The Modern Marketer’s Toolbox: Project Management Tools

Project managers seem to have super powers. They predict project outcomes and always seem aware of exactly what’s happening for multiple team members and projects. We’re amazed every day by how much our PM knows and how much she does to propel our agency forward and serve clients thoughtfully. This is because PMs are incredibly organized, detail-oriented, communicative, and quick-thinking. These qualities are even more beneficial when paired with the right tools. We’ve gathered a list of project management software and other useful tools to work in tandem with PM software, to help your project manager do what he or she does best. In addition to outlining key product features and differentiators, we included pricing information so you can compare tools to your budget. Please note these prices are subject to change.

Project Management Tools and Software

1. Accelo

This cloud-based PM tool is a dream for project managers who want a do-it-all tool. Real-time scheduling, project budget management, and collaboration features bring Accelo to the top of the list of quality PM tools to consider. Build project structure by simply dragging and dropping Gantt charts, schedule your team and assign project roles, track projects, tasks, and time, so you can manage deliverables and employee focus. Collaborate with your team and clients and submit expenses and run invoices directly through Accelo. A Plus plan starts at $16 per user per month (billed annually), and includes project management, time billing and invoicing, client database and email tracking, tasks, notes, and attachments, clients portal, and client signoffs and approvals. A Premium plan starts at $34 per user per month (billed annually) and includes the Plus plan benefits, plus unlimited custom projects types, customized business processes, and automated triggers and notifications.

2. Active Collab

Active Collab is a simple and useful tool for internal teams. Organize tasks with to-do lists, collaborate with your team, and bill clients accurately. Each user gets their own dashboard with individual tasks and updates. PMs can filter tasks based on team members, dates, or other labels. Users can set a timer for tasks and log project time, then PMs can run time tracking reports revealing billable hours and revenue. Since workflow is one of the largest and most important undertakings of a PM, you can plan and choose to view your workflow in a simple list, Gantt-like timeline, or a grouping of cards and columns. Use the cloud version or install Active Collab on your own server. Teams can collaborate and view deadlines on a group calendar and tag relevant users in discussions or writing. Pricing is determined by how many members you have and how much space you want. Plans start at five members and 5GB space for $25 per month all the way up to unlimited members and 500GB of space for $299 per month.

3. Asana

Asana has a wealth of features and integrations that make this tool a contender when choosing a PM solution for your team. Asana helps you create and assign tasks and due dates, organize those tasks into projects, customize and organize workflows and project structure, upload files to tasks or conversations, and comment directly on tasks, projects, and team pages. Choose to view information by six different methods including task to-do lists, email updates, search, customizable dashboards, task calendars, and a gallery of files. Project managers can assign tasks and collaborate with vendors or partners. Asana integrates with other useful PM tools, including Dropbox, Slack, Chrome, Okta, Github, and Google Drive. Asana is free for teams up to 15 people and includes basic dashboards and unlimited tasks, projects, and conversations. Asana Premium is $8.33 per user per month and has extra features including unlimited dashboards and guests, private projects, support, and data export.

4. Basecamp

Basecamp is our trusted project management tool at Olive & Company and has served us well for years. We appreciate its simple layout to keep tabs on our wealth of projects, streamlined commenting so we never miss a beat, clear client/internal task and message board distinction so we can keep internal conversations private and ensure clients get the information they need, file management for easy organization, upload, and download, and automated emails filled with recaps and to-dos. Basecamp’s advanced search feature, based on keyword, user, images, etc., helps users find what they’re looking for. PMs always know what their team members are up to with a holistic view of the latest Basecamp activity and activity tracking reports. Internal teams pay $29 per month and client-facing teams pay $79 per month for Basecamp, no matter how many users there are. An Enterprise plan is available if you’d like extra features, such as more storage, service, and a personal account manager for $3,000 per year.

5. Function Point

Function Point was designed for small, medium, and large creative agencies, studios, and internal marketing teams. They had owners, new business, traffic, accounting, client services, and creative in mind when building the software, so this tool is effective for everyone. Function Point is unique because it includes CRM tools, a client portal to send briefs, and project estimate templates—early project stages many PM tools omit. The tool spans the rest of the project lifecycle by providing tools for streamlining schedules and time tracking during the middle of a project and invoicing and reporting at the close of a project. Function Point pricing is based on agency size: a small agency plan is $34 per user per month, a medium agency plan is $21 per user per month, and a large agency plan is $17 per user per month.

6. Gmail, Google Calendar, Hangouts

Google programs work seamlessly together to optimize your email, calendar, and live chat experience. Events mentioned in an email are automatically added to your calendar and chat conversations appear in your email window. Not only do these tools work with each other, they integrate with many PM tools, due to their popularity. When you add a task or have a conversation in a PM tool, it’ll automatically appear in Google, and vise-versa, ensuring you never miss a deadline or to-do. A useful Calendar feature is the tasks tool, where you can create tasks above your calendar, and check them off as you go. This is handy for marketers to track their to-do lists on top of their daily meetings and events. Hangouts can be used as a text or video chat tool for conference calls or client meetings. Google also offers impeccably designed mobile apps for each tool so you can view messages and events on-the-go.

7. Google Docs, Drive, Sheets, and Slides

Many PM tools integrate with this cloud-based suite so you can easily and quickly upload your information to whichever project, task, or comment thread you’re working on. Through Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets you can collaborate on project deliverables including project briefs, content, slide shows, and budget spreadsheets. Organize it all within Google Drive. These tools are online-based, so you can edit and save them from anywhere you have internet access. You can also view documents offline, when you’re on-the-go or without an internet source. Work is automatically saved, so you never lose your important work. These tools are also key for collaboration. You can track changes and revert back to an older version of a document. A key feature is suggested edits, so colleagues or clients can view the adjustments you made and choose to accept or decline them. Not only can you share individual documents, but entire folders. This keeps project work in one place, which is essential when multiple teams collaborate.

8. Mavenlink

Mavenlink is cloud-based software that helps with not only project management, but project accounting, resource management, business intelligence, and team collaboration. Visualize project timelines using Gantt charts and see changes based on tasks and deliverables in real-time. Track and approve time, manage budgets, and invoice your clients. A key feature of Mavenlink is resource ability prediction. Forecast how your team will be allocated and see projected revenue before projects even begin. With this feature you can plan out projects down to the detail from the very beginning, building room for unexpected changes. Data insights help you make decisions to improve your workflow management every time a project ends and a new one begins. Mavenlink is perfect for collaboration with their mobile app and Chrome extension, so you can communicate from anywhere. A Teams plan for collaborative task management starts at $19 per month for five users, a Professional plan for project management with financials starts at $29 per user per month, and Mavenlink also offers Premier accounts for creative and professional services automation and Enterprise accounts for advanced services, automation, and insights, but you have to contact Mavenlink for pricing on those options.

9. ProWorkflow

 

ProWorkflow is the ultimate time tracking tool. You can start a timer to track your time or add time in manually. Input each project, assign team members, dictate categories and hours, and run reports. We use this software in addition to Basecamp to ensure we’re staying on scope for each project. ProWorkflow also has additional features that help with other project management tasks. Manage staff and client contacts, brand ProWorkflow to match your business, complete software training, upload and share files with your team, message colleagues, and manage quoting through an optional plugin. A Solo plan, ideal for freelancers or solo users, starts at $10 per user per month, and includes 10 active projects and 5GB of file storage. A Professional plan, their most popular plan, starts at $20 per user per month, and includes unlimited projects and 25GB of file storage. An Advanced plan, ideal for multiple projects or groups, perfect for enterprise, starts at $30 per user per month, includes unlimited projects and 50GB of file storage.

10. Slack

This tool fulfills a simple need for teams. Slack is a messaging app used by us and high-profile companies including NASA, CNN, LinkedIn, and BuzzFeed. Label and organize your conversations into channels. Add multiple team members to conversations or chat directly with individuals. You can create open conversations that all team members can view and join or create private conversations to share information with select individuals. Easily share your PDF, image, and document files using a simple drag and drop method. Slack is searchable, so you can quickly find files or chat details, whether they’re within live or archived conversations. Get Slack on your desktop, mobile phone, or tablet, and customize your notification settings, so you can converse when and where you want. Slack is free for teams of all sizes for 5 GB of storage, up to 10K searchable messages, and 10 apps or integrations. If you’d like to add on priority support, unlimited searching, and group calling features, you can purchase their Standard plan at $6.67 per user per month. For 24/7 support, 20 GB file storage per team member, and more premium features, you can purchase their Plus plan for $12.50 per user per month.

11. Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects is newer software, but it’s on the rise and used by high-profile companies including Spotify, PayPal, Honda, Forbes, and Pepsi. This project management software was created so teams could work collaboratively in real-time, using software that wasn’t too simple or complex. Organize projects, message clients and team members, view tasks and project activity, and track your time, all through a beautiful, easy-to-navigate interface. While this app is available on Google Chrome or the web, you can also take it to-go with iPhone, iPad, and Android apps. Teamwork Projects integrates with popular apps including Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, and Calendars, Xero, and InVision. Six pricing tiers mean you’ll likely find an option to suit your needs. The plans start at $12 per month for five projects and 1 GB of space and go all the way up to $249 per month for 500 projects and 400 GB of space.

12. TextWrangler

This text editor helps you keep track of your important files and access them offline. TextWrangler produces plain text files, a common readable file type that you can open on Mac, Unix, and DOS-line ending formats. This avoids losing work or dealing with incompatible file types. TextWrangler is free and quick to download. Features include text searching, finding and merging the differences between two files, spell checking, line sorting, multiple editing windows, and unlimited undos.

13. Trello

Trello started as a simple list-building app and has grown to become a valuable resource for business teams. At its core, Trello is still the the natural choice if you’re looking for a list organization tool, and it’s perfect to use in tandem with other PM software. Trello is organized into boards that look much like Pinterest boards. Within each board you can create lists that are made up of individual cards. You can label each element, so it’s clear how each card and list fits within a board. Cards can be dragged and dropped between lists. Team members can collaborate on each card and see a full list of activity from their colleagues. Assign due dates, so your team can stay on task, and build checklists, so everyone’s aware of the jobs that need to get done. Trello is free to download in the App store or Google Play or to access on the web. It also integrates with Slack. If you’re looking for more integrations like Dropbox and Salesforce, or if you need advanced administrative tools, such as data export and adjustable privacy settings, you can get Business Class, which starts at $8.33 per user per month.

14. Workamajig

While this PM software has a wealth of useful tools, the one that stands above the rest is the digital proofing feature. When sending creative work to clients, there’s usually one or more rounds of revisions that need to be communicated from client to project manager to creatives. Workamajig streamlines this process by storing proofs within Workamajig, sending reminder emails when deadlines loom, and making it simple for clients clients to request changes, make notes, and approve work. Of course, Workamajig has more features that make it a contender for a main PM tool. Revenue projection and reports help owners and PMs plan for the future, file sharing makes working with contractors, clients, or remote team members a breeze, project change orders ensure adjustments in scope trickle down to those who need the information as quickly as possible, and resource management helps PMs confirm the job can get done. Workamajig doesn’t post their pricing online, but you can request a demo to find out if this tool is right for your organization and then request cost information.

15. Workfront

Workfront is unique because, in addition to PM software, they offer a wealth of resources (e.g., reports, ebooks, and templates) and events to keep their users at the forefront of marketing and project management, and using the software to the height of its ability. Workfront designed a solution for marketing teams (they also have solutions for IT, service, and everyone else) so it fulfills needs specific to marketers. Requests for work flow directly into the software, time-saving templates let you repeat setup for similar projects, work management keeps your projects, individual jobs, and tasks in line, notifications keep everyone up to date, recognition boosts morale, time tracking keeps each project on task. Workfront offers a handy chart outlining their Standard, Select, and Premium services online, but you’ll have to fill out a form to request pricing.

Bonus: The Notebook

While implementing a PM technology solution has clear benefits including automation, integrations, and collaboration, there’s something to be said for the plain old notebook. Our PM stands by its success. Starting with a blank slate, you can organize your information however you see fit. Notebooks are portable and personal. You can have one or as many as you’d like and they come in a variety of styles and prices. We recommend owning one of these handy tools in addition to your PM software solutions of choice.

Katie Yohn

Katie Yohn

Forever a student of marketing and the written word, Katie is always on the lookout for new ways to connect with audiences. She enjoys learning about emerging trends and sharing what she's learned. She also has an affinity for alliteration.