Some businesses do use kanban to manage projects, but kanban apps aren't really project management apps. Task management software is slightly different from project management software. Project management apps do include task management features in them, but you can get standalone task management apps if that's the only piece you really need. One of the clearest examples of a task management app is Asana , which, confusingly, is also a very clear example of a workflow management app, as mentioned above—one with kanban functionality, to boot.
With Asana, you can assign tasks to specific individuals, and add descriptions, deadlines, and attached documents to each one, but they aren't necessarily part of a larger project. Task-management apps work pretty well for ongoing work. You can manage a project in Asana, but it takes a little more work on your part to do so.
The best way to explain it is with an analogy. Think of Asana any kanban app as a deck of cards. Now think of a project management app as a board game. Board games have with rules, and the game is usually the most fun when you play it as it was designed to be played. With a deck of cards, however, you can play a game someone else invented or you can make up your own game. Before you play cards, you have to make sure everyone at the table knows the rules and plays by the same rules, because they aren't written down on a handy sheet of paper for you all to follow.
The same thing happens when you start using a task management app. You have to spend a lot of time figuring out how you're going to use it. On the one hand, it's very flexible. On the other hand, it can take considerable trial and error to get it right. That's not to imply that project management systems are inflexible.
With a board game, you could certainly make up your own rules or create variations on the rules. But you buy a board game with an understanding that it works best when you use it for its intended purposes. You use a project management app with the understanding that you are going to manage projects by assigning tasks and deadlines, monitoring work, tracking billable hours, and so forth.
Many small businesses turn to project management software because they're overwhelmed by working in email.
Do I really need project management software?
The right project management platform can help kill email , but know that it won't happen overnight. It takes time for employees to learn the software, and for your organization to figure out how best to use it for the projects you have. Small business and enterprises have very different needs, however, and it's important to find the project management tool that best fits your business. One tip-off as to whether a project management solution is better suited for small companies or large enterprises is how they charge.
Project management platforms that can support enterprises typically have a per-user-per-month fee structure, while those that cater more to very small businesses often charge a flat monthly rate for a set number of licenses or for unlimited licenses. And it's not that a very small business can't or shouldn't use the same software that the big players use, but sometimes it's overkill, and who wants to get stuck paying for features they don't need?
Another differentiating factor is whether the project management platform has many permissions levels. For instance, these services can have different permissions levels for executives, portfolio managers, project managers, and team members. Having such hierarchical roles can ensure that each person in the organization has the right level of access.
In a very small business, where each employee wears a lot of different hats, permission levels might not be as advantageous.
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There are other differences, too, aspects you'll want to consider for your particular business, team structure, and style of working. The summaries below will guide you toward finding the right service for your organization. When you're ready to get the full story on a particular service, click through to read an in-depth review. We review far more project management software than we can fit into a story like this. Plenty of well-known services, including the very popular Basecamp , Microsoft Project , and Workfront are not currently in our list.
There's only room for the 10 best here, and those services and others simply don't make the cut. Rest assured, however, that we update this story frequently, and the rankings change as the services themselves do. If you're looking for service that's not in this story, please visit our project management product guide , which includes more services than can fit in this story.
Pros: Rich communication features. Generally easy to set up and use. Great value. Deep configuration options. Time-management tools let you clock multiple tasks at once. Cons: Resource data displayed in an unusual way. Not ideal for large teams. Pros: Rich tracking and resource management. Unique dynamic features. Drag-and-drop simplicity. Responsive site. Cons: Expensive. Time-intensive to learn. Interface design could use a refresh. No invoicing or billing included. Pros: Simple and intuitive design.
For Mac – Project Plan
Optional kanban boards. Integrated calendar. Free account available. Great customization options. Cons: No PDF or image markup tools. Gantt charts slightly cramped. Pros: Includes billable hours, income projection, and resource management tools. Ample reports. Useful task timer. Cons: Cannot view or mark up attachments in app. No free version. Pros: Comprehensive work management and project management PM platform.
Includes chat app. Easy to navigate. Quick setup. Open APIs.
Cons: Not particularly fast, slick, or responsive. Pros: Well designed interface focused on Gantt charts. Custom fields for tasks.
Kanban board view. Critical path feature and baselines. Saved history for undos. Permission levels. Cons: No reporting tools, in-app timer, or customizable dashboards. Light on integrations. It lacks the reports, timers, customizable dashboards, and other tools found in more mature services, however. Pros: Clear interface. Quick and easy setup. Nice balance of features and simplicity. Competitively priced. Cons: Lacks budgeting tools. No recurring option for tasks.
Occasional interface annoyances. Pros: Free. Open source. Includes time estimates, dependencies, Gantt charts, project wikis. Cons: Requires self-installation and maintenance. Support limited to community docs. Pros: Intuitive, easy way to get into Gantt charts. Exceptional tutorial content. Reasonable price.
Project Management for Mac: The 5 Best Tools of 12222
Cons: Doesn't update in real time. Lacks in-app notifications. Limited integration options for third-party tools. Pros: Easy and quick setup. Intuitive to use. Tidy interface. Great feature set. Can be used to manage projects or ongoing work. Cons: Most valuable features limited to Business-grade accounts. Timer difficult to find. Jill Duffy is a contributing editor, specializing in productivity apps, as well as health and fitness technology. She writes the weekly Get Organized column, with tips on keeping your digital life tidy and tidying up your real life using technology.
OmniPlan can automatically optimize your resources and tasks throughout the project to help finish on time. Maximize resource efficiency by allowing OmniPlan to split individual tasks when leveling. Highlight the important tasks that have a direct influence on the finish date of your project. Share your project in a variety of formats: plain text, iCal, images, and more.
Set multiple baselines—snapshots, if you will—for each project, then reference them later to track progress. A brand new way to visualize the flow and dependencies of your project. Zoom in. Zoom out. Pro OmniPlan Pro 3 offers advanced tools wrapped up in a complete, start-to-finish project management app. Share you project in a variety of formats: plain text, iCal, images, and more. Know precisely what changed and by whom. Enable Change Tracking to approve or deny changes from others. Use our vast AppleScript library to automate all sorts of things in your Plan.
Set a Baseline and track progress. Run hundreds of simulations with a click. OmniPlan predicts the likelihood of hitting milestones on time. Put together a hub for the projects you choose. Multi-Project Dashboard focuses on Resource Load and easy-to-understand visuals. Publish a report on save. Share with a team. And so much more. Pro features are an In-App Purchase. Standard and Pro features are In-App Purchases.
World-class phone and email support.