Whether you’re a remote worker trying to stay on top of upcoming deadlines, or a manager who needs to juggle multiple team members, good project management is key to helping you get all of your jobs done. Each project has goals, issues, and milestones that you need to track to make sure you’re spending your time building the business and leading projects toward meaningful success.
Sure, you could try to keep this all straight in your head or on an Excel spreadsheet. But there are easier alternatives that (we’re sorry to say it if you really love spending your days in Excel) can do this much better than you can alone. What’s the alternative? Project management software solutions.
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Key features for Mac users to look for in project management software
There are several inexpensive project management software for Mac users. Basically, you want the software to bring your team together or, if you’re a freelancer, organize your projects to save you time. To help you pick the right one, we’ve compiled a simple list of key features to look for in your project management software for Mac.
- Task management: According to Software Advice, 70 percent of users in their 2016 buyer report for project management viewed task management as an essential feature of project management software. This is a fundamental feature you’ll definitely want to have in your project management software. It gives the ability to create “to-do” lists and track tasks that have been assigned and completed either by other team members or by yourself.
- Time tracking: This is another essential feature and one that will ultimately give you the ability to tackle more projects and increase productivity. Sure, we’re a bit biased here, but a popular option for this is Hubstaff time tracking. Use it to easily see what everyone is working on at any given time. This not only keeps your employees on track, but helps you make sure projects are running on time and that everyone is focused on the tasks that they should be.
- Communication: Although the best project management for Mac users will display everything visually on a central dashboard, direct communication is still key. You want to choose a project management system that allows you to communicate quickly and effectively.
- Reports and snapshots: A key feature in the best project management software is reporting. While some software like Project or Basecamp offers advanced reporting, you also pay a premium price for it. When you’re choosing an initial project management software, simple reporting will probably be more than enough for what you need at first. Plus, it’ll help you make sure you’re not spending your entire software budget just on project management.
- Advanced project management: Sometimes, your team will require advanced project management functionality, like weekly sprints, daily standup reports, workflow automation or any other project management functionality. Be sure to identify early on exactly which features you’re on the lookout for and which Mac project management software will have everything that you need included from day one.
Best project management software for Mac
Macs are great for a lot of tasks, beloved for their incredible design, and used across industries by everyone from developers to creatives. However, when it comes to finding a solid project management solution for Mac, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
First off, there’s actually only a handful of software designed specifically for Mac, as most project management solutions are either focused on Windows or are cloud-based web apps.
The second obstacle while finding a good Mac project management software is if people on your team are using different operating systems. This becomes especially difficult for teams that need a self-hosted project management solution on top of that.
Hubstaff Tasks is perhaps the easiest way to get started with project management for Mac. It uses an easy to understand visual board and it’s web-based, meaning that the files are stored in the cloud. That makes it accessible from any device or location, as users log onto a website to access it instead of installing it directly onto their machines.
With Hubstaff Tasks’ Kanban interface, managing tasks is easier than ever. Creating a new task is as simple as one click. You can add labels, checklists, and checklists so you’re always updated on everything that’s going on. Moving tasks from one project stage to another works through a smooth drag-and-drop mechanism.
Hubstaff Tasks has a Sprints feature that is helpful not only to Agile users, but also to anyone who is looking for a fast yet accurate way of completing projects. You can view current tasks, backlogs, as well as upcoming work so you can adjust your plans as needed. Learn more about agile project management here.
Another benefit of using Hubstaff Tasks as your Mac project management software is the advanced project management functions. You can easily create customized agile workflows, making it simple to see whose turn it is to take over work next on each individual task.
Hubstaff Tasks seamlessly integrates with Hubstaff so you can maximize your productivity. All the tasks assigned to you will be shown on the time tracker and you can track every second you spend on each task directly from the app.
Hubstaff Tasks is free for teams of up to 5. Its full set of features is available in the Premium plan, which starts at $4 per user monthly.
MS Project is a market-leading project management solution, so you can’t go wrong with it. However, as we mentioned before, it’s crucial to note that this project management software is simply not designed to be used on a Mac. You’ll need to install a virtual Windows machine or access it through it a web browser to use it on a Mac.
Other than that, as a project management tool it’s mostly aimed at big teams looking for an enterprise solution, with advanced functions like resource allocation and “what if” scenarios to model your allocated resources, and how project completion dates would be affected by any potential changes.
MS Project costs anywhere from $7 – $55 per user for a cloud-based solution or a $620 – $1,030 one time fee for a self-hosted on-location version.
A lot of people use Excel or other spreadsheet programs to do basic project management. They have the basic ability to calculate costs and resources, while are also flexible enough to let users do whatever they want with the data through all the common spreadsheet functions.
Smartsheets is just that — a project management software based on spreadsheets and designed only for that type of use. It’s a great tool for teams that need to be in control of their costs and calculate other resources frequently but don’t need more sophisticated team project management capabilities.
Since it’s web-based, it works well as a project management solution for Mac and you won’t have to worry about other team members that might not be using a Mac.
Smartsheet plans start at $14 per user per month, but expect to pay $25 for a more robust version.
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Project Planning Pro is a great software for people just switching over to Mac and looking to replace Microsoft Project with a Mac-suitable PM software. You can import MS Project files into Project Planning Pro and export them to be imported back onto other PM software after.
On top of being a great alternative to Microsoft Project, this tool has everything an advanced project management tool should: calendar view, Gantt charts, critical path analysis, project summaries and more. You can also use it on the go since it works on Mac, iOS and Android.
Each single copy is $29.99 and you can get a discount if you buy a group of licenses.
OmniPlan is created by OmniGroup, a company specializing in creating Mac and iOS apps. It’s a great project management tool for Mac, as it’s packed with great features, including Gantt charts, drag and drop support, task grouping, network diagrams, critical paths and much more.
The tool is perfectly suited for both small freelancers and bigger teams.
It does come at a fairly significant price. For iOS only, it’s $99.99 for a basic version or $199.99 for a premium version. For Mac, it’ sand $199.99 for a basic version and $399.99 for premium.
What Mac project management needs do you have?
Project management can be tricky to master. But choosing one of the best project management software for your Mac will make your life easier. A key first step is to only spend money on the crucial features that you really need and know that there are several free or low-cost options out there.
Are you thinking of using project management software or do you already use one that you love? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
This post was originally published in January 2018. It was updated by the Hubstaff Blog Team in October 2019.