Software Spotlight: Microsoft ProjectSPONSORED

Microsoft Project stands out as an ideal solution for government project management thanks to its rich set of features tailored to meet the complex and specific needs of public sector projects. A trusted and innovative project management platform, Microsoft Project supports detailed planning, resource allocation, and progress tracking, ensuring government projects are delivered on time and within budget.

  • Detailed resource management.
  • Robust reporting and analytics.
  • Seamless integration with Microsoft ecosystem and third-party software.
  • Extensive collaboration features.
  • Streamlined project portfolio management.

  • Government entities need to manage projects just like other businesses, but their security and compliance needs are especially high, which can limit the scope of their software search. Fortunately, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP®) has reviewed and approved multiple project management tools that meet government security standards. In this guide, we’ve reviewed several FedRAMP® approved government project management tools as well as some other offerings.

    While we have included pricing information here to help you benchmark costs, you should know that in some cases the FedRAMP® approved product version requires a special quote from the government sales department. For instance, the Smartsheet Gov product is different from standard Smartsheet plans and requires a custom quote for pricing.

    Top government project management software: Comparison table

    Beyond security and compliance, you should make sure your government project management software has certain key features. Here are some of the features to look out for when comparing government project management software:

    FedRAMP® authorizedMultiple project viewsNative time trackingTemplatesFree plan availablePricing starts at
    Microsoft ProjectNoYesYesYesNo$10 per person per month
    Google WorkspaceYesYesNoYesNo$6 per person per month
    SmartsheetYesYesYesYesYes$7 per person per month
    ClarityYesYesYesYesNoContact for quote
    TrelloYesYesNoYesYes$5 per person per month
    ProjecTeamPendingNoNoYesNo$700 per person per year, sold in blocks of five
    ClickUpNoYesYesYesYes$7 per person per month
    monday Work ManagementNoYesYesYesYes$8 per person per month
    Lucid SoftwarePendingNoNoYesYes$7.95 per person per month
    WrikeNoYesYesYesYes$9.80 per person per month

    Microsoft Project: Best for Microsoft users

    Microsoft Project logo.
    Image: Microsoft Project

    Before we dive in, you should know that Microsoft Project is not currently FedRAMP® authorized. However, many other Microsoft apps  — including Microsoft Office 365 and Azure Government — are FedRAMP® authorized, so we wanted to include Microsoft Project on the list. Microsoft Project is designed to be used in conjunction with other Microsoft products, such as OneDrive and Teams, so it’s the best choice for departments that are already committed to the Microsoft ecosystem.

    Pricing

    Microsoft Project offers six total plans: three for the cloud-based subscription and three for the on-premises solution. A 30-day free trial is available for the cloud-based solution.

    For cloud-based subscriptions:

    • Project Plan 1: $10 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
    • Project Plan 3: $30 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
    • Project Plan 5: $55 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.

    For the on-premises platform:

    • Project Standard 2021: $679.99 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
    • Project Professional 2021: $1,129.99 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
    • Project Server: Contact Microsoft for pricing information.

    Features

    • Resource management capabilities included (Figure A).
    • Native time tracking included.
    • Reporting feature is easy to use.
    • On-premises deployment option.

    Resource utilization in Microsoft Project.
    Figure A: Resource utilization in Microsoft Project.

    Pros

    • Suitable for managing very long, complex projects; the tool can be configured to fit multiple project management methodologies.
    • Interface will be familiar to Microsoft users.
    • Excellent customer support and user forum.

    Cons

    • Lacks native file management and team collaboration tools.
    • High learning curve makes this most suitable for power users.
    • Doesn’t integrate well with non-Microsoft products.

    Integrations

    Microsoft Project’s integration capabilities extend to the entire Microsoft ecosystem, including examples like Office 365, SharePoint and Teams.

    Why we chose Microsoft Project

    Aside from its extensive project management features for complex, large-scale projects, we chose Microsoft Project for its seamless integration with Microsoft’s suite. Knowing how Microsoft products are already household names, Project gives its users a unified platform for users, streamlining project management tasks.

    For more information, read the full Microsoft Project review.

    Google Workspace: Best for document management

    Google Workspace logo.
    Image: Google Workspace

    If you’re attached to your personal Google apps, you’ll be happy to hear that Google Workspace is FedRAMP® authorized. This means that all your favorite Google apps — Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides and so on — can be used for and adapted to governmental purposes. While you can make certain Google apps work for more robust project management, we recommend using these tools mainly for document and file management, then syncing them with a dedicated project management tool of your choice.

    Pricing

    • Business Starter: $6 per user per month billed annually, or $7.20 per user billed monthly.
    • Business Standard: $12 per user per month billed annually, or $14.40 per user billed monthly.
    • Business Plus: $18 per user per month billed annually, or $21.60 per user billed monthly.
    • Enterprise: Contact sales for a quote.

    Features

    • Cloud-based software ensures documents are always backed up.
    • Documents update in real time to aid team collaboration.
    • Templates make it easy to build documents, spreadsheets and presentations from scratch.
    • Users can upload and convert other document formats.

    Pros

    • Excellent document management and file storage capabilities.
    • The Google Workspace interface will be familiar to many people (Figure B).
    • Syncs with a wide variety of project management apps.

    The Google Workspace interface.
    Figure B: The Google Workspace interface.

    Cons

    • Not suitable for standalone project management.
    • The Sheets app isn’t as robust as Excel.
    • Must download each mobile app individually.

    Integrations

    Some of the top integrations that enhance the project management experience in Google Workspace include Asana, Trello, Slack, Salesforce and Zoom.

    Why we chose Google Workspace

    We included Google Workspace because of how it offers document management and collaboration tools within a secure, FedRAMP-authorized environment. The platform’s real-time collaboration capabilities across Docs, Sheets, and Slides, along with its familiar interface enhance productivity. And, similar to Microsoft Projects and the Microsoft ecosystem, with Google Workspace, you’ll enjoy seamless integration into the Google ecosystem.

    For more information, read the full Google Workspace review.

    Smartsheet: Best for spreadsheet lovers

    Smartsheet logo.
    Image: Smartsheet

    Smartsheet is a project management tool that bases its design interface on the familiar spreadsheet format. If you’ve been trying to make Excel or Google Sheets work for your project needs, Smartsheet is the solution you’ve been waiting for. The Smartsheet Gov offering is both FedRAMP® and DoD IL4 authorized, making it a great choice for government organizations.

    Pricing

    • Free: $0 for one user and up to two editors.
    • Pro: $7 per user per month billed annually, or $9 per user billed monthly. A free trial is available.
    • Business: $25 per user per month billed annually, or $32 per user billed monthly. A free trial is available.
    • Enterprise: Quotes are available upon request.

    Features

    • Grid view combines a spreadsheet interface with project management features.
    • Other project views include Calendar, Gantt and Card (kanban board) (Figure C).
    • WorkApps feature lets you build apps to connect external tools with Smartsheet.
    • Users can set up task dependencies to improve efficiency.

    Card view in my Smartsheet project.
    Figure C: Card view in my Smartsheet project.

    Pros

    • More than 350 native project templates.
    • Great reporting and analytics tools.
    • Solid upgrade choice for legacy spreadsheet users.

    Cons

    • Spreadsheet interface can feel outdated compared to alternatives.
    • Not all pages update in real time.
    • Autosave feature doesn’t always work.

    Integrations

    Smartsheet integrates effectively with tools like Trello, Jira for agile project tracking, Asana, Wrike and Azure DevOps for software development projects.

    Why we chose Smartsheet

    Smartsheet’s spreadsheet-like interface sets it apart as it appeals to users familiar with Excel or Google Sheets. This is in addition to its FedRAMP authorization and DoD IL4 compliance for government security standards. It’s a versatile platform, with multiple project views and a rich template library.

    For more information, read the full Smartsheet review.

    Clarity by Broadcom: Best for financial management

    Broadcom logo.
    Image: Broadcom

    While Broadcom is known for manufacturing semiconductors, it also offers numerous SaaS products. One of those is Clarity, a FedRAMP® authorized portfolio and project management solution that is designed for enterprise-level teams. Not all project management software includes features for financial management and resource support, but Clarity does, making it an excellent choice for government organizations that need these capabilities.

    Pricing

    Clarity does not publicly disclose its pricing information; contact the sales team for more information.

    Features

    • Checklist feature for simple task management.
    • Multiple project views are available.
    • Unique roadmap (Figure D) functions assist with project planning.
    • Idea management tools help you decide which projects to work on next.

    Roadmap tab in Clarity.
    Figure D: Roadmap tab in Clarity.

    Pros

    • Offers a high level of security and compliance thanks to the Microsoft Azure platform.
    • Resource management and financial management capabilities are included.
    • Users can set up task dependencies.

    Cons

    • Interface is outdated compared to alternatives.
    • Too complex for some team’s needs.
    • High learning curve due to the number of features included.

    Integrations

    Broadcom Clarity’s frequently integrated systems include Meisterplan, Microsoft Active Directory, PeopleSoft and SAP for enterprise resource planning, and Xtime for time and attendance management.

    Why we chose Broadcom (Clarity)

    We recognized Broadcom’s Clarity for its exceptional financial management capabilities, which are a good fit for government projects with intricate budgeting needs. It has FedRAMP authorization, meaning it guarantees high security. It also has the capacity to manage large-scale, multifaceted projects, plus advanced analytics and reporting features for critical insights into project performance and resource utilization.

    Trello: Best for kanban boards

    Trello logo.
    Image: Trello

    Trello Enterprise Cloud is currently the only Atlassian product that is FedRAMP® authorized for government use. Trello is known for its intuitive, visually appealing Kanban boards, which are extremely easy to use. This beginner-friendly app is a good choice for teams that want to get started with Kanban project management but don’t need a tool meant for power users or complex projects.

    Pricing

    • Free: $0 for up to 10 boards per workspace and unlimited users.
    • Standard: $5 per user per month billed annually, or $6 per user billed monthly.
    • Premium: $10 per user per month billed annually, or $12.50 per user billed monthly.
    • Enterprise: Between $7.38 and $17.50 per user per month billed annually, depending on user count.

    Features

    • Butler automation tool helps you build custom workflows.
    • Many templates and pre-designed board layouts (Figure E).
    • Checklist format for task management.
    • 180+ integrations with popular work apps.

    A budgeting and time tracking template in Trello.
    Figure E: A budgeting and time tracking template in Trello.

    Pros

    • Drag-and-drop kanban boards are easy to use.
    • The visual interface is easy to navigate.
    • Low learning curve makes this a beginner-friendly tool.

    Cons

    • Not suitable for complex projects.
    • Other project views aren’t as robust as the kanban boards; for example, no native Gantt charts or time tracking views are available.
    • Could use more customizations.

    Integrations

    Trello’s top integrations feature Google Sheets, Google Calendar, Dropbox, Slack and Evernote.

    Why we chose Trello

    Simply, Trello’s Kanban boards are a visual treat. Its user-friendly Kanban boards make project management as easy as can be. Its FedRAMP authorization ensures it meets government security standards, while the platform’s simplicity, coupled with powerful automation and customization options, facilitates effective project tracking and management.

    For more information, read the full Trello review.

    ProjectTeam: Best for construction projects

    ProjectTeam logo.
    Image: ProjectTeam

    ProjectTeam is a construction project management information system (PMIS) that is currently under review for FedRAMP® authorization. It is designed to assist government organizations and private-public partnerships in planning, designing and executing construction projects. Because of its focus on construction, it is not suitable for more general project management use cases.

    Pricing

    • Small Teams: $700 per user per year, sold in blocks of five.
    • Enterprise: For more than 25 users, contact the sales team for a quote.

    Features

    • Generate custom forms to track unique construction processes.
    • Combine data from multiple projects into centralized reports and dashboards (Figure F).
    • Review detailed history on every form or file for audit purposes.
    • Unlimited non-paid contributor seats.

    An RFI report breaking down construction services in ProjectTeam.
    Figure F: An RFI report breaking down construction services in ProjectTeam.

    Pros

    • Easy to learn and use.
    • Quick Start service is available for an extra fee.
    • Frequently releases new features.

    Cons

    • Not suitable for managing projects outside of construction.
    • Customizations can take a while to set up.
    • System is sometimes slow to load.

    Integrations

    ProjectTeam integrates with popular construction management software like Autodesk, Procore, and Bluebeam, enhancing document control and project tracking, while also connecting with financial systems such as QuickBooks and Oracle.

    Why we chose ProjectTeam

    We chose ProjectTeam because of its specialized focus on construction project management, which aligns well with the needs of government infrastructure projects. Its pending FedRAMP authorization and robust integration capabilities with construction and financial software make it worth considering for managing complex construction projects.

    ClickUp: Best for affordability

    ClickUp logo.
    Image: ClickUp

    If you are looking for a tool that combines robust project management with affordable pricing, ClickUp should be at the top of your list. While not currently FedRAMP® authorized, ClickUp offers an impressive array of features that will satisfy many teams, especially considering that paid plans start at only $7 per person per month.

    Pricing

    • Free Forever: $0; best for personal use.
    • Unlimited: $7 per user per month billed annually, or $10 per user billed monthly.
    • Business: $12 per user per month billed annually, or $19 per user billed monthly.
    • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.

    Features

    • Choose from more than 15 project views (Figure G).
    • Connect third-party apps with more than 1,000 integrations.
    • Message teammates using the built-in chat tool.
    • 24/7 customer support for all plans.

    A variety of project views in ClickUp.
    Figure G: A variety of project views in ClickUp.

    Pros

    • Affordable and transparent pricing plans; even the free plan offers a high level of functionality.
    • Suitable for managing complex projects.
    • Interface is colorful and easy to navigate.

    Cons

    • Free plan only offers 100 MB of storage.
    • System can lag and glitch occasionally.
    • High learning curve due to the number of features.

    Integrations

    Some of ClickUp’s most common integrations are Slack, GitHub, Google Drive, Trello and Zoom.

    Why we chose ClickUp

    We listed ClickUp for its affordability without compromising on a robust feature set. For government agencies that want a thorough feature-packed project management tool without having to break the bank, ClickUp is every bit worth considering. Its wide range of integrations and customizable features offer a bespoke tailored project management experience that’s adaptable to various workflows and team sizes.

    For more information, read the full ClickUp review.

    monday work management: Best for teams of all sizes

    monday.com logo.
    Image: monday.com

    monday work management is not currently FedRAMP® authorized, but we wanted to include it on this list anyways because it’s widely considered one of the best project management tools on the market today. It combines robust project management features with relatively affordable pricing plans and a nice user interface that isn’t too intimidating.

    Pricing

    • Free: $0 for up to two seats.
    • Basic: $8 per seat per month billed annually, or $10 per seat billed monthly. A free trial is available.
    • Standard: $10 per seat per month billed annually, or $12 per seat billed monthly. A free trial is available.
    • Pro: $16 per seat per month billed annually, or $20 per seat billed monthly. A free trial is available.
    • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.

    Features

    • Native chat feature for in-platform team communication.
    • WorkForms tool for creating and sharing surveys.
    • Pre-built automations.
    • Advanced reporting and analytics.

    Pros

    • Robust project management features.
    • Wide selection of integrations and many customization options (Figure H).
    • Colorful interface is easy to navigate.

    A variety of integrations available in monday.com.
    Figure H: A variety of integrations available in monday.com.

    Cons

    • Certain features like Gantt charts and time tracking are limited to higher-tier plans.
    • Higher learning curve than some project management alternatives.
    • Default notification settings can be overwhelming.

    Integrations

    monday.com enhances its project management capabilities with integrations like Slack, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce and Zoom.

    Why we chose monday

    Its adaptability to teams of all sizes and its user-friendly interface are the reasons we chose monday. Its lack of FedRAMP authorization is offset by its extensive customization options and integrations, making it a versatile tool for government agencies with varying project management requirements.

    For more information, read the full monday review.

    Lucid Software: Best for creating visualizations

    Lucid logo.
    Image: Lucid

    Lucid Software is the creator of Lucidchart (intelligent diagramming application), Lucidspark (virtual whiteboard) and Lucidscale (cloud visualization solution). Lucid’s government software offering is currently FedRAMP® authorized at Moderate impact level. While it doesn’t provide traditional project management software, Lucid offers tools that are powerful resources for helping your team brainstorm ideas and visualize processes.

    Pricing

    Lucidspark and Lucidchart offer the same a la carte pricing options to users:

    • Free: $0 for up to three boards or charts; best for personal use.
    • Individual: Starting at $7.95. A free trial is available.
    • Team: Starting at $9 per person per month. A free trial is available.
    • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote. This plan option allows users to bundle Lucidspark and Lucidchart together.

    Lucidscale is available in two pricing plans:

    • Individual: $2,000 per year; includes one Creator license.
    • Team: minimum Starting at $2,400 per year; depends on the type of number of licenses purchased.

    Features

    • Freehand drawings and sticky notes are visual options on the Lucidspark virtual whiteboard.
    • Users can add sticky notes to the board and sort by category to create a clear plan of action.
    • Create diagrams in Lucidchart to visualize team processes.
    • A variety of templates and team collaboration features (Figure I).

    Template categories available in Lucid.
    Figure I: Template categories available in Lucid.

    Pros

    • Unique visualization capabilities that aren’t matched by other PM tools.
    • Many native integrations with external tools.
    • Lucidspark and Lucidchart sync together.

    Cons

    • Not a standalone project management solution.
    • Connectors don’t disappear when you delete ideas.
    • Big, complicated diagrams may cause performance lags.

    Integrations

    Lucid’s suite of tools, including Lucidchart and Lucidspark, integrates with platforms such as Google Workspace, Microsoft Office, Slack, Atlassian and Zoom.

    Why we chose Lucid

    We chose Lucid for its unique ability to create visualizations and diagrams that facilitate complex project planning and brainstorming sessions. Its integration with many productivity and collaboration tools makes it a valuable asset for government project teams looking to enhance their planning processes with visual tools.

    Wrike: Best for project portfolio management

    Wrike logo.
    Image: Wrike

    If you were intrigued by the project portfolio management abilities of Clarity but the rest of the tool sounded like overkill for your needs, then you might want to check out Wrike. Wrike is not currently FedRAMP® authorized but does include a host of features that are designed for power users who need to manage multiple complex projects at once.

    Pricing

    A free trial is available for each of the following plans:

    • Free: $0 per user per month.
    • Team: $9.80 per user per month.
    • Business: $24.80 per user per month.
    • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.
    • Pinnacle: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.

    Features

    • Customize request forms to meet company needs.
    • Forecasting tools for visualizing project risk.
    • Interactive Gantt charts to plan and visualize project timelines (Figure J).
    • Video and file proofing.

    A Gantt chart in Wrike.
    Figure J: A Gantt chart in Wrike.

    Pros

    • Interface is well-designed and organized.
    • Premium security and data privacy features will appeal to government entities.
    • Two-way sync with 12 other apps is available as a paid add-on.

    Cons

    • Team plan only supports up to 25 users; users also must upgrade to the Business plan for time tracking and template creation.
    • Storage space is limited.
    • Learning curve is higher than some competitors.

    Integrations

    Wrike offers integrations to tools like Salesforce, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and GitHub.

    Why we chose Wrike

    We chose Wrike for its strong project portfolio management features, which are designed to cater to power users managing multiple complex projects. While not currently FedRAMP authorized, its premium security features and extensive integrations make it a compelling consideration for government agencies.

    For more information, read the full Wrike review.

    Key features of government project management software

    Security and compliance

    Security and compliance are usually the number one concern when choosing any kind of software for a government project. Make sure that your top choices are either compliant with FedRAMP® or otherwise meet all necessary security standards. Keep in mind that many project management tools reserve their highest levels of security for premium and enterprise accounts, so be sure to account for that in your budget.

    Task management

    Government project management software should make it easy to manage your personal to-do list. You should also be able to assign tasks to others, set due dates, view completed and upcoming tasks and more within the tool itself.

    Project views

    Any project management tool worth its salt should offer at least a handful of standard project views such as grids, spreadsheets, Gantt charts, timelines and/or kanban/board/card views. Make sure you read the fine print, though: Some of these tools reserve the most popular views to higher tier plans (like monday work management) or require a third-party app or extension (Trello).

    Templates

    Project templates can significantly speed up the setup phases of a project and also inspire your team to try out newer, more efficient ways of organizing information. Any government project management tool should include templates that are relevant to the sector and give you the ability to create and save custom templates.

    Integrations

    Even the most robust project management tools won’t have every single feature you need, which is why these tools should integrate with the rest of your software stack. Some project management platforms also offer the ability to build custom integrations thanks to API access, which sometimes comes with added costs.

    How do I choose the best government project management software for my business?

    Choosing government project management software is a complex process. You will need to work with your IT and security teams as well as other relevant stakeholders to ensure the software meets your functional needs while also supporting necessary safety and compliance protocols.

    Start conversations about security early on so that you don’t waste your time researching and test-driving software that doesn’t meet the necessary criteria. Thankfully, some of the most popular project management tools are already FedRAMP® authorized or in the process of earning that authorization. Don’t forget to consider other factors as well, like the ability to create custom workflows and dependabilities that accurately capture governmental processes.

    Additionally, make the most of product demos, free accounts and free trials so you can develop a full understanding of the software before committing to a paid plan. Implementing a new government project management software solution or importing data from one platform to another is no small feat, so you want to be confident in your decision before you make the leap.

    Methodology

    We reviewed these government project management software solutions based on a number of criteria, including pricing, ease of use, user interface design and the learning curve. We also weighed additional features such as automation, project views, templates and time tracking. We evaluated these platforms by consulting demo videos, user reviews and product documentation.

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