The 10 best project management software and tools for 2023 – TechRepublic

The 10 best project management software and tools for 2023
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With so many project management software options to choose from, it can seem daunting to find the right one for your projects or company. We’ve narrowed them down to these ten.
Project management software helps individuals and companies organize tasks, projects and sets of projects. These tools increase visibility for all team members and stakeholders and ensure tasks don’t get neglected in the shuffle.
SEE: The Complete Project Management Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)
While project managers and IT professionals use project management apps most frequently, the software should be accessible and easy to use for all team members of different tech backgrounds.
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I’ve reviewed each of these 10 project management platforms to understand their capabilities and ease of use for an IT project. TechRepublic’s top picks for project management software are listed below. You’ll also find a link to the full review accompanying each of the overviews listed here. Best for teams of all technical levels is a reputable project management brand with a flexible platform for teams of all flavors. While initially intimidating, the monday work management interface is packed with features and offers extensive configuration management capabilities. While other solutions lean into a few views of project data, monday work management gives users the most flexibility in adding and configuring valuable visualizations.
Though I ran into hiccups using monday work management, the project management software excels in configurability, giving teams the expected control to optimize workflows.
SEE: Work OS review (TechRepublic)

Smartsheet: Best for spreadsheet lovers

Launched in 2005, Smartsheet’s project and work management platform is one of the safest bets in the project management software market. From onboarding to using the platform, I was impressed by the interface’s user-friendliness and the features’ extensibility. Smartsheet offers an upgrade from traditional tools by adding accessible user experience features, needed integrations, robust configurability and no-code capabilities to a spreadsheet interface.
Smartsheet pricing is among the highest in the market, and there is no unlimited free plan. Still, I believe the platform’s benefits more than justify consideration for small teams up to enterprise organizations.
SEE: Smartsheet review (TechRepublic)

ClickUp: Best for teams on a tight budget

The fastest mover in the project management software space is ClickUp. Only five years after its founding, the San Diego-based startup has grown into one of the top project management solution providers. ClickUp far exceeded my expectations with a stack of project views and tools to enable productivity and collaboration for a wide variety of functional teams.
Add in that ClickUp offers a handful of affordable subscriptions for different team sizes, and it’s difficult not to consider the market’s budding project management software.
SEE: ClickUp review (TechRepublic)

Image: Teamwork

As the name implies, Teamwork is project management software that enables team and workload management. The Ireland-based platform offers a similar range to other top project management solutions but excels in time tracking, budgeting and stakeholder management. Whether it’s personnel or a third-party contractor, Teamwork is fit for optimizing the globally distributed workflows of tomorrow.
While a few actions during my experience with Teamwork didn’t seem as intuitive as other platforms, the platform and its potential to organize team projects are impressive.

The dashboard view in Teamwork automatically breaks down project data and metrics.

SEE: Teamwork review (TechRepublic)

Image: Wrike

The newest subsidiary of Citrix, Wrike was already one of the biggest names in project management software even before its backing by the cloud computing giant. With the capacity to manage entire project portfolios, Wrike’s feature set includes custom request forms, risk predictions, invoicing software and enterprise-grade security. I found the platform incredibly powerful, with clear use cases for small businesses, enterprise organizations and various team functions.
Upon first glance, the user interface is busy, and Wrike’s learning curve is likely the steepest in the project management software space. That said, few vendors offer the same extent of enterprise capabilities.

No matter the view, users can open task details to view, edit or attach data for team visibility.

A free trial is available for each of the following plans:
SEE: Wrike review (TechRepublic)

Image: Asana

One of the most popular project management software solutions, Asana is the work management platform started by former Facebook developers in 2008. The Silicon Valley-based company has grown dramatically in that time, and the platform’s extensibility affirms why so many businesses choose it. From viewing team member workloads to adding strategic goals and setting user security policies, I believe Asana has something for every team.
Though some actions were less intuitive, Asana made up for them with the documentation and resources to guide platform projects efficiently.

The List view in Asana looks similar to a spreadsheet and allows users to view, modify or communicate through task details.

A 30-day free trial is available for these Asana plans:
SEE: Asana review (TechRepublic)

Image: Airtable

A decade after its founding, Airtable has raised over $1.4 billion to develop a project management software solution. After using it myself, I can attest it’s been money well spent. Behind its friendly interface, Airtable is a powerful platform offering teams granular control over extensions, scripts and workflows to optimize process management.
While the newest platform tool, the Interface Designer, struggled to maintain a server connection during use, I was impressed by my experience with Airtable.

The Gantt view on Airtable provides teams with tasks layered over a timescale.

SEE: Airtable review (TechRepublic)

Image: Zoho

Under the Zoho portfolio of solutions, Zoho Projects offers teams a stack of features for tracking tasks, issues, time and resources to maximize collaboration and productivity. Users can visualize and adjust project data through views like a traditional spreadsheet, simple list, kanban board or Gantt chart in real time or automate mapped workflows with the Blueprints tool.
Zoho Projects offers a lot of functionality, considering it’s the most affordable project management software. However, it also lacks some of the configurability and advanced features included in the top tier of platforms.

Users can add, modify, move and delete tasks via row icons within Zoho Projects.

SEE: Zoho Projects review (TechRepublic)

Image: Zenhub

Likely the least familiar pick, Zenhub’s native integration with GitHub gives the project management software solution a distinct advantage. Project managers unfamiliar with GitHub have a mighty learning curve, but developer teams will love the ease of managing and visualizing data through a familiar interface.
Zenhub supplements the world’s leading repository with tools like planning poker, a sprint generator, workflow automation and reporting to make the most of GitHub project management.

Automate issue workflows on Zenhub by configuring trigger and destination pipelines.

SEE: Zenhub review (TechRepublic)

Image: Jira

Atlassian’s portfolio of collaboration, code management and security solutions is led by its flagship project tracking software, Jira. In response to a growing number of general-use project management solutions, Jira Work Management — an extension of Jira Software designed to be used by developer teams — offers a similar mix of project data views, reporting and configuration capabilities.
Jira Work Management is ideal for organizations already using Jira Software or teams relying on integrations like private repository host BitBucket. Otherwise, its general project management functionality is below par relative to the broader project management marketplace.

Timeline view on Jira displays tasks and dependencies against a timescale by week, month or quarter.

Pricing for Jira Work Management’s Standard plan lowers incrementally after you pass 100 users. The pricing information below reflects how much Jira Work Management would cost for a team with 100 users:
*Your own costs could be lower or higher, depending on your user count.
SEE: Jira review (TechRepublic)

Project management software is the on-premises or cloud-based solution developed to enable the planning and execution of project tasks for various teams and functions.
Most project management solutions today are available through a cloud-based platform for teams to create and modify projects, tasks and workflows through collaborative spaces and views. Project managers are most hands-on in configuring the software to set team use guidelines, integrate critical applications and optimize the project management life cycle.
While various project management platforms offer a range of potential productivity, collaboration and process improvement opportunities, there is a standard set of features that threads the market together.
Tenured professionals probably know their way around a spreadsheet, but the project management market shows how far collaboration and project visualization software has come in almost four decades.
Teams can collaborate with their project view of choice from several different perspectives. The most common project views offered include:
Web-based spreadsheets like Google Sheets and Excel via Microsoft 365 remain popular solutions and the primary predecessor application to adopting project management software. As a result, most project management solutions offer a similar starting point (e.g., table view) to deliver a clean onboarding experience. From there, kanban-style boards are the second most popular view, with roots in Agile software development, followed by time-based views like Gantt charts and calendars.
Dashboards are another standard view, giving users a prebuilt or configurable space to visualize project metrics. Not all dashboards are created equally, so note those offering the most flexibility with building widgets reflecting team KPIs.
The unique tools offered by project management platforms are those capable of transforming project data into real-time visibility and actionable insights. While this varies between solutions, the above views can filter data by platform or field value condition. Widgets for tracking project data are another critical ingredient to plan and act on insights.
Automation is also a standard tool across project management solutions, offering some extent of prebuilt automation rules and the option to build your own. Prebuilt automations are as simple as sending a notification to Slack when a task’s status changes; meanwhile, most offer a list of prospective trigger and response actions to ease workflows and reduce manual efforts.
While entire companies can adopt project management software, its typical deployment is within a select department or team. In either case, reporting and metric visibility for internal personnel and external stakeholders is often necessary.
Every project management platform offers some way to export or share project data, but these methods vary. The classic option is exporting a set of data or metrics as a .CSV or .PDF document. Another popular choice for project management solutions, like in the case of Airtable, is designing a shareable webspace capable of modification or view-only. Stakeholders can get a quick, in-platform view of needed data.
Most project management software solutions speak to a broad audience of potential use cases. Across industries and departments, the use cases mentioned most for project management tools include:
As with the two software development project management picks, the range of integrations offered by top project management platforms is a crucial differentiating factor. Teams across the globe increasingly rely on a stack of applications to conduct everyday work. Considering project management software is meant to enable productivity in teams existing workflows, the lack of a critical integration is a dealbreaker.
Finally, teams relying on project management software for critical business operations also need to ensure the level of technical support meets expectations. Teams are bound to encounter unexpected outages, roadblocks and platform issues, making regular availability by phone or web chat essential to business continuity.
When asked to review the top project management tools, my view from a glance told me the market was generic, with minute differences between some platforms. While commonalities exist, like visualization tools or workflow automation pipelines, there is enough to differentiate the market.
The best project management platforms stand out with the intuitiveness of their UX, advanced features and integrations critical to team processes. Like most software choices, it’s easy to sign up, and all featured solutions offer a free trial without a credit card to avoid unnecessary expenses. Teams must ultimately ask how the platform will replace legacy tools like Excel spreadsheets, improve project management, and lastly if the cost and utilization will justify those benefits.
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The 10 best project management software and tools for 2023
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