How much does project management software cost?
It all depends on what you are looking for and for what purpose, the size of your organisation, the prior knowledge of this type of tool by your agents, the number of teams and the extent of interaction between them.
- Free plan possibilities: Monday and Todoist offer them for example.
- Free trials to test the tool: most software offers a paid trial version, including Asana and Trello.
Obviously, the free versions include functional limitations: basic reporting, limited number of users, smaller catalogue of integrations, etc.
For paid plans, prices are always quoted on a monthly basis, with a discount for annual subscriptions. The structure of the prices depends on the solutions:
- Rate per user: this is the most common, and the choice of Jira or Notion. Sometimes there is a minimum number of users requirement (3 for Teamwork).
- Tariff for the whole structure: this is rarer, and is offered by Basecamp in particular. It is especially advantageous for large teams.
How to choose the right project management software?
The market can be divided into three broad categories of tools, suitable for teams with different challenges and of different sizes:
- Freemium or sub-$10/user solutions: Monday, Trello, Notion, AirTable, Clickup, Todoist, Zoho Projects - These are very flexible and scalable, and especially suitable for small & medium sized organisations.
- More complex solutions at $10 or $20/user: Hive, Wrike, CoSchedule, Teamworks - More robust solutions with more advanced features, but also more complex to implement.
- Solutions above $20/user: Basecamp, Jira - These are clearly aimed at large organisations with high access rights management issues, and especially with high reporting needs.
#1 Trello: The simplest and best known project management tool
Based on the Kanban method, the simple interface and generous free plan make Trello an ideal project management tool for small teams managing "basic" projects. Trello has the distinction of being a very flexible tool that can be used for all sorts of purposes. You can manage both individual projects and ongoing workflows, thanks to their easy-to-understand card and table system. On the cards, you can include images, attachments, hyperlinks, custom drop-down lists, due dates and more. Once you are finished with a particular card or an entire table, it can be archived to hide it from view but still be accessible if needed.
- The basic free level includes unlimited users, maps and tables, but has file size restrictions and only one "Power-Up" (i.e. integration with other services) per map.
- Paid plans start at $9.99 per user per month (one-year commitment), with fewer or no limitations.
- While setting up a commercial CRM has a certain cost, a project management tool such as Trello is an excellent alternative.
Finally, it's important to note that Trello's built-in reports are very limited and, although third-party extensions add more options, you'll probably need to look for another tool if detailed reporting is a major requirement for you. In all other respects, Trello is a great starting point for project management. It is available on web, mobile and desktop.
If you want a simple and efficient tool for your project management, Trello is probably one of the best tools on the market.
#2 Basecamp: The veteran of project management tools
A veteran of the project management world, Basecamp has been around for over a decade and has a large and loyal customer base. The software benefits from its ability to replace several other paid services, such as Slack and Dropbox. In fact, the software takes many of the features of these tools and puts them all into one system. Scheduling and calendars, real-time chat, private messaging, file storage, etc. are included. A clean interface and powerful search tools make it easy to find the task, image or message you want, and a powerful reporting suite lets you go as deep as you need to. With email integration, you have the ability to share individual tasks and messages with people outside the organisation. Finally, notifications can be customised to suit your needs.
- Basecamp's fixed price of $99/month makes it an attractive option for larger organisations, but smaller teams may find a better option elsewhere.
- There is no free plan, but the 30-day trial is more generous than most other tools. Web, desktop and mobile versions are also available.
Basecamp is another excellent project management tool with all the necessary features. However, its price may be somewhat off-putting for small companies.
#3 Monday: The new kid on the block for project management tools
Monday.com is powerful project management software that helps teams plan and execute projects whether they are in the office, at home or on the road. Its ease of use and flexibility means quick integration for your team and the ability to customise workflows to your liking. With powerful productivity features such as time tracking, automated notifications, timeline views and integrations, your team can achieve better and faster results at every stage of the project.
- Monday.com does not have a free plan.
- Paid plans start from €8 per user per month (annual billing). Ideal for small teams, this plan will provide you with 5 gigs of storage, apps on iOS and Android or unlimited boards.
- You can increase your capacity by upgrading to higher packages at €10 or €16 per month.
The opinion of Salesdorado
Monday.com is relatively new to the project management landscape. However, it is a powerful and very affordable tool that will suit both small and large teams.
#4 Asana: Trello on steroids
Asana is a project management solution that offers a ton of useful features to increase productivity. However, the focus is more on tracking. The app allows you to create to-do lists and reminders to keep you on schedule, as well as add due dates, colleagues, instructions and comments. You can even share images from other apps (like Google Drive) directly to Asana. And most importantly, you can track everything you and your colleagues are working on to ensure the project is on track and on time.
- Asana offers a free basic plan, with limited functionality and dashboards.
- Upgrade to the Premium level and for $9.99 per person per month billed annually, you get unlimited use of the tool, with no team member limit.
Asana is one of the most popular project management tools on the market. If you like Trello, you'll love Asana and its comprehensive tracking features.
#5 Todoist: an add-on to your email box
Good project management means above all that communication is effective, that collaborative efforts are successful, that tasks are completed on time and that some things do not fall through the cracks. Todoist can cover all of this while remaining simple enough for beginners. Best of all, since the tool is available via apps and extensions on 10 different platforms, teams can collaborate with each other while using their preferred browsers and devices. This is especially the case with Gmail and Outlook integrations where you won't need an nth tool to open. This can lead to much faster adoption by everyone.
- This tool is available for free, but you will be limited to 80 projects and 5 people per project.
- Paid plans start from 3€ per month (annual billing) with a limit of 300 projects and many features.
Todoist is an excellent project management tool that can also be used as an add-on to your email inbox. Moreover, its extremely attractive prices make it an affordable tool for all companies.
#6 LiquidPlanner: A more complete project management software
LiquidPlanner is a very complete software with many features. Here quantity goes hand in hand with quality. In addition to being a powerful tool for traditional projects, with all the features you'd expect, LiquidPlanner also works well as a helpdesk issue tracking tool. Robust reporting is available, as well as integrations with the major cloud storage providers. There is also support for Zapier, so you can create your own automated connections with other tools if required. Of course, with additional functionality comes additional complexity, and while LiquidPlanner does a good job of explaining some of its finer points, it requires more time to set up, learn and master the tool than many of its competitors. For this reason - not to mention cost - it is better suited to larger teams and organisations than to smaller groups.
- LiquidPlanner does not offer a free level, although you can try different plans for free for a fortnight.
- Plans start at $45/month per user, with a minimum of five users.
- You can also contact them if you have specific needs.
The strength of LiquidPlanner is that it is an extremely complete tool. There is no shortage of features, each one more useful than the last. On the other hand, a lot of features means a longer learning curve. That's why this tool is more suitable for large companies.
#7 Wrike: Very simple to set up
If a tool like Trello seems a bit limited, but you don't have the hours to devote to learning and setting up a complex project management tool, it's time to consider Wrike. Standard project management features such as Gantt charts, dashboards and a full suite of reports are included. Starting a small to medium-sized project can be done quickly without learning all the pros and cons of a complicated new tool. A time tracking tool is built in, available to both the individual working on a particular task and to the person managing the project as a whole. The interface is functional, and although it may need a bit of a visual refresh, it does the job perfectly.
- The free plan is generous with the number of projects you can create - it is unlimited - but has restrictions on the number of users (5 maximum) and the features available.
- Paid packages are a little more expensive than some competitors, starting at $9.80/month per user, but cover all the features of the software. Wrike is available on the web, but also with iOS and Android apps.
- You can also opt for an all-in-one software to manage your customer relations (CRM) and marketing operations, with a free version.
Wrike is a powerful project management tool that covers just about every feature you'll ever need, without too long a learning curve.
What is project management software?
Project management software is a tool to help you manage your internal activities. Its goal is the success of your project, within the time and budget allocated to it.
The idea is to save you time - and money - while facilitating the work of your teams. They are aimed at organisations that manage projects of varying complexity, involving either several agents in the same team or several teams.
There are different types of tools, adapted to the needs of the users:
- Some are more focused on collaboration within teams (planning, sharing calendars, mailboxes and note taking)
- Some are more focused on task tracking and reporting (time management, budgeting, cost and performance analysis for subsequent project improvement)
- Others are specialised in external communication (ideal for customer support teams, for example)
Key features of project management software
All project management tools should have certain essential features, and some offer other more advanced functions.
- Task management and planning: you can divide projects into milestones and small tasks, add deadlines to be met, associate budgets, etc. The planning function allows you to track upcoming tasks and keep an eye on deadlines. Some tools also offer shared team calendars, with automatic notifications when a deadline approaches.
- Collaboration and communication: Project management tools are first and foremost central platforms for master data and detailed information about your activities. They enable the sharing of project information between agents and teams and, above all, with clients.
- Access to integrations: most tools offer to integrate with your entire work ecosystem. Among the most common are integrations with mailboxes (Gmail), Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, calendars (Google or Apple), or other similar project management tools.
- Reporting and time tracking: this is a very important function to ensure constant monitoring of your activity and to improve your performance. The reporting tool provides detailed reports and statistics to learn from your previous projects (for example, understanding why a project went over budget or missed a deadline). In particular, the time tracking feature allows you to see which tasks have taken the longest to complete, so you can better estimate costs and timescales.
- Customisation possibilities: this is key for a project management tool to be a real asset. It adapts to your workflow and to your preferences and those of your team (e.g. Kanban model or other). As form is very important, it also adapts to your design preferences (colours, shapes, fonts).
- Advanced planning and task management functions: some software (often more expensive) offers the possibility of allocating tasks and responsibilities within the team, according to the skills and responsibilities of each agent. There is also the integration of the "critical path": this is the precise order in which tasks must be carried out.
- Advanced reporting functions: you can manage your time more efficiently, by setting hourly rates for projects, automatically adding billable hours to invoices, etc. But it is especially on the key issue of budgeting that these functions are indispensable: they give you an overview of the resources planned and those used, and sometimes allow you to manage your invoices.
For companies dedicated to the sale of physical products, some software includes the integration of specific product tracking (stocks, sales data, customer reviews).
- Automation: this is a premium function but it can be a must to energise your teams. The goal setting and management function can be used to stimulate teamwork and the overall performance of your agents.