Best Project Management Software for Small Teams

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There are numerous project management software options for small teams and businesses to help streamline their workflows, improve productivity, and stay organized. From task management apps to collaboration software, each has its own unique features and benefits.

Choosing the right project management tool for your team can make all the difference in achieving your goals. We’ll recommend and will review these top five software management tools tailored for small project teams to help you decide.

Our PickBest ForPricing Starts At 

asana logo big.

Try Asana
Best for FlexibilityFree to try • $10.99 per user/month

Read details

Trello logo.

Try Trello
Best for Kanban BoardsFree to try • $5 per user/month

Read details

wrike logo.

Try Wrike
Best for CollaborationFree to try • $9.80 per user/month

Read details

nifty logo.

Try Nifty
Best Simple Project Management AppFee to try • $5 per user/month

Read details
clickup logo.

Try ClickUp
Best for Customized Project ViewsFree to try • $5 per user/month

Read details

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Methodology

As a career digital project management consultant, with experience working in small business and agency settings, my recommendations are based on analyzing various popular project management tools, my own experience using them, and evaluating information from various sources, including product specifications and user reviews and feedback.

In this case, I evaluated project management software tools that are suitable for small teams and selected the top five based on the following criteria:

  1. Ease of use: The software should be user-friendly and easy to navigate for small teams with limited technical skills.
  2. Project management features: The software should provide essential features like task management, team collaboration, time tracking, and reporting.
  3. Customization: The software should offer flexibility and customization options to cater to the unique needs of small teams.
  4. Pricing: The software should be affordable for small teams, with free or low-cost options available.

Based on these criteria, I determined that Asana, Trello, Wrike, Nifty, and ClickUp are the best project management software options for small teams. These tools are highly rated by users and experts, provide essential project management features, are customizable, and are affordable or have free plans available to test drive before making a financial commitment.

Our Picks: Top Project Management Software for Small Teams

asana logo big.

Best for Overall Flexibility

Asana offers a range of features to help teams stay organized, collaborate more efficiently, and complete projects on time. One of the key highlights of Asana is its task management feature, which allows teams to create, assign, and track tasks from start to finish. With Asana’s task management feature, teams can easily break down projects into smaller tasks, set deadlines, assign responsibilities, and track progress in real-time. Asana’s task management feature makes it easy to attach files, comments, and due dates to tasks, making collaboration more seamless and organized.

Another highlight of Asana is its collaboration features, which allow teams to work together more efficiently, no matter where they are. Asana’s collaboration features include the ability to comment on tasks, tag colleagues, and have conversations in context, reducing the need for lengthy email chains.

Asana even offers a team inbox, which allows teams to collaborate and manage communication in one central location. With Asana’s collaboration features, teams can work together seamlessly, save time, and get more done.

Asana dashboard, accessed July 25, 2023.

Asana dashboard, accessed July 25, 2023

Key Features

  • Task Management: Asana’s task management feature allows teams to create, assign, and track tasks from start to finish; for example, teams can easily break down projects into smaller tasks, set deadlines, assign responsibilities, and track progress in real time.
  • Collaboration: Asana’s collaboration features allow small teams to comment on tasks, tag colleagues, and have conversations in context as well as access a team inbox to collaborate and manage communication in one central location.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Teams can stay organized and focused on what matters most by customizing their dashboards according to their preferences with custom lists, boards, and calendars as well as custom fields to track important information specific to their projects.
  • Integration With Other Tools: Asana integrates with other tools that small teams use on a daily basis, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack, ensuring that everyone can seamlessly transition between different tools without losing any information or disrupting their workflows.

Pros & Cons of Asana

ProsCons
Intuitive and easy-to-use interface makes it simple for teams to get started and use the tool effectively.Learning curve for users not used to project management tools.
Powerful task management allows teams to break down projects into smaller tasks, set deadlines, and assign responsibilities.Pricing can be expensive for small teams if they want advanced features.
Collaboration features allow teams to work together seamlessly, from anywhere, without the need for email.Limited reporting compared to other tools.
Customizability enables you to tailor the tool to specific needs.Native time tracking only available for Business and Enterprise plans.
Easy integrations with other tools you already use to improve productivity.Dependency on the internet, as this is a cloud-based tool.

Why We Picked Asana

Asana is a great option for small teams looking for a powerful yet easy-to-use project management tool. It offers flexibility that small teams can use to improve productivity, stay organized, and collaborate effectively from anywhere.

It’s versatile: Asana can be used for personal projects to keep track of tasks with reminders, and it keeps professional teams connected and on track for paid work. There is no wrong way to create and set up a project, whether you prefer list format, board, timeline, calendar or dashboard views.

The interface is clean and distraction-free, which helps keep the focus on work and minimizes the feature-heavy project management tool look and feel. You can get up and started in minutes on any project and have 30 days of free trial period, so you can decide if the free version still works for your project or if you need to upgrade to a paid plan.


Read our review of Asana


Trello logo.

Best for Kanban Boards and Agile Workflows

Trello is a web-based project management tool that helps teams organize and prioritize tasks and projects using visual kanban boards. Users can create boards, lists, and cards to track the progress of their work.

One of Trello’s key features is its visual interface, which allows users to easily see the status of their projects and tasks at a glance. Users can even collaborate with team members by sharing boards, adding comments, and assigning tasks. In addition to its visual interface and collaboration features, Trello offers several other notable features. Users can customize boards with a variety of backgrounds and colors, making it easy to differentiate between different projects.

Trello integrates with a wide range of other tools, making it easy to bring together all of the information and resources needed for a project. It also offers a variety of automation features, so users can set up rules to automatically move cards between lists or trigger actions based on certain events, further streamlining project management.

Trello dashboard, accessed July 25, 2023

Key Features

  • Task Management: Trello helps small teams stay organized and focused using kanban boards, where users can create cards for individual tasks and move them between lists as they are completed for simplified progress tracking.
  • Automations: Butler is Trello’s built-in automation tool, which allows users to streamline workflows and reduce manual tasks by setting up rules to automatically move cards between lists, assign tasks, add labels, and more.
  • Custom Integrations: Trello’s API allows it to integrate with a wide range of other tools, and it offers a variety of Power-Ups, so small teams can streamline their workflows, access advanced automation capabilities, and more.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Offers one of the best free plans on the market.Not good for complex tasks with multiple dependencies.
Quick learning curve for most users.Security concerns with storing sensitive data unless you pay for Atlassian Access.
Simple visual way to organize projects with kanban boards and mimic agile format.May be cost-prohibitive for some teams to access advanced features and functionality.

Why We Picked Trello

Trello’s simple kanban-style interface and flexible design makes it easy for small teams and individuals to organize, prioritize, and keep track of their projects and tasks. We love the board-style drag-and-drop format, which lets users quickly create cards and move them through the process from start to finish. It leaves more time for doing the work because users don’t have to waste valuable time trying to navigate a confusing interface. The ability to automate repetitive tasks and processes saves so much time as well, giving small teams the advantage of time which is money.


Read our complete Trello review


wrike logo.

Best for Collaboration

Wrike is an all-in-one cloud-based platform that offers a range of features designed to help small teams streamline their workflows and boost productivity. One of Wrike’s key strengths is its flexibility and scalability, making it suitable for a wide range of teams and industries to effectively collaborate on projects.

Some of Wrike’s most notable features include real-time collaboration, task management, custom workflows, and reporting tools. Wrike’s collaboration features allow teams to work together on projects in real time, while its task management tools make it easy to assign and track individual task assignments. The tool’s custom workflows feature allows teams to set up processes that match their unique needs, while the reporting tools provide insights into team performance and progress.

Wrike dashboard, accessed July 23, 2023.

Wrike dashboard, accessed July 23, 2023

Key Features

  • Customizable Dashboards: Wrike allows users to create custom dashboards that display the information they need most. This can be especially helpful for small teams, as they can easily track their progress, view upcoming deadlines, and see what tasks are assigned to team members.
  • Collaboration Tools: Wrike offers a variety of collaboration tools that can help small teams stay connected and productive. Users can comment on tasks, tag team members, and share files all within the platform.
  • Time Tracking: Wrike’s time tracking feature can be especially helpful for small teams with limited resources, as it can help teams identify areas where they are spending too much time, so they can make adjustments to optimize their workflows.
  • Project Templates: Wrike offers a range of project templates for different types of projects, such as marketing campaigns, product launches, and event planning, which can help small teams save time and resources in setting up new projects.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Wide range of customization options to tailor workflows.Steep learning curve.
Ability for teams to work together in real time no matter the location.Limited integrations with popular tools and services.
Powerful reporting and analytics tools to make data-driven decisions.Costly pricing plans for small teams.
Prebuilt project templates to get started quickly.No chat option.
Ability to create, assign, prioritize schedule, and update tasks all via email.

Why We Picked Wrike

Wrike is a powerful and flexible project management tool that can help small teams stay organized, efficient, and productive. While it may have a steeper learning curve and higher cost compared to some other tools, its collaboration features, customization options, and reporting tools make it an attractive option for teams looking to optimize their workflows.


Read the complete Wrike review


nifty logo.

Best Simple Project Management App

One of the standout features of Nifty’s project management is it’s all-in-one platform, making it the ultimate project management operating system (OS). It combines project management, team communication, and task collaboration tools in a single app interface, so teams can stay organized and focused on their tasks without having to switch between different software tools.

With its focus on team collaboration and remote work, Nifty PM is an excellent choice for small distributed teams looking for an all-in-one project management solution.

Nifty PM dashboard, accessed July 25, 2023.

Nifty PM dashboard, accessed July 25, 2023

Key Features

  • Powerful Project Dashboard: Nifty PM’s project dashboard gives teams a real-time overview of their tasks, deadlines, and project progress. Teams can also use public dashboards to share status outside of the immediate team as well as folder projects into programs and structure projects the way they work.
  • Time Tracking and Billing: Built-in time tracking and billing features give management insight and the ability to track billable hours and generate invoices. These insights can help teams increase productivity, stay within budgets, and invoice when the work is done.
  • Integrations: Nifty PM integrates with over 1,000 other software tools, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and GitHub, allowing teams to seamlessly manage their projects across different platforms.
  • Resource Management: The resource management features of Nifty PM enable project managers to manage project resources such as team members, budgets, and equipment, and make the most of every project with powerful planning capabilities.
  • Discussions: This unique Nifty PM feature supports collaboration, helps facilitate discussions, and has the power to engage key team members to participate in meaningful decision-making. Discussions enable real-time communication between the right people at any time.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Highly customizable toolset.Limited mobile functionality.
Robust document management system.Moderate learning curve.
User-friendly interface with build-in chat.No time tracking reminders to start and stop.
Affordable pricing model for small teams.Limited Gantt chart capabilities.
Good customer support.Limited automation options.

Why We Picked Nifty PM

Nifty PM is impressive in the variety of industries, niches, and workflows it can accommodate. It’s affordable for small teams and expansive in its capabilities to support different industries.

Nifty PM is easy to use and helps teams get organized to accomplish day-to-day work with an intuitive interface and design — and without the fancy bells and whistles of larger, more expensive solutions. This tool offers everything a small team could want in a project management software without high cost, learning curve, and complex features that won’t get used.


Read our Nifty review


clickup logo.

Best for Customized Project Views

ClickUp is a feature-rich cloud-based all-in-one project management tool. One of ClickUp’s key strengths is its flexibility. It is highly customizable, and this flexibility extends to the way tasks can be organized, with users able to choose between different views such as list view, board view, and calendar view.

Another highlight of ClickUp is its robust set of features, including task management, time tracking, collaboration, reporting, and numerous integrations with popular tools such as Slack, Trello, and Google Drive.

ClickUp dashboard, accessed July 25, 2023.

ClickUp dashboard, accessed July 25, 2023

Key Features

  • Task Management: ClickUp provides a simple and intuitive interface for creating and managing tasks. It allows users to create and assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress, and organize tasks by projects, lists, and folders.
  • Time Tracking: Built-in time tracking gives managers and users the ability to track the time spent on each task and project. This can help identify areas where you are spending too much time and make necessary adjustments to your workflow for improvement in efficiencies.
  • Collaboration: ClickUp includes a range of collaboration features such as comments, mentions, checklists, and file attachments, so teams can collaborate. Users can also set up custom workflows to streamline their entire team’s processes.
  • Customization: This highly-customizable tool opens up the possibility for users to create custom fields, workflows, statuses, views, templates, and dashboards to suit their specific needs. ClickUp’s customization options are one of its key strengths to help teams stay expertly organized and productive.
  • Reporting and Analytics: ClickUp’s detailed reporting and analytics enables project managers to track their team’s productivity, identify bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions. A range of reporting capabilities, including Gantt charts, burndown charts, and custom reports helps users monitor project progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Automation and Integration: Teams can save time and improve efficiency by setting automatic task assignments, task status changes, and more through a variety of automations and integrating with other tools they already use and own.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Versatility makes it suitable for teams of all sizes and industries.Learning curve may be steep for some users needing more advanced features.
Highly customizable.Can be overwhelming for users used to simpler tools.
Numerous integrations, so you can stay in one place for everything.Mobile app limitations.
Robust automation features to save time.Pricing can be expensive, making it hard to justify cost.
User-friendly interface is easy to navigate.Limited Gantt chart capabilities.

Why We Picked ClickUp

We choose ClickUp over other tools because of its versatility. From standard project management features like task and time tracking and collaboration to more complex needs such as customizations, integrations, and automations, users can virtually set this tool up to work however they see fit. ClickUp’s range of features makes this a versatile project management tool choice for teams of all sizes and industries.


Read our ClickUp review


What Are the Key Features of Project Management Software for Small Teams?

When shopping for project management software for small teams, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the dozens, sometimes hundreds, of features the software offers. But there are five key functions to look for.

Look for software that allows you to create, assign, and track tasks, so you can keep everyone on the same page and ensure projects are completed on time.

Seek out software that includes collaboration features, such as team chat, file sharing, and commenting, so your team can easily communicate and work together on projects.

Consider a tool that allows you to track the time spent on each task or project, so you can identify areas where you can improve efficiency and better manage your team’s workload.

If you want input, it is highly recommended that you choose a tool with reporting and analytics features, so you can track your team’s progress, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions about how to improve your projects.

It’s not required but recommended to find software that includes mobile access, so your team can stay connected and manage tasks on the go, whether they’re working from home or on the road.

What Are the Key Benefits of Project Management Software for Small Teams?

Here are five benefits for most users look for when researching their PM software options.

Project management software gives team members the ability to collaborate more effectively using tools such as shared workspaces, task assignments, and progress tracking. This makes sure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Using project management software streamlines workflows and automates repetitive tasks, freeing up more time for team members to focus on high-value work. This results in faster completion times, higher productivity, and fewer mistakes.

Effective communication is crucial for project success, and project management software provides a centralized platform for team members to communicate in real time, share files, and provide feedback. This helps to ensure everyone is informed and engaged throughout the project.

Project management software provides team members with a clear overview of project progress, including task completion, deadlines, and milestones. Managers can use this to identify potential roadblocks and take action before they become bigger issues.

Project management software allows managers to track team members’ progress and identify areas where additional support may be needed. This creates a culture of accountability, where team members are encouraged to take ownership of their work and meet their deadlines.

FAQs: Key Questions to Ask While Evaluating Your Options

Small project teams should consider what specific features they need in a project management tool, such as task management, team collaboration, time tracking, reporting, and analytics. They should identify what features are essential for their specific needs and goals.

All users should consider the ease of use of the project management tool. They should evaluate how easy it is to navigate, set up, and use the tool as well as whether the user interface is intuitive and visually appealing.

Managers of small project teams should consider the pricing of the project management tool, including any upfront or ongoing costs, such as subscription fees or per-user licensing fees. They should also consider any additional costs for features that may be required in the future, such as additional storage or premium features. If cost is prohibitive, it may make more sense to find and use a free forever version to manage projects on a basic level for a few users.

How to Choose the Best Project Management Solution for Small Teams

When looking to purchase a project management tool for your small team, consider trying out a few free trials and narrowing down the choice to one or two options that work best for your industry and type of work. In addition to cost, it is important to take several factors into consideration. Here are three key factors to keep in mind as you shop.

State your specific needs and goals

Consider what you need the project management software to accomplish.

Do you need a tool that can help you track tasks and deadlines, manage resources, and collaborate with team members? Are you looking for software with advanced reporting and analytics features to help you make data-driven decisions?

Make a list of your specific needs and goals to ensure the software you choose can meet them.

Prioritize user experience and ease of use

The usability and user experience of the software are critical factors to consider. The software should be intuitive and easy to navigate, with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to manage tasks, communicate with team members, and track progress.

You can ask for a free trial or demo to evaluate the software before making a purchase.

Consider the cost and value

Consider the total cost of ownership, including the upfront and ongoing costs of the software. Look for software that offers a pricing model that is transparent and aligned with your budget. Beware of hidden costs, such as training fees or additional fees for support or upgrades.

Consider the value of the software based on the features and benefits it offers, and whether it can help you achieve your specific goals.

Helpful suggestions

  • If you are looking for project management software that offers integrations with other tools you already use, such as email, chat, or calendar applications, to help streamline your workflows, consider ClickUp.
  • Consider the level of customer support and training available, including online resources, tutorials, and live support, to ensure you can get help when you need it. If this is top of list for you, then consider trying out Nifty PM or Asana.
  • Be aware of the risks of vendor lock-in, where you become reliant on one vendor’s software and are unable to switch to other software options in the future. Consider choosing a vendor that offers open APIs and data export options, so you can easily transfer your data to another system if needed. ClickUp, Wrike, and Trello are good choices when considering future needs.

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