How to choose a project management software: A complete guide

How to Choose A Project Management Software

In an effort to better understand how managers (or decision-makers) choose a project management tool, ProofHub surveyed a few of them and found some surprising and reoccurring factors that influence the final purchasing decision.

Choosing a project management tool that perfectly matches your team’s requirements is tough.

It’s tougher than picking which Netflix docuseries to watch next!

Yes, we’re talking about that difficulty level!!

You might even still be unsure of why you need a project management tool in the first place, let alone what it offers. Due to the abundance of features and possibilities, it might be challenging to know where to start. Also, it is time-consuming.

Number of Tools analyzed while making the final selection

It’s challenging to find the ideal fit for your business. There are countless project management software available, and each one outs itself as the finest. We can infer from the graph above that people typically test 3–4 tools before choosing one, and that the decision takes 3–4 weeks. Which is okay if you’re willing to ensure that it meets your specific requirements. The major problem, though, is TIME.

One of our survey respondents, Isaac Robertson, Total Shape – Co-founder, mentioned that they evaluated 7-8 tools to manage their employees before zeroing on one for their work, which took a lot of time to be adopted by their team.

This is why organizations need an end-to-end project management tool that caters to business needs and saves time from juggling between different apps. And, ProofHub understands the importance of time and helps you start investing it in actually using that tool.

ProofHub understands the value of time and helps you in beginning to invest it in actually using that tool.

You can sign up for a 14-day free trial and get the necessary training to start using ProofHub right now.

Again to substantiate my point but in a different light, finding a work management tool isn’t hard. Finding the right solution to meet your needs and be adopted by your team is the hard part. This is the reason why ProofHub developed this guide. It will help you understand how to:

  • Create a more thorough portrayal of the problems your team confronts so you can more clearly state your requirements.
  • Recognize the benefits of project management software so you may avoid wasting time on ineffective tools.
  • Establish the criteria you should use when evaluating tools so you are aware of the features that are most important to your team.

Problems that managers face while managing a project

Problems that managers face while managing a project

Problems might arise at any point during the project’s life cycle. You must keep track of several components while contemplating various outcomes and time. There will inevitably be some obstacles in your path.

In the ProofHub survey, respondents cited various issues (some new and others recurring) that emerge when managing a project, such as monitoring projects, poor communication, remote/hybrid team cooperation, employee engagement, and many more.

Our survey results identified five of the most common project management problems that initially led managers to hunt for a project management tool.

five of the most common project management problems
  • Tracking project progress

Problem: Not able to find, compile, organize, and offer easy access to all the data you’re monitoring.

Looking at the graph above, we can see that nearly one-third of the survey respondents listed tracking project (time/tasks) progress as their top concern. Additionally, 50% of respondents listed project tracking as a critical part of the tool they will take into consideration (which we will discuss in more depth below).

Without an effective project management solution, it is challenging to determine exactly where a project is in its life cycle and whether it is on track to be delivered on time, under budget, and with a significant ROI. Even in the best-case scenario, managing a project is challenging; nevertheless, without the capacity to check progress, you’ll encounter difficulties along the way.

Solution: On the other hand, effective project tracking aids in keeping project managers and stakeholders informed about the tasks and milestones that have been completed, the resources that were used, and the modifications or accommodations that need to be made to take into account unexpected setbacks that arise during the process.

Track the status of tasks with ProofHub to learn how your project is progressing.
  • Communication gap

Problem: Team members don’t understand how and when to communicate updates.

It might be challenging to identify when and when to disclose crucial project updates in today’s app-heavy world. In other words, if project team members (including hybrid and remote teams) are not in agreement about which communication channels to use when to use them, or who should communicate what, work may be in jeopardy.

A large number of open communication channels can sometimes be counterproductive: emails that were not read, messages that overlapped in the group chat, and urgent announcements that lose priority, says Ilija Sekulov, Mailbutler – Digital Marketing Consultant & Senior SEO/SEM Specialist.

Solution: A detailed communication strategy outlines how you’ll disseminate pertinent, ongoing project information. It clarifies for your team which technologies should be utilized for particular tasks, specifies how frequently updates will be communicated (and with whom), and indicates when to involve important stakeholders. You may spend less time looking for information and more time working on your project’s goals if you have a good communication plan.

  • Missed deadlines

Problem: Missed deadlines result in hurried work and severe project delays.

It may seem trivial in the time, but a missed deadline here or a postponed meeting there can eventually snowball into rushed work, frazzled coworkers, and severe project delays.

As per the 2021  Anatomy of Work Index, scheduling delays like these are becoming more frequent, with 26 percent of deadlines being missed each week.

Solution: Your team will have clarity on how parts fit together thanks to an efficient project schedule. As a result, it will be simple for you to determine which important milestones depend on one another. You can then work backward from the due dates to make sure that you have adequate time for each stage. To account for everyone’s timetable and duties, you can also involve your team in the scheduling process.

  • Team collaboration

Problem: It’s challenging to keep the team members engaged and on the same page.

Managers can uphold accountability in the workplace by directly monitoring workers’ actions. Managers, however, are unable to always keep an eye on employees on a distributed, hybrid team.

The fact that many businesses now employ both full-time employees and part-time employees in addition to independent contractors, consultants, and other third parties further serves to confuse issues.

All of these elements bring about a number of project problems, progress barriers, and, most importantly, disengaged workers, which can make it challenging to maintain productivity and communication.

Solution: During a project, you need to collaborate regularly to stay on track. But instead of using constant real-time communication (that interrupts your flow and productivity), you can asynchronously give updates, check-in on progress, and adjust your goals.

Real Life Example:  Brian Casel, ZipMessage – Founder, has stated that the PM tool they use is by far among the most efficient tools in keeping their remote team on the same page through asynchronous communication. Also, you can simply do away with virtual meetings and superfluous team calls that chew into your valuable time.

Coordinate, collaborate, and communicate remotely with ProofHub.
  • Too many tools

Problem: Can’t manage a reliable information flow with a jumble of integrations.

Today, a seemingly limitless number of software systems and tools are available to meet business demands. This list includes task management tools, scheduling tools, communication apps, time-tracking software, calendars, Agile systems, and more.

However, productivity is frequently paralyzed (or drastically slowed down) rather than maximized when you have to work with such a baffling number of systems.

Solution: To tackle (and untangle) what appears to be a mishmash of platforms, we advocate merging core project management requirements into a single solution. To establish an excellent, all-in-one project management platform, you don’t need a variety of separate products.

A shared mission between teams and across organizations is supported by a central location for numerous project-related operations. Additionally, it makes everyone’s work more productive and efficient.

How using work or project management software can help teams

Improved collaboration

According to a survey by Queens University, 39% of employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough.

Collaboration is the essence of teamwork. Top project management solutions like ProofHub, Asana, Trello, ClickUp, etc, are primarily designed to improve team collaboration and keep all members aligned. By providing useful features like online proofing, Kanban boards, discussions, group chat, notifications, etc, project management software helps managers keep everyone in the loop. Every team member has a clear idea of tasks to do and start and due dates.

Improved task management

Confusion related to tasks is prevalent in many teams where there’s no clear picture of who gets to do what. However, teams using a project management system with built-in task management software can manage tasks better by breaking tasks into smaller, manageable subtasks. Managers can create personal tasks or assign tasks to multiple people in one place. They can create to-do lists, set start and due dates, track time, and set estimates to make sure tasks are completed on time.

Create, assign, and monitor tasks in one place with ProofHub.

Improved communication

You cannot underestimate the significance of communication, especially in this time of remote work. A top-rated project management software like ProofHub has an in-built individual and group chat feature that allows users to send DMs to each other and get replies in an instant. This feature saves a lot of time that is otherwise wasted on sending emails and then waiting for replies. Users can attach files and documents, use emojis, and have quick conversations with team members and clients on the go using one internal communication tool.

Improved project planning

Whether it is small or large-scale businesses, project planning takes a whole lot of time. But with project management software, it doesn’t have to be this way as managers can simplify projects of any type and size by automating manual tasks. With all the right tools put in one place, you can easily plan, collaborate, organize, and deliver projects of all sizes, on time.

Improved visualization of tasks

Project management is more than delegating tasks and turning up on the due dates to check if they have been completed or not. Efficient PM tools offer Kanban boards using which project managers and team members stay updated about the current status of tasks. You can see the work moving through multiple stages on Kanban boards or use to-do lists to keep high-priority tasks on top of your mind.

In our survey, the percentage of respondents that want Kanban boards in their PM tool is leading at 25%, followed by Gantt charts, at 19%,  table view, at 14%, and timeline/calendar view at 13%, respectively.

Visualization of Tasks

Improved file organization

Scattered files and documents is a big headache for project managers and team members. Another main benefit of using a project management solution is that you can store and organize all files online, which eliminates any possibility of them getting damaged or misplaced. You can store multiple versions of the same file, share file links with guests, and collaborate on files easily and smartly. Team members can easily find files without trawling through shared drives and links.

Improved resource management 

Budget is one of the most important things in project management and project management software can help managers in controlling the budget from the initial stages of work to the final delivery. By having measurable results of which employee has spent how much time on tasks, you are in a better position to see real-time costs and identify areas where too much money is spent.

Improved integration of new members

Adding new members on board mid-way through a project can be an overwhelming experience for both parties as a lot of project-related information and context has to be explained. An easy-to-use project management tool with little or no learning curve can make it easy for new additions to review the project’s progress. They can easily make their way into the team, requiring minimal integration, and familiarize themselves with the tool and all its features.

Improved risk mitigation

Identifying potential obstructions and employing constructive solutions are the skills any great manager must possess. Project management software helps managers to enhance their risk mitigation strategies and utilize all the available resources to deploy effective countermeasures. This also improves the overall efficiency of the team.

What features to look for in project management software?

There are dozens of variables that can influence your project-management needs, including your philosophy, your team, your company size, and your industry.

Many project management tools try to differentiate themselves by adding more robust functionality. However, it takes weeks to months to “learn” the platform, as you wade through tutorials and create internal operating documents.

Let’s dive into the top 10 requirements, we found in our recent survey that managers consider while choosing a project management tool in detail so that you can better understand and account for them in your selection process!

What Features to look for in a Project Management Software

1. Does it help with project tracking & task management?

When selecting a work management tool for your team, you should look for features that will best suit your team’s needs and help manage your team’s workflow.- Luke Lee, Palaleather -CEO. 

Projects are made up of tasks and having a tool that helps you smartly and easily manage tasks in one centralized location can help you get your projects delivered on time without compromising on the quality. Using PM software with an inbuilt task management solution can help you to create, assign, monitor, and progress the work that needs to be done during the day. 

Task management software streamlines the process of managing tasks and gives you greater control over both tasks and teams. It is more than creating to-do lists and crossing them once tasks are completed. You can ensure a clear distribution of responsibilities by assigning tasks to an individual or group of people in one place.

Break up your workload into manageable chunks with ProofHub’s task management system.

2. Is it easy to use?

Is the project management tool you are considering have a user-friendly interface and even new members can easily start using it without any learning curve? All team members should be able to use the tool and all its features efficiently. It should be easy to get started.

If It’s Not Easy to Learn, I Don’t Want It. That’s what one of our survey respondents Nicky Taveras, DNT Home Buyers -CEO mentioned.

Explaining it further, he said, “Someone might pitch the best tool for my business with all the bells and whistles but there’s one feature they have to offer for me to buy it, and that is ease of use.”

Also, most businesses cannot invest adequate time, money, and resources in the learning of using project management software. Hence it becomes important for you to scrutinize the way you collaborate and contribute to the project, and use software that plays to your strengths.

3. Does it offer smooth communication?

The days of offline systems are long gone by. These are the days when team members should be instantly notified of the latest changes in schedule and project managers should also stay updated on the current state of any/all tasks in the project. If there is any risk/issue highlighted, the team should get the information in time so that remedial measures can be implemented without any delays.

A reliable and efficient project management software should update all the activities that happen in the project through desktop, email, and mobile notifications.

There were more struggles due to forgetfulness in the team. Purchasing the tool helped deal with all of those problems. With a PM tool, we receive regular reminders and notifications about the work at hand. It provides automatic backup of data and is also easily available in the app stores for everyone to download, cites Anthony King, Transport Executive.

ProofHub also offers a useful notification feature where the name of a team member is @mentioned to catch the user’s attention straight away.

4. Does it foster collaboration? 

When choosing a work management tool for our team, we look for collaboration and integration features. -Marina Vaamonde, HouseCashin – Real Estate Investor

The team collaboration and project management tool must facilitate project coordination for teams of any size, either on-site or remotely. This will make it easier for every team member to stay updated about all developments in a project as well as provide inputs at any stage of the project.

The tools should be inherently collaborative so that teams, managers, clients, and stakeholders are on the same page at every phase of the project. Even though the word collaboration holds a different meaning for different people, it should enable informed and quick decision-making for the team.

5. Does it offer a reporting tool?

Having a central reporting tool that can house all your project lifecycle instances is vital in the PMO world, says Sean Benson, Fludira

Managers can understand project performance objectively thanks to project reports and dashboards. Every drop in critical project indicators necessitates action, which eventually aids the management in maintaining project health over time.

The project management software that can give detailed individual, custom, and project reports can help you analyze project progress and can be of huge help in updating you with all the necessary project work. You can visualize every aspect of your project and plan to take future actions accordingly. You can also track an individual’s tasks, milestones, time data, and overall progress to analyze their performance. 

Burn-up charts help you to see how much work has been completed and at what pace they are completed to adjust plans accordingly. See detailed workflow task reports of tasks for each workflow in a project and get a clear idea of the number of tasks in each and how much work is progressing. 

ProofHub with its reporting software, helps you see detailed workflow task reports of tasks for each workflow in a project and get a clear idea of the number of tasks in each and how much work is progressing.

6. Does it have the ability to integrate?

With integrations, your project is no longer isolated from other enterprise applications. Without having to switch between a variety of apps, you’ll have more visibility and clarity into how your projects fit with the bigger ecosystem of your company.

ProofHub has integration with many third-party apps like Freshbooks, Google calendar and iCal, Box, Dropbox, Google drive, Onedrive, and Outlook. Its notable clients include Netflix, Google, Walt Disney, NASA, Pinterest, Bosch, and many more.

What else?

Following a few simple steps, you can quickly integrate ProofHub with your Slack app and have an outstanding Slack project management experience. Through Slack, you can quickly do real-time actions in ProofHub, such as assigning tasks, adding or removing assignees, modifying metadata, and revising start and end dates.

7. Does it offer time-tracking features?

Do not even consider PM software that does not include time-tracking features; you’ll be doing yourself, your organization, and your team members no good. Timesheets and time tracking will help you to monitor and record the amount of time that employees have spent at work, on a particular job, project, or working for a specific client.

it will help eliminate time wastage at work and identify tasks that are taking more than expected time. You can Add multiple timesheets to record time data and use them for payroll, client billing, estimation, tracking, and even time management. See all the time data of team members across all projects in a bird’s eye view without the need to jump through projects.

8. Is it customizable? 

Having some customizable features always proves to be useful. The best project management software solution can easily be configured to meet your organization’s needs. So you must look out for the level of customization that software offers. 

Ben Travis, Product Manager from  HR Chief, straight out mentioned that, “when choosing a work management solution, I looked for one that allowed for role customization so all parties would have what they need.”

Versatility is a highly important factor to consider since a large number of professionals today are working since working styles are expected to change over time. 

The software should allow you to access project details from any location, from any connected devices like a PC, laptop, or mobile phone. You can add personalized workspaces for your projects to keep track of task progress. You can instantly toggle between board view and list view to get insight into your task lineup.

9. Is it reasonably priced?

This one’s probably the most important factor even though it is placed at the bottom of this article. If you are managing a small business with limited resources then the price factor is quite crucial. There are a lot of differently priced software solutions available today and some of them can be expensive for you to afford. 

Some project management software charges a per-user fee, which can be expensive if your team grows over time. Software like ProofHub is preferred by many businesses because it offers simple pricing for all team sizes. You can onboard more members to your team without worrying about increasing costs. Before choosing one, try to look at the bigger picture; if the tool will help to reduce the overall business costs by improving efficiency and automating tasks. 

Point to be noted: Your initial inclination after determining the features you require could be to take up a free trial with each provider you are considering. It shouldn’t be too difficult to sample each one and come to a conclusion on your own, without the assistance of a salesperson, given that they are offering it.

10. Is it an all-in-one project management solution?

While looking for a work management tool, we needed to find a one-tool solution for all our teams.- Tatsiana Kirimava, Orangesoft – CEO & Co-founder

Juggling multiple tools to manage projects consumes the significant time and efforts of project managers. So many companies have already invested a significant amount of resources while working with different systems. Would you want all the required tools under one roof, in one centralized location, or have them scattered across different systems? 

Undoubtedly, using an all-in-one project management software like ProofHub will put you and your team at a great advantage as you get to use all the tools from one place. You get greater control over projects and teams and enjoy improved collaboration among team members, clients, and stakeholders. 

Feature that completes the picture

Can it manage the entire lifecycle of a project?

If your project is not insignificant, it will face problems, it will face risks, it will need an allocated budget, it will need resources, change requests, etc. Contrary to popular belief, a project management tool is more than scheduling, task management, and time tracking. So a given tool has all the right features your team needs under one roof, so it becomes easier for you to manage things in every stage of the project lifecycle.

You should look for the following features in team collaboration and project management software.

Check whether a given project management system has the right tools to allow you to control your project from its inception to closure.

Steps to choose the right project management tool for your business?

Regardless of the project management tool you choose, it must work with the workflow and business objectives of your organization. Before selecting a tool, consider the following steps:

  • Identify the best tool by analyzing your present processes. Choose a tool that supports the agile methodology, for instance, if your company adopts such a technique.
  • Based on the structure of your firm, determine the elements you’ll need for management.
  • You should choose a more advanced software solution as your workforce and workload grows.
  • Consider using an automated project management system with automatic data synchronization, updates, pre-designed templates, etc. if your workflow is labor-intensive and contains an excessive number of repetitive tasks.
  • Make sure the project management tool you select will help your team accomplish your main business goals, such as enhancing team productivity or scaling business growth.
  • Since you are deploying technology, you want it to be used by your entire team and achieve your goals.

How ProofHub can be your go-to project management tool

ProofHub has rapidly emerged as the game-changer in the project management software market and it’s not hard to find out why. While most other tools offer users a limited set of features, ProofHub goes beyond and offers you all the powerful tools you and your team need in one central place for simplified project management.

With ProofHub, you don’t need to invest separately on communication, reporting, and time-tracking tools. Little to no learning curve, simple pricing plans, and ease of usage make ProofHub a quintessential project management software that any project manager must have in their repertoire.

Whether it’s smart task management, team collaboration, online proofing, custom workflows, custom roles, and time-tracking, ProofHub offers you all of these and more at affordable prices as project managers enjoy greater control over tasks, teams, and project progress. Rated as one of the top three project management systems in 2020 by GetApp, Proofhub is used and trusted by more than 85,000 teams and businesses worldwide.


Choosing the best project management solution for your team is a huge task. Furthermore, it is not a choice to be made hastily or carelessly. We hope this guide has assisted you in better understanding your team’s problems and outlining your requirements. You can now limit down the tools to try with your team, such as ProofHub.

Join forces with a project management provider who listens to your needs and personalizes your experience.


What is needed in project management tool?

Simple projects only need a checklist, whereas large projects demand careful planning, task assignment, deadline setting, monitoring everyone’s adherence to them, and time tracking.

What are some of the best project management tools?

According to our survey: ProofHub, Asana, Slack Trello, and wrike are some of the widely used project management tools.

What is the easiest project management tool to use?

The simplest user interface of ProofHub makes it a preferred PM tool, that requires no training. Additionally, your team may begin using it right away to organise and manage tasks.

Try ProofHub, our powerful project management and team collaboration software, for free!

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