Project collaboration software – also known as Groupware – is application software designed to help individuals and teams involved in a common task achieve their goals. Collaboration software is primarily designed to enhance productivity within a group of individuals, and, more specifically, within organisations. This is achieved through the coordinated tools, processes and management capabilities provided by this type of solution.
With such programs, users each create a workspace and add data and workflow to it. The created workspace can be viewed and is accessible to other users, regardless of their physical location. Any changes made to the data or files are fully synced across all users by the software, ensuring that everybody in an organisation has the most updated version of a project.
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The 10 Most Popular Project Collaboration Software Solutions
1.Wrike is a cloud-based project management and collaborative platform which allows users to organise their projects using a single dashboard by means of social collaboration tools. These also enable users to assign tasks, track deadlines, and prioritise assignments and much more.
Project progress is tracked through tools such as Gantt charts allowing users a way of visualising project plans in real-time. They can also edit tasks and adjust schedules, whilst team leaders can also view their team’s work through task lists, timesheets and the platform’s Activity Stream.
One of the major causes of inaccuracies and complex project management is unclear work priorities and Wrike has worked hard to address this area by simplifying and prioritising work requirements. Their forms aim to shorten the time needed to complete a project reduce errors and rework, whilst improving project visibility for main stakeholders.
Wrike has the big advantage compared to many competing solutions that it is very quick to set-up and requires minimal training to use.
2. Monday.com is a visual management tool designed to help transform how teams work together. Formerly known as daPulse, this is a simple but intuitive tool which enables users to manage work, meet deadlines and act in a culture of transparency. A single board allows users to see who is working on what tasks at any particular point in time and, from this board, they can add tasks, projects and to-do items, assign teammates to specific projects and determine the exact status of a project in real-time.
Features such as @mentions allow direct communication to individuals and entire teams, and real-time notifications allow everybody on a project team to be brought up to date, whether they are using a desktop or a mobile device. There is also the facility to invite clients as guests on the system in order to promote a better and more streamlined collaborative process.
3. Smartsheet which can be accessed from anywhere using a laptop or mobile device, is an online project management solution which focuses on the more collaborative aspects of project management, as opposed to traditional elements like scheduling and tasks (although it can also perform these). The software is spreadsheet-based, but, unlike traditional spreadsheets like Excel or Google Docs, Smartsheet has a variety of collaborative features incorporated within it. The solution allows teams to collaborate, set-up alerts, attach files, and have discussions, request updates, create web forms and publish results and reports.
4. RealtimeBoard features a digital whiteboard that can be used for research, idea creation, mapping, wireframing, and a range of other collaborative activities. It is cloud-based and aimed primarily at small to mid-sized organisations.
The whiteboard toolkit enables users to create mock-ups and schemes, write-down ideas, and leave feedback on other users’ input. Boards can be created from pre-loaded templates, and can be converted into presentations or saved as a PDF.
The solution also comes with an integrated library of icons, wireframes and other content. Users can also upload files, images and documents from their computer and from Google Drive.
5. Zoho Projects is a cloud-based project management solution offering project scheduling and budgeting. It allows project managers to define tasks, assign them to a team, estimate project costs and follow-up on outstanding issues. It is designed primarily for use by small and medium-sized businesses.
The solution automates document processes, such as revision tracking, access control, and search and retrieval. There is also a document management portal for sharing files and documents within a team. Zoho Project also offers issue management features which help manages focus on the resolution of errors in project tasks.
Via the reporting module, dashboards help users prepare business reports and summaries. They can also use Gantt charts to visualise project tasks, and progress against agreed targets. The resource allocation chart helps them identify which team members are free, and those that are currently overloaded with work.
Task lists and milestones help users manage complex projects by breaking them down into sub-tasks.
6. Asana is a web and mobile Saas (Software as a service) application which focuses on allowing users to manage projects and tasks online without the use of email. Instead teams create a workspace which contains projects, and these, in turn, contain tasks. For each task, users can add comments, notes and attachments. Users can follow the progress of projects and tasks, and when there is a change in their status, they get an update in their inbox.
7. JIRA is available on-demand through a monthly subscription as a Saas (software as a service) and can be deployed on local servers for a licence fee. It is a popular project and issue tracking platform used by development and technical support teams to get more work done and faster. JIRA combines issue tracking, agile project management, a customisable workflow and pluggable integration, and a Kanban board to increase the speed of work, featuring items such as to-do lists, in progress, and completed, work reports.
8. Genius Project is an enterprise-level project and portfolio management solution which focuses on managing the lifecycle of a project. The software package encompasses all aspects of project management and budgeting, document control and resource management.
Dashboards provide real-time reporting and data analysis with central management in a simple, user friendly format. The report generator allows users to create reports instantly and export them to Excel or PDF.
The solution’s integrated suite of applications fits a wide variety of projects, especially those in manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and government bodies, and allows teams to prioritise projects, and group and score them.
9. Trello is a visual collaboration program for planning tasks and projects. It is a web-based solution which provides tools to define projects, their requirements and workflow, to ensure they are completed in a properly organised, sequential way. Trello is frequently used by agile software development teams, but can also be deployed by other functions, such as HR, marketing and sales.
The program uses a digital board to create, organise and prioritise actions. Managers can define workflows, assign tasks, set deadlines and track progress. Through the use of Trello cards, users can collaborate with each other, add comments and attach documents to the tasks assigned to them.
The software integrates with a number of online applications such as JIRA, Google Drive, and GitHub.
10. Mavenlink is a software solution designed for project management, resource planning, collaboration and financial management. It is specifically designed for professional services, especially in marketing, advertising, IT and management consulting.
Mavenlink offers support for resource management, time and expense tracking and management, planning, reports, and analytics. Its design is based on a single navigation bar, which links to key areas of the platform, whilst a central dashboard keeps users updated on project activity.
The software integrates with many popular third party applications, like Google, JIRA, Zendesk, and QuickBooks.
A guide to choosing the best Project Collaboration Software
The marketplace is crowded with project collaboration software tools, and it can be difficult to determine what is best for your company or industry. It is recommended that potential buyers should read online reviews and customer feedback to determine how such products actually work in practice, and also take advantage of free trials and product demos to test features and functionality.
Beyond that, however, there are some core capabilities solutions should offer.
Email/document sharing – allows project team members to share emails, files, and documents with others;
Group calendars – helps teams keep track of deadlines and significant events;
Real-time collaboration – whatever form this may take, be it forums, streams, chat, this helps teams collaborate in real time; and
Team collaboration tools – functionality such as wikis, meetings, calendars facilitate group collaboration.
Project Collaboration Software types
The 3 main types of project collaboration software apps are:
Communication – platforms which include chat and instant messaging functionality;
Conferencing – solutions which enable real-time collaboration between team members who can make use of a unified view screen; and
Coordination – allows teams to handle complex interdependent tasks with a common aim.
Project collaboration software solutions provide a number of clear benefits to an organisation, including the ability to delegate and track tasks easily, foster better communication and collaboration between project team members, and provide an enhanced view of project activities and status. In addition, they facilitate scheduling, resource allocation and workflow management.
As methodologies like Agile Project Management become increasingly popular, there will be increased demand for these workflow and resource solutions, and products with even greater functionality may soon be making their way on to the market.