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Best Simple Project Management Software

Juggling dozens of tasks and people can drive you crazy, right? It shouldn’t. If you have a simple project to manage, there are a number of excellent (and free) tools that can help. Our recommendation for most users is Monday.com–it’s true project management software that runs as light as you want it to. Track projects in as few steps as possible. Add detail without adding complexity.

The Best Simple Project Management Software For Most

Monday.com logo

Monday.com

Best for Most

Monday cuts down on the time it takes to stay on top of projects. Keep everyone up to date with minimal busywork and maximum visibility.

There are always new tools for project management, and our research team has used them all. Monday.com is going to work for many types and sizes of businesses. It’s affordable, easy to get started, and offers built-in customer relationship management software. For a company that’s looking to centralize work in a single tool, Monday is an excellent option.

The Best Simple Project Management Software Options to Consider

  1. Monday.com – Best for most
  2. ClickUp – Best for remote project management
  3. Smartsheet – Best for marketing teams

When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Simple Project Management Software

Simple project management software helps improve workflows, eliminate mistakes, and create a repeatable execution process.

Google Docs and spreadsheets might be fine at first. But if it feels like you’ve hit your ceiling with those tools, it’s time to upgrade to something designed specifically for project management. 

If your team scales beyond a few people and starts inching closer to double digits, you’re likely ready for simple project management software. It’s well worth the investment for transparency, organization, and growth. 

As projects become more complex and extra steps are added to your process, a project management tool can make things clearer for everyone involved. This is especially true if the software comes with collaboration features, so your team can ditch the lengthy email chains and Slack threads for deliverables. 

Many simple project management tools either have free trials or free forever plans. This gives you a low-risk, high-reward opportunity that you should definitely take advantage of.

#1 – Monday.com — The Best for Most

Monday.com logo

Monday.com

Best for Most

Monday cuts down on the time it takes to stay on top of projects. Keep everyone up to date with minimal busywork and maximum visibility.

Monday.com is a very visual project management solution that helps teams surface the most important details every day. It’s a simple, practical platform that allows teams to track their work–no matter how they get it done.

It’s not going to add steps to your projects–in fact, Monday.com allows you to automate many of the repetitive tasks required to keep everything up to date. And you won’t have to write a line of code to set up simple automations.

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 with tools like timelines, custom automations, data maps, task assignment, data driven dashboards, and time trackers that are adjustable to time zones. That’s a great benefit for remote and on-the-go workers.

And there are plenty of integrations your 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

#2 – ClickUp — The Best for Remote Project Management

ClickUp logo

ClickUp

Best for Remote Project Management

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

Once you land on ClickUp’s homepage, you start to get a feel for how powerful 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.

For companies looking to manage remote work, ClickUp is a option. Everything employees need for their daily work fits in the platform. 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. 

You won’t have trouble getting remote employees up to speed with ClickUp. As long as your employees have a solid internet connection, there is a wealth of helpful resources at their fingertips.

To onboard your team successfully, ClickUp 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 to start managing all your projects.

#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. 

Trello pricing plans

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

  • Free
  • Standard – $5 per user per month
  • Premium – $10 per user per month
  • Enterprise – $17.50 per user per month

In the Free tier, there isn’t a limit on the number of teams you can create and invite to your dashboard, though you only can create 10 boards (which might limit the number of content projects you can manage). With the free version you also receive unlimited cards, unlimited storage, and up to 10 MB per file attachment.

The Standard tier offers unlimited boards and cards. It allows up to 250 MB per file attachment. You can invite guests to a single board, if desired.

The Premium tier offers multiple views not available in Standard, including dashboard, timeline, calendar, and map views. Advanced administrative and security features are available too.

If you’re looking at their Enterprise tier, you’re in for a ton more features like unlimited workspaces, free SSO and user provisioning, and invitations for guests on multiple boards.

To receive 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. Trello recently changed its pricing tiers, so you may find something new you like.

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. 

Monday.com logo

Monday.com

Best for Most

Monday cuts down on the time it takes to stay on top of projects. Keep everyone up to date with minimal busywork and maximum visibility.

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 Monday.com. Keep things as clean and practical as possible with Monday.

We recommend you take advantage of some of the 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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