16 Project Management Tools That Make Juggling Easy

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Managing multiple projects can be cumbersome and chaotic if you don’t have some kind of system in place to keep track of everything. That challenge can be compounded when you add in multiple services, subcontractors or employees, and various team members on the client side. I have found that my business runs most efficiently when I have a system driving data collection, tracking tasks, and facilitating collaboration with all of the people that need to be in the know on a specific project.

I’ve tried many project management applications in my search for the perfect system and came up with a short list of options that seemed to have the most potential for me. Of course, the way each person works is unique to them, so finding the right tool for you may take some individual research. But here are three of my favorites and a handful more to give you a starting point.

1. Intervals

Intervals is listed first because it’s the application I currently use, but don’t let that sway you. This is a powerful tool that would be a worthy addition to any project management list. It has a task-based setup, which suits me perfectly, and it has (almost) all of the features on my wish list, including:

  • Task management
  • File storage
  • Reporting functions
  • Client access
  • Subcontractor task assignment
  • Time tracking
  • Security

Intervals also has invoicing and a whole slew of budgeting functionality built in, although I don’t use those features…not yet, at least. They have great customer service, respond very quickly to my many feature requests, and are consistently adding new functionality. Plus, the company behind Intervals is a web design/development company who struggled to find a perfect project management tool for their business so they created their own.

What Intervals is missing for me is an option for recurring tasks, a notebook/whiteboard space, and a few other minor features. It may be a bit pricey (the plan that comes with SSL protection is $100/month), but if you work in a task-centric flow and need expansive functionality in your PM application, this is a great option.

intervals project management

2. Basecamp

Basecamp is a very popular project management system touted as being useable by everyone. And it’s true; it’s very easy to use. Sections are broken into To-Do’s, Milestones, Writeboards, Chat, Time, Files with a Dashboard, showing you all of the highest priority items across all of your data. It’s a great tool for collaboration and interaction, with features including:

  • Multiple projects
  • File sharing
  • Project-based to-do’s
  • Time tracking
  • Commenting and message boards
  • Writeboard (notebook-like functionality)
  • Security

It has a good range of monthly plans, with a mid-priced plan of $49/month for features comparable to Intervals $100/month plan. Basecamp provides an exhaustive list of extras and add-ons sold a la carte, which brings the cost closer to Intervals. Some of the useful add-ons include invoicing, time tracking, desktop widgets and some iPhone apps.

The downfall for me is that it is a bit too simple, and I just couldn’t get it to bend to my needs. And, of course, I have my task-oriented focus to support, which Basecamp didn’t. But it is a great option, and if you’re looking for a quick and straightforward tool with virtually no learning curve that everyone on your team can use, this is it.

basecamp

3. Teamwork Project Manager

Teamwork Project Manager offers a robust set of features in a very intuitive format. It has a look and feel that is reminiscent of Basecamp, but is just a bit more extensive. Some of the features include:

  • Task lists
  • Time tracking
  • File sharing
  • Milestones
  • Message boards
  • Notebooks
  • E-mail integration

Like Intervals, Teamwork Project Manager is another very strong project management tool with a responsive company behind the wheel and great customer service. They reply quickly to questions and feature requests and have a roadmap of the up-and-coming enhancements available online. They offer a number of monthly plans, ranging from free to $150/month. Their lowest plan that offers SSL (throughout the account, not just upon login) is $24/month. If you like Basecamp, but need a little more built-in functionality, this is a great option.

teamwork project manager

Some other project management tools worth a look:

4. @task
5. 5pm
6. activeCollab
7. CentralDesktop
8. Clientspot
9. Deskaway
10. GTD Agenda
11. Huddle
12. OnStage
13. Projjex
14. Smartsheet
15. Wrike
16. Zoho Projects

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  • C. Collins

    Redmine?

    http://www.redmine.org

    One hosted solution: http://unfuddle.com/

  • Damien McKenna

    Don’t forget about the new kid on the block, scrumd.com! As opposed to most on the market, it focuses on scrum-driven practices.

  • http://ryancross.com Ryan Cross

    Free / Open Source

    Project Pier
    http://projectpier.org

    You can install it yourself and customize it however you want.

  • Rinku

    Thanks for featuring DeskAway! I love that tool!
    I started using its free plan and then upgraded.
    Great experience

  • Daria

    Thanks for including Wrike in your list. We’re are working on several very important features right now and are planning to release them in about a month. The best way to stay tuned with us is to subscribe to Wrike product blog.

  • Dan

    Thanks for including Gtdagenda.

    It’s worth mentioning that besides being a project management tool, it also features Goals (with vision board) and Checklists. More here: Gtdagenda tour

  • PEDRO

    I’ve tested also Project Pier (an open source solution) The difference with Basecamp is that you have to install it on your own server, but it has done a good work so far.

  • Projectplace

    http://www.projectplace.com has a free offer for up to 3 members, tools for document sharing, meeting requests, automatic progress updates and many more nifty features.

  • Arturas

    It would be great if you could include our project management tool Comindwork

  • Arian Xhezairi

    Great list. Just checked out TeamWorkPM and it looks amazing so far.
    Thanks for this very informative post.

  • http://www.jasonbatten.com NetNerd85

    Let me know when you finish this article.

  • http://www.shiftideas.com LiamW

    I’ve personally found OpenGoo the best free, open source software out there _by far_.

    Worth checking out if you aren’t interested in a hosted, paid solution.

  • Joey Green

    Let’s not forget Less Projects http://lessprojects.com/.

    I’ve been using Less Projects for a while, it’s super straight forward and easy to use. Check it out homeys.

  • Danny

    I throw in a vote for Saiku, which I chose after trying out a LOT of free / limited options.
    Open source, free for life, unlimited users and projects, unlimited storage, rss, and great support.

    check it out
    http://www.saikuapp.com

  • gagsfitz

    From a scrum perspective, has anyone tried axosoft? Looks good but am yet to try it.

  • Walter
  • http://www.pulsorock.com pulsorocker

    We currently are in the process of start using dotProject. But I don’t see it mentioned anywhere here. Are we doing the right thing?

    Mainly we’re looking to have a pretty good featured project manager, and an important feature is hours logging for employees. We managed to accomplish this pretty much using dotProject and a module for it called “Time Card”.

    We plan to start using it next month on the office… but anyone would recommend to try other php/mysql solution? (we want to host it ourselves).

  • Michael Tate

    +1 for OpenGoo. Absolutely the best out there. Developers also offer a hosted version.

  • Zonic

    Thanks for the article, I liked 5PMWeb it has a beautiful and convenient design. There is all tools that need to me and my team

  • Alex

    Another great online project management tool that I’ve come across is SantexQ. It’s good for time and task management and at $10 a month for all the features it’s definitely one of the more affordable options.

  • Joel

    DeskAway is one of the best tools which I ever used for managing my projects and tasks.

  • Andrew Macdonald

    Thanks for the handy list of project management tools.
    .
    For those of you who may be interested in similar reviews of online (or desktop) project management software, I’ve compiled a meta-directory of lists and reviews at http://www.taskmerlin.com/project-management-software-directory.aspx (note: also includes GTD and to-do list software).

  • Cynthia Willman

    You can’t beat Project Insight for ease of use at a great monthly price. It integrates with Outlook, which the teams I’ve worked with really appreciate. http://www.projectinsight.net

  • Clarizen

    Also take a look at Clarizen for a powerful combination of feature rich online Project Management and collaboration. Clarizen provides that ability to extend your planning and execution to the team, be they in one location or distributed.

  • Lucian Ioan

    You should also take a look at RationalPlan:
    http://www.RationalPlan.com

  • Lisa

    I use and love http://liquidplanner.com. It’s the only PM tool that allows reality-based scheduling.

  • Ed

    I have viewed a good presentation about support tools for project management:
    http://cli.gs/PM-Tools

  • Ed

    I have viewed a good presentation about support tools for project management:
    http://cli.gs/PM-Tools

  • Rohit Arondekar

    Hello,
    I can’t believe why Assembla never gets listed in the “N Project Management Tools” blog posts. Assembla offers some really great features and tight integration with a lot of tools.

  • http://www.planningforce.com/ stevejeff

    Thanks for the list of tools. But I am using PlanningForce for past couple of months its really efficient !

  • Nick Hill

    As Alyssa has right stated, the right tool depends on how you work. I tried BaseCamp first, but honestly I’m surprised it claims to do project management. To-do lists, yes. Look at http://www.whybasecampsux.org. If you’re project management demands sophistication like viewing resource load, sophisticated scheduling options, workflow for things like issue tracking and so on, see Celoxis (www.celoxis.com). I’ve been using it for just under a year. I like their attitude. They’ll tell you what can and cannot be done. Don’t fall for those that claim to do 100%.

  • http://twitter.com/_MichaelAllen Michael Allen

    I’ve found the most useful tools for SMBs/freelancers/creative services of any kind to be those that integrate.

    Instead of using 3-4 apps to manage all operations, integrated apps offer one system for everything. WORKetc is a great example, as it integrates CRM, project management, billing, and other tools into one. Surprising not to see it on the list!

  • Andy

    Take a look at workgroups: http://www.metacommunications.com/products/workgroups/. It includes tools for digital storage management, online proofing, scheduling, workflow management, and financial management.

  • http://twitter.com/mirakatom mirakatom

    Hi, I don´t know if this blog post is not old, but I would like to introduce our new (10/2011) project management cloud application Projectial – http://www.projectial.com/ It’s a different (and I hope interesting) free system.

  • http://vkolab.com Anna Fergison

    Nice list there, the solution i currently use for hosted project management is http://vkolab.com do check it out!

    Thanks.

  • Mia

    I use proofhub and it is really good. I don’t know why you didnt mention it!