If you search for “planning tools” on Google, you’ll find tons of lists — big lists. Some of them include well over 30 tools.

You see, that’s a problem.

As Barry Schwartz explains in his famous Ted Talk called “The paradox of choice,” the more options you have, the less able you’re to decide. This is also called “analysis paralysis.”

It’s like trying to pick a movie on Netflix…impossible.

So, instead of creating a behemoth-sized list of planning tools, we decided to give you a short-and-sweet list of the top options, to help you decide better (and faster).

But, before we get into the “nitty-gritty,” let’s answer a crucial question.

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How do you choose the right planning tool?

As a project manager, one of your core duties is to execute a project within the time, quality, and budget that you estimated. Strategic planning is the key to achieving that.

But without the right software, planning can become a torment.

So, before we talk about specific platforms, we’d like to give you some “clues” for choosing the right one.

Now, these aren’t, by any means, the only features you need to focus on. But they are some of the most useful.

1. Gantt charts

Gantt charts allow you to oversee a project from a 10,000 foot standpoint at a glance. That’s why they’re so popular.

monday.com's Gantt view

Additionally, a Gantt chart allows you to plan the sequential order of your project and understand when and how everything should be done.

This way, meeting deadlines and keeping everything on track becomes an easier task.

So, when looking for a project management software, make sure it offers Gantt charts.

Trust us, they’ll make your job so much easier.

2. Task dependencies

Task dependencies help you build logical relationships between tasks so that every member of the team understands the big picture and the sequential order of work.

For example, let’s say you want to make some lemonade. In this case, you can break the process down into:

  • Cutting lemons
  • Squeezing lemons into a glass
  • Adding water
  • Adding sugar
  • Adding ice cubes

In this scenario, you couldn’t squeeze the lemons before cutting them, right?

So the task “squeezing lemons” is dependent on the task “cutting lemons.”

Task dependencies are crucial for the planning process because they build the order you should follow at every stage of the process.

If your current software doesn’t give you this functionality, you’ll have a hard time designing your strategic plan.

3. Kanban boards

When you’re working on complex projects, a simple to-do list isn’t enough.

There’s a much better (and smarter) option: Kanban boards.

A Kanban board allows you to plan and organize even the most complex of workflows in a simple, intuitive way. Whether it’s your team’s work for the quarter or a new software release, they’re super helpful.

Here’s a quick example of Kanban boards in action:

monday.com's kanban board view

Check out some helpful resources from our blog to learn more about the power of Kanban:

4. Data dashboards

When planning, you always need to keep the overall goal in mind. If you don’t, you can get sidetracked by all the noise and problems of daily life.

Visualization dashboards help you keep in sight of what really matters and helps your team understand what’s going on through every stage of the process.

monday.com's data dashboard screenshot

Plus, they’re great for keeping clients, executives and other stakeholders in the loop — anyone who wants to know what’s going on without pouring over reports or reviewing task lists will love you for giving them dashboards.

5. Risk management

Let’s face it:

There’s always a chance that our projects won’t go as planned.

But here’s the thing:

Research has found that risk management is among the most important success factors for projects. For that reason, any true Work Os must help you with that.

Other useful features

As we stated earlier, this isn’t a comprehensive list. Here’s a quick overview of some other features you may want to look for:

Is monday.com the right planning tool for you?

Now that you understand the essential traits and features of project management software, you’re probably wondering whether monday.com is the right one for you.

To be blunt, there’s no straight “yes or no” answer.

It really depends on what you’re looking for and the specific needs of your team.

So, to help you make a more informed decision, let’s talk about what we offer a bit more in-depth.

What’s monday.com?

monday.com's home page screenshot

First, we’re much more than a “planning tool.”

Why, you ask?

Well, monday.com is a fully customizable Work OS, meaning you can build your own planning platform the way that better suits your needs.

Whether you’re a freelancer managing client work or a software team tackling complex projects, monday.com helps you design a workflow that adapts to you.

Besides we provide you with a visual-driven, intuitive platform designed to help you manage a project from start to finish.

Of course we offer powerful planning features, but that’s just scratching the surface.

We offer all the functionalities you need to plan, organize, track, and execute simple or complex projects in any industry. From scheduling, to management, and even delivery, we’ve got your back.

monday.com’s also fun to use.

With over 30+ drag and drop “building blocks,” you can design the workflow of your dreams pretty fast. That’s why more than 100,000 teams get their work done with us.

And now that you understand the essential features you should look for in any software, let’s talk about what we offer.

Why monday.com?

As we said earlier, we offer a fully customizable platform from the start.

When you create your account and follow our simple onboarding process, you’ll get access to boards and dashboards.

Basically, boards help you design your workflow—these can be projects, departments, or processes.

monday.com board

Inside each board you’ve items, which can be clients, tasks, or any other element related to your workflow.

Then, we’ve columns.

Columns help you customize your board the way you want it to be.

For instance, with the “people” column, you can see who’s in charge of completing a specific task.

monday.com people column

The “status” column helps you track the progress of individual tasks in a visual way.

monday.com status column

And the “numbers” column helps you measure anything related to numbers—budgets, sales, prices, expenses, quantities, or time.

monday.com numbers column

You’ve access to more than 30 customizable columns to design any type of workflow you can imagine.

From property management for real estate agents to marketing campaigns, and software development, you can play with these columns to build a platform that suits you.

Then, we’ve dashboards.

Dashboards pull information from one or multiple boards and help you visualize it from different perspectives and angles.

monday.com dashboard

And dashboards are pretty flexible too—we provide you with more than 20 widgets to visualize the data that matters the most to you.

This way, you can make better decisions and improve the quality of your projects.

Now let’s talk about some of our features.

Top monday.com features:

  • Eight different data visualizations: Visualize your project in Gantt charts, maps, forms, timelines, Kanban boards, dashboards, and more.
  • Templates: Get over 200 free templates for any use case, including project tracking, resource management, budgeting, and risk management.
  • Collaboration: Get powerful features to communicate and work with your team in real-time.
  • Automation: We help you save time on busy work with unlimited automation recipes.
  • Time tracking: Discover where and how you are spending most of your time.
  • Task management: Assign tasks to team members, measure performance, and set dependencies with ease.

We recommend that you check out our product overview page to get a full understanding of what we offer.

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Pricing

We offer four paid plans: basic, standard, pro, and enterprise. Pricing depends on the features you’re looking for, how many seats you need, and whether you want to pay monthly or annually. Check out our pricing page to find the perfect plan for your team and wallet.

Pro tip:

Use our project planning template and get started in minutes.

monday.com's project planning template screenshot

Get stakeholders, teammates, and managers on the same workspace and visualize your project plan with multiple view options.

Also, this is a fully-customizable template. You can add and remove fields, columns, and rows at will.

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No matter how small or big your project is, a well-designed plan is the first step to success.

But a plan is only one part of the equation. Once you’re done with planning, it’s time for execution, then iteration. And that requires a greater level of sophistication from your software.

Fortunately, monday.com gives you all the functionality you need to fully manage a project from planning to execution, and beyond. We even integrate with the tools you already use, so you can track everything in one place.

If you have an upcoming project in place, don’t forget to check out our project planning template. It’ll make your job so much easier.

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