Software development is no exception to this trend. Specialists could argue that the software industry was one of the most prepared to switch to this new modality.
Moreover, because technology is a significant enabler of remote work, software development projects are under further pressure to achieve goals more efficiently than ever.
There are several critical success factors in Software Project Management, including but not limited to helping teams focus, motivating them, encouraging work organization, delegating effectively, and building rapport.
This article will explore which tools are increasingly used to tackle project complexities while boosting productivity and team coordination.
Popular Tools for Software Project Management in 2023
Basecamp aims to be an easy-to-use straightforward project management tool. Teams rely on basecamp to improve collaboration, communication, and productivity.
Features include chat, timetables, file sharing, creation of to-do lists, setting up milestones, and automatic check-ins. All messaging features are combined in a unified dashboard for simplified access.
An exciting feature is "Hill Charts", which allow the team to visualize where their progress is, in a range from "figuring things out" to "making things happen" (although each member has to update their status manually).
It allows setting office hours in different time zones and automatically snoozing notifications based on off-the-clock settings.
The product strives to keep the user interface simple, making it an excellent choice for small and medium teams. It could be limiting for large teams or very complex projects.
Confluence helps teams organize their information in "pages" arranged into "spaces". With JIRA, Confluence is Atlassian's solution for managing team and project documentation.
It features a great search engine and seamless integration with other Atlassian products and popular tools such as GitHub, Gitlab, and Bamboo, to name just a few.
This tool is an interesting choice for documenting projects similar to a wiki-style, publishing files, and managing shared calendars and Jira projects.
While Confluence is browser-based, it features a mobile app for accessing project documentation on the go.
Pages and spaces can be created from a library of provided templates, from one-pagers to detailed incident reports.
A significant drawback of Confluence is its pricing, which is not intended for small companies.
Jira is the leading tool for managing Agile projects. Because of that, it suits teams that are building software using Scrum or Kanban approaches. Big companies like Spotify, Cisco, and eBay, among thousands of others, trust Jira for their project management needs.
Besides being a tool for project management, Jira is excellent for bug tracking. Issues can be tracked as a list or organized in dashboards created from templates or scratch. For example, a team can set up a Kanban board to manage their tasks in no time.
Jira features a unique reporting system, extendable via plugins. This allows any project manager, team leader, or scrum master to obtain detailed reports on their backlog status, sprint progress, members' productivity, and more.
This product is highly customizable, allowing the creation of custom fields and views for each managed entity and workflow.
As a drawback, it could be mentioned that while it is an excellent tool for project tracking, it is not particularly good at enabling team communication.
Usually, teams that rely on Jira for project management use some other means for communication, like Discord or Slack.
Lucidchart is an excellent tool for creating and sharing diagrams. It allows online collaboration and the creation of many different types of diagrams from templates and libraries.
This tool is straightforward to use, with a very intuitive interface. Performance is excellent even with large diagrams with many objects.
It has a freemium model that allows it to be used by individuals and small teams. Although it is browser-based, it features an offline mode to help users work with an intermittent internet connection.
Lucidchart features some two-way integrations with 3rd party sites. This allows the creation of diagrams that automatically update based on changes on the other side of the integration.
An exciting feature of Lucidchart is that it allows for conditional formatting, with basic if/then rules to apply a format to objects on diagrams based on certain conditions.
Microsoft Project is a project management application with a long history; its first commercial version was released in ''1984! Decades of evolution'' make Project a fascinating choice.
It is now a part of the Office 365 suite, offering online collaboration and integration with other cloud-based tools.
This tool is best suited for managing resource allocation, budgets, and waterfall projects using Gantt charts. It fits large and complex projects where the minimalistic approach of Agile could fall short.
With Project, there's a learning curve, so it is probably best suited for experienced Project Managers dealing with large teams. It lacks a mobile app for tracking things on the go, but it features a powerful desktop interface.
Slack is a team communication tool that brings back elements from the old IRC era, like channels denoted with a "#" sign. However, it is fair to say that Slack helped revolutionize project management in this century, especially for distributed teams.
One of the powerful features of Slack is that it enables the creation of per-subject channels, with the ability to set up notifications based on keywords and mentions.
This tool is probably one of the most popular communication tools worldwide, with an estimated 15 million users.
It features integrations with thousands of apps and allows the creation of chatbots, a handy feature for process automation.
With Slack, teams stopped relying on old-fashioned email communications and favor real-time and asynchronous chat interactions.
Trello is a minimalistic board-like project management tool with a strong focus on productivity. It is heavily influenced by the Kanban philosophy, using cards on a board to represent tasks and visualize workflows.
Compared to other powerful board management tools like Jira, Trello seems to fall short. However, for simplistic approaches, Trello is an excellent choice. Trello is not only used by software development teams, but it is also preferred by UX, Product, and even non-technical teams to coordinate tasks and share progress.
Trello offers working hours management, hours logging, and adding notes to assigned tasks. It allows customizing notes with visual perks and provides calendar integration, metrics, and automation-like functions through its "Butler" tool.
All these features make Trello a very interesting choice for small to medium-sized teams, both technical and non-technical. Trello's UI is very friendly and minimalistic. For large teams, it is maybe not the best choice, however.
Miro is a virtual canvas. It is not a typical project management tool, nor does it compete with them. Miro is a virtual whiteboard where users can share sticky notes and arrange them as needed.
In particular, users can place notes in columns to create a Scrum or Kanban agile board if required. However, Miro is perhaps best for Product Discovery and brainstorming processes.
Miro offers real-time visual collaboration, which is an excellent complement for online communication tools in general.
Users can use Miro to schedule meetings across different time zones, a feature most useful for geographically distributed teams.
Monday.com is a tool consisting of a collection of highly customized spreadsheets for information reporting and management. Its user interface is modern and attractive.
The initial setup is a simple grid, with rows typically tracking elements (such as tasks) and columns used for attributes.
This product features an interesting gallery of Automations and Integrations. While integrations are about 3rd party APIs (including Jira, Dropbox, and Google, among many others), automations are similar in form to IFTTT rules. For example, "if a user marks a task as done, send a notification".
Monday.com is more a work-management tool than a project management tool, and it is probably best suited to small to medium teams.
Asana is a management tool with a strong focus on simplicity, highly influenced by a Kanban-style philosophy. Notably, its pricing strategy offers a free, functional tier for small teams.
As with Monday.com, Asana also offers powerful integrations and automation capabilities. Featuring a graphical workflow design tool, defining automated rules consisting of triggers and actions is reasonably straightforward.
This tool allows users to manage the same set of tasks in many different ways, from Kanban boards to lists, to workloads.
Asana enables users to manage tasks quickly and intuitively, including reporting capabilities that help users work on different projects simultaneously if needed.
A manager can follow anyone's progress through Kanban-like boards, although project information is visible to everyone.
Asana's powerful information-sharing features allow teams to centralize document management where they manage tasks, something other tools do not always permit.
This article reviewed many popular IT industry tools, especially project management and team collaboration, two aspects of software development that are key to success.
While some tools are complete project management suites, others focus on problems like communication or brainstorming support.
It is essential to research tools before adopting them, making sure a team chooses the set of tools that best suits its needs, size, and the complexity of the projects they usually deal with.
Are you looking to improve your Project Management practice by using state-of-the-art tools? Reach us out here.