Project management software is a useful type of application designed to help you track and manage anything from a simple to-do list to complex projects with contingent due dates and many contributors. The best project management software gives you the tools to understand your project’s status instantly, with added tools for communication, assignments, due date tracking, and much more.
There are many project management software options to choose from, so we reviewed more than 30 popular options, focusing on features, ease of use, supported operating systems, and cost. Continue reading for our expert-picked list of the best project management software options on the market today.
Best Overall : Asana
We picked Asana as the best overall project management software due to its flexibility, multiple view options, excellent free offering, and usefulness in tracking both simple and extremely complex projects.
View projects as a list, kanban, timeline, or calendar views in a single click
Track unlimited projects with features to assign people and due dates to specific tasks and sub-tasks
Embedded project and team communication and collaboration resources
Options to upload and attach additional files
The robust free version may meet your needs without paying
A steep learning curve for some new users
No time tracking without additional integration
A paid plan is required to access all features
Overall, Asana is the best project management tool because of its usefulness and flexibility in tracking many complicated projects on your own or with a team. The free version includes unlimited tasks, projects, and messages collaborating with up to 15 team members. Without paying a dollar, you can manage projects with different views, including a list view, timeline view, and the popular kanban board view. You can access Asana on the web or through Android or iOS mobile apps.
Paid plans start at $10.99 per user per month when paid annually and include more advanced dashboards, additional users, forms, custom fields, milestone tracking, and more sophisticated features. The most advanced Premium version starts at $24.99 per user per month.
Asana is loaded with many useful features that could make it a one-stop project management tool for any team or business. It helps solo users manage their own work, to-do list, or home projects. Asana also integrates with over 100 additional tools for more features and options. The combination of a free option and its long list of features make Asana stand out as a top choice.
Best for Freelancers and Solopreneurs : Trello
We like Trello for freelancers and solopreneurs thanks to its easy-to-use kanban board-focused tools that are free for individuals and small teams.
Kanban boards make it easy to create and track tasks and projects
Free version for individuals and teams that need up to 10 boards
Automated commands push projects forward without manual work
Track assignees, due dates, files, and communications for each task
The paid version is required for more than 10 boards
Card-focused tasks and projects may not be ideal for all projects
Trello is a great option for freelancers and other solopreneurs mainly for its generous free version and intuitive design. A trendy tool known for popularizing easy-to-use kanban boards, Trello is a card-based project management system. However, it recently made a big update that puts it in closer competition with Asana and others regarding support for other views, including new table, calendar, timeline, and dashboard options.
Many users and teams can take advantage of Trello at no cost indefinitely. The main premium version is available starting at $10 per user per month to unlock all views, more automations, advanced checklists, more file storage, and other goodies.
Trello is fairly intuitive to get started without much training. If you’re comfortable using the internet and web browsers, Trello is straightforward. It’s also available on mobile for Android and iOS devices. The free version may be all that freelancers and solo business owners need, but they could find the $10 per month plan worthwhile for additional features and views.
Best for Small Business : ClickUp
We picked ClickUp because it includes much of what you need to complete a workflow, including spreadsheets and word processing, without leaving the project management tool.
Extremely robust tools and features allow you to work within the app
Useful free version and paid versions starting at $5 per user per month
Collaboration tools and integrations make it a one-stop-shop for many tasks and projects
Not all features are included in the free version
The feature list may be overwhelming for new users
ClickUp has an impressive list of features to give small business owners most of what they need to stay up and running all in one tool. ClickUp does some of everything, including process management, task tracking, time tracking, collaboration tools, and more. It also supports a long list of integrations and customization options, earning it the top spot for small businesses.
One of the big draws to ClickUp over competitors is the ability to do much of your work inside of the ClickUp platform. For example, spreadsheets and rich text editing tools and integrations mean you don’t have to click between other spreadsheet and word processing programs that could interrupt your work.
The basic version is “Free Forever.” A paid version is very affordable at $5 per user per month when paid annually, which adds unlimited use and additional tools such as goals, portfolios, and custom fields. ClickUp is one of the most powerful and robust project management tools around and is certainly worth a look, especially if you’re a busy small business owner.
Best for Growing Teams : Hive
We like Hive for large and growing teams due to its simple and popular view options with over 1,000 integrations to build your own customized work and project management dashboard.
Flexible views, forms, and templates make it easy to centralize your project management
Additional approval and automation tools allow advanced project automations
Analytics tools help understand team member productivity and contributions
Over 1,000 integrations to work with other tools and platforms
No free option after a two-week trial
Add-ons can lead to high costs per user
Hive is a high-powered collaboration tool that is great for larger and enterprise teams and organizations because of its easily centralized and customizable management options. If you’re willing to use a platform with no free version, you do get some additional useful features, including worker productivity analysis and more than 1,000 integrations.
Unique features include a personal and team Hive Analytics tool that looks at productivity, budgeting, and progress. Tracking per user and per team gives you granular insights into what’s working and what isn’t in your projects and workflows.
Pricing starts at $12 per user per month for core features. You’ll pay more for proofing and approvals, resourcing, timesheets, external users, enterprise security, and analytics. You can use it for free for two weeks to decide if it’s right for your team before paying.
Best for Customization : Monday
We chose Monday because it supports many projects and integrations in a unified workspace to track nearly any project or other need.
Customizable features to track milestones and projects with multiple views and dashboard options
View team capacity to ensure everyone is working to their best potential
Custom automations, templates, and a long list of integrations
No free version available
High-priced plans are required for all features
Due to its variety of tailored features like automations, templates, and integrations, Monday is the most customizable project management software. Monday calls itself a Work OS—it follows a design similar to what you may be used to seeing in Google’s apps to help you stay focused and productive. Monday also includes plenty of flexible options, including templates and user dashboards. If you want everything to line up in a precise way, Monday can likely handle your needs.
Subscriptions start at $24 per month for three users with higher-priced plans and options for teams of 200 or more. Pricing is customized for more than 50 monthly users. The base package doesn’t include Gantt views, timeline view, calendar view, and other useful options included with higher-priced packages.
Due to its pricing and features, Monday is best for teams and not solo business owners. You may also need a little technical know-how to use the many integrations, which is common with many project management platforms. But the customization options from Monday make it a solid choice for many businesses.
Best for Security : Wrike
We chose Wrike as best for security because the Citrix-owned company includes strong encryption features, so even Wrike staff can’t get into your company data.
Cloud data security locks your data with your own encryption keys
Data audit logs and granular management
Features that work for nearly any type of team or project
Free version limited to five users
Extra fee for full security tools and other features
Separate pricing plans are required for some marketing and service tools
Wrike stands out as a choice for security-minded businesses thanks to a suite of security tools and options that keep unauthorized users out of your data. It offers most project management features that you would expect, including multiple views and customizable options.
The flagship security feature is Wrike Lock, which uses your own encryption keys to store and unlock your data. Not even Wrike staff can get into your data without those keys, so your data is extremely safe when you use Wrike.
Wrike is free for simple needs with teams of up to five users. For more tools and users, you will have to pay for plans starting at $9.80 per user per month. Marketing and service delivery teams have a special version available with custom pricing. Wrike Lock and several other tools require an additional fee, so it may not be right for all teams on a tight budget.
Best for Remote Teams : Basecamp
We like that Basecamp acts as a central hub for workers anywhere in the world to share projects, messages, chat, files, scheduling, and more.
Tool designed to bring together remote teams
Features for project management and other team interactions
Management and individual features help manage work-life balance and workflows
$99 per month price for more than 20 users and all features
Project management is a core part of Basecamp, but that’s definitely not all it can do. It functions best as an entire collaboration hub for remote teams, which is perfect in the COVID-19 environment, and why it gets the nod for the best in this category.
Free users can track up to three projects with 20 users. Basecamp Business costs $99 per month for unlimited projects and users. That makes it more expensive for smaller teams but a bargain for large teams who can avoid paying per-user fees. Because Basecamp’s features overlap with some additional external software suites, it could save you even more.
One other unique feature is a client/guest feature that helps you give specific access without handing over the keys to everything. The project tools are not quite as feature-packed as some competitors, but the collaboration features are a great addition for remote teams.
If you are new to project management software, getting started may revolutionize your business and help you reach new productivity levels you couldn’t have imagined before. Whether you want to start for free with our top choice, Asana, or can commit to starting with a paid offering for more features, there’s a good project management software choice for nearly every business.
|Best Overall||Asana||Excellent free version with robust features|
|Best for Freelancers and Solopreneurs||Trello||Easy to use, with a free version available|
|Best for Small Business||ClickUp||Handle word processing and spreadsheets integrated into project management tools|
|Best for Growing Teams||Hive||Team analytics to track productivity|
|Best for Customization||Monday||Customizable tracking and template features|
|Best for Security||Wrike||Advanced data encryption|
|Best for Remote Teams||Basecamp||Chat and collaboration hub for remote teams|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Project Management Software?
Project management software is a type of web, desktop, or mobile application designed to help users track and manage projects and processes. These tools include collaborative features that allow you to assign specific tasks, track due dates, and work with others to reach a goal.
What Are the Benefits of Using Project Management Software?
Project management software can replace and consolidate clunky and disparate work processes. Switching between chat, spreadsheet, presentation, word processing, email, and other apps throughout the day can take a lot of time and resources. Project management software aims to bring some or all of those needs into one central tool to help everyone stay synced on any project.
How Much Does Project Management Software Cost?
Project management software can range widely in cost. Many popular options come with a free version that could meet all of your needs. Others charge monthly, with most charging a per-user fee, so your costs go up as your team grows. The best project management software we reviewed costs up to around $10 to $15 per user per month.
What Are the Most Important Features in Project Management Software?
Every team has different needs, but common features that everyone should consider in project management software include:
- Task and sub-task assignments
- Due date tracking
- Chat or collaboration features
- Files storage and sharing
As your needs grow, you may also want the option for multiple views and integrations with third-party tools.
Who Should Use Project Management Software?
Project management software is great for anything from simple to-do lists to building the next version of a car, fulfilling a complex customer order, or designing the next big software tool or video game.
Any team can benefit from project management software, and even many solo business owners and individual workers enjoy project management software for their own needs. There’s no limit to what it can track and help you accomplish.
How We Chose the Best Project Management Software
We looked at more than 30 different options ranging from free to very expensive to pick the best project management software. To earn a spot on our list, project management software must include features that allow diverse teams to manage and track a wide range of project needs across team sizes and industries. We focused on features, custom options, collaborative tools, and pricing as important features to win a spot in any category on our list of the best project management software.