The Best Project Management Tools & Software for 2021

Sydney
Sydney • Dec 30th, 2020

The Best Project Management Tools

Any project manager will tell you that a shocking amount of tasks go into even the most straightforward projects. Combine this with the increased popularity of remote teams, the varying interests of diverse stakeholders and team members, new trends like the agile approach, scrums & critical path methods and subtasks upon subtasks... let's just say that project management can get overwhelming, fast. 

That's where project management apps and tools come in. Fortunately for project managers and project teams alike, technology has provided countless innovative solutions to common project management woes. It's easier than ever to develop efficient, intuitive project management systems. Much of that development is done online.

By now you might be wondering what kinds of project management tools are out there to help with your project tasks. The truth is, the options are almost limitless. That makes it difficult to determine what will really help you with your new project. 

You're in luck. We've done the groundwork for you and put together a handy list of the 7 top project management tools that you and your team should be using in 2021. These project management tools will help you tackle even the most complex projects, so take a browse through our list, try out the options that align with your project plan, and marvel how quickly you'll be getting things done.

1. SliteManage smoother projects

If you're looking for a user-friendly tool that facilitates collaborative content development and remote teamwork, Slite is a must for you and your team. Slite acts as a collective workspace that allows large and small teams alike to work together seamlessly without having to meet face-to-face.

Slite is also perfect to use in a wide variety of project types and industries. They offer an array of customizable project templates to save you time when you get started. They're constantly putting out new templates, but some of the categories in their current selection include:

  • Project management & documentation
  • Marketing
  • Startups
  • Product development & management 
  • Remote work 
  • Design
  • Human resources & management

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Slite is also a perfect tool to use if you're embarking a new project and you haven't done anything similar before. If you don't have past templates and/or examples to work off of, Slite's project templates will make your life much easier. It's certainly less intimidating to customize a template than start from scratch the first time around. 

All in all, Slite largely eliminates the need to email task lists, Excel sheets and other project documentation back and forth. Everything you need will be centralized and easily accessible to everyone on your team.

The best part? Slite has a great free plan that allows you to test out its workflows and functionalities before you commit to a paid plan. When you decide it's the right project management software for your team, pricing is determined per member and per month.

2. AirtableUser-friendly databases 

At its core, Airtable is a beautiful marriage between a spreadsheet and a database. It allows you to organize pretty much any kind of information with the easily digestible appearance of a spreadsheet. However, it's functionality gets a level up as it also functions as an interactive database. 

Use Airtable for everything from organizing project information to internal company data to customer & CRM information (customer relationship management) and even plain old ideas

Before you get intimidated, this isn't as complicated as it sounds. In fact, it has an easy-to-use user interface and is an incredibly powerful way to organize information.

On Airtable, a singular database is referred to as a base. Airtable bases are unique because they can be customized with a wide variety of field types such as check lists, drop downs, priority levels, due dates, notes, links to associated tasks and drag-and-drop attachments. Bases can also be viewed in a more traditional grid format (much like an Excel sheet), as well as in more interactive calendar and gallery options. There's also the possibility to group and organize your data.

Airtable is also easy to connect with your favourite web apps and has a powerful API. This enables you and your team to effortlessly share information between bases and external applications. Some popular apps have built-in integrations. However, you can also use Zapier, Workato, Integromat or Automate.io to integrate and create automations for over 1000 other web apps.

Some of the most popular integrations include:

  • Project management: Asana, Basecamp
  • File storage: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box
  • Communication & messaging apps: Slack, 
  • Email marketing: Mailchimp, Gmail
  • Social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter​​, Instagram
  • Payment processing: Stripe​​​

Airtable works great across browsers and operating systems, with mobile apps available for Mac devices and Androids. 

Last but not least, plans can be paid monthly or annually. Airtable has a free essential features plan, as well as a variety of paid plans to choose from according to your needs.

3. Monday.comStreamline your workflows

Monday.com is one of the most popular general purpose project management tools out there, mainly rivalled by Asana. It acts as a digital workspace that enables professional teams to organize and manage their workflows, tasks, projects and general collaboration.

We love that everything in your Monday.com account is centralized on one main visual board. From there, you can start from scratch, use one of Monday.com's 200+ templates or choose from more than 30 different column types that you can drag and drop to develop your ideal workflow. 

Monday.com also credits itself with being so easy to use that it doesn't require any training. Its user interface looks great and is incredibly intuitive. It also works seamlessly on a wide variety of devices and has both iOS and Android apps available. It doesn't matter if you're working on a desktop, tablet or mobile device, you can count on staying in the loop and staying connected.

It's also easy to set up automations and integrations on Monday.com. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Email marketing: Outlook, Gmail
  • Project management: Microsoft teams
  • File management: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive
  • Communication & messaging apps: Slack, Zoom
  • Social media: LinkedIn
  • Other: Google Calendar, Zapier, Excel

Last but not least, Monday.com allows you to view your data exactly how you want to... whether that's in Kanban board, calendar, timeline, Gantt chart, map, form, workload or main view format. Try it out with a free 14-day trial, with basic plans starting from €24 per month.

4. Forecast AppStreamline your finances with AI

The Forecast App is another handy project management tool, but this time it has a focus on finances and operations. Forecast is tired of the same old necessity of copying and sending data between different softwares, systems and apps, so they're on a mission to simplify the management of businesses "from quote to invoice."

Some of our favourite features? The Forecast App claims to cut administrative work in half, and they absolutely do. They make this possible by harnessing the power of AI-based automations in innovative tools like automatic scheduling, timesheet suggestions (when employees track time, this app actually learns from their data), resource allocation and budget estimations.

Because of their financial focus, The Forecast App is specifically designed to help you and your project team deliver profitable projects. Sounds pretty ideal, right? It has powerful accounting features that provide breakdowns of revenue, cost, profit and profit margins, which are visually laid out and easy to digest... even without significant accounting experience. 

Last, Forecast's project management functionalities help keep everything organized along the way. Staying on top of every aspect of your project is a breeze, right down to milestones, tasks and subtasks. Everything gets updated automatically and in real-time, so you'll always have access to up-to-date information and accurate project progress.

Sound appealing? The Forecast App takes a little bit of training and time to master, but you can book a demo or sign up for a free trial to test out the waters. They're only 4 years old and are already used in over 40 countries around the world, so this project management newcomer is one to watch.

5. ProofHubSimple, effective project planning

ProofHub markets itself as an all-in-one project planning software. Love it or hate it, ProofHub is a simple platform that has limited integrations and features. This is all done intentionally as they aim for new users to have no learning curve when they start using the software. 

Basically, if you want a project management solution that isn't overly complicated or that you don't have to spend a lot of time familiarizing yourself with, this could be the perfect app for you.

ProofHub's simplicity makes it perfect for freelancers and small teams, but it can also be used effectively for companies of all sizes. It's also affordable, with a free trial available and paid plans starting at $45 USD per month with unlimited users.

In terms of functionalities, ProofHub has all the project management basics. It acts as a centralized workspace where you can place your project's task lists, workflows, Gantt charts, documents, files, schedules and even chats.

6. BasecampCommunicate in real-time 

Basecamp is another classic project management tool, but what really sets it apart is its communication functionalities. That's what earned it a mention here and makes it competitive with other solutions. It combines project management and internal communication, making it perfect for remote teams of all kinds.

Basecamp acts as a centralized space for your company's projects, teams and communications so you never lose track of any documents or important information. Basically, it helps you stay on top of project planning and keeping in touch. Some of the main tools you can find on your homepage include a message board, to-do lists, schedules, documents and files, group chats and automatic check ins. 

If you're looking for a comprehensive, intuitive project management solution for a remote team of any size, Basecamp could be perfect for you. They have a 30-day free trial and their paid plan starts at $99 flat per month for unlimited users.

7.  Honourable mentions: The options are endless

As mentioned, there are countless project management tool options out there. Our list only dips its toe into all the possibilities... the choices are truly endless. Here are a couple more honourable mentions for you to check out:

Github:  An incredibly powerful development platform used by coders, developers and companies worldwide. It features functionalities like collaborative coding, automations, security, client apps, project management and team/community administration.

Zoho Projects:  A popular, general purpose project management tool that helps with planning, time tracking, reporting and general team collaboration. Something that really sets Zoho Projects apart is it's robust, built-in communication features and tools.

SmartsheetA software that acts as an end-to-end work execution platform. Smartsheet aims to help your organization achieve more by increasing effectiveness and aligning people with technology. It's a dynamic tool used by industry leaders and strives to be as dynamic as the world we live in.

SalesforceSpecializes in customer relationships and identifies itself as the #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform worldwide. It has sales, customer service, marketing, commerce, analytical and employee functionalities... and more.

WrikeYet another cloud-based, project management tool with a wide array of features. In fact, what really sets Wrike apart is its sheer amount of features. Some users find this intimidating and difficult to use, but others love it because you can count on finding the specific solution your project needs.

JiraJira was initially designed as a bug and issue tracker, but has since evolved into an effective work management tool. Nowadays it's used in tons of different use cases, extending from project management to software development to product management to task management.

CeloxisA well-rounded project management software that many organizations are increasingly choosing over Microsoft Projects. It has both SaaS and on-premise options and features advanced scheduling, project tracking, financial management and detailed analytics.

ClickupA project management platform that's all about task management, whether you're part of a small team or large organization. We love Clickup's elegant, intuitive user interface. 

What is a Project Management Tool?

It's very difficult to define the project management tool, especially nowadays, as it's just such a flexible term. At its most basic, a project management tool is anything that helps project managers or project teams organize and manage the various tasks that go into a given project. Nowadays, project management tools are usually based online. 

What are Project Management Tools Used For? 

Project management tools help manage a wide variety of project tasks. As noted above, modern technology has spurred innovation and provided project management professionals and team members with an incredibly diverse array of options. Nevertheless, some of the most popular tasks and items that project managers use tools and apps to help with include:

  • Planning, scheduling & time management
  • Time tracking 
  • Portfolio management
  • Task delegation & task management
  • Budgeting, invoicing & general finances
  • Teamwork & team collaboration
  • Meetings & communication
  • Project documentation & file management
  • General resource management, resource allocation & monitoring
  • Project monitoring, evaluation & assessment 

Start managing your project in Slite today

How To Choose The Right Project Management Tool

There are so many project management tools out there nowadays, it can be difficult to determine which one will work best for you and your team. Finding the solutions that work best for you will require a little bit of trial and error, but asking yourself the following questions can help steer you in the right direction:

Asking The Right Questions

  • What are my project's most important needs? Does it have any needs that would be considered specific or niche?
  • What project management tool features would help address those needs?
  • Do our project management tools have to be compatible with any specific methodologies or project management systems?
  • Who will be using our chosen project management tools? Will everything stay internal, or will it be used externally as well?
  • What's our budget when it comes to project management tools? Are we looking for free or low-cost solutions, or do we have the resources for paid plans?
  • What project management tools are similar organizations in our industry using? Have any of our peers recommended any systems or tools to us?

And, if you're already using certain project management tools but aren't satisfied with their performance...

What problems do we have with our current project management tools? What do we like about them, and how could they be improved?

Bringing everything together

Trust us, the hardest part about project management nowadays is finding the right tools and solutions for you and your team.  However, you'll watch your overall organization, productivity and success soar when you find the right fit for you. 

Be sure to try some of the suggestions we've outlined above, or keep this guide handy for the next time you're stuck while planning a project and need a quick solution.

We're wishing you all the best in your project planning ventures in 2021!