If you’re someone who’s typically tracked task progress through messy spreadsheets and wading through endless email threads, you’re probably all too aware that the way you’re currently tackling task management isn’t quite cutting it.
What is task management software?
Task management software describes purpose-built tools that help project teams plan, track and manage tasks through to completion. It acts as your repository of all activity happening in relation to a task at any given time, as well as keeping all task-related resources and conversations centralized, so that your team can collaborate effectively and deliver on their assigned tasks within the desired timeline.
There are endless products available on the market, so once you figure out the kind of things you need from your task management tool, you’ll be able to find one to suit your needs. Task management apps tend to range in their capabilities, but most will have a few essential functions in common, including the ability to:
- Centralize project tasks in one place – create and assign tasks across your team, ensuring a clear distribution of responsibilities.
- Set dates – add start and due tasks for tasks to ensure they’re completed on time.
- Set notifications and reminders – alert team members about time-sensitive tasks and ensure team members are updated when people post comments, complete tasks and more.
- Automate recurring tasks – reduce manual time spent entering the same task repeatedly.
- Create nested task lists – break down tasks into smaller subtasks, ensuring each parent task stays neatly organized.
- Collaborate seamlessly – give context to a task by allowing team members to share files, comment and input feedback and ideas on tasks, through @mentions and threaded comments.
- See how tasks are progressing – with status changes and updates on individual tasks, as well as custom reports giving you a real-time update on overdue, upcoming and completed tasks.
- Flexible views – from lists and calendars to Kanban boards Gantt charts, most task managers should allow you to customize the way you visualize and manage tasks.
- Prioritize tasks – mark and sort tasks in order of importance.
- Sort and filter tasks – use tags and labels to group tasks based on due dates, project, priority, assignee and more together.
- Integrate with your current tech stack – for example, Timely has native integrations with popular tools like, and an API that allows integrations with many more of your favorite work apps.
- Track time spent on tasks – so you can figure out where your team time is going and to help you bill for project time accurately.
It’s also worth considering your team’s size. There are some basic task management management tools out there that are free, so you won’t have to invest too much unless you’re looking for something that packs in more power.
Why use task management software?
When used correctly, a centralized task management tool provides many valuable benefits that allow you and your team to excel when it comes to managing your time and getting tasks done.
1. Help team members prioritize tasks
With task management software, your team members don’t need to guess or figure out what they should be working on first – at a glance, they’ll be able to see which tasks are the most important or time intensive.
2. Keep teams accountable
With task lists that put priorities front and center, the right task management app helps keep everyone in the loop, ensuring that each team member knows what to work on at any given moment. Features like calendars and custom views help visualize the project tasks, giving team members a clearer outlook on due dates and how long they’ve got to complete the task.
3. Enhance team collaboration
Effective task management tools make it easier for team members to communicate with each other. Team members can share important files and insights around task deadlines and dependencies.
4. Manage the team’s time more effectively
One significant benefit of task management software is that it improves decision-making and overall productivity around tasks. It becomes much easier to make informed decisions in the shortest amount of time because all of the important details are in one centralized place, without anyone needing to switch through different apps or making extra effort to keep track of who’s doing what.
The best software for task management
If you’re looking to switch task management software or thinking of implementing your first task management tool, check out these options:
Powered by automatic time tracking, Timely brings a new layer to task management software. In addition to letting you build and schedule your to-do list, Timely helps you accurately report the time you end up spending on each piece of work. Planning and logging time to a task will update its progress bar, helping teams follow the status of different deliverables and see each other's capacity.
Timely will also flag the tasks that are at risk of falling behind schedule. It’s useful for tracking efficiency and productivity, and helping everyone to stick to the highest priority – not to mention making sure you actually capture all the effort that goes into each task.
The second tool to make it to our list of best task management tools is Proofhub. While originally designed as an all-in-one project management tool, Proofhub comes with a whole heap of features to help you plot out workflows and foster team collaboration, including the ability to set subtasks, assignees, time estimates and priority labels.
Proofhub also allows team members to toggle quickly between different layout modes for each project set up, such as table view, calendar view, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, etc, so everyone can easily visualize their to-dos the way that makes the most sense for them.
Todoist is a task management tool that morphs complex to-do lists into something that’s more easily manageable. It’s often best suited for small teams or people looking to manage their personal to-do list, as well as those who love a minimalist design.
You can upload files, notify people, set recurring due dates, centralize monotonous admin and even color-code task urgency levels on Todoist, which offers support for small team task-tracking as well as personal note-taking to assign yourself later. Start by creating a to-do list on an intuitive note-taking interface, and then assign tasks from there to others.
A team collaboration tool that’s specifically touted as a Slack alternative for remote teams, Chanty also comes with a slew of simple-to-use task management features that keep projects moving along without the need for complex workflows.
With Chanty, you can either create new tasks from scratch or turn messages into tasks and add due dates, assignees, comments, tags, statuses and attachments, all in a matter of clicks, ensuring everyone on your team has what they need to prioritize and get their tasks done. Chanty also allows you to effortlessly swap between more traditional task list views and Kanban boards, for a real-time gauge of your team’s activity and task loads.
Recurring tasks can be automatically assigned and scheduled on TaskQue, freeing up time otherwise burdened by data entry.
Even when you’re manually adding project tasks to team members, you can access intelligent reporting and monthly insights on how efficient your colleagues are at handling work. You can also easily search someone’s name to find out what work they already have on before allocating them more work.
If you’re looking for a handy and simple to-do list app that can help you organize your daily tasks on the go, Any.do may be the one for you.
With Any.do, you simply jot down each task, use their task color-coding to organize your list, schedule in due dates and let the reminder feature do the work of keeping track of what you need to get done that day. While Any.do mostly serves mostly personal users, they are currently working on Any.do Workspace. Stay tuned for more on that!
SmartTask is a simple and customizable task management platform that lets you organize tasks in four different views, including list, board, calendar and timeline view. You can create recurring tasks, set due dates and dependencies, set reminders, add contacts and set custom fields. You can also comment on tasks, trigger voice and video calls from tasks, and attach documents.
Apart from task management, SmartTask also has project management, time tracking, team collaboration, CRM, analytics, and reporting features.
A staple for every capacity planner or manager, Asana maps out each project task and organizes all the details of your work in one place, from the bigger picture elements to tiny details.
With slick drag-and-drop functionality, it allows you to create projects, assign work, specify deadlines and communicate all from one place – either via messaging or comments.
Super agile and wonderfully easy to use, Trello’s interface speaks volumes about how simple and flexible task management can be when it’s all in front of you, rather than obscured by weighty email threads.
Just drag and drop items onto cards, which are organized by category or project and tag people to get going. You can also use labels and tags to make sure tasks are as specific as possible.
Airtable has achieved something of a cult following, especially among developers. It’s effectively an intuitive spreadsheet for centralizing and indexing tasks.
It makes it simple to delegate work and group high-level task detail – including text notes, links to databases, barcodes and other related content. Once you hook it up with Zapier, you can also automate a huge chunk of task management admin across the rest of your toolkit.
ProProfs is a great task management and project management solution that you and your team can use as a to-do list and collaboration tool in your professional and personal lives.
Purpose-built for cross-functional marketing and creative teams, with ProProfs, you can easily track and manage all of your tasks, and also make sure that any gaps or bottlenecks that could affect your team’s project are quickly identified and resolved.
Built to support Agile workflows and sprints, Jira offers a satisfyingly precise way to define internal workflows, from organizing massive annual projects to daily task scheduling.
Project managers can assign multiple tasks through a single project or tab, and simply add due dates and tag the people they need. It also integrates with common work platforms like Slack and Google Sheets, as well as developer platforms like GitHub.
Our next candidate in this list for best task management software is ClickUp.
An all-in-one productivity tool, ClickUp helps you keep all the elements of your project’s workflow in one centralized platform, ensuring everyone on your team can keep on top of project tasks, break them down into more manageable pieces, visualize progress, get status reports and more.
TickTick is another one of the best task management apps you can get your hands on. It lets you create tasks from scratch, or even import tasks from your email. You can customize your task list with themes and colors, organize and prioritize tasks, add notes and set reminders to keep on top of your workload.
One of the things we especially like about TickTick is the voice-entry option – perfect for those of us who can’t stand typing long to-do lists. Plus, it comes with some pretty nifty productivity features thrown in, like an inbuilt Pomodoro timer and white noises, to help you keep your focus on your Most Important Tasks.
Another great task management software that made it to our list is Flow. Flow helps your team organize their to-dos in the usual way – adding tasks, associating subtasks, due dates and priority levels. You can also include additional notes to your tasks to make the finer details clear.
There’s also the ability to share updates and discuss ongoing work from right within the task. And for project managers, the tool also comes with some solid features to help you maintain a balanced workload across your team, including a timeline view of all your team’s work that makes it a snap to see who’s overloaded or at risk of running behind on their work.
While Notion is primarily a wiki tool that’s best known for its note-taking capabilities, the versatility of the app makes it a solid choice for different needs, including task management.
Using database views, you can create a single source of truth for all of the daily tasks and large projects your team is responsible for, and view the data however you like – whether as a board, table or calendar.
Next up on our list is MeisterTask, a task management software with a centralized Kanban dashboard. Team managers as well as members can use this tool to create and organize individual tasks with all the information you need in just a few clicks.
MeisterTask’s more advanced features, including MeisterTask Reports (which offers at-a-glance insights into your team’s productivity), are all wrapped up in an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that makes getting the whole team on board with using it a cinch.
If you haven’t heard of Hitask yet, this task management platform is worth checking out. With a simple interface, it comes with all the features a project team needs to manage tasks.
Hitask lets you create and organize tasks, set and change deadlines, prioritize tasks, set project goals and keep track of progress with uncomplicated reporting features, all at a price tag that’s affordable for teams of all shapes and sizes.
Quire is another worthy addition to our best task management software list. What sets Quire apart is its infinite nested task list feature, which helps managers more efficiently break down complex projects into smaller, doable tasks.
You can instantly flip to Kanban board view if you want to visualize your tasks, and for any managers who want to stay on top of the schedule and catch any sneaky roadblocks ahead of them, Quire also offers a Gantt chart-style view. Aside from the sleek interface, we’re also big fans of the Peekaboo option in Quire, which you can use to hide away any tasks that aren’t immediately actionable and help curb team overwhelm.
Another all-in-one platform for managing projects and tasks, Wrike is an obvious choice for many project managers looking to level up from simple to-do task lists to a more collaborative tool that can be used to centralize, delegate and plan projects in real-time.
With Wrike, you can easily track the progress on your project tasks with the help of visual Gantt charts, with due dates and milestones all set out, so you can quickly see where you’re making progress and which tasks have sticking points.
Nifty is a task management app with its fair share of advanced features. You can use it to create to-do lists for your own tasks, or the entire team, as well as set deadlines, assign tasks, set reminders and add in any comments or notes – all for a fairly reasonable subscription fee.
Multiple views, including Kanban, list, swimlane, timeline and calendar, allow you to dive deep into project timelines and individual workflows, making it easy to manage projects, tasks and team members alike.
Aside from creating tasks, setting due dates and all the usual things you would expect from a task management app, nTask also comes with a built-in time tracker that helps project managers assess how much time it takes for team members to get things done.
The bottom line
Adding the right task management software to your tech stack will empower your team to work more efficiently and work together more seamlessly. In the above list, we’ve taken a look at the best collaborative task management software – be sure to try a few out for yourself before committing to one tool.