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.
SEE: 8 Best Project Management Software for Architects
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® authorized||Multiple project views||Native time tracking||Templates||Free plan available||Pricing starts at|
|Smartsheet||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$7 per person per month|
|Trello||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||$5 per person per month|
|Google Workspace||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||$6 per person per month|
|Clarity||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Contact for quote|
|Microsoft Project||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||$10 per person per month|
|ProjectTeam||Pending||No||No||Yes||No||$700 per person per year, sold in blocks of five|
|Lucid Software||Pending||No||No||Yes||Yes||$7.95 per person per month|
|monday work management||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$8 per person per month|
|Wrike||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$9.80 per person per month|
|ClickUp||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$7 per person per month|
Smartsheet: Best for spreadsheet lovers
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.
- 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.
- Grid view combines a spreadsheet interface with project management features.
- Other project views include Calendar, Gantt and Card (kanban board).
- WorkApps feature lets you build apps to connect external tools with Smartsheet.
- Users can set up task dependencies to improve efficiency.
- More than 350 native project templates.
- Great reporting and analytics tools.
- Solid upgrade choice for legacy spreadsheet users.
- Spreadsheet interface can feel outdated compared to alternatives.
- Not all pages update in real time.
- Autosave feature doesn’t always work.
For more information, read the full Smartsheet review.
Trello: Best for kanban boards
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.
- 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.
- Butler automation tool helps you build custom workflows.
- Many templates and pre-designed board layouts.
- Checklist format for task management.
- 180+ integrations with popular work apps.
- 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.
- 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.
For more information, read the full Trello review.
Google Workspace: Best for document management
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Excellent document management and file storage capabilities.
- The Google Workspace interface will be familiar to many people.
- Syncs with a wide variety of project management apps.
- Not suitable for standalone project management.
- The Sheets app isn’t as robust as Excel.
- Must download each mobile app individually.
For more information, read the full Google Workspace review.
Microsoft Project: Best for Microsoft users
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.
Microsoft Project offers five 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.
- Resource management capabilities included.
- Native time tracking included.
- Reporting feature is easy to use.
- On-premises deployment option.
- 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.
- 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.
For more information, read the full Microsoft Project review.
ProjectTeam: Best for construction projects
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.
- 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.
- Generate custom forms to track unique construction processes.
- Combine data from multiple projects into centralized reports and dashboards.
- Review detailed history on every form or file for audit purposes.
- Unlimited non-paid contributor seats.
- Easy to learn and use.
- Quick Start service is available for an extra fee.
- Frequently releases new features.
- Not suitable for managing projects outside of construction.
- Customizations can take a while to set up.
- System is sometimes slow to load.
Lucid Software: Best for creating visualizations
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 under review for FedRAMP® authorization. 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.
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.
- 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.
- Unique visualization capabilities that aren’t matched by other PM tools.
- Many native integrations with external tools.
- Lucidspark and Lucidchart sync together.
- Not a standalone project management solution.
- Connectors don’t disappear when you delete ideas.
- Big, complicated diagrams may cause performance lags.
monday work management: Best for teams of all sizes
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.
- 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.
- Native chat feature for in-platform team communication.
- WorkForms tool for creating and sharing surveys.
- Pre-built automations.
- Advanced reporting and analytics.
- Robust project management features.
- Wide selection of integrations and many customization options
- Colorful interface is easy to navigate.
- 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.
For more information, read the full monday review.
Wrike: Best for project portfolio management
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.
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.
- Customize request forms to meet company needs.
- Forecasting tools for visualizing project risk.
- In-app invoicing.
- Video and file proofing.
- 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.
- 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.
For more information, read the full Wrike review.
ClickUp: Best for affordability
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.
- 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.
- Choose from more than 15 project views.
- 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.
- 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.
- Free plan only offers 100 MB of storage.
- System can lag and glitch occasionally.
- High learning curve due to the number of features.
For more information, read the full ClickUp 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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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This post originally appeared on TechToday.