We've helped project teams choose the right planning software so they can roadmap projects and set baselines for scope, budget and timeline. How does it work?

Project Planning Software


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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
 
Clarizen logo
 
Clarizen is a cloud-based collaborative work management solution designed to help organizations improve 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 improve cross-company engagement. The solution provides tools to connect resources, manage workflows and plan activities. Clarizen planning... Read More
 
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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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
 
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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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
 
KeyedIn Projects logo
 
Designed to provide an end-to-end project management solution for enterprise-level companies, KeyedIn Projects offers a full suite of features, including Program Management, Professional Services Automation, and their Project Portfolio... Read More
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Designed to provide an end-to-end project management solution for enterprise-level companies, KeyedIn Projects offers a full suite of features, including Program Management, Professional Services Automation, and their Project Portfolio... Read More

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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
 
Mavenlink logo
 
Mavenlink offers software and services for project management, resource planning, collaboration and financial management. It was designed for professional services, and it is best suited for those who need to collaborate with teams. Mavenlink's... Read More
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Mavenlink offers software and services for project management, resource planning, collaboration and financial management. It was designed for professional services, and it is best suited for those who need to collaborate with teams. Mavenlink's... 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
 
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
 
Wrike logo
 
Wrike offers a cloud-based, scalable project management and collaboration platform. Key features include social collaboration tools so users can organize their projects using a single dashboard. Users can assign tasks, track deadlines... Read More
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Wrike offers a cloud-based, scalable project management and collaboration platform. Key features include social collaboration tools so users can organize their projects using a single dashboard. Users can assign tasks, track deadlines... Read More

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Sciforma logo
 
Created using English and Latin derivatives, Sciforma means “the science of planning”. In 1982, they introduced the first project management solution to the market, a Project Scheduler, and for the past three decades, they have... Read More
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Created using English and Latin derivatives, Sciforma means “the science of planning”. In 1982, they introduced the first project management solution to the market, a Project Scheduler, and for the past three decades, they have... Read More
 
One2Team logo
 
One2Team is a project and collaboration management solution recommended to enterprise companies in industries such as construction, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, finance, and food & beverage. One2Team’s software includes... Read More
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One2Team is a project and collaboration management solution recommended to enterprise companies in industries such as construction, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, finance, and food & beverage. One2Team’s software includes... Read More
 
Replicon PPM logo
 
Organizations across most industries can meet Project Tracking and Costing requirements with Replicon’s cloud-based Project and Program Management (PPM) solution. It gives project organizations the ability to track time spent by... Read More
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Organizations across most industries can meet Project Tracking and Costing requirements with Replicon’s cloud-based Project and Program Management (PPM) solution. It gives project organizations the ability to track time spent by... Read More
 
Deltek Vision logo
 
Deltek Vision is a web-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 web-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
 
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

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Easy Projects logo
 
Easy Projects is a cloud-based integrated project management solution for businesses of all sizes across the globe. The solution helps project managers plan projects and create a collaborative platform for engaging multiple users. Project... Read More
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Easy Projects is a cloud-based integrated project management solution for businesses of all sizes across the globe. The solution helps project managers plan projects and create a collaborative platform for engaging multiple users. Project... Read More
 
Visual Planning logo
 
Visual Planning is an expansive, comprehensive, and efficient system that offers a complete solution for a business’s Project Management needs. It combines the tools users need to allocate resources, manage individual projects, budgets,... Read More
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Visual Planning is an expansive, comprehensive, and efficient system that offers a complete solution for a business’s Project Management needs. It combines the tools users need to allocate resources, manage individual projects, budgets,... Read More
 
LiquidPlanner logo
 
LiquidPlanner is a cloud-based project management platform. This solution includes integrated applications for project portfolio management, document management, project collaboration, resource management, time tracking, budgeting... Read More
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LiquidPlanner is a cloud-based project management platform. This solution includes integrated applications for project portfolio management, document management, project collaboration, resource management, time tracking, budgeting... 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
 
Oracle Financials ERP Cloud logo
 
Oracle Financials ERP Cloud is a cloud-based, end-to-end business management solution designed for midsized to enterprise-level customers. It offers a suite of applications including material planning, financial accounting, and business... Read More
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Oracle Financials ERP Cloud is a cloud-based, end-to-end business management solution designed for midsized to enterprise-level customers. It offers a suite of applications including material planning, financial accounting, and business... Read More

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Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 26, 2017


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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