5 Best Project Management Software Tools for 2023
Every business, regardless of industry or size, needs quality project management tools. Not only does a decent project management tool help to streamline business processes, but it also serves as the main hub for team collaboration, to share, update and act upon important tasks.
However, with so many different types of project management tools available on the market (some are user per month billed annually, some billed per user), it’s difficult to choose the right one for your project managers' and business’ needs.
So which is the best project management software for you? Doubtless, you already know the project management software market is flooded with online project management tools!
While we've already mentioned that all businesses need a strong system, and different businesses and different project managers require different advanced project management features. So what's right for your business' resource management and for managing projects you deal with?
- Discover the best project management software tools for 2023, picked to match different business needs and choices.
- Check out options like Monday, Smartsheet, Celoxis, ClickUp, and Height, each with its own special features.
- These tools help businesses organize tasks, assign work efficiently, and make teamwork easy.
- They come with useful features like tracking time, managing budgets, and handing out tasks effectively.
- Whether you have one project or lots of complex ones, you can find a project management tool that fits your needs.
Do I Need a Bespoke Project Management Tool?
Usually, very large organizations and corporations have their own, bespoke project management tools because they can easily afford to build something from the ground up.
If you are considering building a bespoke project management tool, then remember to factor in what would likely be a large cost! Many small businesses such as start-ups might not want to splash the cash on an all-singing, all-dancing project management software.
Luckily, there are lots of resource management tools out there that can be bought "off the shelf" so there's no need to build your own.
So while it’s tempting to think you need resource management and project management built to your exact needs, actually, there are plenty of fantastic project management tools available that can be tailored to your business’s requirements
Many of these come with the ability to add different elements on (such as time tracking, project templates, resource allocation and advanced features etc.) as and when required, therefore creating an almost tailored project management solution.
What Is a Project Management Tool?
Before we move on to discuss the best project management software currently available, let’s quickly recap on what project management tools are.
Project management software (and any project management app) consist of digital technology to help plan, manage and disseminate business projects efficiently through team collaboration. It's basically resource management for all your projects in one place.
These type of project management tools are not restricted to just one person (although you can purchase project management tools with permissions involved per user), and serve as a central area where many staff team members can view, amend and allocate tasks.
Some are small systems, perhaps with up to five users, others allow multiple users per month billed annually. Usually, these resource management tools operate on a user per month billed annually or monthly, or per user. Some even have free plans, (good for one-person businesses), or to try before you buy. There are even project management apps!
Project Management Software for Time Tracking, to Allocate Tasks, Keep Track of Projects And Collaborate
A project management tool enables you to allocate task, keep track of projects, maintain good resource management (per user and as a whole), view time tracking, budget tracking, assign tasks (including recurring tasks), track progress and communicate in one place.
A very good system allows task management for even the most complex projects, and we'll go through this with our best project management tools below.
The Best Project Management Software Tracks Project Progress From Start to Finish
Most of the up-to-date, best project management software tools provide real-time status updates, core project management features and importantly, help you to efficiently manage projects (even complex projects) while making informed, knowledgeable decisions. Plus, budget tracking is essential when managing projects, and the best project management tools offer this as standard.
Everyone Can See What's Going on With Each Project
Multiple projects are kept in one, central location so if a member of staff is away from the business, others can still track project progress, see what needs to be done per user and where action needs to be taken.
These project management systems are essential tools for task management and effective business processes.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the best project management software for 2023 to help you find the right one for you, whether you only have one or two projects, multiple projects and/or complex projects in progress.
There are lots of project management software options, we've focussed on our top five (including a project management app) which we feel are better than other project management tools.
The Top Five Project Management Tools
1. Monday Project Management Software
Award-winning Monday.com is one of the top business project management software tools used by many project managers for time tracking and to help build customized workflows and task dependencies across multiple teams and multiple projects.
Great for Project Planning And Resource Management
So, if you’re very much a project-led business, this could be the best project management software solution for your business needs as it specifically focuses on project planning and resource management tools.
An Easy-to-Read Interface
What we like about Monday's project management software is its easy-to-read interface, which is one of its most robust features. Once you’re used to the view, you can quickly locate projects, including multiple projects and see important information on one page, which is imperative for good project tracking.
Without doubt, this product is a good project management software example for any project manager looking for efficient project planning to effectively manage projects - even for complex projects.
Customizable to Your Needs
Another great benefit for businesses is that you can customize Monday's project management software to suit your project planning needs.
There are lots of different elements that you can add, such as customized fields, custom workflows, different task views, time tracking and even collaboration features. You can even build great looking Gantt charts.
Plus, there are pre-defined templates with lots of different options, so you can effectively build something that’s pretty much tailored to your needs thanks to the multiple drop-down menus.
As a project management software system, it's well worth looking at, but as with any project management tool, once you understand how to use it then you will get on with it, however, you need to invest time and effort into getting to grips with a new tool. It's a learning curve!
This is a great YouTube video that could help you with Monday.com.
Monday.com Project Management Software Key Features
So – let’s talk task management features, here’s what you get with Monday.com's project management software:
- Resource workload and allocation (so you can see what each team/per user is doing, how busy they are and what they’re working on specifically).
- Collaborative docs allow you to co-author documentation and link to other files.
- Customizable dashboards that you can build almost bespoke to your business.
- Integration, you can even link your Slack, Google Drive, DocuSign, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox and Typeform (amongst others) to your Monday.com project management system.
- Time tracking to best manage tasks.
- Gantt charts.
- Project templates.
- Free project management software (the free plan is only free per user up to two, then it's a paid plan, other project management tools and project management apps allow up to five users).
- On iOS and Android, download this as one of the project management apps but isn't built to just be used as an app. However, it's useful.
- Basic price starts at around $8 per month, billed annually.
To quickly summarize, we like Monday's project management software because of its focus on collaboration, its ability to integrate other software types, its customizable abilities, time tracking and its easy-to-view pages. However, it might be too big and complex for very small teams or startups.
The good news is that you or your project manager can take advantage of a 14-day free trial before you decide it’s the right one for you! So try the project management software out and see if it works for your needs.
2. Smartsheet Project Management Software
This is a great project management software for low-code project management automation and features many different types of views and visuals for project information. You can use Gantt charts, Kanban boards and lists (amongst others).
Great Project Management Software for Spreadsheet Fans!
For those of you who love a spreadsheet, you might like this one best, as it’s based on spreadsheets. So, excel experts should easily grasp this one! For those not as figures-savvy, expect Smartsheet to be a learning curve.
Great for Figures-Led Businesses
If your business is very figures-led, then you should consider this project management software, as it calculates complicated formulas on your behalf – even across multiple spreadsheets. No more scratching your head trying to do complicated mathematics!
Easy for Businesses to Automate Workflows
Another huge benefit of this project management software is that it’s easy for businesses to automate workflows, right down to the most miniscule activity, thanks to its visual drag-and-drop feature.
Software developers who've created this tool ensured it provides status alerts, approval requests, time tracking and as it integrates with Slack (and email), it automatically responds to update requests from those platforms too.
This Project Management Software Builds Intuitive Web And Mobile Apps
Furthermore, you can build intuitive web and mobile apps to work in harmony with Smartsheet’s own WorkApps. WorkApps is an area where you can build apps directly from sheets, forms, reports, templates and other, external content, excellent for team collaboration.
Smartsheet Has So Many Excellent Features to Take Advantage Of!
The team at Smartsheet have thought of everything – including configuring role permissions, so you can add permission layers per user within your project management tool for different team members completing tasks and recurring tasks.
Smartsheet Project Management Software Key Features
Let’s talk Smartsheet features excellent workflow automation:
- The project management software platform has a business process automation called Bridge. Use this to help build workflows without coding.
- There are dashboards that provide real-time views of your key performance indicators (KPIs), critical trends and summary reports.
- Smartsheet integrates with DocuSign too and tracks the process.
- You can use Gantt charts.
- You’re able to integrate other platforms such as Google apps and Microsoft, Jira, Salesforce, Slack, Box, Tableau and others to this project management software.
- Smartsheets can extend through webhooks and a REST API if necessary.
- Low cost – from $7 per user per month (free plan for one user).
- Easy to share amongst teammates.
- Easy to use in terms of project tracking.
- Customizable dashboards.
So Smartsheets is what we'd call one of the best project management software products. It's particularly impactful if you’re a numbers-led business because it is built on spreadsheets.
For Excel users and indeed any team member, it’s a dream to use and in terms of project management, there are lots of features that integrate with the platform. Plus it’s easy to link sheet-to-sheet, good for sharing purposes, and it’s customizable, so you can make it your own.
One big downside of this project management software to consider, is that changes don’t update in real time, if you’re a fast-pace business, it might slow you down because of this. However, we like the free plan, so you can try before you commit.
3. Celoxis Project Management Software
This is one of our favorite project management software tools for businesses involved in customer-facing teams. One of the best features of Celoxis is its portfolio dashboard, where team members can easily see project data across the entire portfolio of projects. It also allows teams to see what each team member’s workload is, and view project costs.
A Web-Based Project Management Tool
This web-based project management tool is excellent in terms of analysis and its Gantt charts are comprehensive, easy-to-read and extensive, when required.
The project management software platform is extremely interactive, especially useful if you have multiple offices or remote teams because it includes geographically distributed project teams. It even notes absences per user, resource swaps and part-time resource.
A Robust Task Management System
The task management system in this project management software is robust. Members of the platform can easily view tasks, to-do lists per user, log time and report problems from one, single tool. Plus, it sends notifications to team members’ inboxes and sends updates (all without the need to log-in, so even when logged-out you can see what’s going on with your projects).
Good Collaboration Tools
In terms of collaborating with others, you can do this through @mention comments, file sharing, document version control, project discussions and viewing the activity streams per user on each project. Most actions can be managed from the project management software dashboards, for example, updating a status, attaching a file or any other regular actions.
Celoxis Project Management Software Key Features
Let’s look at Celoxis’ features:
- The tool has a real-time project tracker.
- There’s task management tracking and resource availabilities.
- We love the timesheets used to log project time for each relevant team member.
- Project financials can also easily be tracked through Celoxis.
- Easy-to-read to-do lists.
- Can integrate with Google Drive, Outlook, Microsoft Project, Excel, Salesforce, Slack, Trello and JIRA (amongst others).
- Can use Gantt charts.
- On iOS and Android, download this as one of the project management apps.
- It’s more expensive than others, costing $25 per user per month however, if you want a free plan, there’s also a free 30-day trial, so you can try before you commit entirely.
In summary, this is a great project management tool for customer-facing businesses and for time-sensitive projects (due to its real-time task tracking). If you like to use charts, Celoxis is particularly adept and well-regarded for its interactive Gantt charts. Report building isn’t as easy as other project management dashboards, and the menu structure is complicated, it's a bit of a learning curve. Plus, it’s pricier than others mentioned in this list, but there is a free plan.
4. ClickUp Project Management Software
If you work with remote teams, are a small start-up without a central location or your business spans many areas - even countries, then ClickUp might be the best option for you. Suitable for large teams and small teams, this project management platform allows you to easily plan your projects, assign team members, track projects’ progress and track task dependencies.
One, Central Workspace for All
Using this project management software, you can schedule tasks and manage resources in one, central workspace – no matter where you’re located or what timezone you’re in. Plus, it’s an app, so you can use it on-the-go.
Excellent Project Management for Co-Creation And Collaboration
What we like is that when having project conversations, you can easily tag people, so they can view documents and edit them – it’s excellent for co-creation and collaboration.
Terrific for Brainstorming Tasks
There are even innovative whiteboards where you and your team members can brainstorm together. Everyone involved can join in and if you’re a business with an approval process, there’s a great proofing and approvals feature to help you immediately see the status of items.
Add 1,000+ Apps to ClickUp!
In terms of integration, ClickUp works well with Slack, Figma, Loom, Calendly, HubSpot and others. It’s also easy to set up a ClickUp task directly from Outlook. There’s even an added feature (which you have to pay for) to connect your ClickUp to 1,000+ apps. If your business needs to create customized integrations, you can also use a public API with ClickUp.
At $9 a month per user per month billed, it’s also affordable project management.
ClickUp Key Features
- It's a great project management app you can use on-the-go.
- It provides good-looking Gantt charts.
- It's big enough to cope with your entire team.
- On iOS and Android, download this as one of the project management apps, but essentially, it's web-based.
- It's inexpensive at just $9 per user per month billed
- This project management platform doesn't offer a free plan unless you're looking for a free plan for personal use, but it's affordable.
To summarize, we like ClickUp project management because you can choose a Free Forever plan and add unlimited members, so if you’re planning on growth, this is a useful bonus! Furthermore, it’s a great project management tool for remote teams and start-ups, and there’s unlimited file storage for all the different packages available. It's a little disappointing that ClickUp's free plan is only for one person.
A couple of limitations include a limited reporting suite to paid plans only and while you can customize the app, it’s quite time-consuming.
5. Height Project Management Software
For startups, this is another fantastic project management tool, especially if you need to work fast, and you're looking for workflow automation.
Works in Real-Time
Another advantage with this system is that it works in real-time, so you and your project manager/project team can easily view messages and activity logs, and understand what’s going on very quickly.
Height Project Management Is Customisable
This project management is customizable, so you can add workflows from different teams, you can also view many different integrated tools in one, easily accessible place (such as Calendar, Gantt, Kanban and Spreadsheet).
Best Free Project Management for Unlimited Members, Guests And Tasks
There are also multiple views available on Height and this software system allows unlimited users, guests and tasks (through the FREE plan only) which is another reason why it’s a solid choice for a start-up or very small business.
Moving to the project management paid plans, you get a lot more for your buck! Such as a command center where you can create your very own keyboard shortcuts for pretty much anything you need.
Height Project Management Key Features
Let’s look at some more of Height’s brilliant features and why it's one of the best project management tool systems available:
- There's a superb time tracker, so your team members can easily track progress on each task (plus it automatically syncs up with third-party software).
- On iOS and Android, download this as one of the project management apps, but essentially, it's better as a web-based tool.
- Automation features to help build project management workflows.
- We love the drag-and-drop environment (very easy to use).
- Easy generation of project management tasks.
- Accessible shortcuts through one, single keystroke.
- Integrate with Notion, Slack, Discord, Harvest, Sentry, GitHub, Figma and more.
- Gantt charts.
- Access thousands of other apps through Zapier (must be paid for).
- 30 day free project management trial (best free project management software deal!).
- Unlimited users.
- Costs $8.50+ per user per month billed (and a free plan to try!).
In summary, we like Height project management because it’s great for small businesses, and it’s a relatively affordable way of managing projects, plus you can take advantage of the free plan before making a decision.
It’s easy to track your team thanks to its time tracking feature, what they’re doing and what needs doing, and collaboration is pretty straightforward.
Furthermore, it integrates with so many other software systems, and you can access thousands more through a paid Zapier account. One downside to this project management system is that there are currently no automations, but this is set to change in the near future.
We’ve listed our top five project management tools for any size business, from startups to big corporations.
However, before you choose your project management software, you should make a list of everything that you need, while you may think basic features are enough - you might find you need a lot more from your task management software, for example:
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Decide on Project Management Tools
- Is the project management easy to use for project managers and others?
- Can the project management cope with multiple projects?
- Can the project management tool cope with complex projects?
- What are the advanced features?
- Is there a limit to project management number of users and/or project managers, can you have unlimited users?
- Is it a customizable project management software, for example, can you custom workflows?
- What are the project templates like?
- Is there an intuitive user interface?
- Can you use Gantt charts?
- What software can I integrate to the project management tool?
- Is it available as a project management app (especially if you’re on-the-go)?
- Will this project management tool save time, and is there a suitable time tracking feature?
- Is the project management software easy to navigate and view?
- Can the project management manage documents and manage projects?
- Will it enhance project management team collaboration?
- Would I be better with a project management app instead of a web-based tool?
- Most important of all, is the project management software scalable? There’s no point in investing in a project management tool or project management app for the medium, or long term if it isn’t scalable.
- Would you prefer to be billed monthly, billed annually, or per user?
- Finally – if there’s a free trial on offer for free project management software, always get your project managers to try before you buy!
If you manage to answer all of the above questions to your satisfaction, then you should feel confident that you're choosing the best project management solution for your business, whether one of the project management apps or another of the best project management software systems available.
Use the Free Trials If You Can
If you find there are a few, popular project management tools or a project management app that might work - then try other project management platforms using the free trials first before implementing project management software.
If none of the above are the best project management software systems for you or your project manager, remember, new project management apps and systems come out regularly, as software developers strive for improvements, such as better collaboration tools, more task management features and enhanced team collaboration.
Sometimes Traditional Is Best
Sometimes, it's better to go back to traditional project management CRM systems, like Zoho projects (click here), for example, which is still the right project management software for many businesses. In fact, this tool provides an intuitive Gantt chart creator too. Pricing wise, it's free for up to 3 users (not for up to 5 users or more) and it's not billed annually, but monthly.
So, if you're not quite ready, keep an eye on the market for other project management software development that might suit your business needs better with more advanced project management capabilities.
Remember, finding the best project management tool is personal - and a steep but worthwhile learning curve!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Project Management Important?
Project management is vital in business because it ensures that projects are completed successfully and goals are achieved. It helps coordinate complicated projects, keeps teams organized, and ensures that project results meet expectations, all while sticking to deadlines. Effective project management is the key to tackling these challenges and delivering successful outcomes.
What Are Project Management Tools?
Project management tools are software applications or platforms designed to help individuals and teams plan, execute, and monitor projects efficiently. These tools provide various features and functionalities to streamline project-related tasks, enhance collaboration, and ensure that projects are completed successfully.
Project management tools typically offer capabilities for tasks such as scheduling, task assignment, progress tracking, budget management, resource allocation, and communication among team members. They play a crucial role in improving project organization, productivity, and overall project management effectiveness.
What Are the Benefits of Using Project Management Software?
Project management software helps you organize and plan company projects. It brings your team together to work on these projects, which can be tricky when people are in different places or departments. This software is accessible from different devices and locations, making it easier for everyone to collaborate and complete projects successfully.