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Project Management & Task Management Software Buying Guide

By
Kayla Harrison
,
business.com writer
| Updated
Jan 11, 2019
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Project Management & Task Management Software

Project management software is a major help in facilitating the workflow of any team, whether it's a tight-knit startup crew or a sprawling, disparate corporate project with many teams working in concert with one another. Tasks can be assigned or reassigned as needed, and deadlines can be meted out and monitored easily from one central location. 

The best project management software automates workflows so when one component of a project is complete, other relevant parties are notified and new tasks are assigned. Here is a look at this software and some of the best project management software applications. 

Project management software comes in three tiers, according to Workzone. The first tier deals with simple task management for a small team, usually around 15 or fewer users. This type of software is easier to use but lacks complex features. The second tier is better for larger teams and allows the project manager to keep track of how the tasks are getting done and how they are impacting the overall goals of the team. This tool allows you to track all of your concurrent projects. 

The third is suited for large-scale companies that comprise multiple large teams. The software designed for this tier not only tracks projects and tasks, but it can be expanded with additional features to suit the organization's workflows. This tier takes more time to learn, and the costs of implementation are higher as well.

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State of the Industry

In 2015, the size of the project management software industry was estimated at $2.54 billion, and the industry is projected to grow at a fast pace. Factors driving the industry's growth are the expanding adoption of cloud-based services, plus the continued automation and digitization of businesses across all industries. Small and medium-sized companies contribute the major source of revenue for these companies. 

The most prominent project management companies include HP, Microsoft, Oracle and Workfront Inc. The market is dominated by a small number of big businesses focused on acquiring or forming new companies, making the field highly competitive.

Negotiation

The first step in choosing project management software is to determine whether cloud-based software or installed software is best for your organization. From there, listing your specific needs and determining which vendor aligns best with those priorities allows you to discern which software has the structure and features that will best suit your business. Don't overpay for project management features you might not need. 

Once you've established your needs, create a list of companies that are in your price range and offer the features you most need. Investigate each one so you can compare services, prices and the level of support you can expect. 

Make sure each provider shows you in writing what you can expect from them so you understand exactly what you will be paying for. As always, never sign anything unless you're truly prepared to move forward and you fully understand the terms, subscription period, costs and services provided.

Pricing

Editor's note: Looking for the right project management solution for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

How Much Does Project Management Software Cost?

So how much can you expect to pay for a project management solution, and how are you billed for this software? 

Essentially, costs will vary from company to company, depending on the depth and breadth of each solution. The good news is that many vendors have a trial period so you (and your team) can test the software for a limited time to evaluate whether the solution is a good fit for your organization. Project management software is paid for in one of the following ways: a monthly or annual subscription, or a one-time cost for locally hosted solutions. 

Monthly and annual subscriptions

Monthly subscriptions for cloud-based software vary greatly both in price and features. Depending on your company's size, you can expect to pay different amounts. Many solutions charge a per-month, per-user cost, while others are simply a flat monthly fee. Often, you can get a discount by signing up for an annual subscription.

According to Capterra, small business project management software averages $45 per month, midsize companies can expect to pay around $130 per month, and enterprises can expect an average cost of roughly $200 per month. These figures are averages; your costs, depending on your company size, employees and features, may be lower or higher than these averages.

Annual subscription costs vary depending on how many users you have and gross revenue managed. For some software applications, you can expect to pay $65 per user, per year, while for other software solutions, you can pay upward of $700 per million of gross avenue managed.

One-time costs

There are some software solutions where you pay a one-time fee and then own the software permanently. While the pricing for these types of applications is straightforward, sometimes there are additional service or maintenance fees you pay annually.

Check with the provider prior to buying the software to identify any additional costs. (Do they charge for priority support? Is there an annual maintenance fee?) Installation costs range from $600 to $10,000, according to Capterra, with the average price being $4,600.

Common Project Management and Task Management Software Questions & Answers

Have a project management or task management software question of your own?
Ask an Expert

What is the best project management software for the money?

18 responses
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Basecamp with pricing starting at just $25/month has become arguably the world’s #1 project management tool. It’s famously easy-to-use, reliable, and works well for most users. I'm told that last year alone, Basecamp helped over 350,000 companies work on more than 4,000,000 projects. This is an impressive record. If you don't have an extra $25/month, I can recommend Wrike. https://www.wrike.com/ It is for small teams who need basic task management with limited planning and reporting. It...

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Given your requirements for the best free project management app for Google apps and iOS, I recommend Pivotal Tracker. If you remove the "free" restriction, I would suggest Basecamp. You might also want to take a look at Wrike. Each vendor has their own style and one may suit your needs better than the other. Pivotal Tracker: An agile project management and collaboration by Pivotal Labs. Tracker is designed specifically to support software development teams. Tracker is free for individuals,...

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Hi Neil, Having been around the block with a few tools now, ranging from simple to the decked out features version, I would highly recommend Wunderlist (wunderlist.com): 1. A very simple online and/or app interface to list ideas 2. The list can be shared with a team 3. Users can 'star' their favorite ideas This is great for the ideation stage only but extremely simple and effective. To clarify, I have no affiliation with Wunderlist other than being a rabid fan of its simplicity and...

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Wunderlist - while it looks like a task list on steroids, it's much much more productive than any other project management tool I've used. As a retired organizing expert I've tried all the ones listed, I kept coming back to Wunderlist. You can create folders for projects, sub-tasks within an item, attach files (image, doc, voice), have conversations with team members in each task, assign due dates / reminders, and access it from all devices (desktop, mobile, iOS, Android ... all this in the...

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Krista, as a former technology PM I can tell you that it depends. First and foremost is project management is a "responsibility" not a role. You can give the responsibility to anyone on the team. Just make sure that you clearly delegate that responsibility. What is more important at this stage is really understanding the goal of the project and what you want your desired outcome to be. Then make sure everything that everyone on the project is working on is moving toward that outcome. ...

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Your to do list should comprise your most important things of the day at the top. Emails could be done before or after lunch and no more than thirty (30) minutes. Things that don't need your direct attention should be delegated to specific persons. Emergencies... should always be taken care of with personnel that can take over when the fire is out. Evernote, Wunderlist, & Asana are some helpers to make life easier and sync your day. Cheers, Jack Arnold Group, LLC

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