Best Collaborative Project Management Software

Project management software has changed irrevocably since the 1990s.

Prior to the last couple of decades, project managers were responsible for the manual organization of projects and their staff, and whilst they’ll often still play a part in various industries today, project management has moved towards the ‘agile’ framework.

In a nutshell, modern agile project management is iterative – it places the focus on small, movable tasks that can be easily monitored as they progress towards completion. Atlassian describes agile project management software as granular, progressing towards deadlines in timely but small, bitesize chunks.

And that’s where project management software is today.

Revolving around the agile project management paradigm, modern project management software breaks tasks down into chunks that are easily scheduled, tracked, and monitored towards completion.

These chunks are often displayed and organized in a Kanban board or Gantt chart, which have become hallmarks of project management software.

Project Management Software: Features to Look Out For

If you or your business are considering project management software then what features should you look out for?There are 6 main features to project management software:

  • Project planning and calendars; Kanban or Gantt boards with deadline scheduling
  • Team collaboration; ability to share files from platforms like Google Drive or Office
  • Time tracking; to track how long people are spending on certain tasks
  • Reporting; reporting progress, issues, updates, etc
  • Project budgeting; budgeting tools to track costs
  • Billing and quotes; for invoicing and to keep clients and customers in the loop with costs

Not all project management will feature project budgeting and billing and quoting tools, but most contain a way to track numerical values. For example, Monday has a “Numbers” column that you can add to your board, set a currency, and track and analyze expenses from within the project board.

Primarily, though, project management software is about accurately breaking down and tracking a project piece-by-piece. All the main options achieve this goal through a combination of Kambam boards, time tracking, and calendars. It’s also often possible to analyze your project data, e.g. to see who has spent what time on what projects, what jobs remain unfinished, how close you are to reaching the deadline vs the total hours of work remaining, etc.

Without further ado, let’s break down 6 of the most popular project management software options available today:

ClickUp

ClickUp is one of the top-tier project management tools that comes with a crazy suite of features that suit every project, every industry, and every team. They’ve built an impressive repertoire of clients including the likes of Google and Booking.com.

ClickUp is a cloud-based tool with a very generous free plan that allows access to features including 100Mb of cloud storage per workspace. From there, you’re looking at $5 per month per person with other deals for enterprise-level plans.

As one of the most scalable, fully-featured project management tools around, ClickUp has a reputation for being somewhat overwhelming at first glance – you can’t overstate how many tools there are!

ClickUp is an excellent project management for any task or industry:

  • Management
  • Remote work
  • Software development and programming
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Design
  • CRM
  • Health and environment
  • Non-profit and charity

You can break ClickUp into 4 main areas, but the total featureset contains some 50 tools or more.

Project management: There are numerous workflow views like Kanban boards, Gantt views, calendar views, activity views, workload views, etc. You can log projects, break them down into their various components, assign them off and then track them in so many ways,

Team management: There are plenty of features for tracking and managing teams. Time tracking is simple, as is the tracking of individual workloads, allowing managers to tune tasks to spread the workload fairly.

Time Management: Set deadlines, task estimates, and monitor progress towards goals. View graphs that break down the time spent on each project/goal/task and how this contributes to the overall completion of the main task.

Collaboration: There are numerous features for collaboration including scrums and sprints for agile DevOps teams, plenty of file upload tools ith team viewing, reports, and more. Work collaboratively in team rooms via voice or Zoom, track tasks and manage team workload to keep tasks fair and equitable.

Niche Features

There are plenty of niche features here too that are optimized for programming or software development. For example, there are sprint management tools and scrum points that can be tracked with different agile charts. Bug tracking is simple and with Git integration, it’s easy to integrate development project management with this coding-specific management platform.

Financial reporting and budgeting tools are also fully featured here, enabling businesses and teams to set financial goals, track costs, and quickly pull up graphs and reports for financial analysis.

No matter the industry or project, ClickUp has something to offer. There are tools for proofing and annotating documents, managing budgets, and resources, chatting to team members, and working collaboratively via Zoom, etc.ClickUp integrates with numerous other software and its public API enables custom connectivity to virtually any other relevant platform.

Pricing

The full version of ClickUp is 100% free, the only caveat being that the total workspace storage is limited at 100mb. For many users, dare we say the majority of users, this isn’t a major issue. ClickUp’s full version costs just $5 each per team member per month when billed annually or $9 when billed monthly, and there are deals for enterprises or very large teams. Overall, this ranks ClickUp as extremely competitive, especially given the vast selection of tools on offer.

Features

  • Project tracking using Gantt view, Kanban boards, calendars, and more
  • Ample tools for setting goals and project milestones
  • Advanced team management and time tracking
  • Tons of communications integrations for webcam and voice
  • Document proofing and annotation
  • Agile tools for programmers and DevOps
  • Vast number of integrations including public API
  • Project automation
  • Map view
  • Too many to list!

Pros

  • A colossal number of features
  • Suitable for all sectors and industries
  • Superb pricing with very generous free version
  • Every integration you could possibly need
  • Niche features for specific tasks or industries
  • Scalable to work with extra-large teams

Cons

  • Overwhelming number of features
  • Users need to spend some time setting it all up to get the most out of it

Monday.com

Monday.com is a well-known collaborative project management software that bears all the hallmarks of a quality program. It has several views, e.g. Table view, Calendar view, Gantt view, and Kanban view, allowing users to monitor tasks and progress them from ideation through to production and finalization. There’s an innovative tagging and messaging system that allows users to converse across projects, and a dedicated chat panel too for individual and team communication.

The workflow can be automated using reminders and other tools that keep the team tracked towards deadlines. Progress can be broken down and monitored using impressive graphs and KPI tables. Overall, it’s one of the simpler project management softwares, but for smaller teams, it works very well and doesn’t bloat with unnecessarily complex features and endless customization.

Monday.com does work well as a CRM too, but it’s mostly focussed on the project management side of things rather than client or customer-side organization. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of room for customization and Monday.com is frequently adding new features to the platform. There are tons of integrations too, so you can easily connect Monday.com to apps like Slack, Google Drive, Docs, etc.

Templates: With over 200 templates, Monday.com enables teams to get and running immediately without custom-building their own boards. The templates cover pretty much anything you can think of.

Automation: Automation in Monday.com is easy and enables teams to set reminders, archive tasks, send files, etc.

Pricing

There is a 14-day free trial,  but there is currently no free version of Monday.com. Instead, you have to pay per seat and costs vary between tiers. E.g. the Basic plan doesn’t allow for Calendar or Gantt view, and costs $8 per seat per month. It scales through the Standard ($10), Pro ($16), and Enterprise tiers which add more apps, automation, features, and integrations.

Features

  • Project management focussed software
  • Kanban, Gantt, Table, and Calendar views
  • Plenty of automation features
  • Private boards for higher-tier packages
  • Multi-level permissions
  • Decent tagging and communication system
  • Swift, easy-to-use interface
  • Reasonably cheap for smaller teams
  • Performance and deadline tracking

Pros

  • Nicely streamlined for project management
  • Ideal for remote working
  • Reasonably priced
  • Simple to use without the bloat
  • Powerful automation
  • Multi-level permissions for Enterprise version

Cons

  • Not so expandable as competitors
  • Could get expensive for big teams

Kissflow

Trusted by many huge brands worldwide, Kissflow is a workflow-centric project management software with all the usual views and features. Namely, it includes Kanban, List, Matrix, Task, and Project views which are all modular and easy to edit.

The interface is super-clean and simple – whilst some expandability is possibly sacrificed, this is one of the slickest collaborative project management UIs around. It also integrates very well with GSuite, Excel, and many other apps. The APIs are extensive allowing for deeper customization.

Focussed on task management, Kissflow allows users to track processes from ideation and assignment through to production and completion. There are tons of ways to track projects and discuss with team members as projects move through the app’s workflow. Some nice review and analysis features allow team leaders to track project progress and performance. There’s no rocket science here, just pure, slick project and team management.

Multiple Workflows: With so many workflow options, Kissflow is suitable for many teams working across various departments, e.g. marketing, lead generation, CRM, etc.

Integrations: Kissflow’s integrations with GSuite and other apps are seamless and smooth. It’s very easy to work across integrated apps and incorporate off-platform documents into the workflow.

Requests: Kissflow makes it easy for employees to make requests and communicate with others via the platform. This makes it a good tool for managing employee rotas, onboarding, etc.

Pricing

Kissflow does have a free version that covers 3 users for 1 project, which is great. From there, it scales per project, not per seat. The Standard tier covers 5 users for 5 projects at $35/mo total. Additional users are then $5. This works out pretty competitively and there’s decent scalability to ensure you don’t pay over the odds for your team.

Features

  • Matrix, table, list, Kanban, and multiple other customizable workflows
  • Integrations with GSuite, Office 365, and many other apps
  • Advanced time and performance tracking
  • Quality messaging system
  • Slick, intuitive UI
  • Lots of templates for different teams across various industries

Pros

  • Fast and efficient with robust UI
  • Focussed on project and team management with little bloat
  • Plenty of views and templates
  • Excellent APIs
  • Fair, scalable pricing
  • Good messaging system

Cons

  • Doesn’t have the same level of automation potential as other software
  • Not as easily expandable as ClickUp

Kanban Tool

So you’ve looked into project management software and decided you only need one thing: the Kanban board. Kanbans are the mainstay of most project management software, allowing businesses and organizations to break down tasks into manageable chunks and view their progression through swimlanes until completion.

Kanban Tool is focussed entirely on Kanbans. Despite its simplicity, it’s trusted by some huge brands worldwide. It even has an on-premises version which could save money vs SaaS project management software.

In terms of functionality, the Kanban boards here are endlessly customizable. Set task dependency, assign tasks easily to teams, track their progress using advanced reporting and automated email reminders and comments. The integrations list is also pretty much endless and with well-documented APIs and SDKs, Kanban Tool is open to full customization.

Security: Kanban Tool boasts advanced security and compliance features that are sometimes overlooked by other collaborative project management software. 2FA, advanced access tiering, and single-session sign-on are all included.

Endless Customisation: The Kanban boards can be customized in more ways than can be described. These are called ‘Power Ups’ – there are over 30 Power-Ups that can be attached to the customizable boards.

Pricing

Pricing is very fair here, with a free version for 2 boards for 2 users with no file attachments. There’s a standard Team package for €5 per member with unlimited boards and attachments and an Enterprise package for €9 per month per member.

Features

  • Advanced Kanban boards
  • 30+ Power-Ups to modify and customize Kanban boards
  • Well-documented, extensive APIs
  • Process automation
  • Excellent security features
  • Analytics and performance suite

Pros

  • Extremely robust for Kanban board management and workflows
  • Tons of customization
  • Cheap for most users
  • On-premises option for enterprises
  • Robust security
  • Automated reminders and comments

Cons

  • Purely for Kanban workflows
  • Simple UI

Workfront

Workfront by Adobe is one of the world’s leading project and team management software. It’s oriented towards remote work but can be used by anyone looking for a robust team management program with deep functionality for work across nearly any industry.

The programming and software development features are well-developed, with Gantt boards that allow for Agile DevOps and tons of project tracking features.

The dashboard is one of Workfront’s greatest assets, allowing each team member to view their own personal projects, performance, and time management breakdown. The centralized communication hub is extremely good for networking teams together efficiently. Collaborative working spaces allow teams to work from within the app.

Workflow is well-engineered for teams of all sizes; tasks can be assigned, prioritized, tracked, and broken down with KPIs for analysis by managers. Integrations with both Adobe products and third-party apps are extensive and there are well-documented APIs for deep customization.

Permissions: Easily set and manage advanced permissions across all employees and teams.

Visual Collaboration: Collaborate in powerful visual spaces; annotate images, videos, etc, all within the app.

Advanced Reporting: Create reports on KPIs and project progression. Analyze individual, team, and project performance with charts and graphs.

Pricing

Workfront pricing is on request – you have to contact them directly. As you might expect then, it’s not cheap, working out at something like $30 per user per month. Of course, it depends on your project and needs. This is advanced collaborative project management software geared towards SMBs and enterprises as well as productive smaller remote teams.

Features

  • Multiple views including calendar and Gantt
  • Visual collaborative working space
  • Advanced workflow management
  • Extensive APIs
  • Deep integration with other apps
  • World-class security
  • Plenty of permissions options

Pros

  • Deep functionality for virtually every industry
  • Superb support for enterprises and SMBs
  • Innovative visual working space
  • Excellent messaging system
  • Endless API and app support
  • Powerful reporting and KPI analysis

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Need to put some time in to get the most out of it

Asana

Asana is one of the newest and fastest-growing project management software around. It’s modern, innovative, and well-made for remote work and small, agile teams. There are 3 main layouts; List, Calendar, and Boards, all of which enable deep customization.

Team management is simple and the internal messaging system is great. One of Asana’s headlines is its brilliant UI that offers the perfect balance between simplicity and flexibility – it’s got something for every type of team ranging from software developers to creatives, agencies, and more.

At its core, Asana is streamlined towards project and team management and this is where it excels. It’s super easy to set deadlines, assign team members and track task progression from ideation to production and completion. Integrating with GSuite is simple and seamless, allowing users to effortlessly sync their Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides work with the app.

Team Management: Asana excels at team management. Easily tag, manage and communicate with team members whilst passing on feedback and positive reinforcement.

GSuite: Google apps are particularly well-integrated with Asana, allowing teams to easily collaborate using Drive, Docs, Slides, etc.

Analytics: Break down project progress and monitor individual and collective contributions to tasks. Forecast how long tasks will take and predict whether or not they’ll be finished on deadline.

Prices

Asana starts at $11.99 per user per month on the Premium Plan. The Business Plan is $23.99 per user per month. The Basic plan is free and with unlimited projects, it’s probably the most generous free plan for collaborative project management software.

Features

  • List, Calendar, and Board views
  • Manage teams and set tasks and deadlines
  • Track project and individual progress
  • Integration with GSuite apps
  • Communicate with individuals and teams via message or Zoom
  • Analyze project progress and forecast time until completion

Pros

  • Slick and intuitive UI
  • Superb integration with Google apps
  • Generous free version
  • Excellent team management features
  • Track time and project KPIs

Cons

  • Probably best for smaller remote teams
  • Lacks some automation features

Summary

Some excellent collaborative project management software here. Competition in this space is super-tight, but each of these brands has something unique to offer.

ClickUp is a bit of a standout, but what it gains in colossal functionality it loses in intuition. However, with a little work, teams can bend and flex this extraordinary software to manage pretty much anything they want.

Kissflow, Monday.com and Asana are simpler, more streamlined and oriented towards modern project and team management. They’re both superb for smaller and medium-sized teams.

Workfront is a bit of a beast, both in functionality and cost, but it’s status as one of the world leaders in project and team management says it all. It’s worthy of serious consideration.

Kanban Tool is ideal for businesses who just need  an advanced Kanban workflow solution.

Each one brings something original to the table.

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