The 5 Best Project Management Software: Does Your Company Need a Custom Solution?

According to Project Management Institute, by 2020 about 15.7 million new PM roles will be added worldwide within such busy industries, as Business Services, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Finance & Insurance, Utilities, Information Services and Construction. The estimated economic impact between 2010 and 2020 will reach more than $18 trillion across these project-oriented industries. While as all these employees will face the need of using a PM tool, so as to effectually manage their tasks, timelines, teams, and products.

For any team a streamlined work, efficient collaboration and transparent communication are essential. Currently there is a growing awareness of these components’ relevancy, stems from the fact that more and more companies turn to freelancers, hire teleworkers and subcontractors, apply to outsourcing and outstaffing business models. 

These days the choice lies between numerous online project management platforms. Here’s what to consider while assessing various options:

  • The size and scope of your projects
  • The average team size
  • Necessity of mobile access
  • Budget

Why business owners opt for project management tools?

Grow out of old methods: According to recent research around 60% of prospects are employing manual methods (like emails, spreadsheets, paper and pen), non-PM tools (including Google apps or Microsoft Office management packages) or nothing at all to track tasks. In long run business owners start looking for more advanced solutions or give the nod for custom project management software. 

Upgrade: In 64% of cases business owners see PM platforms as a method for enhancing workflow and organization efficiency.  While 40% use project management apps to improve tracking and reporting. Without a central working environment, transparent communication, and well-established teamwork quality is affected.

Distributed business models: Nowadays more and more companies rely upon freelancers, contract workers, and remote teams. According to the latest report businesses opt for outsourcing to cut costs (59%), to better focus on core business (57%), to resolve capacity problems (47%) and improve service quality (31%). PM software helps to manage the workflow, connect with teams, and ensure smooth connectivity to everyone, despite the geographical location.

While choosing the best project management solution for startup or well-established business, pay special attention to software features. PM tools should help to streamline business processes, involve limited resources effectively, and make each project successful.  Moreover, they should be user-friendly and responsive, to seamlessly blend into workflows and get them up and running asap.

Project management platform in business strategy

The top features your management software should include:

  • Time tracking helps managers keep tabs on costs and deadlines, oversee how much time teammates are sparing to every task, and give more accurate budget and time estimates;
  • Budgeting option makes price estimation much easier and more accurate. It mainly allows for time and cost, cross charging, various rates and currencies, expenses and auto calculation for current and re-estimated costs.
  • Real-time file sharing can be embedded in the cloud or local server. This feature makes it possible to upload, store and share docs with relevant groups or members, manage different versions, and trace changes.
  • Task or issue monitoring is among the top features for any project software. It allows managers to define, oversee, and assign tasks, set and monitor deadlines, the same as make time estimates for every activity.
  • Email integration can considerably enhance collaboration within projects. It obviates the need to switch back and forth between different platforms while working on a project. With this helpful function users can track emails, revise correspondence history, get email reminders, and use different templates for prompt communication.

On top of that, there are advanced features and options that make a cloud based project management system more helpful and, on the other hand, more expensive.

A few additional services to consider:

  • Resource tracking refers to people, production units, empty rooms or any other supplies. It allows monitoring capacity and availability of each.
  • Invoicing can be highly-augmented and so it eliminates the necessity for team to track it. It is often integrated with time-tracking function.
  • Risk analysis is a sophisticated tool that keeps account of various threats, risk correlations, opportunities, and other risk probability components to make more accurate estimates of project lifecycle.
  • Miscellaneous visual charts are useful options for both planning and scheduling numerous activities. Complex visualizations allow managers to oversee team members’ engagement, track deliverables and compare estimates with actual results.

Best project management software for business

First up, it is crucially important to form an in-depth insight of your demands and goals.  Before you decide to develop a project management software for a startup or well-established company, take your time to analyze the market. Among this huge diversity of commercial and free project management software, we’d like to have a closer look at five most popular PM solutions.

Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is one of the most popular solutions on the market. With over 22 million users globally, it is utilized by giants like Airbus Group, Intel, Xerox, Gran Tierra Energy and many others. The program offers ready-to-use templates, helpful Gantt charts, comprehensive reports, various timelines, etc.

  • Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Web
  • Project Tracking: Yes
  • Sharing Files: Documents and media data
  • Extended Version: Yes

Basecamp

Basecamp is among the oldest and rightly regarded as one of the easiest-to-use PPM solutions available. Numerous add-ons, mobile integration and great emphasis on usability – this is to begin with. Beyond that its latest version makes it possible to send direct messages, get clear reports, discuss projects and suggestions on message boards, manage projects with client in a separate screen, and others.

  • Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Web
  • Project Tracking: Yes
  • Sharing Files: Documents and media data
  • Extended Version: Yes

Asana

Asana is widely recognized for its scalability and that is one of the reasons why it is used by both small companies and huge corporations.  It is employed by NASA, Dropbox, Airbnb, Samsung and many others. The platform places strong emphasis on tracking and, what is more, it allows managers to design lists and reminders, add comments and instructions to tasks, share feedbacks, communicate with team members through built-in chat system, and much more.  

  • Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Web
  • Project Tracking: Yes
  • Sharing Files: Documents and media data
  • Extended Version: Yes

Trello

Trello is one of the most obvious project management apps on the market, due to its straightforward card-based design, similar to Kanban board. Among its customers are Google, Pixar, Adobe, PayPal, Kickstarter and some others. This application allows managers to assign tasks, build to-do lists, add comments, get custom workflows, etc.

  • Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Web
  • Project Tracking: No
  • Sharing Files: Documents and media data
  • Extended Version: Yes

JIRA

JIRA is much used for tracking bugs, sprints, and deliverables utilized by software development teams. It allows users to trace activities from start to finish, with milestone, percent complete and other functionalities. Moreover, Atlassian developers offer additional products to extend functionality, like document collaboration app, team chat, file sharing platform, and etc.

  • Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Web
  • Project Tracking: Yes
  • Sharing Files: Documents and media data
  • Extended Version: Yes

Custom project management software

Create a web based project management app: what are the advantages of custom solution?

Off-the-shelf solution cannot be described as universal remedy and seamlessly fit all business models or policies. Companies choose to build a project management software due to multiple reasons like:

  • Specially tailored solutions to meet your business requirements, processes and security constraints;
  • Little or no learning curve, as it follows your business practices and principles;
  • Ability to start with core functionality and add features as required;
  • High compatibility with company software, necessary systems and legacy;
  • Instant quality support with unlimited options;
  • Investment in enhancements and updates are fully controlled;
  • Security;
  • Technology stack, since custom solution can be built using the most relevant programming language and platform to meet your business preferences;
  • Competitive advantage;
  • Higher responsiveness to dynamic business changes.

How to develop your own project management platform?

Project management software development cost depends on multiple factors, like development time, software size and complexity, design, necessary integrations, and others. There are several tips that can help to determine the cost of such custom solution for project management.

Understand your development flow: start with the basics like the number of stages for each task (analyze-estimate-plan-build-test-deploy) and statuses (pending-development-finished). Well matched workflow clearly shows repeatable processes that produce results, displays transparent division of responsibilities between team members, and provides an easy way to communicate tasks and processes to all company employees.

Define a set of needed features: in most cases commercial PM software lacks particular functionality you need, yet coincidently granting a bunch of functions you don’t need. This is the most common reason why business owners decide to build custom solutions. Apart from basic and advanced features, that we’ve already discussed earlier, some companies decide to add project archive section, project models’ templates for sharing and reuse, model risk analysis, better focus on GTD principles and some others.

Proceed with specifications and clear requirements: collect and texturize all the information about future software, compile a list of features, map out dependencies and interactions between system components, and produce wireframes, if possible. Describe scenarios and goals for each part and specific feature: the more detailed the description, the better understanding of the system.

Tailoring your own PPM platform may sound as a hard ball, although completing these tips is a half the battle. If any questions left or you wish us to help you with custom software development – drop us a line.

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