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Microsoft Project, Primavera and SharePoint are the most popular project management systems in their respective categories

by Matthias Gelbmann, 16 November 2016
Tags: Microsoft Project, Primavera, Ranking, SharePoint

The Project Management Zone Ranking shows the popularity of project management systems based on a number of criteria and divided into three categories.

Ranking methodology

Our ranking method  for project management systems measures how popular the various systems are. To this end, we collect data from various sources and combine them into an overall score. The sources are:

You can read more about our methodology to calculate the scores here.

Ranking categories

Since project management is such a wide field, covering tools that sometimes have no overlap in their functionality, we divided the systems into three categories.

The first category are project planning tools. The clear leader here is Microsoft Project, followed by Primavera and JIRA. Project planning, of course, can be done in many different ways. Whereas MS Project and Primavera support primarily classical methods well suited for medium to large projects, we also include tools that aim at agile methods. This includes tools that support Kanban-like boards, such as Trello and many others, or tools that support the Scrum techniques, such as JIRA and many others. We even include tools that do relatively simple task management such as Wunderlist. In the end, there is no "best tool", it's about the right tool for the job.

The second category are issue management tools. Primavera is leading that category. Although Primavera is normally not seen as a tool for issue management or bug tracking, it supports that functionality as well, and therefore it is in that list. There are many systems that cover the tasks of more than one category, for example also the #2 and #3 in that category, JIRA and Zoho.

The third category are project collaboration tools. SharePoint is leading that category, followed by G Suite (formerly called Google Apps) and Trello.

Our ranking systems allows to select specific properties in order to filter systems based on their characteristics. For example, you can see that Redmine is the most popular open source planning tool, MantisBT is the most popular bug tracking tool written in PHP, and IBM Notes is the most popular collaboration tool which can be installed on Linux.

What is the purpose of a ranking system?

When selecting any software technology for a project, the popularity of the candidates is normally amongst the set of criteria. Nobody wants to end up with a tool that hardly anyone else uses, which makes it difficult to find people having any experience in using it, and which increases the risk that development of the tool is discontinued.

It is essential to note, that obviously popularity should not be the most important factor when selecting a technology. But if other things don't provide a clear decision, then we recommend considering it. The best way to use our data is to apply filters to narrow down your search for the perfect tool as seen in the examples above, and then look at how popular these candidates are.

We monitor the popularity of all systems by publishing a monthly update of this ranking. We look forward to see how it evolves over time.

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