Project management software includes a broad spectrum of tools. Although all of them are designed to simplify collaboration, not every tool targets the same piece of the puzzle. Some might even complement each other.
To know which project management tool your team should consider, you need to understand what collaboration challenges you are experiencing. Is it work tracking? Remote collaboration? Automation? Product road mapping?
As a digital transformation partner, Modus Create has introduced various organizations to Agile collaboration. Along the way, we’ve nurtured official partnerships with some of the world’s leading project management solutions. In this post, we’ll explore five such PM tools and the specific pain points that they address.
The list is in no particular order, and you will likely find your team needs to use more than one.
If you are looking for a free, kanban-based project management tool, it’s hard to look past Trello. More than a million teams worldwide use Trello to collaborate and get work done.
What makes Trello so popular is its simplicity. It’s very intuitive, and even those who haven’t used any project/task management tool before can use Trello straight out of the box.
You can create tasks on Trello in the form of cards and assign them to different people in your team. You can set due dates, create checklist items, and communicate with your team through comments. The Kanban view gives you the flexibility to create your own workflows and get an overview of the status of each card and the team’s overall progress. This makes Trello a perfect tool for routine collaboration and helpful for both remote and on-site teams.
Kanban view in Trello
One shouldn’t confuse Trello’s simplicity with a lack of complex features. 200+ Trello integrations (or power-ups, as Trello calls them) allow you to add sophisticated features such as timeline, time tracking, and custom fields to Trello boards and connect with other popular SaaS products. Trello is a well-rounded project management tool that works well for most teams.
Atlassian’s flagship product, Jira, initially began as an issue tracking tool for software developers. It later introduced project management for non-IT teams as well. Jira has four products: Jira Work Management, Jira Software, Jira Service Management, and Jira Align. Each of these products caters to the needs of different types of teams. For example, Jira Work Management is a powerful project management software for business teams.
When it comes to features, flexibility, and customization, Jira is hard to beat. From automating workflows, creating task dependencies and custom fields to interactive dashboards, Jira is a PM tool that packs serious power. Moreover, it’s one of the few project management software available both on cloud and on-prem.
An active sprint in Jira
Jira works great for teams with experienced project managers. However, it can be slightly overwhelming if your team doesn’t have much experience with PM tools. But once you get the hang of it, Jira is one of, if not the, most comprehensive project management solutions. You can get a 30-day free trial of any Jira product and it is free for up to 10 users.
Fun fact – Jira gets its name from Gojira. Yep, that’s the original Japanese name for Godzilla.
Aha! is a unique project management tool that specializes in creating and executing product roadmaps. That’s why it’s primarily considered a product management tool. However, that’s not to say that only product managers can use it. Aha! is also popular with marketing teams that use it to collaborate on deliverables and track the ROI of their campaigns, plus other teams that need to track progress across a broader portfolio of projects.
You can create custom workflows for your team on Aha! using project templates. Its built-in resource management lets you estimate the budget and effort required to deliver a project. You can set dates, phases, and milestones to keep everyone on track using detailed Gantt charts.
A Gantt chart in Aha!
Aha! also offers plenty of visual reports and integrations, including integration with Jira and Confluence via a free add-on app. It’s not a free tool but offers a 30-day free trial. Aha! offers special discounts to startups that are in the early stages of product development.
Miro differs from other PM tools in this list because it is more geared toward synchronous than asynchronous collaboration.
Think of Miro as an online collaborative whiteboard where teams can do cross-functional work. This is especially useful for remote teams.
You can see the cursors of your teammates to track how they engage with boards in Miro. You can also share presentations directly via screen sharing and video call your teammates.
An active workshop in Miro
Miro is a powerful tool for projects that require active, hands-on collaboration, such as workshops, brainstorming, mapping, and diagramming. And yes, it does support good old Kanban workflows and task management features. It’s one of the few PM tools you can use for free with an unlimited number of team members.
Miro offers a large template library to get you started.
Fun fact: Miro is named after the Spanish artist Joan Miro, famous for his abstract style.
Confluence is different from typical project management software because although it allows you to assign and track work, it isn’t built around task management. Instead, Confluence is, at its core, a powerful, wiki-style knowledge management system with collaboration features.
This is perfect for teams that want a virtual office – a place where they can consolidate all their knowledge, processes, and feedback.
Creating a project plan on Confluence
Confluence consists of spaces that contain pages. Pages are documents where people create, edit, and discuss their work. You can collaborate in real-time on pages through comments and reactions. Various integrations extend the functionality significantly. For example, each watcher can opt to receive updates from the space in their personalized feed or notifications by email. Confluence is free for up to 10 users.
Key to Acing Asynchronous Teamwork
Many organizations are struggling with the always-on culture, zoom fatigue, and stress from remote work. Interestingly, these problems aren’t rooted in remote work but synchronous collaboration, i.e., the expectation to be available in real-time. This problem gets further amplified in teams stretched across multiple timezones.
A good project management tool is essential for asynchronous collaboration, allowing your team to move work forward with custom workflows. It also acts as a knowledge repository for your team, removing a big chunk of back-and-forth communication. Most importantly, it fosters a culture of transparency, which is at the heart of modern-day Agile methodologies.
No matter which project management tool you select, ensure that it can adapt to your processes, not the other way around. This will minimize resistance to change in your team and set them up for success.