2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Intro: What Is Project Management Software? 2017 Ranking of The Best Project Management Software and Applications
Project management software is an incredibly essential part of many businesses today because it’s used to streamline and manage nearly every aspect of an organization.
For example, companies look for project manager software and the best project management tools to not just plan projects, but to schedule them, appropriately allocate resources, control costs, manage budgets, and control quality.
Award Emblem: Top 6 Project Management Software
Some of the specific advantages of using top project management software and the best project management tools include:
- Project management software can alleviate the need to use spreadsheets and other cumbersome tools for tracking every aspect of projects in a business.
- Project management software creates a centralized database of information that’s accessible by employees regardless of the device they’re using, or where they’re’ located. Everyone can access the same data with today’s cloud-based project manager software.
- Choosing the best project management tools and top project management software allows business leaders to have a greater sense of not only visibility but also control over relevant information. It ensures the utmost in accountability and productivity.
- Many of the best project management software platforms let businesses and users integrate other information into one location, such as accounting systems. This improves accuracy and often helps companies stay on track with their budgets.
These are just a few of the many benefits that come with selecting project management software and the best project management tools.
The following ranking and review covers the top project management software, as well as details as to why it’s so well ranked. It can serve as a buying guide for anyone searching for a project management software comparison of the best project management software.
List of the Best Project Management Software
This list is sorted alphabetically (click any of the below names to go directly to the detailed review for that project planning software).
Top Project Management Software
Best Project Management Software Firms
Table: Top 6 Best Project Management Software & Tools | above list is sorted alphabetically
Essential Features of Top Project Management Software
Every business or organization is going to vary somewhat in terms of the features they need or want in their project tracking software and project management apps, but below are some of the main features most of the best project management tools have:
- Planning and scheduling: The key functionality of the best project management software includes robust tools for planning and scheduling. This helps keep multiple team members and stakeholders on track with timelines and deadlines, and it can also be used in task delegation.
- Collaboration: Also important with project management software is the ability to simplify how collaboration happens. Project teams can include just a few people working in the same office or hundreds of people working across the country or the world. Specific collaborative tools to look for with project management software include file sharing, communication and messaging tools, and team dashboards.
- Document management: The best project planning software and project management apps will typically have document management tools that eliminate the need for things like Excel spreadsheets. This puts all relevant information in one accessible location and gives fast access to data.
- Reporting: Key to good project management software is the ability to quickly see where your projects are well managed and where things are coming up short. This is why customizable reporting tools are so important when selecting the best project management tools.
This is just a small sampling of the necessary features project planning software should have, and today’s options are often very sophisticated and offer many more features in addition to the basics listed above.
Differences between Cloud-Based Project Manager Software and On-Premise Project Management Software
Before continuing with this project management software comparison of the top project management software and the best project management apps, it’s important to look at the differences between cloud-based project manager software and on-premise options.
A few considerations to keep in mind when considering whether to buy cloud-based project management software or an on-premise version include:
What is your budget?
On-premise project planning software is going to require more of an up-front investment typically, and some of the things that lead to this include the installation and implementation of the necessary hardware, deployments, and the need to have IT support staff.
The costs can be lower over a long period of time, but if you don’t want to invest a lot up front, you may want to consider using cloud-based project management software and project management apps.
Do you want customizable options?
For many businesses, when selecting top project management software and reading project management software reviews, they’re looking for options that offer a lot of customization. This is an area where cloud-based project manager software tends to come out on top.
These products offer a lot of integration and customizable features that might not be available with an on-premise software product.
Image source: Pexels
Should your employees be able to access information remotely?
Another big consideration when looking at a project management software comparison and deciding between SaaS products or on-premise installations is whether you want employees to be able to access documents and information remotely.
For most business leaders, the answer is yes. They want multiple team members to be able to access any of the information in the project management platform from any device and on the go. With on-premise software, this information is only going to be accessible in the office in most cases.
This is hardly an exhaustive list of considerations to keep in mind when comparing cloud-based project management software or on-premise products, but it gives businesses a good starting point during the process.
How Should You Choose the Best Project Management Software?
When selecting project planning software, the first consideration to keep in mind is what you’ll be using it for. You need to think about your individual needs, what you must have, and what you can live without. Also, consider your strategic business goals and how project management software will help your organization achieve those objectives.
Once you have those things in mind, you can start thinking about the specific features and functionalities your project planning software must have.
You can begin conducting research by reading project management software reviews and create your own project management software comparison.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few of the top project management software options that will work for the needs of your organization, you can look at how each of these will fit into your existing workflow and the other software, tools, and apps you’re using.
Final considerations include the cost, but the good thing about many cloud-based project management apps and project tracking software is the fact that they’re scalable. You may opt to start small with a minimal monthly plan, and then either as you get more comfortable with the project planning software or your business grows, you can gradually scale up.
Also, think about the time it will take to have the project manager software you select up and running, with employees comfortable and effectively using it.
Methodology for Selecting the Best Project Management Software
What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the companies, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists, including this list of the top project management software and the best project management apps?
Please click here to see “AdvisoryHQ's Ranking Methodologies,” a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated companies, products, and services.
Detailed Review—Best Project Management Software
A leading online project management software, Clarizen offers collaboration across an enterprise from a single, streamlined platform. Organizations of all scales and in 79 countries use Clarizen, and the product is available in nine languages. Clarizen also reports they have a 98% customer satisfaction score, which is excellent compared to many other project management software products.
This project tracking software and management platform reports a rate of 99.95% uptime and reliability over 12 months, and there are Clarizen offices in three countries.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of 2017’s Best Project Management Software Platforms
Detailed below are key reasons Clarizen is included in this ranking of the top project management software and project management software reviews.
While Clarizen is paid and not one of the best free project management software options on this list, they do offer a valuable free trial. With this offer, businesses can start working with the enterprise-grade collaborative project manager software solution for thirty days, resulting in them having an understanding of how it delivers better outcomes, improvements in productivity, and a greater level of engagement.
During the thirty-day trial, businesses will be able to invite people to collaborate, plan projects and assign tasks, and complete reports and dashboards. The free trial includes unlimited access during the thirty-day period.
To take advantage of this offer, there is no payment required and no software to install. Interested users simply submit an online form to receive their username and log-in information, log into Clarizen, and start managing work right away.
Clarizen is packed with features, all of which are designed to move businesses forward. These features include:
- Configurable workflows: Clarizen can be customized to fit the existing workflows of a business, rather than the other way around.
- In-context collaboration: This means users can centralize and share resources while also creating strategies and aligning communication.
- Automated business processes: Improve productivity with automated processes, alerts, and workflows.
- Flexible UI: The interface is designed to be customizable and flexible to suit the needs of the person working.
- Reports and dashboards: Clarizen is project tracking software and project planning software with dynamic dashboards and report options, with project data available in real-time.
A very important factor considered in the creation of this list of project management software reviews on this project management software comparison was integrations. Integrations are important because they allow businesses to integrate project management software seamlessly into their existing systems.
This not only creates a more powerful and robust experience with the project management software, but it also reduces deployment time and ensures use of the project planning software can begin quickly.
Clarizen performs well in terms of offering a broad range of useful integrations.
Some of these include:
- Google Drive
For a lot of businesses when they begin searching for the best project management software or the best project management app options, a critical consideration is security. Project management software is going to contain essential data, and it’s imperative that’s secure and protected. Security is something Clarizen puts the utmost priority on, which is an important reason they were selected as a top project management software solution.
Clarizen has state-of-the-art technology paired with rigorous procedures that protect all user data, documents, and information. The software architecture is specifically designed to protect against breaches from any source, and they guarantee reliability and availability to prevent an interruption of service or loss of data.
Server farms are hosted in SOC 2 Type II–certified European and North American facilities, the infrastructure is a multi-tiered network, application firewalls add further protection, and there is ongoing penetration testing and multi-layered backup.
A top project management software solution, LiquidPlanner was founded by project managers Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson. They were used to working with planning tools they considered unreliable and inflexible, so they started LiquidPlanner in 2006. The objective was to create the best project management tools they would want to use.
The premise behind LiquidPlanner is “dynamic project management,” which refers to the predictive project management model of this software. The software aims to put the focus of project planning around building priorities.
Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as One of the Top Project Management Software Solutions
LiquidPlanner was included in this ranking of the top project management software solutions for the reasons listed below.
One of the main components of LiquidPlanner, a leading project tracking software, are the use of Gantt charts. They’re built into LiquidPlanner, and rather than requiring manual changes to a schedule, they’re automatically created from the information contained in the project plan. The expected finish date is recalculated showing all of the factors and information contained in the LiquidPlanner workspace.
This alleviates the guesswork that comes with planning when a project will be completed, and it’s done using a patented algorithm.
There’s a predictive scheduling engine, and with every update and change, the schedule is updated in real time.
Along with being one of the leading overall project planning software platforms, LiquidPlanner also offers excellent project management apps. Well-known for being one of the best project management app providers, LiquidProject’s mobile capabilities let users manage IT projects from anywhere.
There are planning and scheduling features to update progress, collaborate, comment, and make checklists, as well as assigning tasks and looking through projects.
New projects, packages, and tasks can be created in this best project management app as well, which is great if you’re traveling, meeting with clients or simply away from your desk.
LiquidPlanner is a project manager software and project tracking software designed specifically for the needs of the IT industry. The features are designed with these requirements at the forefront. Features include:
- Hundreds of IT projects and tasks can be organized and prioritized in a streamlined view
- Collaboration is made easy with visibility into what the rest of the team is working on, and task-level collaboration
- Tasks can be aligned in a way that’s realistic in terms of available resources
- Dynamic scheduling allows for the ability to plan for uncertainty
- Projects are prioritized in a way that gives a realistic expectation as to when projects will be completed
- Users can gain deep insight into profitability, costs, and resources
- Time tracking is simplified with a timer and rate sheets
Flexible Pricing Plans
LiquidPlanner ranked well on this list of the top project management software solutions and project management apps for quite a few reasons, including their scalable, budget-friendly pricing plans.
The Small Team plan includes five users and is inexpensive and billed annually. The most popular plan is called Professional, and it has a 10-user minimum. Also available is customizable Enterprise plans, which include the most comprehensive features and capabilities for managing complex portfolios and resources.
Mavenlink is project tracking software for enterprise-level businesses. It includes features aimed at financials, project management, collaboration, business intelligence, and resource management, all in one platform. It was created by a partner at Accenture who saw a challenge for service firms regarding available technology.
The philosophy of Mavenlink is built on the idea that any company can grow and be competitive at a global level with the right business insight, and technology is the key to unlocking that insight and staying successful in today’s fast-paced marketplace.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as a Top Project Management Software
When reviewing the best project management software, project management apps, and free project management software solutions, the following are some reasons Mavenlink ranked well.
Mavenlink is included as one of the best project management software platforms for quite a few reasons, including their distinctive array of features. One of these is a tool that lets users make success predictable and replicable.
Users can create project plan templates based on previous successful project plans. These reusable templates can then be copied and customized for new projects, which will allow the team to scale predictably.
This feature includes the ability to clone templates with tasks, checklists schedules, budgets, dependencies, and assignments based on resources and role.
Online Project Management
Maverick is often considered a pick for the best project management app and an overall leader in native cloud project management. It’s the most-installed project management app in the Google Apps Marketplace, and it can be linked with Google Apps for Work files quickly and easily.
Mavenlink offers a number of integrations and API including the world’s top cloud-based document, collaboration, CRM, and ERP platforms. Some of the available integrations include Salesforce, JIRA, NetSuite, Google Apps, Intacct, Expensify, QuickBooks, Xero, and Concur.
Projects can also be accessed with Single Sign-On quickly and securely. Authentication is supported through a broad range of identity providers.
From a single source, users of Mavenlink can achieve goals including gaining more control over tasks and work, tracking progress in real time, knowing what resources are available, so they are aware of capacity, and streamlining everything in one place. This best project management app offers the following capabilities:
- Users can create projects, allocate resources, and track their progress in one intuitive application. It’s also possible to gain a real-time view of timelines and progress, so every step of the process remains on time and on track.
- Save time with collaboration features from Mavenlink, which include the ability to eliminate things like sending emails. Instead, all project history, files, and tasks are consolidated in one location, and everyone can quickly access a progress report.
- Custom reporting tools are delivering vital insights that help users improve profitability and optimize how they’re using available resources.
Contractors and Freelancers
For today’s businesses, much of their talent operates as freelancers or contractors, so that is a pivotal consideration they must keep in mind when selecting the best project management app or project planning software.
Mavenlink is unique because it’s designed with contract workers and freelancers in mind. Anyone who works as a freelancer or contractor for a user that has a paid Mavenlink account can be invited to projects at no extra cost. When new users are added to a project, they can also be added to a business’s account, and then their account-wide permissions can be managed by their employer.
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Teamwork Projects Review
Often named as a best project management app, Teamwork Projects is part of the Teamwork.com company, founded by developers. Teamwork Projects is a best project management app that aims to let users collaborate and work seamlessly in real time.
It’s a powerful yet simple project solution for businesses searching for project management apps, and it’s used by companies including PayPal, eBay, Disney, Forbes, Microsoft Studios, and Spotify. The Teamwork product portfolio also includes TeamworkDesk and TeamworkChat. It was created because the company founders needed a better way to run their own business, as they found existing project management software was either too barebones or too complex.
Key Factors That Allowed This to Rank as a Best Project Management App
Among project planning software, project manager software, and project management apps, the following are some of the reasons Teamwork was included in this project management software comparison.
It’s simple to find everything, and clients can also keep up to date on their own, which is a great way to improve productivity and reduce disruptions for your team.
The process to set up users, permissions, and even choose which features you want to turn on and off is as simple as a mouse click.
Teamwork is a unique name on this list of the best project planning software and project tracking software because this cloud-based solution is specifically designed for use as an app. This means users can access and manage everything on their mobile device, making it easy to get work done from anywhere and maintain a greater sense of control and visibility over what’s happening.
As part of this, Teamwork has put a lot of effort into designing a clean, simple-to-use dashboard that’s really the heart of this best project management app. It has robust features and intuitive navigation that make it a standout.
The dashboard shows users of this best project management app the latest activity, and there’s the ability to see just your own or everyone’s tasks. Milestones are displayed, both upcoming and late, and the status of the entire team is shown. The dashboard is also where users of this project management app can add, remove, or move between accounts.
Source: Teamwork Projects
Among project management software and project management apps, Teamwork is particularly impressive when it comes to integrations. It features dozens of possible integrations, and some of the most popular include:
Teamwork Projects includes an extensive list of project-related features, designed to help project managers and team members stay on top of everything, efficiently manage, and also stay in touch when necessary.
TeamworkProjects includes visualization tools like Gantt charts, reporting, and time-tracking features to keep an eye on projects. Everything can be organized through the creation of milestones by adding events to the calendar or creating status updates.
The need for emails and attachments can be reduced or eliminated by keeping all files, comments, and attachments in a secure location through Teamwork, and this best project management app includes advanced privacy options so certain information can be stored discreetly when necessary.
Wrike is project management software with security, the delivery of value-creating insights, and the ability to help businesses achieve the results they want. This platform offering work management and collaboration tools has been translated into ten languages and is sold in 120 countries.
It was founded in 2007, and this project tracking software company is headquartered in Silicon Valley, in Mountain View, California. More than a million people have tried Wrike, and more than 8,000 organizations use the paid product. What’s unique to note about Wrike is that while there are paid options, the company also offers free project management software.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as a Best Project Management Software
Wrike was included on this list of the best free project management software and the best project management apps for the following reasons.
One of the primary goals of any free project management software or any of the best project management tools should be an improvement in productivity, and Wrike makes this happen through powerful and robust yet simple collaboration tools. The goal is not only an increase in productivity but also more rapid execution even across distributed teams.
With Wrike, you can tag messages to the teammates you want to talk to, and they’ll see it in their workspace, and this free project management software also features the ability to share tasks with outside people as well. Feedback and approval are simplified with this best free project management software through the inclusion of full context proofing.
A live activity stream delivers real-time updates on project activity, which is important because it cuts down on time spent in meetings and sending emails back and forth.
This best free project management software also includes mobile capability to keep the workflow moving along, and emails can be sent to Wrike and transferred as tasks that can then be synced to almost any calendar.
Flexible Plan Options
As one of the best free project management software solutions, Wrike’s complimentary plan is ideal for small teams and features include task management, file sharing, and access to a real-time activity stream. There are also basic integrations available with the Wrike free project management software include Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and more.
In addition to offering free project management software, Wrike also has flexible paid plan options. With the Professional level plan, users receive all of the free features as well as task and subtask management, a Gantt Chart dynamic timeline, advanced integrations, and shareable dashboards.
The Business plan boasts all of the free project management software features and the features of the Pro plan, as well as additional features like resource management, real-time reports, a branded workspace, time tracking, and custom fields and workflows.
Finally, the upper-level option is called Enterprise, and it includes all of the basic free project management software features, as well as everything included with Pro and Business. Enterprise also features active directory integration, two-factor authentication, user audit reports, and IT-controlled admin permissions.
Security and Control
As a free project management software solution, as well as offering paid products, Wrike is extremely focused on security and delivering peace of mind to all clients and users. They offer enterprise-level security including authentication features like 2FA, customizable password policies, and more.
There is the ability to tailor role-based access, so everyone has access to only the information they need to have, and department leaders and IT administrators have user management and access control. Options include designated user groups, granular permissions, and flexible sharing.
As a leader among the best free project management software and paid project planning software, Wrike also features stringent data security and protection to help avoid both accidental and intentional loss of information and confidentiality.
The scalability available with Wrike is one of its compelling characteristics and an important reason it’s included on this list of project management software reviews and ranking of the top project management software.
Along with the fact that it offers one of the best free project management software options for very small teams that are just getting started, it’s flexible, so you can easily grow the software along with the needs of your teams and business.
You can create custom workflows that are in line with the way your team already works, add your own custom fields to any project or task, and also create tailored dashboards.
Zoho Projects Review
One of the leading and most well-known online project management apps, Zoho Projects provides the ability to plan work and track progress easily. It also includes tools and features for communication and real-time updates. The Zoho company focuses on creating a variety of software that solves the real problems businesses have.
In 2016, Zoho grew to have 20 million users, and they launched new products including Notebook which is a mobile note-taking app, Zoho AppCreator, and Zoho SalesInbox, which is an email client designed specifically for sales professionals. These and many other app products are all in addition to the availability of their top project management software, Zoho Projects.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as a Top Project Management Software Solution
When reviewing the best project management tools and the best project management software to include on this list of project management software reviews, the following are significant reasons Zoho Projects was included.
Unique Pricing Structure
Zoho Project’s pricing structure is unique from the other names on this project management software comparison of the top project management software. First of all, there is a free project management software option available from Zoho. With this, users get access to one project and 10MB of storage at no cost.
Then, if users require more than that there are monthly payment options, but instead of prices being based on the number of users, they’re based on the number of active projects.
For example, with the Express Pricing Plan, users get 20 active projects for $25 per month, while with the popular Premium Plan they get 50 projects, 100 GB of storage, and this option also includes Pages and Chat.
Also available from this top project management software company is a 15-day trial, offering hands-on experience of the features of Zoho Projects.
Free Mobile App
As one of the best project management software solutions, Zoho Projects is available through an app for both iOS and Android. Some of the best project management tools available through the app include push notifications that bring real-time updates to users’ mobile devices.
There is an activity feed that simplifies project collaboration, and users can filter and search tasks quickly and easily while also adding their own notes.
Time tracking is available through the app, so users can log hours into timesheets, and there is a Quick Add feature so users can create status, tasks, or upload documents on their mobile device.
One of the many feature areas of this best project management software is document management. With document management from Zoho Projects, users can organize and work on files that are associated with specific projects. This removes any confusion or loss of productivity that comes with emailing these files back and forth. All of the newest versions of files are instantly provided, so you can also see what changes have been made at a glance.
The file management system includes not only documents but also videos, reports, graphics, and spreadsheets. All files can be shared in a centralized location, and certain files can also be associated with individual tasks. Users can then organize them into folders that reflect their workflow and structure.
Other document-related features available from Zoho Projects, one of the top project management software products, are automated document processes such as revision tracking, and a powerful document and file search tool.
Source: Zoho Projects
Important in the ranking of the names included in this project management software comparison of the best project management software was the inclusion of unique features and capabilities. With Zoho Projects, one of the standout features are the real-time chat rooms.
These collaborative tools are built-in and let everyone come together for real-time conversations.
Users can create a new topic to base a chat on or use these rooms to make fast decisions. The transcripts remain in the room, so it’s easy to refer back see what was decided during the chat.
You can create different chats to reflect different conversations, and there’s no limit to the number of people that can join a chat.
Conclusion—Top 6 Best Project Management Software and Best Project Management Tools
Saving time and money are two of the primary goals most businesses have, and project management software is often what allows them to quickly and easily achieve those goals. When a business relies on top project management software, project management apps, and the best project management tools, they’re going to have a unique competitive edge.
They’re more likely to be strategic in their objectives, to have smooth, effective communication throughout the organization, and to meet deadlines and budgets on projects.
Project management software is also essential in today’s marketplace because workers can be scattered throughout the globe, and yet they need a platform that allows them to communicate and remain on the same page.
These are just a few of the reasons project management software and project tracking software are so essential to success for businesses large and small.
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