Christian M. 7 min read

Project management software

Project management technology is rapidly evolving; few outside digital or corporate businesses understand it. The days of effective Gantt charts drawn on whiteboards or Kanbans shared on Google Sheets are dawning.

We now have project management software that incorporates all management needs in a single platform. While this can improve workflows, collaboration and efficiency, misusing it will waste your business’s precious time and money.

This article covers everything you need to know about project management software, including its benefits, issues and how to choose the best software for your team.

💡 Key takeaways:

  • Best options: See our list of vetoed project management software, including the price of the packages and who it’s best for.
  • Benefits: Switching to project management software can help your business become more collaborative, dynamic and efficient.
  • How to choose: Choose a plan that matches your needs without overcomplicating things or paying more than you need.

What is project management software?

Project management software is designed to help individuals and teams organise, manage, and track their projects effectively. This could be any project, including switching business broadband providers, producing kombucha at the office, or implementing high-tech hardware for an SME.

The software provides tools to plan, execute, and monitor all aspects of a project, from initial conception to completion. This breadth means that it typically consists of:

Task ManagementEnables creation, assignment, and tracking of tasks with capabilities to set deadlines, priorities, and task dependencies.
SchedulingIncludes tools like calendars, Gantt charts, or timelines to plan and visualise project milestones and timelines.
Resource ManagementManages the allocation and usage of resources such as personnel, budget, and materials throughout the project.
CollaborationProvides communication tools like chat, discussion boards, and file sharing to keep team members connected and informed about project updates.
DocumentationOffers a central repository for all project documents, facilitating easy access, sharing, and updating by team members.
ReportingGenerates reports and dashboards to offer insights into project progress, performance, and potential issues, including budget and timeline tracking.
IntegrationIntegrates with external tools like email, calendars and web apps to streamline workflows and enhance productivity.

💡 What counts as a project? Anything! From your personal weight loss program to a huge corporate overhaul. That’s the beauty of it: It can be as low-tech as someone’s tomato-growing project or a small garage doing tuning work on a client’s sports car.

Who needs project management software?

Any team could benefit from project management software. While many businesses insist on using isolated tools like Google Sheets, Telegram and Notion, project management software lets you incorporate most of these in the same place.

And we get it; many still prefer the ‘feel’ of analogue Gantt charts and timetables on a whiteboard, especially for teams that operate in the field. But you’ve got to know that these isolated digital and analogue tools are at the dawn because they can’t digitally and seamlessly integrate.

There will be a time when corporate will get used to deciding on live data, and employees will hate you if they have to come into the office to update the whiteboard or manually introduce the Google Sheets information into another software every time an upload is required. The key is integration, allowing for a new generation of geographically dispersed teams.

Another misconception is that project management software is only used by management. This is true, but it’s also true that we’re entering the age where all employees are expected to manage their own work to some extent.

This is because tools like Gantt charts, idea charts, and task lists thrive when everyone clearly knows what they need to do and what others are doing. Project management software has become the industry standard in many sectors, and here is how some typical business roles are actively using it to illustrate this:

Role(s)How project management software is used
Project ManagersEssential for planning, monitoring, and delivering projects within set parameters such as scope, time, and budget.
TeamsHelps in collaboration, communication, and tracking tasks and deadlines, ensuring team alignment and efficiency.
Business ExecutivesProvides a high-level view of project health and progress, aiding in strategic decision-making and resource allocation.
IT and Software DevelopersCrucial for managing complex projects with many components, tracking progress, bugs, and releases.
Marketing AgenciesSupports scheduling, resource planning, and managing client feedback in projects involving creative processes and multiple revisions.
Construction CompaniesImportant for tracking stages, material procurement, and manpower in projects with extensive timelines and budgets.
Educational Institutions and ResearchersUsed to plan and monitor educational projects and research studies, ensuring effective management of timelines and resources.
ConsultantsHelps manage multiple clients or projects, ensuring all deadlines are met and time is managed effectively.
Non-Profit OrganizationsOptimizes management of projects and events with limited resources, helping to track efforts and outcomes.
Event PlannersSimplifies the management of event-related details like venue bookings, guest lists, and scheduling, enhancing overall organization and efficiency.

How is project management software used?

Now that we know everyone can benefit from using project management software, here are some examples of how these tools are used with real-life examples:

Task management

Project managers dedicate much time to efficiently organising and prioritising project tasks. For instance, project manager Ben uses Asana to assign specific development tasks to his software engineers, ensuring everyone knows their responsibilities and deadlines (especially given the many interdependencies of software development) and streamlining the project’s progress by optimising resources.


Effective scheduling is critical for timely project delivery. Tom, a project coordinator, uses Microsoft Project to set detailed timelines for a construction project, complete with visual milestones and Gantt charts. This helps his team stay on track and meet important deadlines and is especially useful as the entire company uses the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, including e-mails and Office.

Resource management

Every corporate manager wants to complete their project on time and within budget. Louise, a financial controller for a large enterprise, uses SAP to monitor budget allocations and expenditures for marketing campaigns, ensuring financial resources are optimally used. The software integrates the company globally, allowing her regional managers to identify geographical discrepancies.


Keeping team members connected and engaged is essential for project success, especially with geographically dispersed teams. Chris leads a global team of digital nomads and insists on integrating Slack into their project management workflow to facilitate communication, discuss updates, and share important documents seamlessly (because Slack can integrate with other project management software with tools like Zapier).


We live in a world of infinite data; the main issue is making sense of everything. Enter data analyst Mary, who creates comprehensive dashboards in Tableau to report on the progress and achievements of the projects she is involved in. These reports are directly integrated with her project management software, Notion. These dashboards are updated in real-time, helping management see projects’ overall health and aiding in strategic decision-making.

The benefits of project management software

Project management software aims to provide the tools to make any project run as seamlessly as possible. It does this through variety, user experience, automation and integrations, which give rise to its benefits.

To clarify this, it must be compared with traditional project management methods. Let’s travel back to the 2000s when the sitcom The Office was set. In Michael Stott’s workplace, employees had to print documents, make copies, file things in cabinets, and corporate had to physically travel to the branch whenever it wanted to meet.

Not only are the methods more time-consuming, prone to human error, less collaborative, and resource-intensive, but they flood projects with a lot of paperwork and little substance. In contrast, project management software streamlines processes enables instant communication and data sharing, and offers better tracking and reporting capabilities, increasing efficiency and productivity for all team members.

While the principal benefits are obvious, here’s a list:

  • Improved organisation and planning
  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Resource management
  • Real-time reporting and analytics
  • Increased productivity

More interestingly, here are some of the features that enable these improvements:

Automatic QAQCFeatures built-in QA/QC protocols that automatically identify and correct erroneous data inputs, streamlining what would otherwise be a manual, time-consuming process.
Auto-schedulingEmploys algorithms to intelligently create and adjust project schedules based on dependencies and resource availability, often revealing optimal timelines not immediately apparent to human planners.
Integrated resourcesBoosts team interaction by integrating tools and shared spaces for document management, chats, and official communications, all customisable for access control, enhancing productivity regardless of geographical barriers.
Real-time reporting and analyticsProvides instant tracking of resources such as time, budget, and manpower through an online system that supports live dashboards, minimising errors and updating continuously for accurate monitoring.
Routine task automationAutomates established workflows, from timesheet entries to content guidelines, enabling consistent execution and reducing the need for manual input in repetitive tasks.

Issues with project management software

Many will be quick to point out the flaws of project management software, especially those frustrated when doing something simple on a piece of paper in the office becomes an hour-long ordeal involving an endless Google search.

In a way, project management software is continually ‘in-the-making’, as new technologies constantly enable new features and functionality, which must be built, battle-tested, released, bug-fixed, and so on. For example, improvements in internet speed have made integrating video conferencing crucial, and AI is now enabling the auto-recording of meeting minutes.

However, not everything works optimally at the beginning, and not all integrations are helpful to everyone. Here are some of the issues with project management software:

Potentially high cost

While many small businesses can get away with cheap or free project management software like Notion, custom implementations of project management software can be prohibitive, especially when considering licensing and staff training. While many of these are geared towards enterprises, they can still be prohibitive for some businesses.

Complex and hard to use

Most of the time, it’s only a matter of getting used to the interfaces. However, some project management tools can be complex, requiring extensive user training or familiarity with contemporary digital tools. The steep learning curve can delay adoption and reduce productivity, especially for older or less techy staff. This can also harm the efficacity of the software itself, as its accuracy and potential may be reduced through under-utilisation.

Data security

The effectiveness of project management software often depends on its connectivity and use of cloud technology. While this enables effective global collaboration, it also enables new cyberattack threats, such as the potential for data theft or project disruption.

Over-reliance on automation

Relying on automation and algorithms in workflows can be efficient, but it can also make the team lazy and reduce the amount of thinking that goes into it. This could lead to undesired outcomes and a lack of originality in creative processes such as writing, user interfaces, and design. AI is enhancing this reduced effort, which again may reduce the resources required at the expense of your team’s cognitive development.

Technical issues

Integration between your project management software and other applications (e.g., Tableau for analytics, Slack for communications, etc.) is often not as smooth as it may seem. If not managed properly, it may often lead to technical glitches and data inconsistency, requiring technical support.

How to choose the right project management software

There are many competing project management software companies, each trying to differentiate itself by excelling at certain features over others. Therefore, you must identify your business’s most important features and how much you will pay. Is scaling in the future a priority? Do you want to keep using your existing e-mail, CRM, and Google Drive? Are you looking for the best user experience and tech support?

Take a pen and paper (or your current project management software) and write down how important each of these factors is for your business’s situation:

FeaturesWhat do you need software for? Each one will excel at its niche, and sometimes there is one that is best for your specific need.
UsersHow many users do you expect to have? Trust me, this may sometimes tip the scale!
ScalabilityIf you foresee growing fast, ensure the software can handle growth in terms of more projects and users without adding significantly to costs.
IntegrationsCheck how well the software integrates with existing tools like email, CRM, cloud storage, etc. Remember, people hate change, especially if unnecessary.
UXChoose software that is intuitive and easy to use to reduce training time and facilitate adoption. Sign up for free accounts on a couple of them and decide which one feels most intuitive.
SecurityProbably overkill, but make sure the software has strong security measures. Most these days have the same features, although you may want to include 2FA for cloud-based sensitive projects.
BudgetBalance necessary features against available budget, especially when considering subscription-based costs.
ReviewsLook at the experiences of other users to understand the software's reliability and real-world application, especially for a business similar to yours.
Trial PeriodsMilk those free trials to thoroughly test the software’s functionality before making a financial commitment. Remember to cancel them!
Industry-standardMore often than not, you don't need to re-invent the wheel. Ask others in your industry what software they use, this might give you a better idea of what to expect.

After reading and considering the table’s contents, your next task is to choose among the best software and try out a few of these platforms. Use one of your disposable e-mail addresses to create an account and play around. If you must sign up for a free trial, use your corporate e-mail and cancel the trial before renewal!

Project management software prices

Project management software comes in all flavours and prices. Some charge a hefty per-user fee but have a highly functional free version for small teams. In contrast, others have a cheaper subscription fee per user but have enough functionality and scalability for a growing business.

While it is difficult to categorise project management software by price because of differing pricing methods, here is a selection of vetoed solutions (only including those listed in Zapier, PCMag and, detailing their cheapest, typical and most expensive plans (excluding custom enterprise solutions; price converted to GBP and rounded to the nearest pound):

SoftwareCheapest PlanTypical PlanExpensive PlanBest for
monday.comFree£10 per user per month (Standard)£15 per user per month (Pro)Workflow integration and automation
VisorFree£7 per user per month (Pro)£14 per user per month (Ultimate)Spreadsheet-like project tracking
ClickUpFree£6 per user per month (Unlimited)£10 per user per month (Business)Customizable project management
Hub PlannerFree£6 per user per month (Plug & Play)£43 per user per month (Business Leader)Resource scheduling and time tracking
Zoho ProjectsFree£4 per user per month (Premium)£8 per user per month (Enterprise)Comprehensive project management
QuireFree£6 per user per month (Professional)£16 per user per month (Enterprise)Task management and collaboration
FigJam by FigmaFree£10 per user per month (Pro)£60 per user per month (Enterprise)Interactive brainstorming and ideation
TrelloFree£4 per user per month (Standard)£14 per user per month (Enterprise)Visual task management boards
AsanaFree£9 per user per month (Starter)£21 per user per month (Advanced)Workflow management for teams
WrikeFree£8 per user per month (Team)£20 per user per month (Business)Spreadsheet-like project management
ActiveCollab£2 per user per month (Plus)£6 per user per month (Pro)£10 per user per month (Pro + Get Paid)Freelancers and small agency projects
JiraFree£6 per user per month (Standard)£10 per user per month (Premium)Agile project management for developers
HeightFree£6 per user per month (Team)£10 per user per month (Business)Task management with AI features
Microsoft Project£8 per user per month (Plan 1)£24 per user per month (Plan 3)£44 per user per month (Plan 5)Robust, detailed project planning
MiroFree£6 per user per month (Starter)£13 per user per month (Business)Collaborative whiteboarding
AirtableFree£16 per user per month (Team)£36 per user per month (Business)Database-driven organizing and planning
Project.coFree£8 per user per month (Pro)£8 per user per month (Pro)Project management for client servicing
Celoxis£12 per user per month (Team)£12 per user per month (Team)£20 per user per month (Team)Complex project portfolio management
Ravetree£23 per user per month (Yearly)£23 per user per month (Yearly)£23 per user per month (Yearly)Full-spectrum agency management
QuickBase£28 per user per month (Team)£44 per user per month (Business)£44 per user per month (Business)Custom solutions for process automation

Based on this table, we can categorise project management software into low, mid and expensive:


Here are some key takeaways from the lowest-price (under £6 per user per month) project management software on our list:

  • Most have a free version with limited functionality, which may be enough to cover the needs of small teams.
  • ActiveCollab’s monthly £2 per user plan is the cheapest paid plan, which offers Kanban, Gantt, and Timesheet functionality.
  • Other alternatives within this category include ClickUp ‘Unlimited’, Hub Planner ‘Plug & Play’, Zoho ‘Premium’, Trello ‘Standard’, Jira ‘Standard’ and Height ‘Team’ plans.


Mid-priced options (between £7 and £20 per user per month) typically include significantly more functionality, although this is not always true. Often, the software’s reputation and enterprise capabilities can increase the price, with household names like Microsoft being able to charge more for its integrated services. Here are two examples from this price range:

  • Microsoft Project‘s ‘Plan 1’ solution includes Kanban, timesheets, and Gantt charts. Its main advantage is its integrations with other Microsoft 365 products such as Office, Teams, and Outlook.
  • FigJam‘s ‘Pro’ solution is a functional whiteboard for dynamically creating projects. Its integration with Figma (one of the most powerful designer software) makes it a preferred solution for remote design teams.


The most expensive options (over £20 per user per month) are typically geared towards enterprises requiring the highest cloud security level or remote tech teams relying on the latest technologies. Examples include:

  • Asana‘s Advanced plan has the same functionality as its cheaper plan but adds scaled security and unlimited automation, which is what an enterprise would look for in a solution.
  • Quickbase‘s most expensive Business plan costs as much as £44 per user per month because it offers FDA and HIPAA compliance, which includes extra strict cybersecurity compliance requirements.

Best project management software

There is no such thing as the best project management software.

There will always be several that satisfy your needs and cost roughly similar, and sometimes, the best solution is not the one with the best features but the one that deviates the least from your existing team’s expertise.

To choose the best project management software for your business at present, do the following:

  1. Go through this thinking process.
  2. Select the best candidates from this list.
  3. Test them out with your team, choose one, and enjoy the benefits of project management software.

Project management software for small businesses

Small businesses will typically look at the project management software with the lowest subscription cost, with cash-strapped ventures often choosing a combination of free solutions that aren’t even on our list, such as Notion and Discord, in conjunction with Google Suite and messaging platforms like Telegram.

However, if your team needs to choose a specific project management software, we recommend following the process detailed here.

Examples of free project management software:

If you are only seeking straight answers, here are two free software plans that might be interesting for you:

  • Airtable‘s free plan is one of the best for small teams on a budget. It lets you access a grid, calendars, forms, Kanban, and even 100 runs per month of their automation.
  • Trello‘s free plan is perfect for a one-man team because of its extensive features and iOS and Android apps. It offers simple boards and the security of 2-factor authentication.

Project management software – FAQs

Our business broadband experts answer commonly asked questions on project management software for UK businesses.

Are there any free project management tools?

Yes, almost every single project management software offers a free package. See our list of vetoed providers here.

You can also use Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel if you are looking for the simplest possible solution.

Does Google have project management tools?

Yes, Google offers project management software through Google Workspace. This includes applications like Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Google Slides for project management tasks. Additionally, Google Workspace integrates with Google Calendar and Google Keep for scheduling and task management.

However, Google does not offer a dedicated, traditional project management tool akin to software like Microsoft Project or Asana. See our comprehensive list of vetoed project management software for more information.

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