Are you looking for the best project management software for your startup? Are there too many choices confusing you? Here’s a breakdown of the top ones to help you choose the best option.
Top 9 project management software solutions
Asana is a freemium project management software with a generous free plan. It has over a million paid users.
- Create unlimited tasks and projects and send unlimited messages with the free plan.
- Includes list, board, and calendar view.
- Interface is clean and easy to use.
- Free integrations with 100+ apps helps simplify projects.
- Its many features can overwhelm new users.
- No time-tracking features. You need to use a third-party app.
- You can only assign one person per task.
Price: $13.49, $30.49 and Enterprise. Free plan available.
Basecamp is a project management and team communication software from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, and the company was originally called 37signals. They wrote a book on working remotely.
- Create unlimited projects and invite unlimited users and clients.
- 500GB of storage space available.
- Project templates help you quickly start projects.
- It’s expensive when compared with other popular project management tools.
- There’s no built-in time tracking. You have to use third-party software.
Price: $99 per month. 30-day free trial available. A limited version is available for free.
Trello is probably the most popular project management software with over 50 million users because of its freemium model and referral program. You can learn more about the plans below.
- Multiple viewing options available. These include dashboard, kanban, timeline, workspace table, and map.
- Automated command runs and Power-Ups improve workflow and save time.
- Assign multiple people to a board and set due dates.
- You can only make 10 boards with the free plan.
- There’s no built-in time and expense tracking.
Price: $12.50 per month and Enterprise. Free plan available. 14-day free trial also available.
ClickUp is a powerful tool with project management and several other features for improving productivity.
- Mind maps, checklists, task templates, goal tracking, and workload management make it easy to create and manage projects.
- Send and receive emails from the same platform. Also, automate tasks from your emails.
- Built-in time tracking available. You can also integrate with third-party time-tracking tools.
- Has too many features. Requires a big learning curve.
- Mobile version isn’t as good as the web version.
Price: $9 and $19 per user per month. Free and Enterprise plans are also available.
Wrike is a minimalist project management software with some extra features for creatives and marketers.
- Kick-start successful projects quickly with templates.
- Time tracking and advanced analytics boost productivity and efficiency.
- Integrates with 400+ apps like Salesforce, Google Drive, Jira and, Slack.
- Interface is harder to use for new users.
- The free plan is minimal.
- Add-ons like Resource, Proof, and Publish cost extra.
Price: $9.80 and $24.80 per user/month, billed annually. Free and Enterprise plans are also available.
Teamwork is a work and project management tool for teams of all sizes.
- Create projects, break them into tasks, and collaborate as a team.
- Gantt, task list, and board views available. Customize your views based on the project and team preferences.
- Project health and time tracking help you reach deadlines.
- Add-ons like Desk, Chat, and CRM boost productivity further.
- Has a lot of features and add-ons. Requires a learning curve to understand all of them.
- Pricing is similar to other project management tools like Trello and Asana, but all the add-ons can make it costlier.
Price: $12.50 and $22.50 per user/month.
MeisterTask is a beautiful and customizable project management software for teams.
- Use a predefined workflow or create a customized one.
- Option to easily switch to MeisterTask from competitors. You can import data from Trello and Asana.
- Automate repeating tasks to save time and improve workflow.
- Visually plan your projects with MeisterTask’s other tool MindMeister (mind mapping tool).
- Free plan is very restricted. You can just create three projects.
- Only kanban view is available.
Price: $4.19 and $10.39 per month, billed annually. Free and Enterprise plans are also available.
Monday.com is a well-rounded business tool for project management, CRM, sales, and task management.
- A very visual and intuitive project management tool.
- Use one of the 200+ templates to start a project or create a custom one. 30+ customizable column types are available.
- Calendar, timeline, kanban, Gantt, map, form, and workload views available.
- Has a ton of features. It’ll take a while to understand them all.
- Pricing is higher when compared with other project management apps. You need to purchase for multiple users at a time.
Price: $10, $12, and $20 per seat per month; minimum of three seats. Free and Enterprise plans are also available.
ProofHub is a robust project planning software for large teams.
- Create unlimited projects and add unlimited users with the paid plans.
- Storage of 15GB or 100GB, depending on the plan. Store all files in one place. You can upload them directly or through Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.
- Create Custom roles and decide who gets access to what.
- Unsuitable for small teams as the prices are high. Plans only work in your favor if you have many employees to fill the unlimited user seats.
- The interface needs an upgrade.
Price: $50 and $99 per month. 14-day free trial available.
Project management software deals from AppSumo
Are you on a tight budget? Do you still want to use a premium tool for a fraction of the price? Fear not. AppSumo has lifetime and annual deals to help you manage your projects and grow your business for a fraction of the cost.
Manage your entire business from one dashboard.
- A complete suite of tools for running a freelance business.
- Includes software for project management and time tracking.
- Create invoices, proposals, forms, and surveys on the same platform.
- Built-in CRM for managing clients.
- Mainly suited for individuals and small teams.
- You can only add contributors with the Team plan. Even with it, you can only add 30 contributors. After that, it’s an extra $2 per contributor/month.
Price: $360 per year. 7-day free trial available.
AppSumo price: $199 per year.
Project management that cuts through the noise with boards, calendars, chats, and more.
Bloo is an affordable project management software for large teams.
- Create unlimited projects, add unlimited users, and use unlimited storage.
- Includes board and calendar views to help manage projects.
- A very easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface.
- Use the activity and project trail to analyze how a project went.
- Too much branding on the interface.
- No project templates to start a project quickly.
Price: $500 per year. 14-day free trial available.
AppSumo price: $49 for life.
Organize your projects like a dream with clean Gantt charts, schedules, and Kanban boards.
- Create a highly organized project with a customizable dashboard.
- Create unlimited projects and tasks with the free plan. Also, add unlimited members and collaborators.
- Three views available: task boards, Gantt charts, and team schedules.
- Time tracking helps measure the time spent on a project and plan better future projects.
- Harder to switch from another tool. Right now, it’s only possible to transfer data directly from Trello.
Price: $1143.88 per year. Free plan available.
AppSumo price: $49 for life.
Free project management solutions
Unless you’re cobbling a few Google tools together, no out-of-the box project management software is totally free. But the good news is that most of them offer generous free plans. Here are three of my top picks.
1. Google Workspace
Your Google account has so many free tools — Docs, Sheets, Gmail, Calendar, Google Meet, Drive, Messaging, Slides, Forms, and dozens more.
They’re sufficient for managing most small projects. You also get 15GB of free space. If you want more space and features, you can upgrade to Google Workspace.
Why did it make it into my free tools list?
I like Google a lot. I use tools like Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Sheets every day. Other features such as Calendar and Google Meet are beneficial for scheduling calls and speaking to clients. Some of these tools integrate with several top CRM and project management tools, including Freshworks, Zoho, Trello, and HubSpot. You can combine free plans from some of these tools with Google.
Over 50 million people use Trello for a reason. They adore the free plan. You can create up to 10 boards, add unlimited members and cards, and use unlimited storage. You can also use it on multiple devices and take advantage of the unlimited activity log. For most businesses, startups, and small businesses, it’s sufficient.
Why did it make it into my free tools list?
Trello is the project management tool I use. I used the free plan for years and only recently upgraded to the paid plan after scaling my business. I needed more boards and users.
If you’re a freelancer or small business owner with just two to three employees, the free plan is more than enough.
Trello has an excellent free plan, but there are limitations, such as a 10MB cap per file upload and only 10 boards. If you prefer a free Trello alternative where you can upload larger files and create unlimited projects, check out Asana.
You can create unlimited tasks and collaborate with up to 15 teammates. It integrates with 100+ apps too. The main drawback is that you can assign only one person per task, unlike with Trello, where you can assign more.
Why did it make it into my free tools list?
Asana was the first project management tool I signed up for. I got Trello a year later. I felt that both were similar, with minor differences in features and limitations to the free plans. I used more of Trello and eventually upgraded, but you can’t go wrong with either. Both are wonderful tools with excellent free plans. If you just want something free and don’t intend to upgrade, Asana might be better as its free plan is more generous.
Benefits of using a project management tool
To reach business goals on time, you need to break down goals into projects and slice them into tasks. Then assign different tasks to team members and ensure everyone is completing their assignments on time.
Doing this manually or with outdated techniques like spreadsheets only is like juggling a dozen balls with just two arms.
A project management tool simplifies and automates the process, so it feels like you’re juggling the same number of balls, but you have eight arms like an octopus.
Here are a few benefits of using a project management tool.
You can add different teams to a project and assign one or more collaborators to each task. Collaborators can chat with each other and share files. You can also track time to check productivity levels.
More efficient project management process
Project management tools have various views such as kanban, Gantt charts, and calendars. They make it possible to organize and plan different types of projects. You can also use data from time tracking and other analytics to better understand how long it takes to finish a task or project and plan future projects appropriately.
Transparency across the organization
Other collaborators and managers can view their teammates’ performance and check if they’re on track to deliver the project on time. Some like Beesbusy will even display team members’ availability and time logs.
What should you look for in project management software?
Different project management software will have different features depending on the type of users they want to attract. Monday.com, for example, has a ton of features that go beyond project management, while MeisterTask is a simple one.
If you’re running a large business, you can pick sophisticated project management software. But if you’re a small business or a startup, a simple one will suffice and save you money. Here are some basic features your software must have.
1. Collaboration tools
The most important feature of a project management tool is collaboration. Your team should easily be able to communicate with each other. Different project management tools will have different types of collaboration options. Most offer a forum-type collaboration interface, while some will have individual or even video chat.
2. File sharing
File sharing is another imperative feature. The file size you can share will vary from platform to platform.
3. Project tracking
Almost all software offer timers and activity logs to track a project. Many of them even offer integrations with third-party analytics tools to discern even more data.
4. Task management
Task management features are requisite to project management tools. That’s their purpose.
5. Time and expense tracking
Some offer built-in time and expense tracking tools. If the feature is missing from a project management software you’re interested in, check if it offers integrations with other tools that do.
6. Gantt chart
A Gantt chart is a view that helps you better plan projects and tasks with deadlines. It shows activities displayed against time. Not all project management tools offer this feature. If you want it, pay attention to the different views available.
7. Kanban board
It’s not the end of the world if a project planning software lacks the Gantt chart. Most of them offer a kanban view. This is a simple interface where you organize tasks (cards) in columns. The columns show the tasks you need to do, the ones you’re working on, and the ones you finished.
These are just a handful of essential features. Before you dig for the right tools, make a list of how your team will work and the tasks you’ll handle. Then make a list of features that’ll help handle the tasks.
You can check if these features are available on the features page. Don’t be too critical if a feature you want is missing on the software you like most, as it’ll likely offer integration with another tool(s) that helps execute the task.
How to evaluate the best project management tools for your business
There are scores of good project management tools with reliable features and minimal disadvantages. Many of them also offer generous free plans and affordable paid plans. We’re spoiled for choice. It’s a lot of work to sift through them and zone down on your favorite tool.
Do you find it overwhelming and wish to pick the right one quickly? Then you should go through my guide to evaluate and find your ideal project management software.
How many team members do you have?
Consider how many team members will use the tool. If very few are using it and you don’t need sophisticated features, something free or basic will suffice. While if you’re a large team, you’ll need software that can accommodate everyone.
If you have a small team but have plans to scale it shortly, pick software that’s good for small and large teams. Moving all your employees and the data to a new platform and getting them accustomed to it is a lot of work.
If they don’t hate their boss already, they will do so when you move.
An excellent scalable and affordable solution is Bloo, as you can add unlimited users.
How easy is it for team members to onboard and start using the software?
Ease of use greatly matters. When you try it, instead of testing it individually, get some of your employees to try it out too. They might use it more than you.
When the decision time comes, do it as a team after asking team members for their feedback. Try to trial three to five software solutions simultaneously. It’ll also make it easy to compare them against each other.
What learning resources are available?
Check if the company offers a demo or at least tutorials and a wiki to help you start quickly. While trialing it, try to contact support a few times to check response times and how accurately they can help you.
What roles and permissions features do you need?
Most project management tools let you add two types of participants. They’re users who can manage the account and collaborate on tasks and collaborators who can only collaborate. Some will even let you set extra permissions and roles for different users.
If you have many users or want to set different types of permissions, you must pick the software that lets you customize better.
What is your budget?
Get specific about your budget while choosing your software. You shouldn’t just be able to afford it now, but months and years from now when you want access to more features, data, and the ability to add more users. If you’re on a tight budget, choose a free plan that lets you add unlimited users or an affordable software that doesn’t get too expensive as you scale.
If you want to save money, you should check out the AppSumo store. We have annual and lifetime deals on project management tools that you can get for a fraction of the price, and we add many more each day.