Whether your teams are working in the same office or remotely, keeping everyone on the same page is essential to the success of your projects. Project management suites are a cost-effective way to stay organized so you don’t have to rely on lengthy email threads. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner, there’s no shortage of free or inexpensive cloud-based suites out there. With the tools below, you just need to create an account and you’re ready to go. You can even add users on the fly so as your company grows, you don’t need to switch programs.
A long time player in the cloud-based project management space, Asana is a favorite of many because of the robust capabilities it packs into a simple-to-use package. The suite stands out from other solutions because of the robust reporting features which enable users to visualize project progress with charts and graphs. Asana also lets you create custom search views so you can instantly filter projects, tasks, and other action items with a click of the mouse.
Asana supports up to 15 users and includes numerous collaboration and project management functions within the software. Their premium plan costs around $9/month per user and offers a few extra features such as privacy controls, guest user support, and the ability to export your data. You can also expand the functionality by integrating Asana into a variety of other productivity tools.
The best way to describe Trello is that it’s the digital equivalent of sticky notes on a whiteboard (commonly used in the Kanban project management method). Getting started is fairly simple. Users simply create a board for each project. Within the board, users can create categories and cards for each task. Each card has its own comment section, descriptions, file attachments, and other custom information fields. For small teams and businesses just starting out, the free Trello plan should be sufficient. As your company grows, the Business Plus plan provides fine-grained user permission controls and support for apps to expand the functionality.
Unlike most other project management suites which focus solely on team collaboration and project management, Mavenlink provides a more comprehensive solution which integrates into all components of your business. The solution is ideal for long-term projects which require extensive planning. Mavenlink uses Gantt Charts so you can easily spot dependencies and potential bottlenecks.
In addition to being a project management solution, Mavenlink also helps to simplify your accounting processes. Built in accounting capabilities enable you to generate invoices, view and approve billable time, view your margins, and manage your budgets. The starter Mavenlink version costs $19/month for five users. If you want invoicing and other financial management functions, you’ll need to pay at least $29/month per user.
If you’re looking to manage your projects using an Excel style solution, Smartsheet is the tool for you. The solution enables users to quickly enter project action items line by line on a spreadsheet. For each project, you can group tasks and assign them to different team members. Overall it’s a straightforward project management solution; the biggest selling point is that the learning curve is kept to a minimum without sacrificing functionality.
Smartsheet integrates with a variety of other tools such as Google Apps, box, Dropbox, DocuSign, and Evernote so you can make the solution fit the way you work. The starter Smartsheet tier starts at $10/month and supports one admin user and unlimited collaborators. This means you can create sheets (projects) and invite as many colleagues, guests, and other parties as needed. It also includes Android and iOS mobile apps so your teams can access their project information at their desk or on the go.
There are plenty of project management suites available for businesses of all sizes and budgets. Assess your needs and then choose a tool that offers the capabilities that will benefit your business.