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Project Management Software Reviews

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  • Binfire Review

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    Pros Easy to use Modern user interface Unlimited users Reasonable monthly cost Cons Limited integrations No mobile apps Overview Binfire was created in 2008 by David R. Robins and M. Ariel “to bring innovative and affordable online collaboration and project management tools to professionals and small businesses.” Originally developed as an online file hosting service […]

  • Podio Review

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    Pros Good customer support Varied support materials Customizable feature set Cons Moderate learning curve Limited features Overview: Podio came to life with a certain enigmatic flair. Though it was created in early 2009, this software was initially kept under wraps – a mysterious, covert project, hidden from the public eye by founders Jon Froda, Anders […]

  • Projecturf Review

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    Pros Reasonable monthly cost Customizable feature set Well-designed user interface Cons Poor customer support Limited integrations Overview: First released in 2008, Projecturf is a relatively new addition to the project management scene. The company’s founder and CEO, Chuck Pearson, is a seasoned web developer with considerable experience designing the UI (user interface) and UX (user […]

  • ProjectManager.com Review

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    Pros Good customer support Easy to use Well-designed user interface Cons No free trial limited features Overview: ProjectManager.com, a product of Project Manager Online Ltd, was launched out of Auckland, New Zealand in 2008. Within 12 months of its public release, this software was eagerly embraced by huge world organizations like NASA and the United […]

  • Easy Projects Review

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    Pros Good customer support Customizable feature set Low learning curve Cons Outdated user interface Expensive monthly cost Overview Designed in 2003 by Logic Software Inc. of Toronto, Easy Projects was originally created with no intention of wide commercial release. Like many similar project management programs, this software was born out of pure necessity. For years, […]

  • Pivotal Tracker Review

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    Pros Good customer support Advanced features Scalable Cons Steep learning curve Over-Complicated pricing plans Overview: Pivotal Tracker is an unusual project management tool created by Pivotal Labs. While this product can be used for general purposes, it was designed for use in agile software development and is best suited for that purpose. Pivotal Labs itself […]

  • Workfront (Formerly AtTask) Review

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    Pros Impressive feature set Suitable for large businesses Good customer support Cons Steep learning curve Not suitable for medium or small businesses Overview: For fourteen years, Scott Johnson and his company worked on AtTask, refining it into what their website calls “the leading cloud-based enterprise work solution.” Built on a foundation of second mortgages and […]

  • Basecamp 3 Review

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    Pros Low learning curve Intuitive user interface Reasonable monthly cost Cons Limited feature set No integrations Overview I think the best way to introduce Basecamp is a quote from their own website: “10 years from now people aren’t going to say ‘I wish Basecamp was harder to use’ or ‘I wish Basecamp was slower and […]

  • Mavenlink Review

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    Pros Varied integrations Impressive Feature set Modern user interface Cons Expensive monthly cost Inconsistent customer service Moderate learning curve Overview Mavenlink co-founder and CEO Ray Grainger makes a bold claim when he says, “by combining expertise, technology, and a customer-first mindset, we are enabling professional services firms around the world to grow and scale confidently.” […]

  • Clarizen Review

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    Pros Good customer support Customizable feature set Cons Expensive monthly cost Steep learning curve Not suited for small businesses Over-complicated pricing plans Overview Clarizen was designed to be more than just a project management tool. Currently used by more than 2,500 organizations across 76 countries, Clarizen claims to be the first and only software system […]

What Is Project Management Software?

That’s a good question! And the answer is not as simple as you might think. The term ‘project management software’ could refer to anything from a rudimentary task manager to a complex tool with scheduling algorithms, workflow management, and highly sophisticated budgeting features.

At its most basic level, project management software helps you organize your work into discrete chunks, track time, and store files. These days, project management tools are mostly SaaS (software as a service)—that means they operate on a monthly subscription system and are accessible via the cloud.

How Can Project Management Software Benefit My Business?

Another good question! The answer? So many ways. More than I can easily enumerate here, actually. But let’s hit on two of the key ways that project management software can benefit businesses.

Project Management Tools Help You Communicate More Effectively

The modern workplace is crazy. With the advent and increased popularity of email, video conferencing, instant messaging, and cheap long-distance phone calls, the world has never had so many ways to be connected. But increased connectivity comes with increased chaos, and many businesses are still trying to operate with one foot in the old world and one foot in the new. If you’re relying on an unholy mixture of in-person meetings and Go-to-Meeting, sticky note memos and Outlook messages, phone calls and Skype calls, screen sharing and cubicle drop-bys, you’re doing it wrong. The more methods you use to communicate, the more information is going to fall through the cracks.

Project management software can help you do the unthinkable: streamline communication, simplify the exchange of information, and preserve a written record of memos and conversations. When all your means of communication come from one source—your project management solution—things will seem to magically fall into place. Your coworkers can’t pass the buck if there’s a smoking gun that shows the exact minute they agreed to take on a project. Likewise, you won’t have to experience the exquisite frustration of not knowing whether your email has been opened yet. Most project management tools offer email integration, live chat, and myriad other features that boost connectivity and communication between you and the rest of your office.

Project Management Software Organizes Work For You

Most of us don’t have the luxury of a personal assistant. At work, we’re expected to create our own schedules, track our own progress on tasks, and follow through on projects without being reminded. But that can be a big ask for most people, who are also responsible for remembering a host of other things (like when the milk expires, and which kids need to be picked up from which sporting event). Enter project management software, the modern business person’s best friend.

Project management tools, at their most basic level, provide a way to organize your work life. This type of software allows you to create tasks and task lists, assign projects to yourself or co-workers, store files in places they cannot get lost, and get frequent notifications about the progress and status of your workload. In other words, it allows you to free your brain of tedious details and focus on the task at hand.

Common Features to Looks For When Choosing Project Management Software

Not all software is created equal. However, there are certain features that are common to most project management tools:

  • Email integration
  • File storage
  • File management
  • Discussion channels
  • Instant messaging
  • Project creation
  • Task creation
  • Task dependencies
  • Contact management
  • Gantt charts
  • Notifications
  • User permissions

Higher-level project management software may also include the following, more advanced features:

  • Project budgets
  • Quotes and invoices
  • Automated scheduling
  • Risk/issue management
  • Iterations
  • Automated workflow
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • File editing
  • Image editing

How Much Will It Cost?

Not surprisingly, the answer to this question depends entirely on how many functions you need. Simple task management programs are often free for one user and can start as low as $5/month for more than one user. A typical mid-range SaaS project management tool might run anywhere from $19-$199/month, while locally-installed, enterprise level software suites can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The price you pay will depend largely on what kind of subscription system your software vendor employs. Licensed, on-premise software comes at a hefty, usually one-time cost. But in general, the cloud-based project management software industry uses a few different pricing models:

  • Cost/person: In this model, the software’s features are included at every level and subscriptions are based on how many users you have in your organization.
  • Cost/feature: This model usually starts with a basic feature set and raises the price of the software as more features are added.

Often, these models are combined in some way. For example, if your organization has 1-10 people, you should be able to choose which plan you want to use. However, larger businesses may be forced to pay for plans that include more features. In fact, some vendors insist that businesses of 100 people or more use only the most premium plans.

There may also be additional costs to keep in mind. Some project management software companies charge extra for support services or for initial training and implementation. Others may charge yearly licensing fees, or impose fees for access to updates. As a rule, we encourage our readers to avoid software vendors that gouge their users for technical support or updates.

Choosing Specific Project Management Software

Now that you have some idea of what project management software brings to the table, which features to look for, and how much a system might cost, it’s time to get specific. At Merchant Maverick, we’ve spent countless hours researching and testing the best project management software programs on the market. Read our comprehensive reviews for more information, or check out this handy comparison table if you want a quick overview of the industry in general.

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