Tasks are so integral to client work that they’re almost forgettable. It’s possible everyone on your team has their own way of completing tasks, and as long as the work is getting done, bringing those methods together may seem unnecessary.
However, task tracking is not just for the sake of completing projects. Taking control of this key component of project management can positively impact your client support, billing, invoicing — and, ultimately, revenue and profitability.
Perhaps project management software would best suit your business, but there’s a chance you only need simple task management software. Or, if you need both, an end-to-end client work management platform like Accelo could be ideal.
Here, we’ll consider some of the key factors in how to vet online task management software, then dive into specific platforms in several categories.
While some task management apps are limited, their core function — to organize task lists and keep your team aligned on assignments and due dates — is critical. So, the first thing you should think about in vetting these types of platforms is how you and your team prefer to manage tasks.
Reflect on the following questions:
Then, consider your level of need for more advanced features:
To make full use of project software with task-tracking capabilities, you’ll need to know upfront what it can do. One of the key functions your project managers will need is project plan creation.
Project plans require that you define:
A solid project-planning and/or task-tracking software will help you marry all of these elements and avoid the dreaded scope creep. Many platforms will also accommodate for various project management methodologies.
It’s best to drill down and look for features that fit your use cases, such as:
Your preferred features are important, but you should also evaluate how they’re presented. Is the user interface intuitive? The answer may depend on how tech-savvy your team is and whether they’re migrating from any other platforms.
TechCrunch predicts that UX will be the key factor in today’s businesses achieving true digital transformation. Choosing platforms that are easy to learn — or that offer dedicated implementation support — reduces training time and costs, makes project work more efficient and allows employees to shift their efforts towards billable work.
While the exact elements of UX can be difficult for the average software user to pinpoint, we all tend to have a general like or dislike for certain platforms. That’s why it’s important to demo a work management platform and get a feel for how your team would work in it every day.
As you review the following categories of project task tracking software, keep in mind that each featured platform offers a nuanced user experience. This list is a starting point for understanding features, benefits and potential drawbacks.
First, we’ll look at some platforms for basic task management, a function that’s at the heart of client-based work and important to optimize.
➡️ Users say Accelo takes task management to new heights.
Below, find a brief overview of some other task management tools:
Flow is a task management platform that helps project teams organize tasks. It features various views and methods of organizing project boards to enhance project status visibility. Flow also has some resource management tools, including a workload calendar.
MeisterTask is a task management tool with some project management features. It offers vast task organization options, including custom fields, agendas, calendars, dashboards and lists. The platform has basic automation and workflow management tools for paid tiers.
nTask is a robust task management solution with a variety of features that support project and resource management, including time tracking, progress meters and budget summaries. The platform allows teams to manage unlimited projects and set custom intervals for recurring tasks.
Todoist is a simple digital to-do list with various built-in organizational tools, including color-coded labels, folders, priority flags and Kanban cards. This task manager is meant to be used across apps and devices, providing one simplified list of all tasks.
Some platforms with task-tracking features are multifunctional, incorporating facets of project management such as goal and time tracking.
➡️ Project managers in professional services love Accelo.
Let’s explore four task-oriented project management platforms:
Autotask PSA, a product of Datto, is a cloud-based professional services automation software built to meet the needs of MSPs. The platform provides a control hub to centralize operations in one system and store important business data to help small and midsized companies improve customer service, inventory management, productivity and profitability.
READ MORE: Accelo vs. Autotask PSA
Hive is a productivity tool that helps teams manage projects and processes with flexible project layouts, native email, resourcing, group messaging and file sharing. Built with hybrid and remote teams in mind, the platform supports collaborative work with communication tools like video chats and shareable notes.
READ MORE: Accelo vs. Hive
Jira is used primarily by software developers. It supports a variety of agile methods, including Scrum and Kanban. Users can create roadmaps for projects and use a drag-and-drop interface to plan sprints and assign tasks. The platform is flexible for a variety of use cases.
Wrike is a work management tool that consolidates internal and external communication for teams of all sizes. The interface provides at-a-glance project progress and tracks goal progress for multiple teams within an organization.
Task management is not just about individuals getting things done. It requires real-time collaboration, and some platforms are more suited to support that than others.
➡️ Users experience improved collaboration — both internal and external — with Accelo.
Read on to explore four other task management platforms with collaborative features:
ActiveCollab is meant to be a workspace hub for your entire organization. It combines a variety of tools ranging from task management to time tracking and invoicing, with simple ways for teams to collaborate in each area of the platform.
Basecamp is a project and task management app known for its collaborative tools, including chats, message boards and pings. As the name suggests, it’s a singular place for teams to turn to access tasks, notes, files and conversations related to a given project.
Nifty is a team productivity tool built with project progress automation in mind. Its collaboration tools include chat threads, file sharing and document review. The platform is used by agencies, agile development teams, legal teams and other client-based businesses to stay on top of project tasks.
Trello is a sister program to Jira, as it’s managed by Atlassian. One of the most well-known and widely used project management tools on the market, Trello integrates with many of the tools you may already use. Its structure is based on the Kanban framework of agile project management. However, it's possible to use Trello with the Scrum framework as well.
READ MORE: Accelo vs. Trello
There are task-tracking platforms with advanced features that go beyond project management or team collaboration.
➡️ Tasks are built into a seamless client journey in Accelo — see what real users think.
The following software options feature task management tools and then some:
Kintone is a work management platform with a customizable, drag-and-drop interface. It provides data management, project management, CRM and recruitment solutions for various industries.
Clients can get free access to workspace
Customizable apps can be combined for each business’s unique needs
Built for non-tech-savvy teams
Options for configuration can be overwhelming
Requires multiple integrations for full customization
“Clunky” UI according to some users
Some say search functions are lacking
monday.com is a cloud-based software platform that allows businesses to build custom work management systems using a variety of apps and integrations. As a strong project portfolio management software, it’s popular for planning, organizing and tracking projects, processes and teamwork across a broad range of industries.
READ MORE: Accelo vs. monday.com
Paymo is a business management solution built for small and medium businesses across multiple industries. The platform includes collaboration tools, time tracking and timesheet management, project management and invoicing capabilities.
Smartsheet is a more powerful, intuitive version of an Excel spreadsheet. The platform has built-in project management tools like Gantt charts, file sharing and collaborative features that are popular among project managers at small businesses and enterprise organizations alike.
Range of templates for various use cases
Charts with percentage readouts to track goals
Availability of request management and resource management tools
Streamlined Task Tracking: A Success Story
Full-service agency DesignWorks Group had used paper-based client folders for over 30 years before they decided it was time for a change. While the business was successful in offering marketing, branding and website design services, leadership knew the lack of cross-departmental visibility could be hurting their bottom line.
Initially seeking a project management solution, Digital Marketing Director Logan Draper came across Accelo. Its task auto-scheduling and time-tracking features were just the beginning — he was excited by the possibility of attaching tasks to retainers. Previously, billing for recurring work had been a manual, time-consuming job.
With Accelo, DesignWorks left its physical filing system in the dust, endured the pandemic and took on 30% more work. They’ve saved thousands in paper costs, too.
Your options for project task tracking software can be as complex as your projects themselves. While all of the above platforms offer individual features that can be helpful, they can’t fully function as an end-to-end solution for your client-based business. And there are tangible downsides to adopting too many disjointed software platforms.
Research by the University of California, Irvine shows that every time your employees have to switch between applications, they spend 23 minutes getting back on track. So, the platforms you adopt with the intention of easing responsibilities for your project managers could have the opposite effect.
Instead of committing to more subscriptions (and excess training time) than necessary just to get a handle on tasks, invest in one platform that does it all. Accelo connects your task management to projects and, more importantly, to a client’s complete history, including their sale(s), invoices, tickets and more.
Accelo is a cloud-based client work management platform designed to help professional services firms, including agencies, consulting firms and MSPs, manage client relationships from prospecting and projects through to payments and retainers. The platform can handle complex projects, as it contains a wide range of project templates and auto-assigns tasks based on quoted work. It can also attach tasks to projects, client records and invoices, making it simple to follow and report on project progress and client history.
No matter your industry, you can customize Accelo to expand internal visibility, improve collaboration and increase profits.
Not sure if Accelo will work for your business? Check out real user feedback from three industries: