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Best Online Project Management Software

Simone R. Johnson, Writer
Updated: February 14, 2020

Managing a team can be taxing, but the right online project management software can make all the difference. Glorified Excel sheets and shared calendars sometimes fall short when you're managing an entire team. Project management software brings you and your staff to one space where you can schedule tasks and keep up with assignments. With management tools and features, you can track all your team's work and meet deadlines consistently and efficiently. 

Although true success depends on your company's work ethic, the right project management system can help guide your business toward greatness. Each system has its own selection of features that add to its strengths and support the uniqueness of each company. To help you figure out which one is right for you, we researched and analyzed dozens of options. Our best picks are below, as well as a comprehensive list of online project management software in case our choices don't fit your needs.

Our Best Picks

We've examined a wide selection of online project management software vendors to assist you in your search for the system that's best for you.

Best Overall System

Best Overall System for Project Management Software
Base fee: $12.50/month

Best for Analyzing Overall Company Data

Best Project Management Software for Analyzing Overall Company Data
Base fee: $45/month

Best for Digital Workflow

Best Project Management Software for Digital Workflow
Base fee: $9.80/month

Best Free Option

Best Free Project Management Software
Base fee: Free ($99/month for paid version)

Best for Remote Workers/Freelancers

Best Project Management Software for Remote Workers/Freelancers
Base fee: Starts at $30/month

Zoho Projects

Best Overall System

Summary

Zoho Projects is our choice for the best overall online project management software thanks to its strong task management and collaboration tools. Its friendly interface makes it easy to navigate the software with confidence and seamlessly schedule tasks and assignments for your team. Several tracking and portfolio management tools also streamline your digital workflow. Zoho Projects caters to small businesses specifically and has a customizable system that businesses can mold according to their needs.
Read our full review of Zoho Projects

LiquidPlanner

Best for Analyzing Overall Company Data

Summary

LiquidPlanner is our choice as the best online project management software for analyzing company data because it has several analytic tools that help you understand not only your company's task timeline, but the growth of your business and its progress from a teamwork perspective as well. It has data analysis tools that are just as specific and in-depth as the tools for the online management of your projects. It allows you to track trends and information about your company's work development, which can help you to understand where you and your team can improve or work harder.
Read our full review of LiquidPlanner

Wrike

Best for Digital Workflow

Summary

Wrike is cloud-based collaboration and project management software that seamlessly incorporates apps, which is part of the reason it's our choice as the best online project management software for digital workflow. Its straightforward interface allows you to transfer information from other applications with ease.

Wrike's integrations are so diverse that they allow just about any kind of company to use them, from tech and finance to creative or art-based companies. Wrike may not have the most integrations, but it proves that quality wins over quantity when it comes to a seamless digital workflow. In addition to its organizational structure – which includes folders, task management tools and automatic assignments – Wrike saves you time by creating a capable space users won't have to exit to supplement their needs or find features.
Read our full review of Wrike

Basecamp

Best Free Option

Summary

Basecamp's free version is a solid option for small businesses, as it provides access for up to 20 users. The free version comes complete with access to templates and projects. The value of a free version of management software isn't determined by how many features it has but by the quality of the limited features it does offer. For those looking for something more substantial, Basecamp also has a paid plan that supports unlimited users and projects and includes all the features the company offers.
Read our full review of Basecamp

Workfront

Best for Remote Workers/Freelancers

Summary

Workfront is a powerhouse for storing large batches of information and projects. Despite its many functions, its interface and management system are simple and easy to use, which is especially important for businesses with a large remote workforce. Workfront's collaboration options allow users to work together and communicate on projects in real time. All of this is why it's our choice as the best online project management software for remote workers.

In addition to being a strong online management tool, the app encourages conversation and dialogue between team members through threaded conversations, status updates and spaces for feedback. Although it has integration options to bridge gaps in communication, the Workfront software itself specializes in that, which can help build rapport between colleagues around the world.
Read our full review of Workfront

What Is Project Management Software?

Project management software is a digital tool to help you plan projects, schedule tasks, and track your time and assignments. It's an online space where you and your team can collaborate and share data.  

Who can benefit from using project management software? 

Whether you work in media or construction, if you manage a team, you can always use a little help. It is especially beneficial for companies that use remote workers. We often find ourselves relying on shared calendars or spreadsheets of to-dos and information. With project management software, there's no need to send email updates about an assignment; assignments as well as reminders are sent through the program. The entire team has access to the program so they can check in and understand their role in a project no matter where they are. Therefore, any company that has freelance workers or wants to put all its project planning in one place could benefit from this tool. If you find that your organization or communication skills are lacking in some areas, a project management tool can beef up your team coordination.  

Why should you use project management software? 

Project management software can improve your company and your work ethic as a team. It not only helps with organization – some companies, like LiquidPlanner, also analyze your team's work and progress. This data can help you figure out where your business can improve and where you can work harder. It also puts everything in one space, which helps you cut down on emails and other application use. It promotes collaboration and helps hold staff accountable for their assignments and deadlines. In a nutshell, project management software neatens your workflow, which is a bonus for any company.  

 

Key Features of Online Project Management Software

The elements of a resource management system are the roots of a quality program. When it comes to organizing a business, to-do lists just won't cut it. It's easy to confuse an innovative communication platform for an online project management tool, especially when it provides a space for shared work and collaboration. However, a good project management tool has important features that set it apart from simple communication systems. 

Strong scheduling and task management tools are the base of a sound system. Juggling a bunch of projects can be confusing at the best of times, but an easy-to-use project plan system can make all the difference. It's an efficient way to let your employees understand what you want and ensure information is communicated properly. 

It's also important to have a space for team collaboration. Whether the service is within the software or provided through integrations, remote workers in particular depend on a reliable space where you can work directly with your team. 

The available integrations are important to consider. Having a million integration tools does not mean that a system is the most efficient option; your company's needs and tasks will determine whether a certain management platform has the right integrations for you. Even the most comprehensive system should still give the option of integrations with other software to make collaboration and communication easier.

It's just as important to have a reliable way to communicate with your team and a way for them to report to you. Look out for real-time reporting options that help your employees keep you up to date on ongoing projects. This will help you manage projects through shared files and track the performance of your team. 

An invoicing feature can also come in handy. This will provide the tools you need to create a clear budget for a project, calculate extra costs, send quotes to clients, calculate billable hours and bill clients. 

Other important features include a mobile app and a time-tracking feature so you know how much time your team has spent on projects. Tracking software also comes with milestone features to mark progress and notify you of the completion of an entire project. These tools on hand can make collaboration and task management much easier.

Pricing

Whether you have five or 50 people on your team, many online project management tools can cater to your company's needs without being expensive. Typically, you can expect to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for access to the cloud-hosted software. 

The exact price is based on several factors, including the features you want and how many people will be using the software. You can expect to pay anywhere from around $10 to a little over $100 a month. You can often save money by signing up for an annual subscription instead of paying month to month. 

In addition to the paid plans, some providers offer free project management software.  Take Basecamp, for example. The free version allows 20 users to operate the system. Although cost and features of project management apps and companies vary, it's important to consider what a free version offers before deciding to purchase a paid subscription. If the software offers a demo or free trial, take advantage of it so you don't end up paying for something you don't need or find difficult to navigate. 

Some services charge through monthly or annual subscriptions, while other companies charge a flat one-time fee that gives you the software forever. This is called perpetual licensing, which can still entail a recurring payment to the vendor – not for the software, but for support or product upgrades. If you're concerned about the security of your data, this may be a good option. However, be mindful of hidden costs, like installation or maintenance fees, when choosing this type of payment option.

Methodology

We're dedicated to helping you find the best project management platform for your small business, and it's important to understand how we came to our conclusions. Here's how we analyzed vendors and arrived at our best picks. 

Locating the Best Services

First, we gathered the names of more than 70 reputable online project and document management vendors. These were software companies that other sites recommended and favored as well. We also looked at other lists of the best software from last year to see if they were still quality competitors.

Choosing the Best Services

Next, we cut down our list by checking if the software had key features of project management services, like multiple collaboration and tracking options and the relevant integrations. We made sure the vendors we kept on our list not only offer collaboration features, but actively and efficiently track progress and provide clear information on their websites for interested users.

Researching Each Service

We then narrowed down the list and came to our best picks based on what each group displayed best. For instance, one category was best for digital workflow, for which we analyzed different programs' integration options and how they were incorporated into the software. We judged the best free options not by how many features they offer but by the specific tools they provide. We determined the best for teams with remote workers by the system's number of collaboration options and digital clarity to loop in out-of-office staff. For the best for analyzing company data, we considered software that takes the extra step of analyzing your company itself in addition to the work you produce, which can help you understand your company's strengths and weaknesses in work ethic or efficiency. The options for best overall were vendors we felt could fit all of these use cases and didn't have many limitations. We further examined all finalist services to see if they have a free trial or version available, a chatbot or direct online customer support option on their website, a mobile app (preferably for both iOS and Android), integrations (and how many), ways to track progress, collaboration, security, and contract options. Finally, we contacted each company directly, posing as a small business owner interested in the software to see what their customer support was like before making our final decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What online project management software is easiest to use? 

When it comes to scheduling assignments and tracking your company's progress, the last thing you want is for the management software you paid for to be confusing. There isn't one specific product that is the easiest to use, because every business is different and requires certain things, but there are features and tools you can consider to make your user experience painless. 

For example, a Gantt chart in your system helps uncomplicate data because it illustrates the project schedule. Its visual representation is simple to fill in. Also, a user-friendly and uncluttered interface is a sign of straightforward design. Your program shouldn't look like an Excel sheet. Flexible customization features will also make it simpler to operate your project management system and put things on your level. 

How do you manage a project management system effectively? 

Project managing systems won't magically make you organized. Before you can venture into a digital system, you must organize your team so that the information you'll put into the system is clear to everyone. Make sure you and your team understand all the project objectives. Some features or tabs of the software may not make sense right off the bat, so get familiar with the system before you upload your information so you can answer your team's questions as well. 

Just to be safe, see if your software vendor offers support services so you can ask technical questions before and after your team has moved into the system. This will help your company avoid lulls in productivity due to misunderstandings.

What makes online project management services expensive?

The prices of project management services and task management software are diverse and depend on many factors, like the number of users, storage amount and features. Also, if you customize your features, you may have to pay way more than the set packages cost. 

What should you look for when searching for an online project management service?

Look for a system that has integration tools your company will actually use. It's also important for the software to have a tracking system that you're comfortable with and multiple collaboration options and templates. That way, you and your team can choose which setting makes the most sense to you.   

What is one feature you should look for in online project management software that will improve your team?

A feature you shouldn't let slip through the cracks is a data analytics system that monitors your company's progress. Although it's important to keep an eye on deadlines and schedule assignments, some systems also help you see where your company could pick up the pace or can afford to slow down. A good program should improve your team's work ethic, so you should strongly consider a system with this level of analysis.

Our Previous Best Picks

At Business News Daily, we are dedicated to finding the best products and services for small businesses. We know that your time is limited, and we invest hours of research and testing so you feel confident about our recommendations.  

We update our best picks each year, investigating new changes and companies in the industry, and scrutinizing both new and existing products and services. Our process also involves revisiting companies we previously selected as best picks to evaluate whether they still are the best in their category.  

In addition to our online project management recommendations this year, we have reviews of companies that were previously our best picks: 

Atlassian Jira: Best for Agile Teams
TeamGantt: Best for Teams With Freelancers
Teamwork Projects: Best for Small Teams

Full List
Best Picks

10,000ft

10,000ft, which is now part of Smartsheet, provides project scheduling to help you quickly sketch out project phases, assignments and budgets. It also helps you set realistic expectations for stakeholders, track status, and keep everyone on the same page about project goals and constraints. Its interactive team scheduling and dynamic resource planning also help you forecast staffing needs.

Advantage

Advantage was designed by individuals who work in ad agencies, so they created a centralized system with robust modules and a space for extensive reporting and communication. Whether you're a digital, marketing, full-service or in-house agency, Advantage will help run your company with real-time information. It constantly updates its ad agency software with new and enhanced features to help your agency reach its optimum potential.

Cage

Cage is a media collaboration and project workflow app for designers, agencies and in-house teams. It pushes businesses to work directly with their teams and move projects forward efficiently. You can also use Cage's clear, comprehensive workspace to give your team better and more timely feedback, and to guide your clients through your work and share your design decisions, all without writing any code.

ClickUp

This project management tool puts all your work in one place and connects your team through shared tasks, documents, messaging services and goals. It allows you to automatically import your information from other productivity apps for a seamless transition. Although ClickUp's interface is very easy to use, it also provides a space for customer service and engineering tasks through its customizable options (Simple, Medium and Advanced Spaces).

Confluence

A management tool that harnesses your team's collective knowledge in one place, Confluence can be of service to various types of team, from marketing to engineering. It creates a bridge of communication that gives your team members instant feedback and actionable notes.

Copper

Copper provides a quality free service. The Free Subscription Copper Project is web-based software for professional communication and agile project management. It features IT project management software tools and gives you the ability to handle all aspects of large and complex projects while keeping costs in check.

Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper brings creation and coordination together in one place. It caters to creative, marketing, product management, IT and sales teams – each with its own system. For example, the marketing space's features support prototype launches and product roadmaps with tracked milestones.

Easy Redmine

Easy Redmine provides useful plugins, mobile design, and finance and customer resource features to help your team members understand their tasks and roles in a project. It lets you track your projects visually through graphs, Gantt charts, mind maps and more. It has a customizable dashboard that you can alter to fit your team.

Evernote Software

Evernote's goal as a project management program is to help you organize your work and gather the information you need without hitting any bumps. Its Web Clipper feature saves website screenshots directly to your Evernote account, and you can also save information like webpages, articles, and PDFs to be annotated, filed, or labeled based on your project. https://evernote.com/

Flock

Flock is an easy-to-use management tool that promotes seamless work collaboration. Its powerful search feature allows your team to easily find and share information. You can stay on track with tasks through its suite of business collaboration tools – shared to-dos, polls, notes, reminders and more – to optimize project management. Flock also allows you to integrate your favorite tools and apps, so you're not restricted in what you can do with it.

FreshDesk

Freshdesk makes communication amongst your team seamless. It streamlines support channels like email, phone and chat so you can respond to all your customers from one place, allowing you to answer questions and provide feedback faster. It has five plans you can choose from based on your team's needs.

GanttPRO

GanttPRO is interactive software for planning and controlling multiple projects at once. This online project management tool allows you to split your projects into groups of tasks, subtasks and milestones; organize and schedule tasks; set due dates, durations and dependencies; and create a Gantt chart timeline to set accurate estimates and manage your resources wisely. It uses different workspaces for personal tasks and team projects to keep information separate and organized. You can delegate project management processes to team members and make sure only the people responsible for a project can see it.

Hive

Hive gives your team the ability to manage your projects in a way that works best for you. In addition to its 1,000 integration options, it allows you to share and upload files directly to the software. It keeps your digital workspace clear because it reduces the need for emails and collects all necessary information through forms.

Insightly

Insightly is a management tool that has a strong grasp on what marketing agencies want. It provides marketing automation that goes beyond the funnel by helping you communicate with customers across the entire sales cycle. You can easily segment and speak to your separate audiences, deliver compelling messages and content in every interaction, and measure your marketing campaigns' effectiveness with enterprise-grade reports and dashboards.

Monday.com

Monday.com offers a variety of templates for teams to choose from – and this is just a starting point, as you can customize the system to fit your exact workflow and needs. You can use as many templates as you'd like to address all your different workflows. Monday.com's goal is to let you make the software your own by helping you express what's important to your company and add the information you need.

Notion

Besides its features and range of usage options, Notion provides advanced permission settings and quality support options. Its enterprise version comes with a dedicated manager to assist you and a custom contract and invoicing setting to help you with financial management as well. If you want more than one team on the software, all you need is your same email address to create or join additional teams.

nTask

nTask is an online collaboration platform that you can build around your needs. Its free option gives you 100MB of storage and unlimited users, workspaces, and tasks. Its four plans include a customizable option. Its premium option is the most popular. At $2.99 per month for each user, this plan includes everything in the free version plus 5GB of storage, a project option, Gantt charts, custom filters, and a sorting and recurring task feature.

Nutcache Software

Nutcache is an all-in-one solution that supports business flow through collaboration and project and budget management systems. Its interface is clean and easy to use. Apart from project management, Nutcache also allows you to set an invoice method and bill your time and expenses at any rate you prefer.

Redbooth Software

Redbooth helps you easily make sense of your important projects by adding and sorting tasks by assignee, due date, or tag. You can collaborate on tasks and threaded conversations and also start HD video meetings in two clicks. Redbooth keeps your projects and your team in sync by allowing you to map out your tasks through boards, lists and timelines that express your planning needs.

Scoro

Scoro is project management software that looks out for small businesses by offering customization options in addition to its set features. It helps you manage all the essential aspects of your small business with invoice and receipt management, scheduled invoicing, time trackers, Google Drive integrations, and personal and shared calendars. To help you get the most out of the software, Scoro provides onboarding experts who have worked with many businesses worldwide to set you up.

Teamdeck

Teamdeck is a management tool that helps you be more considerate of your staff and their workload. Teamdeck helps you find the people on your team who are best equipped to tackle an upcoming project and assign bookings to them. It also helps you balance your team's workload by keeping an eye on employee bookings, which lets you spot underutilized talents or unevenness in work distribution. You can measure your team's performance through data from past reports. To optimize future budgets, you can compare and estimate the time spent on different projects.

TeamGantt Software

This app will help you manage the freelancers on your important projects. We tested many, and this one’s the best.

TimeCamp Software

In addition to its useful project management features, Timecamp helps you accurately manage your billing. You can create and fill out invoices automatically with the proper rates by setting hourly costs for tasks or users. When you bill your time on tasks, it helps you avoid going over budget. Its project management features help you to distribute the work for projects and tasks and to track your team's progress.

Todoist

Todoist does way more than your average to-do list. Through project portfolio management, it helps you organize and create order within your workspace. It has management tools for marketing, sales, design and product, and creative teams as well as for educational purposes. It also has diverse organizational features for different spaces, including features that force you to prioritize important tasks. You can monitor your company's progress by setting up daily and weekly goals that the software converts into a productivity chart.

Toggl Plan

Formerly known as Teamweek, Toggl Plan has easy setup and navigation that allows you to onboard your team quickly. It also provides an overview of your company so you're aware of what you've been doing and can see what’s next.

WorkBook Software

WorkBook by Deltek is built specifically for agencies and in-house teams to boost productivity and revenue with its project, resource and finance management features. It is a total agency management solution that streamlines your company's project and finance management processes to give you the insights you need to become more efficient, productive and profitable. This offers you better control, insight and visibility in one easy-to-use tool, boosting productivity through better project and resource planning.

Workzone Software

Workzone doesn't just help you manage your projects but your team as a whole. The cloud-based project program has systems that measure the details of your team's projects across departments, clients and campaigns. It graphs that data and shows you where you can improve by providing a big-picture view of your company's progress and work.

ZenHub

ZenHub is filled with data-driven project management solution features. You can organize your tasks, issues and more complex projects by customizing your workspace. The web-based software provides in-depth reporting for the data-driven insights you need to track your progress and scope changes, while historical data helps your team estimate release dates moving forward.

Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects marries an intuitive, easy-to-learn system with effective features that are useful for small, tight-knit teams. It avoids becoming too top-heavy with features, making it a streamlined online project management solution that provides the necessities at an affordable price. In addition, Teamwork Projects offers a free trial for up to two projects – no credit card required – so you can take the software for a test drive before deciding whether this application is a good investment.

JIRA Software

Jira is a project management solution under software company Atlassian. It's a flexible program for teams of any size or business type. Its stable features for tables and project management templates help you plan projects in detail and finish them efficiently.

LiquidPlanner

LiquidPlanner is designed for fast-moving teams. As your projects or plans change, LiquidPlanner's smart scheduling updates and moves with you. Its resource management reflects real life and teamwork, so you know what people are working on and whether they are available. LiquidPlanner adapts to change automatically as your team logs progress, priorities shift and resources change. Project schedules in LiquidPlanner always reflect reality, so you can focus on moving forward instead of backtracking. It provides project insight and clarity along with cross-project visibility, data and statuses that are accessible in real time to eliminate confusion.

Wrike

Wrike offers the only free project management solution on the market that allows users to create unlimited projects.

Zoho Projects

Need the best project management software for your remote teams? This solution is a tested system to bring you success.

Basecamp

Basecamp is much more than your average project management tool. It breaks down large assignments into separate and smaller to-do lists. Basecamp places all the information related to the work at hand within one space. This includes the team members involved in the project; every discussion; as well as files, tasks, important dates, and deadlines. Basecamp provides an exceptional free version – Basecamp Personal – for small businesses that accommodates up to 20 users, and there is a paid plan as well. Basecamp is a comprehensive project management system that is accessible to any type and size of company, regardless of the size of projects they manage.

Workfront

Workfront is online project management software with innovative collaboration and flexible project planning tools. Team members can communicate on projects, assignments and responsibilities in real time. Workfront is designed for teams that don't always utilize the same office space.
Simone R. Johnson
Simone R. Johnson, Writer

Simone R. Johnson was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2017 with a dual degree in English language media and communications and film media production. She has been a reporter for several New York publications prior to joining Business News Daily and business.com as a full-time staff writer. When she isn't writing, she enjoys community enrichment projects that serve disadvantaged groups and rereading her favorite novels.