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Best Simple Project Management Software

Juggling dozens of tasks and people can drive you crazy right? Want to stay balanced, keeping your project from taking a nosedive. We spent hours uncovering the simplest project management tools. Our best for most recommendation is ClickUp—it has dozens of use cases, an enormous learning center. And visual aids that help you see your progress.

The Best Simple Project Management Software For Most

ClickUp logo

ClickUp

Best for Most

ClickUp’s simplicity helps you handle a broad and variable spectrum of project management requirements with ease.

One project management tool is all you need ClickUp keeps things easy. This is why we love it as the best simple project management tool for most. Your industry is a non-issue, and the platform offers templates to start projects, task lists, marketing campaigns, and even remote work projects.

Specific goals can be set and managed in one place. ClickUp makes recognizing missed targets and objectives easy to see. The visual dashboard removes the guesswork from project management. Even if you are new to this type of software, ClickUp holds your hand through learning with a knowledgebase platform you can use that builds your confidence at your own pace. Access one on one coaching, webinars, blogs and articles specific to your questions, and on-demand demos that walk you through the software depending on your experience level.

The Best Simple Project Management Software Options to Consider

  1. ClickUp – Best for Most
  2. Monday.com – Best for remote project management 
  3. Smartsheet – Best for marketing teams
  4. Trello – Best for content management
  5. Notion – Best for startups

When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Simple Project Management Software

If you need a simple way to manage a growing list of projects a project management tool will ensure better workflows, fewer mistakes, and a more effective execution that’s repeatable.

While you can use Google Docs and spreadsheets to handle all your project needs at first, those tools tend to hit a wall once you start seeing growth. 

Once you start growing and your team is nearing the double digits, it’s ultimately up to your business goals and your budget whether you see investing in a project management tool as a worthwhile investment. 

Generally, the more complex your projects become and the more moving parts you have that include collaboration, the more a project management tool becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. 

Keep in mind that many of these tools either have free trials or free forever plans, the best for most option below does, giving you a low-risk high reward opportunity you should absolutely take advantage of. 

#1 – ClickUp — The Best For Most

ClickUp logo

ClickUp

Best for Most

ClickUp’s simplicity helps you handle a broad and variable spectrum of project management requirements with ease.

Once you land on ClickUp’s homepage, you start to get a feel for how robust yet practical the tool really is. 200,000 businesses use it to keep their projects in check including Airbnb, Google, Nike, and Uber to name a few.  

ClickUp offers you a world of endless project management capabilities no matter the size of your team or the scope of the projects you tackle. 

Creating Gantt charts, spreadsheets, reminders, knowledge bases, custom statuses, recurring checklists, workload charts, and automations are only the tip of the iceberg of the tools it offers for streamlined project management. 

To onboard your team successfully, it provides plenty of use cases, quick-start guides, on-demand demos, videos, and support articles in case you run into any bottlenecks as well as online support from its support team. 

ClickUp’s simplicity bleeds over to how it’s priced too. Here’s a look at each tier: 

  • Free
  • Unlimited – $5 per member per month
  • Business – $9 per member per month
  • Enterprise – Contact sales for a personalized plan

You can use their free forever plan, which comes with 100 MB of storage, unlimited tasks and unlimited members. Or you can start with their unlimited plan at $5 per member monthly, which offers unlimited storage, integrations, dashboards, and calendar views. 

The $9 per member Business plan is more appropriate for larger teams who need custom exporting features, advanced time tracking options, or private and protected views. If you’re looking for a more robust enterprise plan you’ll have to contact sales to strike a deal. 

We recommend you try the free trial for the tier you’re interested in to get a feel for how well it works for you. If nothing else, a free plan you can use for various projects is also a great place to start if you’re a small team. 

If you’re ready to take the plunge, get started with ClickUp here to start managing all your projects.

#2 – Monday.com — The Best For Remote Project Management

Monday.com logo

Monday.com

Best for Simple Requirements Management

Monday.com is ideal for keeping track of all your project tasks when no one’s in the office anymore.

Monday.com is the project management tool for the post-pandemic world, where business is booming but no one wants to come back to the office. It’s a prominent tool in the project management market due to how easy it is to implement no matter where in the world your team is. 

It’s no wonder more than 100,000 teams across a number of industries— including Hulu, NBC, Universal, and BBC Studios— already use it. 

Highly visual and intuitive, Monday.com lets you create workflows in a matter of minutes with tried and proven templates based on real-life teams. And there’s no long and overly complicated training or onboarding process required for anyone on your team to start using it successfully.

Your team can plan, track, and execute great work remotely with tools like timelines, custom automations, data maps, task assignment, data driven dashboards, and time trackers that are adjustable to time zones. 

And there are plenty of integrations your remote team can take advantage of to make sure everything you need for your projects is gathered and accessible in one place. 

Monday.com breaks down their prices by number of seats. For the sake of simplicity, the prices I listed are based on a three-seat scenario. 

I recommend you visit their pricing page to look at each custom price point once you adjust the number of seats you think you’ll need. 

Here’s a breakdown of Monday.com’s prices based on their three-seat deal:

  • Individual – Free forever for up to two seats
  • Basic – $8 a seat per month billed annually
  • Standard – $10 a seat per month billed annually
  • Pro – $16 a seat per month billed annually
  • Enterprise – Contact its team for more details

You can take Monday.com for a test drive with their Individual free forever plan to get familiar with their tools and dashboards which is great for a one or two person team. Here’s how the rest of the tiers measure up:

Basic: Perfect for teams that want to start getting a handle of all their projects in one central place with a limit of 5 GB of storage.

Standard: Better for teams that want more control of their project views and that want to collaborate externally. 

Pro: Best for teams that constantly manage complex workflows, need automations, and plenty of integrations to work successfully. 

Enterprise: Do you need extra security, control, and advanced support for a large and growing team that manages complex projects? You’ll want to contact its sales team for a personalized Enterprise plan. 

Get started with Monday.com here

#3 – Smartsheet — The Best For Marketing Teams

Smartsheet logo

Smartsheet

Best for Marketing Teams

Smartsheet is where project management meets marketing, integrating with all your marketing apps and tools.

If you’re a marketing team looking to streamline your project management and increase productivity, Smartsheet is a cloud-based solution that helps you tackle it all with ease. 

You can gather, track, and execute all your creative projects with integrations to the Adobe design suite, share marketing templates, and create custom task forms. Smartsheet is designed to carry you all the way through from concept to execution with tools that enable you to see the progress of your team. 

You’re also empowered to effectively manage a team with different skill sets and availability with its task assignment features. 

Smartsheet makes Iterative projects manageable by enabling your team to give feedback, track workload progress, and collaborate on project details with plenty of templates that ease your team into a manageable workflow.

And of course, it integrates with all your top marketing tools and apps like Marketo, Microsoft, Slack, Gsuite, and more.  

Smartsheet doesn’t list their prices outright. So if you’re really interested in using it you’ll have to contact them.

For starters, you can always take advantage of their free demo. Or you can try them for free and start a 30-day trial here. 

#4 – Trello — The Best For Content Management

Trello logo

Trello

Best for Content Management

Trello combines easy kanban organization with solid integrations to keep your content strategy on track no matter what.

Trello, a project management tool used by the likes of Google, Peloton, Costco, and Squarespace, is an easy project management tool you can use to get a hold of your content strategy. 

From all the tools out there, Trello solidly wins as an easy and simple tool to help you proactively manage, create, and execute an ongoing flow of content. 

With Trello’s Kanban-style workflow, you can create content cards and move them from a left-to-right progression as you work on each of their moving parts on a predetermined timeline. You can add members, labels, checklists, and attachments to each card along with custom fields to personalize the process.

To sweeten the deal, Trello lets you see the progress of your content strategy with its useful calendar view. With it, you’ll always be able to see what content is in progress, what’s nearing a deadline, and what’s falling behind. 

Its Butler feature also lets you set up automations and commands across your entire process. So no detail or project falls through the cracks. 

Trello doesn’t fall short in the collaboration department either, an important piece of the content management strategy. You can add or remove members to teams and integrate apps like Slack to keep communication intact. Best of all, there is no limit to the number of teams you can create. 

Now, how do Trello’s pricing tiers stack up? Its free forever plan is great for small teams that are just starting out. 

  • Free
  • Business Class – $9.99 per user per month
  • Enterprise – $17.50 per user per month

Remember, there isn’t a limit on the number of teams you can create and invite to your dashboard, though you do only get to create 10 boards (which might limit the number of content projects you can manage). With the free version you also get unlimited cards, unlimited lists, and 1 MB per file attachment.

The Business Class plan lets you set unlimited boards, cards, and lists per team as well as a 250 MB per file attachment limit, advanced checklists, priority support, and team board templates.

If you’re looking at their Enterprise tier, you’re in for a ton more features like unlimited everything plus custom backgrounds, board collections, custom fields, and map views. 

To get a comprehensive look at the exact features each tier offers, I recommend you visit their pricing page to look through their long list of features.

You can get started working on a better content management strategy with Trello here.

#5 – Notion — The Best For Startups

Notion logo

Notion

Best for Startups

Notion is simple, straightforward, and startup-friendly.

A simple project management system you can count on is crucial for startups that need to execute and manage projects quickly. This is where an easy-to-use and simple project management tool like Notion comes in.

Notion bills itself as the project tool specifically for startups, and has designed its features with the needs of startups clearly in mind.

With Notion you have access to tools that enable you to organize and create wikis, meeting notes, roadmaps, and project attachments galore. It’s compatible with IOS, Android, Mac, and Windows which makes collaboration across the board so much easier.

What makes Notion such a simple tool for project management are its guides and tutorials, which offer a ton of breakdowns and how-tos for learning the project management process and implementing it quickly. 

Collaboration across teams is made easier with its timeline views, the ability to leave comments and host discussions, and the ability to create linked databases along with reminders and mentions. 

If you happen to work with one of Notion’s partners, you qualify for a $1,000 credit for use with their Team Plan. This brings me to its prices— where you’re in luck if you’re looking for a free starter plan. 

Notion breaks down their pricing tiers into two categories. The first two are great for personal use.

  • Personal – Free
  • Personal Pro – $4 per month billed annually
  • Team – $8 per member per month billed annually
  • Enterprise – Contact sales

If you’re a one-person startup barely starting to get traction, either of the two tiers can prove useful as a simple way to organize your day-to-day tasks. For instance, Personal Pro lets you have unlimited guests and unlimited file uploads along with the ability to sync your account across devices as you create unlimited pages and blocks. 

If your startup consists of a few people, you’re better off looking at either the Team or Enterprise tier.

The team tier is perfect if you’re looking to create a collaborative workspace with advanced permissions and admin tools. And the Enterprise tier is great for larger teams with increasingly complex project management systems that need added security, dedicated management, and a custom contract.

Try Notion for free here.

Methodology for Choosing the Best Simple Project Management Software

When it comes to reviewing the best simple project management software, we made sure to emphasize the “simple” aspect. We focused on software that was truly user-friendly, without a steep learning curve, that was accessible to seasoned professionals and starters alike. 

Besides simplicity, here are a few additional criteria we looked at to make our picks, that you should take into consideration as well. 

Project Management Frameworks

You could say project management frameworks are the bread and butter of any project management tool. They are crucial in ensuring your team is equipped to plan, create, and deliver projects with ease, quickly, and at scale. 

While some project management tools like ClickUp offer what seems like an endless list of customizable frameworks and project views, others are more limited in what they can do, especially within cheaper monthly plans. When you’re looking for a tool that best fits your project management style, you need to look into how visual and user-friendly their frameworks are and how they are structured, then compare those elements to your company’s needs. 

Learning Curve and Resources

We’re talking about simple project management software here, which means you want to integrate software that doesn’t take eons to implement, involve an overwhelming onboarding process, or have a staggering technical learning curve. 

When you’re looking for a simple yet effective tool to manage all your projects, look for documentation, how-to guides, and extensive resources and libraries on all the ways you can use the tool. Without this, integrating a project management tool and keeping it simple might not go as smoothly. Especially if you manage a team with different experience levels and abilities. 

Reporting

A useful feature that brings it all together as you successfully manage each project is a reporting or analytics tool. With it you can see how you’re managing your time, track project budgets, measure team productivity, and even keep an eye on the spread of the workload across your team.

While smaller teams might not need reporting and analytics capabilities from the start, it can be a great addition for growth as you get an overview of all the moving parts of your process. The more you can measure, the more you can iterate and improve. 

ClickUp logo

ClickUp

Best for Most

ClickUp’s simplicity helps you handle a broad and variable spectrum of project management requirements with ease.

Summary

Simple project management software that fits with your business goals and needs can help you easily turn chaos into an ordered plan you can follow.

But project management can take on different shapes and sizes, which is why my top recommendation to manage just about any project successfully is without a doubt ClickUp, because of its versatility and ease of use. 

Here’s a quick overview of the best project management tools we reviewed here:

  1. ClickUp – Best for Most
  2. Monday.com – Best for remote project management 
  3. Smartsheet – Best for marketing teams
  4. Trello – Best for content management
  5. Notion – Best for startups

We recommend you take advantage of some of their free trials and demos to really get a feel for each tool that interests you before committing to a paid plan. That way you know you’re getting the most out of an investment that’s right for you. 


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