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Online project management tools have made it possible and practical for individuals and teams to work from anywhere. Using a simple web browser that can run on any device, users are planning projects, managing tasks, and collaborating with teammates and clients to build products, offer services, and grow businesses. Today, project teams around the world have access to the data and tools they need, safely stored in the cloud, with the help of web-based project management tools.
Online project management software is web-based software that connects to cloud servers running project management applications accessible through the internet. More than just remote access, organizations that subscribe to vendors of web-based project management software in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model can securely store and access company data within the online PM tool.
Registered users have access to the latest company data from any device, and can use tools and features included in the software to organize, manage, manipulate, and share information within their access rights. Online project management tools have leveled the business playing field by providing smaller businesses access to enterprise-grade applications and modern features previously available only to larger firms.
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Best Online Project Management Tools & Software
The best web-based project management software enables companies of all sizes to have high-speed access to data and tools, regular updates, maintenance, and data backup, as well as centralized security and scalability to changing workloads. Here are 10 of the top web-based project management tools based on multiple reviews, features, use cases, and applicable industries.
monday.com is flexible online project management software that enables businesses to improve team management, communication, and productivity. Teams can start managing their projects quickly with the help of an intuitive interface, customizable templates, and a highly visual layout. They can build the screens and applications that fit their workflow, methodology, and team structure.
monday.com allows teams to collaborate easily with built-in communication tools that support file attachments. It has automation to simplify the tracking of work through status updates, budget and task approvals, or change requests. The PM software also allows users to manage resources, build project dashboards, share reports, and integrate with productivity tools they are already using. It provides 24/7 customer support and a 14-day free trial.
Smartsheet is web-based project management software that provides a dynamic workspace for different types of teams. Teams can easily manage tasks and projects, automate workflows, and build applications using drag-and-drop tools. The software allows users to create solutions that align people, processes, and technology, so work across the organization aligns effectively to business goals.
Smartsheet includes features to build project plans and schedules, track tasks visually, and get reports to improve forecasts, assignments, and resource allocation. It can also track budgets and expenses, as well as display roadmaps and timelines that stakeholders can easily access. The software has existing integrations and an open API that can connect to other business systems as part of a more comprehensive solution.
Mavenlink is an online project management tool with professional services automation and resource management features. It enables companies to serve clients with clarity, control, and confidence. The software lets users optimize resources with tools to manage demand, match resources, and optimize allocations. It maximizes visibility by allowing users to see business, project, and workforce data together.
Mavenlink provides tools to streamline and simplify operational processes through project management, team collaboration, and project accounting. Built-in business intelligence tools provide users insight that comes from unified project, team, and financial data. This enhances project visibility and allows more accurate forecasting. It also has out-of-the-box integrations, workflow automation, and APIs.
Teamwork provides web-based project management tools ideal for client work. It helps users get organized, track billable time, and ensure successful project delivery. This solution is used by many agencies, marketing teams, and creative teams.
Teamwork includes task management features that allow teams to break projects into tasks and layers of subtasks, and track all of them visually. It has integrated chat, feedback in context, and @mentions for team collaboration. Other features include organized document sharing, multiple project views (like table, list, board, and Gantt), project and resource planning, reports, automation, time tracking, and customization.
Zoho Projects is online project management software for a wide range of users, from enterprises to freelancers. Teams in many industries use it, including in construction, software development, education, real estate, testing, marketing, and consulting services. The software is ideal for projects with clear milestones and sequential tasks, but can integrate with Zoho Sprint to support hybrid project management.
Zoho Projects has Gantt charts to let teams build project plans and track schedules. It has task automation with a drag-and-drop interface that simplifies deployment. Other features include time tracking and timesheets, charts and reporting, and customization to create more personalized layouts, statuses, and workflows. It will integrate easily with other Zoho products and third-party apps.
Wrike is versatile web-based project management software used by small teams and enterprises alike. It allows customization for a variety of use cases, from agile project management to project portfolio management. Teams use it to manage enterprise resources as well as remote teams. The cloud-based solution streamlines communication and collaboration, so teams can work in real time with commenting, live editing, and dynamic reports.
Wrike enhances project visibility so users can find information and make decisions quickly. It has Gantt charts, Kanban boards, visual proofing, and shared calendars. The software lets users automate approval processes and share progress dashboards to all stakeholders. It also includes time tracking, workload management, request forms, and project templates.
Trello is a visual collaboration tool used by individuals, teams, and companies for online project management. The simple interface, board layout, and drag-and-drop UI make it easy to adopt and customize for various use cases. Aside from a Kanban board view, it now has dashboard, timeline, table, and calendar views for a wider perspective on work. It also has automation to streamline the effort needed for recurring tasks.
Trello cards enable users to organize work and all its details. This can include file attachments and image previews, and include reminders, due dates, and comments. Users can further extend the software’s card management and visual views with PowerUps (or integration with other apps). It also has desktop and mobile apps for users who prefer an interface other than a web browser.
Scoro is a web-based project management tool that is scalable and applicable to teams in a variety of industries. It is a comprehensive system that enables teams to manage projects, tasks, contacts, and billing in one platform. Teams can manage projects more successfully with a Gantt chart that tracks progress, tasks, dependencies, and events in real time. Together with project data, users can get a detailed overview of completed activities, time spent and billed, and income and expenses.
Scoro can automate routine tasks to speed up business processes, turning quotes into assigned projects and tasks. In addition to project management, it also comes with other tools like time management boards, resource management reports, sales CRM, finance management, and reports and dashboards. Companies who have existing systems can integrate Scoro to more tools and apps with direct, API, and Zapier integration.
Hive is an online project management and collaboration tool with free and paid plans. It provides small teams and growing businesses an easy-to-use productivity tool, so they can manage multiple projects and stay on top of them from a single place. Users can track tasks and subtasks, assign next steps, and set due dates. They can choose from Gantt, Kanban, or calendar views, as well as portfolio and summary views to visualize tasks and projects from a higher level.
Hive also has built-in forms to standardize information intake. It has an individual task view and a focus mode to minimize interruptions. Aside from project management, the software comes with time tracking, timesheets, and other time management tools. It also has multiple collaboration tools like chat, comments, and email integration, as well as automation and integration with dozens of productivity apps.
Forecast is a web-based resource and project management tool for teams. It unifies project, resource, and financial data in one application to improve productivity and profitability. Automation tools streamline non-billable tasks like project planning, resource allocation, and timesheet entry to enable users to focus on more profitable activities. Auto scheduling turns a list of tasks into a project plan, and a consolidated view provides users the visibility to decide when to take on more work and when to hire more talent.
Forecast supports different types of projects and methodologies, from simple to complex, or from fixed price to T&M. Other features include resource management, team collaboration, project accounting, business intelligence, and integration to more than 20 types of apps and services.
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Types of Web-Based Project Management Tools
Advances in web technology, security, data communications, and cloud computing have all contributed to the increased capabilities of web-based project management tools. To accommodate the demand from different industries, several types of solutions are now available.
Read also: How to Get a Project Management Internship
Companies that need to improve collaboration among different departments choose online project management software that is robust and scalable for multiple groups of users. This type of PM software allows customization so different departments can personalize pages and functionality to match their workflows. Dashboards with high-level overview, powerful reporting engines with automation and intelligence, and project portfolio planning are some of the essential features. Administrative tools and security are also offered.
Web-based project management software for client projects have features that emphasize project scheduling, task tracking, and resource management. Users are able to balance work demands and resource capacity through real-time dashboards and reports. This type of PM software also comes with time tracking, invoicing, and billing tools, or direct integration to facilitate client payment. It provides consolidated information so business owners are aware which projects are more profitable, which clients are easier to work with, and which teams give the best performance.
Online project management tools for general purpose are flexible for a wide range of use cases. These tools usually provide multiple views so users have more options and different perspectives. The software typically includes custom fields, layouts, and statuses so a wide selection of teams can build workflows that match their processes. Most of these tools are highly visual, with intuitive interfaces for users of all skill levels.
Some web-based project management tools cater to specific industries like construction, healthcare, or software development. These tools have features and functions like calculations, formats, or integrations that are unique to the industry they belong to. For instance, construction PM tools usually have features for viewing and annotating blueprints. Healthcare PM tools strictly comply to certain patient-care regulations like HIPAA. Software development PM tools include integration to code repositories and testing tools that other types of users will not find valuable.
All-in-one online project management software combines many tools and features to help businesses save on multiple subscriptions, avoid tool switching, and leverage analytics on a bigger set of data. In addition to core project planning and task management, this type of PM software can include communication tools for collaboration, financial tools like invoicing and billing, CRM and marketing automation, client or employee portals, and/or help desk capabilities. Some solutions also offer no-code/low-code developer tools, so users can build their own apps on a common platform with their project management software.
Specialized web-based project management software usually supports a particular approach, method, or process. For example, some PM software is ideal for Agile, Scrum, Kanban, or Lean approaches in project management — but not for Waterfall or sequential approaches. Some tools offer only a board view or table view, so users can take advantage of the process it supports or enforces. Others are specifically for building Gantt charts. However, there is a rising trend for PM software to be more flexible and offer additional views.
Many online PM tools today are proprietary and commercially available via a SaaS pricing model. They offer several plans that can include an increasing number of seats or users, as well as access to more advanced features and level of support. Some offer a free plan for a small number of teams, while others offer a free trial period. Commercially available PM tools usually include secure storage, free updates, and regular backup and maintenance.
Aside from commercial software, some organizations offer free and open-source online web-based PM tools. In this case, users have to download the source code and install it on customer-owned servers. The users themselves will be responsible for the upkeep of both hardware and software, but they have the flexibility to configure the application more specifically to their needs, assuming they have the resources and skills.
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Online Project Management Tool Features
The best web-based project management software is easy for a wide array of users to adopt, from IT and construction engineers, to marketing professionals and management consultants. These PM solutions have high reliability and up-time, improved security, and responsive support. Today’s cloud-based solutions offer the most innovative and usable features.
Projects involve multiple individuals in a team or multiple teams. The ability to communicate easily with teammates, project sponsors, and other stakeholders is vital to project success. Aside from communication through comments and chat, other forms of collaboration are file sharing, visual proofing, and simultaneous editing.
Read also: Project Collaboration Obstacles: How to Overcome Them
Creating a project plan or schedule, and breaking down the project into smaller tasks and activities with assigned persons and due dates are core features in a PM tool. Some tools build plans using automation, while others self-adjust and update when there is a delay or change of schedule.
Today’s web-based PM tools provide modern ways of managing and tracking tasks. Users can choose several views to see how the project is progressing. The software updates the project plan in real time as soon as users mark their tasks complete. Other helpful features are task dependencies, automating recurring tasks, and smart reminders for upcoming due dates.
Visual Work Views
Most PM solutions today offer several work views such as list, table, Gantt chart, Kanban board, and calendar views. These views help different teams choose a work perspective that is more meaningful to them, instead of trying to make sense of a singular default view.
Project managers are able to keep projects on time, on budget, and on scope when teams are performing optimally. Resource management tools that come with web-based PM software enable users to keep track of workload so they can assign the right person to the right task and balance demand with capacity. Project managers will have the data to ask sponsors for more time, more resources, or adjust priority.
With more teams and organizations practicing agile approaches, online project management tools are also adding more flexibility in the system. It allows users to customize workflows and stages, or add fields and revise layouts to accommodate how teams prefer to work.
Companies that use online project management software are bringing company data into the cloud. In return, online software can calculate, summarize, and display data in real time to show project progress or remaining budget. Users now have the option to choose the visualization of their data, with interactive reports and dynamic charts that they can email or export in other formats.
With common cloud platform technology, it is easier for online solutions to integrate with one another to extend or enhance functionality. Further customization with API and low-code tools are available, even extending to mobile platforms.
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Features for Small Businesses
Small businesses can benefit greatly from web-based project management tools, improving project delivery and impressing customers.
All-in-One Capabilities: Small businesses can run their entire business using a single PM platform to maximize savings and returns.
Collaboration: It is easier to satisfy clients when teams can collaborate effortlessly with them regarding requirements, requests, and feedback.
Task Management: The ability to track tasks and identify who is responsible is an important process for managing projects and keeping them on schedule.
Jose Santos is a long-time contributing writer for project-management.com. He is a subject matter expert in the field of project management and has many years of experience writing about project management software and tools. He has written hundreds of articles for the project management industry, including numerous software reviews, book reviews, training site reviews, and more.