Project management software helps teams plan, implement, and manage projects from start to finish. We looked at a variety of project management software solutions and narrowed it down to the top six. We then compared and contrasted the price, features and customer support to learn which one stood out as the best overall.
Top 6 Project Management Software 2018
|Basecamp||(Best Overall) Businesses wanting an affordable combination of features like collaboration tools and cloud storage|
|Trello||Businesses wanting simple task management tools, project boards, and checklists|
|Monday||Businesses wanting customizable boards with kanban, timeline, calendar, and map project views|
|ActiveCollab||Businesses wanting built-in time tracking and invoicing tools for easy client billing|
|Insightly||Businesses wanting project management software with a CRM and lead management capabilities|
|Asana||Businesses wanting advanced admin and security controls with a paid account|
How We Evaluated Project Management Software
Project management software uses planning tools like checklists and boards to organize tasks and create high-level and detailed views of projects. The best software also has collaboration features that keep everyone working toward the same goal, as well as time tracking and reporting tools that help with planning, estimating, and budgeting. Good project management software should be easy to use and not impede projects.
Therefore, we evaluated project management software based on the following:
- Price – We evaluated each project management software provider’s monthly per-user fee and how each pricing tier compared to other products on our list with similar features.
- Project Planning – We assessed how well each solution provided a high-level view of projects, as well as granular details of projects.
- Customization – We evaluated the customization options of dashboards, documents, fields, and project views for each provider.
- Document Storage and Version Control – We evaluated how much document storage space each provider included in its packages for teams to manage drafts, statements, quotes, and other project-related documentation. Version control was also a consideration, which can track changes and identify scope creep.
- Team Collaboration – We evaluated how each project management software provider emphasized and encouraged team collaboration with built-in features or through integration with third-party tools like Slack or Google Hangouts.
- Time Tracking – We looked at the time tracking tools each project management solution offered.
- Reporting – We assessed each provider’s ability to create and share reports internally and externally to track progress, expenses, budgets, and other important aspects of project management.
- Client Controls – We looked at each provider’s ability for client controls, allowing clients to log in and view projects, leave comments, and view changes while also restricting their access to the entire system.
- Ease of Use – We evaluated how easy each solution was to set up and use.
- Customer Support – We looked at the customer support services each project management software provider offered with their product.
Based on our research, we recommend Basecamp as the best overall project management software for small businesses. The provider is well-known for its ease of use, extensive list of features, and straightforward pricing.
Best Overall Project Management Software for Small Businesses: Basecamp
Basecamp is a project management software provider with a single price plan at $99 per month for unlimited access to all features. This plan includes 500 GB of document and file storage, reporting, and team collaboration tools for unlimited users and unlimited projects. Basecamp is a great choice for businesses that want feature-rich project management software with straightforward pricing.
Basecamp is $99 per month for unlimited users and unlimited projects. The price includes every Basecamp feature and 500 GB of file storage. There is no minimum contract agreement, and discounts are available for nonprofit organizations. Basecamp’s pricing is about standard in the industry for businesses with teams of ten or more users.
Basecamp’s features include to-do lists, message boards, schedules, 500 GB of document and file storage, and tools to customize individual projects. Search tools allow users to sort data by keyword, image, file, and more. Other providers offer similar features but at a higher price point for options like increased file storage space or project customization.
Additional Basecamp features include:
Basecamp offers a range of collaboration tools including real-time group chat and direct messaging with anyone on the same Basecamp account. Check-in questions let team members share what they’re working on, with all replies sent in a single, easy-to-read digest to the team. ActiveCollab also offers team collaboration tools but less cloud storage space and fewer project customization options.
Time tracking within Basecamp is achieved by integrating third-party time-tracking software tools like Hubstaff or Tick. The tools can be used to track data for invoicing, accounting, contractor payments, attendance, and more. Monday and ActiveCollab feature built-in time tracking but don’t offer flat-rate pricing for unlimited users and projects.
Basecamp’s reporting features include insight into what’s overdue and due soon, what tasks are assigned, what’s been completed today, and what’s coming up. It also offers reports on individual team member activity, including files they’ve shared, comments they’ve posted, and work they’ve added to a project. Asana also offers reporting tools, but only at its upper-level pricing plans.
Ease of Use
Setting up an account with Basecamp is quick and takes only a few minutes. Basecamp’s design and layout are approachable and user-friendly. It has a social feel to it so users accustomed to message boards and chat apps will pick it up quickly.
Basecamp has an extensive online knowledge base, a collection of video tutorials, and regularly offers free live Q&A classes that teach the basics of using Basecamp. Customer support is also available through an online ticketing system. This is in contrast to Monday, which offers 24/7 support to customers at all tier levels, and Trello, which features priority support to paid customers.
What Basecamp Is Missing
Basecamp lacks a way to organize projects through Gantt charts or kanban views. It’s also missing a native time-tracking feature for billing and invoicing purposes. While it’s possible to track time using third-party integrations, businesses that want this feature built into project management software should check out Monday or ActiveCollab instead.
What Users Think About Basecamp
Our readers give Basecamp high marks with a 4.5 out of five-star rating. Customers like how versatile it is, how well it helps organize projects, and say it’s intuitive to use. However, some customers say they are disappointed there is no way to visualize projects with kanban or Gantt chart views. For more user reviews, visit our Basecamp User Review Page.
Where to Find Basecamp
Businesses that want feature-rich project management software for unlimited users and projects at an affordable price should take a look at Basecamp. The company offers a free 30-day trial with no credit card required and they’ll extend your trial period at no charge if you need more time to check it out. Visit Basecamp’s website for details.
Best No-Frills Project Management Software: Trello
Trello is a project management software with an easy-to-use combination of features like unlimited checklists, projects boards and task cards that make it great for basic task management. Paid plans range from $9.99 to $20.83 per month per user, billed annually, and add priority support, enhanced security, and private boards. Trello is a good choice for teams wanting simple task management at an affordable price.
You can start using Trello for free or pay $9.99 per month per user for the business class plan or $20.83 per month per user for the Enterprise level plan. All plans can be further enhanced by integrations known as power-ups that add additional functionality, but often require additional fees.
|Boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments|
|Power-Up Custom Add-On|
|Priority Customer Support|
|Group and Organize Boards into Collections|
|Restricted Membership Invitations|
|Custom Board Backgrounds|
|Enhanced Security Tools|
|Personalized Onboarding Assistance|
Trello’s free tier includes unlimited users, project boards, progress lists, task cards, checklists, and attachments of up to 10 MB. It also includes one “Power-Up” custom add-on per board, like card customization or integration with a business app. This tier is a good fit for solo business owners and small teams needing basic task management without a lot of extra features.
The free tier lacks advanced features like unlimited Power-Ups and private boards. This level is also missing the search and conversation features found in Asana’s free tier. However, Asana caps its free plan at 15 users, while Trello allows unlimited users at the free level.
Trello’s Business Class tier adds unlimited Power-Ups, file attachments of up to 250 MB, priority email support, private boards, board collections, restricted membership invitations, and custom board backgrounds. This tier is right for teams that want basic task management with customization and business app integration options.
This tier doesn’t offer the enhanced security options or additional customer support of the Enterprise level, or the reporting or admin controls found in Asana’s comparable price level. However, this level is one of the most affordable tiers of any solution on our list.
Trello’s Enterprise tier adds priority phone support and enhanced security tools like intrusion detection with enhanced software monitoring and custom security review. It also adds personalized onboarding assistance to help teams with platform adoption and migration. This tier is right for teams wanting an additional layer of security or an extra hand getting their account set up.
This level doesn’t offer features like time tracking, invoicing, built-in CRM, or lead management tools as found in ActiveCollab or Insightly. However, Trello costs less than both project management software solutions. In addition to priority email and phone support, Trello also offers an online knowledge base, community message board forum, standard email support, and regular phone support on weekdays.
What Trello Is Missing
Trello is missing features like workflow automation, time tracking, and real-time collaboration tools that allow users to manage projects end-to-end comprehensively. For businesses wanting those types of features, Insightly, Monday or Basecamp are a better fit.
What Users Think About Trello
Our readers give Trello favorable reviews with a 4.5 out of five-star rating. Customers say the interface is intuitive and the Power-Up integrations are an asset. However, some customers are frustrated that Trello lacks a way to manage task dependencies without using Power-Ups. For more reviews, visit our Trello User Review Page.
Where to Find Trello
Businesses wanting project management software for simple task management should check out Trello. The company offers a free tour of the product and it’s free to sign up for an account. Visit Trello’s website for details.
Best for Customizable Project Views and Boards: Monday
Monday is project management software that offers over 20 columns for sorting project data and five project view options. It also features templates, custom tags, email integration, and cloud storage, all for a price between $25 and $59 per month. Monday is a great choice for businesses with long lead times that want a variety of ways to customize data as projects grow and develop.
Monday’s team management software costs between $25 per month to $59 per month depending on the plan selected, placing it in line with the more robust project management tools we compared. All plans come with customizable columns for visual project management and 24/7 customer support.
|Share Boards with Guests|
Monday’s Basic tier level includes 5 GB of cloud storage, a basic activity log that tracks changes from the past week, a kanban workflow view, and 24/7 customer service support. This level also includes over 20 column varieties, such as phone number, world clock, and status, to customize individual project boards. Monday’s Basic tier is good for small businesses that want multiple ways to display data within projects.
This level doesn’t include templates, email integration, or advanced search offered in Monday’s upper tiers. It also doesn’t feature client invoicing like ActiveCollab. Monday’s Basic level is on par with Trello’s Enterprise level pricing and Insightly’s first-level Plus pricing.
Monday’s Standard tier adds 50 GB of storage, an unlimited activity log, timeline, calendar and map views, and mobile apps. It also adds the ability to share boards with guests and offers advanced search, email integration, and a feature that turns any public board into a template for other team members to use to create new boards. This tier is a good choice for teams that want a variety of ways to view projects.
This level doesn’t include time tracking, private boards, or unlimited guests offered in the next tier. It also doesn’t feature the collaborative tools offered by solutions like Basecamp and ActiveCollab. However, depending on how many users need access to the platform, Monday may be a cheaper option.
Monday’s Pro tier adds unlimited cloud storage, a chart view, time tracking, custom tags, unlimited guests, and private boards. This tier is a good fit for larger teams that need greater storage space and want the space to create private project boards. Monday also offers an Enterprise tier level from $118 per month that includes all Pro plan capabilities plus VIP customer support, one-on-one training, and a 99.9 percent uptime service level agreement.
While this level doesn’t include advanced security controls or customized onboarding like Trello or Asana, Monday’s Pro pricing is about the same as its competitors. However, unlike Basecamp and Insightly, this level does provide unlimited cloud storage, which can be a costly additional expense. Monday’s customer support includes an online knowledge base, phone and email support, and access to a VIP training package for an additional fee.
What Monday Is Missing
Monday is missing client invoicing tools to complement its built-in time tracker. That may be an inconvenience for teams that prefer end-to-end project tracking tools for easier client billing. Businesses that want project management software with invoicing included should check out ActiveCollab.
What Users Think About Monday
Online reviews of Monday are generally positive. Users say the customer service team is friendly and responsive, and the platform is easy to use. Customers also report that Monday handles complex projects smoothly. However, some users say the mobile apps lack features and projects are sometimes slow to load on the website.
Where to Find Monday
Businesses wanting project management software that offers multiple ways to sort data and customize project views should take a look at Monday. The company offers a free trial with no credit card required. Visit Monday’s website for details.
Best for Time Tracking & Invoicing: ActiveCollab
ActiveCollab is a project management software provider with built-in time tracking and invoicing tools and pricing that ranges from $25 to $299 per month. ActiveCollab also features to-do lists, project filters, custom calendars, and file attachments from Dropbox and Google Drive. ActiveCollab is a good choice for consultants, freelancers, and independent contractors who want to track projects and bill clients with a single tool.
ActiveCollab prices range from $25 for unlimited projects, five users and 5 GB of cloud storage space to $299 per month for unlimited users and 500 GB of storage. Customers who choose a yearly plan receive two months free. ActiveCollab is a bit more expensive than other providers in this space that offer similar features.
ActiveCollab features include time tracking, client invoicing, and reporting tools. It also includes note taking, commenting, and discussion tools to foster collaboration on projects and work activity. Other solutions encourage conversations around projects, but none offer the advanced invoicing tools of ActiveCollab.
Additional ActiveCollab features include:
ActiveCollab allows users to create a task from a discussion and retain the conversation within the task for reference, attach files to a discussion, and move or copy discussions between projects. Users can also hide discussions, tasks, and files from clients so they remain private. Basecamp also offers collaboration features with client controls and may be less expensive for small teams.
ActiveCollab’s time tracking features include job types and hourly rates, billable time records, expense categories, a built-in timer app, and a time sheet. Users can set different hourly rates for companies and projects, add time records as projects progress, and then use them to create invoices and reports. Monday also features native time tracking but doesn’t offer invoicing tools.
ActiveCollab’s reporting features include uninvoiced billable time, invoice lists, task distribution across team members, project and team timelines, expense tracking, advanced time reports, estimated versus tracked time, and project budget versus cost. Asana also offers reporting tools at its higher-tiered price plans, and Basecamp offers some reporting tools but they aren’t as detailed as ActiveCollab.
Ease of Use
Online user reviews of ActiveCollab indicate the project management software is easy to set up and use. Once a free trial or paid account is activated, users can try out sample projects in a sandboxed area for as long as they wish to learn how to use the product. Sample projects are separate from the user’s account and don’t impact billing in any way.
ActiveCollab offers an online knowledge base, a collection of video tutorials, and customer support via email. ActiveCollab doesn’t offer priority customer support or phone support, so if those options are important, Asana, Trello, and Basecamp are better choices for project management software.
What ActiveCollab Is Missing
ActiveCollab is missing CRM integration tools that can manage projects and track customer relationship data at the same time, a feature that would pair nicely with the product’s existing invoicing tools. Businesses looking for project management software with built-in CRM integration should check out Insightly.
What Users Think About ActiveCollab
Online user reviews of ActiveCollab are generally positive. Customers report the user interface is approachable for even the most technophobic clients, yet the system is powerful enough for teams to manage complex projects. However, some users say they wish there were more customization options to change the look and feel of the platform.
Where to Find ActiveCollab
Businesses that want project management software built-in tools to track time project activity and invoice clients from a single app should check out ActiveCollab. The company offers a 14-day free trial, no credit card required. Visit ActiveCollab’s website for details.
Best Project Management Software with a Built-in CRM: Insightly
Insightly is project management software combined with CRM tools for organizing and managing customers and sales leads, offering a no-frills free version and three paid plans between $29 and $99 per month per user. It features email templates, lead management capabilities, and workflow automation. Insightly ranks high on our list of best CRM for small business and is a great choice for companies wanting a project management platform that also monitors customer relationships.
Insightly offers a free tier but has been moving away from this option of late. On its website you’ll find three plans prominently displayed, with pricing ranging from $29 to $99 per user per month. Because the free version isn’t great for project management, we’ve only considered the paid plans below.
|CRM Record Limit|
|Project Management Tools|
|Milestone and Task Tracking|
|Business App Integration|
The Insightly Plus tier includes 10 GB of cloud file storage, kanban project view, email templates, project management tools, business app integration, and a standard support plan. It also includes a 100,000-CRM record limit, milestone and task tracking, and lead management tools. This tier is best for sales teams that want to manage and monitor sales projects with a single application.
This tier doesn’t include lead assignment, workflow automation, or custom dashboard features offered in upper tiers. It also offers less cloud storage space than Basecamp and Monday. However, it’s less expensive than Basecamp and offers native CRM features that Basecamp doesn’t.
The Insightly Professional tier adds 100 GB of storage, priority email support, a 250,000-CRM record limit, custom dashboards, and workflow automation for $49 per month per user. It also adds lead assignment tools to automate the process of assigning leads as they are added to Insightly. This tier is a good choice for teams that want more control over lead assignment, dashboards, and workflows.
This tier lacks the unlimited CRM record limit and storage space of the highest-level Insightly plan and the range of collaboration tools found in solutions like ActiveCollab and Basecamp. However, this tier costs less than Basecamp and some of ActiveCollab’s higher tier price plans.
The Insightly Enterprise tier adds unlimited CRM records and cloud storage space and also features a dedicated support specialist for $99 per month per user. This level is for large businesses and sales teams that don’t want to worry about record limit or storage cost overruns.
This level’s pricing is roughly the same as ActiveCollab’s mid-level plan and a bit more expensive than Monday’s Pro plan. In addition to this tier’s dedicated support specialist, Insightly’s customer support includes online guides, tutorials, and a user-community of product experts who share their knowledge in exchange for rewards from the company.
What Insightly Is Missing
Insightly lacks the kanban-style views and drag-and-drop functionality found in Asana and Trello, as well as personalized onboarding in its tiered pricing to help customers set up new accounts. Insightly offers onboarding for an additional fee but not as a feature of its paid plans. Businesses wanting personalized onboarding services should check out Trello or Asana.
What Users Think About Insightly
Our online user reviews of Insightly are overall positive, with a four out of five-star rating. Customers say Insightly’s import/export feature is great for making bulk edits and the user interface is well-designed. However, some users report batch emails don’t always send reliably. For more user reviews, visit our Insightly User Review Page.
Where to Find Insightly
Businesses wanting project management software with built-in CRM integration should give Insightly a try. The company offers a free, limited plan for two people, a free demo, and a 14-day trial period. Visit Insightly’s website for details.
Best for Advanced Admin and Security Control: Asana
Asana is project management software with free features that help teams organize and prioritize tasks within projects. Asana’s premium features include reporting, custom fields, task dependencies, private projects, and customized onboarding. Asana is the right choice for businesses that want advanced admin and security controls with a paid account.
Asana offers a free plan for managing projects and supports up to 15 users; its paid plan starts at $9.99 per month. This makes it a low-cost option for dedicated project management software featuring built-in benefits like reporting and the ability to track task dependencies.
|Tasks, Projects, and Conversations|
|Private Teams and Projects|
|Advanced Admin Controls|
|Advanced Security Controls|
Asana’s free tier level includes unlimited tasks, projects, conversations for up to 15 users, and standard customer support. While this tier doesn’t offer many features, it’s a good fit for small teams that don’t need a lot of functionality and for businesses that want to see if project management software is right for them without making a financial investment.
This tier doesn’t include advanced search, priority support, reporting, or admin controls offered at the next tier level. It also doesn’t offer its “Power-Up” tool for customizing the interface with business app integrations, nor does it include the file attachment option Trello offers with its free tier. However, Asana’s Premium features have a lot to offer and make the free tier a worthwhile entry point for people new to project management software.
Asana’s Premium tier level costs $9.99 per user per month an adds, advanced search, priority customer support, reporting, private teams and projects, and task dependencies. It also adds admin controls, including exporting member and guest information, and the ability to adjust team permission settings. This tier is a good choice for teams that want greater tracking and account control and deeper project insight.
This tier is missing advanced security and admin controls as well as customized onboarding offered at Asana’s highest level. It’s also missing restricted membership invitations, advanced customization features, and board collections offered in Trello’s comparably-priced tier.
Asana’s Enterprise tier level adds customized onboarding and advanced admin controls like service accounts and user provisioning and deprovisioning. It also adds advanced security controls like data deletion, data export, encryption at rest, and cross-regional backups. This tier is a good choice for teams that want granular admin and security control over their accounts.
Asana’s highest tier doesn’t offer time tracking or workflow automation as provided by the upper tiers of competitors like Insightly and Monday. However, unlike either provider, it does offer customized onboarding to help customers set up new accounts. Call for a quote today.
What Asana Is Missing
Asana is missing native chat and direct messaging features that allow team members to communicate directly in the platform about tasks, activities, and projects. For project management software with built-in, real-time communication tools, Basecamp is a better option.
What Users Think About Asana
Our readers give Asana good reviews with an overall rating of four out of five stars. Users report the online training resources make learning Asana a breeze and the reporting feature provides insightful details. However, some users report it can be difficult to use on mobile devices. For more user reviews, visit our Asana User Review Page.
Where to Find Asana
Businesses that want advanced admin and security controls with paid versions of project management software should check out Asana. The company offers a demo and it’s free to sign up for an account. Asana also offers free trials of its Premium version by contacting the sales team. Visit Asana’s website for details.
Project management software helps teams collaborate on projects and keep track of time spent on tasks for accountability and client billing. The best software should be easy to use and provide both high-level views and detailed reports of project activity every step of the way.
Businesses that want easy-to-use project management software with a great combination of features at an affordable price should check out Basecamp. It features unlimited projects for unlimited users, a full set of collaboration tools, and 500 GB of storage. They offer a free 30-day trial with no credit card required. Visit Basecamp’s website for details.