Management | June 23, 2022

The Guide to Project Management Tools for Software Development Teams

In an increasingly digital world, Project Managers are turning to online project management tools to bring their teams together and deliver excellent outputs. Project planning tools are becoming more popular, too, with over 75% of project professionals planning to use more solutions dedicated to PM in the future.

So, if you’re not using one already, it’s time to get on board.

Project management tools

By the end of this article, you’ll be an expert on project management tools. I’ll start by looking at what they are, when you should use them, and the benefits they can bring to your software team.

Then, I’ll run through my 12 favorite tools, comparing them on their features, price, and use case to help you understand which project management tool could be right for you.

Let’s get started!

You will learn:

  • What Are Project Management Tools
  • When Should You Use Project Management Tools?
  • The Benefits of Using An Online Project Management Tool in Software Development Projects
  • 12 Best Project Management Tools for Software Teams

What Are Project Management Tools?

Let’s start with a bit of a definition:

Project management tools (PM tools) are software packages specifically designed to help project teams organize, manage, and track their projects.

As you’ll see later in this article, there are many different PM tools out there. But, despite their differences, most tools have all the features project teams need for:

  • Project planning
  • Manaing project requirements
  • Time tracking
  • Task management – including critical path analysis
  • Resource management
  • Workload management – managing the team’s work
  • Risk management
  • Issue management
  • Document management

Project management software has really improved in the past five years, with most tools now offering a simple, clean user interface, making it easy for project and software teams to collaborate and manage projects from anywhere.

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When Should You Use Project Management Tools?

Project management tools can be used throughout the project management lifecycle, right from the inception of a project, through development, to its closure.

Specifically, project teams look to tools to help them with collaboration and tracking project controls.

This is super important for remote/distributed development teams, where team members can’t get together in a room or around a whiteboard and, therefore, need another method of communication to bring them together to manage their projects.

Busy project managers also turn to PM tools when the workload is overwhelming. As we’ll see later, some of the best project management tools have features designed to automate basic admin, such as creating task lists, time tracking, project scheduling, and resource allocation.

These help project managers save time, giving them the bandwidth to support the team and drive the project strategy.

The Benefits of Using an Online Project Management Tool in Software Development Projects

So, now that you know what a project management tool is and when you should use one, you’re probably wondering what’s in it for you and your software team.

Here are some of the benefits development teams get from using project management software:

  • Better collaboration – One of the critical benefits of a project management tool is that it brings everyone together to collaborate in one place. Whether it be a single project task, your entire software requirements backlog, or a technical document, team members can all work from the same place no matter where they are in the world.
  • Improved project scheduling – For project managers, software tools give you a single place to manage your end-to-end schedule. This clarity helps you plan better, clearly showing dependencies, bottlenecks, and go-live dates. This is also vital if you’re managing multiple projects, as you can see everything you’re working on in one place.
  • Centralized document/file management – Especially for software projects, clearly documenting your requirements, development plans, and solution documents is key to getting everyone aligned. Project management software does this, doubling up as a wiki for your project’s technical documentation.
  • Stronger budget management – Project management tools are great at helping you get your finances together in one place too. Often linked to the tasks, resources, and risks already stored in the system, PM tools help project managers get clarity on their costs, improving their chances of coming in under budget.
  • Automated project reporting – Gone are the days of manually creating your weekly/monthly project reporting. When looking for the best project management tool, look out for packages that include automated reporting to help you save bundles of time and keep your stakeholders happy.
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12 Best Project Management Tools for Software Teams

Now that you’re an expert, it’s time to find the best project management tool for you and your software team to deliver all your projects.

I have picked out 12 of my favorites and will walk you through the price, key features, and use case of each one to give you a clear idea of what’s on the market.

Note – The features quoted in all of these tools are a mix of free and paid features depending on the product. Please research and review each product yourself before making a buying decision.

#1 – Jira

Jira claims to be the number one project management software for agile development teams – and it’s hard to argue with that as most developers will already be familiar with Jira.

Jira focuses on a simple list of features that are great for detailing requirements, building product backlogs, streamlining software releases, and managing bugs. It also integrates with other developer-friendly tools such as Confluence and Bitbucket helping you and your team keep all your work in one place.

Jira
Jira

Features & Use Case

  • Tailored work management for Scrum & Kanban methodologies
  • High-level roadmap visualizations, including Gantt charts
  • Configurable task management tools and workflow automations
  • Integrates with code repositories such as GitHub

Most software teams love Jira for its simplicity and its collaborative design. It’s one of the best agile tools, focused heavily on development use cases that already help millions of engineers around the world deliver their projects.

Jira Pricing

Jira is also one of the best free project management software packages out there. The free plan is great for up to ten users running a single project. If you have more users or you’re running multiple projects, user/month prices start at $7.50.

#2 – Trello

If you’re managing projects using Kanban, Trello could be the perfect project management platform for you. The task-based interface is super easy to use, providing a single screen for everything you’ve completed, you’re working on, and what you’ve got planned in the future. This helps team members collaborate all in one place and get a common understanding of project progress.

Trello
Trello

Features & Use Case

  • Visually manage tasks with Kanban boards, calendars, and timelines (i.e., Gantt chart)
  • Attach working documents to tasks for easy file sharing
  • Customize workflows for the way your project team works
  • Use Pre-built templates to get your project up and running fast

If you’re looking for a Kanban-style way to run your project, then Trello is a no-brainer. It’s a great project management tool for those needing simplicity, customization, and a single point of collaboration for the team.

Trello Pricing

The free plan includes unlimited personal boards and up to 10 team boards. Paid plans start at $5 per user/month, giving you unlimited boards, more storage, and a raft of useful automations.

#3 – Zoho Projects

Zoho CRM is one of the most powerful software platforms out there, and their project management offering, Zoho Projects, is just as great. Geared more towards enterprise project management, it focuses on advanced metrics such as critical path planning, resource management, and time tracking to deliver large projects quickly.

Zoho
Zoho

Features & Use Case

  • Task management and critical path analysis through the Gantt chart timeline
  • Advanced time tracking for those working on billable projects
  • Deliver on the go with the mobile app
  • Map dependencies and balance workload between multiple projects

If your business already uses Zoho CRM, getting on board with Projects probably makes sense. If you’re running complex, enterprise-level projects, Zoho Projects is excellent. If your project is more straightforward or is heavily focused on development, you may find other tools such as Jira or Trello a better fit.

Zoho Projects Pricing

The free plan allows up to three users and two projects. With the paid plans (starting at $6 user/month), you can unlock a range of extra features, additional storage, and quick-start project templates.

#4 – Monday.com

In the world of online project management tools, Monday.com is perhaps the most popular. This project planning software is pretty comprehensive, with features for task tracking, team collaboration, time tracking, and file sharing all available in one easy-to-use package.

Monday
Monday

Features & Use Case

  • Manage project tasks using boards, lists, or Gantt charts
  • Ready-made project templates for quick setup
  • Time tracking for each task – perfect for billable hours
  • Automated reporting helps you track the team’s work
  • In-built project dashboards help you nail your project reporting

Monday.com will be the right project management software for you if you’re looking for a slick, streamlined tool to bring the entire team together in one place. It’s fairly generic, so it should be good for any type of project.

Monday.com Pricing

There’s no need for a free trial with Monday.com, as the ‘Individual’ plan gives up to 2 users access forever. For larger teams, paid plans start at $10 per user/month.

#5 – Asana

Asana is one of the most complete software packages if you need to manage projects. It combines task lists, timelines, and boards to help team members align, with extra features for resource allocation, work management, and expense tracking, elevating it to a strong enterprise offering.

Asana
Asana

Features & Use Case

  • Customizable projects goals help you track your project schedule vs. plan
  • Workload management turbocharges capacity planning
  • Approval workflow combines project management with business management
  • Unlimited free guests maximize entire team collaboration
  • Automatically generate beautiful status updates

Mid-size project managers needing to manage multiple projects love Asana for its mix of simplicity and functionality. A mobile app, integrations, and syncs with code repositories also make it one of the best project management software packages for software teams.

Asana Pricing

No need for a free trial with Asana either, as the free plan offers the chance to collaborate with up to 15 teammates. Paid plans start at $13.49 per user/month, giving you access to amazing automation features and an enterprise-level portfolio view.

#6 – ClickUp

ClickUp offers an all-in-one project management tool to help deliver projects – with ClickUp itself guaranteeing to save you one day a week of your time. With task management, resource management, and file sharing features, ClickUp’s the perfect place to create projects, organize tasks, and deliver great work.

ClickUp
ClickUp

Features

  • Get team members aligned with in-built chat
  • Manage tasks on boards, lists, or a Gantt chart
  • Report at a project or task level to track time across the plan
  • Deliver on the move with one of the best project management apps
  • Collaborate instantly with baked-in Google Docs

If you’re looking for a range of features, ClickUp offers something for everyone. The User Interface is sleek, easy to customize, and delivers one of the most collaborative experiences for remote teams.

Pricing

The free plan comes with unlimited users and unlimited tasks for ‘personal’ use. Business teams can get started on the paid plans for as little as $5 per user/month, with annual plans slightly cheaper when paid upfront.

#7 – Wrike

Wrike is one of those web-based project management tools that combines stacks and stacks of functionality with a smooth user interface. Whether you need a project timeline, task management features, a place to discuss projects, or an all-in-one collaboration software, Wrike can literally do it all.

Wrike
Wrike

Features & Use Case

  • Gain a 360 view of your project schedules with boards, Gantt charts, and lists
  • Sprint-ready configuration thanks to Scrum & Kanban boards
  • Track team capacity with resource utilization charts
  • Drive smarter workflows with Wrike’s Work Intelligence™

If you’re a project manager needing to get into the detail of a complex delivery, Wrike will undoubtedly have the functionality you require. Those with straightforward use cases may find it a little complicated, especially if you don’t need to manage multiple projects.

Wrike Pricing

Wrike’s free plan is a great place to start if you want one of the most powerful task management tools. If you want to go further and unlock the full power of one of the top project management tools, prices start at $9.80 per user/month.

#8 – Teamwork

Teamwork strikes a balance between being an easy-to-use project management tool and being packed full of features. As the name suggests, Teamwork is all about collaboration and uses all-in-one Kanban boards, file sharing, and chat to keep remote teams working together smoothly.

Teamwork
Teamwork

Features & Use Case

  • Project templates help you instantly create amazing project plans
  • File management features help teams collaborate on work
  • Organize tasks with boards, lists, Gantt charts, and more
  • Time tracking helps agencies keep control of their billables
  • Unique ‘profitability’ metrics help teams manage their budget tracking

If you’re a project manager who delivers chargeable projects, Teamwork is set up to help you deliver all your projects at scale. Smaller teams, or those who work internally, may find a lot of the features aren’t too useful, adding unnecessary bloat.

Teamwork Pricing

The free plan is great for new project teams of up to 5 users. Paid plans start at $12.50 per user/month, with features such as Burndown reporting great for project teams running in an agile way.

#9 – Hive

Hive is all about helping teams move faster by combining features such as task management, time tracking, collaboration, and agile tools, all in one place. It’s at all levels, too, with broad functionality for personal to-do lists through to portfolio management Gantt charts, meaning project managers can manage all their projects in as much, or as little, detail as they like.

Hive
Hive

Features & Use Case

  • Unlimited tasks and projects help you run large portfolios
  • Project tracking, program tracking, and portfolio tracking
  • Intake forms for capturing stakeholder information at scale
  • Dedicated agile points features as well as Scrum & Kanban views
  • Team-wide resourcing for better work management
  • Automation and analytics to keep project reporting simple

If your project team wants to move faster, Hive can definitely help you do it. With a range of collaboration and agile features, it’s tailor-made for software teams whilst also having the flexibility to do more!

Pricing

Hive Solo is free and great for teams of up to 2 managing a personal project. Paid plans start at $12 per user/month with features such as Intake Forms, which are great for capturing project requirements from stakeholders.

#10 – Toggl Plan

Toggl Plan is a beautifully simple tool, perfect for everything from software to marketing projects. Its simple, drag & drop, user-friendly interface makes it a breeze to create project plans, assign tasks, and get tasks done. It integrates with tools such as Slack and GitHub, with a handy Chrome extension allowing you to add tasks from anywhere in just a few clicks.

Toggl
Toggl

Features & Use Case

  • Project tracking with timelines, milestones, and task dependencies
  • Use timelines, boards, and custom task workflows that adapt to your way of work
  • Collaborate with multiple team members, sharing documents & files
  • Track time spent on each task with the Toggl Track integration

Toggl Plan is just right for your project if you’re looking for something simple and visual. However, Toggl Plan is definitely targeted at small teams, not for large enterprise teams.

Pricing

Toggl Plan’s free trial lets you get started for free for 14 days. After that, Team plans start at $8 per user/month, unlocking a range of great features, including recurring tasks, file storage, and in-app notifications.

#11 – Redmine

I you’re looking for a different software offering, Redmine is a developer-friendly solution for those who want something locally hosted. This open-source tool offers everything you need, such as timeline management, issue management, and task management features. However, as you’d expect from a community-based offering, Redmine has a slightly dated user interface that offers low-intensity local hosting.

Redmine
Redmine

Features & Use Case

  • Manage your project timeline with a simple Gantt chart
  • Keep track of the team’s progress with task management
  • File and document management features help create a central wiki
  • Integration with code management tools such as GIT and SVN

If you’re a technical software project comfortable with installing and maintaining open-source software, Redmine is definitely worth a look. However, it has a dated UI, which most teams won’t enjoy unless they’re a software developer.

Pricing

Redmine is committed to being free forever to its community of members and contributors – something common with open-source packages.

#12 – Epicflow

Epicflow’s focus on data-driven project management at scale sets it apart from the other tools on our list as a true program/portfolio management level tool. While it still combines timelines, task management, and boards, it also delivers enterprise resource planning, transformation management, and strategic planning.

EpicFlow
EpicFlow

Features & Use Case

  • Monitor project plans and program schedules with Gantt charts
  • Task management tools to help you set, track, and report on actions
  • Conduct workload management at scale across your resources
  • Leverage data to identify bottlenecks and predict “what-if” scenarios

If you’re delivering a large, data-driven project or program, Epicflow will give you the insight you need. However, those looking for simplicity may find the tool too complex to get going fast.

Pricing

There’s no free trial information and no pricing information available for Epicflow. If you’d like to know more, get in touch with their team for a demo.

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Summary

If you’re a project manager looking to take your projects to the next level, it’s worth investing in some software. A project management tool could give you the edge, helping you schedule your projects, manage individual tasks, and boost collaboration. All while keeping an eye on your expenses.

The good news is that there are a whole host of different tools on the market, with a range of features, use cases, and prices to suit any business and any project.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your software project to the next level and invest in some PM tools to help you manage all your projects and deliver amazing results for your customers!