Do you know what makes a startup thrive and flourish? It is a combination of imagination, passion, and the right resources to nurture its growth. Just like how a sapling needs water, sunlight, and soil nutrients, a startup needs resources to thrive.
Success isn’t assured through resources alone, however. You also need to manage your startup project impeccably. The trick is to make sure you have the right tools at your disposal and then use them to the best of your ability.
An essential way to achieve success is to have a top-notch project management system in place. Even the most experienced project manager can benefit from project management software and tools. However, with over 300 options available (and counting!), it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.
Choosing the right project management solution is crucial for startups, as it can help even the most experienced project manager stay on top of their work. This guide will hopefully make that process easier for you, having narrowed down the options to present the best of the bunch. You’re welcome!
The Best Project Management Tools For Startups
Bio: Although being the new kid on the block, ClickUp has built quite a reputation for itself in just seven years. Their success speaks for itself. They’ve raised a total of $537.5M in funding over five rounds from six investors and have received numerous awards and accolades for their product, including being recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US by Inc. Magazine in 2020 and 2021.
Time-tracking is useful for startups, especially if you pay your employees by the hour. ClickUp has a time-tracking feature that sets it apart by letting you do more than just track your time – you can also use it for invoicing and tracking time in your native language and zone.
This is something that you don’t see in a lot of other time-tracking tools.
Their time-tracking feature helps you analyze your team’s productivity and provides insights into their efforts measured against what they are paid. Other note-worthy components in ClickUp’s time-tracking feature include
- Rescheduling Dependencies; Adjusting the due dates of a task blocking other tasks, and the due dates for the dependent tasks automatically get modified.
- Milestones; Keep track of significant points in a project by setting and monitoring project milestones.
- Timesheets; Lets you create personalized timesheets for any time period. You can group time entries or break them down by individual tasks – it’s up to you.
With agile workflow on the rise, sprint planning is a feature necessary to implement in your projects. One of the biggest issues entrepreneurs face while handling a startup is understanding what they need to focus on first—especially if there are any dependencies between current and upcoming tasks. That’s where Sprint planning comes in.
Based on team capacity, business goals, and velocity, these features help you to identify what goals you want to achieve and how you will achieve them. It gives your team direction and ensures all are on the same page.
Sprint planning helps convert big projects into smaller manageable tasks by setting a points system using any number pattern.
You might have noticed that screen recording is not a common feature in project management tools. However, it can be useful when it comes to clear communication.
ClickUp’s free screen recording feature lets you instantly capture and share your entire screen with no watermarks or time limits without needing an email chain or in-person meeting.
The video messages require no downloading and can be sent to anyone via shareable links.
ClickUp Mind Maps
ClickUp Mind Maps allows users to visualize their tasks and projects in a visual, hierarchical structure. They are interactive diagrams that allow users to create and organize tasks.
You can create a central node that represents the main idea or project, and then add sub-nodes that represent tasks, subtasks, or other related ideas.
You can add colors, icons, and other visual elements to make the map more engaging and easier to understand. They can also as well as add links, attachments, and notes to each node to provide more information or context.
Another feature that can help optimize your startup’s productivity is LineUp™️. It allows you to set and have a clear view of each team member’s prioritized task list, allowing you to keep track of their main focus and priorities at all times.
This helps you stay organized and aware of each team member’s workload and lets your team members know what they have to work on next.
ClickUp offers a unique initiative to support early-stage startups by giving them a discounted rate to access their project management and productivity platform. It is designed to help startups increase efficiency, collaboration, and productivity while keeping costs low.
The program offers onboarding resources, enterprise-level workspace, and $3000 worth of ClickUp credit. Following are its eligibility requirements,
- Your startup needs to be associated with a venture capital partner or a ClickUp-approved incubator.
- You need to have a public company website and a unique company email domain
- You have raised a max of Series B round funding or below $15 million
- You’re startup has been incorporated less than 5 years ago
- You’re new to ClickUp or currently on the Free Forever Plan
$0 – $29+/mo
- Has an in-built native time-tracking feature
- The /Slash commands make it easy to manage tasks, saving your time
- The Everything View allows you to see tasks from all of your spaces and lists in one view
- Unlike others from the list, ClickUp has its own real-time chat channels
- Its mobile app is user friendly
- There is a usage limit when it comes to using automation
- ClickUp loading speed sometimes takes a bit too long
- Editing templates is a little tedious
CEO, project managers and individuals all have praised ClickUp for its user-friendly interface, extensive customization options, and robust feature set.
Product Rating Summary
ClickUp strikes the perfect balance between offering a good number of features and being affordable. Although it has a bit of a learning curve, it does eventually become intuitive and easy to use. It’s packed with all the essentials you need without overwhelming you with unnecessary clutter or steep pricing.
Ease of use ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75)
Features ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)
Bio: Asana is a PM tool designed to help teams and organizations manage and track their work. It was founded in 2008 by two ex-engineers of Facebook. Asana has become a popular choice for businesses of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 companies.
From 2012 to date, it has raised a total of $453.2M in funding from 39 investors. Today the company serves over 100,000 paying customers and millions of users worldwide, including prominent organizations such as NASA, Deloitte, and Uber.
Work Visibility & Graphical Representations
Asana makes it easier for people to keep track of their tasks and see how things are progressing by simplifying how they view task statuses. The main dashboard allows you to monitor the total progress of your teams and identify any potential blockers or barriers in your projects.
The dashboard consists of the following visualizations,
- The completed, incompleted, overdue, and total number of tasks.
- Incomplete tasks per project
- Status of total tasks
- Status of your projects
- Weekly upcoming tasks
You can easily view individual reports of your projects by visiting their dashboard.
Everyday repetitive work can be a frenzy. But a lot of tasks are very predictable and have similar patterns on how we can move the work forward. Asana’s workflow feature comes in handy when you need to move tasks through a series of steps, starting from initiation and ending at completion.
Think of workflow as a road through which workflows reach their destination (like vehicles). Asana’s work graphs allow you to build these roads that transform routine tasks into automated processes.
When you have your workflow set up, it can make a big difference in how you organize your information. In addition, it also makes it much easier to understand and repeat the same process over and over again.
Asana’s task management feature is its core functionality. It allows startups to manage tasks easily, assign them to team members, set deadlines, and track progress. The feature also allows users to create templates for recurring tasks to save time. This is especially helpful for startups working on multiple projects or with a small team.
Immaculate & Intuitive Home Page
Among other features, Asana’s user-friendly homepage was unquestionably a significant positive for me. An organized home page can provide a better user experience by reducing confusion and frustration.
Unlike Wrike’s homepage, whichmight be described as a slightly cluttered, Asana’s equivalent is simple and intuitive. It gives a personalized experience for users, showing them content relevant to their interests.
The following details of Asana’s homepage make it stand out,
Easy Navigation: An organized subscriber home page makes it easy to move through the site and provides smooth navigation through a clear menu structure and well-labeled sections, enabling users to find the information they want effortlessly.
It Saves Time: It saves time and effort by providing quick access to the most critical and relevant information.
It Creates a Sense of Trustworthiness: The Asana homepage creates a sense of trustworthiness in your mind. If a homepage is challenging to navigate, users are less likely to trust the information they find there.
$0 – $24.99+/mo
- Users can adapt more easily to Asana than Wrike
- Flexibility in organizing and setting up project boards
- Puts communication all in one place
- Easy to keep track of your and your employees’ tasks
- Easy to set up dependencies and milestones
- Limited features as compared to Wrike
- Cannot be used if there is no internet connection
- There is no built-in native time tracker
Like any other product, Asana may not be the perfect fit for everyone, but its customer feedback has been largely positive.
Product Rating Summary
Unlike Wrike, Asana was built while keeping every business and occupation in mind. Asana stands out from other project management software options because it is incredibly user-friendly and simple and features a Kanban-style interface.
It offers a free plan with limited features and paid plans starting at $10.99 per monthly user, which makes it more expensive than other project management tools in the market.
Ease of use ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)
Features ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75)
Bio: Monday.com (Previously known as daPulse) is a project management tool that has been around for a while and is known for its reliability. The platform was initially created in 2012 by co-founders Roy Mann and Eran Zinman, but it wasn’t officially launched until two years later.
Originally designed for internal use within the company, it has since become one of the most popular project management tools, with over 100,000 customers worldwide. Monday.com has raised a total of $384.1M in funding over eight rounds from twelve investors.
Unlike some other project management tools I reviewed, Monday.com has a fully customizable dashboard with 27 available widgets that you can use to stay on top of your progress, manage budgets and timelines and easily run reports from a high-level overview down to the very last detail.
Task Progress & Mirroring Sub-Tasks
Whether you’re a startup or an enterprise, visualizations of tasks are important because they help with planning, provide clarity and transparency, and enable tracking and monitoring of project progress.
Monday.com’s Task Progress and Mirroring Sub-Tasks are two separate columns that show information in one column from multiple places across your workspace.
Don’t get confused by both of these columns. Where Task Progress provides an overview of the overall status of a project, the latter allows for tracking the progress of each subtask within that project.
I found this feature to be highly insightful as it bunches up information into one column saving you the time of checking everything manually.
A Diversified AppStore
Monday.com’s App Store has over 604 custom apps with categories including project management, automation, reporting, and communication explicitly developed for the Monday.com platform.
The project management app marketplace is designed to be a one-stop-shop for users looking to extend the functionality of their boards and provides a convenient way for users to discover and install new apps without having to leave the platform.
Objectives And Key Results (OKR) Template
The OKR feature is a valuable tool for project managers and teams alike, as it helps them set and track their objectives and key results collaboratively.
Monday.com has its own OKR template where users can track progress toward their goals in real-time, use reporting tools and visualizations to make sure they stay on track, and help set concrete goals to achieve measurable results
Monday.com’s OKR template has a grading system (a scale of 0-0.1 or 0-100%) to give a score to each key result they complete and rate how well they did. It’s perfect for teams who want to work together towards common goals and measure their progress.
$0 – $20+/mo
- The add-ons ensure a fun and personal feel for users
- It does not have an overcrowded interface
- Offers personalized work OS management products for different purposes, i.e. Monday.com dev, Monday.com marketer, Monday.com sales CRM, and Monday.com projects
- Contains a wide range of pre-built templates
- Color coding feature can help to visually emphasize or differentiate among the data on your board
- Monday.com does not offer as such customizable downloadable user reports, unlike other project management tools
- Users have to manually customize columns and work status for every task and sub-tasks
- It has a bit of a learning curve
Monday.com is a project management tool that is known for providing a great customer experience to its users. The platform has gained tons of reviews of various well-known websites like Trustradius and Product Hunt. Here are some of them,
Product Rating Summary
The customer service is really on point, offering excellent options such as email, phone, and chat support, as well as a knowledge base and community forum. While Monday.com offers many features, setup can become a bit hectic as there is not much automation available in that regard.
Ease of use ⭐⭐⭐ (3)
Features ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5)
Bio: ProofHub is the go-to cloud-based project planning and team collaboration software whose idea first came to Sandeep Kashyap while working as a software developer and project manager and saw the need for a more efficient way to manage projects and teams.
It is used by over 85,000 teams and businesses, including NASA, Disney, and TripAdvisor. It has won numerous awards, making ProofHub the smart choice for businesses of all sizes.
Reporting & Analytics
Like Asana, reports in ProofHub is an area where you can access comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date figures on projects, including tasks, milestones, and logged time.
The reports offer an interactive, graphical, and tabular real-time view of account tasks and time data.
What sets this PM tool apart from many others available on the web is that you can make custom reports by setting your parameters. Currently, ProofHub offers eight different reporting templates for businesses and individuals to view their progress.
ProofHub is designed to be an accessible project management tool with a range of features that ensure all team members can easily use the software. ProofHub’s accessibilities, like Keyboard Shortcuts, Bookmarks, Quick Add, Stickies, etc, allow you to save time and work swiftly.
Efficient Team Management With ProofHub’s Admin Control
Admin Control is a crucial tool for startups that want to prioritize resource allocation and effectively manage their projects and team members.
These features can be used for for resource management, managing user accounts, setting permissions, and controlling access to sensitive information, ensuring that team members use the software as productively and securely as possible. This helps startups to optimize their resources, save time, and achieve better results.
ProofHub offers a timesheet feature that allows users to track time spent on tasks and projects and generate accurate reports for billing and payroll purposes. This feature enables better project management and time management for individuals and reduces administrative burdens for startup founders.
$45 – $89+/mo
- Contains some very nice tools such as Markup, Docanno, and Drawboard, for annotations
- Pricing plans are not limited to the number of users
- Announcement widget on each user’s dashboard enables them to stay updated and easily keep track of all the announcements
- Offers customer support via email, live chat, and phone
- Data is secured via SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular backups
- Costly in comparison to other PM tools
- Gantt view and Overview features can be confusing and incomprehensible for some users
- Limited integrations with other software platforms
ProofHub is an old-timer project management and productivity tool that has received both positive and negative feedback from its customers (negative mostly because of pricing). Below are a few of them,
Product Rating Summary
While ProofHub might have some amazing features – some of which are unavailable in competitor products – it falls behind on my list of the top 6 project management tools due to its lack of customer support options and poor ease of use.
The pricing also seems a little high. ProofHub’s UX/UI design might also benefit from a tune-up, in terms of look and feel.
Ease of use ⭐⭐⭐ (3)
Features ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)
Bio: Founded over a decade ago, Wrike is arguably the most trusted and reliable project management software, often mentioned in the same breath as Jira.
It caters to more than 20,000 companies and 2.3 million customers worldwide, increasing their productivity by 50%. Wrike has raised a total of $26M in funding over three rounds from four investors.
Analytics And BI
As a startup, you want to ensure you’re on the right track toward achieving your business goals. One way to do that is by closely monitoring your project’s progress. But, let’s be honest, that can be a bit time-consuming.
With Wrike’s Analytics and BI tools, you can get an eagle-eye view of your workspace data all in one place. They provide custom interactive analytics boards that give you a real-time look at your workspace data.
The best part? It lets you gain insights into your tasks and task-based custom items with interactive analytics boards that are automatically updated with the most recent data with the help of easy-to-digest infographics.
Keeping a close eye on the team’s schedule might be a little tricky, but Wrike’s Workload charts make that easy. You can manage your team members’ planned work allocation and capacity and prioritize tasks based on their capacity. The feature is fully interactive and allows you to optimize your team’s schedule easily.
The feature divides the total time required for a task based on the number of days to complete it. When a task requires more than eight hours of work per day, the cell turns red.
Wrike’s productivity dashboard is a feature that provides users with an overview of their team’s performance and progress toward project goals. The dashboard is customizable and can be configured to display metrics and data most relevant to the user’s workflow and projects.
Some key features of Wrike’s productivity dashboard include:
- Task status overview: The dashboard provides users with a quick view of the status of their team’s tasks, including overdue, due today, and upcoming tasks.
- Workload overview: The dashboard displays a workload overview, showing the number of tasks assigned to each team member and their capacity to take on additional work.
- Project progress: The dashboard provides a progress overview of each project, including completion percentages and timelines.
$0 – $24.80+/mo
- Provides in-depth analysis and insights to calculate project deliverables
- Flexible project templates
- Can accompany more than 1000 employees
- It has integrated time-tracking software helping you keep track of your staff’s hours
- Offers a 14-day free trial on Team and Business plans
- Expensive for single users or small teams
- Wrike UI may be complicated at times
- It has a long and difficult learning curve
Wrike is loved by many but also undervalued by some. Here are some honest reviews by all CEOs, managers, marketers, etc.,
Product Rating Summary
From security to usability and automation, this PM tool can successfully scale all the digital work for your start-up. The setup feature process is nice and simple, offering very little in the way of complication.
Ease of use ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.5)
Features ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4)
Bio: Notion is a privately held technology company founded in 2016 by Ivan Zhao and Simon Last. The company is based in San Francisco, California, and has a distributed workforce worldwide. Until now, Notion has raised $343.2M in funding over five rounds from 30 investors.
Best For Note-Taking
If you’re in the market for a top-of-the-line Notes app that your entire organization can use, then Notion is your obvious choice. Unlike other web-based project management tools, Notion creates flexible, structured notes, which you can later restructure, duplicate, share, and more. Here’s an example of Notion’s Vs. other PM tool’s structuring abilities.
In February 2023, Notion launched its own AI tool, which was seen as a game changer in the world of project management tools. Software development teams developed an AI assistant within Notion pages, drawing inspiration from the third iteration of an open-source AI platform named General Pre-trained Transformer 3.
As a startup, developing and executing new ideas is often quite challenging, for many. Notion AI can help you brainstorm fresh ideas for your projects by analyzing market trends and customer behavior and suggesting new ideas based on your inputs and previous brainstorming sessions. Here’s a quick showcase of Notion AI functionality.
Additionally, it can help you improve the quality of your content, ensuring that your message is clear and professional, and help you reach a wider audience by translating your message into any language you want.
Wikis are one of the most standout features of Notion that sets it apart from all the other PM tools on my list. It’s similar to traditional wikis that you see on Google that are content-oriented—TV show fandoms (Gilmore Girls Wiki) or tutorials like WikiHow.
Notion wiki is like a collaborative tool that allows you and your team to share, edit and comment on the pages directly within them. They are highly customizable and come in a variety of pre-built templates for different use cases, including project management, meeting notes, and personal knowledge bases.
One quite useful feature of Notion is the extreme customization it offers, including built-in templates and the option to edit them as much as you want. You can get as creative as you want by adding images, colorful text, or leave things minimal for a simple presentation.
Thanks to its heavy customization, building anything including a wiki to support a small CRM business is a simple experience. Users can also customize backlinks and comments within Notion.
Another useful aspect of Notion is the highly customizable key shortcuts, together with an extensive list available at the Notion help center.
Notion Startup Program
Notion offers startup credits through various startup accelerator programs, including Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Techstars. If you’re working with one of their partners (such as Stripe or AWS), users are eligible to receive $1000 worth of Notion credits; otherwise, you can receive $500 worth of credits.
Following are the eligibility criteria for their Startup Program,
- You need to have a valid Notion domain
- The startup has not been acquired or IPO’d
- The startup has received funding from investors
- Your startup’s website has a publicly available company website and a unique company email domain
- You’re new to Notion or currently on the Free Personal Plan
$0 – $15+/mo
- Well-organized document structure
- UX/UI of the platform is simple and intuitive
- More cost-effective than other project management tools
- Works well as a database tool
- Not all information is transferred when moving to or from different project management tools
- The mobile app is not user friendly
- Lacks advanced features that are found in other project management tools
High praise is wide and abundant on trustable review sites such as Trustradius, encompassing feedback from students through to c-suite execs.
Product Rating Summary
If you’re looking for a great note-taking tool, Notion might be your best choice. That said, when it comes to the right project management software, it lacks some of the more robust features on other platforms, such as Gantt Chart or Advanced Time Tracking, etc.
Notion is relatively easy to set up and work on (ignoring its mobile app). This PM tool might be the perfect fit for startups who are just starting out.
Ease of use ⭐⭐⭐⭐(3.75)
Comparison Table For The Top 6 Project Management Tools
|Integrations||Status Reporting Options||Dashboard Widgets||Project Views|
|ClickUp||109 + 39 native apps||9||9||15|
Note: The blank cells do not necessarily indicate a complete lack of any specific feature, as they can often be embedded using a third-party app.
What Are Tools In Project Management?
PM tools for project management are a suite of programs that teams manage, track, and easily achieve their goals within a specified budget and timescale. In addition, the perfect online project management tool enables you to communicate effortlessly with your team.
The following set of tools is a must-have in agile project management software:
- Multiple projects views
- Collaboration and communication features, such as a file-sharing system and live chat option
- Ability to streamline your workflow with multiple integrations
- Real-time reporting options for multiple projects
- Project and task analytics through various charts.
While all these tools work exceptionally well and have tons of features, we recommend that you choose Asana or Clickup for your project management, owing to their solid all-round performance and positive customer feedback.
After carefully using and analyzing their features and performance, these tools are reasonably priced, giving you all the necessary and extra project management options without poking a hole in your pocket.
When it comes to project management tools, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each tool has unique features and advantages, making them suitable for different projects and teams. Therefore, it is essential for startups to pick a project management tool that fits their unique needs and requirements. From affordable pricing plans billed per user to customizable features, the right tool can increase productivity and help achieve business objectives. After all, choosing the right tool is the first step to project management success.