Project Management Software

What is Project Management Software?

The core function of any project management software is to monitor, track and follow the progress of projects from their inception to their completion. These tools are traditionally used by both project managers and project stakeholders to plan projects and follow their progress and development, as well as to future-proof and ensure the projects’ smooth and timely completion.

Project management applications allow for a clear oversight over all aspects of a project - from the management of tasks, people and resources, to the sharing of documents and client information. The general purpose of project management software is to improve communication, transparency and collaboration among all members of a project, allowing for full visibility over processes, tasks, and workflow.

As project management software has evolved it has become a vital tool not only for project managers, but also for small businesses and entrepreneurs to automate the actions normally carried out by a project manager. These applications are used for short-term or long-term projects, as well as to organize better the general day-to-day working of a company.

A project management application will vary from one to another. When choosing the right solution to suit your needs, you may want to narrow down the features you are looking for. Some PM applications are designed with specific teams in mind, such as software developers, while others cater for a more diverse range of workers.

Common project management functions you will want to look out for include task management features to set and assign tasks, deadlines and time sprints. Other tools should facilitate communication with automated notifications, document sharing and the ability to leave notes. If you have a team with well-defined roles, don’t forget to search for a project management app that allows you to assign specific user permissions at various stages of the project lifecycle.

Users of project management software will also benefit from reporting tools, such as error or bug alerts and past-deadline notifications. These can also include reports generated from key project analytics and insights for better visualization of a project's performance. More robust applications may also handle financial issues related to your projects such as budgeting, purchasing, time billing and invoicing. But you often have to try them out to find the right project management software for you and your team. Many of our PM apps have free trials, so give one a go!

Project Management software features guide

Core project management software functionality

Functionality Description
Project planning and management Helps define project scope and choose appropriate methods for completing the project. Uses visual tools to plan and report project progress.
Collaboration Provides a centralized workspace that enables multiple users to communicate, conference and coordinate among themselves to facilitate group work.
Task management Helps plan tasks, set priorities and track progress at each stage of the project. Lets users create and assign to-dos and view tasks on a calendar.
Customization Allows users to customize the project management tool to match business needs and the needs of the individual.
Intelligence and reporting Reports provide a quick, visual way for executives, managers and/or team members to understand the status of a project, its costs, and other key information.
Permissions and security Offers users the chance to set tailor-made access to all the project related data, and keeps information secure.
Accounting Takes charge of project finances and offers tools for tracking budget, invoicing, and expenses.
Integration Facilitates integration with other solutions such as CRM, payroll, time and expense tracking software, resource allocation, and customer support.

Project planning and management features

Project planning can be a complicated task, especially if all the key objectives are not considered prior to the start of the project. This calls for the need to have a grip on everything you need for project planning. Project management tools should offer functionalities for defining and managing every element of a project. Let's look below at some of the project planning and management features you can expect.

Feature Description
Gantt charts Gives a visual representation of the progress of project-related tasks and their order of completion in comparison to what was planned.
Project accounting Tracks the financial components of projects such as budgets, costs, estimates, and invoicing.
Project notes Enables users to input any project-related information such as the transcript of a conversation, contract details, or comments on daily to-do tasks.
Template management Ready-to-use project management templates that can be used to communicate status to stakeholders and team, or track issues, or report other project related updates.

Collaboration features

Without proper team collaboration, the chances of a project being successful is almost nil. Collaboration tools are more and more important nowadays as teams today can be scattered throughout the globe. A good project management tool can help you and your team collaborate easily in a number of ways. Let's find out how.

Feature Description
Collaboration tools Enables employees, clients, or vendors to work together seamlessly even from remote locations.
Collaborative review Allows project stakeholders to review, co-author or redact files and documents related to a project.
Communication management Facilitates centralized communication through various mediums like email, chats, and videos to ensure seamless flow of project related data and messages across teams.
Shared workspace Lets users share and collaborate on a set of documents with project collaborators both within and outside of the organization via a shared workspace.
Chat Provides project stakeholders with tools to communicate and collaborate on tasks. A good chat tool also supports sharing of videos, images, and files with the team members through a chat window.

Task management features

Tired of depending on a pen and paper or spreadsheets adding repeated tasks over and over again? There has to be a better way, right? With a growing focus on saving time and resources, interest in task management tools have grown exponentially. Task management features can assist you with the following:

Feature Description
Recurring tasks This feature allows users to set a custom repeating pattern for recurring tasks, often supporting notifications for when tasks are due.
Task planning Helps define individual tasks, resource allocation, timelines, and deadlines.
Task scheduling Allows users to schedule task duration, planned effort on a task, re-schedule a task, allocation and re-allocation of resources per task, etc.
Task tracking Lets users track non-started, in-progress, and complete tasks related to a project.
To-do list Keeps track of to-do tasks that need to be followed-up on.

Customization features

Not everyone works the same way. The tool you choose must be easily customizable to meet the needs of the company, the team, and the individuals. Find below some of the top customization features that a project management software offers.

Feature Description
Automatic notifications Set up alerts to appear in the application or via email about any change in tasks, approaching deadlines, unassigned tickets, receipt of messages, upcoming events, etc.
Automatic reminders Set up automatic reminders to trigger notifications when a task or an issue is late or due.
Configurable workflow Allows users to customize parts of the workflow based on specific project requirements.
Customizable fields Customize pre-built data fields as per specific business needs. Users can include a broad range of data types to store data related to projects.
Customizable reporting Lets users modify the way reports are generated to include or exclude specific data points.
Customizable templates Offers built-in, customizable templates for project planning, project scheduling, task creation, etc.

Intelligence and reporting features

Real-time project analytics show you at a glance the health of your project enabling you to make swift and informed decisions. On top of this, inbuilt reporting features let you create project status reports to make sure things are on track.

Feature Description
Activity management/tracking Gives an overview of project-related activities, individuals, and teams involved, upcoming deadlines, accomplished tasks, checklists, etc.
Activity dashboard Allows users to see project progress and status at-a-glance including workload, budget, and progress. Outlines real-time details on resource allocation, task assignment, etc.
Progress reports Automatically updates project stakeholders and collaborators about the project's progress. Ensures that the entire team is aware of the latest updates.
Milestone tracking Lets users add milestones to projects that include description, start and end dates, and who's responsible for getting it done. Tracks those milestones to see where a project is in its life cycle.

Permissions and security features

Permissions and security feature lets you control who, or what can access a particular file or folder. This helps prevent unauthorized access to data, allowing you to tailor who can access what information on your projects. Here are some of the security and access control functionalities you may want your project management tool to offer:

Feature Description
Single sign on An authentication process that authorizes a user to access multiple applications or features using a single username and password.
User access controls Restricts individual user connections within a project management solution.
Audit trail Provides a chronological record of events such as changes in project state, changes in work hours, alterations in project duration, changes in actual start or end dates, etc.
Version control Ensures that everyone who's working on a project has access to the latest copy of the all the project-related documents and files.
Permissing management Allows users to set permissions to ensure only right people have access to each project and task. Permissions can be adjusted and can be different for different projects.

Accounting features

Many project management applications offer a variety of different features and functionalities that can help you track project costs and ensure that they re delivered on budget. Here are some of the key project management accounting features to look out for.

Feature Description
Financial management Helps to track and monitor project-related expenses, capital costs, time, supplier costs and manage the budget effectively, giving a clear picture of the financial status of the project to the user.
Invoice management Detailed tracking, reporting, and billing functions help businesses and providers create prompt and accurate invoices to ensure timely payments.
Job costing This feature gives users an accurate, daily picture of job costs, so they can always know where they stand against the project budget.
Budgeting and forecasting Used to track project and resource costs, including labor costs, equipment, expenses and more. May include alerts, pre-billing, multi-currency and multi-rate support, and reporting dashboards.
Resource management Tracks the availability of employees or remote workers, identifying what skills they have and allowing them to be scheduled for projects accordingly.
Time and expense tracking Monitors employee work time and expenses, as well as providing web-based timesheets.

Integration features

One thing you should try to make sure of when selecting project management software is that your it integrates seamlessly with other software you use. Thankfully, most of the project management tools integrate with other cloud-based software, saving your time and allowing you to share data between applications. Here are some features that will help ensure your project management solution integrates with your existing software stack.

Feature Description
Email integration Supports the processing of tasks via email, such as the ability to create new tasks, edit details, assign them, reschedule them, leave comments, attach documents, etc.
Third-party integration Enables the user to integrate project management software with third-party apps such as time tracking, billing and invoicing management, collaboration tools, scheduling, etc.
Data import/export Data export feature allows users to export project data (generally in CSV format) from the software project. Data import feature allows users to import data from external sources and applications into the project management tool.
API A software-to-software interface that facilitates integration of a project management software with other in-company

Project Management Category Leaders Q2 2018

GetApp's quarterly ranking showcases the top 25 Project Management apps based in the cloud. Each app is scored using five factors, worth 20 points each, for total possible score out of 100. These factors include user reviews, integrations, mobile app availability, media presence, and security. Each app's score is independent of commercial interests and existing relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

Scroll down for more details about how we calculate scores.

Reviews
Integrations
Mobile
Media
Security

1. JIRA Software

Project & Issue Tracking Software - See why we're #1!
86
18
20
17
15
16

2. Asana

Shared task list for project management & collaboration
79
19
17
15
16
12

3. Trello

Visual collaboration tool for shared project perspectives
79
19
18
15
16
11

4. Basecamp

Flexible project management & team communication tool
78
20
17
15
16
10

5. ProjectManager.com

Award-Winning Project Management Software
73
10
17
16
16
14

6. Zoho Projects

Project Management, Collaboration and Bug Tracking
71
13
16
13
16
13

7. monday.com

Project Management Made Easy
67
17
13
16
4
17

8. Wrike

Manage your projects from start to finish with Wrike
67
16
17
11
7
16

9. Quip

Docs, tasks, & spreadsheet collaboration with built-in chat
66
12
16
19
6
13

10. ActiveCollab

Powerful, yet simple project management tool
66
15
16
14
13
8

11. Teamwork Projects

Project management for teams
65
15
16
16
6
12

12. Wimi

Reinvent your teamwork
61
11
16
15
2
17

13. WORKetc CRM

All-in-one business management system. CRM + Social + Projects + Billing
61
12
7
13
13
16

14. LiquidPlanner

Dynamic project management software for modern business
61
14
14
13
7
13

15. Insightly

The CRM For What You Value Most - Life. Time. Customers.
60
13
17
13
4
13

16. Easy Projects

Cloud-Based Project Management Software
59
14
10
13
2
20

17. Clarizen

Enterprise Project Management Solution
59
12
11
13
3
20

18. Projectplace

Collaborative Work & Project Management Software
59
11
16
14
4
14

19. Microsoft Planner

Work management and organization for teams
59
17
6
16
20

20. Assembla

The project management tool for software development teams.
58
10
16
14
4
14

21. Targetprocess

Visual tool for Agile project management (Scrum, Kanban)
57
15
13
15
3
11

22. Accelo

Automation software for all Professional Service Businesses
56
10
16
13
3
14

23. Workfront

Enterprise work management software
55
14
11
15
2
13

24. ProWorkflow

Easy Project Management!
55
12
16
13
3
11

25. Airtable

Cloud-based organization & collaboration tool
54
15
16
17
6
Reviews
Integrations
Mobile
Media
Security

Who is the ranking for?

GetApp's Category Leader ranking is for business owners and decision makers looking for a comprehensive list of the leading cloud-based software products in the industry.

The ranking serves as a point of reference highlighting key factors that small businesses should look at when assessing a piece of software. These factors include user perception (reviews), compatibility (integrations and mobile compatibility), market presence (media presence), and security features (security).

How are the scores calculated?

An app's score is calculated using five unique data points, each scored out of 20, giving a total score out of 100. The ranking and scoring methodology ensure complete impartiality and independence from any relationships that GetApp has with app vendors.

User Reviews*

Review scores are calculated using reviews collected from GetApp and its sister sites, Software Advice and Capterra. Scores are calculated based on the total number, average rating, and recency of reviews.

The number of reviews and average user rating are scaled against the category average. A weighting is then applied to reward recency of user reviews: reviews written in the last 6 months score up to 10 points, those written between 6 and 12 months ago score up to 6 points, and those more than 12 months old score up to 4 points. These numbers are added together to give a total maximum score of 20.

Integrations

Integration scores factor in a number of variables. Up to 16 points are awarded based on the number of integrations an app has; the first 10 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the category average, while 4 points are awarded based on the number of integrations relative to the leaders in the category. An additional 5 points is awarded for an integration with Zapier, a widely used software integration platform, while an extra point is given for having an open API. The total possible score for integrations is 20 points.

Mobile Platforms*

Mobile scores are calculated based on the availability of an iOS and Android app. 5 points are awarded for the presence of each app, with an additional 10 points being awarded for the number and average rating of reviews in both the App Store and Google Play. These review scores are calculated and scaled against the competition for a maximum of 5 points per platform and an overall maximum score of 20.

If there isn't a native iOS or Android app, the product's website is assessed using Google's PageSpeed Insights to measure mobile usability. The score is returned out of 100, then scaled to a score out of 5 for a maximum of 5 points.

Media Presence

Media presence is calculated using the number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans that an app has. The number of fans and followers are added together, and each app is scored based on this overall number, compared with others in the category. The first 15 points are awarded for the combined number of followers and fans scaled against the category average, while the final 5 points are awarded for the combined number of followers and fans scaled against the top leaders in the category. These two scores are added together for a total out of 20 points.

Security

Security scoring is calculated using answers from a vendor-completed survey. The questions in the survey are based on the Cloud Security Alliance self-assessment form as part of the Security, Trust & Assurance Registry. With 15 questions, each answer is assigned a point value based on vendor response, with additional points given for security certifications, for a maximum possible score of 20.

In the event of a tie, each data point is weighted for importance, with security taking precedent, followed by reviews, integrations, mobile apps, and media presence, respectively.

*All data points combining calculations for both ratings and reviews are calculated using a Bayesian estimate, which is a weighted average that includes the number of reviews and the rating of an app, benchmarked against others in the category.