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Project Planning Software


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Project Insight logo
 
Project Insight is a project and portfolio management solution for project driven organizations. It provides visibility into the workloads of resources, project budget, and status, with real-time reports. Project Insight is a collaborative... Read More
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Project Insight is a project and portfolio management solution for project driven organizations. It provides visibility into the workloads of resources, project budget, and status, with real-time reports. Project Insight is a collaborative... Read More
 
NetSuite OpenAir logo
 
NetSuite OpenAir offers buyers a collection of applications designed to support every stage of the professional services delivery lifecycle. Offered as Software-as-a-Service, the platform includes applications to manage projects, resources,... Read More
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NetSuite OpenAir offers buyers a collection of applications designed to support every stage of the professional services delivery lifecycle. Offered as Software-as-a-Service, the platform includes applications to manage projects, resources,... Read More
 
Workzone logo
 
Workzone is a project management solution that offers document management, project collaboration, customizable reporting, resource and task management and time tracking. The software is cloud-based and offers automated emailed reports... Read More
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48
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Workzone is a project management solution that offers document management, project collaboration, customizable reporting, resource and task management and time tracking. The software is cloud-based and offers automated emailed reports... Read More
 
Clarizen logo
 
Clarizen is a cloud-based collaborative work management solution designed to help organizations manage cross-company engagement. The solution provides tools to connect resources, manage workflows and plan activities. Clarizen planning... Read More
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Clarizen is a cloud-based collaborative work management solution designed to help organizations manage cross-company engagement. The solution provides tools to connect resources, manage workflows and plan activities. Clarizen planning... Read More
 
NetSuite Services Resource Planning (SRP) logo
 
NetSuite SRP is used by professional services organizations to optimize their project-based operations. The software offers integrated project management, resource management, project-based accounting and time & expense tracking applications. Users... Read More
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31
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NetSuite SRP is used by professional services organizations to optimize their project-based operations. The software offers integrated project management, resource management, project-based accounting and time & expense tracking applications. Users... Read More

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Smartsheet logo
 
Smartsheet is a project management application with a spreadsheet-like interface to help teams collaborate, plan projects and manage tasks. The software offers a suite of project management applications, such as document management,... Read More
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12
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Smartsheet is a project management application with a spreadsheet-like interface to help teams collaborate, plan projects and manage tasks. The software offers a suite of project management applications, such as document management,... Read More
 
Workfront logo
 
Workfront (formerly AtTask) is a cloud-based project management solution that helps teams to prioritize, route, manage and report on their work. It is suitable for businesses of any size and industry including IT, architecture and... Read More
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Workfront (formerly AtTask) is a cloud-based project management solution that helps teams to prioritize, route, manage and report on their work. It is suitable for businesses of any size and industry including IT, architecture and... Read More
 
Procore logo
 
Procore is a cloud-based construction management software application that helps firms increase their project efficiency and accountability by providing streamlined project communication and documentation. Users are able to manage... Read More
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Procore is a cloud-based construction management software application that helps firms increase their project efficiency and accountability by providing streamlined project communication and documentation. Users are able to manage... Read More
 
Deltek Vision logo
 
Deltek Vision is a cloud-based project-based solution for professional services firms that is available for cloud or on-premise deployment. It combines project accounting, resource management, project management, time/expense management... Read More
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Deltek Vision is a cloud-based project-based solution for professional services firms that is available for cloud or on-premise deployment. It combines project accounting, resource management, project management, time/expense management... Read More
 
Mavenlink logo
 
Mavenlink offers services and solutions for project management, resource planning, collaboration and financial management. It was designed for professional services and it is suited businesses looking for team collaboration and project... Read More
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Mavenlink offers services and solutions for project management, resource planning, collaboration and financial management. It was designed for professional services and it is suited businesses looking for team collaboration and project... Read More

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KeyedIn Projects logo
 
KeyedIn Projects is a cloud-based project management solution for enterprise-level companies offering a suite with features, such as program management, professional services automation and project portfolio management application.... Read More
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KeyedIn Projects is a cloud-based project management solution for enterprise-level companies offering a suite with features, such as program management, professional services automation and project portfolio management application.... Read More
 
Easy Projects logo
 
Easy Projects is a cloud-based project management platform for midsize organizations. The platform enables users to collaboratively initiate, approve, plan and execute projects, assign resources, track progress, monitor spend and costs,... Read More
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Easy Projects is a cloud-based project management platform for midsize organizations. The platform enables users to collaboratively initiate, approve, plan and execute projects, assign resources, track progress, monitor spend and costs,... Read More
 
Sciforma logo
 
Sciforma is a cloud-based project and portfolio management solution for enterprises that allows to strategically track and analyze project data and make relevant decisions. It can be sold as a stand-alone portfolio management, project... Read More
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Sciforma is a cloud-based project and portfolio management solution for enterprises that allows to strategically track and analyze project data and make relevant decisions. It can be sold as a stand-alone portfolio management, project... Read More
 
Wrike logo
 
Wrike offers cloud-based work management solution that facilitates project management and team collaboration for marketing and creative teams. Users can manage external and internal requests with built-in forms and automatically assign... Read More
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Wrike offers cloud-based work management solution that facilitates project management and team collaboration for marketing and creative teams. Users can manage external and internal requests with built-in forms and automatically assign... Read More
 
Replicon TimeCost logo
 
Replicon’s cloud-based TimeCost solution, part of the Time Intelligence Platform, helps organizations manage multiple projects activities simultaneously. Organizations can manage resource productivity and assign specific people... Read More
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Replicon’s cloud-based TimeCost solution, part of the Time Intelligence Platform, helps organizations manage multiple projects activities simultaneously. Organizations can manage resource productivity and assign specific people... Read More

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FunctionFox logo
 
FunctionFox is a cloud-based time tracking and project management application, offering timesheets and estimates, as well as scheduling, task assignment and reporting.  FunctionFox’s capabilities are suited for the billing and... Read More
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FunctionFox is a cloud-based time tracking and project management application, offering timesheets and estimates, as well as scheduling, task assignment and reporting.  FunctionFox’s capabilities are suited for the billing and... Read More
 
InFocus logo
 
Clearview InFocus is a cloud and on-premise-based billing, invoicing and project management solution that also includes financial management capabilities. This is the flagship product for Clearview and its sole focus is to develop... Read More
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Clearview InFocus is a cloud and on-premise-based billing, invoicing and project management solution that also includes financial management capabilities. This is the flagship product for Clearview and its sole focus is to develop... Read More
 
Journyx logo
 
Journyx is a cloud-based solution to manage time, expenses and resources. The solution serves customers in industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, utilities, staffing and pharmaceutical and consulting. It also allows companies... Read More
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Journyx is a cloud-based solution to manage time, expenses and resources. The solution serves customers in industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, utilities, staffing and pharmaceutical and consulting. It also allows companies... Read More
 
Dovico logo
 
Dovico is a cloud-based timesheet and time tracking system with an emphasis on usability and aesthetics. The system provides a solution to help organize workflow and time tracking for project time and project costing. Dovico Timesheet... Read More
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Dovico is a cloud-based timesheet and time tracking system with an emphasis on usability and aesthetics. The system provides a solution to help organize workflow and time tracking for project time and project costing. Dovico Timesheet... Read More
 
Visual Planning logo
 
Visual Planning is a hybrid resource management and scheduling platform that helps businesses to manage their assets and day-to-day operations. The solution can be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud. Visual Planning offers... Read More
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Visual Planning is a hybrid resource management and scheduling platform that helps businesses to manage their assets and day-to-day operations. The solution can be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud. Visual Planning offers... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: August 8, 2018


Whether or not a project is successful largely depends on how well the project is planned. In fact, in a recent analysis of project management (PM) software buyers who contact Software Advice, 86 percent request systems with strong project planning capabilities.

We've created this guide to help buyers better understand project planning solutions and how they factor into the larger PM software market. Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Project Planning Software?
Common Capabilities of Project Planning Software
Benefits of Project Planning Software

What Is Project Planning Software?

Project planning software helps managers and stakeholders map out and visualize a project's critical path, or the sequence of activities and tasks required to complete a project, the duration of those tasks and the way they relate to one another.

This high-level "roadmapping" process helps managers:

  • Identify key resources
  • Pinpoint task dependencies and constraints
  • Determine essential project milestones
  • Set baselines for the project's scope, budget and timeline (the three benchmarks used to determine project success)

Businesses can purchase stand-alone project planning applications (often referred to as "mind mapping" or "story mapping" tools), or invest in an integrated PM suite. A comprehensive PM solution typically contains project planning capabilities in addition to other core PM functionality, such as:

Among the best project planning tools are Gantt charts, which are used to visualize a project's schedule and determine the critical path. These digital charts are vastly less labor-intensive to update than Gantt charts created using manual methods (more on this below).

Managers also use Gantt charts after the project planning stage, in order to monitor task progression and resource usage over the course of the project life cycle. These charts are used to keep internal and external stakeholders up to date on the accuracy of initial scope, timeline and budget estimates. Many top PM software vendors include Gantt charts as part of their platform.

Common Capabilities of Project Planning Software

The following are some common capabilities of project planning tools:

Gantt charts Represented as cascading bar charts across a timeline or calendar. During planning, managers use Gantt charts to visualize the project schedule; determine the critical path; spotlight task dependencies and potential risk areas; monitor personnel workloads; and assign staff to tasks. They can also help track performance and progress on tasks once projects are underway. (See screenshot below table for an example.)
Resource scheduling Some platforms include resource management functionality, allowing managers increased visibility into personnel availability and skill set. Managers can schedule resources to tasks, or assign a “placeholder resource” for roles they know they’ll need, but haven’t been able to schedule yet.
Calendaring Managers can easily reorganize a project’s schedule by clicking-and-dragging work items on the calendar (see screenshot below). If the update causes a conflict later in the schedule, this conflict would be flagged for further attention.
Work item color-coding Allows users to set rules for color-coding tasks on the calendar. These rules use variables such as the employee responsible for completing an item (e.g., Tom’s tasks are blue and Tammy’s are green) or the task status (in-progress tasks are green, overdue tasks are red etc.).
Risk identification Allows users to flag potential risk areas, such as dependent tasks (e.g., if task B can only start once task A is complete, these tasks would be flagged).
Automatic alerts Lets managers schedule in-app or email alerts. These can be used to notify employees about upcoming task due dates, or to alert staff assigned to a dependent task that the preceding work item is nearing completion.
Communication tools Help facilitate collaboration among users via in-app comments, group chat streams or discussion forums. For example, users can comment and add status updates directly to tasks or flagged risk items, or loop in a team member on a question posted to a project discussion board.

 

Gantt Chart in Wrike

Benefits of Project Planning Software

There are several benefits of using project planning software as opposed to manual methods. These benefits include:

Increased visibility into individual and team workloads, skill sets and current and future availability. This benefit is best realized when using a comprehensive PM suite with both project planning and resource management capabilities.

Improved communication and collaboration. Project planning tools act as a shared hub where managers, team members and stakeholders can store all project-related communication. This provides a permanent record for important decisions and project changes.

Using visual tools, such as Gantt charts, helps managers with early risk detection. This allows managers and stakeholders to plan risk management strategies ahead of time and combat any potential obstacles.

Easy access to historical archives. The information in project plans and status reports can influence future business decisions. Managers and stakeholders using planning software can look back on previous projects to see why decisions were made, and to compare timeline and budgetary measures.

Free Download:
Project Management Software Pricing Guide

 

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