Best project management software
The best project management tools can help you to organise tasks, manage budgets, and work collaboratively. Find out more here
Big picture overviews of key tasks and processes. At-a-glance views of daily operations. Connected communication across your team. Project management software can help you to achieve this, and more. But while you may know that you want to use such software, which is the best project management tool for your business?
We’ll guide you through our selection of the best project management software, featuring reviews of Monday.com, Smartsheet, and Trello. Plus, we’ll provide real-life insight from other businesses who’ve used the tools, so that you can pick the product that’s perfect for your business.
The best project management software
When deciding on the best project management software for your business, ask yourself the following questions:
- How do you plan to use the software?
- How much knowledge of project management software do you already have?
- Why do you want to implement the software?
- How much budget can you allocate to this resource?
In the table below, we highlight our top picks for project management software for small businesses:
|Provider||Key features||Price||Best for|
|Monday.com||- Customisable workflows and dashboards|
- Different view forms
- Colour-coded updates
|Starting from £35 a month (billed annually)||Creative work|
|Smartsheet||- Real-time metrics|
- Project rollups
- Collaborative functions (e.g. sharing, commenting, attachments)
|Starting from £10.83 per month (billed annually)||Advanced use|
|Trello||- Completely free option available|
- Applicable across a range of settings
- Easy to understand card system
|Starting from £0 per user per month||Beginners|
Ready to compare project management software right away? For more information, and to compare quotes based on your specific business requirements, simply complete the form at the top of the page.
Best project management software: Reviews
In this section, we shine the spotlight on three top project management software providers: Monday.com, Smartsheet, and Trello. For each, we’ll review the key features and pricing plans, as well as state who we think the software is best suited to.
Monday.com labels itself as “easy, visual, and intuitive” – and it’s easy to see why. With its emphasis on visualisation and collaboration, Monday.com is ideal for creative teams.
The software is used by more than 100,000 teams, including major entertainment companies like the BBC, Universal, and Hulu, and disruptive startups like Uber.
Getting set up is easy – new team members can be onboarded via email – and thanks to its intuitive interface, your team should be up to speed in no time.
Monday.com offers colour-coded updates, meaning you can easily track progress and see who might need support, as well as see when a team member has the capacity to take on more tasks.
The colour codes are:
- Red – stuck
- Orange – working on it
- Green – done
As every team has different needs, Monday.com’s workflows can be customised, giving you the flexibility to manage multiple teams and processes. It offers customisable dashboards too, providing key insights such as the status of budgets and projects.
Ease of use
With ‘at a glance’ progress tracking, you can get a big picture view of projects and data in different forms, including calendar, chart, file, kanban, map and timeline views. As well as all this, Monday.com offers automated tasks, such as updating you when a task is completed.
You can use Monday.com as either a member or a viewer. Members can edit boards, whereas viewers can only see boards. This means you can ultimately retain control over the boards, all the while providing transparency across the team.
Monday.com can integrate with a number of other applications, including Google Drive, Google Calendar, Slack, Excel, Dropbox, and Trello, in order to provide seamless workflows. And, with the Monday.com app, you can even manage projects on the go.
Monday.com plans are offered either on a per month, billed annually basis, or month-to-month.
Plans are available in increments of five, starting from five users through to 30. For bigger teams, plans are then available in increments of 10 up to 50 users, while there are also plans available for 100 users and 200+ users.
For example, you can expect to pay from £344 per month (billed annually) for a basic plan for 50 users. This increases to £688 per month on a basic plan with annual billing for 100 users.
- Prices start from £35 per month (billed annually, with a yearly discount when paying for the year in one go)
- Also available as a billed monthly option
- Free trial available
- Billing can be managed via the admin tab on your Monday.com account
- Plans can be changed (i.e. upgraded, downgraded, renewals cancelled) at any time
- Discounts may be available for non-profit/educational organisations
There are four different plans to choose from: Basic, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise. Some of the key differences include:
- Amount of storage
- The length of time the activity log tracks changes for
- How many guests users can share boards with
There are plans suitable for small teams through to large enterprises, meaning you can keep using Monday.com as your business grows and grows.
Monday.com stands out for its colourful design, customisation options, and intuitive interface – all of which are particularly useful for assisting the creative process.
Smartsheet is focussed on productivity, describing itself as “empowering project managers to get more done”. And having already gained the trust of companies such as Ogilvy, MOD Pizza, and Cisco, it’s ideal for businesses with big ambitions – and the workload to match.
Smartsheet is a scalable, cloud-based project management solution. It can be modified to suit your individual requirements for planning and scheduling projects.
Tasks can be tracked and marked as:
- To do
- In progress
- In review
Smartsheet is focused on visibility and transparency. The strategic plan dashboard allows you to communicate your vision for a project with ease.
Better still, the enhanced reporting includes real-time metrics and rollups (a way of viewing key project data and information in one place), so you can easily monitor activity.
With multiple view forms available (including grid, card and calendar), you can find an option that’s best for you.
You can also manage resources, such as the amount of time allocated for staff to complete certain tasks. Plus, you can track budgets and targets, allowing you to monitor spend and gain insight into finances at a portfolio-wide level.
You can easily collaborate with other team members through Smartsheet’s sharing, commenting, and attachment functions, as well as its integrated chat tools.
Smartsheet also connects with mobile apps and other systems, including Slack, Microsoft programs, and Google applications.
There are two pricing options available: Standard and Enterprise. Standard is ideal for growing businesses, while Enterprise is geared towards larger or more complex organisations.
Within the Enterprise option, it’s also possible to choose Premier, which includes extra premium features, like premium apps and support. A free trial is available.
Standard options include:
|Individual||£10.83 per month (billed annually)||- Connect Smartsheet to apps
- Access to free templates library
- Form data capture
- Automated workflows and tasks
|Business||£19 per user/month (billed annually). Three licences minimum||All of the above, plus:
- Live data visualisation in dashboards and charts
- Activity log to track progress
- Data analytics
- Group and users management
- Custom branding
Smartsheet is ideal for those who are already familiar with project management software, and are looking to take the next step.
With its focus on finances and choice of two enterprise plans (Enterprise and Premier), it’s a great option for bigger, more established businesses.
Offering boards, lists, and cards formats, Trello promotes collaborative, flexible working that can be adapted across teams and functions.
Trello is used by a variety of companies, including Kickstarter, National Geographic, Google, and Fender, highlighting how it can be applied in a range of settings.
Each card comes with a checklist, including a progress bar to monitor performance. You can also add comments if necessary. Other key information featured on these cards includes:
When a task changes status – such as from “Writing” to “Editing”, you can then move it further along across the board.
Butler is Trello’s built-in workflow automation tool. You can set rules, instigate commands for calendars and deadlines, as well as customise cards and buttons for admin tasks. This can help with freeing up time to focus on other aspects of a project.
With the ‘in progress’ and ‘completed’ statuses, you can easily track tasks and take in key information at a glance. Comments, attachments, and deadlines can be added onto Trello cards, with the platform offering end-to-end collaboration on projects.
Trello can be integrated with Google Drive, Slack, and many other apps. Trello itself is also available as an iOS or Google Play app for mobile devices.
There are three different types of plans available, including an option that offers unlimited free project management software. Besides this no-cost option, you can choose between the Business Class plan and the Enterprise plan.
The Business class plan is priced per user, per month, and can be charged monthly or annually.
The Enterprise plan is also charged per user, per month, with the price increasing based on the number of users. It is available for teams with 20 users or more.
All plans include unlimited personal boards, cards, and lists.
The free plan offers 10MB per file attachment, while the paid-for plans provide 250MB per file attachment.
The paid-for plans also include priority support and customisation options, as well as:
- Free sign up
- Discounts available for non-profit and educational organisations
With its focus on general task management and accessible and friendly design, Trello is ideal for businesses and teams that are taking their first steps into project management software.
Project management software user reviews
Here, we offer real-life insight from other businesses about how the different softwares can be used in daily operations.
Emma Speirs, director, Ballyhoo PR: “I use Monday.com, and it has really made a positive impact on my business.
“We started using it around October last year. It has improved team communication: we have weekly meetings on a Tuesday morning to run through Monday, to talk through where we are up to on certain projects, and to see if anyone needs help with anything.
“My PR executive says it is also helpful to see what I‘m working on as a director of the company.
“I love how there is a mobile app too, so I can log updates in the car after client meetings, or publish updates from the sofa on a Sunday night of what I’ve done in the week.
“It has also led us to notice how long we’re spending on certain tasks and projects, so we’ve altered our internal processes to put a six-week cap on some PR campaigns.”
Business case study: Maria Cranfield, Senior Producer, MVF
Which project management software do you use, and why?
I use Monday.com. I was looking to move my team onto a project management system that was in-depth, easy to use, and quick to understand visually. I tested out loads, but Monday.com was the winner. We're a creative team, and the simple and effective visual flow works well for us.
What impact has it had on how you work?
Video production is a collaborative effort – projects get handed from writers to producers to editors all the time. With Monday.com, you can see exactly where a project lies in production and whose hands it's in.
Monday.com has helped improve the visibility of where projects are, keeping stakeholders and team members informed. It's improved the overall efficiency of our content production.
What advice would you offer to others who are looking to use project management software?
Test out as many as you can. Lots of platforms offer free trials – take advantage of them! Figuring out what you do and don't need from a project management system takes time, and you learn from each one you try out.
John Ellmore, co-founder of Know Your Money, comments: “As a business, Trello supported our early stage growth. It gives businesses the flexibility to define their own workflow, but can lack the structure needed for a maturing business. Sometimes, you need a white board to collaborate – and when you do, Trello’s a great solution.”
Rob Hill, CEO of Fizzbox states: “We have used Trello to help build a multi-million pound startup: Fizzbox.com. We love it because:
- It's really easy to use, and can be used by everyone involved in the project
- It’s really simple to prioritise and allocate tasks to team members
- It's all online, so eliminates the need for post-it notes stuck on the wall
- In a quick five minute meeting, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in the process
- Finally, it makes us more efficient, so that the IT team is able to complete projects a lot quicker!”
Whether you’re looking for software that’s highly visual, can track finances, or can monitor activity on a day-to-day basis, we’ve covered some top picks for providers.
For more information based on your specific business requirements, and to compare quotes for project management software, simply fill in the form at the top of the page.