Back to Reference
Search everything, get answers anywhere with Guru.
Watch a demoTake a product tour
May 10, 2024
XX min read

How to Choose the Best Project Management Software [Guide]

Ever wondered how to choose project management software that suits your company’s needs? Wonder no longer! The ultimate buyer’s guide for PM tools is here. 

There isn’t a time when you don’t need project management software. It’s one of the best ways to plan, monitor, and launch successful projects within your business. 

But only 23% of companies use project management tools — and a small percentage of those have yet to benefit from them.

That’s because most of them don’t use the right solution. But if you’re here, you’re ready to make the right decision and understand what to look for when evaluating PM tools. 

It all starts with discovering the steps you need to take…

What is Project Management Software?

Project management software refers to the tools companies use to manage their projects efficiently. 

In a nutshell, it’s a solution that helps you plan, organize, and track projects. While fostering smooth collaboration between teams and stakeholders. 

Think of it as a virtual space your team members can access when working on an ongoing assignment. Here, people can clearly define responsibilities and tasks, keep track of the project’s progress, and allocate resources. 

But who is it for? The short answer: anyone

When working on a business project, you need to know what the tasks are, who’s responsible for what, etc. Without a project management platform, you won’t get valuable insights into how your team is performing. 

That’s why businesses and teams of all sizes in any industry use this tool to streamline their workflow, ranging from busy marketing agencies to entirely remote companies. 

But what’s the true purpose of a project management tool?  

How Are Project Management Tools Used?

The main purpose of a project management tool is to organize the way you work and make sure your team stays on track.

But it also has multiple use cases, including: 

  • Providing greater project visibility: Let’s say all your departments work on different projects at the same time. But you do it all manually. At one point, you probably lose track of what’s going on where. With a project management solution, you avoid confusion.  
  • Managing resources better: Resources refer to people and equipment you need to complete the project in time. A project management tool helps you effectively allocate them so you can complete your tasks within budget. 
  • Generating accurate reports: You can view real-time data through auto-generated reports or visual dashboards. They’re extremely helpful for keeping track of your progress, seeing potential blockers, and staying on top of things. 
  • Tracking time and personnel: Through a PM tool, you’ll clearly see how much time someone spends on a task or who’s available. It helps you accurately bill your customers since you can easily log the hours spent on each task. 

Now, let’s dive deeper into the benefits of a PM tool. 

What Are the Benefits of Using Project Management Software?

Project management software has so many benefits, it’s gonna take us ages to count them all. That’s why we’ve settled only for the top advantages of a PM tool. 

So, the right project management software yields the following benefits: 

  • Better project planning: We know you’re tired of using spreadsheets to plan your projects. We are, too! A project management tool helps you build a seamless workflow that aligns with your team’s abilities and gives you in-depth visibility. 
  • Automated project tasks: A project has many recurrent time-consuming tasks, such as assigning tasks, tracking resources, and reporting statuses. You can say ‘buh-bye’ to this repetition since PM tools automate everything and save you more time. 
  • Seamless collaboration: You hate it when you have to go through countless email threads just to find a single note. Here’s where PM software shines brightest. Since you house everything in a single platform, you stay more focused on the project than on distractions. 
  • Faster completion: In this fast-paced world, you can’t afford to wait for the slowpoke in your team to finish a task. Through task management and other features, you can quickly see if something’s going wrong so you can change direction if necessary. 

Still don’t think PM software is for you? Well, this statistic might change your mind: 43% of companies surveyed in 2022 reported a significant increase in their use of collaboration tools, which means faster project delivery times. 

If you’re convinced that you need such a solution in your life, let’s see how you go about choosing the right project management software. 

How to Choose Project Management Software That Suits Your Needs

We’ve covered what a project management system is, how to use it, and its benefits. Now, let’s get into the details of picking the right tool for your business. 

So, choosing project management software starts with these five steps. 

Step #1: Identify your needs

Like the Universe, it all begins with a BANG! In this case, you should try first to understand your project and team’s needs. And identify your goals. 

For example, you need a project management solution because you want to better organize your workflows. 

Try to find answers to the following questions: 

  • Why do you need a project management platform?
  • What types of projects do you usually manage?
  • What are the critical project timelines and milestones?
  • How do you usually allocate resources for your projects? 
  • Do you need a tool for project forecasting or time tracking?

If you’re stuck, it’s always helpful to ask an artificial intelligence (AI) tool like ChatGPT to generate new ideas. 

The important takeaway is that you definitely need a goal so everyone stays on the same page, even when they lose sight of why this project matters. 

Step #2: Understand what features you will need

Project management tools have plenty of features — enough to give you a headache. That’s probably why you stopped searching on your own and tried to find a buyer’s guide to help you out.

You’ve come to the right place. Here are the ‘must-have’ features that will shape the way you evaluate project management software: 

  • Integrations: It’s essential for your PM tool to integrate directly into your existing systems, just like Guru does. This app keeps you focused on the task at hand while you get the answers you need quickly. 
  • Project timeline management: This feature helps you keep track of how your plan is going, from setting deadlines to adjusting the pace. 
  • Time-tracking options: One of the most important features of any PM tool, so don’t do without it. 
  • Automation: PM tools with automation features have a positive impact on a business and simplify your operations. 

We can talk more about these features later, so stay tuned. 

Step #3: Research different project management platforms

This should be easy, no? 

Now that you know what you’re looking for, finding the right solution that aligns with your requirements is a piece of cake. Still, since it’s such a key step, here are some tips to get you started. 

First, research your options. It might seem obvious, but you can’t just settle on the first tool that appears on Google. You need to be thorough in your investigation and select the tool that works best for your business. 

The secret is to: 

  • Read reviews from actual users.
  • Check ratings on sites like G2, TrustRadius, and Capterra.
  • Seek recommendations from colleagues.
  • Explore blogs written by industry experts.

Then, compare tools and see which one fits your needs best. 

Step #4: Test the software

At this point, you’ve narrowed down your list to two or three options. But you still need to find THE ONE

This is why this step exists. It involves testing your chosen software to get hands-on experience with it. The goal is to see how well each option meets your requirements. 

You start by gathering a team of lead and project managers, preferably with different roles and responsibilities. By diversifying your pool, you’ll get better user feedback, as it’ll give you insight into the tool’s strengths, weaknesses, and ease of use. 

Use it for a predetermined period. Most solutions have free trials or plans that allow you to test them. During this time, your peers should use the tool to explore everything the software offers.

Afterward, ask your team members for feedback. Was the user interface easy to use? Did it solve your problems? Any limitations you should be aware of? Did the real-time chat or file-sharing features work as intended? 

Any negative or positive comment can help you decide whether it’s the right tool for your business or not. 

Step #5: Consider your budget

Alright, you’ve found THE ONE, and you want it now. You’re ready to make the purchase, but there’s one small problem. It’s too expensive for you right now. 

Well, back to the drawing board it is, then. 

It’s important to clearly define your budget parameters. Do you go all out and make a huge investment? Or do you take it slow? Besides, you need to think about the additional costs, such as subscription or maintenance fees. 

Before you dive in, consider both immediate and long-term costs. If you’re a small business or have a tighter budget, look for free tools or per-user plans.

On the other hand, if you’re a large enterprise with complex requirements, you might need to get custom pricing tailored to your organization. 

In conclusion, examine the tool’s pricing model and whether it fits your budget. 

***

Congrats! 🎉 You’re ready to take the last step, which is to make your final choice. 

But before we go ahead and show you the best project management tools currently available, let’s review those ‘must-have’ features once more. 

Features and Functionalities to Look for in Project Management Software

As you know, each project management software tool currently available on the market has multiple features. Sometimes, too many, which makes it hard to decide what you truly need. 

Here are some of the capabilities you should pay attention to: 

  • Planning and scheduling: The best project management software should let you set project goals and milestones, as well as define tasks, deadlines, and dependencies. Through alerts, notifications, schedules, and calendars, you can stay on track as you go. 
  • Team collaboration: In-app messaging, file sharing, and team dashboards. All contribute to enhanced communication and make it easier to collaborate. Moreover, it gives clarity as to where your project stands. 
  • Resource management and documentation: Spreadsheets are not so efficient in keeping track of all your info. With a project management tool, you have all the data you need in a single place. Besides, you can access it quickly and easily, whenever you need it. 
  • Integrations: Most PM software integrates with your existing tools to reduce the need for switching tabs. Guru, for example, integrates well with popular project management apps like Monday.com, Airtable, Basecamp, and Teamwork. You don’t need to log in to a separate tool to get instant answers. 
  • Time and budget tracking: Each project, no matter how large or small, has a paper trail. A project management tool helps you keep track of and organize your documents. It provides a clear overview of your performance, which means you can track the time and money spent on each project. 

At the end of the day, your needs as a company highly influence the features a project management tool should have. 

By now, you’re ready to make an informed decision. So, let’s show you the 10 best project management systems for 2024. 

10 of the Best Project Management Software Solutions to Consider

With the global project management software market projected to exceed $15.08 billion by 2030, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are so many PM tools currently available. 

And while it seems like a daunting task, we’ve made your research easier. Let’s explore the best project management software tools you should consider. 

1. Asana

Asana is a popular project management tool trusted to connect teams and workflows to strategic initiatives and business goals. 

Source: G2

It has project management capabilities that help you handle your projects from start to finish. Through kanban boards, to-do lists, Gantt charts, and timelines, Asana makes your processes more transparent and agile.

Moreover, it has time-saving automations like status updates. The catch is you’ll only receive notifications about the work that matters most to you. But you can measure how much time you spend on the project via time-tracking options so you can budget correctly. 

Guru also integrates with Asana — see how here

2. Wrike

Wrike offers a versatile project management software option ideal for your entire team, regardless of the department. 

Source: Capterra

Wrike has custom item types that allow you to build a customizable library to mimic your unique process, terminology, and methodology. You can also tailor it depending on roles, industry, and department. 

Moreover, this tool helps you manage and properly allocate your resources, so you don’t waste them. Since it stores your data in one place, each team member can access them when needed. 

Wrike’s project dashboard also helps you visualize what your team needs to succeed by gathering plans, progress, and analytics into a single source.

3. ClickUp

ClickUp is a user-friendly productivity tool where large or small teams can plan, organize, and collaborate more efficiently. 

Source: G2

This PM tool helps you manage new projects through task management, whiteboards, and chats. It allows you to quickly navigate to any task or subtask — and customize it so you only view what interests you at that time. 

ClickUp also enables excellent visual collaboration through a virtual whiteboard. Here, you can brainstorm, add notes, and see all your team’s ideas in one place, even if you work remotely. 

With the chat feature, you bring communication under one roof. Use it to share updates or link resources. 

 

4. Monday

Monday.com is a highly customizable project management platform known for its scalability, flexibility, and adaptability. 

Source: G2

This solution has little to no learning curve because you can drag and drop any element you like to create your workflow. The workspace is intuitive and flexible, which means it scales as your company grows. 

If you don’t know where to start, Monday has ready-made templates you can use to get started. This makes it easier to set goals and tasks, organize the way you work, and handle your deliverables. 

And guess what? Monday integrates with Guru!

 

5. Trello

Say ‘Hello’ to Trello, a visual collaboration tool that helps you manage your team’s projects and keep everything organized. 

Source: G2

Trello is a suitable tool for businesses of all sizes and from all industries since you can customize it to fit your work style. Besides, it has integrations with many tools, including Slack, Jira, Google Drive, and more. 

Trello doesn’t require any onboarding, as it’s easy to understand and its features are intuitive. In addition, the whole process is transparent. Trello makes it easy to share your files with peers, no matter where they are. 

6. Toggl Plan

Toggl Plan provides a simple way for marketing agencies and teams of any size to juggle multiple projects at the same time. 

Source: G2

This tool makes resource allocation and file-storage management easy. With a clearer picture of your team’s workload, you can avoid burnout and plan for any bottlenecks. 

Toggl Plan also has personalized views for all your teammates. This means everyone gets the view they want and need, such as color-coded projects or a bird’s-eye view. 

Furthermore, this tool ensures accuracy in both billing and payroll to make your business operations more efficient and reliable. 

7. Basecamp

Basecamp understands that it’s hard to juggle multiple projects, deadlines, and clients at the same time. That’s why it’s built a project management platform, ideal for small teams, that gets the job done. 

Source: G2

It offers a one-page dashboard where you can view all your projects, tasks, assignments, and deadlines. You can customize it to feel like home with your company’s logo and colors; plus, everyone can set their homepage however they want. 

Basecamp’s Mission Control feature allows you to see which projects are on track and which require more attention. 

What’s more, Basecamp integrates with Guru, so don’t forget to check it out. 

8. Jira

Jira by Atlassian is an issue and project tracking tool used for handling new projects and bringing them to fruition. 

Source: Capterra

Jira has automated workflows that let you manage every update with task progress notifications, comments, and more. This enables you to seamlessly connect teams that build the product with those who launch it. 

Furthermore, you can add any piece of knowledge you need (documents, mockups, people) so you never lose any critical information. If you’re out of ideas, you can use Jira’s AI to glean valuable insights from your data, which leads to faster decision-making. 

9. Teamwork

Teamwork is all about teamwork, of course. This project management tool is capable of managing every aspect of your project from start to finish. 

Source: G2

This solution simplifies time tracking, letting you understand how you and your co-workers spend your time. It accurately estimates how long a project will take and tracks it so you can stay on schedule and bill clients promptly.  

Regarding resource management, Teamwork helps you manage your team’s work in real time. Since you get a complete picture of your team’s capacity, you can avoid bottlenecks by easily reassigning tasks. 

Teamwork integrates with Guru; take a look.

10. Airtable

Airtable is a collaboration platform used for building apps and empowering teams to manage their most critical workflows better.  

Source: G2

Airtable keeps your teams connected through custom interfaces without code. It has building blocks that allow you to drag and drop components and make interfaces in minutes. This way, each person can work however they want. 

Plus, you have permissions, which let you decide who can access what. 

Airtable automates most of your processes and saves you from the clutter. With a single notification or a multi-sequence workflow, you can keep your team on track all the time. 

One popular Airtable integration is with Guru. See how it works.

Over to You

That’s it! You know everything there is to know about how to choose project management software. If we’ve successfully made your selection process easier, our work here is done.  

But do you wanna make handling projects even easier? 

Use your shiny new PM tool together with Guru, a 3-in-1 solution that gives you all the answers instantly, no matter where you work. With smart AI search, you’ll get accurate and trusted data directly in your team’s tools.  

But Guru does so much more than that — you just have to sign up as a new user and experience it yourself.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

How much does project management software cost?

Project management solutions have an entry-level pricing of $5 to $10+ per month, as most of them have a monthly subscription plan. 

Be aware that you might have to pay additional fees for features such as advanced reporting or for each new member.

What is the best free project management tool?

It all depends on your requirements and preferences. While there are many PM tools with a free plan, they offer limited functionalities and different capabilities.

For example, Trello has unlimited cards and up to 10 boards per Workspace. While Asana has unlimited tasks, projects, and messages. 

Choose a solution that meets your business needs the best.

Who uses project management software?

Anyone can use project management software, regardless of team size and industry. Educational institutes, nonprofit organizations, freelancers, remote businesses, marketing agencies — any company that wants to effectively improve productivity can use such a tool.

Written by
Bob Horan
Search everything, get answers anywhere with Guru.

Learn more tools and terminology re: workplace knowledge