Project management tools offer functions that make it easier for project managers and participants to communicate – in real time and also asynchronously. Those responsible and their teams can use it to plan, coordinate and monitor their projects. The project management tools keep everyone involved informed of updates and help them complete their work on time. The tools facilitate communication and provide a secure central location to hold project materials, while allowing third party access on a case-by-case basis.
While professional project management software is aimed at trained project managers, the collaboration apps listed in this post are primarily intended for collaborating project participants who do not necessarily follow a strict methodology. The tools are easy to use, enable file sharing and real-time collaboration.
Team members can connect through virtual chat rooms and video meetings, and get tools to brainstorm ideas while they work. In addition, the tools bring remote employees together and thus support everyone involved, even in hybrid working environments, in pursuing a common goal. At the same time, project managers have better opportunities to get an overview of project progress.
The disadvantages include that the often cloud-based project management tools take on a life of their own in many companies. One team works with Trello, another with Notion and a third with Monday.com. This becomes a problem – also in terms of costs – if there is no governance and the portfolio management is not doing its job. In addition, not all tools are easy to learn, even if the providers usually promise the opposite. However, if the learning curve is too steep, team members’ happiness suffers, making them less collaborative and less productive.
The tool of choice should be easy to learn and offer features that allow team members to quickly find the information they need to complete their tasks and projects. In some cases, the tool providers do not offer these functions themselves, but via integrations with other collaboration tools such as Slack or Zoom.
Key features of project management tools include shared workspaces and dashboards: stakeholders need a central place to find, publish, and organize information. In special work areas, they can, for example, pass on project and team notes, files and videos and use them in the team.
The better tools also include dashboards that allow team members to see all of their project data in real time, as well as what others are working on, how long tasks are taking, and whether deadlines are being met. Features also include advanced messaging options, decision support, feedback and chat.
Project collaboration tools should include features for planning and tracking projects, such as Kanban boards, Gantt charts, timelines, calendars, time tracking tools, and spreadsheets. Discussion forums help team members share their opinions, as well as expertise and feedback. Best of all, such forums can be added to workspaces or pages where members ask questions about specific topics or seek comments on an idea.
Document management makes it possible to create and save project-related documents in order to be able to easily access and edit them in the team. The ability to edit a document with others in real time further improves collaboration. This feature should bring real-time synchronization to ensure changes are always updated on other team members’ devices. The best project collaboration tools also allow collaborators to track the history of changes through versioning.
In order to be able to record, check and approve work processes, the support of workflows and forms is desirable. Teams can work more efficiently and faster when they use forms to collaborate, capture data, and accelerate approvals. With good workflow capabilities, they can create custom workflows that complement best practices and allow team members to work together more transparently and efficiently.
Video conferencing capabilities should include schedulable virtual meetings with screen sharing for large and small groups, as well as one-to-one chats between team members on the fly. Of course, security is also important: companies, in particular, need to equip their remote teams with tools that protect sensitive customer and company data and help comply with security and privacy regulations.
The software for the project collaboration should provide tools for identity and rights management as well as encryption of the data during transmission at a high level of security. Be aware of their vendor’s disclosures about security, compliance, and privacy practices.
There are dozens of project collaboration applications on the market. To make your research easier, we highlight the following products as particularly suitable based on interviews with analysts and independent research. However, inclusion in this list does not constitute a purchase recommendation and we advise you to include other products in your purchase decision.
Airtable sees itself as a low-code platform with which users can build individual collaborative apps and design their own workflows. The cloud tool combines the properties of an SQL database with those of a spreadsheet in a simple way and supports group work with this combination.
Project teams use Airtable to collectively store, share, and edit information. Features include file sharing, team dashboards, mobile apps for iOS and Android, and the ability to merge teams at a project level and see changes in real time without having to manually refresh pages.
The software also offers task lists, kanban boards, shared team calendars, task collaboration, and client engagement. Additionally, Airtable integrates with a range of apps and services, including Slack, Dropbox, and GitHub apps.
The web tool Asana helps teams of five or more organize and manage their work. This can affect both day-to-day tasks and strategic initiatives. Asana offers task management, custom fields, progress tracking, and real-time content updates. Working groups should be able to make the right decisions in every phase of a project.
Teams can use Asana to manage any type of project or process, including marketing campaigns, work requests, and product launches. Project managers have the ability to assign tasks to team members, create schedules, and track project progress through dedicated dashboards. It is transparent for everyone what the other participants are working on – including the due date and description.
The Asana browser solution integrates with more than 200 apps and services, including Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Salesforce, Zoom and Box.
The cloud-based tool ClickUp positions itself as a one-stop shop for tasks such as team collaboration, document, task and project management and progress control. The functions include assigning tasks and tracking their status, alerts, a task toolbar and various communication tools.
ClickUp creates order with a hierarchical structure that distinguishes between “Workspace”, “Space”, “Folder”, “List” and “Task”. At the list level, users can create tasks and assign them to third parties with goals and associated data. At the task level, users can also add descriptions, subtasks and checklists, and drive real-time collaboration.
The tool allows project managers to track team members in real-time so they are always up to date. ClickUp natively integrates with Slack, Dropbox, Google Workspace, and other tools.
The Monday.com cloud platform helps teams to organize their collaboration and to plan and complete complex projects on time. Users can use the tool as a web app or access it via iOS or Android devices. Monday.com offers an integrated Kanban board, time tracking, automatic notifications and workflow automation.
The software opens up a collaborative work environment where team members can communicate, create knowledge bases, and share files, images, updates, and feedback in real time. With the help of a low-code platform and an open API, customers can set up their own applications and integrations in the platform and also offer them commercially via an app marketplace. Monday.com integrates with Microsoft Teams, Dropbox, Google Drive, MailChimp, Adobe Creative Cloud, and a variety of calendar tools.
Notion sees itself as a kind of “all-in-one workspace”, a construction kit for project management that contains a large number of functions, templates and integrations so that users can set up the work environment of their choice. The many ready-made templates are interesting: users who want to create a content calendar or a wiki for software development or an application tracker for the HR department do not have to reinvent the wheel a second time.
However, the flexibility has its price: In order to be able to use the tool sensibly, users have to deal with it intensively, and they could be put off by the variety of functions. On the other hand, the use of many other project tools becomes superfluous if the teams manage to exhaust Notion halfway.
ProjectManager, a SaaS app for work and project management, positions itself as a solution for hybrid workgroups. The most important features include a Kanban board and different views of teamwork: team view, sheet view, workload view and roadmap view. ProjectManager supports Gantt charts for showing activities on a timeline, checklists, a project dashboard for a high-level overview, reporting, and much more.
The tool allows project managers to add new projects and assign specific work tasks to their teams. Team members can share feedback, comments and files in real time. ProjectManager integrates with Slack, Microsoft Project, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and other tools.
Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-based online tool for project team collaboration within and between companies. It makes collaborating on tasks easier by storing all related notes, files, and project information in one central location, accessible from any browser, device, and operating system.
Smartsheet combines the familiarity of tools like Excel with features like automated workflows, file sharing, visual timeline management, and discussion boards. The tool integrates with a number of web services including Box, Salesforce, and Google Workspace. Because the software is highly customizable, businesses can remove features they don’t need and add others.
“From ideation to execution” – a holistic approach that includes joint brainstorming in various workspaces, that’s the promise of Swit. The tool otherwise covers tasks such as project, task and calendar management and supports Gantt charts. The app also offers discussion forums where team members can communicate with each other via messages and comments.
Swit mainly targets software developers. The tool helps them share files with team members, track the progress of their tasks and manage the entire software lifecycle. The Swit software integrates with Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 Apps. The Swit website does not currently provide detailed security information; contact the provider for details on encryption, authentication, and compliance.
The cloud-based teamwork helps project teams with task lists, boards, Gantt charts, templates and many other functions to improve collaboration while assigning responsibilities and making project progress clear. The all-in-one platform gives teams a central place to share ideas and get feedback to make faster decisions. Numerous apps for various tasks can be integrated.
The possibilities of billing project work precisely in terms of time are interesting. In addition, project teams can invite customers to projects without being billed separately. Teamwork features include project management, collaborative document editing, helpdesk, team chat, video calls, and screen sharing. Tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Dropbox and many others can be integrated.
With Trello, Atlassian has launched an online tool for project management and team collaboration that is based on a Kanban framework. The representation of who is working on what in the team is particularly clear. Trello provides a digital board that allows project leaders to define, organize, and prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and monitor project progress.
Team members can use Trello cards to collaborate, attach documents, and add comments about their tasks. You can also use natural language commands to automate tasks. Trello works across the web, desktop apps for Windows and macOS, and mobile apps for Android and iOS. The tool integrates with dozens of third party apps and services including GitHub, Slack, Jira, Google Drive, OneDrive and more.
Wimi is a project management and collaboration tool that can be used both on premises and in the cloud. Wimi also helps teams work more efficiently by allowing members to assign tasks, monitor project progress, and track deadlines. The tool scores with a high level of security.
Wimi offers messaging channels, files, tasks, calendar and video conferencing to help teams collaborate on projects across multiple apps and devices in one online space. It integrates with other productivity apps and services like Evernote, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and Dropbox.
Wrike collaboration software, now owned by Citrix, offers user-friendly navigation and flexible project views. Wrike supports in-app notifications to keep everyone on a team connected and notified of the latest project updates. Stakeholders can track projects using Kanban boards, Gantt charts, or Wrike’s pre-built workflow templates.
The tool offers integration with a range of enterprise apps like Salesforce, Tableau, and Slack, as well as an offline mode so teams can use Wrike even when they’re not connected to the internet. Wrike is available via the web, desktop apps for macOS and Windows, and mobile iOS and Android apps.
Zoho Projects cloud-based tool is easy to use and provides teams with a common place for creative collaboration and communication via feeds, forums, chats and wikis. Features include effective file management, Gantt charts for project tracking, and integration with other Zoho products (ZohoCRM), but also with Slack, Google Workspace, and Microsoft 365.
Organizations can create workspaces to increase their team’s productivity. Apps for iOS and Android help users manage projects and track their progress on the go. With the software, teams can create and share all types of files, collaborate on documents and spreadsheets, and create presentations.