The top ten best project management tools of 2013

Time and project management efficiencies are essentials for small business owners who are mired in the world of multi-tasking. It isn’t just a luxury to ensure small teams are working quickly and productively; it can make or break your business. Whether you have a small in-house army, a virtual team, or even a party of one, intelligently managing all required project and company responsibilities enables you to wholly focus on the tasks at hand, rather than stress about planning.

Fortunately, there are a lot of organized software developers who have created a number of useful tools. Depending on your specific needs and requirements, project management software options these days can help you track time, assignments, team members, department goals, and individual tasks for all in visually effective charts and summaries. Check out the 10 useful options below. Your solution to better time and project organization is likely in this list.

1. Wrike

With a slick, intuitive interface and genius collaboration features, Wrike is a great solution for virtual teams and single entrepreneurs. What Wrike does best is email integration; it’s immensely mobile-friendly and connects your inbox with task monitoring better than almost any other software solution.

2. TeamWorkPM

Another snappy web-based project management offering, TeamWorkPM has impressive team management features, a very reasonable pricing structure, and a repository that houses all your essential documents in the cloud, accessible to all team members. TeamWork is also great for client work, should you need to grant access to clients regarding task progress, documentation creation, and related facets. If you work in an Agile production environment, however, TeamWork isn’t compatible.

3. Assembla

Ideal for remote teams who need to track intricate tasks, Assembla is aces at time management and optimizing efficiencies. Assembla uses a ticketing system to create and track tasks, and while this process has a bit of a learning curve, once mastered it’s an extremely useful way to keep projects and teams focused on essential details while delivering results in a timely manner.

4. Basecamp

Basecamp is a very popular project management software system that, unlike Wrike, dismisses integration with email and instead creates a collaboration wall within the application. It’s very good at facilitating targeted and effective communication among team members, and it’s also extremely adept at monitoring version control for core files and documents.

5. Producteev

Effective for both one-man-bands and larger remote teams, Producteev acts more like a very intelligent to-do list. Users receive real-time alerts indicating task statuses or due dates, and team leaders are empowered to create multi-faceted virtual workspaces for online collaboration. Deadlines are integral to the Producteev process, and it also produces excellent productivity reports as well.

6. Teambox

Teambox is another tool that’s suitable for single, and small, person teams. Teambox’s mission is to organize inboxes and communication threads, freeing up more time for productivity. It intelligently organizes projects, guiding team leaders to the essential threads and to-do’s for every project stage. Users can even post Facebook-like status updates that alert all members of the high-level urgencies and current focuses. Overall, Teambox ranks as one of the most intuitively created project management user interfaces; this is one tool for which you likely won’t need to search the help archives for answers.

7. Jira

Immensely powerful and feature-rich, Jira is a project management powerhouse. It’s highly configurable for a very custom experience, which is great news if you have tech-savvy team members who can utilize the tool’s flexibility to meet the individual needs of your organization. Developers can even leverage the plugin architecture and install additional widgets for more time and task tracking power. Jira works well in an Agile production environment too. The major drawback of this popular application is adoption; because it offers so many useful project tracking aspects, it can take some time to get up to speed and correctly utilize all Jira has to offer.

8. Time Doctor

Time Doctor takes the perspective that almost all companies – and employees – don’t correctly manage their time. To assist in this endeavor, Time Doctor offers screenshot time management monitoring, which is helpful for managers of virtual teams, and auto-generates daily reports, gathering data on websites and applications that are used by each contractor. This is an awesome tool for those who need to track where every penny goes.

9. Central Desktop

Another whip-smart cloud-based project management tool, Central Desktop helps eliminate clutter on your hard drive and keeps every critical file for your company in one net-based central location. Features include an instant time-tracker, fantastic collaboration tools like a built-in instant messenger and real-time web conference capabilities, and document editing similar to Google Docs. Users can also post status updates about any task, and one of the smartest features is the discussion forum for specific projects to help remote team members feel more connected.

10. Confleunce

Wiki users adore Confluence. Much of the user interface and features are centered around a similar process flow. Confluence has one of the better search functions in project management software, and file sharing is a drag and drop breeze. Confluence excels primarily at document and information sharing; it even features a host of plugins that help keep teams organized in this fashion. Finally, its very smart integration with Microsoft Office is always a major selling point.

Did your favorite project management solution make the list? Let us know what you use, and why you love it.


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