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Grow Your Business Technology

Best Online Project Management Software of 2017

Project management is fundamental to a company's success. / Credit: Project Management image via Shutterstock

Project management software can make life a whole lot easier for managers and team members alike. By unifying all the tools teams use on a daily basis, and creating helpful, interactive visuals of the projects timelines, you'll be able to collaborate and meet deadlines like never before.

But reaping the benefits of an effective project management system hinges on selecting the right one for you. Many are top notch, but they all offer slightly different features and strengths. Finding a solution that meshes well with your team's workflows, strengths and weaknesses is key to a successful implementation and user experience.

Here is a roundup of our favorite project management systems of 2017. For a comprehensive look at how to choose a project management solution, read our Buyer's Guide for Project Management Software.

Teamwork Projects is an extremely user-friendly project management solution, which takes a complex process like project management and boils it down to a handful of easy to manage tools. A simple and aesthetically pleasing user interface makes navigating Teamwork Projects easy and, for the money, the online platform offers a great deal of powerful features. Small teams will especially find Teamwork Projects useful; sometimes project management software can be intimidating, but Teamwork manages to make it both comprehensive and easy –  even fun – to use. With a lot of color-coding capabilities, point and click, and drag and drop functionality, Teamwork looks and fees intuitive and makes it easy to keep track of tasks, progress, and deadlines. Best of all, Teamwork offers a number of plans to best suit your needs at affordable, flat monthly rates.

[Read our full review of Teamwork here]

Editor's Note: Are you trying to choose a project management solution? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have Software Advice provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

JIRA is a highly flexible, intelligent software platform that enable diverse teams -- from software developers to graphic designers -- to more effectively allocate resources and quickly finish projects. With a huge slate of features, including some unique ones we didn't come across in other project management solutions, JIRA provides teams with a number of ways to stay on task and predict their deadlines. Project managers also receive an unprecedented level of control, enabling functions like validators and conditions, which automate the task approval process. While there is certainly a learning curve to JIRA, it remains intuitive and easy to use; we were able to figure out most of the primary functions quickly and learned how to employ most of the bells and whistles just by clicking around. The interface avoids the intimidating appearance of some other powerful software, and the free trial periods on every plan ensures your team will be able to spend some time with JIRA before you decide whether to buy.

[Read our full review of JIRA here]

LiquidPlanner is by far the most robust project management solution we reviewed. Its tools are extremely helpful and it covers nearly every feature we looked for in a project management solution –  and then some. LiquidPlanner is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. It's also quite intimidating at first, but with guided implementation and training, as well as a cornucopia of training videos and documentation on the company's website it's not an impossible task to learn how to use the system. LiquidPlanner commonly employs a drag and drop functionality on each of its tools, which makes navigating the software somewhat easy once you begin to get your bearings. However, the user interface is not exactly friendly; it feels more technical than anything, so you'll need to spend some time with the platform first. Luckily, each pricing tier offers a 30-day free trial, so teams can familiarize themselves with LiquidPlanner before buying. When used properly, LiquidPlanner has the potential to be an extremely powerful tool, which is why we recommend it as the best project management solution for enterprise companies and large teams.

[Read our full review of LiquidPlanner here]

Wrike was an easy choice for best free project management solution. While other project management software offers a free trial or even a free version, they tend to be extremely limited when compared to Wrike. Wrike was the only free version that actually looked and felt like a paid project management solution, albeit one with a limited capacity for storing data. Still, with a user friendly interface and an appealing list of features, Wrike comes out on top when it comes to managing projects for nothing. This solution is great for smaller teams or for startups that are not looking to break the bank, but still want software to rely on. Simple to learn, quality features and nothing too fancy, Wrike's free edition was precisely what we were hoping for when we set off to manage our projects without paying.  

[Read our full review of Wrike here]

ZohoProjects is an immensely comprehensive project management solution that offers excellent collaboration tools at affordable prices. Not only is ZohoProjects a standout project management solution by any measure – its comprehensive and often unique features are quite useful – it also enables remote teams separated by large distances to effectively collaborate quickly and in real time. Features like the integrated chat application, team project forums and interactive notifications and alerts make it a responsive and connective piece of software. When it comes to project management itself, ZohoProjects hits all the major features and then some. Especially useful are the many ways it gives managers to look at am overview of projects and their progression. Whether its Gantt Charts, Kanban "cards" or the resource utilization chart, it's extremely easy to gain a bird's eye view of each project with ZohoProjects. Ultimately, these tools serve to help keep everyone on task and on track, as well as helps managers effectively allocate their resources. That's key in managing a team that cannot meet face to face.

[Read our full review of ZohoProjects here]

TeamGantt is our best pick for project management solution for teams with freelancers because of its simplicity and user friendliness. If freelancers are cycling in and out of your team, it's important that they are able to quickly adapt to any software you might be using. Some project management software comes along with a steep learning curve, which could hamper a freelancer's productivity in a short-term project, leading to backed up tasks and aggravation for your permanent team members. TeamGantt avoids this issue with powerful planning tools that clearly delineate team roles and responsibilities. Color-coding organization and drag and drop functionality makes navigating the user-friendly interface a cinch, even for new users. Moreover, access to extensive training materials and help videos means problems are often easy to resolve. TeamGantt's customer service line is also extremely helpful, and the platform features an integrated chatbot for support.

[Read our full review of TeamGantt here]

Accelo – A sales and marketing platform designed for professionals, Accelo CRM uses technology to create a CRM that learns and grows with you. Accelo comes with features to collect and organize client records, a team inbox for tracking client-related emails and a mobile app on Android and iOS platforms for flexibility in managing your business. https://www.accelo.com

Active Collab This project management tool combines task management using to-do lists to track your project with efficient team collaboration tools employing time tracking and easy invoicing. Active Collab offers organization and add-ons for your business needs. Mobile apps on iOS and Android devices are also available. http://activecollab.com

Asana – Asana empowers your team to move smoothly through a project beginning with simple, accessible progress reports. Tasks can be created and assigned, subtasks allow tasks to be delegated out to multiple team members. Asana also integrates with Slack, DropBox, Github and more, and can be mobile on Android and iOS platforms. https://asana.com

*Atlassian JIRA – Atlassian JIRA Software is a highly customizable solution available either on the cloud or through local hosting. With features that support both small business and enterprise, JIRA has a selection for everyone. https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/features

Avaza – Software that allows project collaboration, time tracking, expense management and customer invoicing from any device and connects with apps like Xero, Jira, Slack and more, Avaza is designed to help you run your business with clients in mind. http://avaza.com

Basecamp Basecamp offers a centralized hub for all project work and company communications: messaging, to-do lists, group chats, schedules and documents. Basecamp is available as a web-based application, and on iOS, Android, Mac and PC. https://basecamp.com

Cascade Strategy – This strategy execution software integrates planning and execution into one platform. The customizable framework of Cascade Strategy incorporates your company's vision, values and goals through dashboards, reports, goal and project management as well as strategic planning. http://executestrategy.net

Celoxis  All-encompassing project management Celoxis helps businesses streamline projects and business processes. With iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry and more compatibility, Celoxis offers advanced scheduling services, language support for seven different languages and multiple levels of customization. http://celoxis.com

Clarizen Scalable project plans, real-time statuses and on-th-go access on Clarizen make this project management software ideal to drive teamwork and engagement. http://clarizen.com

Comindware Tracker For simple or complex workflow management, Comindware offers centralized document management, automated offer and product requests and more. A quick workflow setup includes on-the-fly changes for quick roll out and lower expenses. http://comindware.com

Easy Projects One workspace combines task management, resource planning, business intelligence, team collaboration and more in the Easy Projects project management platform. The cloud-based software works with both iOS and Android devices. http://easyprojects.net

Freedcamp This free, web-based project management tool provides unlimited users, projects and storage forever. Freedcamp offers tasks lists, sticky notes, a calendar along with apps designed specifically for business needs — issue trackers, invoices, wiki and project templates. https://freedcamp.com

Function Fox Time and project tracking system Function Fox enables businesses to organize essential activities from time keeping to invoicing and retainers. http://functionfox.com

Innotas by Planview – Predictive analysis joins other core project management functions with Innotas to create a solution that not only help organize teams, but also look ahead to what's coming down the pike. https://www.innotas.com/

Intervals Comprehensive time tracking, task management, administration,  and robust reports in Intervals project management software allows businesses to get and stay organized. http://myintervals.com

LeanKit – Bring efficiency and effectiveness to your team with LeanKit — a place to visualize progress across many projects and gain visibility of your team's work. http://leankit.com

*LiquidPlanner With software that adapts automatically to change, LiquidPlanner adjusts to shifts in priorities and changes in resources as they happen, helping your business complete tasks and projects on time. http://liquidplanner.com

Mavenlink – Mavenlink offers collaborative resource planning and project management software, delivering project-based services for your company in a single application. http://start.mavenlink.com

Meisterplan To create achievable plans, identify true priorities and implement project portfolio management quickly and effectively, Meisterplan offers interactive portfolios and resource management as well as conflict resolution and scenario simulation. http://meisterplan.com

Microsoft PPM Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management provides the ability to model different scenarios to decide the best strategy for each portfolio. The management tool offers creative reports and seamless BI integration keeps your entire team on the same page. https://products.office.com/en-us/project/project-portfolio-management

Odoo This open source software offers a single application that grows with the your business. Integrating sales, ecommence, accounting, POS and project and inventory tracking, Odoo expands with your business needs. https://odoo.com

Paymo Project management delivers timely results; task management through shared documents and communication increases accountability; time and expense tracking  saves money in Paymo allows you to focus on your business. http://paymoapp.com

Podio – Podio takes your workflows, organizes them and make them work better. Sync your team through consolidated processes in one tool. https://podio.com

Procore Procore is a project management platform designed to meet your specific needs. A Procore expert designs, teaches and creates an application with the tools and processes your company requires. http://go.procore.com

Proofhub Packed with multiple features to ensure running your business is simplified, ProofHub combines everything from proof reading documents the multiple languages, task management to time tracking and even team communications like discussions, chats and file sharing, just to name a few. https://proofhub.com

ProjectManager.com – ProjectManager.com offers an easy to use service that specializes in color-coded visuals, which makes understanding the context of your teams and projects abundantly easier. https://www.projectmanager.com/

ProWorkflow – ProWorkflow offers all the essential tools, including timelines, trackers, collaboration features and even an open API for creating additional add-ons. Workflow and resource management tools also help easily organize your team. https://www.proworkflow.com/

Project Insight – With personalized dashboards, time tracking and adaptive scheduling, Project Insight offers a flexible and intelligent project management solution that grows with your projects and your team's needs. https://www.projectinsight.net/

Smartsheet Features like team collaboration, file sharing and editable reports allow teams to work together manage resources and complete projects more efficiently. https://smartsheet.com

Targetprocess With a flexible application that can be simplified or scaled up according to the needs of your company, Targetprocess has many features with multiple templates so you can customize the platform to you specific needs. http://targetprocess.com

*TeamGantt – Team collaboration on a gantt chart, individual task lists and tracking, and centralized project information through TeamGantt will help you and your business get projects done on budget in a timely manner. http://teamgantt.com

*Teamwork Projects Teamwork Projects organizes all your tasks in one place so your team can collaborate in real time, achieving real results. The software is available on iOS, Android, Google Chrome and the Web. https://teamwork.com

Volerro – Visiblity into projects in real time increases productivity and allows for adjusting priorities on the fly. Volerro offers this and more with calendars, workflows, virtual content sharing, just for starters. https://volerro.com

*Wrike Manage your resources and your projects to deliver more reliable results withe Wrike. This real-time work management software organizes everything your company needs — work flow, project processes, individual contributions and more — into one place. https://wrike.com

Workfront Eliminate the unnecessary steps in your companies' processes with Workfront. Customizable reports, project, time and resource management and even product integration with Dropbox, Jive and more, provides a single work environment for all your employees. https://workfront.com

ZenHub Project management within GitHub through ZenHub gives projects managers visibility into projects and developers get to develop their software in a proven environment. ZenHub allows the planning, tracking and release of projects. https://zenhub.com

*Zoho Projects Visual tracking of progress on tasks, and detailed project planning capabilities makes Zoho Projects ideal for staying on top of projects and tasks. Timesheets and reporting tools make tracking hours and progress simple and efficient. https://zoho.com

*Business News Daily Best Pick

Editor's Note: Are you trying to choose a project management solution? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have Software Advice provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.