Professional consultants, corporations, and service industries, from engineering to healthcare to information technology, require the right project management tools to track project timelines, manpower, and budgets. For any project, it is critical to know when to use specific techniques and certain teams at various times, from project conception to project completion. Every project has time constraints. Those projects that meet deadlines on time and within budget are those that are managed well.

Good project management means good project organization. Without strategic planning, tracking, and supervision, any undertaking that requires material procurement, equipment deliveries, manpower scheduling, and system installations would be hit-or-miss, haphazard, and ripe with missed deadlines and overrun budgets.

The use of online project management software is an effective way to ensure consistent collaboration between different teams and the best way to keep everyone aware of scheduled meetings and activities from planning and execution to closing.

Make sure you choose project management tools that are easy to learn and can be quickly deployed to appropriate team members. Beware of big, clunky project management apps that are complicated and burdensome to use. After all, what's the use of a project management tool if your team members dread opening and using the software?

The main goal of project management tools is to allow leadership to quickly apply direction to a project. The result is that everyone stays focused on the tasks at hand with clearly defined action items and objectives.

Online project management software can also serve as a quality control tool. Often, everyone is under pressure to complete their assigned activities. Project management apps can be used to make sure timelines are not underestimated and processes are not rushed. The result is better quality output by each team leader and better project delivery for stakeholders.

Project Management Software

The best project management software should be based on your type of corporate or business project needs. For example, most of your projects include both parent and child projects, which are those smaller projects that fall under a larger one. Or, maybe you should consider the best project management tools for small teams. These smaller teams may have fewer specialized roles and may require more oversight from the project manager.

In the past, project managers would create a spreadsheet to plan and track projects. Today, you can take advantage of dedicated project management software that will decentralize your projects and provide help with a wider range of tasks. The benefit to your project is more tightly contained costs and robust team collaborations that can be critical to the success of each project. The right project management tools not only make it easier to manage projects, but they also keep your projects more organized.

Some useful examples of project management tools can be found in apps by the best developers like BigTime, Basecamp, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), and open-source applications like Google Project Management Tool. BigTime has custom-built its software to specifically provide time-tracking, billing, and project management for a number of industries, like accounting, architecture and engineering, consulting, creative, government contracting, IT services, and law firms.

It is important that your project information is updated in real-time, without the need for outside interference from project managers or team members. Project activities can change quickly in the field, so real-time updates will keep the entire team current on your project's progress.

Online Project Management Tools Free

Some companies will consider free project management software that is typically open-source. This means that while you may have the freedom to run and distribute the software within your company, it may have hidden costs, will have limited features, is often difficult to use, or wasn't built specifically as professional services project management software.

Free project management templates will lack the customization tools that you will get with a more sophisticated paid system like BigTime. Instead of using free project management templates, consider your investment in a robust, full-featured project management app. One that will bring a return on the ease of deployment, onboard training, and the ability to modify templates to meet your specific needs. 

For example, BigTime has a simple, easy-to-use interface with smart lookup fields to reduce clicks and eliminate scrolling. When managing a large project, this one feature can save you time and hassle. BigTime also has human resource management tools that allow you to know which employees are available to work on projects and how much time allocation is available for each employee.

Even the best free project management templates will have limited features, dashboards, and interfaces that are hard to read, compatibility issues, and difficulty importing data from an existing project management system.

Top 10 Project Management Tools

There are many project management tools and features to look for that will make managing any type of project easier and more organized. BigTime offers project management (PM) tools for not only small-to-medium-sized firms, but also professional services automation software (PSA) for larger corporations that will include additional features such as resource allocations layered with time/expense tracking, budgeting, and invoicing and payment processing. 

Why consider project management software that does not have the right tools to meet your business needs? The most relevant project management software will help both your project leaders and team members stay focused on working towards a successful project completion.

No matter the size of your projects, there are some basic project management tools that should be a part of the software you choose. Here are the top 10 project management tools to consider when choosing the best project management app:

  • Gantt charts - to easily see project tasks or events displayed against time. This helps keep your project on track to meet major milestones.
  • Budget and task tracking - securely assign expense budgets for tasks, purchase orders, not-to-exceed limits
  • Workflow management - for scheduling of manpower along with due dates of each assigned task 
  • Time tracking - that is flexible enough to schedule a 2-hour service or a 2-month project
  • Security and privacy settings - to control project access to certain staffers or activities
  • Billing and invoicing - for accurate accounts payable and receivable documentation
  • Workflow validation - for accurate review and approval validation of time and expenses
  • Expense tracking - to stay in budget by capturing every expense in real time
  • Credit card capture - to automatically bill certain expenses to certain credit cards
  • Mobile access - to track time and expenses on the go, anywhere and anytime

With these project management tools, you can expect better productivity along with real-time data that can help project managers make informed decisions. Imagine the benefit of quickly seeing which workflows are behind schedule, which vendors have long lead times, or which project tasks are about to go over budget.

Google Project Management Tool Free

If you have experienced technicians, supervisors, or office professionals that are great at planning and would make excellent project managers, consider having them complete the Google project management course. This fast-track path to project management will teach the foundations of organizing projects and keeping them on track. 

To earn a Google project management certificate, your selected employees will complete courses such as:

  • Time and budget estimating
  • How to run project meetings
  • How to identify and manage project risks
  • Leadership skills for project managers
  • Promoting teamwork and collaboration

Google’s online learning programs are addressing some of the fastest-growing technology sectors and provide a better path for individuals to translate existing professional skills into new areas like project management. Even current PMs can update their current knowledge by using the Google project management tool free.

The coursework is constructed to be beneficial to those with or without a 4-year degree, and with or without managerial experience. And, when it comes to project management, it is often those highly technical field personnel or professionals like engineers with a considerable knowledge base and many years of experience that will become the best project managers.

Best Project Management Software

BigTime is one of the best project management software for consultants. It is ranked highly by Business Software and Services Reviews (G2) and continues to be one of the most popular project management software. Similar to FinancialForce and Mavenlink, it is 100% cloud deployable over public and private clouds.

BigTime is also one of the best project management software for small teams because of its ease of setup and use. Small projects have unique challenges like multitasking and limited timeframes. These projects require tools that are not cumbersome and a project management app that eliminates wasted time and focuses on the essential project steps.

Larger companies should avoid using even the best free project management software 2020. These software programs will typically have limited features and not much accounting functionality or the ability to easily integrate with accounting software. BigTime has developed its Professional Services Automation software to deliver enterprise-wide project management and accounting tools that outpace competitors like Accelo, and Clarizen One with the shortest implementation time to go live.

Before you decide on a project management app, visit BigTime to turn time into profit with real-time project tracking, budgeting, and planning.