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 152 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: 74 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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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: 41 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Clarizen

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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Recent recommendations: 34 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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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: 30 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Workfront

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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Recent recommendations: 21 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Ravetree

Ravetree is a cloud-based project management solution with integrated resource planning, customer relationship management and time and expense tracking capabilities. The solution helps users manage project workflows, task assignment... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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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: 10 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Mavenlink

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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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On 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: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On 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

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Visual Planning

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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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Kintone

Kintone is a cloud-based platform that lets you store, share, and analyze data with your team from anywhere. Designed for people with complex operations and limited resources, Kintone gives you the ability to personally build and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On 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: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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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: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Dovico

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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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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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: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Replicon TimeCost

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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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Procore

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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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: MacWin
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Targetprocess

Targetprocess is a cloud-based, modular project management solution that allows users to visualize and manage projects using any combination of Kanban, Scrum or the user’s own preset work solution.  The solution features an array... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Deltek Ajera

Deltek Ajera is an integrated accounting and project management solution built for architecture and engineering (A/E) firms. It is suitable for small to mid-size firms seeking an industry-tailored solution to improve project level... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: MacWin
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: March 23, 2019

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.