When it comes to choosing some creative project management software for your agency or company, you’ve many choices. And while many of the project management platforms you consider might seem similar, they aren’t. Almost every project management tool has its USP and depending on your project management needs, one of them might be more suitable for you than its alternatives.
Sometimes, you might even want to pick a bunch of creative project management software – with each piece of software taking care of some part of your project management needs.
Filestage is a creative project management software that helps agencies and marketing teams complete their creative projects faster than ever before.
The tool streamlines your review and approval processes for all kinds of digital content (like graphics, website layouts, documents or videos).
Your colleagues and clients can directly comment on your files and add annotations (no sign-up needed). This speeds up your review and approval processes and lets you complete projects faster.
Filestage makes it easy for you to keep on top of pushing all projects forward with a simple status overview and can be easily adapted to your existing processes.
Filestage is trusted by enterprise companies such as BBC, Lufthansa, or Ogilvy. The software helps you streamline your creative workflow and finally get rid of the email back and forth that happens when working on a digital project.
Filestage takes care of the file management, reviewing, and revisioning part of your project management process. Its plans start at €89 /month with 100GB of file storage for a team of up to 5 members.
It becomes a central location for all the project related tasks, files, documents, communication, discussions, etc.
Apart from this, Gantt charts within ProofHub provide a bird’s eye view to all the project tasks and schedules and helps you in planning and scheduling. Kanban boards within ProofHub are a creative solution as the drag and drop feature updates everyone about the status of any task in a speck of time.
Timesheets, Proofing tool, discussions section, chat, and announcements are other features that make ProofHub a complete package for project management.
Wrike is a project management software that helps companies collaborate over all kinds of projects.
If you want to use Wrike, you should know that the tool is a huge and complex software solution. It’s not very easy to set up and it will definitely take some time to onboard your whole team.
With Wrike, you can create different boards for your different teams like design, development, marketing, HR and so on. You can then add task lists to these boards and invite the right team members to collaborate over the tasks. Wrike comes with Kanban boards (where you can create lists like ‘To do,’ ‘Doing,’ and ‘Done’), so you can visually track your progress through your task lists.
Wrike offers a very limited, free plan while its paid plans start at $9.8/user/mo.
More than 10,000 teams trust ProjectManager for the planning, budgeting, scheduling, executing, and reporting needs for their projects. Project Manager lets you use advanced project planning techniques like sprints or the waterfall model or interactive Gantt charts to plan your work.
In addition to task and project management, this cloud-based project management solution also helps you with resource allocation and workload management. It lets you see your resources who are available to pick up the new tasks and also the ones who are getting overloaded. Plus, ProjectManager’s timesheet and time-tracking features eliminate the need for using other third-party tools in your project management stack for these project management essentials.
ProjectManager integrates with more than 400 apps and is one of GetApp’s top-rated project management software. Its plans start at $15/user/mo.
Trello is one of the most popular and loved project management software. It uses Kanban boards for helping you manage your projects.
Trello is also very flexible and lets you manage any kind of project right from editorial boards to hiring workflows. You can also personalize how your Trello boards look by uploading custom background images.
Trello lets you create unlimited projects with unlimited lists that can have unlimited cards (cards are basically tasks). You can easily tag a team member on a card to assign it to them or to invite them for collaborating on it. Trello offers seamless integration with services like Google Drive, so you can quickly attach all your project files to the relevant cards. You also get real-time notifications as your team members make updates to any of the tasks.
Trello’s basic plan is free while its paid plans (that unlock more app integrations) start at $9.99/user/mo.
One of the most popular project management software, Asana lets you plan all kinds of projects right from product development to sales systems.
Asana comes packed with customized planning solutions (or template projects) for many core business operations like product development, IT support, finance, HR, sales, engineering and so on but unfortunately, the tool lacks a decent file management system. Hence, working on creative files can get messy if you’re working on a lot of different deliverables at the same time.
Moreover, Asana is a very complex solution that lets you create your own projects boards to adapt your processes. Unfortunately, this also comes with a cost. Onboarding new team members or clients might take a while.
Asana’s basic version (that supports up to 15 team members) is free while its paid plans start at $9.99/user/mo.
In addition to offering you a project management software, Workzone also acts like your partner who offers to ‘guide, coach and cheer you on until you reach your project management happy place.’ With Workzone, you can create task templates for all your routine project management processes. Although this sounds good, users criticize the usability and interface of the tool on Capterra. It seems like it’s not the best experience according to multiple reviews.
Workzone comes with features like visual progress indicators, file-sharing (and revisioning and approval), project templates and timelines, editable Gantt charts, personalized to-do lists, email reminders and more.
Workzone also helps you with resource allocation reporting so you can see if your resources are being over or under loaded and plan accordingly.
If you’re interested in using Workzone, you’ll have to request pricing on their website to learn more about the needed investment.
Unlike most of the other cloud project management solutions on this list, Redmine is open source. Which means you need to download it and install it on your servers and configure it according to your needs.
Of course, this means you need to work with a developer and have some degree of technical know-how to work through the initial installation and setup of Redmine, but the benefits are the higher possibilities of customization that you can use to design very specific workflows.
Feature-wise, Redmine offers support for multiple projects, a calendar, task management, role-based access, easy file uploading and sharing, time tracking, multi-lingual support, cross-platform and cross-database compatibility, internal knowledgebases as they relate to tasks or projects, advanced commenting and custom project fields among others.
Being open source, you can download Redmine for free.
Planio is a cloud-based project management software with a focus on engineering projects.
Planio excels at routine engineering or product management workflows such as tracking the project issues to closure, making agile development plans (using Planio’s Kanban boards), file management including prototypes and presentations (and staying on top of their versions), and knowledge management and sharing over the projects or tasks among other features. Planio is actually built on top of the robust project management platform Redmine.
With task management being one of its core features, Planio lets you create tasks with custom fields and offers role-based access, so you can manage who gets to access what. Planio’s plans start at 19 €/mo + VAT (if applicable).
The project collaboration platform Basecamp powers the project management of a lot of companies. Although Basecamp allows you to do a decent job in managing tasks, reviews (for example, on Capterra) criticize the clunky and complex interface. This makes it hard to stay on top of things when managing a project which is obviously crucial.
Basecamp offers features like messages, chats, to-do lists, file storage and management, knowledge base management, schedules and more.
Another feature of Basecamp is its Automatic Check-in. With Automatic Check-in, you can automate the task of seeking work updates from your team on a daily basis.
Basecamp offers a $99/mo flat fee for teams of any sizes.
An award-winning project management solution, Clarizen takes care of every aspect of project management right from optimizing resource allocation and budgeting to email-free communication and collaboration.
Resource allocation is a key focus of this cloud-based project management tool and to make it effortless for companies, Clarizen offers advanced resource schedules showing the availability and workload of everyone on the team. It also lets you predict your resource allocation needs with ‘what-if’ scenarios and lets you make real-time allocations based on the job titles, skills needed, and the availability of the resources.
In addition to this, you also get other useful project planning and management features like document repositories, file-sharing and management, timesheets and expense sheets, and reporting.
Information about their pricing is not publically available. You’ll need to request more information on their website.
Mavenlink is a powerful project management software that handles all aspects of project management right from resource allocation to performance analytics.
In addition to resource allocation and intelligent reporting, Mavenlink comes with features like time and expense tracking, file management and sharing, task and schedule management, Gantt charts, project plan templates, advanced messaging, and role-based access.
Mavenlink also comes with some ready-to-use project templates (available in the higher plans). Mavenlink’s plans start at $19/mo with the higher tier plans offering the more advanced project management features.
Scoro helps companies bring ‘structure’ to their work. It’s an all-in-one project management software that helps you get your work done, stay organized, track your time, and bill your clients among other things. With Scoro, you can create one-pagers for all your projects that include your tasks, budgets, expenses, invoices, files, comments and your project progress.
It definitely looks like Scoro is more focused toward service-based businesses as it has specific features like personalized quotes, service-based tasks, CRM functionality, resource allocation, and time-tracking built right into it.
Scoro is also multi-lingual and offers support for multiple currencies along with integrations with a host of file storage applications like Google Drive and Dropbox, schedule management applications like Google Calendar and iCal, and accounting solutions like QuickBooks and Zero.
Scoro’s plans start at US $22/user/mo.
13. Easy Projects
A leading project management solution, Easy Projects offers its customers a flexible solution with uses cases like project management, IT support and product development, marketing, creative services, and professional services.
For each use case, Easy Projects has a bunch of customized features. For example, for project management, Easy Projects offers features like interactive Gantt charts, resource loading, and what if simulations that ensure project completion on time and within budget.
In addition to its core project management capabilities, project calendars, Kanban boards, reporting, personal to-do lists, time-tracking, notifications and the support for hundreds of app integrations make Easy Projects a winning project management tool.
Easy Projects Pricing:
Easy Project can be easily adapted for all kinds of projects in any industry. Its plans start at $24/user/mo.
Targetprocess is a full-blown cloud-based project management solutions that work with timelines, boards, and lists. Targetprocess lets you create multiple projects using different management styles (like Scrum, Kanban, or your own custom processes) and custom workflows.
Targetprocess comes with 80+ project management features like time tracking and reporting, built-in project progress tracking and reporting, testing workflows, customer support workflows, requests, and risk management workflows, release planning and prioritization, live updates, comments and project feeds.
All in all, Targetprocess is a complete project management solution that you can customize to manage all kinds of projects right from HR to sales.
Targetprocess offers a free plan with limited features with its paid plans charging $20/user/mo.
10000ft is another powerful project management platform with a focus on resource management. Built with resource management and optimization at its core, 10000ft lets you forecast your workload and staffing needs, so you can plan your resources well. 10,000ft also highlights if your projects go over-budget (and why), so you can improve your estimates for your future projects.
10,000ft’s features include Gantt charts, project budgets (time/fees/expenses), tracking, time tracking and approvals, and automated and manual progress reports.
10000ft plans start at $150/mo for teams of up to 10 members.
16. Teamwork Projects
Teamwork Projects is one of the most comprehensive and well thought-out project management platforms out there that gives you ‘everything you need to track a project from start to finish’. It comes with features like Gantt charts, time tracking, file management, billing (with support for multiple currencies), CRM, a useful calendar view among many other features.
Teamwork Projects also includes features like reporting and resource allocation and management.
Teamwork Projects Pricing:
Teamwork Projects offers a free plan with limited storage that supports up to two projects while its premium plans start at $11.25/user/mo.
This ‘powerful, yet simple’ project collaboration software brings together task management, time tracking, invoicing, and team collaboration.
Unlike most of the other project management solutions on this list, ActiveCollab offers two versions. The first one is the cloud-based version where you pay a monthly fee for using the platform. The other option is a self-hosted version that you can install on your own servers. This version uses a one-time fee and some annual fee for support and upgrades but lets you add unlimited team members.
In addition to its core project and task management features, ActiveCollab also comes with estimates, notes, a powerful calendar view, personal to-do lists and more.
ActiveCollab’s plans start at $25/mo for a team up to 5 members and a storage of 5GB.
18. Zoho Projects
Zoho’s business apps suite comes with a powerful project management solution: Zoho Projects. Zoho Projects lets you plan, organize, and track your projects to closure.
With Zoho Projects, you can break down your projects into tasks and subtasks. Other features of this project collaboration platform include Gnatt charts, file management, time tracking, invoicing. Zoho Projects also integrates with hundreds of business apps like Slack, Dropbox, GitHub, Zapier and many more.
In addition to its core project and task management functionalities, Zoho Projects also has features like feeds, forums, and chat to support real-time collaboration. Its resource utilization comes handy for budgeting resources to work on projects.
Zoho Projects has a special focus on issue tracking. So if your main need from your project management solution is to keep track of your issues and track them to closure, you might want to try Zoho Projects.
Zoho Projects Pricing:
This project collaboration platform comes for $25 for 10 projects and supports a team of up to 15 users.
19. Jira Software
Jira Software is the ‘#1 software development tool used by agile teams.’ Jira Software’s focus is on engineering teams and it’s designed so that your product development team can create and ship projects sooner and often.
Jira Software lets you plan your projects using a bunch of methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, or mixed techniques.
Because Jira Software focuses solely on development projects, it comes with many out-of-the-box reports that show your team’s performance sprint over sprint. If you’re only looking to manage and track your development projects, Jira Software is actually one of the best project management software you can try.
Jira Software’s plans start at $10/mo for teams of up to 10 members.
Podio wants to help you make your workflows ‘structured & smarter’. You can Podio to manage everything from your development and marketing projects to planning and managing your events, customer relationships (CRM), core businesses workflows and more.
You can create a Podio workspace with customizable and reusable templates, project files, tasks, and collaboration (via comments and chat). Podio’s social intranet deserves a special shoutout as it lets you see which of your employees are on vacation (so you can plan and assign your tasks accordingly), expense tracking, bulletins (so you can share news about new projects or make general company announcements) and more.
Podio offers a free plan with limited features (for teams up to 5 members) while its paid plans start at $9.
Freedcamp is an extremely user-friendly project collaboration platform that comes with a slick user interface. It comes features like an intuitive task manager (that you can use to assign tasks to your team members), file management, easy collaboration via discussions and a project wall (think of it like a Facebook page for your project!), password management, time tracking, and a great calendar view showing your tasks, milestones, events and more.
Freedcamp also comes with a bunch of features that serve service-based businesses exclusively like invoicing, CRM, project templates, and project reports.
Freedcamp comes with a free plan with limited features. Its premium plans start at $1.49/user/mo and unlock more features.
Slack isn’t a project management platform, so it’s not geared toward getting things done, but it’s the best collaboration and team chat tool to add to your project management tech stack.
With Slack, you can create channels for your different teams like HR, marketing, sales, lead generation, etc. You can also have channels like watercooler and more to help your team connect. Slack is especially useful for remote teams.
You can also use Slack to make audio and video calls. To help teams discuss and collaborate over projects, Slack integrates with hundreds of services for file management, HR, finance, productivity, project management, and social apps including others. Learn more about how to use Slack for project management.
Slack comes with a free plan that supports up to 10 apps and integrations. Its paid plans start at $6.67/user/mo and include features like group calls and screen sharing.
monday is a project management platform that likes to give you a ‘new way to manage your work’. It lets you plan, organize and track your work with custom workflows and beautiful, visual collaborative workspaces.
Because monday is a very flexible project management software, you can use it to manage your sales process, inventories, bug tracking, tasks, events, lead tracking, engineering projects, design projects, agile development projects, GDPR management and many of your other core business processes.
One thing that really stands out for this project management tool is the splash it makes with all the colors. monday also comes with a host of views like calendar, chart, files, kanban, map, timeline.
monday is a highly visual platform with beautiful, colorful timelines and ready-to-use project templates. Its paid plans start at $25/mo.
Redbooth is a complete project management solution that helps you plan your projects, tasks, and communication, so all the work gets done on time.
Redbooth offers very detailed and ready-to-use project management templates for projects like social media marketing, CRM, Scrum, IT support, web design, PR, employee onboarding, hiring, team meetings, client servicing, etc. With Redbooth’s project management templates, all you need to do is select a template and your workspace will automagically be filled with all the routine workflows and tasks of the project type, which means you’re ready to start working within seconds.
Redbooth also comes with handy features like time tracking, Gantt charts, timelines, conversations (including HD video meetings) and more.
Redbooth’s free plan offers limited features and supports up to two workspaces. Its paid plans start at $9/user/mo when billed annually.
LiquidPlanner is an end-to-end project management solution that helps with everything right from resource allocation and management to time tracking and analytics. But you’d say that LiquidPlanner’s focus is on the resource allocation, management, and optimization side.
LiquidPlanner lets you see your team members’ current workloads and assign work based on them. Your resource estimates will be rather accurate with LiquidPlanners ability to show your allocation position over specific timeframes. You can also see when a resource is getting overloaded and immediately offer help to them.
Along with advanced resource allocation features, LiquidPlanner also comes with integrated time and budget tracking, Kanban style task management, advanced messaging features and analytics.
You can use LiquidPlanner to plan your IT, product marketing, development, and agile projects among others. LiquidPlanner’s plans start at$45/user/mo.
VivifyScrum is a project management tool with Agile roots. It started off as a Scrum and Kanban collaboration tool for smaller teams, but over the years, it developed into a complete project management solution suitable for large organizations as well.
VivifyScrum provides a customizable and versatile collaboration space which enables teams to use the tool in a way that best fits their process. Its task management options and capabilities can support any project, regardless of its complexity or the size of the team. External integrations (GitHub, Slack, etc.), customizable commenting, notifications and file upload features minimize the need for additional tools.
VivifyScrum also features advanced project and team management options aimed at organizations with multiple teams working on multiple projects. Time tracker and worklogs are also available in VivifyScrum and users can invoice their clients directly from the tool.
VivifyScrum has a free plan with unlimited users, boards and items, but with limited access to advanced features. The premium plan is available for $8 per user/per month.
Milanote is a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.
Milanote allows you to:
– write notes & to-do lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web
– organize visually using the flexible drag and drop interface.
– use hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started.
Free version available with no time limit. PRO version $9.99 per month (monthly and annual plans)
ProProfs Project is a creative project management software that offers help while completing creative projects.
It comes with a dashboard, which makes project tracking seamless and also helps to collaborate with clients or teams with no fuss.
What’s more, it is packed with a multitude of features, so you can complete creative projects on a successful note. Gantt charts offer insights into each project’s progress, which helps you take proactive measures if your team is falling behind the schedule.
Features like Timesheets, Calendar view, Task priorities, Task comments, and Automated invoicing ensure ProProfs Project catches the eyes of creative agencies.
ProProfs Project Pricing:
ProProfs Project comes with a forever free plan in which you can access all basic functionalities. The pricing of paid plans starts from $19/month and goes up to $199/month. To make the right call with regards to the paid plan, you can opt for a 15-day free trial.
zipBoard is a collaborative visual bug tracking and feedback tool for eLearning and web development built for larger creative teams. It’s a design feedback tool to help you collect feedback for sharing feedback over multiple media files and digital assets.
You can review content, share feedback using screenshots, and annotation without leaving the content. It offers a review board tool to annotate your design and webpages, courses, videos, HTML, PDFs, and images, all in one project.
It allows you to point out difficult to explain changes that need to be made in the content. Moreover, you can assign roles like Owner, Manager, Collaborators, and Clients to team members, so each one only gets the access that is needed for them to use.
zipBoard plans start at 39$ a month for 5 reviewable assets with unlimited users and projects.
Trello vs Asana vs Basecamp vs Wrike vs Slack vs Filestage vs … – What creative project management software shall I pick?
For instance, if you’re a video production agency, feedback management and revisions should be a big part of your daily project management. And so you’ll need a project management software like Filestage that takes care of your feedback and approval process. But in addition to streamlining your content review process, you’ll also have other needs like allocating the right resources to work on a client project, you’ll even need a tool to track the time you spend on the project, a tool for invoicing, and so on. You get the idea, right?
So, to help you pick the right suite of creative project management software for your company and save hours of each workday, we’ve put together this list of 25 of the most useful project planning and management tech.
FAQ for Creative Project Management
Companies that balance numerous projects disseminated amongst writers, graphic designers, and other employees need proper creative workflow management. Otherwise, communication gets lost in translation and things can go awry.
What Is Creative Project Management?
To put it simply, creative projects management is the process of tracking every single one of a company’s projects from start to finish. Businesses use special creative project management software in order to track the different phases of a creative project, showing which employee (or group of employees, depending on the specifics) are working on something. This software allows workers to communicate with each other and track the project’s status in real-time. On top of this, these programs can track the hours spent on a project for billing purposes, list the client’s specifications, and even make note of every comment made by the client when it comes to edits.
Creative projects, from the development of logos, brochures, and ads, to things like website design and other computerized graphics needs, tend to be complicated. With many different employees, each with a specialization, working on them at once, it can be tough to communicate and track the project via email or spreadsheet. When you add in the fact that many companies balance projects for more than one client at a time, the equation gets even trickier. This is why these businesses turn to design project management software.
What Should You Consider When Looking for Creative Project Management Tools?
Choosing the best creative management software for your company’s needs involves taking a good look at what you want the programming to do while weighing several additional factors, like pricing and accessibility.
Pricing is often the most important factor. Some programs base their fees off the number of users (your employees), while others use the number of projects or steps as a way to gauge how much to charge. You need to find a balance between what you can afford and what you need the program to actual handle. It helps that many of these programs include various tiers, so you can scale up or down as necessary.
What does the tool offer? Does it allow you to track the steps of each project based on time? Can you upload documents to it? Does it allow your employees to choose or assign tasks based on their interests and abilities? There are many different creative project management programs out there, and each has a different function. You need to take the time to list what you want the program to do and then find one that handles everything (or as many of those items as possible) before making a decision. Otherwise, you may end up with a program that doesn’t meet your needs.
Ease of Use
Usability is the next important factor. There’s little need for a graphic design project management program that’s too complicated to use. If you need to dedicate an entire week to teaching your employees how to use the program, then it’s too complicated. The best programs are intuitive and can be taught in a matter of minutes instead of hours.
Project Management for Creatives Best Practices
Choosing project management software for creatives is only the first step. There are also some best practices that you should adhere to, all of which are made easier by the program that you choose.
Communication Between Employees and Clients
While your business may only have one or two select employees communicate directly with the clients, this doesn’t negate the fact that your workers need to properly discuss things with each other. For example, if you have one group coming up with a logo and another designing the website, the two will need to communicate in order to have both end products complement each other.
Have a Work Plan in Place, Based on the Client’s Brief
Another important thing to keep in mind is the overall work plan. This is where project management for creatives is needed. The plan includes what the client wants, based on their initial brief, as well as the steps necessary to complete the project to the client’s satisfaction. What needs to happen in between? The plan should include every step of the creative process, from start to finish.
Make Sure That Every Step is Documented
In addition, project management software for designers ensures that every step of that work plan is properly documented. This way, clients can be updated in real-time, and the end date can be estimated. If anything goes wrong during the process, there will be plenty of supportive evidence in writing.
So how do you really choose the best creative project management software for your team?
Well, to start with, list down all your project management needs. Include all the stages of your project management right from getting the client onboard to submitting the final deliverables and everything in between.
Now, pick a tool from this list and add a checkmark against all the tasks it takes care of. This way, you’ll know what project management software to go with for your agency or company. In most cases, you’ll find that you need more than one management software but that should be okay as you still don’t have a project management unicorn that can do everything — and you’ll probably never even have one!
Now tell us what’s your favorite creative project management software from this list? Or, do you use a tool we haven’t added to the list? Let us know in the comments!
Not found the project management software you were looking for? Have a look at our complete list of more than 70 project management tools.
Max is a SaaS enthusiast and loves actionable content that provides direct value.