77% of high-performing projects use software for project management.
If you're working in an agile environment, you know firsthand that you can’t deliver the results and standards that are expected of you without proper management tools.
A high-quality project needs specialized software that can meet the individual needs and requirements of each client.
But before we get into the best tools that you can use for smart and efficient project management, let's take a brief look at why these tools, although extremely useful, can never replace people entirely in your organization.
Table of Contents:
Why you still need people in project management (even when you have the right tools)
Can technology do your project manager's job?
In fact, why do we need a project manager in the first place, when there are so many different types of software available?
Not a day goes by without you hearing about the latest AI technology that has taken over monitoring, budgeting, risk analysis or quality control. Well, before we talk about the right tools for successfully managing your projects and driving results, let's take a look at what these tools can't do for your company. 👇
Systems like Elon Musk's OpenAI have now engineered machines that are learning to behave more like humans. But the truth is, using AI to replace humans instead of assisting them in project management can often lead to unforseen negative consequences.
For instance, in 2016 Microsoft launched a promising AI-powered Twitter bot, but quickly had to withdraw the self-learning software as it started producing and sharing racial slurs all over the internet.
Moreover, several companies that use AI to manage projects later had to deal with unexpected issues like biased machine learning. It turns out that AI-powered systems can easily develop a systematic bias that later interferes with how they interpret the data they collect.
The point we're trying to make here is that tools and software should be used to assist people in project management positions, not to replace them completely.
So here's what solution-oriented project managers are able to do for your organization (that AI still can't compete with):
- more efficiently influence stakeholders than a robot could
- provide valuable insight and nuance that fills in the blanks leftover by hard data
- lead, negotiate, be diplomatic, and connect on a human level with investors
- take initiative and adapt to unexpected situations that aren't covered by protocols
- establish strong and trusting relationships with third-parties
Now that that's out of the way, let's see which are the most reliable tools that PMs use to coordinate projects effectively:
This is the go-to planning tool for thousands of project managers and their teams. Featuring a clean interface that's easy to navigate, Basecamp is unique because it doesn't only simplify your workflow, it also motivates employees and boosts performance.
Its main benefits are that it’s really easy to use (and doesn't require any training), and that it integrates efficiently with many different systems. It encourages collaboration and helps maintain accountability for team members.
- separate dashboards for clients and internal teams
- uses both desktop and email notifications
- simple interface that's easy to learn and use
- has file storage, message boards, and to-do lists
- features smart templates and daily reminders
- limited formatting features
- no rating system to prioritize tasks
- tasks cannot be assigned to multiple people
This all-inclusive software is so powerful because it drives the same results you’d be getting if you were to use 10 other different project management tools.
Used by giants like Disney and even NASA, ProofHub creates charts and a visual blueprint of your projects. It helps you keep track of deadlines, improves internal communication, and takes out the guesswork out of your planning.
- simplifies task management for the whole team
- improves communication with clients and between teams
- helps you visualize task stages
- streamlines your organizational workflow
- ensures smart time tracking and scheduling
- the interface is not very user-friendly
- generates a lot of notifications that might be distracting for your team
- no options to show status for projects
- no features for resource management and budgeting
This software offers improved productivity, visibility and prioritization. It allows you to create user stories, receive real-time updates on your team’s progress and work, as well as a variety of time tracking options. It’s often touted as the number 1 tool for software development, and for good reason.
- efficient project planning and evaluation
- advanced bug tracking and reporting options
- added flexibility for configuration
- streamlines open communication
- complex user management
- highly customizable issue workflow
- difficult to learn for non-trained users
- higher price than other software on the market
- UI can be confusing for inexperienced users
Slack allows you to keep all team communication in one place. It can be integrated with other services, allows for segmentation in different channels and easy file sharing. Slack also encourages transparency and it can be accessed anywhere, including on mobile.
It’s got a simple UI, easy to customize notifications, quick support, and archiving options. The software also comes with data encryption and security, two-factor authentication, open API and automatic snippets.
- clean interface that’s easy to use
- optimizes and centralizes communication
- powerful integrations with over 1,000 applications
- built-in chat and video call options
- works well with file storage solutions like Google Drive
- real-time notifications that are customizable
- no preview options for documents
- the reconnect feature could be improved
- integration is limited with the free version
5. Teamwork Projects
This tool's main advantage is that it's easy to use. It helps you create a smarter workflow because it was designed to seamlessly integrate with a wide range of tools and platforms.
Teamwork Projects allows you to set different priorities for your tasks, track your team's performance, and get a clear overview of your projects.
- convenient and very easy to use
- streamlines collaboration between teams
- features user permissions and Gantt charts
- comes with detailed documentation
- has smart filtering options for quicker and easier searches
- highly customizable
- contract details are cannot be recorded or stored
- occasionally long loading times
- more of a one-size-fits-all tool, lacks specific functionalities
6. Zoho Projects
Zoho is a popular choice for managing simple projects and boosting productivity. The tool allows you to optimize your processes with a single click, but also to make monitoring and scheduling recurring tasks easier.
For each finished project, you have access to detailed analysis and insights about its success. This helps you spot shortcomings, discover hidden opportunities for improvement, as well as prevent the same flaws from occurring in future projects.
- time tracking, document management, and Gantt charts
- clean design that's easy to use
- allows multiple users for reviewing projects
- most effective for software development projects
- comes with templates for task lists
- easy to customize
- no integration with Gmail and Google Docs
- limited features for reporting
- cannot copy content for recurring projects
- no direct support (only email)
Using only one interface, Backlog makes it easier to monitor and track bugs for your project. It's ideal for agile environments and it makes fixing development issues much more accessible to both IT specialized and non-technical teams.
- Gantt charts for measuring project success
- easily registers and tracks bugs or ongoing issues
- streamlines your team's workflow
- helps you keep your project in-budget
- has multiple subscription levels and flexible pricing
- cannot add custom status for issues
- no web push notifications
- cannot add different levels of priority
If you like keeping essential information centralized, this is the tool for you. Scoro offers a smart solution for managing contacts, quotes, billing, and communication.
The software also minimizes the number of tools you need to use for each task, optimizes your workflow and helps keep track of your project's progress. Although the premium plan costs over $30 per month, the software also comes with a free 14-day trial.
- automates reports and project updates
- features options for contact management, scheduling, and billing
- provides a real-time overview of your project status and KPIs
- comes with client portals, charts, and customizable templates
- helps you make decisions based on facts instead of guesswork
- offers a visual overview of everyone's workload
- does not show customer balance and latest transactions
- does not show the terms and valuation of contracts
- once payments have been transferred, they become locked in the system
- takes more time to learn than other software would
This simple tool is a smart choice for optimizing communication in agile environments. It provides customizable workflows, ongoing support, and a user-friendly interface that makes collaboration easier between teams.
- allows file sharing and commenting
- features activity streams and group chat option
- all updates appear automatically in the same place
- users receive smart alerts on the project's progress
- maximizes flexibility
- no Gantt charts for tracking projects
- no portfolio management
- no features for resource management
This tool is used by half a million companies to manage projects. Think of Podio as an online hub for internal communication with personalized features that meet specific project requirements.
The software allows you to assign tasks, meet deadlines, and receive real-time updates and reports. In addition, one of Podio's most important features is that it helps you automate your sales pipeline.
- allows large uploads and sharing encrypted files
- deadlines are updated in real-time
- offers a visual overview of your project and your team's workload
- easily integrates with other file sharing devices
- the database is fully customizable
- simple interface that is easy to use
- limited calendar functionality
- not mobile-friendly
- costs more than other tools on the market
This cloud-based tool comes with a free version that helps you manage your projects without overlooking any essential details. It features an intuitive interface with smart shortcuts that you can use to quickly access new tasks, permissions, users, notifications or scheduling.
Asana also allows for personalized views that make it highly adaptable for the specific requirements of each project.
- relevant timelines that are regularly updated to stay on track of deadlines
- in-depth roadmaps that help you organize everything about your project in one place
- automatic notifications and quick overview of your team's progress
- special calendar with different scheduling options and task priority levels
- detailed reports that help you gain insight on what can be improved
- reliable monitoring that facilitates group work
- provides increased visibility over what each team member is doing
- does not integrate with external calendars
- tasks can be deleted without approval from a supervisor
- no option to search by task content
- no desktop version currently available
We’ve already presented to you with many tools that can make your project management process much more efficient. Now let’s hear the opinion of an experienced leader who deals with agile software development on a daily basis.
Meet Cesar Hermon, our project manager, who will explain to you which tools he likes to use and why: 👇
- Jira for progress and time managing: this is a great tool for taking the lead of monitoring IT projects because it’s very user-friendly and fast. It’s also got a great set of agile tools inside the APP environment that allows you to play with it.
- Slack for the client and team communication: I believe this is the fastest and most organized tool to connect the clients with the Development team in terms of real-time communication and updates. It’s a very intuitive environment, which enables you to have everything you need from the clients in one place, to easily pass it to the team.
- For internal and dev team communication I use Mattermost integrated with Github.
Overall what I like the most about the tools I’ve listed is the versatility they give you at the moment of performing tasks, as they are fast, accurate and well adjusted to our working environment.”
If you’re interested in learning more about automating your workflow and streamlining your business growth, check out our process and let’s have a conversation about what your company needs to deliver successful projects every time.