What Is The Best Project Management Software? Asana vs ClickUp vs Trello vs Monday.com
Last updated 10/14/2020
When it comes to deciding on which project management software to use for your team, there are a plethora of options and oftentimes it can be overwhelming researching all of the options.
Seriously, there are a lot of options.
Well, don't fret, we've done the research for you!
We here at Kyber Digital experienced this first hand when we were trying to decide which software to use for project and task management.
For this blog, we dove into four of the main competitors:
Asana has distinct features like tagging, projections, real-time updates, project planning, conversations, task weight, personalized profiles, personalized management, event management, deadline tracking, dependent tasks, categorization, and many more. Asana does not have strong phone support. Designed for any sized team, it's geared for medium-sized businesses. It also offers the most free-active-users of the four. Best for tasks.
Monday.com has distinct features like user activity monitoring, built-in automation, reporting, project templates, multi-departmental projects, development tracking, campaign planning, and bug tracking. Monday.com has really impressive and responsive phone and online support teams. Designed for any size business. Best for project management.
Trello is a kanban tool that has distinct features like activity management, public boards, data importation, data synchronization, desktop notification, employee management, filtered views, permission management, real-time data, and a lot more. Trello does not have strong phone support. Of the 4, it's the best client-facing option. Designed for any size team. Best for roadmaps.
ClickUp is a replacement tool for all other tools - it's truly all in one. It has distinct features like custom status templates, checklist templates, and is designed to replace all of your other team tools, including Google Drive. ClickUp has strong phone support, with helplines being open 24/7 and on holidays. ClickUp has a generous freemium version. Designed for any size team, it also has the most native integrations. Best for software replacements.
Note: There are some honorable mentions at the bottom of this article. Slack, is not covered as it is more of a conversational platform vs project management.
None of these four project management tools have a windows application client, but they all have clients for the web, IOS, and Android.
Their mobile apps are all user-friendly, and all four integrate with almost any software you can imagine, including Zapier.
All four software provides open API, webinars, tutorials, and walk-throughs to make sure that you completely understand the platform and make it easy to use for your team.
But what are the detailed differences?
Is one better than the other for small teams vs large teams?
How about their integrations?
What are the costs?
Which is best for mobile and on the go?
Now that we've got you asking the right questions, here's what we found:
Monday.com organizes work in a spreadsheet format.
Founded in 2014 under the original name Dapulse, Monday.com prides itself on being a flexible tool for everybody to use.
The name change came from the co-founder, Roy. As Roy said, “I always struggled to find a way to describe what our tool does in a sentence, but I can easily describe it in a word: Monday. For billions, Monday means the start of the workweek. This is all about work."
Why is this important?
Well, our team, have all stated that name can be confusing. Imagine saying "hey, I put the task on Monday…" You have to literally say Monday.com in order for them to understand.
Honestly, outside of the name's implications to the workweek, it's pretty obvious that the founders attached ".com" at the end for the official name as a quick way to help boost SEO backlinks - even as we're drafting this article the name monday.com hyperlinks itself.
Let's dive into the platform itself.
Monday.com got our attention right away. It was color coordinated, organized by priority in color, and was easy to integrate APIs and other software.
It just looks cool and clean.
Like every other project management software out there, Monday.com all allows you to create tasks and assign those tasks to team members.
Similar to the other platforms on this list, Monday.com incorporates templates that you can then customize. You can add hashtags, due dates, ratings, person assignment, status, color coordination, and much more. You can track time, see who’s in charge of what, mark locations, add text, numbers, links. There's also the ability to add code-free automation to your boards. They provide many different overview options, although the entire team is then locked into this view. Options include timelines, files, calendars, Kanban, or more.
To our surprise, Monday.com is the least used out of the four. We had seen their advertising almost everywhere on our social media and thought that they were probably the biggest and the baddest of the bunch.
Although it's first on our list, Monday.com comes in the fourth position with over 1,400 reviews and over 6,000 followers on twitter. It has an average of 4.5 / 5-star reviews from customers.
They've got their based covered - Monday.com has about 15 third party apps integration, some of them are dropbox, google calendar, google drive, google analytics, Microsoft excel among others. It is reported that Monday.com integrates with 20% of third party applications in the project management and planning sector through API integrations.
Unlike a social media management platform where you are you using maybe 1-2 managers, most project management teams have at least five teammates or more. This is where Monday.com becomes expensive or inexpensive, depending on the size of your team.
Here at Kyber Digital, for example, we have 10 core team members. So we will immediately start at $79/mon (total for all users) on the basic account.
Similar to Asana, the package is priced in groups of 5. You cannot deviate from it.
All pricing models are billed annually, so if you're not thrilled with the platform you'll have to ask for a refund.
While there is a trial, there is no free version, unlike Asana which offers a completely free version.
We've attached a screenshot here so you can see all of the features that are offered between the basic, standard, pro, and enterprise options.
If your team is moving towards 10 users or more, Monday.com is probably the most user-friendly way to go, and it hosts a beautiful interface.
If you are simply looking for something that will get you through your weekly tasks, one of the others, such as Asana, is probably your best bet with their free version.
Asana is next on our list, and (full disclosure) is the app that we use here at Kyber Digital.
Asana structures work in the layout and view that’s best for your team.
Asana is a more task-driven platform that makes you completely forget about texting and emailing your teammates, especially when combined with Slack's "/" features.
Instead, you simply update the area with a comment or assign a task and it sends a push notification and optional email to the user's phone or desktop.
While yes, the other apps on this list include these features, we found Asana to be the most mobile and user-friendly with these features specifically.
A little about Asana, It was founded in 2008 by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-Google-and-Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein (talk about power players), who both worked on improving the productivity of employees at Facebook. The product launched commercially in April 2012. In December 2018, the company was valued at a whopping $1.5 billion.
At Kyber Digital, we LOVE using Asana.
The interface is simple and easy to understand for anyone new to project management, there's really no onboarding required.
To be noted, Asana also just launched customizable columns in their templates (probably a direct attack on Monday.com).
These include things like who the tasks are assigned to, status, tags, specific projects, due dates, and any other feature you want to make. These new features really won us over even more than we already were.
Asana's free version is an amazing solution for small teams getting started. That said, their free version excludes some amazing perks such as Conversations or Portfolios.
Conversations allow us to leave convos inside of a project. We'll use these for call updates for clients (goodbye Excel sheets!)
Portfolios is a feature that allows easy tracking of an entire project's progress based on deadline and user.
If you don't need some of these premium features, the free version will do just fine.
Asana offers over 50+ templates for you and your team to use right out of the box.
Some of the most popular ones including Marketing, Design, Engineering, HR, IT, and Operations.
A benefit that Asana offers in their templates is the ability to create your own templates as well, giving you full customization to manage a project, tailored just for your team.
Despite Monday.com's advertising efforts, the project management platform has more than 5,500 reviews and over 118,000 followers on twitter. To reiterate, it is the second-highest used the platform on this list, trumped by Trello. And with an average of 4.7/5 stars on the app store and a 94% customer satisfaction rate.
Despite the lack of phone support, Asana has also been heralded by fans and entrepreneurs alike as being one of the better response teams and customer-friendly platforms to work with.
As far as integrations, Asana plays extremely nice with third-party applications. Of course, there are file-sharing applications like Slack, Dropbox, Google Docs, and SharePoint.
Being very robust (even opened up an IPO in late 2020), it can pretty much integrate with everything under the sun, and has more integrations than any other software on this list, with or without a zap from Zapier.
You can also use Gmail and Outlook to turn email directly into tasks. Same with Slack conversations.
One feature that stood to us was the ability to keep Asana open in Adobe Creative Cloud, allowing the user to keep the task in mind during their workflow. We have only ever seen this integration elsewhere with InMotion. We did not cover InMotion on this list because it is more of a segway for your Creative and Marketing departments to work seamlessly together than it is project management.
One of the highlights of using Asana is its price point. Its basic version is completely free, no strings attached and has all of the basic functionalities to get your team organized immediately.
Did we mention it's FREE!? For up to 15 users.
You might wonder why a company would offer a free option?
Our simplest answer is brand exposure, and fandom - With the inevitability that a team grows, it'll need upgrades. If a team is too small or failing, they don't want your business anyway (sorry, not sorry?).
But think about it - if the more people a business integrates into the free option, eventually you hit your 15 person cap. At that juncture, you're already using and loving the app - the likelihood of you converting into a customer is much higher.
But alas, if you want the full features, you must pay up.
We'll use a team of 10 again as an example to compare pricing: As you can see below, the basic package is unbeatable compared to Monday.com, with the price being absolutely free.
Another highlight is Asana gives the option of annual or monthly billing, compared to Monday.com which is only billed annually.
But - Asana is slightly more expensive.
The one downside to Asana, however, is its Business package price is much higher compared to Monday.com's Pro plan, by more than $100 a month.
As stated above, if your team is below 15 users, you get a ton of features with Asana that would get most teams through the work grind. Moving towards 15 users or more, Asana is a winner by far here. Monday.com might be a touch bit more mobile-friendly with their simpler interface with a clean way to organize your team. However, Asana's free package simply cannot be beaten; covering all the basics of project management at no cost to you, and whose desktop version is arguably more user-friendly than the former.
One word and one word alone comes to mind with Trello... ROADMAPS.
Trello is an online task and to-do list tool for managing projects and personal tasks - but has been quickly adopted by marketers and software companies as a tool to visualize roadmaps.
It's especially useful for software companies looking for feature requests from the community to gauge which features to include next in their rollouts.
A brief history of Trello:
Trello was released at a TechCrunch event by Fog Creek founder Joel Spolsky. In 2014, it raised $10.3 million in funding from Index Ventures and Spark Capital. In May 2016, Trello claimed it had more than 1.1 million daily active users and 14 million total signups.
On January 9, 2017, Atlassian announced its intent to acquire Trello for $425 million. The transaction was made with $360 million in cash, while the remaining $65 million was made with shares and options.
Trello had earlier sold 22% of its shares to other investors with the remaining majority held by founders Michael Pryor and Joel Spolsky at the time of acquisition. In December 2018 Trello announced its acquisition of Butler, the company that developed a Power-Up for automating tasks within a Trello board.
Okay so let's dive in - (rubs hands together):
As far as the platform itself, Trello claims it "lets you work more collaboratively and get more done." An underwhelming slogan in our opinion, but it's to the point.
Trello is a visual tool that organizes your projects into boards. You can see what is being worked on, who is working on what, and how far along the project is.
Boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way. All the same features as its competitors.
So what makes it different?
Well as mentioned before, it's the workflow aspect of it that makes it great for roadmaps.
What is a roadmap? Well, it's basically a progress report. Here's an example from Brizy, a Wordpress plugin.
It's worth noting are that their boards can be made public or private, which is great for software companies.
We here at Kyber Digital actually use it as a roadmap for clients to see where we are in the progress of phases in their marketing campaign.
We've seen Trello used as a roadmap tool with a lot with the apps featured on AppSumo. Sumolings and consumers alike tend to love seeing roadmaps from developers.
The board's UI isn't the cleanest looking or most user-friendly, but it gets the job done nicely. This is where the former applications mentioned definitely take the cake as far as UI.
But the ability to view and leave comments on these boards is a huge win for companies seeking insight from their followers or external teams.
Holding true to Trello's promise to make their platform to feel fun and flexible, Trello calls their templates page "Inspiration."
Like Monday.com and Asana, whichever team you're trying to run, Trello probably has a template to show you where to get started. Their templates, however, are highly customizable and are more targetted and geared towards any team you could imagine.
These include Business, Creative Arts, Design, Education, Engineering & IT, Event Planning, Home, Marketing, Operations, Personal Goals, Product Management, Productivity, Project Management, and Sales & CRM.
Trello has also recently added the addition of "Team Board Templates." Now, any public Trello board can be converted to a template so that others in the Trello community can benefit from tried-and-tested workflows. The use of “team templates” and private templates is exclusive to Trello Business Class and Enterprise customers, but you can try it for free for 14 days here.
Compared to Asana, Trello has a more specific array of templates to choose from. If you're on a creative team, this may be a winner for you.
Trello also does not show task dependencies or subtasks. With Trello, your ability to report on your work is limited.
More recently, Trello has added advanced checklists. Due to COVID19 and more people working remotely than ever, it's important to communicate and send updates to your teammates more frequently. This allows a manager and team members to keep themselves accountable, and have an easy way to prioritize their work. If you're already a Trello user, you can try advanced checklists for free for 14 days here.
According to reviews, social media following, and engagement data, Trello is the most popularly used of the featured tools here.
With over 8,000 reviews and 168,000+ followers on Twitter - an unsurprising statistic considering how they've positioned themselves to be natively integrated with some of the larger CRM software out there like SalesForce.
However, Trello seems to be best used on a desktop and isn't the best for mobile. With many reviews stating the phone app could be improved - a major pass for those business people constantly on the go.
[UPDATE] - during Covid-19, Trello's team has released several UI updates on their mobile app that has made use much easier.
In keeping with the theme of everything being fun at Trello, they actually call their integrations "Power-ups," which makes this page feel extremely lighthearted (this part of the app we genuinely enjoyed).
As far as the amount of "Power-ups" goes, Trello has everything you could want and then some. There are the basics obviously, (Dropbox, Google Docs, Google Calendar, MailChimp, etc) but then Trello offers a whole list of Power-ups made by and for Trello to make your workflow faster and seamless.
Trello also offers integration specifically for their mobile app, these integrations being called "Trello To-Go." An interesting note considering they've had so many complaints about their mobile app.
Trello has recently added the ability of automation powered by Butler. If you're not sure how to integrate automation into your workflow, Trello has offered a few suggestions on their website including:
When a new card is added to an “Incoming Requests” list, automatically delegate the task by adding a member, due date, and checklist to the card, all in one rule.
Create a card button called “Done!” that moves the card to the “Done” list, marks the date complete, and automatically adds a comment that @mentions your manager to let them know this card is all set.
Start every week fresh by scheduling a command to automatically add cards and checklists for your team’s weekly tasks and archive all of the cards completed last week from the “Done” list before the week begins.
Trello offers a free package, which gets the job done for most users.
However, for project management, it seems extremely limited when it comes to features, especially compared to ClickUp and Asana's free packages, with only 10MB per File Attachment, 10 Team Boards, and 1 Power-up per board.
The Business Class seems to be the highlight of Trello's price point, being only $9.99 per month and unlocking mostly all features that Trello has to offer.
The Enterprise package is a highlight as well, with the price decreasing with the number of team members, and getting everything Trello has to offer including Unlimited Personal Boards, Unlimited Team Boards, and Unlimited Power-Ups.
Trello impressed us with their templates and apparently many others which makes it the most popular on our list. Its fun and customizable interface gives an array of options for teams of any size, and as shown is great for public roadmaps.
Compared to Asana, however, its free version is lacking for team collaborations, particularly with integrations, and its functionality isn't as flexible. But unlike Monday.com, at least it offers a free plan. It's business and enterprise classes however are more reasonably priced, compared to both Asana and Monday.com
Last but not least we have ClickUp. ClickUp's main "mission" is to make the world more productive - or "one app to replace them all." (which MUST to be a Lord of the Rings reference, right?)
They believe productivity software as a whole is broken, and they want to be the software to fix it... Bit of a stretch in our opinion considering the list above, but hey, they're bold - and we love that about them.
Where ClickUp shines is that they claim to be an all-in-one platform.
Task management to replace apps like Trello and TickTock.
Project management to replace apps like Asana, Monday .com and Jira (another we did not cover on this list)
Confluence to replace Google Docs and Confluence
Spreadsheets to replace Google sheets, Excel and Airtable
Email to replace Slack, syncing with Gmail or Outlook
Events to replace TeamGantt and SmartSheet and sync with Google Cal
Reminders to replace your iOs reminder app or TickTock
And goal tracking and time tracking
Wow! That's a lot of replacement. (*ques Beyonce's "Irreplaceable")
ClickUp maintains a hefty list of core values, and you can tell that they want to be listed as one of the better project management software on this list.
But how do they deliver compared to some of the bigger project management software's mentioned earlier?
As far as templates are concerned, ClickUp absolutely has your back.
From the project management aspect, ClickUp has a large array of checklist and status templates, and as far as task management, everything in ClickUp has a customizable template.
One feature ClickUp had that we found useful was team templates, allowing any team to start out on the right foot and build a perfectly customized team that fits your organization.
The core features however when it comes to strictly project management are lacking compared to the list above. There are simply just fewer options.
ClickUp seems to be the least used of the four, with 9,000 twitter followers and only 142 reviews with an average of four stars on the App Store.
However, in our experience, their customer service and management are supreme. When we emailed a question, we got a response in no more than 12 hours - which could be a major sell for beginners or people who lean hard on customer service. Their chat support replies much faster than that, and they offer 24/7 phone support.
As far as native integrations are concerned, this is where ClickUp starts to lose us. But that might be in turn because they're trying to do everything all in one platform.
For native integrations, compared to almost every software on our list that prides itself in user-friendly integrations, ClickUp's list seems limited. ClickUp really only plays nice with Dropbox, Outlook, YouTube, and Google Drive, which compared to Asana or Trello, is only about a fraction of the common major integrations.
The reason native integrations are key is that even though a company may have an open API available unless you have a developer in-house, most places will charge an arm and a leg to set up an integration for you that is not built natively or able to be zapped from Zapier. That said, Zapier will mostly likely have integration with it nowadays.
There was also NO native email marketing integration tools, meaning if you're an ActiveCampaign or Infusionsoft or Mailchimp user, you'll have to go through Zapier.
They list some notable external integrations on their site (HubSpot, Calendly, Asana, Google Sheets specifically, SalesForce, etc.). It just seems not as powerful for larger teams and would be a pass for mid to large-sized projects.
With third party integrations, ClickUp also seems limited. Compared to Trello who had a lengthy list of power-ups, ClickUp's third-party integrations consist of Slack, Harvest, Time Doctor, and GitHub.
While this could be all you and your team need, compared to other options on our list, this is a fraction of what some of ClickUp's competitors offer. It seems they're relying heavily on Zapier - which could mean they either are focusing heavily on their own software as the one-all solution, or they simply don't have the manpower to do the native integrations.
For some, pricing may be the most important aspect when picking a project management software for a growing business, and this is where ClickUp really shines.
ClickUp's pricing model is simple, with only two different payment options. The first option is FREE, but compared to some other free versions of management software like Asana, ClickUp's free software has unlimited tasks, as well as unlimited users.
The second option is a simple $5 a month per user (annually), and this gives you access to well, everything. This includes unlimited storage, projects, apps, custom fields, and workflows.
If you're a small team on a tight budget, this is your winner simply due to the price and the all-in-one package they offer.
The company is also willing to give discounts to larger teams, with a humorously placed "Let's make a deal" option on their price page. But all considered, once you have a team of more than 10 people, you're probably looking for a paid version of PM software anyway with more robust features.
For being one of the newest companies on this list, ClickUp did impress us. However, While their integrations may seem lacking, the customization in their templates is a major plus, as well their price point for smaller teams. You can't really go wrong this their all-in-one model.
Freedcamp is a user-friendly and versatile project management system. With Freedcamp, you get to customize your team’s platform to make sure you’ve got the tools you need, without the clutter of unnecessary features. Every project is different and Freedcamp lets you use custom fields to add or take away project details. Freedcamp also offers a robust notification system that intelligently combines countless updates into a summarized list.
You can browse notifications you care about and wait to check the less important pings for later. Currently, you pick a lifetime Freedcamp business plan on Appsumo for $49, making it a steal for your business. It is the most affordable on this list, with each user only costing $1.49.
Our next pick, AirTable, is best used for medium and large and teams within larger organizations. AirTable requires some technical finesse and is great for teams who need custom project management solutions. It is enterprise-level and not suited for small teams. Airtable tags itself as "Part spreadsheet, part database," priding itself on excellent ease of use and the features that allow you to manage projects with a nice level of detail when assigning tasks to teams and individuals. Out of all our picks in our honorable mentions category, Airtable comes equipped with the largest amount of features including Cost-to-Completion Tracking, Budget Management, and Time & Expense Tracking, just to name a few.
Jira Software is trusted by agile teams looking to capture & organize issues, assign work & track team activity. While JIRA's platform is more complex than our other picks, a winning factor here is that JIRA comes with 100's of integrations from third-party developers. With great integrations from Confluence, Service Desk, and Status Page for better insight and tracking. Jira is more enterprise-level and is not suited for small teams.
StackBy is a spreadsheet-like tool that allows you to combine the best of spreadsheets, databases, and business APIs in a single platform. You can customize information with 25+ unique column types and view it in multiple layouts — including Grid, Kanban, Calendar, and Forms, and you can sync data automatically. This would be our least recommended of the ones listed above as it's not the cleanest UI and far inferior to the software listed above.
For a full comparison of all our honorable mentions, click here.
Now, if you're looking for one of the smaller, lesser-known competitors, AppSumo just released a video for 10 alternatives to Asana, to which they cover the above-mentioned platforms plus BaseCamp, Wrike, Nifty, Teamwork, MeisterTask, and Plutio. These are all great for small to medium-sized businesses.
So what's the verdict?
After we tested all four. As stated above, ASANA took the cake for us, and it is what the Kyber