Beyond creativity, every design project requires good organization, solid structure, and seamless workflows.

Enter design project management software.

Design projects often go through different stages and include many stakeholders. Having a central point where teams can communicate, track progress, give/receive feedback, and stay on top of deadlines is essential for any creative team—no matter whether it’s an agency or a team working in-house at a company.

Not investing in a project management tool for designers can be your highest cost. Investing in the wrong one can be even worse.

Data from the Project Management Institute (PMI) shows that on average, organizations waste 9.9% of every dollar due to poor project performance. What’s more: around one in three projects (31%) do not meet their goals, 43% are not completed within budget, and nearly half (48%) are not completed on time.

That’s what makes design project management software so important.

What is creative project management?

Creative project management is the process of planning activities, organizing tasks, and coordinating different stakeholders that work on creative projects like graphic design, video production, web design, advertising, and brand marketing.

Creative project managers should have the perfect mix of creativity and cognition to bring ideas to the table, but also make sure that those projects come to life. For this reason, the role of a design project management solution is invaluable.

The good news is that most creative teams are aware of the importance of design project management. However, they still struggle with choosing the right tool. According to Hubspot, 80% of agencies rely on project management tools, but half of those say they need to get a better system.

Before we dive deeper into the features you should look for in design project management software, let’s first look at some of the challenges that creative project managers face.

Top 5 challenges for creative project managers 

Here are five of the most common challenges for creative agencies, teams, and designers:

  1. Balancing between creativity and project management—The most important role of a creative project manager is to get the project past the finish line. But they can’t do that by relying solely on creativity. Without task management, it’s unlikely to get things done on time. With a project management solution, they can streamline processes and focus on things that matter.
  2. Managing time, cost, and scope—Juggling with budgets and deadlines can be a real hurdle. However, design project management doesn’t need to feel daunting. With the right tool your team will feel more engaged, and they’ll actively participate instead of just following orders. 
  3. Internal communication and alignment—Seamless communication is the key to a successful organization. Having ownership and clear responsibilities can improve your productivity significantly. 2020 has taught us that remote work is possible if you have the right tools. Design project management is one of them.
  4. Staying on track—When dealing with complicated design projects like a website or an app design, having real-time updates is the only way to stay on track and act immediately if activities diverge from the plan.
  5. Managing feedback—Feedback plays an important role in every creative project. No matter whether you’re an agency expecting client feedback or are part of a creative team inside a company waiting to receive a response from other departments in the company, having a tool that lets you receive and manage feedback will make your life easier.

Which software is used for design project management?

There are so many project management solutions on the market that choosing one can seem overwhelming. To help you understand the differences, we’ll walk you through several different project management tools and hopefully ease your decision-making process.

monday.com

If you’re on the hunt for a simple and straightforward project management tool that will help you improve your efficiency and manage your design project—monday.com is the right choice for you.

monday.com is a cloud-based Work OS, where teams create workflow apps in minutes to run their projects from start to finish. The platform has an intuitive and highly customizable interface for planning, tracking, and collaborating on work, and it’s packed with ready-to-use templates that creative teams can adjust to fit their needs.

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Some of the features that make monday.com unique and right for design project management needs include:

  • Visual workflows — monday.com is most known for its intuitive visual interface that lets you view projects as timelines, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendar, and map.
  • Collaborative tools — Most of the time, creative projects require working closely with third-party agencies and freelancers. With monday.com, you can easily collaborate with other stakeholders and assign clear responsibilities.

Pricing-wise, monday.com offers four different pricing plans (Basic, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise) and all plans have 24/7 customer support. There’s a free 14-day trial with discounts available on yearly plans. Check out the pricing page to find out more.

Asana

Asana helps users manage, track, and give status updates on projects. Acting more like a task management tool, this solution includes the ability to create tasks, assign people, add due dates, write comments, and attach files.

The Basic (free) version has few restrictions related to task dependencies, timeline, custom templates, and progress view. For larger teams, their Premium option starts at $10.99/user per month. To get workload management, you’ll need their Business version at $24.99/user per month.

Wrike

Wrike has project management features that let users view progress through Gantt charts or via the project calendar, and it has both a time and workload-tracking tool. Besides this, the app has several customizable templates, which are helpful. However, this solution has a steeper learning curve.

For teams up to five people, Wrike has a free option that allows simple task management and file sharing. Users that need more advanced features like time tracking, calendars, and project and task approvals need the Business version that costs $24.80/user per month.

Trello

Trello is known for its Kanban boards that teams use to manage simple workflows, create lists, and collaborate within a small group. It does not offer Gantt charts itself, but users can add this functionality by using paid power-ups.

With Trello, creative teams can create tasks and assign members, providing a quick and visual representation of who is responsible for what and where a task status stands. There is a free option but, for more advanced features, users should go for its Business Class option, which starts at $9.99/user per month.

What is the most popular project management software?

Monday is everything you need from a project management solution and more. Unlike other management tools focused on tasks, monday.com focuses on processes, making it easy to convey information about a project or task in a structured way that can be replicated for future processes.

The design industry is incredibly visual, and creative teams highly appreciate good aesthetics. Choosing a text-based project management tool and forcing creatives to use it can only frustrate them. Instead, go for a solution that your team will actually enjoy using.

With monday.com, collaboration and organization have never been easier. Thanks to the clean interface, you can keep track of your tasks’ progress and visually recognize the trouble spots.

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What to look for in design project management software

If you still hesitate in choosing the right tool for your business, we’ve compiled a list of features to look for in a design project management software.

  • Trackable progress — No matter the industry you’re in, project management’s core focus making sure things get done. Instead of looking for a solution that only lets you organize tasks, make sure to choose a design project management software that enables you to track the progress, and spot any bottlenecks in the process.
  • Idea-sharing — Most of the good ideas come from the synergy of creative teams – working together, sharing thoughts and ideas. No matter if you’re working with a virtual team or need a focal point for all your ideas and feedback, choosing a solution with this feature in mind will boost your creativity. With monday.com, you can add photos, videos, sound effects, GIFs, and any other source of inspiration that you can think of.
  • Advanced reporting — Despite what many think that creativity and analytics don’t go hand in hand, the truth is that the best creatives make data-driven decisions. That’s why with monday.com, you can choose from basic reporting tools such as formulas, advanced filters, and chart views to advanced functionalities such as stacked charts, pivot table, workload view, and more.
  • Outstanding customer support — Even though the rule of thumb is to choose the simple and straightforward solution with a user-friendly interface, knowing that there’s 24/7 customer support can give your team peace of mind. Beware that most project management solutions offer different customer support depending on the price plan you choose. Monday.com has a self-serve knowledge base, daily live webinar, and 24/7 customer support for every plan.

Find the design project management software you need

Choosing a design project management software doesn’t need to be tough.

Even though creative people love their freedom, the right project management tool will only give them direction and empower them to unleash their creativity (while improving productivity.)

Ready to see how monday.com can help your creative team move the needle? Sign up today.