Online project management software is a great resource for all those times when you need to juggle deadlines, resources, and any deliverables. It's important for any time you have a professional project to manage, which your small business is relying on.
With this type of software, you can ensure that you keep your small business running efficiently. You won’t fall behind on projects, lose track of deadlines, or miss critical milestones. With the right project management software online, you’ll always stay on top of the projects that are currently in your pipeline.
Also, there are advantages to leveraging the cloud and working with software that integrates online, such as being able to more easily work with your team from any location. You can also access your project tracking across multiple devices more easily.
There are many project management choices out there on the web. Of course, not all are created equally, so it’s helpful to know the differences between them and discover which really is the best online project management software given your individual business needs.
What Features to Look for in Online Project Management Software
Here’s a sampling of the vital features that your choice of software should include:
- Sharing of Files and Access: The ability to share files and access is a central aspect of project management. All project documents should be in a central file, and notifications should go out to everyone who’s part of the team when modifications happen. This feature should be secure and have an easy interface.
- Integration of Email and More: This is also a biggie. Very helpful for collaboration within projects and tasks, email integration stops people working on a project from needing to navigate between two separate platforms when they’re already dealing with the same project. Usually, you’ll get things like email tracking, history, a range of templates, and email reminders with this feature. Really good project management software online will even allow you to integrate your email addresses with your social media profiles linked to that email, thus additionally consolidating all types of communication. Or integrate with other tools, like Zapier or others.
- Visual Charts and Tracking: These are a helpful part of both scheduling and planning when you need to keep track of multiple projects. Having a wider view of a project thanks to a visual timeline is helpful. There are simple visualizations in some software as well as Gantt Charts at the more robust level. Essentially, this lets you view what all of the people in a project are working on at any given time, keep track of deliverables, and analyze planned objectives versus the actual results.
There are additional features that you may want in your online project management software of choice. It's best to scope those out early in the process, or make note of them as you dig deeper into your options. Here are a few to consider:
- Invoicing: The invoicing ought to be very automated, so that people on the teams have nothing to worry about in terms of keeping track of it. It’s common for this feature to also be integrated with time-tracking features.
- Time Tracking: This is a good component of project management software; time tracking is central to keeping productivity up. It lets project managers monitor costs and empowers shareholders to estimate project time in advance, record the time spent on every task, and then note what was accomplished in said time.
- Resource Tracking: Resource tracking is your tool to monitor the specific capacity and availability of every person, empty room, or piece of equipment needed to complete various tasks.
How to Choose Between the Numerous Project Management Software Online Offerings
There are many choices to consider between the best online project management software. Here’s what to look for when you’re evaluating the different options:
- The size and scope of the different projects you and/or your team will be working on.
- The number of people on your team that will be working on any given project at any given time.
- The need or lack thereof of having mobile access when working on team projects.
- How much money you’re willing to spend on project management software.
- Whether or not you and/or your team are already familiar with some types of software.
- How comfortable you are at learning to use a new piece of project management software.
- The amount of time you’re willing to put in to really learn how to optimally use new software.
The 10 Best Online Project Management Software Solutions
Here are several strong online project management solutions that will help you move those projects forward in an efficient way and keep track of progress. I also include a breakdown of their strengths, to help you quickly choose the best one to work with for your small business.
Asana promises to help you and your team move your work forward. The thing about Asana is that it scales well: It’s used by huge companies, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
Allowing you to track projects from inception to end, this online project management software includes capable features and a thoughtful design, so teams aren’t having to waste their valuable time figuring out how to navigate its interface.
Asana is known for its flexibility, which is why teams are also fond of using it for getting through the daily, more mundane tasks of their jobs. In this way, you can control Asana to your liking, putting you in charge of tracking everything from workflows and information to minute project details.
See our tutorial for more on how to start using Asana:
An increasingly popular project management tool, Podio allows you to organize any communication tool for small businesses. Customizability is very important to project managers as well, which is why Podio features personalization options that allow businesses to make this their own.
this tool as an internal intranet for all of your team members in different
departments to effectively interact, track projects, complete tasks, and more.
Here are some of the things you can do on Podio:
- Communicate as a team.
- Configure task management.
- Utilize a file storage system.
On the other side of the spectrum, you can also modify this tool into a CRM. Plans are reasonable, starting at about $9 per month. We use Podio as our completely customized CRM at Envato Tuts+ to keep track of all the instructors we work with, for recruiting fresh contributors, and tracking new applications through online forms.
If you want something that you can set up in a short time, then definitely give Wrike a look. Teams looking to take on a large amount of work will be pleased with the unlimited number of projects there’s room for. Time tracking, a coveted feature, is included here, in addition to integration with Zapier, the web-app automation solution.
It provides good customizability, as users are free to modify its dashboard to their
liking. For instance, this flexibility allows you and your team to transform it
into a more general work-management and collaboration solution.
Another benefit of using Wrike is that it doesn’t take much to learn—it’s a very intuitive platform.
Trello relies on the simplicity and straightforwardness of card-based design to empower teams to move their tasks and projects forward. In this way, one of the best online project management software solutions uses minimalism to help teams organize and talk to each other smoothly on various projects. We use this tool here at Envato Tuts+ to plan and track our content projects through production.
It also needs to be said that this app is more on the visual side; if you enjoy moving cards into different columns on a regular basis to update the status of various projects and collaborations, then Trello will definitely appeal to you. Zapier integration is also featured here.
Trello is suited for teams that have shorter or more flexible projects to complete instead of ones that take months. It's simple to use, so you can start working with it quickly. For more on Trello, see:
Tracking and managing resources gets a lot easier with Liquid Planner due to its rich features. Not only is this web app a responsive one, but it also has a great interface that features drag-and-drop straightforwardness. There’s no need to learn a whole lot in order to successfully navigate its interface.
There’s also a good deal of range with this software, as you can do more than just manage projects from start to finish and track deadlines and deliverables. While it’s relatively simple to use, you can get quite deep into it to fully realize all of its capabilities, which takes some getting used to, but will pay off for teams that have a lot of work they want to manage smoothly.
Basecamp is one of the more popular choices, as far as project management software online solutions go, having already snatched up a decent section of the market. If there’s one word to epitomize the Basecamp experience, it would be usability. Its far-reaching mobile integration is what makes this possible.
Imagine that you can access your project management software through most any smartphone or tablet, and you have an idea of Basecamp’s functionality. Naturally, this winning feature makes it very appealing to stakeholders who are spread out across the world.
Its inclusion of many third-party add-ons is another reason to give Basecamp a serious look, along with its still-affordable price point.
Here’s our walkthrough on project management in Basecamp:
Featuring a clean and straightforward user interface, Zoho Projects has a lot of support for those times when you want to integrate other work/productivity-related apps you use, such as Google Apps. This feature-rich platform is generally easy to set up and begin using, and it’s also responsive.
While there is a free option available, it naturally won’t allow you access to all of its features. For that, you’ll have to shell out approximately $50 per month, which some may see as a bit steep. The good news is that the free option allows you to test it out to see if it handles your team projects with ease; from there, you can upgrade. This is one of the only project management solutions to offer this.
Notwithstanding, Zoho Projects empowers you to be flexible, too, letting you scale as your team, business and project sizes and intensity all grow as you become more successful.
With open APIs, a chat setup, ease of navigation, and comprehensive work-management centralization, Clarizen is a good choice. Its best selling point is its combination of project management together with work management for a software solution that’s made for a quickly growing small businesses.
Project management software online typically centralizes communication, scheduling and tasks, so everyone stays on top of what they’re supposed to do. Work management tools do that, too, but they also allow for work without specific deadlines and deliverables.
Clarizen’s big strength is its easy-to-use interface, which makes this ambitious combination of project and work management more usable, even for newcomers to this platform.
Teamwork Projects is an online project management software solution that combines a range of different prices with great features and usability. It is well suited for smaller teams and project scopes.
In keeping with its attractiveness to smaller teams and the ease of use of a platform with a great user experience, Teamwork Projects features a self-explanatory user interface. As such, you and your team members can find your way around its navigation very intuitively, without having to learn a lot before you use it or as you go.
This software solution comes with a range of tools for managing your clients’ bills, tracking people’s time put into projects, and, of course, monitoring projects and ensuring that they’re successfully finished on time.
Todoist is the popular productivity solution that also incorporates many elements of team-based work for pushing projects forward effectively. It’s also more of a good online project management tool for smaller teams, making it a good choice for small businesses.
One of its strengths is a user interface based on a tagging and color system that makes organizing various projects and tasks within projects a breeze. There’s also a handy chat feature in the UI that makes communication quick and crystal clear.
What’s equally likeable about Todoist is how accessible it is on numerous platforms on different operating systems. This makes it a reliable choice for teams working together that are scattered across the world.
Make Your Small Business Fire on All Cylinders
Running a small business is a hassle if you’re poorly organized. Fortunately, project management software like the ones we’ve highlighted here will take the seeming chaos of running a small business and transform it into an easily manageable reality—which means you can productively focus on goals like growing your business, getting more clients, and earning more revenue.
For additional inspiration and tips on how to get the most from the best online project management software, read the following:
- Project Management Kickstart: How to Tackle Large ProjectsLaura Spencer17 Aug 2015
- What Is Zapier? How to Automate Your Business Tasks BetterHarry Guinness31 Aug 2016
- 20 Best Online To Do List Apps for FreelancersSean Hodge31 Jan 2012
Let us know in the comments: How do you manage your small business projects and keep track of them? What's your favorite online project management software? Also, what features does it have that you find useful and can't manage without?