Performance & Productivity

The 11 Best Project Planning Tools to Boost Productivity (2024 Review)

Remote work requires efficient tools to stay organized and improve productivity. Check out these top project planning tools that boost collaboration.

Welcome to
Future Work

Every week, I scan the news for must-know stories about the employee-centric, happier, distributed, and AI-driven future of work.

Not a member yet? Join over 10,000 people-centric managers and subscribe here.

Rather listen? The spoken version will be available tomorrow on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

Our team switched to a hybrid work schedule during COVID and then to a remote-first model recently.

This aligns with most companies – at least those who care about their people – as remote work is now more common than ever, according to 2023 Stanford research.

I quickly learned the hard way that managing people remotely and keeping work on track doesn't happen as easily as in the office.

And while we know that project management tools can help us deliver high-quality work on time, only 27% of teams use the planning tools.

So, I dove into project planning tools and researched which one is best for whom. Here's my top 11:

The Top 11 Planning Tools in 2024

  1. Notion
  2. nTask
  3. Trello
  4. Monday.com
  5. Clickup
  6. Wrike
  7. Airtable
  8. Jira
  9. Basecamp
  10. Google Workspace
  11. Loom

Notion

Click Here to Try Notion
Click Here to Try Notion

Notion is a project management software that can help improve the efficiency of business processes, workflows, and operations. The drag-and-drop layout of this tool makes it easy to map out and organize material. It also provides a visual representation of tasks and projects.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

Remote managers can keep tabs on even geographically dispersed teams thanks to the visual nature of Notion's task and process structure, which improves transparency and gives a clear picture of the project's status.

Salient Features:

  • The personal plan of Notion is free and can be used by anybody. 
  • Additional features and capabilities suited to team communication and project management are included in the business plans, which start at $8 per user per month.

nTask

Click Here to Try nTask
Click Here to Try nTask

nTask stands out as a leading project planning tool because of its zero-cost entry point, making it suitable for groups of any size and members of any profession. Its straightforward interface and strong functionality simplify project management across the board. nTask is a transparent and user-friendly collaboration channel emphasizing project inception and planning, creating the groundwork for productive project development lifecycles.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

nTask allows you to create and manage tasks inside and outside projects, giving remote managers more freedom and power to divide work. Posting comments on tasks and turning them into independent tasks (or vice versa) can help remote teams communicate effectively and refine their tasks.

Salient Features:

  • The software's meeting management features let users organize, keep tabs on, and complete actions following meetings. 
  • For visually representing project schedules and job relationships, nTask offers Gantt charts.
  • nTask has two tiers of paid service: free and Pro. The Free edition has all the essential features and functions, making it a good choice for budget teams.

Trello

Click Here to Try  Trello
Click Here to Try Trello

Trello is a free project management platform, and that is why on the top of our list. This tool streamlines organization, collaboration, and completion of tasks. Trello's straightforward interface allows you to organize tasks into manageable lists or "boards." Using boards for each project and cards for each task, users of Trello may use a Kanban-style project management method. 

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

Trello helps teams quickly turn their ideas into action using boards, lists, and cards. Trello is a user-friendly tool that helps remote teams and managers visualize and manage their projects efficiently. The visual nature of this tool encourages openness and teamwork between hybrid managers and employees.

Salient Features:

  • Trello's ability to link to external apps and processes is facilitated by its open API.
  • The basic plan is free, and premium subscriptions for businesses start at only $12.50 per month.

Monday.com

Click Here to Try Monday.com
Click Here to Try Monday.com

Monday.com is a popular platform for managing projects and workflows. The tool has an easy-to-use interface that includes table and spreadsheet views, making it easy to start. This ensures that everyone knows what to do and how the project progresses by using clear task assignments, descriptions, and status updates. You can view the project's development visually using the timeline view. 

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

Remote team managers can effectively communicate and collaborate thanks to task ownership and status indications. By providing a visual dashboard and timeline view, this software helps managers keep tabs on projects even when employees are spread across different locations.

Salient Features:

  • To help managers keep track of projects, Monday.com includes a timeline view within each chart column. 
  • Users of Monday.com may annotate their posts with additional notes and upload supporting files like spreadsheets and papers. 
  • The Basic plan's per-user monthly cost begins at $8, with more robust capabilities and larger storage space for that price. The Standard plan, which costs $10 per user monthly, unlocks extra features and personalization settings.

ClickUp

Click Here to Try ClickUp
Click Here to Try ClickUp

ClickUp has a design that is easy to use, which means that teams can always find the information they need to finish projects successfully. It can connect with over a thousand other work applications, such as Slack, Hubspot, and Microsoft Teams, which is a big advantage. This allows teams to have one reliable source and makes processes more efficient.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

ClickUp has many features perfect for managers working remotely or in a hybrid environment. Defining user roles and permissions makes working with partners inside and outside the organization easier. This is because only authorized people can access sensitive data and processes. ClickUp makes communication easier by allowing users to turn recordings into tasks. This helps to provide clear context and instructions through shareable screen recordings. 

Salient Features:

  • ClickUp's Template Center houses many pre-built examples that may be used for various purposes and to speed up the initiation of new projects.
  • Capacity planning tools, such as project briefings for resource management, are now available on ClickUp to help teams maximize their resources.
  • The Free Forever plan has restricted features, whereas the Unlimited plan has unlimited capacity and starts at $5/month per user.

Wrike

Click Here to Try Wrike
Click Here to Try Wrike

Wrike is a reliable platform for managing projects used by industry leaders. Its many available templates are one of its greatest features since they can be easily modified to show data with minimal effort. Monthly goals can be aligned with milestones and dependencies with the help of this time-saving tool.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

Wrike has several useful features for remote and hybrid managers. Managers can keep tabs on performance and make educated choices using dashboards, which give an all-encompassing perspective of the project's status. The proofreading function facilitates effective document collaboration, shortening the time needed for reviews and approvals. Managers can more effectively distribute resources and avoid bottlenecks using project resource planning.

Salient Features:

  • Wrike has applications for both mobile devices and desktop computers, so both in-house and off-site project managers may use them. 
  • Kanban boards visually represent the workflow, making it easier to manage tasks and monitor advancement. 
  • The software may be easily integrated with other programs for streamlined information sharing and teamwork.
  • Wrike offers several pricing tiers to accommodate a variety of scenarios. The free plan has some limited features, but it's great for small groups just starting. The starting pricing for the team plan is $9.80/month/user, while the starting price for the business plan is $24.80/month/user. 

Airtable

Click Here to Try Airtable
Click Here to Try Airtable

Airtable is a flexible planning tool that combines the advantages of a spreadsheet with a database system, making it perfect for data management and teamwork. It's a great hybrid and remote management tool due to its intuitive design and adaptability.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

Airtable's ability to act as a content planner is a major perk for hybrid and remote managers. The user-friendly, spreadsheet-like interface makes it simple to model website pages, set up connections between them, and manage various content kinds with complete transparency. Managers may use this function to coordinate content creation in advance, improving communication and streamlining processes.

Salient Features:

  • Accessible to small teams or individual users.
  • Airtable provides a free plan with a subset of functionality. 
  • The basic paid plan includes premium features and more space for $12 per month per user.

Jira

Click Here to Try Jira
Click Here to Try Jira

Jira is an exceptional tool for managing software development projects. The package includes agile project management, bug monitoring, group work, reports, and app connections.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

Jira's extensive project management tools and capacity for smooth collaboration across remote teams make it an especially useful tool for hybrid and remote managers. Remote team members can use user stories, problems, and tasks to break the broad picture into more manageable pieces.

Salient Features:

  • Jira's monthly cost is $10 for teams with up to 10 members.

Basecamp

Click Here to Try Basecamp
Click Here to Try Basecamp

Like other cloud-based project management tools, Basecamp makes it simple for groups of any size to coordinate their efforts and see their projects through to completion.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

The software's many features make it easy to accomplish things like setting deadlines, organizing work into lists, planning meetings, and monitoring progress for remote managers.

Salient Features:

  • Basecamp's monthly fee is a fixed $99, and that includes an unlimited number of users and projects.

Google Workspace

Click Here to Try Google Workspace
Click Here to Try Google Workspace

A variety of Google's productivity products, including Docs, Sheets, Meet, and more, can be accessed from within Google Workspace. Now, managers can collaborate on documents, schedule meetings, have video calls, and talk to each other easily. Google Workspace allows you to collaborate in real-time and store files in the cloud. It also works well with other Google apps.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

Google's suite makes it simple to manage and sync files in real-time and collaborate with a team from anywhere using any device. Google Meet has a feature called picture-in-picture that works on Chrome browsers. This feature lets a remote manager see up to four video tiles of people in the meeting in a small window while performing other things on the computer.

Salient Features:

  • The Starter plan costs $6 per user monthly after a free two-week trial.

Loom

Click Here to Try Loom
Click Here to Try Loom

Loom is invaluable for planning and communicating, especially for asynchronous interactions.

You can use Loom to record your screen and offer commentary or opinions whenever you encounter problems or concerns about a task or project. It helps remote managers communicate with their teams and provide necessary context.

Benefits for Remote and Hybrid Managers

It is feasible for remote managers to successfully plan, execute, and assess sprints, regardless of the location of their teams.

Salient Features:

  • Loom is great for planning because it works well with Chrome. It can easily record your screen while having unlimited video storage. It also has built-in sharing options.
  • Loom provides a range of cost structures. The free Starter plan allows for up to five minutes of video, fifty users, and twenty-five films per individual. The Business plan has a monthly cost of $8 per user.

Who Should Use Planning Tools?

As businesses adapt to the growing prevalence of remote workers and the rising complexity of coordinating their efforts, project management tools will be more important than ever in 2024. 

Planning tools are useful for any manager who wants to keep track of her employees' work schedules. But they're particularly beneficial for managing remote workers or those who work in different time zones. If you have someone on your team who lives across the country, you might find it challenging to stay in touch with him or her daily. 

Planning tools can help you stay organized. It also ensures that each team member performs his or her tasks promptly.

These tools also help managers ensure employees meet deadlines and stay on track with projects and assignments. As a result, managers have more control over people's time management skills and employee productivity levels.

Criteria for Selecting Planning Tools

You should consider a few crucial elements when choosing hybrid and remote management planning tools.

Criteria for Selecting Planning Tools

1. Convenience

An effective project planning tool will have a user interface that is both simple and effective.

2. Integrations for Teamwork

An effective project planning tool makes use of real-time collaboration features. This includes shared project boards, task assignments, and file sharing.

3. Features and performance

When choosing software for your projects, ensure it has the necessary tools to plan and execute your work. These tools can include Gantt charts, different views of your work, automated processes, time tracking, and other valuable features.

4. Value 

You don't need to spend much money on a powerful project planning tool because many options are available. You don't need a big budget to get all the features without compromising quality. Trust us on that.

5. Scalability

A planning tool must employ technologies that can scale with your team and adjust to your evolving needs.

The following section overviews the most helpful planning tools, including comparing their prices and features. Keep reading to learn more about the many options available to you.

Free Project Planning Tool

But first, a friendly reminder. You don’t always need a complex tool.

Sometimes, the hardest part of a project is simply getting started. That’s where our free AI Action Planner comes in. 

Try our AI Action Plan Generator to define subtasks when you start planning a project
Action Plan

This one-step tool can help you start planning a project right away by defining subtasks.

By breaking down big projects into smaller steps, you can make the overall project more approachable and less overwhelming.

From there, you can choose how to allocate tasks to your team and track the progress in whatever format works best for you. 

Comparison and Recommendations of Planning Tools

Each of the eleven mentioned planning tools above provides a unique set of features and functions to meet the needs of a unique management philosophy and set of employees. 

Tools like ClickUp, Trello, and Monday.com are ideal for hybrid and remote teams due to their superior work management and collaboration features. While nTask and Notion prioritize effective communication, Jira targets software development groups particularly. 

Wrike provides extensive project planning features, whereas Basecamp and Google Workspace provide easy and integrated options. Loom is a great tool for online meetings, while Airtable is a hybrid spreadsheet/database manager.

Conclusion

It is important for managers who oversee hybrid and remote teams to choose the appropriate planning tool to manage their projects and teams efficiently. 

When selecting a planning tool, it's important to consider your team's unique requirements, the level of customization you're looking for, and the budget you have available. 

Planning effectively, collaborating seamlessly, and communicating efficiently is important to achieve successful hybrid and remote management. The right planning tools mentioned in this article can help you accomplish everything.

Frequently Asked Questions About Planning Tools

Q1: What is a planning tool?

Planning tools are designed to assist individuals in organizing, scheduling, and managing tasks and projects. They are especially useful in coordinating efforts and activities across a team, particularly in remote or hybrid work environments.

Q2: Who should use planning tools?

Planning tools are beneficial for managers, team leaders, and individuals in any organization or project that requires coordination and management of tasks, especially those managing remote or hybrid teams. They are also useful for individuals managing personal projects or tasks.

Q3: What are key criteria for selecting planning tools?

When selecting planning tools, important criteria include the tool's ease of use, integration capabilities with other software, the range and effectiveness of features it offers and its scalability to match the evolving needs of a team or project.

Q4: Why are planning tools important for remote and hybrid teams?

Planning tools are crucial for remote and hybrid teams as they facilitate collaboration, ensure consistent communication, help in tracking progress, manage resources and projects effectively across geographically dispersed team members.

Q5: What are planning tools recommendations based on your needs?

The choice of a planning tool depends on specific needs such as the nature of the project, team size, budget, and required features. Tools like ClickUp, Trello, and Monday.com are recommended for their work management and collaboration features, while nTask and Notion are good for communication. Jira is ideal for software development, Wrike for extensive project planning, Basecamp and Google Workspace for integrated solutions, Loom for online meetings, and Airtable for managing data-intensive projects.

Welcome to
Future Work

Every week, I scan the news for must-know stories about the employee-centric, happier, distributed, and AI-driven future of work.

Not a member yet? Join over 10,000 people-centric managers and subscribe here.

Rather listen? The spoken version will be available tomorrow on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

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