Project management software for individuals: what to look for
Blog: Monday Project Management Blog
Are you struggling to manage personal and professional projects with your existing system?
Whether you’re using a mix of spreadsheets, emails, and random apps, or clunky enterprise software, you’ll face many of the same challenges.
It’s difficult to access the right data, you can’t get a sense of the status of the project as a whole, and it’s hard to coordinate with partners and contractors.
But with the right software, you won’t have any of these problems.
In this article, we’ll cover project management software for individuals — what you should look for in one and our recommendations.
What is project management software for individuals?
Project management software for individuals is easy to use, affordable — or even free — and customizable to suit your unique personal needs.
It makes it easy to keep track of your daily activities, responsibilities, deliverables, and, of course, your projects at a high level.
PM software makes it possible for individuals to reach a new level of standardization and reliability in how they approach projects over time.
You can meticulously plan everything out without falling into the trap of idly procrastinating. With task tracking, milestones, deadlines, and notifications, it’s easy to keep making progress.
With a detailed step-by-step project plan, you can always focus on taking your next step. Whether it’s a personal project — like learning a language or building a new shed in the garden — or a freelance project that you’ll get paid for, all necessary features are there.
The main difference is that in a professional project, you’ll want the ability to share, track, and manage the workloads of business partners as well.
But even if you don’t freelance, you’ll rely on the same key characteristics: ease of use, affordability, and functionality.
Let’s take a look at how the different use cases lead to different priorities and necessities for PM software.
Individual use cases for project management software
Let’s explore the 2 main different types of project management use cases for individuals: personal and professional.
Managing personal projects
If you’re doing any large-scale personal projects, like a house renovation, you need to be organized in how you use your time and manage your budget.
Only 55% of projects were completed on time and within a budget in 2021. Without a system, your chances are probably even worse than that.
But you don’t necessarily need a way to catalog, track, and manage a full team of human resources, like business partners or staff.
A more basic project management tool can help you stay on top of your responsibilities.
Here are some necessary features for personal projects:
- Task management: you’ll want tools that help you map out your necessary activities and tasks over the long term. Task cards with deadlines, detailed action steps, and notifications make it easy to stay on track.
- Time and budget management: effective resource allocation is key to project success. You’ll need tools that help you forecast and track project spending and compare it against your budget.
- Project tracking and visualization: you’ll want to keep track of your project progress in real-time with a Gantt chart, timeline, dashboard, and other tools.
With access to these features, you can easily bring a personal project of any size under control.
In some cases, like when you’re managing a team of workers on a larger construction project, you may need access to more professional features, like team management and a collaboration tool as well.
In that case, you should go beyond a basic to-do list app to get a new level of control.
Let’s see what kind of features a professional might expect in project management software.
Managing professional workflows — job, freelance, entrepreneurship
You can also use PM software to manage your professional workflow. You’ll need basic project task management tools, sure, but also more advanced features.
Here are some necessary features for professional projects:
- Guest/client accounts. You need business partners and clients to have access to different boards and tables. With guest accounts, you can easily give access to everyone who needs it. You can assign tasks to contractors or just grant access to clients. PM software that allows unlimited users can also be useful.
- Shareability and access management. On the other hand, you don’t want a random client to ruin a detailed project table, so access controls are crucial. You can, for example, limit guest access to view-only, so they have no way of editing the input in a project board.
- Milestone tracking. According to your contract, payout may be tied to particular milestones, like a finished wireframe or prototype. That makes milestone tracking crucial for any self-respecting freelancer.
- High-level scheduling. You’ll want tools that can create a detailed project schedule, complete with deliverables and other factors.
- Time tracking. Do you work on an hourly basis or hire contractors that do? Project and deliverable-specific time tracking makes it a lot easier to track costs and deliver comprehensive invoices — or manage and reduce costs over time.
- Customer relationship management. As a one-person business, you don’t want to be investing in enterprise CRM software. Some project management solutions, like monday.com, offer CRM features built into the platform.
- Customizability. Ideally, you should be able to bend the platform to your existing workflows, not have to adopt a new workflow from scratch.
You can use a variety of pre-made templates and native integrations to build a unified dashboard of your customer journey, from pre-sales to post-sales follow-up.
But effective project planning isn’t just about advanced features. There are other factors you should consider when choosing PM software as an individual.
Let’s take a closer look at key factors that highlight a good choice.
What to look for when choosing project management software for individuals
When choosing a software solution to manage project planning and collaboration, you want to look beyond surface-level features and sales pages.
Let’s take a look at several factors you should look for in project management software for individuals.
Excellent customer reputation
What do existing customers think of the software? That’s a crucial question to answer.
You don’t want to be stuck with an unreliable vendor and buggy PM software that goes offline periodically.
So make sure you check out the customer reputation of the options you consider on third-party review sites like Trustpilot and G2 Crowd.
You should also look beyond the average rating and explore a few negative and positive reviews. That way, you’ll get a real feel for the platform’s strengths and weaknesses.
Plans for individuals — not enterprises
Individual-friendly pricing plans are crucial. Otherwise, you can’t justify using it over the long term.
Single-user plans that are free or in the $10-20 range fit the budget of most individuals looking for PM software.
You don’t want to lose days or weeks of productivity as you try to figure out how to use the platform.
You want usable software that lets you quickly create a basic plan and task list and then gradually expand on that.
Integrations and extensibility
The difference between a robust platform and a simple project management app is integration support.
With the right integrations, you can build a coherent digital workspace where you can handle all planning and action steps. Without them, you need to use a patchwork of different applications for different tasks.
Free project management software will often offer access to just one core feature, like a Kanban board. There’s a big difference between using multiple separate tools like that and being able to do all the work on one platform.
A single basic app won’t help you transform your workflow. Even as a solopreneur or with a small team, you want features that give you a comprehensive overview of multiple projects.
What is the easiest project management software?
Unfortunately, there’s no universal answer for what’s the easiest project management software for everyone, but here are a few crucial things to consider.
Does it have ready-made templates for different use cases?
Smart project management software includes pre-made templates to help you get started in a few minutes.
For example, they’ll include templates for creative projects, software projects, and even hiring and onboarding processes.
When you don’t have to start from scratch, it’s a lot easier to create a standardized workflow for yourself and your team.
Does it offer robust onboarding and training with videos?
You don’t want to scramble trying to figure out how to use a platform to its full potential. Ideally, it should have high-quality onboarding tutorials, complete with videos and step-by-step documentation.
At monday.com, we invest big in not just static training videos, but also daily live training webinars to help all new users learn how to master our platform.
Is there coding required?
Automation is one of the most powerful tools in a project management solution. But that doesn’t matter if you can’t figure out how to set it up.
Ideally, you’ll want an automation tool that relies on plain English. Anyone can follow along with an “if this, then that” format.
Does it offer 24/7 support?
Any project management tool is only helpful when you’re using it successfully. Support is your fail-safe, helping you fix any potential problems, whether you cause them yourself or not.
You want to work with a company that values its customers and makes you a priority, even if you’re not an enterprise customer.
That way, even when something breaks, you can quickly get back on top of your projects.
What is the best personal project management software?
Considering all the factors covered above, we feel comfortable declaring monday.com the best software for managing projects as an individual.
With free and affordable plans for individuals, unlimited projects, and features way beyond task management, it’s a no-brainer.
What sets us apart from the competition is the customizability and extensibility of our platform.
Instead of having to force yourself to learn a new way of working, you can adapt our software to create the perfect project management platform for you.
Let’s look at some monday.com features that make it perfect for individuals.
On monday.com, you can choose the project board view that suits you — such as Kanban board, Gantt chart, calendar, and grid views.
Edit columns, status colors, the number of assignees, files, action steps, and much more on each board. You can truly create a digital representation of your workflow.
Easy to learn and use
You don’t need a project team and a multi-step plan to learn how to use our platform. You can follow along with simple training videos and quickly master our self-explanatory interface.
We avoid jargon wherever possible, which means most new users can quickly start creating projects, even without any guidance.
This is crucial for working on a complex project with various partners and contractors. If they can’t understand the platform, the software is useless.
Advanced features like automation are accessible
Our advanced features aren’t hidden behind an expensive premium, and even a complete beginner can master them.
For example, our automation builder lets you create advanced workflows for recurring tasks in plain English.
Test our platform with our free plan for individuals
You don’t have to take on a long-term contract just to give our platform a try. We offer a free plan for individuals with unlimited projects, 200+ templates, and basic features.
You can use it to test our platform for however long you want completely risk-free. Whether you work with a small creative team or completely alone, it’s a great place to start.
The right software makes personal project management a breeze
Are you ready to leave a ragtag system of spreadsheets, email threads, and physical notes behind? Retake control over your individual tasks with a smarter project management system.
Even if your project team is just one person, the right platform can transform your productivity levels.
monday.com’s customizability makes it easy to create the perfect platform for managing your projects, whether personal or professional.
Craft custom templates and boards that reflect your unique workflow, and visualize every step of the process.
You can get started with our single project management template today.
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