Less is definitely more—at least when it comes to the agency project management software you use to run your business. Yet if you ask the average project manager which tools she uses, you’ll get a seemingly endless list.
Unsurprisingly, having a bloated toolkit is hugely inefficient. It requires you to constantly switch between platforms and capabilities, learn a ton of different conventions and rules, and go through endless onboarding programs.
The solution? Pick just one or two powerful project management tools that’ll do *everything* your agency needs. To help you find the silver bullet, I’ve rounded up the 9 best options.Looking for project management software for your agency? Check out these 9 options Click To Tweet
Hubstaff’s flexibility and ease-of-use make it a great choice for your agency, whether you’ve got two employees or 70. The application runs on your team members’ desktops; when they start working on a project, all they have to do is press “start.” At the end of a payment cycle, their timesheets will be created automatically—making the invoicing and payment process extremely simple. Since Hubstaff integrates with PayPal, payment is nearly effortless for you as well.
The platform enables you to keep track of worker productivity as well. You can choose to see randomized screenshots of what people are working on, track keyboard and mouse activity, and view total “productive time.” Since you’ll likely need different levels of accountability for different people (depending on their role and relationship to the team), these features are customizable for each individual.
Hubstaff is also really helpful for seeing what tasks your employees are working on and when, giving you an overview of the applications they’re running and which websites they’re visiting.
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If you run a group of visual thinkers, Mavenlink might be a good choice. The software’s primary feature is Gantt charts or specialized bar charts for project schedules. These charts visually illustrate your team’s progress, dependencies, and priorities.
There are a couple extra features worth mentioning. First, you can create project templates. These break down projects by core tasks and time expectations, e.g., “Client brainstorming session, 2 hours.” If your agency frequently takes on the same type of projects, having templates will save you lots of time.
Second, because projects often have unexpected delays, Mavenlink lets you make cascading changes to your deadlines. If you move back one task’s deadline, every related deadline will move back accordingly.
However, because Mavenlink costs $29 per user per month, it’s probably not ideal if your agency typically hires freelancers or contractors.
Designed specifically for creative agencies, Workamajig offers a full suite of tools to take you from the RFP stage to paid. It’s a comprehensive agency project management software platform with features that fall into several buckets: accounting, collaboration, CRM, project management, digital proofing, and media management systems.
- Accounting: create client invoices.
- Collaboration: aggregate all of your internal and external communication.
- CRM: keep track of your ongoing jobs, client roster, creative briefs, etc.
- Project management: see which team members are assigned to which projects.
- Digital proofing: send assets to your clients for review.
- Media management: store project notes and files on the platform.
Having such a comprehensive system is great, but be aware that Workamajig suggests allocating two to three months (and multiple training sessions) to implementation. If you need a fast, easy solution, keep looking.
For teams with five people or less, I recommend AgencyHub. Reason 1: It’s free. Reason 2: It’s a low-risk way to experiment with project management software before your agency gets bigger and you need to invest in something more powerful.
AgencyHub gives you the ability to see a single-page, visual summary of each project. You can also store, distribute, and collaborate on documents, media, and other files — which will replace the need for Dropbox Business.
Automated notifications will keep everyone stay up-to-date, and task lists tracking who’s assigned to which content will maintain accountability.
This option is clearly tailored toward agile development teams.
Each ongoing project receives its own comprehensive dashboard, which allows you to quickly see its health. Along with helpful graphs, you’ll see category summaries of “Top Open Issues,” “Release Task Progress,” “Incident Open Count,” and more.
The resource allocation feature gives you the power to balance your team’s workload. For example, if you see that John Doe has 20 hours left this week, you can give him 10 hours to work on a specific task and 10 hours to work on incidents. SpiraPlan also offers a time-card entry system so developers can enter the time they spent each day on tasks and incidents.
Lastly, the software provides instant messaging and chat, agile reports, and code repositories and build server management.
Producteev has a fairly simple set-up. Within your network (i.e. your company’s account), there are projects. Projects are further divided into tasks and sub-tasks. You can assign various members of your team to each of these levels; set due dates and reminders; upload files from Box, Dropbox, or your device; and use labels, filters, and priority status to categorize tasks.
You can access Producteev via its iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac, and desktop applications. Having so many options is really convenient; plus, Producteev’s simple interface translates well across devices.
Another point in its favor: Producteev is free for up to 100 users.
Yet there’s no time-tracking ability, which is tough if you run a distributed team or hire freelancers. To get around this easily, you can integrate it with a time tracking tool.
Planscope has many differentiating features. First, instead of sending your client an overview of the project scope and price tag, you can use the “Collaborative Estimates” feature to agree on a scope and prioritization that fits their budget—and incorporates your rates.
Once you’ve secured a client, Planscope helps you bill by the hour, the day, the week, the month, the task, the feature, or the project. You can choose to share as much (or as little) of this info as you want with your clients, team members, and contractors.
In addition, Planscope offers one-click time tracking, email integration, automatic daily recaps for your client, and detailed analytics.
Do note that because Planscope was originally designed for freelancers, it’s lacking many of the accountability features that other project management tools include.
This platform is meant for digital marketing and creative teams. It gives you a unified system for all your projects, campaigns, content, and website projects–labeling each with color tags and visual progress bars so you can get a quick overview of how things are going.
If you’ve ever used Trello, Brightpod’s kanban board system will be very familiar to you. The platform also allows you to set “workflows”: templates for your frequent social media and marketing tasks. Each new Brightpod account comes with 10 default workflows, like “Site Launch Checklist,” “Email Marketing Template,” and “Getting Started With LinkedIn Ads.”
Lastly, Brightpod offers limited time tracking functionality. You can budget time for each project, track time for each task, add custom time entries, choose between billable and non-billable work, filter time by team members, and export all your time to a spreadsheet.
RoboHead is a web-based project management tool. It’s got a pretty diverse user base: freelancers, SMBs, and large enterprises.
But I’m not too sure that RoboHead is a wise investment for agencies on the smaller end, as the number of features may make it unwieldy.
Like most project management platforms, RoboHead has a central dashboard where you can view ongoing projects, recent activity, and real-time reports. Each project has its own Summary, along with specific tabs for tasks, expenses, files, notes, etc.
RoboHead also has some unique services. With the customizable Project Request form, you can also create creative briefs for potential clients. And in addition to uploading and storing media, RobohHead enables annotation, markup, versioning, and approval.
Scoro is a cloud-based option for small and medium businesses. The interface is clean and minimal–always a good thing with tools you use all the time.
However, the features list is pretty basic as well.
You can align your team’s schedules and tasks, allocate jobs and monitor execution, use tools manage billing and expenses, create reports, send invoices, track late client payments, and so on.
Scoro also functions like a CRM, giving you a 360 view of your accounts, linking tasks and events to specific contacts, tracking opportunities and deals, and managing quotes and orders.
You can integrate Scoro with many tools you may already use, like Mailchimp, Dropbox, Google Calendar, QuickBooks, and more.
How do you choose?
Having the right product management software can make the difference between finishing a project on-time and within your budget–and totally missing the deadline while spending way too much.
So, take this decision really seriously. If you’re stuck between two choices (or three, or four), I suggest grabbing a pen and writing your agency’s three biggest organizational challenges. Once you’ve got those down, come back to this list and see which platform’s features most match your needs.
What’s your favorite agency project management software?
Did we miss any awesome platforms that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below. If you have used any of the tools we covered above, we’d also love to hear your experience with it.
And if you would like to check out some additional options, we have a list of the 30 most popular project management solutions.