Startups by definition are chaotic. Initiatives are planned (or not planned) and executed in a blink.
Things move fast in the startup world. And things go wrong all the time. And herein lies the reason why every startup needs to use project management: to avoid chaos and to enable a structure that boosts efficiency and collaboration.
Startups need speed, reliability, and consistency in all their projects. If you belong to a startup, the right startup project management tool can help you achieve all three by enabling you to manage tasks, track deadlines, and generally, keep your eye on the ball.
Read on to learn about the 7 best free project management tools for startups companies and entrepreneurs.
7 Startup project management tools compared
Project management for startups needs speed, flexibility, and a collaborative approach. With vague responsibilities and the absence of standard procedures, things can quickly become chaotic. Startup project management tool needs to be dynamic enough to meet ever-changing requirements and cut through the clutter to consistently maintain team productivity.
The seven free startup project management software and tools listed below are some of the best options on the market right now. As an entrepreneur for your startup company, you need to identify the option that best fits your team and industry.
1. Kissflow Project
It’s impossible to complete any list of best project management tools for startups without mentioning Kissflow Project. This tool focuses on collaboration, transparency, and productivity through simplification. The tool offers multiple views like Kanban, matrix, and lists, so you can always keep an eye on the big picture and make quick decisions according to the situation.
Here are some of the most important features of Kissflow Project that are especially useful to project managers for startups:
- Advanced communication channels
- Reporting and analytics
- Dynamic visualization between Kanban, matrix, and lists
- Excellent security features
- 24/7 support
- Custom fields
- Project and task status
Pricing is an essential consideration for startups and Kissflow has the most suitable plans for a budding business. Kissflow Project offers 3 pricing plans which can be selected after a full-featured free trial period of 15 days.
- Free: Unlimited users. Offers customizable steps, 3 custom views, project reports, a simple activity log, and a 50 GB storage limit.
- Basic: $5/user/month when billed annually for a minimum of 10 users. Offers unlimited custom views, Office 365 integration, unlimited storage, and advanced reports apart from all the features on the Free plan.
- Advanced: $12/user/month when billed annually for a minimum of 10 users. Offers all the features on the Basic plan and also SSO – SAML, detailed activity history, custom sub-domains, and IP whitelisting.
Learn more about Kissflow Project’s pricing and features.
This is a simple and intuitive startup project management tool that focuses on streamlining the reporting process and improving transparency. Startups seldom have properly defined responsibilities, and teams collectively work on issues. In this scenario, you need additional visualization and better reporting to ensure that no task remains undone due to communication issues.
Some of the top features of Podio are:
- Optimize your day-to-day project activities
- Track tasks,
- Effective communication with everyone
- Automated workflows
- Customizable views and integrated calendars
Here’s how the monthly pricing structure of Podio works. All plans are priced per employee.
- $0 (Free) – Limited use for up to 5 employees
- $9/month – A basic plan to help you get started
- $14/month – Advanced features and workflow optimizations
- $24/month – Full suite with all advanced features you’ll need
This project management tool for startups is another excellent choice that improves the overall collaboration and efficiency of your team. Scoro believes in quantifying everything including the time you spend on a task. It allows you to maintain a big-picture approach for all your ongoing projects and helps you understand the allocation and distribution of all the resources at your disposal.
Some of the most distinguishing features of Scoro are:
- Specialized hubs for essential features like sales, project management, marketing, etc.
- Time management feature
- End-to-end collaboration
- Easy-to-use interface
- Budget tracking
- Integration with popular tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
The pre-made plans of Scoro are divided into four categories called hubs and each hub focuses on a particular aspect of the workplace. The plan details and their monthly prices are listed below:
- Essential Hub ($28/user) – Perfect for small teams and startups that need a basic management tool for their day-to-day operations and ongoing projects.
- Work Hub ($42/user) – Excellent choice for teams that need powerful resource planning, project management, and collaboration solutions on a single platform.
- Sales Hub ($42/user) – Keep track of your entire sales funnel and make use of Scoro’s advanced reports and analytics to understand the market.
- Ultimate (Custom) – An all-in-one solution to enhance the way you get your work done. Customized to fit your team like a glove.
This is an all-in-one solution that aims to completely change the way you handle the communications, projects, and operations of your business. Gobrief uses Kanban boards for project management and aims to simplify all aspects of your workplace. This cloud-based project management solution also allows you to integrate tools via Zapier, so you won’t have to waste time switching between apps for different tasks.
Some functions Brief offers are:
- Task management
- Kanban boards
- Cross-platform access
- Audio and video chats
- File storage
- Project timeline management
To give you an idea of how Gobrief enhances the overall business processes, the tool offers a 7-day free trial and then you can choose between the 3-monthly payment packages it offers.
- Basic ($19.9/user) – Basic project management features with unlimited tasks, messages, and projects. You also get 2 guest users and 100 GB of file storage.
- Advanced ($29.9/user) – A comprehensive plan with all the features of the basic package with 1000 minutes of audio/video calls. You also get 4 guest users and cross-platform integration.
- Enterprise (Custom) – Tailored for your company’s processes and operations.
5. Wimi Teamwork
Wimi Teamwork is another excellent project management tool for startups and entrepreneurs because of its efficient project management system and security features. The tool comes with all the project management features your startup might need to optimize its project management and centralizes all your resources in one place.
You are free to categorize your projects, manage your tasks, and communicate with all project stakeholders via dedicated channels or direct messages. Here are some features Wimi offers:
- Dedicated channels
- Task management
- Shared calendars
- Customer support
- Guest accounts
- File storage
Wimi follows a freemium model where you get some basic features at 0 cost. Depending on your requirement, the tool can be expanded as it offers unlimited scalability and support. The three paid plans are:
- Team ($15/month/user) – Unlimited guest accounts with 250 GB storage and all the features you’ll need to maximize productivity.
- Enterprise ($18/month/user) – All the features from the team plan along with 500 GB storage, dedicated customer support, and the on-premise option.
- Armoured. (Custom plan) – Custom plan with enhanced security and round-the-clock support. Can offer storage up to 50 TB.
Many startups initially feel reluctant to try out SaaS tools because their combined costs become too much to handle. Kintone circumvents this issue by offering everything under a single roof. Whether you need a CRM, a database, or a content calendar, Kintone can do it all for you. Here’s how:
- Automated workflows
- Collaborative features
- An all-in-one tool
- CRM capabilities
- Centralized database
For startups, prices are among the key considerations for selecting any tool. Here are the details about Kintone’s costs:
- Professional Subscription ($24/month/user) – A comprehensive solution to streamline all your processes and operations.
- Educational Module ($15/month/user) – Specially designed to facilitate schools and other educational initiatives.
- Non-profit Module ($15/month/user) – All the features of the professional module along with a non-profit app suite.
- Enterprise (Custom) – Tailored solutions with unlimited capabilities for all your needs.
Depending on the nature of your startup, you might not always have the luxury of a co-located team. Workfront realizes that and comes with features that help both traditional and remote models effectively.
Some of Workfront’s top features are:
- AI-assisted remote management
- Project automation tools
- Enhanced reporting and analytics
- Third-party integrations
- Excellent security
Why startup needs to focus on project management
Don Dodge of Google famously said that startups play poker and big companies play chess. Both games require skill, decision-making, quick thinking, and a little bit of lady luck. However, how you approach them is different.
Just like the game of poker, startups usually operate in the dark but still need to make quick decisions and take multiple risks. You may lose a hand but can potentially double your profits in the next one. Everything is dynamic and requires you to remain flexible in order to stay organized at work.
The importance of project management for startups can bring the fluidity you need to your setup. It also helps in ensuring effective resource allocation and improves your overall efficiency. Most startups have limited resources and can’t waste them on failed projects. Effective project management process decreases the likelihood of failure and helps you create a system that grows with your business.
Another important thing to note is that projects in startups have a larger impact on the company when compared with an established business. Startups need to prove their worth in the market and a history of failed projects sends an opposite message. Similarly, startups have few clients, so they can’t afford to lose any of them due to failed projects.
Once again, project management startup checklist can prove to be an asset for startups and entrepreneurs. Effective management improves the overall productivity of the company and creates a system that improves consistency.
Managing a startup is a tough job. Unlike established enterprises, startups usually do not have much room for mistakes and require you to wear many hats. From dealing with investors to product development and marketing campaigns, it gets tough to ensure that all ongoing projects continue to run smoothly.
A startup project management tool can make your job easier by handling chaos and increasing productivity. But for that to happen, the tool you select must be the best choice for your business.