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Top Project Management Tools for Developers

Introduction

Juggling complex software projects requires orchestrating many moving parts – tasks, teams, timelines, resources, bugs and more. Sophisticated project management tools help development teams stay coordinated.

This comprehensive guide explores the top project management software options for planning, tracking and reporting on software projects efficiently. We’ll cover:

  • Leading agile project management tools like Jira and Trello
  • Traditional PM systems like Microsoft Project
  • Helpful integrations and add-ons to extend capabilities
  • Building custom workflows and processes
  • Dashboards, views and reports to visualize progress
  • Features for burndown charts, roadmaps and backlogs
  • Bug tracking, collaboration, timesheets and billing
  • Choosing the right level of capability for your team’s needs

With a robust project management platform, you can confidently deliver software projects on-time, on-budget, and delight stakeholders. Let’s examine solutions to empower your developers.

Agile Project Management Tools

Specialist agile PM tools facilitate iterative development:

Jira

The leading agile project management suite. Extensive capabilities with thousands of integrations.

Trello

Intuitive kanban boards. Lightweight agile task management with helpful automation.

Asana

Visually manage projects and workflows with flexible boards, timelines, portfolio views, and reporting.

Azure DevOps

Microsoft’s developer collaboration solution. Integrates customizable agile planning, version control, CI/CD pipelines, and more.

Monday.com

Customizable project views, automation and integrations optimized for agile workflows.

ClickUp

All-in-one customizable platform combining task and project management with docs, spreadsheets, chat and more.

Traditional Project Management Systems

Robust tools for structured project scheduling and control:

Microsoft Project

The leading heavyweight project management software for waterfall projects with Gantt charts, resource allocation, Scrum support and analytics.

Smartsheet

Excel-like sheets with Gantt charting, workflows, resource management and reporting.

LiquidPlanner

Dynamic priority-based scheduling optimized for managing uncertainty. Timelines adapt to change.

Celoxis

Comprehensive functions like time tracking, reporting, collaboration, issue tracking and more.

Wrike

Manage projects and workflows across teams with scheduling, forms, and customization. Scales to large programs.

Workfront

Enterprise work management for executives balancing portfolios down to task-level team execution.

Helpful Integrations and Add-Ons

Bolt on additional capabilities:

Time Tracking

Harvest, Hubstaff, TimeCamp, TMetric

Mind Mapping

MindMeister, XMind

Design Collaboration

InVision, Zeplin, Figma, Adobe XD

Resource Planning

Resource Guru, Float

Code Repositories

GitHub, GitLab

Continuous Integration

Jenkins, CircleCI

Chat Tools

Slack, Microsoft Teams

Custom Reporting

Zapier, Integromat

Flexible Workflow Building

Tailor tools to team processes with:

Custom Fields

Capture additional structured data not in default templates.

Custom Screens

Build layouts matching your methodology with tables, forms and views.

Rule-Based Automation

Trigger actions through if-this-then-that logic like moving cards between stages.

Scripting

Some tools allow adding JavaScript, Python scripts etc. for advanced process automation.

Add-Ons

Extend with pre-built extensions, apps and integrations from marketplaces.

APIs

Leverage integration APIs to connect data across your stack.

Dashboards, Views and Reporting

Monitor all aspects in tailored ways:

Key Metrics

Set up dashboards with core reports, tracker widgets, burndown charts.

Portfolio Views

Zoom out to view health across multiple projects and dependencies.

Timelines and Roadmaps

Visualize key milestones and project trajectory over time.

Custom Reporting

Build reports with charts, filters and formatting for any use case.

Team Views

Present simplified progress boards for updates tailored to manager vs engineer needs.

Mobile Apps

Stay on top of tasks and updates on the go.

Agile Capabilities

Key features that support agile development:

Backlogs

Manage prioritized lists of outstanding work items and defects.

Story Points

Quantify effort and complexity to forecast volume of work per sprint.

Burndown Charts

Graphically monitor work remaining per sprint and project.

Task Boards

Visualize workflow stages on boards modeled after physical cards on columns.

Planned vs Actual

Compare baseline plans against actual progress metrics.

Retrospectives

Capture meeting insights on improving team practices each sprint.

Waterfall Support

Compatibility with structured waterfall projects through:

Gantt Charts

Visually sequence major tasks across time showing dependencies.

Critical Path Analysis

Model project timeline to optimize efficiency.

Resource Management

Assign resources and track allocation rates across tasks.

Financials Tracking

Tie budget and actual costs to tasks and milestones.

Change Management

Model impacts of alterations to scope, timeline or resources.

Customizable Process

Map waterfall phases, testing gates and reviews into stages.

Bug and Issue Tracking

Manage defects across projects in one system:

Report Bugs

Log bugs directly with steps to reproduce, attachments, details, severity, status.

Triage Bugs

Route to developers, prioritize severity, map to projects/sprints.

Link Bugs to Code

Connect bug tickets to branches and commits that resolved them.

Defect Reports

Analyze trends, aging, open counts by project.

Public Issue Boards

Let users report bugs logged publicly to promote transparency.

Time Tracking and Billing

Some offer built-in timekeeping while others integrate third-party trackers:

Timesheet Logging

Manage hourly time directly against tasks and projects.

Contractor Billing

Generate invoices based on tracked time and contracted rates.

Expense Tracking

Log reimbursable expenses like travel against budgets.

Utilization Reports

Report on billable time versus non-billable effort.

Productivity Analysis

Identify areas where investing more time would have disproportionate benefits through reports.

Team Collaboration

Integrated or third-party tools enable aligning both in and out of the platform:

Comments and Activity Streams

Discuss tasks and projects in context.

Document Sharing

Attach supporting documents directly to tasks and messages.

Chat and Messaging

Chat in the project management system or use third-party apps like Slack linked via bots/webhooks.

@Mentioning

Notify team members by @mentioning them in comments.

Status Updates

Foster alignment with quick status posts on work across the project.

Choosing the Right Level of Capability

Evaluate team needs across:

Project Methodology – Waterfall, agile hybrid?

Team Size – Individuals, small team, large programs?

Integration Needs – What other systems need connecting?

Customization Needs – Standard workflows or complex processes?

Reporting Needs – Simple progress or detailed analytics?

Selecting a tool matching current maturity allows room to grow capabilities over time.

Conclusion

A robust project management platform tailored to your team’s size, agile practices and integration needs enables you to deliver amazing software efficiently. Connect tickets to code, track time against tasks, automate workflows, and stay aligned through customizable views, dashboards and reporting. The right PM system becomes the hub connecting all the elements driving development success.

Contents

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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