include a mobile app for those who need to work on the go. We look at reviews of the apps to ensure they aren’t too buggy to be useful and whether the companies offer compatibility with both iOS and Android devices. We devote 6% of this data to the scores.

Service and Support

We look at the type of support each project management software provides. We give more credit to those that offer live chat, especially if it’s with a human representative than just a chatbot. We also check to ensure there’s a knowledge base or help center for finding answers to your questions on your own. This section makes up 8% of the total ranking.

Expert Score

A good project management software is one that any person on your team can learn to use with minimal tech training. The software options on this list offer tools to keep the learning curve manageable, such as pre-built templates.

When implementing new software into your company processes, you are bound to run into questions. We prioritized software solutions that offer the customer support needed to help you quickly and easily overcome these hurdles. All told, our expert analysis makes up another 20% of our score.

Customer Reviews

Finally, there is nothing more telling when assessing a choice than what customers who have used it think. We chose project management software options with at least 3.5-star ratings across their customer bases. These ratings encompass the final 9% of a company’s score.


What Is Project Management Software?

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.


How To Choose the Best Project Management Software

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.

Essential Project Management Software Features

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:

  • Budget planning tools: Budget planning tools allow you to upload your set budget, then track expenses and invoices to compare project costs to the planned budget. By tracking this variance, you can determine if you are running into a budgeting problem. Financial forecasting tools further help you to ensure you don’t run over budget or, worse, have to stop the project because of lack of funds.
  • Resource management tools: Resource utilization tools allow you to plan, track and record where resources—such as your talent—are used in the project’s execution. In doing so, it helps to reveal gaps in availability or when certain team members are overused (risking burnout), then adjust resource allocation to prevent problems.
  • Task management features: Task management features include automations (that eliminate redundant tasks from to-do lists). Examples include automating invoicing, the identification of critical project changes and managing project workflows. Other task management tools include boards (to visualize moving tasks through their stages to completion), calendars, timeline views, scheduling, task tracking and task prioritization.
  • Risk management features: Common project risks include finishing over budget, with a lower-quality outcome than expected or not finishing on time. Many tools within a project management software can help you balance competing demands to finish the project as intended, including critical path charts, checklists, scheduling tools, cost breakdowns, cost variance reports and timelines.
  • Reports and charts: Project management software offers digital charts for planning, tracking and readjusting your projects’ timelines, budget and quality as needed. For example, Kanban charts show tasks on a timeline board and their status. Gantt charts also give an overview of a project’s timeline complete with its phases, tasks and outputs. You can gather or feed data into these charts to update in real time.
  • Mobile app: Mobile apps help teams easily track, manage and deliver project deliverables from anywhere, helping to ensure all members are always in the know no matter where they are. Real-time knowledge can help them make smart decisions that keep projects progressing as planned. Apps also offer personalized content so team members know the tasks, activities and milestones they must complete each day.
  • Integrations: Integrations help to boost a project management software’s performance and cater it to your needs. Slack and Google Drive integrations, for example, allow team members to collaborate within the software on project deliverables. Stripe also allows your team to invoice clients for deliverables. Many project management software offer hundreds or even thousands of integration options.
  • Client management tools: Many project management software offer various features for including your clients in the project’s execution, keeping them up to date on the project’s status and maintaining a professional relationship. Such tools include video-conferencing tools, invoicing and the ability to add clients as users to the project management software while maintaining control over what they can and cannot see.
  • Collaboration tools: Many project management platforms offer tools to help project execution team members work together seamlessly, even across locations. Some come in the form of integrations, such as Slack. Others, however, are built in. Such built-in tools often include shared calendars, group chats, document sharing, chat forums and team email.
  • Demos and team feedback: Project management software may have all the right features but, if your team isn’t comfortable with it, it may underperform in project execution. For this reason, many software programs offer demos your team can use to test them, even allowing you to pilot them in a real project. From there, you can gather team feedback to learn the software’s appropriateness for your team and needs.

Ease of Use

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:

  • Templates: Project management software templates incorporate project management best practices.
  • Learning materials and opportunities: Software knowledge bases allow project managers and team members to learn how to expertly implement the software’s features based on layman’s terms definitions, videos and more. Demos are another opportunity to learn via often live interaction with software experts who know how to present its features and answer questions in layman’s terms.
  • Automations: Automations make complex tasks instant and effortless by taking repetitive and often tedious tasks out of human hands. Less hands-on interaction makes the software’s involvement in project management easier to manage. Preset automation recipes make this ease-of-use feature even more intuitive.
  • Mobile apps: Logistically, mobile apps make using the software easier by facilitating the gathering and dissemination of necessary information and helping team members complete tasks in a timely manner. Project field practitioners, for example, can update pertinent information on a project’s status without having to hold up the project to go back to the office to input such data.

Reporting and Analytics

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

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.

Customer Support

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.

Business Size Considerations

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.

[Compare Best Project Management Software]


What Does Project Management Software Cost?

monday.com Airtable ClickUp
First-tier plan price Free Free Free
Second-tier plan price $8 per user per month (when billed annually) (minimum three users) $10.99 per user per month (when billed annually) $5 per user per month (when billed annually)
Third-tier plan price $10 per user per month (when billed annually) (minimum three users) $24.99 per user per month (when billed annually) $12 per user per month (when billed annually)
Discounts 18% discount when billed annually; 10 free users for nonprofits 50% off plans for nonprofits and educational institutions; save when billed annually About 45% discount when billed annually, with slight variances depending on plan
Free version Yes Yes Yes
Free trial of paid plans 14-day 14-day No
Learn more Monday.com Pricing Guide Asana Pricing Guide ClickUp Pricing Guide

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.


2023 Project Management Trends

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 2023 project management trends that we anticipate growing in the year to come.

A Continued Shift Toward Digital and Remote Work

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 2023, project managers are challenged with navigating team dynamics and productivity in an increasingly digital environment.

Project Management and Change Management

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.

Hybrid Approaches

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.

Increasing Connection Between Projects and Strategy

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.

Increasing Prevalence of AI and Automation

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 can 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.

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.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is project management important?

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.

What is the best project management software for small businesses?

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.

What are the three main types of project management software?

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.

What are the benefits of project management software?

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.

What are the different types of project management methods that are popular now?

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.

Who are project managers, and what do they do?

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.


Next Up In Project Management


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