Online project management systems – the best one for your business? That is a big question.
There are dozens of high-quality platforms that can help you manage your projects.
All these platforms offer a balance of communication, collaboration and analytics. The online application you choose as best for your business will depend on the nature of the work you do and your preferences regarding methodology and project visualisation.
You may choose to work within Agile and need a platform that allows for the planning of sprints and reflection. You may instead prefer the waterfall system of project management, with a series of tasks and subtasks that flow to one outcome.
You may prefer to see your work organised in cards and lists or a chart with shaded squares related to the dates of completion.
Ultimately, there is a platform out there that likely covers all your needs.
Here are some of the best online project management systems for your business, that you might want to consider.
Wrike is a work management tool, as opposed to being specifically aimed at completing a project. However, all the features are aimed at communication, collaboration and review.
This means it can be used to allocate tasks, review progress and offered a shared place where work can be completed.
The Key Features You Can Expect In Wrike Include:
- A dynamic request form – This is a customisable form that customers and clients can use to input data requested. This allows for error-free data entry – with the client responsible for making sure all details coded are accurate. The forms can also be set up to automate task allocation. If a customer selects a specific option, then this is forwarded to the team member responsible for actioning that activity.
- My Work – Each team member has a personal dashboard that highlights what activities and tasks they should complete that day, that week or that month. This dashboard also lists all messages directed at them and therefore keeps them up to date of what ideas are being shared.
- Online editing, proofing and approval -It is possible for real-time editing and proofing of documents of all types. People can make changes and platform automatically keep track of versions of the report. There is also the option to receive comments on a document and then to seek approval from the client – all online and all in real-time.
- Gantt chart – It helps you to visualise workload and a Resource Management view that allows you to balance the work of your team and ensure tasks are allocated equitably.
- There is a Structure of projects, folders, tasks and subtasks, which means you can customise the way that work is organised in the software.
Read more in our comparison review of Wrike vs Asana.
Smartsheet is a project management tool that uses a spreadsheet-like interface to organise the tasks and subtasks within a project.
The Features You Can Expect From This Platform Include:
- The organisation of a project is intuitive – With each row in the spreadsheet representing a task in the project – helping you to set up a simple to-do list or a backlog, if using Agility project management methodology.
- File sharing, notes and comments are attached to the rows, the tasks, that they relate to. This makes the organisation of ideas in the platform simple, as everything linked to a function is associated with the task.
- There is the chance to view the project in a Kanban chart, a Gantt chart or a calendar view. The charts are interactive – meaning you can colour code in card view and you can drag and drop tasks and activities in the Gantt chart to set dependencies.
- There is Smartsheet Sight, which offers you many reports that can help visualise the progress being made on the project.
- Notification and alerts can be set up to keep team members informed of tasks needing completion and any changes made to that row of the chart if they are made.
Trello appears to be the simplest of project management tools but can be customised to deal with all levels of complexity of project or workflow.
It uses the Kanban system of boards, lists and cards and a simple drag and drop of cards between lists.
The Features You Can Expect Include:
- Checklists within each card to track what needs to be done to complete the task
- The option to set a deadline, which then appears in calendar view
- The chance to comment on a card, with an @Mention, which directs messages at a team member. Individual team members can be allocated to a task with a simple drag and drop from the members’ box at the side of the screen
- You can integrate Trello with Slack, a chat app, and Google Docs, to increase the functionality to include improved communication and collaborative editing of documents
- You can subscribe to the business version of the platform and then use the Power-Ups to customise the cards, making each card almost like a mini-application in themselves. These Power-Ups elevate a simple system of task management into the sort of project management software that you would want to design for your company.
Basecamp is a comprehensive project and work management tool whose strength is in its simplicity of design.
It uses the inspiration of the mountaineering basecamp to help visualise the teams within a company. The 10,000 feet view is the Basecamp HQ dashboard, which shows all the groups within an organisation on one screen.
The Features You Can Expect In Basecamp Include:
- To-do lists that allow you to allocate tasks, set deadlines and attach essential files and information
- A message board that acts as a central resource for each team. The organisation of the platform into groups means that data is immediately organised, with only those members invited to a particular team with access rights to the files shared in that area.
- An in-app chat software called Campfire, which allows for instant messaging and quick questions. This organises conversations into threads and stops the need for email chains or meetings.
- Automated alerts and questions, as a manager you can send out issues on a regular basis and receive answers to these questions summarised on a single screen. This gives an instant status update on workload or the progress of a project.
- There is a section where files can be shared and organised in each team area.
- A calendar to view essential dates.
Read more in our Basecamp Review.
Asana is one of the most popular project management tools. It uses a card and list system to organise workflow and offers a simple-to-use interface that makes it simple to begin using.
The Features You Can Expect Include:
- The ability to see progress at a glance, both in the board view – with the not started, in development, completed organisation but also in the progress view that says how many tasks have been completed and how many are left to go. This is aimed at Agile teams, with the chance to view progress in a sprint – but can be useful in other methodologies too.
- There is a comments section, but the bonus in Asana is that any actions identified in the chat can then be turned into a task that needs to be actioned, by whom and by when – meaning you don’t have to clunkily switch to a different view to make the most of the collaboration. There are also team pages where a group can gather these conversations.
- There is a customisable inbox, which allows you to filter the emails you receive – getting only the updates that are relevant to your team.
- In Asana Premium, the subscription platform – as opposed to the free features mentioned already – allows you to create a task list with customisable fields – including priority and team member assigned – which is perfect for creating an effective backlog.
- Projects can be organised as shared lists, boards or area for initiatives and programs – the columns on the Kanban chart can be renamed and structured in whatever way suits your workflow.
Which One Is Best?
It is tough to say which is best because it mostly depends on what you are looking for.
If you are looking for something that you can start to use today with limited experience and training – then Trello, Basecamp and Asana are the better options.
If you have a complex project that needs to be broken down into tasks, with the clear division of functions and information related to those tasks – then Smartsheet is an excellent option.
Basecamp has some of the best stand-out features – its Campfire chat app, for instance, can be downloaded as a separate platform for improving business communication. Wrike’s interaction with the client makes life easier for companies who need relevant data and real-time approval.
These online project management systems are the best one for your business and no matter which you choose, all will offer an excellent return on investment of time and money.
For more help, we have an article on The 10 Best Project Management Software.