What is the best project management software?

What’s the best project management software?

Ah. As the saying goes, If only I had a dollar…

The answer is clear cut. Well, that is as long as the questioner is clear about a few things.

  1. What do they want to do with it?
  2. Why they want it? Hard skills like scheduling, tracking and resource levelling or softer skills of collaboration and communication?
  3. When does it have to be operating?
  4. Who has to use it?
  5. What output do they want?
  6. How many people have to use it?
  7. Does it have to be free?
  8. What’s the organisation’s IT policy on software products?
  9. What’s the organisations IT policy on distributed v centralised computing and cloud v in-house data storage?
  10. Does the organisation already provide project management software?
  11. Do they want an established brand?
  12. Do they want the software to help do the project management or to help manage the project?

This last question usually sets us off on a longer conversation which is commonly deferred to a scheduled time. But, as I often say, if you’re not clear about the answers then pretty much any of the, literally, thousands out there will be OK. Until they’re not.

More often than not, during a longer conversation, we arrive at a suggestion which meets their needs, budget and implementation tolerance.

But since I don’t know from which angle you the reader are coming, here is my attempt to provide an answer I hope will be helpful.

I qualify my input with the rider ‘there are so many tools out there no one person can know them all so the answers I give relate only to the ones I do know’.

As a starting point, I refer people to Capterra I’ve repeatedly found Capterra to be informative, useful and comprehensive. It’s my ‘go-to’ starting spot when a client wants to really get into the conversation and intentionally choose the best software for them.

If they push and ask me for the ‘broad brush’ or ‘high level’ view I answer as follows.

If you’re looking for traditional software, used for a long time and broadly accepted as a project industry standard then Microsoft Project is as good as any.

If you’re looking for one of the newer, but well established, systems based on collaboration and issue management then I’d look at Jira, Basecamp, Timecamp, or Wrike.

They’re all good and each has strengths.

If you’re looking to be on the leading edge then the choices are endless. I have some favourites I’m working with and exploring but none, yet, at the stage where I’m happy to mention them here. I will when I am.

Again the rider; this is very high level and, in no way suggests or endorses any product from any company for your circumstances. And I refer them to the start of the conversation.

One thing is clear, there is no perfect project management software product. It seems to me as though each designer looks at projects a bit like the blind men look at the elephant. They each see something different and build to solve their problem.

It’s interesting to watch and fascinating to see evolve.

The world is still searching.

What’s your favourite PM software tool? And how do you answer the question?

Neither I nor RNC has any commercial relationship with any product or organisation mentioned in this article.