Best Project Time Management Software for Small Businesses

published on 18 February 2024

Finding the right time management software is critical for small businesses, but with so many options it can be overwhelming to identify the solution that best meets your needs.

In this comprehensive guide, we analyze the top project and time management tools catering specifically to small business teams. You'll discover the essential features to look for, from accurate time tracking to scalability, as well as an in-depth assessment of usability and cost-efficiency.

By the end, you'll have a clear framework for selecting the software that can maximize productivity and efficiency for your growing small business.

Introduction to Project Time Management Software

Project time management software is critical for small businesses to efficiently track time across client projects and streamline operations. As opposed to generic time tracking apps, these solutions cater to the unique needs of small business owners and project teams by providing enhanced functionality around scheduling, resource allocation, integrations, reporting, and more.

When researching the best time management systems, small businesses should evaluate products based on:

  • User-friendly interface: An intuitive, easy-to-use system to minimize training and ensure quick adoption across teams. Look for simple navigation, interactive gantt charts, and customizable dashboards.
  • Robust integration capabilities: Seamless syncing with popular apps like QuickBooks, Slack, G Suite to centralize data and workflows. API support also useful for building custom integrations.
  • Budget-friendly pricing: Cost-effective plans for small teams, with caps on number of users/projects. Free trials commonly available.
  • Tailored reporting: Easy generation of reports on billable hours, capacity planning, productivity metrics, budgets - filtered by client, project, user, and date range.
  • Security: Encryption, access controls, and permissions to safeguard sensitive business data.

Understanding the Role of Time Management in Small Businesses

For small businesses and agencies balancing multiple client projects, optimizing utilization of time and resources is critical. Project time management software helps by providing:

  • Centralized tracking: Record all project and non-project work in one place, with tagging for segmentation.
  • Deadline planning: Schedule projects, assign tasks, set milestones and deadlines across teams.
  • Resource allocation: Distribute workload as per capacity, track bottlenecks.
  • Productivity monitoring: Log time to get visibility into efficiency - identify areas for improvement.
  • Automated invoicing: Generate branded invoices from logged hours and share with clients.

Advantages of Implementing Time Management Solutions

Dedicated time management solutions provide numerous advantages over makeshift spreadsheets:

  • Real-time visibility: Dashboards to monitor capacity usage, budgets, milestones across projects.
  • Automated admin workflows: Rules for overtime alerts, approvals, notifications.
  • Flexible access: Browser and mobile apps suit distributed teams.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Central hub for teams to plan projects, collaborate, share files.
  • Client deliverables: Professional invoices, reports and timesheets to share.
  • Scalability: Easily add users, projects, clients as business grows.

By leveraging purpose-built software, small businesses can effectively eliminate spreadsheet chaos, optimize productivity, and set their project teams up for success.

What is the best software for time management?

When it comes to choosing the best time management software for your small business, there are a few key factors to consider:


The software needs to have an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. As a small business, you don't have time to waste trying to figure out a complex app. Look for solutions that allow you to quickly track time, manage projects, and generate reports with minimal effort.


Integration with other software you already use is also important. For example, some time tracking solutions integrate directly with popular project management, accounting, CRM and other systems. This allows you to automatically sync data between apps without manual exports or duplication of work.


Pricing is another big consideration for small businesses with limited budgets. There are free and freemium time tracking options, as well as paid plans that offer more features. Assess your specific needs and find the most cost-effective option that still delivers the functionality you require.

When evaluating time management systems, be sure to factor in all these elements to determine the best fit for your small business goals, existing tech stack, and budget.

Which is the best software for project hours tracking?

When it comes to tracking project hours and time management, small businesses have several solid options to consider. Here are some of the top contenders for best project time tracking software:


Best For: Accurate time tracking, detailed analytics, and integration with PM tools like Asana, Trello, Jira, and more.

Key features:

  • Automated time tracking
  • Productivity analytics
  • App integrations
  • Offline time tracking

HourStack shines when it comes to seamless integration with popular project management platforms. This allows for automated time tracking as you work in apps like Asana or Trello without any manual entry.


Best For: Automating time tracking for large, distributed teams with advanced reporting.

Key features:

  • Automated time tracking
  • Project budgeting
  • Advanced analytics
  • Employee monitoring

Timely takes automated tracking to the next level with features like productivity benchmarks, budget forecasting, and tools aimed at large teams. The depth of reporting provides managers transparency into how time is being spent.


Best For: Simple, automated time tracking with free mobile apps.

Key features:

  • Free mobile apps
  • Automated tracking
  • Project reporting
  • Offline mode

Memtime makes it easy to track time automatically across devices without getting overly complex. The free mobile apps and seamless offline tracking make Memtime a flexible pick for solopreneurs.


Best For: Visualizing time data and schedules through unique calendars and timelines.

Key features:

  • Interactive timeline view
  • Calendar view
  • Manual and automatic tracking
  • Graphs and charts

TrackingTime takes a visual approach to project time tracking. This gives managers and teams a more intuitive way to view timelines and identify inefficiencies.

When weighing the best time tracking solution for your small business, consider factors like team size, integration needs, depth of analytics, and ease of adoption. The options covered here offer excellent capabilities to control project hours with automation and meaningful data.

Which is the best project management tool?

When determining the best project management tool for your small business, there are several key factors to consider:


The tool you choose should have an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. As a small business, you want software that has a short learning curve so you and your team can quickly get up to speed. Many project management tools like Asana and Trello are designed specifically with usability in mind.

Integration capabilities

The ability to integrate with other software is key. Choose a tool like ClickUp that enables easy integration with the other apps you rely on for messaging, documents, spreadsheets, calendars, and more. Seamless integrations save time and headaches.


Carefully evaluate the pricing models of different solutions. As a budget-conscious small business, you’ll want to maximize value. Many tools offer free versions with limited features, while paid plans unlock more advanced capabilities. Focus on core needs vs nice-to-have features when deciding what plan to purchase.


Since projects come in all shapes and sizes, you need software that can adapt and scale. Solutions like provide the customizability to manage anything from simple checklists to complex programs with multiple stakeholders involved.


As you handle sensitive company data, security is paramount. Select tools that offer enterprise-grade protection of your information with encryption, permissions, and controls.

By evaluating project management systems across these five categories, you can zero in on the solution that best meets the specialized needs of your growing small business. Tools like best project time management software options ClickUp and balance usability, integration, flexibility, security, and affordability.

What is the most common software used in project management?

Project management software helps teams plan, organize, and track tasks and projects. Some of the most popular and commonly used project management tools include:


Asana is a flexible project management tool suitable for small teams. Key features include:

  • Intuitive interface and easy setup
  • Task management with assignments, due dates, attachments
  • Project overviews with calendars, timelines, dashboards
  • App integrations with Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive

Asana works well for basic project coordination and task management. It offers a free plan for up to 15 users.


Jira is a robust project management software designed for agile development teams. Key features:

  • Customizable project workflows and boards
  • Powerful search, filtering, and reporting
  • Integrations with Git, Slack, Google Drive
  • Time tracking, roadmaps, backlogs

Jira is ideal for technology and development teams that follow agile frameworks like Scrum or Kanban. It has flexible pricing plans to accommodate teams of all sizes.


Trello utilizes Kanban-style boards to visualize and manage projects. Key Trello features:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop Kanban boards
  • Cards to represent tasks with attachments, checklists
  • Project timelines and calendars
  • Integrations with Slack, Google Drive, Salesforce

Trello simplifies project organization for personal and team productivity. Its free plan supports unlimited personal boards and up to 10 team boards. offers an all-in-one customizable work OS with project management capabilities. Key features:

  • Visually build workflows, boards, dashboards
  • File storage and communication tools
  • Time tracking and status updates
  • Integrations with Zapier, Slack, Salesforce suits businesses seeking an end-to-end work management platform beyond basic project coordination. It offers free plans for up to 2 users.

These project management tools help streamline processes from planning to delivery using intuitive interfaces, automation, and integrations. Teams can choose software aligned with their workflow needs, team size, and budget.


Essential Features in Time Management Software

When evaluating project time management systems, small businesses should look for these core capabilities:

Accurate Time Tracking and Employee Scheduling

The ability to accurately record time spent on tasks and projects, both manual and automatic tracking, is essential for small businesses. Key features to look for include:

  • Easy time entry through web, desktop, and mobile apps
  • Ability to track time automatically via integrations with project management tools, email, calendars, etc.
  • Flexible time tracking like timers, stopwatch mode, tagging time to projects/tasks/clients
  • Tools for creating and managing employee schedules and shifts

Accurate time data allows better project planning, budgeting, invoicing, and payslip generation. It eliminates guesswork and provides objective insights into where time is being spent.

In-Depth Time Reporting & Analytics

Robust reporting and analytics enable small business owners to identify inefficiencies and optimize operations. Important capabilities include:

  • Custom reports on project costs, budgets vs actuals, capacity utilization
  • Individual and team productivity tracking with historical data
  • Billing rates and profitability reporting by project, client, employee
  • Capacity planning based on past time usage

With insightful reports exported to CSV/PDF, managers can spot problems areas, adjust resource allocation, forecast workloads better.

Efficient Project Scheduling and Task Management

Features that facilitate planning and managing workflows are vital for small business productivity:

  • Interactive Gantt charts to map out project timelines with milestones
  • Kanban boards to visualize task workflows and track progress
  • Task hierarchy for structuring projects and sub-tasks
  • Assigning tasks to team members with due dates
  • Task dependencies and automatic scheduling based on precedence

With efficient scheduling and task management, teams collaborate better and focus their efforts on critical path tasks.

Resource and Workforce Management Optimization

By planning and monitoring resource utilization, small businesses can optimize their workforce:

  • Role-based permissions for employees
  • Capacity planning based on employee skills and availability
  • Automated shift scheduling with shift patterns
  • Requests and approvals for time-off
  • Overtime alerts and budget threshold notifications

Optimized resourcing eliminates duplication, ensures proper coverage for key tasks and appropriate staffing levels.

Seamless App Integrations and AI Features

Integrations with complementary systems prevent data silos and manual errors:

  • Native two-way sync with popular PM tools like Asana, Trello, Jira
  • Connections to payroll, accounting, CRM, email, calendar apps
  • Zapier integration for 1000+ business apps
  • AI for automating administrative tasks like approvals, data capture

App integration and AI automation save time on manual processes so teams can focus on value-adding tasks.

Selecting the Best Project Time Management Software for Small Businesses

Based on core feature capabilities and suitability for small business needs, these solutions stand out:

Toggl Track: Simplifying Productivity Tracking for Teams

Toggl Track offers a streamlined approach to time tracking and productivity metrics for small teams. With its simple interface and automated reporting, Toggl takes the hassle out of monitoring employee productivity across projects.

Key features include:

  • Intuitive timesheets for tracking work and generating reports
  • Chrome and mobile apps for easy time tracking
  • Project dashboards showing total hours worked and productivity
  • Integrations with popular project management tools
  • Affordable pricing tiers for small business needs

For small companies needing a straightforward way to track time across projects and gain insights into productivity, Toggl Track hits the mark.

Harvest: Combining Time Tracking with Invoicing

Harvest provides robust time tracking tied directly into invoicing capabilities. For service teams billing hourly, Harvest can eliminate administrative hassles.

Notable capabilities:

  • Automatic time tracking from desktop and mobile
  • Customizable invoices integrated with time logs
  • Project budgeting tools
  • Over 100 app integrations
  • Free plan for solo users

For streamlining invoicing and eliminating manual processes, Harvest is a leading choice. The time tracking and billing bridge makes this suitable for small professional services firms. Customizable Project Management and Timekeeping

With, small businesses get an all-in-one work OS covering project planning, time tracking, CRM, reporting, and more. Customizable boards and views allow teams to manage workflows their own way.

Benefits include:

  • Single dashboard for managing all work
  • Customizable tables, forms, and views
  • Time tracking integrated into the platform
  • Apps and automations to simplify processes
  • Affordable pricing for small teams

For those seeking a unified system across sales, marketing, operations and projects - with built-in time tracking - is a top contender that can grow alongside an organization.

ClickUp: A Unified Platform for Task and Time Management

ClickUp takes a fully integrated approach to task and time management with a single tool to cover docs, goals, reminders and more beyond project collaboration.

Notable features:

  • Customizable tasks, workflows and views
  • Built-in time tracking with activity levels
  • Goals tracking tied into tasks
  • Folder-based document management
  • Free plan for unlimited users

For lean teams wanting a centralized productivity platform with robust time tracking included, ClickUp is a leading choice. The all-in-one nature makes this suitable for streamlining workflows.

Asana: Streamlining Business Processes with Project Time Tracker

Asana enables enhanced transparency into team goals and schedules with shared projects and milestone tracking. The user-friendly interface makes adoption smooth.

Core capabilities:

  • Visual calendars and timelines
  • Dashboards showing progress and pace
  • Simple time tracking built-in
  • Rules-based reminders and notifications
  • Free plan for up to 15 users

For fast-moving small businesses needing real-time visibility into workloads, Asana's project coordination tools fit the bill. Time tracking is a natural extension enabling data-driven decisions.

Assessing Software Usability and Integration

Important factors small business owners must assess:

Usability: Ensuring a User-Friendly Time Management App

The software should have an intuitive, simple interface with little learning curve. Look for time management solutions with:

  • Clean, uncluttered designs
  • Easy navigation and workflows
  • Contextual help guides and tooltips
  • Customizable dashboards to suit different roles
  • Mobile app with identical features

Complex interfaces lead to poor user adoption. Prioritize usability for quick, company-wide integration.

Mobility: Accessing Time Management on the Go

Accessible on mobile devices so teams can update tasks and timesheets on-the-go. Consider:

  • Native iOS and Android apps
  • Offline access with automatic syncing
  • Mobile timesheets and approvals
  • Push notifications for reminders

Mobile access lets employees log hours and manage workflows remotely via smartphone. This allows for real-time time tracking even when traveling.

Support & Training for Effective Adoption

Vendor provides onboarding, ongoing assistance, tutorials, and community forums. Evaluate:

  • Live chat, phone, email, and in-app support
  • Online knowledge base and documentation
  • Interactive walkthroughs and tips
  • Webinars and video tutorials

Support and training accelerates proficiency ensuring users fully utilize capabilities during rollout. This maximizes productivity.

Scalability: Growing with Your Business

Allows adding more users and features as the business grows over time. See if the software:

  • Offers enterprise-grade plans
  • Integrates with large HR systems
  • Supports unlimited projects and users
  • Provides access permission controls

Choose solutions allowing business expansion without sacrificing usability.

Security: Safeguarding Your Data

Robust measures to protect company data through encryption, access controls, backups. Verify:

  • 256-bit SSL encryption
  • Role-based access permissions
  • Automated daily backups
  • SOC 2 Type 2 compliance

Data security is paramount when managing confidential business information. Prioritize solutions that exceed industry standards.

Cost-Efficiency in Time Management Solutions

Small businesses should evaluate:

Exploring Best Free Timesheet Software and Trials

Many time management solutions offer free trials or freemium versions of their software. This allows small businesses to test out the core features before committing to a paid plan.

Key aspects to evaluate in free trials:

  • User limits - does the free plan support your current and near-term personnel needs?
  • Feature set - are key capabilities like time tracking, reporting, integrations available?
  • Trial length - is there enough time to properly evaluate the software?
  • Data migration - can data be exported at the end of the trial?

Leading solutions like Toggl Track, Harvest, and Clockify offer unlimited free plans with basic functionality. This allows continued use even after the trial for smaller teams.

Analyzing Tiered Pricing Plans for Cost-Efficiency

The top time management platforms provide tiered pricing models based on business size and feature needs. This allows finding the most cost-efficient plan to match current requirements.

Important pricing factors:

  • Entry-level tiers suit early stage companies before advanced capabilities are needed. Many solutions start under $10 per month.
  • Per user fee structure only charges for active personnel using the software. As your team expands, costs scale accordingly.
  • Volume discounts apply automatically for purchasing multiple licenses or add-ons. The more you use, the more you save.

Understanding the pricing model tradeoffs helps identify cost-saving opportunities over time as operational needs evolve.

Per User Fee Model: Paying for What You Use

Per user or per seat licensing bases costs purely on the number of active personnel using the software. This pricing model ensures companies only incur fees aligned to current personnel and adoption levels.

As your workforce scales up or down, the software costs adjust dynamically based on usage. This avoids overpaying for unused licenses when headcount shrinks.

Many solutions like Harvest, TSheets, and Hubstaff use per user pricing models making costs proportional to deployment.

Volume Discounts: Saving More as You Grow

Solutions like Jira and ClickUp provide automatic volume discounts as more functionalities and users are added.

The more licenses, storage, or integrations purchased - the lower the per unit pricing.

This makes the software more affordable as operational complexity increases over time. Volume discounts reward customer loyalty and provide built-in savings for growth.

Conclusion: Maximizing Small Business Efficiency with the Right Software

Selecting the best project time management software is key for small businesses looking to boost productivity, gain insights, streamline workflows, and control costs. When evaluating options, core criteria include:

Recapping the Best Time Management Solutions

The main benefits covered are:

  • Productivity gains through automated time tracking
  • Data-driven insights to inform better decision-making
  • Smoother workflows and processes
  • Cost controls through resource monitoring

Critical factors to analyze further:

  • Core feature sets like time tracking, invoicing, scheduling
  • User experience and interface design
  • Scalability as business grows
  • Data security protocols
  • Return on investment

Action Plan for Small Businesses

Interested small business owners should:

  • List top operational pain points
  • Outline key use cases and requirements
  • Compare free trials of software like Toggl, Harvest, and
  • Evaluate integrations needed with accounting, payroll, etc.
  • Analyze ongoing costs before final software selection

Carefully evaluating options against these factors will lead to the best project management platform improving efficiency.

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