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9 best project management software solutions

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Project management is the discipline that helps businesses build products with predictability and repeatability, resulting in reduced development costs, faster time to market, and satisfied customers. Software to manage projects helps businesses streamline project processes and delivery with automation and collaboration.

Many software development companies today use proven agile project management practices to gain and keep a competitive advantage. Agile breaks complex projects into smaller, more focused tasks and incremental phases. This allows businesses to deliver greater value to customers through an iterative approach with continuous releases.

This guide discusses the 9 best software project management tools for agile development teams.

What is project management software?

Software to manage projects is a digital tool purpose-built to help standardize the product development process, removing inefficiencies, automating repetitive tasks, aligning teams, providing real-time status updates, and more.

The best project management software provides an end-to-end project management framework that supports a variety of methodologies, such as agile and waterfall. These tools also help teams move quickly with built-in features, such as scrum templates, Kanban templates, Gantt chart templates, and project planning templates.

Jira is ideal for agile software development teams worldwide. Together with Confluence, they provide a comprehensive project management toolkit, seamlessly connecting teams while strengthening project management disciplines across the company.

What are the advantages of using project management software?

Project management tools help refine and improve every phase of the project. The advantages include:

  • Smoother planning: It helps teams plan product roadmaps and sprints by identifying value-based priorities.
  • More accurate tracking: It provides visual dashboards and workflows to keep projects on track. 
  • Improved collaboration: It facilitates team collaboration with tools to generate and prioritize ideas, capture decisions, generate actions, and share information. 

Project management software fosters cross-team cohesion, increased efficiency, and a single source of truth for the entire product lifecycle.

Jira is a complete project management solution, and it’s free for up to ten users.

Top 9 project management software

Whether you’re looking for issue tracking, collaboration, or real-time communication, it’s important to identify which tools best suit your needs and provide the most value. The following is a list of the best project management software tools by focus.

1. End-to-end agile project management: Jira

Jira facilitates breaking complex projects into manageable sprints, so businesses can deliver continuous value to their customers through iterative development and project management. Whether tracking sprint tasks, customer issues, or bugs, Jira gives project managers the tools to map dependencies, identify roadblocks, and remain always current on status.

Jira also allows project managers to merge tasks from other areas, such as marketing, for a holistic view of the project. This allows teams to work the way they are accustomed to while standardizing project management across the company.

Combining Jira and Confluence creates a seamless end-to-end project management solution, enabling real-time collaboration, documentation, and efficient sharing of supporting information. Everything related to the project, such as roadmaps, specifications, user stories, customer input, and more remains accessible and discoverable during and after the project.   

Together, Jira and Confluence provide a complete solution with a variety of Jira and project management templates to help teams get started immediately.

While Jira is often used by software development teams, it’s also used across a variety of disciplines, including marketing, finance, legal, and more.

2. Cross-team visibility: Jira

Coordinating projects across multiple teams, like development and marketing, often highlights each discipline's unique work approach. Good project managers don't impose rigid structures but instead work within each team's processes.

Jira synchronizes tasks across the company to encompass all teams involved with a collaborative approach. Such work management solutions allow project managers to identify dependencies between business areas, manage resource allocation, and track tasks related to the project in one visual workflow. This engages and motivates the broader team for faster and more accurate results.

3. Knowledge management: Confluence

Every project generates supporting information that team members need to meet the goals. User stories, requirements, product specifications, and external details like integration information should all be easily accessible and linked to the project.

Confluence provides a central repository that brings knowledge management into the product development lifecycle.

4. Real-time communication: Slack

Slack offers instant access to team members all over the world for quick and efficient interactions. During customer meetings, it empowers team members to gather updates, ask questions, and find information without interrupting the flow of the meeting.

Slack also supports channels, which are groups of teams working on similar tasks or with similar skills, to enhance communication and maintain focus. Many remote teams find that Slack keeps them connected, fostering a sense of collaboration similar to working in the same office.

Slack integrates with Jira, allowing teams to set notifications on issues and tasks, tag team members, and capture discussions.

5. Project collaboration: Confluence

Confluence supports easy collaboration in one central repository for the project’s supporting information. During discovery, this includes customer feedback, roadmaps, and requirements. Once in progress, the product specification is critical for keeping the team focused. After the fact, during the project retrospective, the team can capture wins and identify opportunities for improvement.

With Confluence, team members can collaborate in real-time by creating and editing pages, adding images, code, and tables, and tagging others. Project managers can also link Jira tasks to Confluence documents, ensuring a single source of truth.

6. Task management automation: Jira

Real-time visual status updates make Jira an effective tool for task management, and with Jira automation, teams can focus on important things instead of busy work.

Its built-in templates allow teams to easily identify repetitive tasks and automate them. Anyone on the agile team can sync tasks across projects and products because it doesn't require coding. Jira automation also integrates with commonly used tools such as Slack, Bitbucket, and GitHub.

7. Online whiteboard and visual planning: Confluence

Confluence whiteboards give teams a collaborative space for brainstorming, visualizing, and turning ideas into actions in real-time or asynchronously. Features such as stamps, votes, timers, and more make it easy to share ideas and make collaborative decisions, even for remote teams. Teams can also connect decisions to Jira issues and other project areas without leaving the whiteboard.

8. Prioritization and roadmapping: Jira Product Discovery

Before teams can develop solutions, they must first define the product strategy and roadmap. Jira Product Discovery is a centralized tool for capturing and prioritizing ideas, aligning stakeholders, and building the roadmap.

With collaborative idea generation, teams can prioritize ideas based on impact versus effort, which supports Scrum activities such as backlog refinement and sprint planning. Jira Product Discovery includes templates for end-to-end product development, including strategy and roadmaps, requirements, and task tracking—all of which are customizable.

9. Async video messaging: Loom

Asynchronous communication allows team members to stay focused on the work until a natural break is available to receive updates and new information. Project managers are careful to update the team when it makes the most sense for each member. 

Loom lets project managers turn non-urgent information into videos that team members can fit into their own schedules. With today’s geographically dispersed teams, it allows everyone to remain informed, no matter what time zone they work in.

Get started with Jira for project management

There are many project management software tools available, and choosing the right one can mean the difference between simply automating your current process or improving and optimizing your projects and fostering a highly engaged, collaborative team focused on the customer.  

When it comes to standardizing project management across the company, fostering collaboration, and keeping teams engaged and focused, Jira is customized for agile processes.

With Jira, teams can strengthen project management to include other business teams without disrupting their way of working.

Project management software: Frequently asked questions

How does Jira help track projects?

Jira makes tracking projects the easiest part of product development by including:

  • Planning: It enables teams to break ideas into manageable tasks.
  • Tracking: It prioritizes and visualizes the entire project in one location.
  • Reporting: It analyzes real-time visual data.
  • Automating: It helps save time on repetitive tasks with automation.

What solutions integrate with Jira?

Jira integrates with a wide range of other tools because when it comes to project management, there is no one-size-fits-all. Jira integrates with commonly used tools, including: 

  • Zoom: Zoom brings dispersed teams together in a face-to-face collaborative environment.
  • Bitbucket: Bitbucket is a collaborative hosting service for software developers using Jira and other tools to store and share code. 
  • GitHub: GitHub allows software developers to collaborate and share code, reducing redundancy.
  • Figma: Figma provides a real-time collaborative platform for wireframing and prototyping user interface designs. 
  • Slack: Slack allows teams to communicate instantly, keeping teams focused and on track.

The Atlassian Marketplace includes over 3000 additional apps and integrations.

What types of templates are available with Jira?

Templates help teams work more efficiently, and Jira understands this need. It provides a variety of built-in, fully customizable templates tailored for agile teams. These templates include:

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