Grudge Match 6: A Project Management Battle Royale

Boxing gloves with project management platform logos

4 Minute Read

Welcome back to the grudge match arena! Tonight’s bout will settle a score that project managers around the planet have been screaming about for years. Each has their preferred tool and is willing to fight like a rabid badger to defend it. But only one package can be crowned the best.

Let’s meet our contenders!

Our opening fighter first stepped into the ring while its competitors were still gleams in their creator’s eyes. Since then, it’s built a reputation for being just what its users need and no more. But is that enough? Give it up for Basecamp!

Next up, we have the tool that tries to be everything for everyone. If there’s a function you need, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here. But is the result too bloated for all but the most devoted users? It’s the tool to which others are compared…it’s Asana!

Our third contender catches jeers and glares from project management purists as it enters the arena. It’s a full-featured Kanban board, but is that enough? Some say yes. Others scoff in their general direction. What’s certain is that you either love it or hate it…it’s Trello!

And finally, the project management tool that feels like it was raised on a commune in the ‘70s. It’s relaxed and groovy, but also powerful. Its nearly infinite customizability is excellent if you’re into that sort of thing. But can it stand up to the competition? It’s the app named after the worst day of the week. It’s Monday!

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Match One: Functionality

As the bell sounds, Asana strides confidently to the center of the ring and begins flexing and playing to the crowd. The application is the most full-featured package in contention, and it knows it.

You can assign tasks to team members and organize them with an intuitive timeline feature. You can create task dependencies and view projects as Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and calendars. Users can attach files and communicate important information through comments. Managers can even step back to look at every project together using the application’s portfolio view.

The crowd is eating up Asana’s show of force when suddenly Trello decides to try its luck. It launches itself at Asana, certain it has what it takes for a showdown. It’s purely a Kanban application, but what it does, it does well.

Asana swings on its heels dazed for a moment. For users that don’t manage large or complex projects, Trello’s simple interface allows them to view all tasks on one screen. It’s one of the most flexible and best-designed tools of its kind, but because it lacks time tracking, Gantt charts, progress reports, and other features project managers depend on, it gets clotheslined before it reaches the center of the ring.

This brief skirmish kicks off the action, and the other two competitors rush in.

Monday matches Asana’s features and throws in a uniquely customizable interface designed to display as much information on one screen as possible. For those nervous about building their own views, the program offers hundreds of templates to build from. Users that want a project management tool that does exactly what they want it to do can’t go wrong with Monday. But it takes commitment.

Basecamp thunders in with a different approach. It tailors its functionality to the needs of the group. Small agencies may appreciate this stripped-down approach. It also adds group chat functionality, helping remote teams to stay in communication. However, like Trello, it lacks certain features, like a variety of viewing modes. Complex projects can stymie the software. The battle is fierce. Bruises are raised. Blood is drawn. By the end, two competitors emerge from the pile. The judges hand the round to Asana and Monday!

Match Two: Cost and Value

The second and final match begins with Trello and Basecamp at a disadvantage.

Basecamp leaps into the fray, hoping its price will do some damage. It’s the only package of the four that allows for unlimited users and projects for a set monthly price. $99 a month seems steep, but it becomes the least expensive option on the list after ten users. The more users you have, the better the value.

Trello hopes to win back the judges as well. While all four packages offer either a free trial or a free tier, Trello’s free offering is the most robust. You get ten boards and unlimited users, free forever. But to get most features, you need the Business Class tier, which runs $9.99 per user per month, paid annually. This is the best value for most small to mid-sized businesses. Their Enterprise tier is annually $17.99 per user per month and nets you stronger admin controls.

Not to be outdone, Monday tries to press its advantage. Its Basic tier runs only $8 per user per month, billed annually, but it lacks many of the software’s best features. Most companies will want the Standard tier for $10 per user per month or the Pro at $16. An Enterprise tier is also available, including every feature and unlimited everything, but you have to contact the company for pricing.

Asana, an early leader, comes into this round with the highest per-user monthly price. Their Premium package runs $10.99, and their Business $24.99. Most small businesses will be happy with Premium, though you miss out on portfolios, goals, and advanced integrations. Their Enterprise tier is priced on a custom basis like Monday.

This would seem a disadvantage for Asana, but a surprise finishing move pushes the software back to the top of the stack! Like Basecamp, Asana also offers a free forever tier that’s fairly useful, even if it’s missing the service’s best features.

The crowd goes crazy as chairs fly, tables break, and bodies crumble under the pressure. By the end, two fighters stagger out of the pack. Asana and Basecamp take the match!

Judges’ Decision

After two matches, only one service emerged victorious in both matches, so with little need to confer, the judges announce a unanimous decision.

The winner is Asana!

The package has the best mix of features and price. It does most everything project managers require from a modern, cloud-based package. What it lacks in chat features it makes up for with over a hundred integrations. They’re standard even in the free tier.

Both Monday and Basecamp come in a solid second place. They’re strong offerings with price points comparable to Asana. Monday leads the pack in customizations, while Basecamp becomes the least expensive option above ten users.

Trello is good for what it is, and companies that use Kanban boards exclusively will get a lot of value from the package. It comes in third mainly because you get significantly less overall functionality for about the same price as the other packages.

But remember, all four offer free trials, so download them all and put them through their paces. The best way to learn what works for you is to try them. And with that, we say thank you and good night!

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