Project Management & Planning Software

Everything you need to know


Project management and planning software will help you better schedule projects, assign resources, and track progress.

There are many project management (PM) software solutions out there, ranging from basic ones offering scheduling and file sharing capabilities to complex software that supports budgeting, customer management and reporting.

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Everything you need to know

Project management and planning software will help you better schedule projects, assign resources, and track progress.

There are many project management (PM) software solutions out there, ranging from basic ones offering scheduling and file sharing capabilities to complex software that supports budgeting, customer management and reporting.

This guide will help you understand the different types of project management software, the key features you should look out for, and the benefits of using PM tools.

Here's what we'll cover:

  • What is project management software?
  • Key features of project management software
  • What type of buyer are you?
  • A comparison of top project management software
  • Benefits of project management software

What is project management software?

Project management software is a tool that lets you track and communicate project details including project goals, budgets, timelines, and persons responsible.

Project Management Software Asana

Project management software helps to track tasks and collaborate with team members

Project management software is used in many industries including IT/technology, construction, manufacturing and retail.

Key features of project management software

Project management software comes with a broad range of features, some of which may not be essential to your business. Task management, collaboration and budget management are commonly used PM features.

Key features of PM software include:

FeaturesDescription
Project planning and managementHelps to define the plan and scope of projects using tools such as Gantt charts, project notes, and templates.
Task managementHelps plan tasks, assign resources, prioritize and track the progress of every step in the project using to-do lists and integrated calendars.
CollaborationIncludes file sharing, chat and notification functionalities to communicate project updates to team members.
Time trackingSet and track timelines, monitor outstanding tasks and manage time expenses.
ReportingAnalytics and reporting features provide visual reports, charts, and dashboards to track project statuses and analyze workloads.
Budgeting and forecastingSupports financial management and tracks project budgets, bids, and expenses.
IntegrationsIntegrates with other commonly used applications for accounting, issue management, social media and more.

What type of buyer are you?

The kind of buyer you are will determine whether you need a basic project management application or one with many bells and whistles.

  • Freelancers: Freelancers require simple project management features to manage their schedules, track project progress and share files. There are many free software options that offer basic PM capabilities such as task management and time tracking.
  • Small business owners/managers: Small business owners need project management tools to communicate project goals, schedule jobs, assign tasks, and track completion status. Collaboration is a key feature that small businesses need in a PM solution.
  • Large enterprise project managers: Large enterprises require project management tools customized for their industry. For example, the construction industry needs PM tools that offer features like budgeting and requirements management. There are customized software available for construction, retail, manufacturing and other industries.
  • App development teams: Software development teams need project management tools with strong collaboration features for sharing documents, managing versions and bug reports.

A comparison of top project management software

Here is a brief overview of top project management software as ranked on our Category Leaders page.

  • JIRA is an issue and project management tool that uses project boards to manage tasks.
  • Asana supports agile sprint planning and is used by engineering, sales, marketing, and HR teams.
  • Trello has a wall of cards to track progress of projects.
  • Basecamp creates project groups and provides email notifications about groups' activities.

Visit our comparisons page to get a side-by-side comparison of the products based on different factors.

Benefits of project management software

Many projects take a long time to complete and undergo changes in scope, team members, budget allocation, and more during that time. It's difficult to keep track of these changes manually. Project management software keeps you organized and updated about project progress.

Some key benefits of project management software include:

  • Easy collaboration: Project management software provides team members with visibility into the status of the project and offers features like chat, notification and file sharing to improve collaboration.
  • Track progress of multiple projects easily: Project management software helps you track the progress of multiple projects from a single source.
  • Better visibility and control over budgeting and resources: Project management tools provide you visibility about over-utilized or underutilized resources, higher expenses and actual resource usage vs. allotted resources. It lets you make better decisions on project deadlines and cost.
  • Improve accountability: Notifications about changes in workflow and resources, alerts about missed deadlines, and dashboards that report performance metrics help improve your team's accountability.