Project management software helps teams stay organized and productive when collaborating on different projects. These tools are especially useful when multiple projects are in progress simultaneously.
A project management solution ensures that projects are completed on time while holding individual team members responsible for specific tasks.
These real-time workspace tools are much more effective than long email chains, writing things down manually, or having to rely on human memory.
While it may sound redundant, it’s important to understand that project management software is made for projects—not ongoing work. Projects have start dates, end dates, and deliverables along the way. For example, creating a website is a project. But maintaining a website post-launch doesn’t have a clear start date or end date.
Not every project management tool is the same. Some solutions are intended for large teams with complex projects, others are ideal for small teams and simple projects, and the rest fall somewhere in between.
No matter what type of projects you’re managing, this guide will help you find the best project management software for your needs.
The Top 7 Best Project Management Software
After some first-hand experience using these tools and hours of extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the top seven options in this category. Here’s an in-depth review of each one:
#1 – Zoho Projects — Best Overall Project Management Software
• Starts at $3 per month
• Free forever plan available
• Great for simple and complex projects
• 10-day free trial
• Start for free!
Zoho has a full suite of various productivity tools and SaaS for businesses. So not surprising to see its project management software, Zoho Projects, ranked first overall on our list.
Zoho Projects is a cloud-based project management solution that accommodates the needs for a wide range of businesses, projects, and use cases.
From simple to complex projects, this tool has everything you need to manage various workflows. You can even automate some routine tasks to save time. Use the drag-and-drop interface as a visual way to set up new automations and deploy projects. Collaborate on the go using the Zoho Projects mobile app.
Zoho Projects is affordable, with pricing based on the number of people on your team.
As you can see, your plan will also affect things like storage and project templates. You’ll be limited to just ten projects per month with the entry-level Standard plan; the rest are unlimited.
Zoho Projects does offer a free forever plan for up three users and two projects, which is fine for individual use or a one-off task.
Another reason to like Zoho Projects is its timesheet module. You can easily track both billable and non-billable hours for tasks. Zoho Projects also integrates with popular apps you’re already using like Slack, Zapier, G Suite, Dropbox, and other apps in the Zoho suite.
Sign up for Zoho Projects and get a 10-day free trial; no credit card required.
#2 – Trello — Best Free Project Management Software
• Free for unlimited users
• Paid plans start at $9.99
• Trusted by millions
• Best for simple projects
• Start for free!
Millions of users trust Trello to manage various projects. For small teams and simple projects, the free project management software from Trello will be perfect for accommodating your needs.
People use Trello for work, side projects, and even for managing individual projects, like organizing a family vacation.
Trello shines in terms of simplicity, which is one of the reasons why I use it to manage team tasks on my websites. Everything is organized with boards, cards, and lists.
Each card represents a task or small project. Those tasks can be assigned to specific team members for collaboration. Cards have subtasks that can be managed and completed in real-time to show progress towards completion. Assigning due dates, uploading files, and adding comments on a Trello card is about as simple as it gets.
You can move cards to different lists such as “in progress” or “complete” so everyone can see the status of a task at a glance. Trello has an exceptional mobile app for project management as well.
In most instances, Trello is better for simple projects. If you’re managing complex projects with large teams, you’ll run into some restrictions with this platform.
The best part of Trello? It’s free. Every user gets unlimited boards, cards, and lists at no cost.
Paid plans start at $9.99 per month per user. This gives you access to advanced features like app integrations, calendar view, map view, advanced users, automations, and more.
#3 – Wrike — Best For Marketing and Creative Teams
• Starting at $9.80 per month
• Free for up to 5 users
• Perfect for marketing teams
• 6 month free trial
• Get started for free!
More than 20,000 businesses use Wrike for project management. It’s trusted by large organizations like Verizon and Airbnb.
Wrike makes it easy for you to view real-time reports and statuses for all of your team projects. You can enable and centralize your communication hub for everyone collaborating on a project.
This software is perfect for marketers and creative teams. Wrike has specific project management tools for campaign management where teams can collaborate on tasks, track progress, and review the results of each campaign.
Wrike also has project management templates designed for content creation. This pre-set workflow process includes everything from a creative brief to final delivery and reporting.
Wrike has a free forever plan for simple projects. But most of you will benefit from the Professional or Business plans, starting at $9.90 and $24.80 per user per month, respectively.
Once you select your base plan, you can add-on premium features depending on what types of projects you’ll be using Wrike to manage. It’s kind of a bummer that not every feature is all-inclusive. But it’s nice that you can pick and choose whatever you need.
Wrike offers product bundles for marketing and creative teams. For example, Wrike for Marketers comes with Wrike Proof and Wrike Publish add-ons. It also comes with a Wrike extension for Adobe Creative Cloud.
Contact the Wrike sales team for a quote on a project management plan for your marketing team.
For a limited time, you can get a 6-month trial of Write Professional. You can try the other plans free for 14 days.
#4 – LiquidPlanner — Best For Complex Projects
• Best for complex projects
• Used by 20,000+ businesses
• iOS and Android mobile app
• 14-day free trial
• Start for free!
LiquidPlanner is a top solution for engineering teams, software teams, IT teams, and professional services. It’s made for managing complex projects at scale with lots of contributors.
This project management tool helps you manage uncertainty with best-case and worst-case scenarios for the outcome. LiquidPlanner automatically adapts to change during a project, which is inevitable for projects with a high level of complexity.
LiquidPlanner gives you quick insight into the tasks, progress, risks, and budgets for every project that’s in progress. You’ll even be able to share the most relevant information with whoever needs to stay informed.
LiquidPlanner offers an iOS and Android mobile app, time tracking, advanced analytics, API access, unlimited internal dashboards, and integrations with cloud storage services.
You need at least five team members to be eligible for a LiquidPlanner subscription.
Unfortunately, pricing is unavailable online. You’ll need to contact their sales team to request a quote, regardless of your company size. LiquidPlanner has plans that can accommodate the needs of smaller businesses and enterprises with multiple departments managing hundreds of projects.
If you’re looking for a project management solution for something simple, like managing website content, LiquidPlanner is not for you.
But for those of you with complex needs, you can try LiquidPlanner at no cost with a 14-day free trial; no credit card required.
#5 – Teamwork — Best For Remote Teams and Agencies
• Starts at $9 per month
• Free forever plan available
• Great for remote teams
• 30-day free trial
• Try it for free!
More than 20,000 businesses use Teamwork for project management. It’s trusted by big brands like Spotify, Disney, Panasonic, PayPal, and Netflix.
Teamwork makes it easy for businesses with remote workers to collaborate on projects. It’s easy for everyone to communicate, stay connected, and have clear visibility over the progress of a project, no matter where people are located.
This software management tool has built-in chat, simple project boards, and custom templates. Teamwork allows you to balance your team’s workloads by viewing everyone’s real-time capacity at a glance.
Here’s a quick overview of the plans and pricing for Teamwork project management software:
With a free forever plan for small teams and paid plans starting at just $9 per month, Teamwork is an affordable solution.
Teamwork also has specific team management software for marketing agencies. This tool makes it easy for your team to manage their own projects in addition to client work. You can even add clients and third-party collaborators to your boards for improved visibility and communication. Take advantage of built-in time tracking tools to manage invoices and billable hours as well.
Pricing for agency software is not available online. You’ll need to contact the Teamwork sales team for a quote.
In addition to the free forever plan, you can try any Teamwork paid solution free for 30 days.
#6 – Celoxis — Best For Enterprises and Large Businesses
• Starts at $25 per month
• Enterprise-grade software
• Fully customizable
• 30-day free trial
• Get started for free!
Celoxis is another top option for managing complex projects. But this software is not for everyone. Celoxis is an all-in-one project management software geared towards enterprises and large organizations.
It’s used by companies like Adobe, LG, Tesla, Lufthansa, and Rolex.
Celoxis helps you manage your teams based on skills, availability, and demand. You’ll benefit from automated cost and revenue estimates for every project in real-time.
This software also makes it easy for you to share files and collaborate with both team members and clients. It even has a fully customizable client portal that you can take advantage of.
Celoxis is a bit more expensive than some of the other options on our list, but it’s actually more affordable than other enterprise-grade software solutions on the market today.
The cloud-based solution starts at $25 per month per user (with a five-user minimum). You can save some money if you commit to an annual or two-year contract.
Alternatively, you can install Celoxis directly on your servers for $450 per user. This option is also a five-user minimum, but it’s just a one-time charge as opposed to an ongoing subscription.
Celoxis really stands out in terms of the reports and data that it provides. You can easily send visual reports to your CEO or other decision-makers for specific projects.
Try Celoxis free for 30 days by taking advantage of a free trial.
#7 – TeamGantt — Best For Beginners
• Free forever plan available
• Starts at $24.95
• Discounts based on team size
• 14-day free trial
• Start for free!
Gantt charts are more than one hundred years old. At the time, these revolutionary charts changed the way that tasks were performed. They are the foundation for many project management solutions.
As the name implies, TeamGantt is a project management software that leverages Gantt charts.
So for those of you who are just getting started and learning about project management, TeamGantt is a top option to consider.
More than one million users across the world trust TeamGantt for project management.
TeamGantt has a free forever plan for up to three users managing a single project. Paid plans start at $24.95 per month for one user.
That’s a bit pricey, especially for simple software. However, you’ll get a better rate per user with a larger team. For example, a team of ten starts at $114.50 per month, which is less than half of the per-user rate of a single person. That number drops all the way to $91 per month with an annual contract.
So while the initial price might look steep at first, it’s really not that bad upon further inspection.
For those of you looking for basic Gantt charts, I’d definitely recommend TeamGantt. If you have a complex project, TeamGantt will have restrictions. They do have an advanced plan with time tracking and hourly estimates, but it doesn’t go much deeper than that.
Try a paid TeamGantt plan for free with a 14-day trial.
How to Find the Best Project Management Software For Your Business
With so many project management solutions on the market today, it can be tough to choose the best option for your business.
This is the methodology that I used to pick the winners in this guide. Generally speaking, there is no “best for everyone” project management software. It all depends on your specific situation. I’ll break down the evaluation factors that you should be looking for in greater detail below.
The first thing you need to figure out is what you’ll be using your project management software for. Basic project management tools won’t always have the features required to manage complex projects at scale.
On the flip side, if you’re just doing something simple like managing website content or need a tool for a one-off project, you won’t need software with tons of advanced features.
Trello and TeamGantt are both excellent choices for simple projects and smaller teams. If you need advanced features for complex projects, LiquidPlanner and Celoxis would be better for you. Zoho Projects (as our top overall pick) meets that middle ground between simple and complicated projects.
The next thing you’ll need to look at is the size of your team. Is everyone on your team going to be working on the same project? Or will everyone be working on multiple projects simultaneously?
If you’re working on a simple project with just a few people, you might even be able to use a free project management solution. Lots of options on our list offer a free forever plan for two or three users.
Managing larger teams is obviously a greater challenge. The best project management software shows the real-time capacity of each team member at a glance. This feature allows you to properly allocate tasks, responsibilities, and resources, without overwhelming people who have a full workload.
Some project management software requires a minimum for the number of team members associated with a subscription. This usually starts around five users but varies from one platform to another.
Ease of Use
Simplicity is key when it comes to project management software.
From the initial setup to onboarding team members and managing tasks on an ongoing basis, you want to make sure that your solution actually makes your life easier. The only real way to determine how easy it is to use project management software is by trying it out.
Every option on our list offers some type of free forever plan or free trial. I strongly advise trying those out so you can get a feel for what works best for your purposes.
Some project management software will offer more advanced features and tools than others. But depending on your situation, you may not need anything too fancy.
Common features that you’ll see for various project management software include storage limits, mobile apps, third-party integrations, built-in communication tools, advanced reporting, and user permissions. You’ll find some solutions with agency features, time-tracking tools, automation, and tools for managing your budget.
It’s important to figure out what tools you’ll actually need as you’re evaluating potential project management solutions.
Pricing for project managing software is usually based on how many users you have on your team. Some solutions require you to pay for a minimum number of users to get started.
Plans are typically billed per month or on an annual basis.
The actual cost varies drastically, depending on your needs. Most tools have a free plan for basic needs and a handful of users. Paid plans start somewhere in the $3 to $25 per month per user range.
Some solutions, like Wrike, charge you extra for add-ons as you essentially start with a basic plan and customize it based on your needs. Advanced solutions, like Celoxis, charge a one-time fee of $450 per user to install the software on your servers.
With such a wide range of prices to consider, it’s important for you to choose something that fits within your budget. Project management software doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
Zoho Projects is the best overall project management software on the market today. It’s affordable and checks off all of the boxes that we look for when evaluating prospective options.
But with that said, this software isn’t for everyone.
If you have complex projects or large teams, you’ll be much better off with LiquidPlanner or Celoxis. Smaller teams, beginners, and simple projects would benefit from Trello or TeamGantt.
There are even use case-specific solutions, like Wrike for creative teams or Teamwork for remote teams and agencies.
Regardless of your team size, project complexity, and business type, you can find the perfect project management software to meet your needs using this guide.