Imagine this scenario: You're juggling so many tasks and deadlines you feel like a circus pro. You're trying to keep your team on track, but it feels more like herding cats. It's enough to make you wish for a magic wand.
While we can't promise you a wand, we have something even better: project management apps. These digital platforms are here to save the day (and help you herd those cats).
In this guide, we'll reveal the power of project management apps and the top contenders for 2023. Get ready to:
- Learn how powerful project management apps are
- Discover the benefits of using online project management tools
- Understand the essential features to look for
- Review the top 7 project management software options for 2023
- Find out how to effectively use online project management software
Let's get started.
What is a project management app?
Project management is hard. That’s why there are tons of methods, schools, courses, gurus and tools out there to help make the process easier. One of these tools is project management software which, if used correctly, can simplify the whole process and save you time, money, and tears.
Project management apps have emerged as digital tools to help you manage and plan most aspects of a project. How do they do this? They provide you with features to track tasks, measure progress, and tools that visualize data at a glance. They work well for simple to complex projects and are applicable in a wide range of industries.
Most of the project management apps are accessible via a web browser, which makes them easily accessible from any device. Some also offer standalone desktop and mobile apps.
Many project management apps offer free options, which usually come with limited features. Paid premium plans, on the other hand, unlock key features, like automation and project templates.
Benefits of using project management apps
In the image below you can see the most common benefits of using project management apps.
While there are quite a few pain points that project management apps can solve, let's dive a bit deeper into some of the most important.
The primary benefit is that most of the apps are aligned with project management best practices (or frameworks). The better ones can host multiple methods or frameworks since some businesses use different project frameworks depending on the projects (or a hybrid approach).
Another important benefit of project management apps is that they simplify, even automate, workflows. Once you break down projects into smaller, manageable tasks, the apps can take over and move the work along for you.
Project management apps also tend to offer dashboards and reporting that summarize project data in an easy-to-digest, visual manner.
Finally, some project management apps can automate manual work. The apps (like Motion) do this using AI or algorithms that analyze project data and do myriad of work accordingly.
Must-have features for project management apps
To better understand how common project management app features can help small businesses, let's run with an example.
Sarah is the owner of a boutique marketing agency that handles multiple client projects. She's often overwhelmed with tasks and struggles to keep her team organized (while meeting obligations). Then she started using a project management app.
Sarah first uses it to help her with task management. With the app, she can create unlimited tasks, assign them to team members, and track their progress. She sets deadlines, assigns priorities, and attaches relevant documents (or information) to each task. Now, everyone on the team knows what tasks to focus on, and Sarah can track the work in real time.
Sarah's team works remotely, making communication a challenge. However, with the app, they can easily communicate through team messaging, file sharing, and commenting. Sarah and her team can discuss project details, share ideas, and provide feedback, all within the project management app.
As a small business owner, Sarah needs to optimize her team's performance so that they remain efficient. She can allocate resources, schedule tasks, and plan capacities effectively with the app. She also uses the app's dashboard to keep track of resource usage, which helps her with forecasting and adjustments when needed.
Project planning and tracking
Sarah loves the visual project planning tools the project management app offers. She can create Kanban boards, charts, or timelines to visualize the project plan, which helps her spot any issues, make adjustments, and keep her team on track. Additionally, she can easily set up task dependencies and milestones to help her deliver projects on time.
With the project management app's analytical capabilities, Sarah and her team have access to valuable insights that help them optimize their work. They can monitor project health, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions without much research.
7 best project management apps for 2023
Let’s take a look at the seven best project management apps for 2023.
Motion stands out among project management apps with its impressive AI-backed approach.
With Motion's AI task manager, you can wave goodbye to manual planning and coordination. Motion automates a lot of the manual work involved in project management. Its intuitive interface makes it effortless to navigate and use, making for an easy learning curve. Motion also has robust project visualization features like a Kanban board, calendar view, list view, and timelines. Motion is popular with many industries, from freelancers to big corporate businesses, because of its productivity-boosting features like time blocking and resource optimization.
ClickUp is easy to use and has many features to keep you organized and on track.
One of ClickUp's key strengths is its customizable task management system. You can create tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates, track time, and track progress effortlessly. ClickUp also offers visual online project management tools like a Kanban board, Gantt chart, calendar view, and more.
monday.com is a versatile and user-friendly project management app.
monday.com has tons of different types of tools to organize your tasks. You can choose from lists, timelines, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and customizable options. And monday.com can automate tasks, like sending reminders or updating statuses. monday.com can also integrate with other apps, like your calendar or email.
Trello is a popular (Kanban-inspired) project management app.
You can create Kanban boards for different projects (or teams) with Trello. Each board is like a workspace where you can add lists and cards. Cards represent individual tasks or ideas, while lists help you categorize and track a workflow. You can also add comments, attachments, and checklists to the cards. You can easily drag and drop cards across lists. The visualization in Trello helps teams easily understand project status.
Asana is a great project management app for team coordination and task tracking.
Asana offers different project views like lists, boards, and calendars. These visual options let teams customize their workspace and easily see tasks, deadlines, and progress. Asana also has a user-friendly customer experience (CX), which makes for quick adoption. Asana also integrates with popular apps and tools, like Slack and Google Drive.
Basecamp is one of the “OG” project manager apps with a range of useful tools that make teamwork easier.
One of the standout features of Basecamp is its project hub. The hub is where all project-related information, tasks, discussions, and files are kept for simple access. Basecamp is also easy to adopt, letting teams hit the road relatively fast. It uses a simple to-do list type task tracking feature which doesn’t require too much technical knowledge to use as it is super intuitive.
GanttPRO is a project management app designed to simplify project management and boost productivity.
A standout feature of GanttPRO is the interactive Gantt chart, which lets teams easily plan tasks and track progress. The Gantt chart helps teams understand project timelines, track progress, and identify bottlenecks. GanttPRO also has teamwork and communication functionality, for teams to share files, leave comments, and discuss within the app.
Tip for using Motion effectively
Now, let’s see how you can use Motion as your go-to project management app.
To start managing tasks in Motion, simply create new tasks, assign them to team members, and set deadlines.
Motion's intelligent AI system takes over from there. It analyzes project requirements and team capacity to optimize task allocation and schedules automatically.
You can also set project dependencies within the app, which Motion will automatically track. This means that if task B is dependent on task A, then Motion will arrange your schedule accordingly. Even if you move task A to another date, it'll then move task B to a later date for you (automatically).
Collaboration is paramount for successful projects.
With Motion, you can have focused discussions about tasks within the app. The discussions are accessible to the entire team, which encourages ideas and feedback.
Motion also has an AI meeting assistant, which can schedule meetings (like retrospectives) for you and the team. And because it can integrate with most calendar apps, it’ll find the best meeting time for everyone.
Speaking of your team, Motion can help you manage resources effortlessly.
Motion's scheduling feature helps you plan and organize resources, so you know who is working on what (and when). It prevents conflicts and makes sure that everyone on the team has the right amount of work based on capacity.
Project planning and Kanban boards
With Motion you can create timelines, set dependencies between tasks, and mark important milestones. Motion can also notify you (and the team) about updates or changes, which is helpful for effective change management.
You and your team can also visually track and manage projects with Motion's Kanban board. This includes moving tasks across different stages so that you can easily prioritize work. To rearrange tasks, all you have to do is drag and drop cards into the desired column (phase). Motion will then update everyone tagged in that card on the change in status (and it'll automatically move any dependencies along with it).
Get started with Motion today
The positive impact of project management software tools on businesses is clear. According to this survey, two-thirds of respondents reported that project management software positively impacted delivery times.
Take the first step towards streamlining your project management by using Motion. The best part is, you don’t have to be a project manager to use it (but can reap the same rewards).
If you are working with teams, make sure to try Motion’s team/premium plan, which allows you to add unlimited users for only $19 a month. Or, if you are working solo, you can use the solo package at $14, which has the same features as the team/premium plan (but limits access to 4 users).
Join the Motion revolution and sign up for your 7-day free trial.