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Bottom Line: Highly intuitive for beginners, TeamGantt is an excellent project management app for small businesses. It could use improved communication tools, however. Bottom Line: When you need a project management and collaboration solution in a hurry, turn to Wrike. You can set it up quickly, and integrate it with many other apps and services. What Is Project Management Software? Teams that have to handle multiple projects can't simply rely on human memory to keep them all organized.
Furthermore, trying to keep everything together via email is a recipe for productivity disaster. To deliver projects on time and within budget, teams must write down information, plot deadlines, and share documents. Individual members need to be in constant communication with one another. When your team needs to get serious about managing projects, the solution is to use project management software.
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Project management services are online systems for working and collaborating on projects. These real-time workspaces let team members and outside partners keep an eye on every detail that brings a project to fruition. They typically provide an overview of all the projects in the pipeline, as well as the nitty-gritty details about the daily work being done to move the projects forward.
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Some contain tools for managing resources as well, whether those resources are workers, materials, or money. The very best project management apps help teams handle common problems, such as slipped deadlines, by automatically rescheduling tasks that are affected by them. They generate reports that give managers insight into which team members have too much—or too little—work on their plates. Many track time spent on projects and integrate with invoicing and billing systems. The most important thing to know about project management apps, as opposed to other kinds of work-management apps, is that they are for projects.
That might sound like a tautology, but it's important.
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Projects are a specific type of work. Every project has a start date, end date, and deliverable. Building a house is a project. Launching a new website is a project. Maintaining a website, however, is ongoing work with no clear beginning or end date. Publishing a monthly magazine is a project that you complete once a month. Writing daily content for a blog is ongoing work. You could, theoretically, manage each blog post as its own project, but if the turnaround time is quick and only a few people are involved, using full-scale project management software is overkill. Many projects are managed by a dedicated project manager, and that's true even with software equivalent.
While a project manager might still be the person overseeing the project and helping to redirect resources as needed, she or he is not the only person touching the project management app. All kinds of people involved with the project use the app to update their progress on assigned tasks. They check into the project management app to, for example, see their designated tasks and to enter how much time they spent on an assignment.
Employees, contractors, and sometimes even clients can use the project management app to share documents, sign off on plans, and so forth. In a best-case scenario, every milestone, task, and subtask is assigned to a specific person and given a deadline. Typically, other team members can see who is responsible for what, whether that person is on track to complete it on time, and if there are any unanswered questions about the job.
That level of insight is important because it alerts people who are further down the planned chain of events of possible delays before they occur. Having visibility into every team member's task list is also useful for understanding whether people are falling behind because they're overworked.
When you can see that a colleague has six task assignments all due within the next 48 hours, it's easy to spot the problem and redistribute the work before deadlines slip. By looking at a Gantt chart a pretty common feature in project management apps , for example, a manager can see clearly who is doing what, and how various tasks are related, too.
It helps everyone use available resources more effectively. Projects also usually have assets, which range from a detailed description of the project and its parts to a visual mockup. People on the project team all need access to these assets, and the project management app becomes the central place where they live. Many project management solutions include storage space so that your team can upload files right into the workspace, where everyone on the team can see and discuss them.
It's also common for services to have an option to connect to third-party online storage services , such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, so that team members can link or upload files to the project management system from the repositories they already use. A few project management software systems have free versions, but they are generally quite limited. The primary limitation is the number of projects you can manage think one or two , although sometimes a service might restrict the amount of storage space you get or prevent you from using certain features.
Almost all project management apps have, at a minimum, a two-week free trial. When a free trial has a time limit on it, we don't count it as having a free tier of service.
To us, free means you get to use it forever with no charge, even if there are some tight restrictions. While it's helpful to try out software for free while you decide whether to upgrade, most businesses, in the end, will need or want the features and space allotments that come with paid accounts. Still, it's often helpful to try a product for longer than a couple weeks before deciding whether it's right for you, your team, and the work you all do.
Which project management system has a free version? Teamwork Projects, Zoho Projects, TeamGantt, and ProofHub all do although ProofHub's free account isn't advertised online and you have to contact the company to request it. Free trials often come with other limitations, which we've listed in the Price section of the complete reviews; the reviews are linked in the table above and the in the short capsules below. Although it may sound similar in concept, collaboration software is a little different from true project management software. While you do collaborate in a project management app, project management software is something much more specific.
Collaboration software comprises many different kinds of apps and services that handle everything from video conference calls to letting two people type on a document at the same time. Modern project management services often include native communication and collaboration tools. They may also let you connect to the collaboration apps that your team already uses, such as Slack or Google Docs.
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Whether you use the integrated communications tools or connect to an outside one, the idea is that your team can log into one workspace and have everything they need to get work done at hand, including a prioritized to-do list, all the necessary assets, notes from other colleagues, a calendar of deadlines and milestones, and a place to ask questions and find answers. Some project management apps even offer billing and expense tools, too. Earlier we mentioned that project management apps are designed for managing projects, but not other kinds of work.
What kind of work isn't a project? Any kind of ongoing work fits the bill, such as fixing bugs as they get reported or answering support calls. Ongoing work often is marked by recurring tasks. For ongoing work, people often talk about using workflow management tools rather than project management apps. Workflow management software and project management apps have considerable overlap in what they do from a theoretical standpoint. They both help groups of people write down what needs to be done and figure out when to do it. Project management apps, however, provide structure for ushering the work along its course, whereas workflow management apps are more flexible.
Top 10 Mac Project Management Tools
With workflow management, you often have to decide how to use the tool. That's not usually the case with project management apps, which have a more prescribed use. Workflow management is tricky to classify because sometimes it's handled as a standalone issue and sometimes it's rolled into other apps. Editors' Choice Asana, for example, handles workflow management pretty concretely, as do kanban board apps—more on these below.
But all-in-one work hubs, such as Podio , can include workflow management tools if you add them to your account. They can also have full-scale project management applications inside them, too. But workflow management isn't necessarily the core of the service, and neither is project management. Those are just apps you can add to your account. Kanban board apps are another kind of workflow management software. Kanban can be described as a style of working. That is almost a painfully low price for a state-of-the-art project management app.
So, in summary, we have a positively cheap project management app that is nearly comically easy to use.
On top of that, it has an OSX dedicated desktop app. Sounds to me like any Mac user will find using Flow remarkably easy to get into the… Flow … with. All of the apps I am covering here today are easy to use. But of all of them, the one that most impressed me during my test was Clickup read our review. Now, I know that in some ways, ease-of-use is subjective, but seriously! Clickup is as easy to use as bacon is to eat. And as an accused Pacific Northwest Hipster, I can confirm that bacon is very, very easy to eat. Clickup divides work into Spaces, where different teams can find their various projects and tasks.
These can be seen in box, list, and board view — whatever suits you best. It must be said, however, that Clickup really amounts to an extremely well-made task management system, so if you are looking for something more powerful, this might not be the app for you. On top of being easy to use, Clickup is gorgeous. Especially if you use the desktop app designed of OSX. With pricing like that, I honestly feel like you owe it to yourself to at least try this app for yourself; there is nothing to lose!
When all is said and done, Clickup is a beautiful and simple task management system. If that is what you are looking for for your business, Clickup is probably my number one recommendation. If you need something with more horsepower, keep looking through this list! So it seems like Basecamp should fit right in with our Mac-user Ethos, yes?
Combine legendary usability with a desktop app designed for Mac OS, and you have a user experience that is bound to impress. It is a little cartooney, rather than clean. Not exactly, but honestly, image is part of this. Design is part of why you use a Mac in the first place, right? So your software should be similarly designed. Fortunately, Basecamp really delivers in terms of features, focusing especially on communication tools that help keep your whole team on the same page, whether you all work in one building, one continent, or just one planet.
Like Clickup, though, this app is only slightly more than a task management app. You may need to look farther afield if you need more than that. This style of pricing is most beneficial for businesses planning to use their project management app with more than 20 users. Basecamp is a solid choice for anyone needing task or basic project management, especially for medium-sized businesses or businesses with employees working remotely.
The service also integrates well with several other platforms, including Adobe Creative Cloud. Wrike has a free plan that can be used by teams of up to five people.
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It has excellent security, with two-factor authentication and many advanced features, such as password and network access controls. Those will help your team stay clear of cybercrime. Its app for macOS took a bit of hunting to find. We needed to log in to the browser version and look in its app directory. After setting it up, we found it almost identical to the browser version. Wrike also has mobile apps if you want to use it on the go.
Read more about it in our Wrike review. It came in first in our roundup of the best project management software. Its interface is one of the best, giving you little hints and previews of what everything does. If you like to learn by doing and experimenting, it facilitates that. Signing up is easy.
You just enter an email address, then copy the six-digit code back into the app to get started. You are then taken through a quick setup wizard. There are also many templates to get started with, and Monday. Its desktop client surprised us by being rated 12 for profanity and crude humor. It then got stuck after we entered our data. It seems Monday. In any case, we recommend that Mac owners stick to the browser version.
Read more about it in our Monday. If you want to see how it shapes up against other platforms, read our Monday. Asana and Monday. Wrike comparisons. There are plenty of choices for project management software for Macs. Here are a few other platforms that are worth checking out. In fact, it feels better to use than the browser version. Aside from that, it offers the same functionality, which includes many templates to get started with. You can also create your own templates to save work over multiple projects. They can automate things such as image recognition and translation and have huge potential to do work for you.
Read more in our Airtable review. We found a few flaws with its interface in our Basecamp review , but it has improved since we last looked at it. Basecamp does a great job of showing you around, with pop-up wizards introducing its features, and its human touch will appeal to Mac owners. Downloadable from its website, its macOS application is especially good, with nice animations complementing its core features. With its strong team communication options and flat pricing plan, Basecamp is a great choice for teams who want to keep everything in one place.
Mac owners who chose their platform to show off its sleek looks should avert their gaze now. LeanKit has been hit squarely in the face by the ugly stick. Those less concerned about the superficial should look closer, though. LeanKit, as its name suggests, is focused on lean management principles.
That provides an overview of your whole project while allowing managers to focus on their own section and individuals to focus on their own tasks. Despite being unattractive, LeanKit a great choice for those focused on getting things done.
Read more about it in our LeanKit review. Project management tools can help you organize your homework, your sports team or any creative project you have on the go. All these tools have something to offer and are worth investigating to see which suits you. Thanks for reading. Sign me up for a free day trial, no credit card required. I'd rather keep looking.