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.
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Confluence is a project management solution that enables organizations to create, collaborate, organize and review project documents. The system offers both cloud-based and on-premise deployment.
Confluence’s editor feature a...Read more
Float is a collaborative resource management software for real-time project planning and task scheduling. Features include an intuitive interface, drag-and-drop features, keyboard shortcuts, reports, and analytics, and editing too...Read more
Backlog is a cloud-based project management and issue tracking solution that caters to development teams working with design, marketing and IT teams. The key features of the solution include project and issue management, subtaskin...Read more
monday.com, an award-winning collaboration and project management platform, helps teams plan together efficiently and execute complex projects to deliver results on time. monday.com team management and task management tool allows ...Read more
Beesbusy is a collaborative planning tool. Easy to use, it allows to federate expert users and occasional users.
- The planning of the tasks is materialized in a schedule in the form of a Gantt chart (view When of the project), w...Read more
Miro is a cloud-based collaboration tool for small to midsize businesses. The solution features a digital whiteboard that can be used for research, ideation, building customer journeys and user story maps, wireframing and a range ...Read more
ClickUp is a cloud-based collaboration and project management tool suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. Features include communication and collaboration tools, task assignments and statuses, alerts and a task toolb...Read more
todo.vu is cloud-based project management solution offering integrated customer relationship management, project management, time tracking and billing tools. The platform is suitable for contractors, freelancers and small teams.
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 o...Read more
Asana helps teams orchestrate their work—from daily tasks to strategic initiatives. With Asana, teams are more confident, move faster, and accomplish more with less—no matter where they are located or how many different department...Read more
Planview Clarizen is an award-winning enterprise work management solution for project portfolio management (PPM) and professional services delivery teams.
The solution enables PMOs, EPMOs, PSOs, and ESOs to gain real-time visibil...Read more
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 rep...Read more
InLoox is a project management suite offering Web-based and on-premise solutions that integrate with Microsoft Outlook. It’s accessible for smaller businesses, with resource management and PPM applications for enterprise clients....Read more
Celoxis is a Web-based project management solution for small teams to large multimillion dollar enterprise projects. The first company to offer Software-as-a-Service deployment in India, Celoxis offers round the clock support....Read more
ProofHub offers project managers a software solution that can help to manage resources and tasks using notes, calendars, Gantt charts and more. It is Web-based and can integrate with Google Docs and Dropbox....Read more
ProjectManager is a project management software solution that offers features including project planning. budgeting, time tracking, task management, document management and reporting.
ProjectManager also offers Gantt chart funct...Read more
For businesses looking for a robust Project Management system that includes a full Portfolio Project Management application, KeyedIn Projects offers a way to monitor resource allocation, as well as prioritize projects....Read more
RoboHead manages projects from start to finish with customizable project request forms, time tracking, resource management, online proofing/editing and approvals, client surveys, creative portfolios, asset management, and robust r...Read more
Resource Guru is a cloud-based resource scheduling application that is suitable for organizations of all sizes. This application enables booking and rescheduling through the calendar feature and a drag-and-drop scheduling tool. Th...Read more
Founded in 2002 and acquired by ProActive Software Ltd in 2003, ProWorkflow is a cloud-based project management and time tracking software that caters to companies of all sizes.
ProWorkflow includes all the features of a trad...Read more
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 contacted Software Advice in the past year, 66% requested systems with project scheduling and resource management capabilities.*
We've created this guide to help buyers better understand project planning solutions and how they factor into the larger PM software market.
Project planning software is a specialized tool that helps project managers and stakeholders map out and visualize a project plan, helping to optimize resource allocation across a complex project and/or multiple projects. The project planning management tool helps plan the sequence of activities and tasks required to complete a project and identify the best project team based on availability and skills set.
This high-level "roadmapping" process helps managers:
Identify key resources
Pinpoint project tasks’ 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/project scheduling software or invest in an integrated PM suite. A comprehensive project management software 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.
Now let's get into more detail on planning tool features.
Common features of project planning software
The following are some common capabilities of project planning tools:
Used to determine the critical path of tasks, identify task dependencies, and potential risk areas. They can also help track performance and progress on tasks once projects are underway. Represented as cascading bar charts across a timeline or calendar (see screenshot below table for an example).
Provides project managers increased visibility into team availability and skill set. Managers can schedule resources to tasks and projects or create a “placeholder resource” for roles they know they’ll need but haven’t been able to schedule yet.
Project timeline planning
Visualize the full project timeline based on task durations and dependencies. Project managers can create a project schedule, manage employee scheduling, and track project status (see screenshot below table for an example).
Allows project managers to track and manage 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).
Provides PMs and their team the ability to schedule in-app or email alerts. These can be used to notify the team about upcoming task due dates or to alert an employee assigned to a dependent task that the preceding work item is nearing completion.
Helps facilitate team collaboration among users via in-app comments, in-task 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 (see screenshot below table for an example).
There are many benefits of using project planning software as opposed to manual methods. These benefits include:
Increased visibility: View, track, and manage individual and team workloads, their 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.
Early risk detection: Using visual planning tools, such as Gantt charts and timelines, project managers and stakeholders can plan risk management strategies ahead of time and mitigate any potential obstacles.
Maintain 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.
*Analysis was performed on software buyer calls asking about project management software from March 10, 2020 through March 9, 2021.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.