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Trello is the Project Management System of the Year for the third year in a row

by Matthias Gelbmann, 3 January 2019
Tags: Asana, JIRA, Trello

Trello is the project management system that gained more popularity in our ranking within the last year than any of the other 322 monitored systems.
We thus declare Trello as the Project Management System of the Year 2018, defending the title from the last two years.

For determining the project management system of the year, we subtracted the popularity scores of January 2018 from the latest scores of January 2019. We use the difference of these numbers, rather than a percentage, because that would favor systems with a tiny popularity at the beginning of the year. The result is a list of project management systems sorted by how much they managed to increase their popularity in 2018, or in other words, how many additional people started to communicate about it in one of the ways we measure in our methodology, for example job offers, professional profile entries and citations on the web.

Project Management System of the Year: Trello

Trello is winning our Project Management System of the Year title for the third time in a row. An extraordinary achievement for a tool that was first released only in 2011. Trello definitely stroke a chord in the project management community. Working with Trello often feels like project management is easy. The reason for that is, of course, because Trello focuses on the easy parts, and that is one of its success factors. Why make things complicated when it's not helpful? The other success factor is that making things look easy while still working very well is hard. Many Trello look-alikes fail to achieve that balance of feature set and easy of use. Adding features to a Kanban board may be a good idea on paper, but if they distract users from the core functionality, it is a step back. Mind you, Trello is adding features all the time, but they succeed to integrate them in a way that adds to the user experience rather than confuses people. That seems to be the fundament of its popularity.

Runner-up: JIRA

JIRA was originally an issue-tracking tool and it is now actually the most popular system in that category, but has evolved into a feature-rich project planning and monitoring system. While JIRA also supports agile processes, it is often seen as a stark contrast to light-weight tools such as Trello. JIRA simply supports a different market of larger projects and organizations. The flexibility is offers for administrators and users can feel overwhelming, but once it is established within a company, it would often be hard to find a replacement. The fact that JIRA keeps increasing its popularity is a proof that it satisfies the needs of its users very well.

Third place: Asana

Asana was already third in our Project Management System of the Year last year and repeats that success. As a project management tool, Asana sits somewhere between Trello and JIRA. It certainly covers more ground that Trello feature-wise, while it still fells light-weight compared to more traditional full-fledged project management systems. Asana thus does an excellent job in servicing that middle ground of projects, where more than simple task tracking is needed, but focusing the whole organization around a tool is not required nor desirable.


We congratulate Trello, JIRA and Asana for their success in 2018.

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