Project management Software is a close friend of business professionals all around the world. Businesses assign projects to teams of employees who use this software to ease the process. Project management software is critical for the success of the project and proper information is important for choosing the right software for your needs.
What is project management software?
As the name suggests, project management software is a way of getting technological aid in project processes. It helps the management team to start a project, plan it properly, have a clearly defined path, execute the steps correctly, monitor the progress and shut down the project ultimately upon objective achievement. It provides an overall support environment for planning, task scheduling, resource distribution, and corrective actions. Project management software is designed with the motive of automating the software process and facilitating easy management when starting a project from scratch. The software usually includes a plethora of functions such as time tracking, milestone tracking, Kanban board, etc.
The benefits of Project Management Software
Project management has turned out as a complex task over the years. The Project management software gives an important edge to the managers for executing a project with fruitful results in the following ways:
- Easy Collaboration and document sharing
With real-time software, the project documents can be shared easily. Multiple members of the team can work on the project together through this software.
- Improved Client Communication
The boring and time-consuming conference calls are no longer required. Clients of a project can directly access the progress sheet and documents anytime.
- Financial planning
Project management software has the feature of showing real-time costs incurred in the project. This helps in making financial decisions and amendments.
- Effective Supervision
The software helps in monitoring every aspect of the project. They provide current and estimated data which assist in making supervisory decisions.
- Customer Satisfaction
The biggest benefit is the improvement in your services which makes the customer happy. A project can be completed faster and at fewer costs which improve your relations with clients and bring recurring sales.
Typical Features of project management software
Project management software comes with some unique feature or attraction. However, some features are common with all of these. These features are basic functions that project software must perform to be called good project management software.
First and most important is proper planning and scheduling support through tools like team calendar and to-do ledgers. Then comes the presence of strong collaboration tools. Good software should have collaboration support through file sharing, real-time working, and team dashboards. Another important and typical feature is the ability to generate reports regularly. Project management software also has Budget management abilities. This feature is found in almost all software with different levels of emphasis.
The cost of project management software
There are many software services available for purchase online and offline. Software is priced according to the functionalities they present. You can find project management software for your enterprise for as low as $3 to $5 per month. There is free software too. However, free software is often not recommended if you plan to get real benefits in terms of productivity boost and budget control. The price can go up to $100 per month for high-end software. The criteria for pricing include:
- Number of users
- Support and assistance services
- Storage Capacity
- Duration of product
- Resource management capabilities
- Minor but important features
- Size of workspace
- Report making functionality
Considerations when purchasing project management software
Project management software is a critical part of the project’s success. Purchasing the right project management software which meets your enterprise needs is thus very important.
- Features provided
Different software has own set of features which may or may not suit your enterprise. If your project requires heavy collaborative work, then budget oriented software will not be right. You will need a service with strong collaborative tools. Different developers provide tools based on the requirements. They can also customize the software based on your needs. Knowing the requirements will help in deciding the features.
Security of your data holds great emphasis. Project files and documents are often confidential and require protection from unauthorized access. Project management software defines the security measures they take. Consider the level of security and ensure that your data and operations will be safe before purchasing project management software.
- Ownership Costs
The pricing of the software is not the final cost you will incur. There are several other costs which come together to form a total ownership cost of the software. These costs involve maintenance charges, upgradation fees, and training and support fees. Consider and compare the total ownership costs of software for getting an accurate representation of the prices.
Here are some relevant project management software trends you should know
- Project management software moving completely to the cloud
There will soon be no desktop-based project management software. They are moving rapidly towards web-based or cloud-based computing. The desktop software uses your local computer’s resources, takes time to install, and work sloppy. The collaboration levels are also considerably low. Analyzing current trends, the market is going to be taken over by internet-based software. The only requirement will be an entry-level computer and good internet connection. Cloud computing is the future of the digital world. With its advances in project management software, the process is going to be much more powerful, faster and collaborative.
- Revolution in Cybersecurity
The laws are getting strict and systems are turning more tough and unbreachable. The developments in the cybersecurity field are being felt in project management software too. Services are now equipped with the best security standards and multiple protection layers to keep your project data and confidential information safe. The future will see more strict systems and greater security features. With rising cyber attacks, an increase in security is the need of the hour. The current market trend shows positive news for project management software security.
- Rise in integrated functions
Project management software is witnessing rising innovations and increased features. To meet the needs of enterprises, many services are including more and more integrated tools in their software package. These integrated tools are facilitating risk management, ticket tracking, and other side activities. The race to innovate is expected to improve the functionality of the software manifolds. The future will see a rise in cross-domain integrated tools in the software such as Google storage and DropBox support. Some services are already providing accounting and invoice solutions in their project management packages.
Methods to select the right solution
Choosing the right solution for your project management needs is a step by step process with several different criteria to ponder upon.
Find out where and why do you need the software
The first step is to determine where the software will be applicable. Determining this simple thing will give you many answers. It will define whether you really need software? If yes, then for how long and so on. Knowing the application of software will also help in deciding the required features of the software.
- Define the requirements
The functions you need is to be decided before starting software comparisons. Choosing useless functions will reduce your profits while missing out on some will affect the project’s progress and negatively impact productivity. You can consult professionals to make a list of required functions.
- Set up a budget
Project Management Software is available in a different price range. Once you have decided the requirement, setting up a budget is important to prevent wastage of monetary resources.
- Comparing different services
Proper research is an important element for making the right choice of project management software. Choosing the first service you see online will mean missing out on many other potentially benefiting services. You need to be well versed and informed about different software available in the market before making the purchase.
Classification of Project Management Software:
There are different classifications of Project management software based on the following criteria:
There are different patterns or approached of project management software. Different software support varied management process. Two approaches are the mainstream and most widely followed.
Project management software designed for the traditional approach follows a streamlined path. The project process with traditional software involves kick off, planning, executing, monitoring and shut down. The whole process is linear and needs to be repeated from the start in case of an error. This is also known as Waterfall development. While the path is clear with Traditional development, the flexibility is severely low.
This is the new and trending project management way. The management process is iterative with agile development. There is less emphasis on rigid steps and more emphasis on teamwork and proper adaptation to the changing environment. The biggest benefit of this system is its flexibility and dynamic nature. But the path is unclear which requires experienced managers for confident progress.
While making the choice, pricing is a big factor influencing the decision. You will find different ways of pricing in software solutions available online.
- Free Trial
Some services provide their software for free for a certain time period. This time period usually ranges from 1 to 3 months. After the trial period, the user needs to pay for future services. You can choose to reject the software or purchase it. Free trials are often limited and give a small glimpse of the software’s true power.
Under this pricing, software services provide free services to the public for as long as required. However, powerful and more useful features are available only after purchasing the premium package. The free package is made of basic facilities.
- Monthly Subscription
These are the completely paid software services. Monthly subscription demands fees submission every month for the continuation of services.
- Annual Subscription
Some project management software provides a pricing policy where a user can pay for an entire year of services together. This is the Annual Subscription.
- One time License
One time License pricing is the most cost-effective method. The user pays for the product and gets the right to use it for a lifetime. The number of users is limited and the fee for a license is often heavily discounted.
Features and functionality
- Budget Management
This involves tracking your project expenses in real-time, preparing productivity reports of machines and employees and calculating revenue estimates. This helps in manage sufficient budget effectively.
- Client Portal
Client Portal service helps your clients in being connected to the work-in-progress or completed files of the project. Portal can be used by any authorized client to check progress and leave notes for workers about changes in plans. The client can also observe or work in real time with employees.
- Cost to Completion Tracking
This service helps in estimating the cost to completion prices and keeps track of it regularly. Cost to Completion means the cost incurred from purchase to end of a product. This also helps in determining the health of an enterprise
- Customizable Templates
User Interface is important for better and energetic interactions. Customizable templates are often provided by Project management services to make navigation easy and interesting. These templates keep the employees engaged and help in locating features conveniently.
- Gantt Charts
Gantt Charts are one of the most effective planning tools for project management. It is a visual representation of the scheduled tasks and future plans. Gantt charts give the motivation to finish the project.
- Time and Expense Tracking
The feature is available in limited services and helps in accounting activities of the Project. There are specialized software for this activity but some Project management software pack this basic functionality with them as a bonus tool.
- Milestone Tracking
Another additional feature, this helps in maintaining a milestone list and eliminate them when they are achieved. An active milestone tracking helps in the motivation and increases the productivity of employees. Reward system can also be attached with milestone tracking systems.
- Kanban Board
Kanban is a Japanese term for “card you can see”. It divides work into a small and manageable task. The whole idea of this feature is to get maximum work done in the least period of time. With Kanban boards, you have a clear definition of the tasks ahead. This feature goes hand-in-hand with agile project management systems.
- Resource Management
One important feature of project management software is tracking the resources used and planning the use of resources judiciously.
Deployment of the software also decides its performance capabilities. It is an important factor to consider before purchasing the software.
These types of project management software are installed on the desktop and operate with local computer’s resources. The performance is satisfactory but scaling up is a tough process.
Certain software services provide a mobile application for carrying out project management work from anywhere on the go. Mobile applications, both iOS, and Android are less powerful but very handy in emergencies. They are increasingly being adopted.
These are the cloud or physical server-based software which works through the internet. They are the most powerful and scalable software types. The global trend is moving towards cloud-based project management software due to its long list of benefits.
Now let us go through the well known Project Management Software.
10 Most Affordable Project Management Software
The Project management software service is a Freemium pricing website. The impressive part is that most of the features are free. The only limitation in the free version is file size. The company even provides a premium package at no cost to students and teachers. The lowest pack starts at just $1.5 per year.
- Agile CRM
Another Freemium pricing based service, Agile CRM provides free services for up to 10 users and many attractive tools. The premium services of Agile are even better starting at just $8.99 per month. You can also receive a free trial before purchasing the product.
- Zoho Sprints
Zoho is a highly professional project management software solution with a reasonable price tag. You can use the Free version for as long as you want. For scaling up, you can buy the cheap premium package starting at just $12 per month. Cloud-based and Mobile based software of Zoho Sprints is available.
Wrike is equipped with some unique project management tools and a great price tag. Wrike provides a powerful free version and some super powerful premium packages. The services are suitable for a team of over 20 users. The premium packages start at $9.8 per month with 24/7 online support and all platform deployment.
- Microsoft PPM
A Microsoft solution for project management problems, it is a desktop based application at a reasonable price. There are no free versions available for the application. You can get the software for just $7 per month per user. Microsoft PPM is deployable on Windows and acts as a great tool with a professional touch from the Microsoft development team.
OrangeScrum is a project management tool which lays great emphasis on task collaboration with clients and employees. It is a SaaS, Cloud, desktop, and mobile-based software with every feature listed above. You can get the premium package s OrangeScrum at just $9 per month. There is always an option of using a free version if your needs are limited.
Assembla is the current sensation in the project management world with great pricing and amazing features. It is immensely scalable and suitable for large enterprises. This does not mean that small players cannot use it. The package starts at just $9.16 per month with unlimited projects and unlimited storage. The software is entirely internet based.
- Eagle Space
The newly famous project management software is great if you are looking for an affordable solution to your business needs. As one of the best offer, the software is available for $10 per month with unlimited users. Very few services provide unlimited user support at such a low price.
- Hubstaff Tasks
The service is limited in features but the price tag is one of the lowest. Hubstaff Tasks is a project management solution provider with a continuously growing portfolio of tools and features. The cost of the premium package is just $4 per month. You will get an additional 20% discount on an annual subscription.
Trello is a great software service with a huge fan base of satisfied customers. Trello is also famous for its reasonable pricing without any compromise in quality. The pricing of the premium package starts at $10 per month with all the important features of a good project management software.
10 Most Popular Project Management Software
- JIRA by Atlassian
JIRA is in its own league with flawless service and amazing features. The software is the number 1 project management service in terms of popularity. While most of the users use the free service, Atlassian is not in any shortage of revenue due to heavy traffic flow from around the world.
- Microsoft PPM
The brand Microsoft is enough to explain why it is so popular. The touch of Microsoft expertise, the trust on products and the familiarity of enterprise with Microsoft office applications have made Microsoft PPM one of the most liked and recommended project management software.
Wrike is famous for its affordable price structure and quality of customer service. Wrike has made a big name in the project management market with its all-platform applications. The platform currently serves over 2.5 million users worldwide. Major credit for its success also goes to the user-friendly systems and powerful mobile applications.
With the tagline of “Organize anything, together”, the company aims at customer satisfaction through its services and pricing. The software has professional features like Kanban board, agile approach, Gantt Charts, and Resource management. Trello serves around 5 million users globally.
Asana is a leading project management software service globally. With deep roots in the United States, Asana has more than 10 years of experience in the project management industry. With powerful web-based, installed and mobile-based services, Asana has more than 2 million satisfied customers all over the world.
Monday.com provides premium services for big enterprises that can afford slightly higher prices for much better service. Monday.com gained fast popularity and is now used by many business leaders. The plans start from $25 per month and it serves over 1 million users globally.
Podio is a large scale enterprise providing software solutions to many huge corporate giants and professional individuals. The company has more than 500,000 customer organizations in a huge base of 2.5 million users. With all the useful features needed in project management, Podio is a favorite of many professionals around the world.
- Zoho Projects
This is project management software from the renowned online brand Zoho which provides workplace solutions in various ways. Zoho Projects is one such venture which is serving more than 1.2 million users worldwide. The goodwill is of the brand can be seen through the immense following on social media platforms.
Featured in the affordable list above, Assembla is trending in the corporate world with its unique selling points such as affordability, loaded features, and strong customer support. The platform is growing rapidly as the user base has crossed the 1 million mark.
Loaded with professional features like Gantt chart, Kanban view, and collaboration file sharing, Smartsheet is one of the major players in the project management software. It has over 1.5 million users with 100,000 of them as paid customers. It is also renowned for economical pricing with great perks.
10 Most User-friendly Project Management Software
The software is the right mix of user-friendly and professionalism. Clarizen provides a great interface for new learners. As you learn and advance, it provides a more advanced option with a change in the interface for pro users. The software adapts as you keep on learning. Clarizen serves many Fortune 500 Giants.
- JIRA by Atlassian
JIRA is leading the popularity chart mainly due to its easy learning environment and user-friendly approach to project management. JIRA does not reduce the quality of service and has all the advanced features required by more technical experts. So, the software suits newbie as well as experienced users.
One of the most affordable project management solutions is also among the most user-friendly software. Freedcamp works with the aim of providing services free of cost to users. They have developed their platform keeping the beginners in mind.
Mavenlink is loaded with every feature you can think of for project management. It is based on agile methodologies, have Gantt chart, milestone tracking, Kanban board and every other feature required. Moreover, the software is flawless and user-friendly. The specialized dashboard brings all options together for easy navigation.
Favro is great in Affordability with premium packs starting at $6.8 per month. But more importantly, it is known for a great dashboard, simple environment, easy navigation, and one-click executions. The analysis section is also highly simplified for easy understanding. Users love the simplistic and beautiful design of the platform.
Wrike is an all-round software with all the good qualities. It is affordable, popular and user-friendly too. Wrike has a simple navigation panel, uniform color pattern and great visibility. It is also called visual project management due to its amazing interface.
Trello is an amazing platform for new users starting their journey in Project management world. Trello is equipped with amazing customer support and user-friendly environment. The users are often awestruck with the modern interface and the regular tips received from the software. Trello provides one of the easiest ways to collaborate your work with a large number of members online.
ActiveCollab allows you to start working right on without much training and complications. It helps in dealing with real work instead of wasting time on learning the normal basics. This is made possible through the easy navigation and one-stop dashboard that contains all the required features at one place.
Asana is popular among the corporate folks due to the plethora of features provided on the platform. These features are easily visible on the dashboard. The learning part on Asana platform is very little as the software is very user-friendly and interactive. The users are provided constant tips from time to time.
Cerri is a Montreal based Project Management Software which is crafted with beauty and elegance. The platform is known for collaboration enabled environment and multi-language support. Cerri is available in English, French, Russian, German, and Spanish.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is project management software?
Project management software is a powerful platform which facilitates starting a project, setting up objectives, collaborating the operations, monitoring the progress, managing the finances and closing down on completion. This software is a great tool for reducing the pressure on management and helps them to focus on the true execution process.
- What is software project management?
Software project management is the branch of the business which deals with the planning of a project, scheduling the tasks, allocation of resources and execution of it. Software project management is related to developing software from scratch. It has to be a systematic process for obtaining the results as desired by the client. Agile-style is being used nowadays for software project management which mixes systematic with a dynamic approach.
- What are the road maps of Software project management called?
These roadmaps are called Gantt Charts. Gantt Charts is a graph diagram showing the scheduled tasks for the future. They are referred to as road maps because following these tasks will lead to the successful completion of the project. They look very technical but are easy to read. Gantt chart is a horizontal bar graph with each bar showing a task assigned. It not only defines the task but also names the person responsible for it. A Gantt chart is usually kept accessible to all the employees to let them be updated about their responsibilities in the project