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Best project management software of 2020: tools to organize teams and tasks

Best project management software
(Image credit: RawPixel / Pexels)

Project management software can help make it easier to organize, carry out, and complete tasks, whether you're working alone or working in a team.

Whereas it used to be the case that paper or spreadsheets would be required, these days project management software is usually able to provide a range of tools to help improve productivity and make the management of tasks easier.

Features might normally include the ability to set up a team and allow communication between them, assignment of specific subtasks with dates for completion, as well as goals, interactive calendar, progress reports, and analytics to provide data on workflows.

On top of all this, a number of project management platforms can also integrate with other software applications, such as for storing documents in the cloud, sales reporting software, and customer relations management (CRM) software.

Below we'll showcase the best in project management software.

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The best Project Management software is: Microsoft 365
While Microsoft's Office package may be primarily thought of as just about documents and spreadsheets, these days it's very much the project management package, offering everything from documents, storage, communications (via chat, VoIP, or video conferencing) as well as team administration controls.

Formerly known as Office 365, now rebranded as Microsoft 365, it offers a cloud-based solution filled with tools that makes for a big improvement over the downloaded Office platform. This is especially as you can use it on any computer, mobile device, or smartphone, without having to worry about compatibility. All your files are saved in the cloud and synced between devices, so you can begin work on a document at home or in the office, then continue working on it on the go.

You can sign up to Office 365 here.

Best project management software - at a glance

  1. Asana
  2. Trello
  3. LiquidPlanner
  4. Basecamp
  5. Podio

(Image credit: Asana)

1. Asana

Has an emphasis on teams and tracking

Handy tracking functions
Cloud-based
Team-oriented

Asana is a project management solution you may have heard of – even if you haven’t used the service in the past. While it offers a ton of handy features to boost productivity, there’s a bigger emphasis placed on tracking.

The app lets you create to-do lists and reminders so you always meet deadlines, plus you can add due dates, colleagues, instructions to tasks, and comment on items. You can even share images from other apps (like Google Drive) directly to Asana. And more importantly, you can actually track everything you and your colleagues work on in a bid to ensure the project is running smoothly and to schedule.

If you’re concerned with who is working on certain projects, then you can bring up a list of teams and individuals, and there’s also a search functionality so you can find completed tasks easily.

Asana offers a free Basic tier, with limited functionality and dashboards. Step up to the Premium tier, and for $9.99 per person per month billed annually, you get unlimited usage with no team member limit, and more functionality including the new timeline feature as well as custom fields.

Read our review of Asana here.

(Image credit: Trello)

2. Trello

A well-known cross-platform project management solution

Cross-platform support
Cloud-based
Team supported

Over the last few years, Trello has emerged as one of the most popular project management applications. It lets you organize all of your work-based and personal projects through a computer, tablet or smartphone. Trello is notably used by the likes of Fender, Google and Kickstarter.  

You’re able to set up boards to organize everything you’re working on, delegate tasks among colleagues, get customized workflows, add to-do lists within task cards, attach files and comment on items. The idea is that you manage all aspects of a project within the app, regardless of whether it’s team-based or individual.

Both Windows and Mac desktops are supported, with mobile apps available on Android and iOS devices; there’s even a version that’s been optimized specifically for the iPad Pro. The latter sports a larger canvas and a variety of handy email shortcuts to speed up projects. It’s free to download to give it a spin, and can be used on the free tier, although there is a 10MB limit on the size of file attachments.

The upgrade tier is Business Class that supports attachments up to 250MB, and offers additional features for $9.99 per month per user, including one day email support, and integration with other services such as Google Hangouts and Slack.

Read our review of Trello here.

(Image credit: LiquidPlanner)

3. LiquidPlanner

Eliminate any danger of missed deadlines

Smart schedules to prioritize work
Enterprise-grade feature set
14-day free trial
Expensive

LiquidPlanner has a robust feature set for enterprise-grade project management, boasting corporate customers which are leading Fortune 500 firms including Bayer, Cisco and Daimler.

Features include the Smart Schedule that can assist in prioritizing work, assigning people resources, and then estimating the hours needed for completion, which then allows the project to be tracked given the hours devoted to it by the assigned workforce.

Conversely, the Resource Management feature can show the hours put in by each worker, and track who is available to assign to the next project. All of this data feeds into easy-to-read dashboards that can integrate in financials and trends.

Note that there is a free 14-day trial to take LiquidPlanner out for a test drive before you commit.

Read our review of LiquidPlanner here.

(Image credit: Basecamp)

4. Basecamp

An effective tool for collaborating on projects

The ability to create group chats
A weighty veteran solution
Expensive for SMBs

Basecamp is one of the oldest project management solutions, having been around for more than ten years, building a reputation which makes it a highly credible tool for businesses that work on big projects.

The latest version of the app offers a variety of helpful features, including the ability to send direct messages for quick discussions, set up a schedule so you only get notifications within work hours, and show your appreciation for colleagues by clicking an applause button. Basecamp avoids a fragmented workflow, and as the firm says, it keeps “discussions, tasks, files, schedules and chat in one place.”

There are some nifty functions for dealing with clients, too. For instance, you can easily save and track client feedback and approvals, and you can also get reports on how projects are going. And when you want to collaborate with others, you can create group chats.

A free version lets you work on up to 3 projects with up to 20 people, to allow you to try out the software. After that there's only a single paid-for plan costing $99 per month, which includes all features and an unlimited number of users, making this a great deal for a larger corporation, but possibly pricing out small businesses. 

Read our review of Basecamp here.

(Image credit: Podio)

5. Podio

A communication-first app for generating project ideas

The option of in-app purchases
Useful IM function
Premium plans are expensive

Podio has been designed for professionals who are always working on multiple projects and generating new ideas. More than 400,000 businesses and teams from across the world are using it, including the likes of Sony, Volvo and the NFL. 

With the Podio app, you have the ability to create tasks and customize them based on your workflow, taking into account deadlines and responsibilities. There’s also a built-in instant messaging function which you can use to share ideas and see how others are getting on with delegated tasks. Additionally, there is a handy tool for getting quick feedback without having to send several emails.

There are integrations with third-party services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, meaning you can share content quickly and easily. Podio is available in a number of additional languages, including French, German, Danish, Chinese, Spanish and Russian.

On the web, there is a free tier with a limit of up to five team members. The Basic plan starts at $9 per user per month.

Read our review of Podio here.

More project management software to consider

Wrike is another project management software suite intended to help improve productivity, by providing tools simplify planning and improve collaboration while streamlining workflow. Reports and status updates are available in real-time. There are a number of integrations available, not least for Salesforce, G Suite, Github, Microsoft, Box, and Adobe. A free version is available for up to 5 users, with a Professional version available from $9.80 (£8.50) per user per month for up to 15 users, and more feature-rich Business plan for $24.80 (£21) per user per month for up to 200 users.

Zoho Projects is another project management tool that allows users to plan, organize, and collaborate on projects, while using Gantt charts for detailed visualization of progress and schedules. There are also options for document management, time keeping, as well as tracking and fixing errors. A range of integrations are available, such as Slack, Google, Dropbox, as well as the numerous other Zoho suites. Pricing is dependent on both the number of users, number of projects, and the depth of features required.

Monday.com allows for the easy drag and drop of information for building up projects to manage, not least through schedules, tasks, and staff allocated to particular projects. Various dashboards and automations are available to simplify the whole process of project management. There are various integrations available, especially for document storage, such as with Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as other programs such as Mailchimp. Pricing is dependent on the number of features and amount of online storage required, but plans generally cost between $25-$59 per user per month.