A Comprehensive Guide to Project Management Software Solutions

The project management software industry is currently dominated by a number of key software big hitters, such as Microsoft and Oracle, and small independent companies, like Clarizen and Basecamp. This sector of the market has been holding steady in terms of demand and growth, but as companies increasingly turn to technical solutions for solving organizational and collaborative issues, this sector of the market is poised to grow.

There is a common misconception that project management software solutions are only required by IT teams and the technology industry. However, recent trends clearly show that all kinds of industries - including education, non-profits, construction, and manufacturing - are utilizing this software to tackle a number of complex project tracking and management issues. The right solution can provide individuals and teams in any setting with important tools that allow them to track the progress of a project, notice potential issues before they arise, meet deadlines, and collaborate more easily. The potential boosts in efficiency alone can lead to huge cost savings and an increased return on investment for small and large businesses alike.

Today, most businesses manage their projects by utilizing a number of disparate and disconnected tools, such as spreadsheets and online calendars, which were not necessarily designed for managing the evolution of complex or large projects. Although many project managers are aware of the existence of project management software solutions, most are unaware of the potential benefits of utilizing such software, and those who do realize the value struggle to commit to a single solution. Oftentimes, this is due to a lack of an understanding of what project management software is and how it affects the entire timeline, from a project's conception to its completion.

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What is project management software?

Project management software is any software solution that allows an individual or a team of people to track a project from its conception to its launch. This type of software typically provides project managers and other team members with a single access point to a wealth of pertinent information, including the scheduling of resources, budget management, time management, task assignments, quality control, bug/issue reports, documentation, and collaborative tools.

The goal of project management software is to increase efficiency by making the project development cycle more transparent for all involved team members. Each member of a team is typically provided with their own personal view, allowing them to track the specific tasks they are working on, and team members may be given access to other members' assigned task lists, so they can have a better understanding of how far into the development process the project has progressed. By creating a more transparent flow of information between project managers and team members, project management software aims to keep people on task and up-to-date on a project's progress.

Today, there are robust software solutions that can be utilized by any industry due to the scope of their features and their ease of use. However, some companies choose to purchase customized solutions that are marketed specifically to them. For example, it is common for non-profit organizations to implement project management software that has been specifically designed for tracking fundraising and other administrative activities.

How projects are typically managed without project management software

Depending upon the company and the type of project, the general project management scenario can play out in any number of ways. However, most, if not all, projects include several basic elements:

  • Scope: Prior to beginning any project, experienced project managers will clearly define the goals of the project. This will include any and all tasks that are required to complete it and will also detail what should not be included in the scope of the project.
  • Resource allocation: Team members and leaders will be assigned to the project and the necessary resources, including funding and equipment, will also be determined.
  • Timeline: In order to ensure that a project actually reaches fruition, a general deadline is defined for the completion date. The timeline will also include dates for smaller milestones to ensure that all team members are on task.
  • Definition of deliverables: The project is broken down into a series of small tasks. At this time, the manager and team members will define which tasks must happen in succession and which tasks may run concurrently.
  • Task assignments: The project team may be divided into smaller teams, where each team is responsible for an individual task or a set of tasks. Alternatively, tasks may only be assigned on an individual basis.
  • Risk planning: Potential obstacles and issues will be clearly defined and comprehensive plans will be drafted to set forth risk handling priorities, actions, and resources to be allocated to problems which may arise.
  • Monitoring: The project manager and other team members will continuously monitor the project's progress, including measuring ongoing activities, expenditures, remaining finances, total time spent by all team members, and performance in comparison to the project's baseline (i.e. where the project is vs. where the project should be). During the monitoring process, risk strategies may may be executed.
  • Quality control: Each deliverable will be assessed and managers will determine whether deliverables can be marked as complete or if they should be sent back for further improvements. In some cases, managers may decide that new deliverables must be defined for the project to reach fruition.
  • Closing: Once all necessary tasks have been completed successfully, the project will be marked as complete. Alternatively, the project may be put on hold or closed prior to completion if funding runs out or if it is determined that the scope of the project cannot be achieved.
In order for a project to be completed successfully and on time, each task and phase of the project life cycle must constantly be tracked and the lines of communication between employees must always remain open. To achieve this, most companies will utilize a number of different digital and analogue tools that may or may not be connected to one another. Additionally, all members of the team may not be using the same tools in order to manage their tasks and timelines. Common resources that are used for project management include, but are not limited to:
  • Private calendars: Team members will typically keep digital or paper based calendars to help them track their deadlines. It is also common for people to utilize both types of calendars simultaneously.
  • Group/Shared calendars: A group calendar may be located online, where it can be accessed by all team members 24 hours a day, on a local network, or it may be located in a common place, such as a highly visible whiteboard. Project groups may also utilize shared calendars through a shared application or by giving team members access to their private email calendars.
  • Spreadsheets: Spreadsheets are often used to plot out timelines, define budgets, track resources, and create various types of reports. They may be shared via email or team members may maintain individual spreadsheets for their own use.
  • Private or shared accounting software: This software may be used by individual members who maintain their own records or central access may be given to all necessary members, so a single shared budget can be tracked and maintained.
  • Notes: These may be handwritten on a variety of media, including notebooks, loose sheets of paper, or even post-it notes. They may also be typewritten and saved in a variety of electronic documents. In some cases, they may be recorded as audio. Notes can originate from a number of different sources, including email communications, team meetings, one-on-one discussions that are either in person or over the phone, and individual research.
  • Whiteboards: It is quite common for project managers and team leaders to define tasks and record valuable information on whiteboards that other team members have regular access to.
  • Email: Emails may be passed back and forth between project leaders and team members regarding deliverables, changes in scope, and any other important issues regarding the project. It is also common for members to send important, and possibly sensitive, electronic documents to one another, including contracts, budgetary information, and detailed timelines.
  • Instant Messaging software: For quick answers, members will IM one another with questions and concerns.
  • Video chat / Meeting software / Conference lines: Groups which contain members who are in remote locations typically use these services to hold meetings.
When using multiple project tracking tools that are disparate, such as those listed above, project managers and team members may have serious difficulties managing and monitoring the lines of communication. It is not uncommon for a paper-based or email memo to be received by an employee and to go ignored for lengthy periods of time. In some cases, the memo may never be seen, unless another team member specifically draws attention to it, causing serious delays in progress.

Additional issues and inefficiencies tend to arise when project members are required to track multiple resources when trying to understand what their deliverables are, when they are due, and where the project as a whole stands at any given point in time. Sifting through a mixture of information that is located in spreadsheets, paper-based notes, electronic documents, and on whiteboards takes up valuable time and decreases individual, as well as team, productivity. Further issues may arise if members need to contact one another to gain access to important data that is crucial to their assignments, but are unable to make contact in a timely manner. As all of these issues compound during the development timeline, the project's final deadline is less likely to be met and it is highly likely that the budget will be exceeded, decreasing or eliminating the projected profits from the project.

How project management software streamlines the process

When the correct project management solution is implemented and employees are appropriately trained to use the software, the likelihood that important deadlines are met and budgets are not exceeded greatly increases, potentially leading to a greater return on investment. There are several benefits to deploying project management software:

  • All team members can manage their project timelines and calendars within a single computer application.
  • Team calendars for shared use, as well as private calendars for individual use, can be created at any time.
  • All budgeting information can be maintained within the application.
  • Project managers and other employees can easily prioritize tasks, set new tasks, and assign tasks to others.
  • Team leaders can provide instant assessments on newly delivered items.
  • Employees will have ongoing access to a central database containing all documents regarding the project.
  • Members have the ability to create their own personal views to help them manage their tasks and deliverables.
  • Team members will have access to a list of tasks that have been assigned to all other members.
  • Workers can report their progress and projected progress in a shared view, allowing other team members to easily understand where the project stands in comparison to the project's baseline.
  • Employees can communicate with one another in real-time and leave each other messages.
  • All communications can be logged and tracked from within the software.
  • The amount of time spent on each task can be easily tracked.
  • Reports, such as budget and timeline reports, can be compiled from the data and printed out for presentations or personal records.

Small and large businesses rely on project management software to increase efficiency, productivity, and transparency by giving every team member access to a single tool which allows them to manage and track their projects from the beginning stages to completion. Utilizing a dedicated software solution reduces the number of communications that are required to complete a project and increases each member's accountability for their assigned duties. Team members can also proactively take on new tasks if others are behind on their assigned duties, decreasing lag times and increasing the likelihood that the project will be completed on time and successfully. It is important to note, however, that project management software cannot and will never replace the need for dedicated and experienced project managers.

When to invest in project management software

Any company that runs multiple projects simultaneously as well as those that have teams of three or more people working on a single project should seriously consider investing in a project management software solution. Additionally, such a solution is absolutely vital for teams containing people who are dispersed across multiple offices, since it provides all team members with access to a centralized information database that reflects real-time updates.

Although it was once true that only large businesses with high revenues could consider project management software due to high costs, there are now solutions which can fit into any company's budget. If any of the following statements can be used to describe a company, it should consider implementing a software solution:

  • Employees frequently work on multiple projects simultaneously and may even belong to multiple teams.
  • Our projects are usually completed after their deadlines.
  • We frequently start projects and terminate them prior to completion due to poor planning or budgetary constraints.
  • The quality of our projects is declining.
  • Our profits have decreased due to poor project planning and project failures.
  • Projects are often put on hold for indefinite periods of time to allow project managers to redefine the scopes or search for new funding.
  • We frequently exceed our projected, or allowed, budgets.
  • We often experience obstacles that we are completely unprepared for.
  • Mistakes which can easily be prevented through appropriate monitoring occur quite often.
  • Team members find it difficult to track their assigned tasks and deadlines.
  • Team members have no means for easily figuring out where we are in the project timeline.
  • Employees sometimes finish their assigned tasks, but are unable to take on new tasks because they have no means of finding out which tasks have yet to be completed.
  • Resources are often overbooked or double booked, leading to delays or budget extensions.
  • Team members frequently miss vital communications or do not see them quickly enough.
  • Project managers are growing tired of repeating themselves.
  • Miscommunications are leading to delays and sometimes cause employees to work on the wrong tasks or complete tasks improperly.
  • Project managers must email, call, or meet with individual team members any time a progress report is needed or a change to the project plan is made.
  • Important deadlines are often missed because employees are unable to reach the necessary team members on time.
  • Project members occasionally miss important meetings because they are unaware that those meetings have been scheduled.
  • Our team members are scattered across multiple locations.
  • Team members do not have access to a centralized project calendar which details every step within the project timeline.
  • We do not have a centralized database containing important documents that pertain to each of our projects.
  • Every project member must monitor several lines of communication.
  • When providing employees with quality control reports on their deliverables, each report must be emailed, hand delivered, or mailed.
  • We do not have a method for easily tracking all reported bugs.
  • The same bugs show up frequently, even though we have dealt with them before.
  • Project managers do not have any reporting templates to work with.

Types of project management software

Project management software is currently available as a self-hosted and cloud-based solution. Today, cloud-based systems are growing rapidly in popularity and self-hosted solutions are beginning to lose their steam.

Self-hosted applications are hosted on your company's servers and allow team members to access information from a central location. These solutions make it much easier for team members to collaborate, since they are able to access group calendars and communicate through a central tool. They also offer highly stylized interfaces and very fast response times for users, since they are located and run from the local network. However, they can be quite costly and may be out of reach for most small businesses, since the cost of such software can be quite high and additional costs must also be accounted for, such as the purchase and maintenance of servers. Additionally, the IT team will have to dedicate time to regular maintenance duties to ensure that the software remains up-to-date and optimized.

Cloud-based project management solutions are located online and can be accessed via Internet browsers from any computer at any time. Since they are located in the cloud, a company's IT team will not have to maintain the software or any additional hardware. Instead, the software's manufacturer will perform all updates and ensure that their servers are backed up and running at all times. Cloud-based applications make it easy for team members to collaborate in real-time and many companies find that these solutions are far more affordable than self-hosted solutions. However, Internet outages at your offices will limit access to the project management tools and slow Internet connections will result in slow software response times.

Common and popular features

Each project management solution will offer its own set of features and add-ons. The following list provides a summary of the most popular features that are available today:

Web-based Interface - All team members can access the full features of the application any time and anywhere by going online and logging into their accounts.

Personal Dashboard - Each team member can customize the dashboard, which is similar to a home page, to display the information they wish to regularly access. The information is updated in real-time and may include anything from new messages to task lists and calendars.

Project Dashboard - This screen is typically customized by the management team and provides a graphical view of the project's status. Data is instantly or regularly collected from all team members and used to update the project dashboard to provide team members with up-to-date information.

Multiple Dashboards - This feature benefits individuals and teams that work on multiple projects simultaneously by allowing them to access all of their active projects through a single user interface.

Restricted Access - Choose which team members can access which features and views within the application. For example, it may not be necessary to allow all team members to access budget and expense data.

Budget Tracking - Define and update all aspects of a project's budget and expenses in a centralized location. Reports can also be compiled on the status of the budget.

Calendars / Schedules - Individual and group calendars can be used to track deadlines for all assigned tasks. Individual calendars can be updated by project managers and synced with the group calendar. The group calendar can be accessed by all project members and provides them with a view of all of the past, present, and future project tasks and deadlines. Calendar data may also be available in a Gantt Chart view.

Third Party Calendar Integration - Sync a schedule, or calendar, from the project management software with a third party calendar, like Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook.

Time Tracking - Find out how much time was spent on a task or an entire project and compare actual progress to planned progress. Some solutions allow these reports to be exported as spreadsheets.

Task Lists - Team members can create individual to-do lists, including each item's deadline, and mark them off as they are completed.

Task Assignments - Project managers can automatically assign tasks to project members or request a specific team member to accept the task.

Resource Allocation - Create and manage all resources required for a project. It is also possible to define the worth and availability of each resource, while tracking which resources have been overbooked or under-allocated.

Centralized Document Database - Store a wide variety of files in a single easy-access location. The database can also be used to backup additional project data.

Version Tracking - Tracks and logs all project-related documents, including uploaded attachments, as they evolve over time.

Risk Management - Team members can raise flags over potential risks which may occur and their consequences. Risks can be rejected by project managers or accepted and categorized according to type and risk level. When an obstacle occurs, the task of resolving it can be assigned to the relevant team member.

Instant Messaging - Team members can leave each other private messages and communicate with one another in real-time. All messages are usually saved until the recipient deletes them.

Discussion Boards / Forums / Digital Whiteboards - This tool allows members to publicly communicate with one another and discussion boards can be customized to include categorized sections, making it easy for team members to join only the discussions that are relevant to them.

Email Notifications - Any time a change is made to the project or a message is received, an automated email notification will be sent out.

Templates - Create project templates to be used as the basis for each new project. Templates can also be used for messages, schedules, reports, task lists, and dashboard customization.

Advanced Reporting - Status reports can be customized to include a wealth of information, including budget, expense, risk management, scheduling, and task data. Reports can be compiled for the project as a whole or for individual performance reviews.

Customizable Charts and Graphs - Display all kinds of data, including budget and project health information, in bar graphs, dot charts, and pie charts.

Multilingual Support - Some applications can be translated into multiple languages.

Mobile Device Support - Access the software from a smartphone via an optimized Web interface or an installed mobile phone app.

Add-ons - Purchase additional apps to expand functionality or further customize existing software features. Some add-ons may be used to offer increased third party software integration, such as syncing with accounting or scheduling software.

Professional Support - A support representative may provide initial training as well as ongoing technical support.


The costs of project management solutions vary greatly and range anywhere from costing nothing to thousands of dollars. Many solutions also employ a number of different pricing structures, and a single solution may utilize more than one method when determining the final cost. Today, the following pricing structures are popularly used: ongoing monthly fees, one-time only fees, cost per user pricing, and feature-based pricing.

When determining the cost of a solution, several things must be taken into account, including the cost of the software itself, deployment costs (may include adding new hardware to existing infrastructure), any ongoing fees from the manufacturer, and the costs associated with allocating resources, such as additional man hours, to its deployment and maintenance.

For most small businesses as well as those with small profit margins, cloud-based solutions will offer the highest level of affordability due to their self-maintenance and monthly pricing plans. Excluding freeware options, these solutions typically employ monthly fees that are based upon the number of licensed users and the selected package of features. Fairly robust applications, which may include everything from scheduling to risk management and collaboration tools, start at as little as $20 per month for a single user or $45 per month for an unlimited number of users. On the higher end, some of the most robust solutions - which offer unlimited users, large storage space, advanced reporting, ongoing technical support, and the ability to add custom apps - range anywhere from $140 per month to well over $700 per month.

Businesses with high revenues and those with dedicated IT teams can consider self-hosted systems, in addition to cloud-based applications. Self-hosted solutions typically employ a one-time only fee that is based upon the number of licensed users and the chosen feature package. However, the final cost may also include additional hardware and maintenance costs, such as paying for software upgrades and additional man hours. At the low end, a fairly robust option for a single user license will run between $250 to $350, while a ten license pack typically costs between $1,000 to $1,900. Packages that contain a full suite of features as well as the option to have an unlimited number of users and projects running will typically cost between $4,000 and upwards of $10,000. Some companies may also charge an additional annual registration fee on top of their quoted prices in order for the software to remain active.

Although the cost of a solution will be a key factor during the decision making process, it should not be the driving factor behind choosing a project management software package. Too often, companies will equate high costs with high quality, only to find that the chosen solution does not improve their efficiency or the quality of their work. Similarly, an application should not be purchased simply because it is the only solution that can currently be afforded. Instead, each solution should be considered at length and evaluated according to its features and usability.

How to choose the right project management software solution

Choosing a project management solution will take time and serious thought should be given to each available package. Before committing to a solution, the following points should be considered by any and all companies:

  1. Decide whether a cloud-based or self-hosted solution is right for your company - If money is tight and/or IT resources are highly limited or non-existent, cloud-based solutions will offer the most flexibility and the highest level of usability. Companies that can dedicate large amounts of cash and resources to deployment and maintenance will be free to choose between both types of solutions.
  2. Set a budget - Since the cost of a project management solution can range anywhere from $0 to well over $10,000, it is important to determine a preferable purchase price as well as a ceiling price. Use the budget to guide the final decision, but be sure to figure in any ongoing costs, such as monthly or annual fees and maintenance costs, prior to selecting a solution.
  3. Create a required feature list - Understanding the needs of project managers and team members is vital to making the right purchasing decision. Gather the whole team around for a meeting to discuss current and expected obstacles that hinder the progression of projects and find out what each team member needs in order to address those issues. It will also be useful to make a list of non-required, but desired, features.
  4. Prioritize your needs - It may not be possible to get all of the required features in an affordable package. Prioritize the required feature list to figure out which features are vital to completing projects successfully and which features can be overlooked for the time being.
  5. Figure out how many user licenses are needed - Since many software manufacturers offer different packages based upon the number of licenses required, it is important to figure out the maximum number of users required. A common mistake that many companies make when determining this figure is to assume that project members will be able to effectively share the same logins with one another. For maximum efficiency and productivity, each team member should have their own seat.
  6. Think about how many projects will be running simultaneously - Some solutions will only allow a single project to be tracked, while others may offer the ability to track multiple projects at once. Each solution typically places a limit on the number of active projects, so it's important to find a product that can accommodate all of your projects.
  7. Determine the maximum amount of required storage space - Every running and archived project, licensed user, communication, and uploaded document will take up server space. To ensure that the chosen solution is able to accommodate your needs as projects grow, select a package that offers more space than you feel you need.
  8. Check for compatibility - When choosing a cloud-based solution, ensure that all of its features and functions will display and function correctly in the web browsers used at your offices. For self-hosted solutions, ensure that the software is compatible with your servers and operating systems.
  9. Opt for advanced reporting - Most project managers need to compile regular progress reports on budgetary and performance data in a variety of formats. Select a solution that makes this easier by providing you with a number of templates and report types to choose from.
  10. Consider third party integration - It may be necessary to sync the project management software with other computer applications, such as scheduling and budgeting software. Integration makes this process easier through automation.
  11. Opt for customized dashboards / views - Every team member needs instant access to the project data that is most relevant to them. Choose a solution that allows for the creation of individual and shared dashboards.
  12. Think about communication needs - Some solutions offer instant messaging, message boards, and email functionality. Giving team members a centralized location for all of their communication needs may increase productivity and decrease errors.
  13. Consider deployment - Some solutions may take more time, money, and effort to deploy than others. Find a solution that can be deployed on time for your next project without maxing out your available resources.
  14. Always try before you buy - Most project management software solution providers will give you access to video and live demonstrations of their software. Some go a step further by giving the project manager and a select number of team members access to the full package for a limited time. Never commit to a solution until you've tried it or seen it in action.

Popular project management software solutions

Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project.

Microsoft Project: This self-hosted solution is one of the most popular options amongst both large and small organizations alike. Microsoft Project features an intuitive interface that will be very familiar for any current and past Windows users. Notable users of Microsoft Project include Nasa, Volvo, and the Coca Cola Bottling Company.

Key features include user-controlled scheduling, task assignments, resource planning, and automated project status updates. Microsoft Project also offers integration with a number of other Microsoft products, such as SharePoint, Excel, and Word. Additional noteworthy features include project templates, advanced reporting, and the ability to collaborate through Microsoft SharePoint.

There are currently three editions of Microsoft Project that are available for purchase: Standard, Professional, and Server. Standard and Professional have been designed only for desktop installation, while the Server edition can be installed on a compatible server. The software is currently compatible with Windows XP and all later versions. Servers must be running Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 in conjunction with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise.

A single license for Microsoft Project Standard currently costs around $410, or $4,100 for ten users. The Professional edition typically costs around $980 per user, while the Server edition generally costs around $4,700 for a single server installation. However, it is important to note that additional software and hardware may need to be purchased prior to installing any version of Microsoft Project and should be figured into the final cost. Due to the costs and maintenance requirements of this software, it may be better suited to companies with high expense accounts or small project teams.



Basecamp: Basecamp is a Web-based solution that offers the ability to easily collaborate and track progress via any Internet browser. Due to its ease of use and low pricing plans, it is popular amongst both small and mid-sized companies. However, large companies, such as Kellogg's, National Geographic, and Adidas also rely on this solution for their project tracking needs.

Basecamp features a wealth of online tools for communication and collaboration, including a public message board, personal messaging, and automated email notifications that can be triggered any time a change to the project has been made or a communication has been received. Other key features include a central database for project-related documents, personal task lists, time tracking, scheduling, project templates, and multilingual support.

The Plus plan, which is targeted towards small project groups, is available for $49 per month and supports an unlimited number of users. It also offers 15 GB of storage and accommodates up to 35 projects. For large groups, the Premium plan offers 30 GB of storage, unlimited users, and support for up to 100 projects at a price tag of $99 per month. The most expensive plan, called Max, provides unlimited projects and users with 75 GB of storage at a cost of $149 per month. There is also a free plan which allows for an unlimited number of users, a single project, but no file sharing. All paid plans include the full suite of features and the ability to purchase add-ons, such as mobile device support and integration with third party software.



QuickBase: This cloud-based software solution is popular amongst big businesses, including Google, Chevron, and eBay. QuickBase is known for its high level of customization, rich list of features, and ability to integrate with third party software.

Key QuickBase features include easy data importing from a variety of sources, such as Excel spreadsheets, customizable forms and project templates, automated email notifications, and advanced reporting. It is also possible to automate tasks, build a document database, and access the software through any Internet browser at any time.

The most affordable monthly plan, called Team, starts at $299 and offers a large template library, a central database, email notifications, advanced reporting, technical support, and seats for up to ten users. Additional users may be purchased at a rate of $10 per user. The mid-priced plan, Extended Team, provides support for up to 100 users and tacks on additional storage space, while the most expensive plan, Enterprise, supports up to 200 users and tacks on additional features, including a developer sandbox and security management. Pricing for the Extended Team and Enterprise plans are available as individualized quotes directly from the manufacturer.



FogBugz: FogBugz is a self-hosted and cloud-based project management tool that is known for its advanced reporting functionality, user friendly interface, and ability to drill down into data at a very granular level. Due its diverse range of plans, it will appeal to businesses of any size, but it will be better suited to projects involving software or hardware development. Noteworthy FogBugz users include Amazon.com, Intel, and the BBC.

FogBugz allows project members and team members to easily track bugs, scheduled items, and customer comments. Additional features include an advanced search, hierarchical task views, the ability to track a project's timeline in multiple formats, and a developer history. It is also possible to receive and sort incoming emails from existing customers and create tasks from messages.

The cloud-based version of the software, known as FogBugz On Demand, has plans starting at $25 per user per month for up to 23 users. Alternatively, a monthly fee of $599 can be paid for up to 150 users, $999 for up to 1,000 users, or $2,499 for an unlimited number of users. The self-hosted version of FogBugz starts at a one time only fee of $299 for a single user license, $999 for a five user pack, $3,499 for a 20 user pack, and a Site License, which offers an unlimited number of users, is priced at $9,999.



Huddle: This cloud-based solution has a wide range of plans that will appeal to small and large businesses alike. It also offers mobile device support, so project members can access their work from anywhere at any time. Notable Huddle users include Boots, Kia Motors, and Fujitsu.

Key Huddle features include customizable dashboards, an advanced search, project archiving, and online file sharing. Collaboration is also simplified through a central discussion board as well as a digital whiteboard that can be used for brainstorming. Both the discussion board and whiteboard track and save every comment that has ever been posted.

Originally Huddle was a fairly low-cost option, however as they pushed into the enterprise market they request you "contact sales" for pricing. They still offer a free 14-day trial though.



@task: @task is a cloud-based solution that is typically employed by mid-sized and large companies. It is platform independent and can be accessed from any Internet browser. Noteworthy @task users include Toyota, Apple, and HBO.

Key features of this software include a high level of customization, the ability to build multiple dashboards, configurable reports, templates, and resource assignments. A document database, portfolio manager, and time sheets are also included. It is also possible to establish a help desk and track issues within the application.

There are currently two major feature packages available for @task: Professional and Enterprise, with Enterprise being the most robust option. There are also several different types of license, which affect users' abilities to interact with the software's features. For example, a Requester License will allow a user to submit requests and track those requests, while a Full User License gives a user the ability to access and modify everything within the application from dashboards, to plug-ins and reports.

@task does not currently publish their prices or provide detailed cost data sheets. Instead, they offer annual quotes based upon the company's stated needs. Typically, for a small business requiring up to 15 seats and basic functionality, the @task team recommends a package priced at $4,000 for the first year, going down to $2,500 for the second year. This price tag includes the cost of training and setup.

Other project management software solutions

5pm - 5pm is a cloud-based solution that offers a wide range of pricing plans that will appeal to both small and large businesses. Key features include a customizable interface, interactive timeline, email notifications, deadline reminders, and exportable reports. To learn more about this solution, email support@5pmweb.com.

24SevenOffice - This Web-based project management tool gives users the ability to track budgets and expenditures, create and manage calendars, track time spent on tasks, and create task lists. To find out more about solutions from 24SevenOffice, email info@24sevenoffice.com.

Assembla - Assembla, which was launched in 2005, is a Web-based service that offers a wide range of plans that can serve both small teams and entire organizations. Key features include ticket management, chat, Wikis, time tracking, and task assignments. For more information about Assembla, email support@assembla.com.

BrightWork - BrightWork has been offering project management solutions since 1995. Their current solution works as a Microsoft SharePoint add-on and features project templates, Gantt charts, and project status tracking. If your servers are currently running SharePoint successfully, they should be able to run BrightWork. To find out more about this solution, call 617-357-9000 or email info@brightwork.com.

Central Desktop - Founded in 2005, this Web-based solution offers a wide range of features, including Web meeting functionality, Salesforce.com integration, multiple workspaces, an email forum, and much more. For further information, call 866-900-7646 or email sales@centraldesktop.com.

Cerebro - Cerebro is a project management solution that is offered by CineSoft, which was established in 2009. This cloud-based software offers messaging, time planning, tagging, task lists, and search tools. To learn more about this solution, call +7- 499-1439-123 or email info@cinesoft.ru.

Clarizen - Founded in 2005, Clarizen offers Web-based project management and features budget management, resource tracking, document sharing, time tracking, and Gantt charts. It is also possible to create recurring tasks and group discussions. For more information, call 1-866-502-9813 or email sales@clarizen.com.

codeBeamer - codeBeamer is available from Intland Software, which was founded in 1999. This cloud-based solution provides users with a document manager, Wiki, forum, and issue tracker. To learn more about this solution, call 866-468 5210 or email info@intland.com.

Collabtive - This self-hosted software was established in 2007 and is available as a free, open source download. It features time tracking, reporting, and file management. To run this software from your servers, PHP 5.1 and MySQL 4.1 or higher are required. For more information, email collabtive@o-dyn.de.

Contractizer - This self-hosted solution is available from Objective Decision LLC, which has been operating since 2004. This software runs exclusively on Intel and PowerPC-based Macs and features mail merging, task management, as well as an address book. For further details, use the online form.

Dolibarr ERP/CRM - Dolibarr is a free, open source self-hosted solution based in PHP. It features budget management, product cataloging, proposal management, and canned reports. Small to mid-sized companies as well as charities utilize this software for their project management needs. To learn more, visit the website at http://www.dolibarr.org.

dotProject - Founded in 2003, dotProject is a free, open source solution that has been coded in PHP. This self-hosted application features a Web interface, reporting, activity histories, task management, and resource tracking. To find out more, visit the website at http://www.dotproject.net.

Endeavour Software Project Management - Endeavor is a free and open source solution that features use cases, Gantt charting, a Web interface, project planning, and forum tools. This self-hosted solution has been written in Java and works in the MySQL and PostgreSQL database environments. To gain access to their technical support, it is possible to purchase monthly support plans. For further information, email e-cuellar@users.sourceforge.net.

Easy Projects .NET - Easy Projects .NET was founded in 2003 and currently operates as a self-hosted and cloud-based solution. Key features include task management, time logging, batch tools, message boards, and custom reporting. To run this software on your servers, a Windows Server operating system is required as well as IIS 6.0 or higher and MS SQL Server 2008 r2. To learn more, call 888-261-9878 or email info@easyprojects.net.

eGroupWare - eGroupWare is available as a self-hosted and cloud-based project management solution. Based in PHP, this application offers task management, contact management, team calendars, file management, and time tracking. For further details, email info@stylite.de.

FastTrack Schedule - FastTrack Schedule is a self-hosted application that is offered by AEC Software, which has been in business since 1985. Key features include project templates, third party software integration, and scheduling tools. It is currently available for both the Mac and Windows platforms. To learn more, call 800-450-1985.

Feng Office Community Edition - Available since 2007 as a self-hosted and cloud-based application, Feng Office offers project overviews, workspaces, note taking tools, task management, and document management. The self-hosted version currently works on the Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems. To find out more, use the online contact form.

GanttProject - GanttProject was founded in 2003 and is available for free as a self-hosted application. It currently is compatible with the Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms, and features resource assignments, Gantt charts, and exportable reports. To learn more, visit http://www.ganttproject.biz.

Gemini - Founded in 2003, Gemini is available as a cloud-based and self-hosted service. Key features include multiple project management, templates, workflows, and permission allocation. Gemini consists of an ASP.NET web application and SQL database components. The Microsoft .NET framework v3.5 SP1 is required to host this software. For further details, call +44-0-1753-824-000.

Genius Inside - Founded in 1997, Genius Inside offers both self-hosted and cloud-based product plans. Key features include third party software integration, portfolio management, project tracking, and document management. For further information, call 1-866-877-4364 or email sales_usa@geniusinside.com.

Glasscubes - This Web-based solution offers file sharing, task assignments, multilingual support, discussion boards, and automated email notifications. To learn more, call +44-0-207-183-3731 or email enquiries@glasscubes.com.

Goplan - Goplan is a cloud-based application that provides users with task management, issue tracking, calendar, discussion, and time tracking tools. For further information, call +3-512-3940-4167 or email support@goplanapp.com.

HP Project & Portfolio Software - This software features a Web-based interface, zero-client software, scheduling tools, and collaboration tools. To learn more, call 877-686-9637.

HyperOffice Collaboration Suite - This cloud-based solution is offered from HyperOffice, which has been in business since 1998. It features tools for online collaboration, document storage, contact management, and scheduling. For further information, call 1-800-434-5136.

InLoox - InLoox was founded in 1999 and offers a variety of self-hosted project management solutions. Key features include project planning, task management, and Outlook integration. InLoox is currently compatible with Microsoft XP and later. For server installations, it requires Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or later and Oracle or MySQL. To learn more, use the online contact form.

JIRA - Founded in 2002, JIRA offers both self-hosted and cloud-based software options. Key features include a bug tracker, task boards, activity tracking, and change logs. To find out more about this Java-based solution, call 415-701-1110.

Journyx - Founded in 1996, Journyx offers the self-hosted project management solutions, ProjectXecute. Key features include resource tracking, to do lists, task assignments, and integration with MS Project. To run ProjectXecute, Windows 2003 or later, the IIS Web server, and an Intel processor are required. It is also possible to run this software on the Linux, Solaris, AIS, and FreeBSD operating systems. For more information, call 800-755-9878 or email info@journyx.com.

Kayako - Established in 2001, Kayako offers both self-hosted and cloud-based solutions. Key features include e-mail management, file management, and calendar management. Most servers with PHP and MySQL installed with be able to run the self-hosted versions of their products. For more details, call 1-888-212-2140.

KForge - KForge was founded in 2005 and is available as a free software download. It is currently compatible with the Apache Web server, PostreSQL and MySQL database servers, and Python. To learn more, visit the KForge website.

KKOOP - KKOOP is a cloud-based solution that offers time tracking, task management, discussion tools, and activity tracking. To learn more, email mail@avatory.com.

KPlato - KPlato is a free, self-hosted solution that has been designed for managing moderately large projects. It offers task management, resource allocation, and budgeting tools. To find out more, visit the KPlato website.

Launchpad - This free software collaboration platform offers bug tracking, code hosting, and translation services. For more information, visit the Launchpad website.

LiquidPlanner - Founded in 2006, LiquidPlanner is a cloud-based solution that offers the ability to track multiple projects, manage schedules, track time spent on tasks, share files, and integrate with email clients. To learn more, call 1-800-971-1601 or email info@liquidplanner.com.

MantisBT - This free self-hosted bug tracking system requires PHP, MySQL, and the Apache or IIS Web servers to run. It is currently compatible with the Windows, Mac, Linux, Soloris, and FreeBSD operating systems. For more information, visit the MantisBT website.

MatchWare MindView 3 Business - This self-hosted system offers brainstorming tools, project templates, Gantt charts, and task management tools. MindView 3 Business is currently compatible with the Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems. For more information, call 1-800-880-2810 or email usa@matchware.com.

Merlin - Founded in 2001, Merlin offers self-hosted project management solutions for the Mac platform. Key features include multiple project views, task inspectors, a Web-based interface, and budgeting tools. To find out more, email en-support@merlin2.net.

MicroPlanner X-Pert - Since 1978, MicroPlanner X-Pert has been offering self-hosted applications that feature an intuitive user interface, resource management, and reporting functionality. For more details, email john@microplanning.co.uk.

MindGenius - MindGenius was founded in 2001 and offers a self-hosted solution that features task management, Gantt charting, and reporting tools. To learn more, email info@mindgenius.com.

Mingle - Mingle is available from ThoughtWorks Studios, which was founded in 1993. This self-hosted application offers a Web-based interface, shared workspaces, and task management. For further information, email studios@thoughtworks.com or call +1-312-543-2599.

MyWorkPLAN - This self-hosted project management solution offers easy implementation, a user friendly interface, a document database, and customization options. MyWorkPLAN is based on the MySQL database technology. To find out more about this software, call 248-351-9300 or email info@sescoi.com.

O3spaces - This self-hosted solution offers document management, e-mail archiving, and a number of useful templates. It currently is compatible with the Windows operating system. To learn more, email info@o3spaces.com.

OmniPlan - OmniPlan is available from OmniGroup, which was founded in 1993. This self-hosted solution features a task manager, user friendly interface, data sharing options, and scheduling tools. It is currently compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.8 and higher. For more information about OmniPlan, call 206-523-4152 or email info@omnigroup.com.

OnePoint Project - This solution is available as a self-hosted and cloud-based application. Key features include a task manager, project templates, Gantt charts, and document management. The self-hosted version is currently compatible with the Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems. For further information, call 516-449-5154.

Open Workbench - This free software download is designed to be used in place of Microsoft Project. It is currently compatible with Windows 2000, XP, and 2003 Server edition. The Sun Java Runtime Engine must be installed in order to use Open Workbench. To learn more, contact webmaster@openworkbench.org.

OpenProj - OpenProj is a free self-hosted solution that is compatible with the Linux, Unix, Mac or Windows operating systems. It is offered as a free alternative to Microsoft Project. For more information, call 1-800-457-3736.

phpGroupWare - phpGroupWare is a self-hosted application that offers email functionality, contacts management, a shared calendar, document sharing, and issue tracking. A PHP enabled server is required, and MySQL and PostreSQL are recommended for the database. For further details, visit the phpGroupWare website.

PHProjekt - This software is available as a free download and features record management, a user friendly design, and multi-project management as well as interactive Gantt charts. To run this software, the following is required: HTTP server, MySQL version 5, and PHP 5.2.4 with the pdo_mysql drivers. To learn more, visit the PHProjekt website.

Planisware 5 - This product is geared towards mid-sized to large organizations and offers portfolio management tools, a Web-based interface, and modular architecture. Planisware was founded in 1999, and they can be contacted by calling 1-888 752-6479 or emailing info@planisware.com.

Planner - Planner is a free self-hosted solution that is compatible with the Linux and Windows operating systems. It was written in C and features Gantt charts, task views, and resource management tools. To learn more, visit the Planner website.

Planner Suite - Planner Suite is a self-hosted application that features Gantt charts, task assignments, time sheets, a Web-based interface, and a reporting wizard. To run the software, Windows Server, XP, or Vista are required as well as Microsoft SQL Server 2005. For more information, call 46-8-55114484.

PM Excelerator - This self-hosted solution offers affordable pricing plans, project issue tracking, project checklists, and status reports. It is compatible with the following operating systems: Windows XP with service pack 3, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. For more information, visit the PM Excelerator website.

Principal Toolbox - This self-hosted solution from Fortes Solutions BV offers communication tools, reporting functionality, budgeting tools, and a Web-based interface. It is currently compatible with Windows XP, 2003, and 2008. To learn more about Principal Toolbox, contact Fortes Solutions BV by emailing info@fortesglobal.com.

Project KickStart - This self-hosted application includes a step-by-step project wizard, professional Gantt charts, task management, and a centralized document database. This software can be installed on machines running any of the following operating systems: Windows Me, NT, 2000, XP, and Windows 7. For further information, email sales@projectkickstart.com or call 510-644-0694.

Project.net - Project.net is available as a free download and with a fee-based professional service plan for technical support. It offers personal dashboards, time management tools, automated notifications, team assignments, blogs, document management, and discussion tools. To learn more, email sales@project.net or call 1-617-621-0060.

Project-Open - Project-Open is a free self-hosted system that offers Gantt charting, resource management, expense planning, time sheets, forums, and incident management. This application is currently compatible with the Windows and Linux operating systems. For more information on Project-Open, call +34-933-250-914 or email info@project-open.com.

Projectplace - This self-hosted project management application was founded in 1998 and features user friendly tools for online collaboration, scheduling meetings, managing people, sharing documents, and managing tasks and projects. Projectplace will work on machines running the following operating systems: Windows XP and later, or Mac OS X. For additional information, email info@projectplace.co.uk.

ProjectSpaces - ProjectSpaces is a self-hosted and cloud-based project management solution that features document management, task management, notifications, and event tracking functionality. To run the self-hosted version of ProjectSpaces, you must either be running VMWare or Linux servers that can run PHP compiled with MySQL. For more information on ProjectSpaces, call 888-574-4054 or email sales@projectspaces.com.

Projektron BCS - Founded in 2001, Projektron BCS is a web-based project management solution that offers project planning, time recording, resource management, and invoicing tools. To learn more, use the online contact form to submit your inquiries.

PSNext - This self-hosted system provides project managers and team members with time tracking, resource management, and scheduling tools. It also features a Web-based interface. To install the software on your servers, the Apache Tomcat 5.5, ORACLE/BEA WebLogic platform, IBM WebSphere, or Red Hat JBoss Application servers are required. Additionally, an SQL, Oracle, PostreSQL, or IBM DB2 database is necessary. To learn more, call 800-533-9876 or email info@sciforma.com.

Redmine - Redmine is a freely available open source download that features support for multiple projects, Gantt charting, calendars, issue tracking, time tracking, file management, and a project Wiki. Redmine should run on the following operating systems: Unix, Linux, Mac, Mac Server, and Windows. For more information on this solution, visit the Redmine website.

Rachota - Rachota is a free self-hosted time tracking tool that provides users with HTML reports and tips for improving time management. It currently runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac machines. For more information, email rachota-users@lists.sourceforge.net.

SAP PLM - This project management application offers project portfolio, collaboration, and data management tools. It is also possible to allocate resources, assign tasks, and create reports. To learn more about SAP PLM, call 1-800-872-1727.

Severa - Severa was founded in 2004 and is offered as a cloud-based project management solution. It features multilingual support, free technical support, data backups, time tracking, document management, and invoicing tools. Severa also offers a number of business reports and a highly stylized dashboard. For further details on Severa, call 1-877-5-SEVERA.

Smartsheet - Since 2006, Smartsheet has been offering a number of affordable and robust cloud-based project management services. Key features include file sharing, a Web interface, data importation from a variety of applications, Gantt charts, customizable project fields, reporting, and notifications. It is also possible to customize the interface with personal branding and color themes. For further information on Smartsheet, call 425-283-1870.

TaskJuggler - This self-hosted solution is available as a free and open source software download. It features Gantt charts, task management tools, and resource management tools. Since it was written in Ruby, it is platform independent. To find out more about TaskJuggler, visit the TaskJuggler website .

Teamcenter - Teamcenter is available from Siemens, a company that was founded in 1847. It features user friendly tools for collaboration, project tracking, task management, and budget tracking. To learn more about this project management solution, call 800-498-5351 or email info.plm@siemens.com.

Teamwork - Teamwork is available through Open Lab, a company that was founded in 2001. It is currently available as a self-hosted and cloud-based solution that is compatible with Windows, Linux, Unix, and Mac OS X. Key features include a personalized project dashboard, resource planning tools, messaging, work log recording, and document management. To find out more about Teamwork, email info@twproject.com.

TeamworkPM - TeamworkPM is a cloud-based solution that offers a wide range of monthly pricing plans that will appeal to both small and large businesses. Key features include the ability to assign tasks and set milestones, deadline reminders, scheduled reporting, messaging, file sharing, and social networking. For more information on TeamworkPM, call +353-21-430-7675 or email info@teamworkpm.net.

Tenrox - Tenrox project management software is available in the cloud and features accounting tools, Gantt charts, a document database, resource scheduling, and analytics. To learn more, email info@tenrox.com or call 626-796-6640.

Trac - Trac is an open source download that offers an integrated Wiki and reporting tools. The software was written in the Python programming language and requires the SQLite, PostgreSQL, or MySQL databases to run. For further details, visit the Trac website.

TrackerSuite.Net - This self-hosted solution offers a full suite of features, including tools for collaboration, a Web-based interface, expense reporting, resource management, and document management. It is currently accessible through the Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. To learn more about TrackerSuite.Net, email info@Acentre.com or call 520-882-9287.

Ubidesk - Ubidesk is a cloud-based project management application that is available in a wide range of monthly priced plans. Key features include document collaboration, document revision tracking, a notepad, real-time task management, file storage, calendars, and automated email notifications for upcoming tasks. To find out more about Ubidesk, email support@ubidesk.com.

Unawave - Unawave is a cloud-based project management tool that operates within the Google Wave collaboration framework. All that is required to run Unawave is a Google Wave account. Key features include executive dashboards, Google App integration, milestone scheduling, real-time online collaboration, and the ability to create, assign, and track tasks. To learn more about Unawave, email info@unawave.com.

VPMi - VPMi offers affordable cloud-based solutions that include time sheets, valuing tools, Microsoft Project integration, risk management, budgeting tools, and status reporting. It is also possible to set up email notifications and collaborate through messaging tools. For more information, contact VPMi by emailing sales@vcsonline.com or calling 636-391-7087.

WorkBook Software A/S - Workbook Software A/S was founded in 2000 in Denmark and offers Web-based software that can be accessed from any Web browser at any time. Key features include a dashboard, budgeting tools, document management, mail handling, and automated reminders. To learn more about Workbook Software A/S, email rp@workbook.net.

WorkEngine - WorkEngine is available from EPM Live, a company that was founded in 1999. It has been designed to expand the capabilities of Microsoft SharePoint by adding on additional portfolio, schedule, resource, cost, and task management tools. To find out more about WorkEngine, call 1-866-391-3700 or email info@epmlive.com.

WorkLenz - WorkLenz is available from Metier, a company that was founded in 1998. It is currently available as a self-hosted and cloud-based project management solution. Key features include portfolio management, risk prediction, and budgeting tools. For further information, call 707-546-9300 or email info@metier.com.

WorkPLAN Enterprise - Established in 1987, WorkPLAN Enterprise offers self-hosted software solutions that feature time management, quality control, and performance analysis tools. This software is based on the MySQL technology and is compatible with Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. To learn more about WorkPLAN Enterprise solutions, email info@sescoi.com or call 248-351-9300.

workspace.com - Founded in 2004, Workspace is a cloud-based project management solution that provides users with project reports, resource planning tools, advanced search capabilities, and customization options. For more information, email sales@workspace.com or call 1-888-245-9168.

web2project - This free, open source software download offers task lists, project views, file management tools, and a calendar with multiple views for tracking deadlines. To find out more about this LAMP-based system, visit the web2project website.

Wrike - Wrike is a cloud-based project management application that features affordable pricing plans and a full suite of features. Key features include email task integration, task reminders, scheduling tools, and a document database. It can also be customized to display in Spanish. For more information on Wrike, email support@team.wrike.com or call 1-877-77-WRIKE.

Xplanner - This free, open source software download features virtual note cards, metrics, and multilingual support for your projects. The basic requirements for using Xplanner include Ant, MySQL, JDK 1.4 or better, and Servlet 2.3. To learn more about this project management solution, visit the Xplanner website.

Zoho Projects - Zoho Projects is a Web-based project management application that allows for time tracking, task management, the creation of Gantt charts, bug tracking, and chatting, as well as scheduling through shared calendars. It also offers online document management and a project Wiki. For more information on Zoho Projects, email info@zohocorp.com or call 925-924-9500.



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