For businesses and organisations of all sizes, finding the best project management software is the difference between productivity success or failure, and when the margins are as thin as they are, that's a big deal.
The concept of project management has existed since humans began to work in groups to achieve tasks, often sub-dividing them based on skillset or other factors. While that might sound like an especially grand way to talk about enterprise software, it's true.
Instead of relying on spoken commands and exchange of information, much of the modern business world now relies on ones and zeros, executed on computers in offices and in vast data centres that power the cloud. Being able to capitalise on these efficiencies is key in today's world.
What is project management?
At its core, the task of project management is to break down complex processes into sub-tasks and assign them to members of a team, who can then update others on their progress towards a share goal.
The core elements then are based around planning (defining goals, timelines, and the allocation of resources), organisation (finding the right group of people, allocating those resources, and then assigning roles), execution of the plan, and finally monitoring how the plan unfolds.
Of course, trying to summarise everything about project management into a few sentences will necessarily leave out a lot of things, big and small, but those are the essential elements that project management software seeks to tackle.
In the internet and cloud age, one of the best things that these apps offer is the easy ability to communicate with team members in one place, something that was difficult outside of conference calling up until recently. Instant messaging especially negates the need to have a long, convoluted meeting, in which valuable time will be eaten up by pleasantries and other formalities.
In a basic sense, project management is about answering simple questions, and then ensuring all three are executed. What? When? And how?
Best project manangement apps in 2023
In 2023, the best project management software is developed by a few key companies. Let's take a look at your options, and their pros and cons. In a separate article, we've explored how much project management software costs.
- Microsoft Project: Unsurprisingly, Microsoft makes the most well-featured project management software, especially for larger organisations that have already bought into the Microsoft 365 suite. There are cloud and on-premise options for Project and the pricing is fairly reasonable, albeit on the high end. We really appreciated the budgeting features, advanced Gantt charts, and support for detailed task descriptions.
- Asana: Perhaps the best known of the upstart project management software, Asana has a big emphasis on tracking work from your colleagues, making keeping tabs on how a project is going at both high- and low-levels a lot easier. There are lots of nice integrations available here, too, and the whole experience feels very modern, which may suit your organisation.
- Miro: Best described as a multi-purpose collaboration tool, Miro is a cloud-based tool that offers a lot of scope for really tweaking how each board – the building block of the whole app – looks and functions, which can be helpful. There are plenty of templates to get things going, but anyone who likes to present information in a certain way will appreciate what Miro offers. Taken as a full package, it's hard to beat Miro.
- Trello: A recent entry onto the best of lists is Trello, an upstart that works across every single platform really seamlessly and functions great for both personal organisation and projects and those with groups. Delegating tasks is really simple and there are plenty of features to customise workflows. There's even a free app specifically for the iPad Pro, so check that out if you have the device.
Today, we've taken a look at what constitutes project management software and some of the key players in the industry, with the goal of helping you and your organisation makes the right choice and eek out that final bit of productivity.
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Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.