Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped project teams choose the right planning software so they can roadmap projects and set baselines for scope, budget and timeline.

Showing 1-20 of 200 products

NetSuite OpenAir

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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Recent recommendations: 77 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Workzone

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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Recent recommendations: 55 recommendations

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Clarizen

Using Clarizen’s leading collaborative work management solution for the enterprise, businesses can solve challenges far beyond traditional work, project or resource management. With Clarizen’s enterprise-grade solution, teams are... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 53 recommendations

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NetSuite Services Resource Planning (SRP)

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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Recent recommendations: 51 recommendations

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KeyedIn Projects

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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Recent recommendations: 37 recommendations

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Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a work execution platform with a familiar spreadsheet-like interface that helps teams plan, track, and manage projects in real-time. The collaborative platform offers a range of project management tools, such as document... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 32 recommendations

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Viewpath

Viewpath is a cloud-based project management solution that allows teams to view team availability, assign tasks and collaborate with teams in real time. With everything hosted in the cloud, the platform can be utilized by global teams,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

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WorkOtter

WorkOtter is cloud based and built to make your collaborative work easy and visible to the organization. Keep projects in the light and gain traction. Get the tools you need to simplify your work, focus on people, move projects to... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 25 recommendations

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FunctionFox

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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Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

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monday.com

monday.com, an award-winning project management tool, helps teams plan together efficiently and execute projects that deliver results on time. Its ease of use and flexibility means fast onboarding for your team and the ability to manage... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

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Mavenlink

Mavenlink offers services and solutions for project management, resource planning, collaboration, and project accounting. Mavenlink combines the robust functionality of a Professional Services Automation solution with intuitive user-friendly... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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BigTime

BigTime is an online time and billing solution designed to serve professional service firms like accounting, engineering, government contracting, legal and IT services. The integrated solution offers features like time and expense... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

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Sciforma

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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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Deltek Vision

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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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Workamajig

Workamajig is a cloud-based HTML5 project management solution designed for creative ad agencies and in-house advertising teams of all sizes. Key features include opportunity tracking, project management, time tracking, resource management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Wrike

Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform for teams of 20+ and is suitable for both enterprise and SMB. It comes with Gantt charts, calendars, workload view for resource management, custom dashboards and real-time updates.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Hive

Hive is a cloud-based project management solution designed for teams of all sizes who need to share files, chat and automate task management. It includes workflow templates, group messaging, multiple task views and over 100 app integrations. Hive... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Scoro

Scoro is a cloud-based professional services solution for small to midsize companies in advertising, consulting, IT and other industries. The solution provides a control hub that displays pending tasks, account information, key performance... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Procore

Procore manages your projects, resources and financials from project planning to closeout. Our platform connects every project contributor to solutions we've built specifically for this industry—for the owner, for the GC, and for... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Workfront

Workfront is a platform for enterprise work management. Now there is one central application platform to share ideas, create content, manage complex processes, and help people do their best work. When all the information about work... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: February 4, 2020

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.