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Project Management Software Overview

The historical perspective

The project management known to us does not go as far as one would expect – although the very embodiment of ambitious projects with humanity, of course, is long overdue. The mid-20th century is considered the starting point: the formation of the first corporations and the strengthening of the technological potential of the countries opposing the Cold War. And yet, this is the time of the first space operations (it was in NASA that the life cycle management of programs appeared). It is considered that “project management”, as specific knowledge, first took shape in the US Air Force and their own Navy.

One of the most well-known projects, where the methods of modeling and coordinating the work package were first used, is the project to develop the Polaris rocket system, launched in 1957. In a short time, within the framework of this project, it was necessary to develop, assemble and test a significant number of unparalleled components. The project, which brings together about 3,800 major contractors and consists of 60,000 tasks, was entrusted to the US Navy’s Main Armaments Department. To this end, a special work scheduling method was created based on the optimal logical scheme of the process, called the method of analysis and evaluation of PERT programs (Program Evaluation and Review Technique). Using the PERT method allowed the management of the program to know exactly what should be done at each moment of time and who exactly should do it, as well as the likelihood of timely completion of individual operations. As a result, the management of the program was so successful that the project was completed before set term. After this method of control began to be used in all US forces and was so successful that it was classified for the certain time.

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Industrial corporations began using this method of management almost simultaneously with the military to develop new types of products and modernize production. This brought a significant gain in time, which was freed from the use of exact mathematical methods in the management of complex sets of works. But in 1960-80, only large players in the market could afford such luxury, because processing a large amount of digital data was performed on expensive computers.

In the 1980s, a new generation of computers and information technologies provided advanced features to use project management methods and tools more simply and efficiently: planning, scheduling, monitoring and analyzing time, cost, resources — became available not only to large, but also small and medium firms. And by the 90s, there was a reduction in the price and availability of computers targeted at a wide range of consumers. And you can now design and plan almost anything at home.

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Today, effective project management is impossible without the use of modern software – project sizes grow, the frequency of their implementation increases, the amount of information increases, in addition the number of employees of one company around the world working on the same task.

What such software offers today

Nowadays for those who faced with the need to choose software for program management, rather, there is an opposite problem with no alternative — a huge choice. 

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Before you dive into the search, you need a clear understanding of exactly what goals you want to achieve with this tool and, as always, what your budget is.

Depending on the size of the budget, which you ready to invest, the programs can be divided into groups – paid, free, and paid, which still offer for review the free version with limited functionality.

It depends on the software and how much and where your employees are, as well as the amount of control you need in work. It is also important in what field you work and where the starting point of your project begins. For creative industries, collective sketching of ideas can become a priority task, whereas in construction there is often a clear plan where you need precise distribution of tasks and control over their implementation.  Mass communication apps are commonly used for construction management as on-site employees are not at their desk; urgent project updates are communicated quickly.

Not aiming to cover all existing offers on the market, based on the comparison table on our website, we will describe the key parameters of products from Trello, 37Signals / Basecamp, Asana, Wrike, Genius Inside, Doist, Microsoft, Zoho, Clickup, monday.com. 

On the site you can find a more detailed comparison, and even create your own.

Trello

At the moment, the Trello application is one of the most popular project management systems online. The organization of work is based on the “kanban” method (from Japanese – just in time), based on a clear distribution of tasks among employees. In fact, this is an analogue of work boards with stickers on it, only in a web application. Thanks to its simplicity and virtually unlimited free functionality, Trello managed to win universal love.

To whom it suits: small companies, startups.

Technical parameters

Payment: free / paid (monthly or annual payment). It is worth noting that the freemium model of the Trello allows you to work fully, with a little bit reduced functionality.

Where is available: Web, IOS App, Android App.

 Integration with other services: MailChimp, Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, InVision, Evernote, GitHub, Bitbucket Cloud, Jira, Salesforce, Zendesk, other.

 Variants of access to the project : personal project, group project, open project, project with joint access.

Live chat: no.

Detailed reports on the implementation of tasks: no.

Project templates: no.

Basecamp

Basecamp is a simple and effective project management system. The application contains tasks, calendar, discussions, profiles, wiki documents, files, project log. Basecamp will fit into the workflow, if it involves the constant transfer of media files, for example – when coordinating the design or content with visual content. Basecamp features a rather large functionality of polls, control in real time.

On the company’s website there is a whole showcase of cool projects created using this software, so you can try your luck in such free mutually beneficial advertising.

To whom it suits: managers and managers who need the ability to follow many actions within a single project; projects requiring the transfer of media files and communication online.

Technical parameters

Payment: monthly.

Where is available: Web, IOS App, Android App, Desktop App.

Integration with other services: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, One Drive, other.

Variants of access to the project: group project, project with joint access.

Live chat: yes (+ automatic polls).

Detailed reports on the implementation of tasks: no

Project templates: yes.

Asana

A feature of the application Asana is that the work in it takes no more than an hour a day. In fact, you go into the application, familiarize yourself with the details and deadlines of the project and… go to implement it. Only the user responsible for the project conducts full-scale work in Asane – distributes the load, sets/transfers dates, controls the execution of tasks.

To whom it suits: small and medium-sized companies; team with clearly defined responsibilities.

Technical parameters

Payment: monthly.

Where is available: Web, IOS App, Android App.

Integration with other  services: MailChimp, Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, One Drive, GitHub, other.

Variants of access to the  project: group project, project with joint access, personal project.

 Live chats: yes.

Detailed reports on the implementation of tasks: no.

Project templates: no.

Wrike

The Wrike platform allows to create tasks, group them by project, and track their progress. The main advantage of the service is a more advanced collaboration functionality compared with competitors. Wrike is great for immediate project control.

Of the nice features of the platform is offline mode. In the absence of a network, you can sketch tasks or comments without fear that the information will not reach the recipient: as soon as a connection appears, the application will figure it out.

To whom it suits: those who need control over the daily execution of tasks and detailed reporting.

Technical parameters

Payment: free / monthly.

Where is available: Web, IOS App, Android App.

Integration with other services: GitHub, Jira, Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, One Drive, Evernote, Salesforce, Zendesk, Adobe, WordPress, other.

Variants of access to the project: group project, project with joint access, personal project.

 Live chats: yes.

Detailed reports on the implementation of tasks: yes.

Project templates: yes (positioned as one of the application features).

Genius Project

The Genius Project offers a very wide range of customization – without losing ease of use. Also, the company provides you with its consultants, allowing to optimize the program exactly for your needs.

The application is virtually unparalleled in providing reports of all kinds, schedules, there is also the possibility of online communication – and this is not just chat rooms, but access to creating online conference rooms. And since the servers where data is stored belong to one of the IBM companies – be sure that your information is protected 24/7 very carefully.

To whom it suits:  medium and large companies, corporations.

Technical parameters

Payment: monthly (discounts available for the duration of use).

Where is available: Web, iOS App.

Integration with other services: SAP, Salesforce, Oracle JD Edwards, IBM Lotus Notes, Microsoft Share point, Microsoft Office, Google Drive, other.

Variants of access to the project: group project, project with joint access.

Live chat: no (for real-time communication there are online conference rooms).

Detailed reports on the implementation of tasks: yes (+ all sorts of tasks visualization)

Project templates: yes.

Todoist

Todoist is a simple and beautiful online scheduler that supports almost all mobile and desktop platforms. It works in mail programs and services. Allows groups to interact on tasks, receive reminders and alerts. Its simplicity and attractiveness made it popular not only in the business environment, but also in personal use.

If the real-life Trello equivalent is a reminder board on it, Todoist is your virtual business notebook. With apparent simplicity, the program has a lot of options – a breakdown of tasks into subtasks (and projects into subprojects), prioritization. But many of the features are not available in the free version, for example, notifications, comments, project templates.

To whom it suits: small and medium-sized companies; for personal use.

Technical parameters

Payment: free of charge (version with reduced functionality) / monthly

Where is available: Web, IOS App, Android App, Windows Desktop App, Linux Desktop App.

Integration with other services: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, One Drive, other.

Variants of access to the project: group project, personal project.

Live chat: no.

Detailed reports: yes.

Project templates: yes.

MS Project

MS Project  is a complex software which in the market of single-user and small solutions takes about 80% (about 20 million people).

Work is carried out with the following options – “task”, “resource” and “assignment”. With these set values, the software visualizes the data in graphs, charts, tables, sheets. A huge advantage is the widespread use of the program, and as a result – a large number of guides and training materials to improve and make the use to be maximum productive.

To whom it suits:small groups, with a small number of projects; those who need strict and detailed reporting

Technical parameters

Payment: monthly.

Where is available: Windows Desktop App.

Integration with other services: Microsoft Share point, Microsoft Office, Skype, other.

Variants of access to the project: group project, personal project.

Live chats: yes.

Detailed reports: yes.

Project templates: yes.

Zoho

Zoho Sprints is a tool for Agile planning. The service simplifies work in fixed cycles, the so-called sprints. For flexible management, various panels are available, measurement of progress. The system works through priority planning, backlog and sprints, task boards, timetables for tracking hours, dashboards, reports, meeting management, and event tape. The user has access to all project boards, so everyone can keep track of what stage a particular task is at.

To whom it suits: the application is focused on the work on the principle of SCRUM, so it will be interesting to groups with small number of users.  

Technical parameters

Payment: for each user (over five).

Where is available:  Web, IOS App, Android App.

Integration with other services: GitHub, Jira, Zapier, other.

Variants of access to the project: group project.

Live chat: no.

Detailed reports: no.

Project templates: yes.

Clickup

The ClickUp application provides users with three different options for viewing tasks: in the form of a board, a table and a box. Here you can create your own statuses for each unique project that can be edited, reorder the boards in accordance with the needs of the organization. The ClickUp panel provides an Agile view, developed under the SCRUM, providing a simple but at the same time highly informative representation of the data.

To whom it suits: small teams, where you need to track processes and ease of use.

Technical parameters

Payment: free of charge (reduced functionality) / monthly / annually.

Where is available:  Web, IOS App, Android App.

Integration with other services: Slack, GitHub, Google Drive, Dropbox, GitLab, Bitbucket, other.

Variants of access to the project: group project, personal project.

Live chat: no.

Detailed reports: yes.

Project templates: yes.

monday.com

The monday.com service allows to visualize data and draw timelines for fulfilling tasks. There is a rather rare feature here – the ability to invite a client to track the process, advanced search. The service offers 71 templates of work boards for various tasks – from a large project to the work of a sales department. From the logic point of view doing one or another tasks, the templates are well thought out and the task functionality is already configured with regard to their features, which simplifies the start of work.

To whom it suits: small and medium-sized companies that want to save time on customization and get to work right away; companies that want to make the work process transparent to customers / partners.

Technical parameters

Payment: free trial period, then annual payment.

Where is available: Web, IOS App, Android App.

Integration with other services: Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Zapier, Trello, other /

Variants of access to the project: group project, personal project

Live chat: no.

Detailed reports: no.

Project templates: yes, one of the main features of the program.

As you can see, regardless of the size of the company and its financial position, management software is diverse and accessible to all. It remains only to choose and… work, but now in several times more efficient.

Author: Natalka Chekh, for ROI4CIO

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