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18 Best Project Management Software for Creative Agencies [2023 Review]

Ketheren Thorn
Ketheren Thorn
|
November 4, 2022

If you’ve ever led a creative team, you know that your role comes with its own set of difficulties. The good news is, you have dozens of technology tools at your fingertips that can make your life easier – the question is: which one to choose?  

Software tools can encourage cooperation between team members, help you manage tasks easily, and keep your workflows running while measuring your team’s performance. Almost all of them have a reporting feature too, helping you identify the roadblocks on your path to growth.

In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the best project management software solutions on the market for creative agencies, compare their features and pricing models, and give you some tips on choosing the right one along the way. But before jumping into that, let’s look at the criteria you should consider during your search.

What to look for in project management software for creative agencies

Among all creative agency project management software on the market, only a few will fully meet your team’s needs and help you achieve your business goals.

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, let’s take a look at some features and benefits you should look for in a functional project management solution:

#1 Ease of use and user experience

The first question to ask is: is the tool intuitive and straightforward enough? Creative people are not typically expected to be the most tech-savvy people in a firm.

As a result, a project management platform for creative agencies must be adaptable and simple. It must assist creative teams in planning, tracking, and delivering projects on time and on budget. If you’re running a creative agency, definitely refrain from choosing complex tools, even if they offer a wide range of features.

Just make sure to invest in a tool that organizes creative projects in a way that makes life easier for your teammates, not the other way around. Look for a tool that’s easy to learn and use. 

A simplistic interface, straightforward task management, and automated workflows are some of the features that can make for a pleasant experience with project management software for creative agencies.

Related: The Ultimate Guide for Creative Project Management in 2022

#2 Seamless Budgeting

Creative teams can easily lose track of budgeting – especially when they’re tackling a number of intricate projects. It’s not exactly convenient to keep track of every adjustment or customer request manually.

The project management software your team uses should make it easy to update a project’s budget. Team members shouldn’t have to go through complicated steps to make changes every time.

Say, for instance, you’re currently dealing with 10 creative projects that will each take about a month to finish. On average, you receive 20 revisions for every project. If your creative project management tool allows for easy data entry – like putting down extra hours worked or extra resources needed – in the budgeting module, your project managers won’t have to waste any time adjusting the budget.

What’s the alternative? If it takes your project managers about 2 minutes to make adjustments to the project budget every time there’s an update, then they’ll spend about 6.6 hours every month just applying those changes. Not to mention other teammates’ time loss from communicating budget updates instead of simply entering extra hours and resources when needed.  

More importantly, though, manual work always introduces the possibility of human error. Look for a solution that allows you to copy a preset budget from a previous project to improve efficiency and reduce error.

#3 Flexibility

Flexibility is hands down the top criterion to look for in project management software. Creative project management requires all the flexibility in the world for creative teams to deliver on time in full. Each creative team has its own workflow and rarely adheres to any common project management methodologies.

That’s why creative work calls for a ton of changes on the fly as you need to be able to adapt your schedule, budget, resource planning, and the rest accordingly.

It’s only natural that you don’t want to pay for extra features that you’ll never use. Look for a project management solution that’ll give you freedom with its flexible usage and pricing model. 

Read also: What Does Project Management For Creatives Look Like?

The top 18 project management software for creative agencies

Now that we know what to look for in a project management solution, let’s compare some of the best tools on the market based on their overall pros and cons, ability to fulfill the requirements of creative work, features, and pricing. Buckle up!

1. Rodeo 

Rodeo is an intuitive and highly functional project management software solution for small and medium-sized creative agencies that need flexibility and excellent support. It covers all the bases from planning to resource management, bringing it all under one roof in the most user-friendly way.

Features: 

This highly intuitive tool comes with a comprehensive package of features that you'd look for in project management software for creative agencies. 

  • Budgeting: Rodeo makes budgeting easy for teams of all sizes. You can easily add activities and tasks for a project along with costs, the estimated number of hours, and hourly rate for the project. And bam! Your budget is calculated and ready for approval.

Seasoned creatives know that even the most well-designed projects get dramatic revisions and change direction along the way. Rodeo's budget module is flexible enough for you to incorporate those changes without complication. Rodeo breaks budgets into phases, meaning you can divide your project plan into several pieces – each with its own budget. This way, when an additional request for the project comes, you'll be able to easily add a new section for it.

Screenshot of Rodeo's budgeting feature

Read also: 7 Steps to Best Track Project Budgets & Maximize Profits

  • Estimating: No one likes dull and error-prone tasks, right? Well, the estimating feature of the software guarantees a transparent transition from budget to quote, with all the necessary pre-selected documentation. Users can easily send project estimates to clients directly from Rodeo. You can even customize estimates with your own branding, terms and conditions, and personalized descriptions.  

  • Planning: Rodeo users can monitor all the tasks that are in backlog, in progress, and done on a single dashboard. This helps project managers properly oversee the team’s workload and assign new tasks according to each team member’s skill set and current capacity. 

  • Time-tracking: One of the best parts of a user-friendly tool like Rodeo is that it helps you sail through even the most boring and repetitive tasks, like tracking your hours. Rodeo comes with a stopwatch and timecards right on your dashboard, so you can either start the time before you begin a task or record your time after the fact. Once your teammates log their hours, your budget will be automatically updated.

  • Invoicing: The invoicing feature of Rodeo keeps your cash flow pumping without troubling you at all. It automatically creates customizable invoices with just a click, while also offering Quickbooks integration to help with bookkeeping. The platform also supports recurring invoices, which automatically sends to customers when the payment time comes.

  • Reports: One common problem that creative teams come across is accurately tracking the performance of projects and team members. Yet, project metrics have huge value because they reveal important insights for project managers, such as team efficiency and project profitability.

Rodeo's employee productivity report

Rodeo allows you to track project performance and team productivity and shows you the roadblocks that are holding you back from even better performance. 

Pricing

Rodeo has a monthly starting price of $29.99 per user, which includes project and budget management, invoicing, and report modules, as well as time tracking and forecasting. Rodeo’s planning feature is available as an add-on for $4.99 per user/month.

Rodeo offers a scalable upgrade structure for fast-growing teams or those with changing needs. You can add as many additional users as your team needs based on the level of access they require: 

  • Additional full user license: +$14.99 user/month
  • Additional standard user license: +$8.99 user/month 

Of course, I'm sure you’ll want to test the waters before committing. Rodeo makes it easy by offering a 14-day free trial – no credit card required.

2. Monday.com

Screenshot of Monday's dashboard

Source: Monday.com

Monday is a project management tool with CRM functionality, helping you visualize your funnels and have greater control over your project lifecycles. The platform has a very user-friendly and colorful interface and a variety of data visualization options that creatives may find useful. 

If you have complex needs, a lot of freelancers that you work with, and a budget to spare, Monday might be a good option for you. However, creatives with simple needs may find that Monday’s learning curve isn’t worth it. 

Popular features: 

  • Task tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Automation
  • File sharing

Pricing: 

  • Individual plan: Free for up to 2 users 
  • Basic plan: $10 per user/month 
  • Standard plan: $12 per user/month 
  • Pro plan: $20 per user/month
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request
  • Note: All paid plans require a minimum of 3 users.

Also read: Top 25 Monday Alternatives to Try

3. Basecamp 

Screenshot of Basecamp's dashboard

Source: Basecamp

Basecamp is a very simple project management system for creative agencies, with the most simplistic functions. It offers to-do lists for tasks, a chatbox for internal communication, and message boards for brainstorming.

Beware that Basecamp doesn’t offer native time tracking or comprehensive reporting, so you’ll need to rely on integrations to have a record of how many hours your team is putting in on a project. 

Popular features: 

  • To-do lists
  • Internal team chat
  • Collaborative boards
  • Templates

Pricing: 

Basecamp offers just one plan at $11 per user/month, which includes unlimited projects and 500GB of storage space.

Related: 19 Best Basecamp Alternatives in 2023 [Free & Paid]

4. Asana 

Screenshot of Asana's dashboard

Source: Asana

Asana is a creative project management tool that is perhaps best suited for large teams with complex hierarchies. It allows you to monitor your tasks in a task list, on a calendar or a Gantt chart, and also as a Kanban board.

For those looking to take advantage of Asana’s free plan, online reviewers have said that the platform locks many of its useful features behind a paywall, which can be frustrating. 

Popular features: 

  • Workflow automation
  • Task management
  • Customer requests via forms
  • Reporting
  • Templates

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free 
  • Premium plan: $13.49 per user/month
  • Business plan: $30.49 per user/month

Also read: Top 20 Asana Alternatives to Consider

5. Workamajig 

Screenshot of Workamajig's dashboard

Source: Workamajig

Workamajig is another creative project management software solution for creative agencies, common among large-scale agencies. It's an all-in-one solution that can streamline your work processes, covering all aspects of project management for agencies. 

But as a robust tool with many features, several online reviews say that the interface is confusing and that Workamajig’s onboarding training leaves much to be desired. If you’re not a fan of text-heavy interfaces, this may not be the tool for you.

Popular features: 

  • Accounting
  • Sales CRM
  • Resource management
  • Time tracking
  • Project templates

Pricing: 

  • 5+ users: $50 per user/month 
  • 10+ users: $41 per user/month 
  • 20+ users: $39 per user/month 
  • 50+ users: $37 per user/month 

Also read: How To Build A Project Timeline: A Step By Step Guide

6. ClickUp 

Screenshot of ClickUp's dashboard

Source: ClickUp 

ClickUp is a collaborative project management tool that provides users with built-in creative features. ClickUp can help creative teams streamline communication, share files internally and with customers, and access templates for managing creative workflows.

But since creative agencies are constantly doing work for outside clients, ClickUp’s lack of billing and invoicing features might be a major drawback, since you’ll still need to handle the financial side of projects manually. 

Popular features: 

  • Task management
  • Gantt and timeline views 
  • Mind maps
  • Reporting

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free
  • Unlimited plan: $5 per user/month
  • Business plan: $12 per user/month
  • Business plus plan: $19 per user/month 
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request 

Also read: Top 20 ClickUp Alternatives to Try [Free & Paid]

7. Teamwork 

Screenshot of Teamwork's dashboard

Source: Teamwork 

Teamwork is a creative project management tool designed especially for remote teams. It allows remote creative teams to customize navigation, visualize their workflow, follow each other's schedules, and restrict access to private issues and projects.

That said, online reviewers have complained that Teamwork’s interface is outdated and a bit confusing, and the platform’s reporting features aren’t as comprehensive as you might need. 

Our previous rankings for this list had Teamwork at spot #12, but the platform has recently released a few feature updates – such as advanced budgeting and a workload planner – that have caused it to rise to #7. 

Popular features: 

  • Resource management
  • Kanban boards 
  • Project templates
  • File sharing
  • Customizable workflows

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free 
  • Deliver plan: $13.99 per user/month
  • Grow plan: $24.99 per user/month 
  • Scale plan: Pricing upon request 
  • Note: All paid plans require a minimum of 5 users. 

Related: 20 Best Teamwork Alternatives in 2023 [In Depth Review]

8. ProofHub 

Screenshot of ProofHub's dashboard

Source: ProofHub

ProofHub’s robust collaboration features make it a good software choice for creative teams working on visual projects. With online proofing and Gantt charts, the platform can make it easier to manage workloads.  

While these features are nice to have, you’ll notice that ProofHub’s missing invoicing, budget, and other resource management features make the platform unable to support projects at every stage. 

Popular features: 

  • Task tracking
  • Gantt charts
  • Project templates
  • Discussions forums
  • File sharing

Pricing: 

  • Essential plan: $50 per month for unlimited users and 40 projects 
  • Ultimate control plan: $99 per month for unlimited projects 

Related: 15 Best ProofHub Alternatives to Consider [Free & Paid]

9. nTask 

Screenshot of nTask's dashboard

Source: nTask

nTask is a customizable creative project management tool that offers a variety of configuration options. It allows for collaboration between team members and a synchronized schedule for on-time delivery of the projects. However, the platform isn’t exactly known for its top-tier customer support. 

Popular features: 

  • Task prioritization
  • To-do lists
  • Time tracking
  • Resource management

Pricing: 

  • Premium plan: $4 per month 
  • Business plan: $12 per month 
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request 

Also read: 15 Best nTask Alternatives in 2023 [Paid & Free]

10. Paymo 

Screenshot of Paymo's dashboard

Source: Paymo

Paymo is a useful creative project management tool for creative agencies in need of HR management, CRM, and project management, as the platform brings all three functions together into one. Paymo’s complicated interface is often cited as the downside of having a tool with so many different functions though. 

Popular features: 

  • Team scheduling 
  • Time tracking
  • Leave planner
  • Online payments

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free 
  • Starter plan: $5.95 per user/month 
  • Small office plan: $11.95 per user/month 
  • Business plan: $24.95 per user/month

Related: 15 Paymo Alternatives to Try [Free & Paid]

11. Scoro 

Screenshot of Scoro dashboard

Source: Scoro

Scoro is a robust project management tool with the added usefulness of sales and financial management features. It may not work well for remote or hybrid teams though, as it’s missing the communication features teams rely on to stay connected when not in the office. 

Popular features: 

  • Reporting
  • CRM capabilities
  • Automated invoicing
  • Expense tracking

Pricing: 

  • Essential plan: $28 per user/month
  • Standard plan: $42 per user/month
  • Pro plan: $71 per user/month
  • Ultimate plan: Pricing upon request
  • Note: All paid plans require a minimum of 5 users. 

Also read: 15 Best Scoro Alternatives to Consider in 2023

12. Nifty

Screenshot of Nifty's dashboard

Source: Nifty

Nifty project management software is a solution that helps creative teams get more productive using existing resources. It allows teams to monitor and manage their tasks using Kanban boards, milestones, and to-do lists. 

Just like a couple of other software solutions on this list, Nifty doesn’t have any invoicing capabilities, which has caused it to fall from #7 to #12 in our rankings on this list. 

Popular features: 

  • Portfolio management
  • Internal messenger
  • In-app time tracking
  • Reporting

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free
  • Starter plan: $9 per user/month
  • Pro plan: $16 per user/month
  • Business plan: $25 per user/month
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Managing Projects Effectively

13. Smartsheet

Screenshot of Smartsheet's dashboard

Source: Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a project management software solution for creative agencies that enhances collaboration between team members and eases work execution.

As the name implies, Smartsheet's interface looks a lot like an Excel spreadsheet. Very straightforward, this tool offers real-time traction of tasks, historical data, and automated alerts. As you might expect, Smartsheet’s interface can be overwhelming for teams not accustomed to spreadsheets. 

Popular features: 

  • Grid, Gantt, and chart views
  • Project templates
  • Reporting
  • Forms

Pricing: 

  • Pro plan: $9 per user/month
  • Business plan: $32 per user/month 
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request
  • Note: All paid plans require a minimum of 3 users.

Also read: 18 Best Smartsheet Alternatives [Free & Paid]

14. Wrike

Screenshot of Wrike's dashboard

Source: Wrike

Wrike is a creative project management tool ideal for teams of over five members. Using Wrike, creative teams can customize every module from workflows to dashboards, and briefs to customer request forms. However, the platform’s limited collaboration features might be a major drawback for some. 

Popular features: 

  • Path analysis
  • Kanban boards
  • Time tracking
  • Reporting

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free 
  • Team plan: $9.80 per user/month 
  • Business plan: $24.80 per user/month
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request 

Related: The 15 Best Wrike Alternatives for Project Management

15. Trello

Screenshot of Trello's dashboard

Source: Trello

Trello is an easy-to-use visual collaboration tool from the Atlassian suite. The tool eases project management by visualizing workflows and allowing team members to share files, comments, and links to other shared spaces. 

It’s worth noting that Trello’s primary focus is on task management, so if you’re looking for a software solution to support your creative projects through their entire lifecycle, then Trello isn’t the tool for you.

Popular features: 

  • Task management
  • Resource tracking and analysis
  • Project-based templates
  • File sharing

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free 
  • Standard plan: $6 per user/month
  • Premium plan: $12.50 per user/month 
  • Enterprise plan: $17.50 per user/month for 50 users (price fluctuates with the number of users)

Related: Top 22 Trello Alternatives for Project Management [Free & Paid]

16. RedBooth 

Screenshot of RedBooth's dashboard

Source: RedBooth

RedBooth is a project management software solution known for its easy-to-use task management and unique video calling features, which might be of interest to creative agencies working remotely. If you’re looking for a tool with financial management features though, you’ll need to keep looking. 

Popular features: 

  • Dashboard
  • Video calling
  • Project templates
  • Gantt, Kanban, and timeline project views

Pricing: 

  • Pro plan: $12 per user/month
  • Business plan: $18.75 per user/month
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request

17. Toggl 

Screenshot of Toggl Track

Source: Toggl Track

Toggl offers a suite of project management apps – most notably Toggl Track and Toggl Plan, which are used for time tracking and project planning. Both products boast clean and easy-to-use interfaces, which is among their biggest strengths. 

The downside of Toggl is that users must purchase Toggl Track and Toggl Plan and integrate the two in order to get both feature sets, which means it’s probably not the best option unless you’re already using other products within the Toggl ecosystem. 

Popular features: 

  • Time management
  • Team scheduling
  • Project planning 
  • Task tracking

Pricing: 

Toggl Track: 

  • Basic plan: Free 
  • Starter plan: $10 per user/month
  • Premium plan: $20 per user/month
  • Enterprise plan: Custom pricing

Toggl Plan: 

  • Team plan: $9 per user/month 
  • Business plan: $15 per user/month

Also read: The 14 Best Toggl Alternatives

18. Airtable 

Screenshot of Airtable's dashboard

Source: Airtable

Airtable is a tool known for being a hybrid between a spreadsheet and a database. But because creative projects don’t typically involve a lot of data, we’ve ranked it last on this list. While you can use it to manage tasks, it requires a bit of technical knowledge to properly customize it to your needs. 

Popular features: 

  • Relational databases 
  • Task management
  • Customizable display

Pricing: 

  • Basic plan: Free 
  • Plus plan: $12 per user/month
  • Pro plan: $24 per user/month
  • Enterprise plan: Pricing upon request 

Related: 15 Airtable Alternatives to Consider

Takeaway 

We’ve compared the 18 best project management software by examining features, pricing, ease of use, and other important metrics.

The bottom line is that there’s no point in looking for a tool with features that you’ll never use yet still have to pay for. Products and solutions that merge flexibility in design and pricing will give you the freedom to reallocate resources and change strategy when you need to. Use project management software that enables agility in the following areas:

  • Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Reporting

Related: The Project Management Checklist: 12 Steps to Follow

Doing this will help you better utilize the resources and assets, helping you thrive in this highly competitive market.