Comparison of Project Management Tools

Comparing Project Management Tools

Project management software tools are evaluated against 200+ requirements. Contains summary scores with links to detailed reviews for each tool. In the detailed reviews, you can download a spreadsheet for each tool that shows its fit/gap against the 200+ requirements, and perform your own review.

Evaluation Methodology

The evaluations are structured around the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)© project management process. This is outlined in the PM Book of Knowledge (PMBOK)©. First, the project management processes are listed and then the activities within each process. Finally, a list of requirements related to each of the activities were documented. The list of requirements is based upon thirty years of project management experience and experience evaluating project management tools for clients. When novel functionality is discovered in the software being evaluated it is added to the requirements list. Of course this is an ongoing process, and suggestions for additional requirements are always welcome.

All processes and requirements are given equal weights, but you can adjust the scoring weights in the Excel spreadsheet to suit your needs. Each requirement was rated as either:

  • Yes – As Is – Meaning, the requirement is met with out-of-the-box functionality. This rating is awarded four points.
  • Yes – With Configuration – Meaning the requirement can be met with minimal configuration or no-code updates. Since, Salesforce is highly configurable this rating is used for simple things like changing picklist values, adding a field to an existing data object, creating a report, etc. This rating is awarded two points.
  • No – Not Available or Requires Customization – Meaning the requirement cannot be met without significant investment of time or money. This rating is assigned if custom coding would be required, or a new custom data object, or a new custom flow. This rating is awarded zero points.

Finally, the scoring spreadsheet totals the ratings by process to show how the apps compare by process. Therefore, you can assess the apps based on which processes are the most important to you. For detailed instructions on using the evaluation spreadsheet.: Evaluation Spreadsheet Instructions

Each evaluated Salesforce project management app has its own individual post. The post contains a summary of the evaluation and a link to the detailed scoring spreadsheet, so you can perform your own evaluation and compare multiple tools side-by-side.

Project Management Tool Categories

The project management tool reviews are grouped into four categories. Most tools cut across more than one category but they have a primary category they were built to serve. Identifying the category of tool you want to implement will greatly help you reduce your evaluation time. The four categories are:

Salesforce Project Management Apps

This is where I started reviewing project management software. There are numerous apps built on the Salesforce cloud platform because of the ease of customizing solutions without code. If you use Salesforce widely within your company you should evaluate these apps. Salesforce apps will not be reviewed on this page. There are separate pages dedicated to Salesforce solutions. Here is where to start:

Project Management Office (PMO) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Tools

These PM tools are focused on the integration management process to capture project data and foster visibility and collaboration, while instilling a standard project management process. Think of enabling an executive to open a dashboard to see the status of all projects. Or, a tool that facilitates rolling up all project costs to a department budget. Or a tool that facilitates the annual process of evaluating and selecting capital improvement projects.

Scheduling Tools

These PM tools are focused on the schedule management process and are most easily identified by containing a Gantt chart to perform detailed task planning. These tools are what most people think of when thinking about project management. But the project schedule is typically the sole purview of the project manager, and these tools don’t address the full project management process or the collaboration requirements with the project team. Asana, Microsoft Project and Primavera are the best know of these tools.

Professional Services Automation (PSA) Tools

These PM tools are focused on supporting professional services firms. The key functionality is to create a standard project schedule based on the type of sales opportunity and to manage the project resources. Thus, they are primarily focused on the resource management process. Tasks are assigned labor hours and then resources are assigned to avoid overallocations and to ensure on-time delivery of the project. Actual time is then recorded against the project so that the customer can be billed.

Specialized Tools

This is a miscellaneous category which consists of small, highly-specialized apps which would serve as addons to a comprehensive project management solution.

Evaluation Summaries

Scheduling Tools

NameOverall CoveragePrimary Process CoverageKey DifferentiatorsDetailed Review
Asana37%Schedule Management – 61%Goals. List, Gantt, Kanban and Calendar views.AA
Microsoft Project Online/Pro49%Schedule Management – 73%Scheduling power of Project Professional desktop combined with collaboration in Project Online.MS
Smartsheet42%Schedule Management – 60%Very flexible, can build almost anything in low code platformSS
Wrike53%Schedule Management – 71%Very flexible. Highly functional scheduling tool.WR

More to Come

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