Project Management is a complex task where the project manager is juggling many things at the same time. He has to synchronize everything so that the project achieves its objectives. The right project management tool will make this mammoth task easier. Software tools can help to manage projects better and more efficiently. There are many project management tools in the market. Here I’ll discuss about the top 7 project management software programs, their pros, cons and pricing.
Pros - A web based project management platform. It is suitable for projects following the waterfall model. It is supported by Android and iOS platforms. It has all the project management features like setting and tracking milestones, document management, bug management, time tracking and charts and reports. It supports task management, workflow management and ticket management. It works with other apps and services including some Google apps.
Cons - It is a basic tool and not suitable for complex projects where there are many users and access needs to be defined as per user role. Users having the free version will not get the document management features.
Pricing - Price starts at $20 and goes up to $80. Free Trial is also available.
Pros - Basecamp is a leading project management tool. It offers features like collaboration and time tracking and file sharing. It works on Mac, Windows, iPhone/iPad and Android. It is a cloud based online project management tool. It is easy to use and intuitive. It integrates with many 3rd party tools for backup and synchronization.
Cons - Basecamp does not have features like creation of Gantt charts and task interdependencies. There are not many accounting related features. Storing data on the cloud has some security issues.
Pricing - There are various packages available. Fee based models are available from $20 to $1500 per month. You can avail of Basecamp for a year for $3000.
Pros - MS Project is a popular project management tool. It has a comprehensive feature set. It is good for setting milestones, time tracking, budgeting and resource allocation. It offers comprehensive charts and reports. There is a fair amount of customization that one can do. There are different versions available depending on the user. It works well with the Office suite and integrates well with Sharepoint. It is well suited for managing multiple projects that share resources. There are desktop and online versions.
Cons - It is a complex tool and not optimal for small projects. It is expensive. It is not yet compatible with iOS.
Pricing - There are various versions available for different prices. Depending on your need, you should select one. For example, the standard MS project costs $589.99. There are various subscription models available.
Pros - It is a project management tool with powerful features for collaboration, time tracking and invoicing. It can be integrated with payment systems like PayPal and invoices can be paid within the application. There are versions for self hosting and hosting it on the Web.
Cons - It does not support a product backlog. It is not very easily customizable. It does not provide much of dashboard and reporting functionality.
Pricing - Free trial version is available. Pricing plans from $25 to $99 per month are available for the cloud based version. Self hosted standard version is available for $499 and the Enterprise version is also available. Price depends on the contract.
Pros – The key features of LiquidPlanner are priority customization and risk assessment calculation. It offers predictive project management, time tracking and resource scheduling. It allows for estimating best /worst case time requirements for tasks by project contributor. It integrates with DropBox, JIRA and Google Drive. It has a dashboard reporting facilities.
Cons - It is a little time consuming to learn all the features. It is more costly compared to some other tools.
Pricing - A free trial version is available. It offers discounts to non profit organizations. It offers free software for some educational purposes related to project management. There are different versions for different prices ranging from $29 to $49. LiquidPlanner is online project management software. It has a mobile app version as well that is compatible with Android and iOS.
Pros - Primavera provides support for traditional project management and Agile project management. It is a good tool for project portfolio management. It supports interactive Gantt charts, risk/benefit analyser, task management and burndown charts. The application can be used on online and mobile platforms. It integrates with Microsoft Office, Oracle business software and some other software applications.
Cons - It is not suitable for small companies or small projects. Users need to spend time to train and get familiar with the product. It does not support a product backlog.
Pricing - The basic Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management costs $2750 with software updates and licenses costing $605.Other supporting tools have to be bought separately.
Pros - Clarizen is a project management tool that supports project planning, portfolio management, document management, social collaboration and task management. It can run on Windows, Mac OS and Linux systems. It is available on Android and iOS platforms. It is easy to use to manage projects and tasks. It has good reporting facilities. It can be used on the Web as well. It integrates with Excel, Google Docs, Salesforce and some other applications.
Cons - Financial tracking is not well supported. Some features are not intuitive. It is more expensive compared to some other products.
Pricing - The price range is from $30 per user per month for Professional Edition to $45 per month per user for Enterprise Edition to $60/user/month for Unlimited Edition.
Project managers will be able to be more productive with project management tools. Project management tools are available for desktops and server and on the Internet. Some software might be suitable only for large teams, some tools may be good at managing tasks etc and some other applications might be better executed on iOS. You have to consider factors like project type,client needs, team distribution, usage, price and project management application features to decide on the right application.
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