Successfully managing clients and projects relies on having the right systems in place to keep track of where you're up to. Post-it notes stuck to your desk simply won't do. Not when the workload and pressures start to increase.
This is where an online project management tool will become especially handy. Something that you can access from both your desktop and mobile, no matter where you are or what you're doing.
There are loads of contenders on the market. Some are free. Others come with a small monthly subscription fee. The following 10 project management tools have been hand-picked by Creative Boom just for you.
1. Active Collab
Active Collab is a powerful, yet simple project management tool – perfect for your small business. It helps you and your team stay organised when you outgrow email, but it’s also much more than that — with plenty of helpful add-ons, it’s a one-stop solution for all your projects. You can delegate tasks to your team, get a detailed overview of all team activities, track time spent on individual tasks and issue invoices to clients in just a couple of seconds.
With a free 30 day trial you will get access to all features and see how a smooth project workflow can add value to your small business from day one. Highly recommended.
Free trial | Visit the website
Trello is the platform that gives you a shared perspective on any kind of project. It's completely free, so probably an excellent choice for those of you who have just gone freelance. It's also very visual – appealing to those of you who prefer to see all your tasks laid out on screen.
Basically, you can create boards that include lists and then you can drag and drop items between lists to show progress... so you might have 'to do', 'doing' and 'done' boards. Simple and effective, it's one of our favourites. And if you like what you see, you can upgrade to Business Class for just $8.33 per user/month (when paid annually) and get access to app integrations, team overviews and more security.
Free | Visit the website
With tasks, projects, conversations and dashboards, Asana allows you to move work from start to finish. You can see progress for any project at a glance, without scheduling a status meeting or sending an email. You can turn conversations into actionable tasks, so you can take the next step. It might be a tad simplified for some, as it doesn't have as many features as other solutions out there. But it does the job if you just need simple task management.
Free, for teams up to 15 people | Visit the website
Brought to you by the people at 37Signals, Basecamp is a classic, feature-rich tool to help you manage your tasks with to-do lists and streamline your communication through handy message boards. You can also set deadlines and milestones, send 'pings' to your team and direct messages, and organise all your key docs, files and assets. With all-inclusive pricing, and no charge per user, you're never charged more if you hire someone new.
Starting from $29/month | Visit the website
Apollo allows you to prioritise tasks, organise projects and keep your team on the same page. With task lists, milestones, schedules and the ability to track time, you'll be on top of your project management in no time. There's even a CRM feature that allows you to keep tabs on contacts and leads, so it offers way more than the usual. Not to mention email integration, recurring tasks, iCal feeds and fast and friendly support.
Starting from $23/month | Visit the website
Freelancing's tough, according to Solo. Luckily, you've just found your wingman – according to this affordable tool. It's a "great assistant and an elegant way to ensure your freelance projects run smoothly". You can manage and analyse projects, reviewing your performance as you go and managing time and tasks. You can keep detailed and accurate time sheets. You can even enjoy elegant invoicing. It's a simple system, perfect for those sole entrepreneurs out there. A free 14-day trial is available, so you can try before you buy.
Starting from $15/month | Visit the website
7. Teamwork Projects
It's a tad heavyweight and sluggish compared to some of our other recommendations, and probably overkill for most freelancers, but Teamwork Projects has its plus points. Integrating project management and collaboration, time tracking and billing, and a raft of other features. A handy app is available for your smartphone too, so you can keep everything in the cloud, accessible anywhere and anytime.
Starting from $12/month | Visit the website
8. Project Bubble
Manage more projects in less time – that's the claim from Project Bubble, an online tool that offers easy project management. shared calendar, team collaboration, time tracking, powerful reporting and a promise of safety and security. It offers a 14-day free trial, so you can give it a whirl before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Starting from $19/month | Visit the website
Manage every aspect of life. That's the promise from Freecamp, which gives you a dashboard with quick access to every project – one place to stay organised, updated and productive. With task lists, online sticky notes and calendar, it's got everything you need to stay on top of your workload _ and it's free.
But if you want more, there are additional tools you can pay for, including a CRM app to help you manage contacts and leads; an invoices app, giving you the ability to generate invoices and estimates and a time-tracking feature. Powerful stuff.
Free with upgrades available | Visit the website
"Intuitive and beautiful project planning" is the promise from TeamGantt. If you prefer to plan and visualise your projects with timeline charts, this tool allows you to manage projects with super easy-to-use gantt software. Using fast drag and drop scheduling, you can create your gantt charts quickly online. Just jump in and start adding tasks, with no training required. Great for working with teams, and it brings in all your conversations, files, tasks, assignments and availability – all in one place.
Starting from $29/month | Visit the website