Firstly, before scrolling through the names on the list of the most interesting CTO tools, stop and think about what your needs are. The market is full of applications, and some of them claim to be “the best tool.” But what is “the best”? Some solutions might be great for one person, but not for the other.
That is just your starting point. You might want to think about other factors. Obviously, the more you know (about your team, limitations, and goals you want to achieve), the easier it will be to choose the right tool. But don’t worry if you can’t answer all of these questions right away. This list will show you some options you can find on the market, so you can easier decide what you need:
Pricing: Individual plans start at $14 per user monthly;
App integrations include: Zapier, Slack, Qlik, Microsoft 365, G Suite, Egnyte
We start this list with an app that is not a niche, unknown tool. Quite the opposite— Smartsheet just tripled it's headcount in the last four years. And if its growth rate remains the same, by the end of 2023, it can reach $1bn in revenue. What stands behind this success?
The thing which distinguishes Smartsheet from other time management apps is an Excel-like interface. The app allows you to collaborate in real time and automate workflows. Plus, you can use additional templates.
However, the app does have some downsides. For example, if you are used to Excel formulas, you may be surprised that some of them don’t work. Granted, it’s a minor inconvenience compared to what Smartsheet has to offer.
Pricing: Free plan up to 5 users, paid version starts from $8/per user monthly
App integrations include: Trello, Github, Chrome Extension, Google Calendar, Slack
Toggl Plan was created in 2011 as an in-house time tracking tool to provide more flexible planning than spreadsheets and Gantt charts. After six years, it became an independent business and a recognized time tracking software.
Although Toggl Plan is mostly associated with the time tracking functionality, it also offers an Agile task tracker, too. The app promises simplicity, and is supposed to make planning smooth and uncomplicated. The features are limited but designed to make the process more effortless—as proven by the drag and drop feature.
Reduced functionalities mean you can master the tool relatively quickly, although teams used to more comprehensive software can be left craving for more.
Pricing: Free or unlimited version for $5 per user monthly
App integrations include: Slack, GitHub, Unito, Figma, Zoom, Zapier
Last year was particularly good for ClickUp—it was called the fastest growing app of 2020, which is not surprising considering that it reached 900% revenue growth and raised $100M in their series B.
The ClickUp motto is "one app to replace them all." It promises you can do all of your time management in one single app. More reasons behind its success are numerous app integrations, regular feature updates, and quite a comprehensive free plan.
However, the number of features can be overwhelming at first, and because of that the learning curve can be pretty steep. That being said, it has so much to offer that after you get over the initial complexity, it can truly replace a lot of other tools.
Pricing: starts at $20 per user monthly
App integrations include: Jira software, Zendesk, Bugzilla, Salesfoce,
What's great about Planview LeanKit is that it has itself undergone an Agile transformation. It allows you to plan work and delivery, create Kanban boards, and permits communication between team members.
But what's unique about this app is that it's highly customizable for your needs. Nevertheless, you might want to use it with another app for more convenient data storage.
Pricing: starts from $7 per user monthly
App integrations include: Slack, QuickBooks, Xero, PayPal, Google Drive
ActiveCollab gives you lots of possibilities—it is cloud-based, but you can choose to host it on your own servers; it also provides many different views to choose from (Kanban borders, timelines, calendars, task boards and lists).
It is suitable for CTOs who are looking for a more general-purpose tool. The app allows time tracking, assigning tasks, as well as storing files. Additionally, it allows you to set automatic payment reminders which can be especially useful while working on many projects.
Unfortunately, it does not have all Agile functionalities, like sprint planning, but what’s important they’re successfully adding new features. It seems to be working, as their approach is bringing old customers back:
Pricing: Free up to 10 users (and one project), $35 monthly (up to 30 users and five projects)
App integrations include: Typetalk, Slack, Cacoo, Redmine, Jenkins
Backlog is a software that works both for time and code management. The principal features are version control, bug tracking, task management, and creating wikis.
Another thing worth pointing out which is different from the other apps is the pricing model. It is based on how many projects and team members (not individual users) you have.
Because of code-management features, Backlog seems like a great tool for a CTO—although it might not be suitable for people who seek intuitive design.
Pricing: starts from $149 per 15 users monthly
App integrations include: Trello, Azure, Box, Subversion, Integromat, Google Drive
The core of Kanbanize is clarity—it helps you reach full transparency with the Kanban-like features.
It started as a process improvement tool offering customizable Kanban boards, but it quickly became more complex—now it allows creating multiple workflows with time-tracking functionality. Another useful feature is an analytics module, which helps you become even more efficient.
The app is clear but it can get complex. It requires some training to get the full potential out of it, although it's worth it. However, if you are used to Gantt or burndown charts, this application may just not be your thing.
Pricing: starts from $29 per person monthly
App integrations include: Asana, Azure DevOps, Github, G Suite, Slack,
The objective of Forecast is to eliminate the administrative part of your work with advanced AI-based solutions. The Auto-Schedule feature automatically estimates the time and optimizes the workload for your tasks. Additionally, it provides estimations of the budget for your projects. On top of that, Forecast has the usual software development functionalities. It's definitely something worth giving a try.
Still, it has some flaws—it takes some time to learn the functionalities, and once you get to know them all, a new update gets released. Actually, it’s the case for most complex apps, but after all, improving software can result in a more comprehensive and useful tool.
Pricing: Free plan up to 5 users, standard version cost $3 per user monthly
App integrations include: Slack
Codegiant is another agile software development tool with code management. It was called the developer-friendly Jira alternative.
It offers issue tracking (both on Kanban and Scrum templates), a Git platform for collaboration, and continuous integration. It is quite an affordable solution, especially for small teams.
However, compared to other apps, it lacks some Agile functionalities, like time tracking or checklists.
Pricing: From $39 per user monthly
App integrations include: Dropbox, Quickbooks, Stripe, Github, OneDrive
Ravetree is another all-in-one solution. It is designed to help you comprehensively—with project management, resource planning,expense tracking, etc. It also provides a Client Portal that enables better and smoother communication with clients. Compared to the other Agile tools, it might come out as a bit expensive, though it targets more than just project management.
Although it seems like a small change, the software development tool can shape your whole work dynamics. The app can help you achieve better results, but only if it fits your needs and the Agile practices you're using. Otherwise, it can cause more harm than good.
The market is full of great tools, so if you’re not sure whether your current platform suits your requirements, try out some of our finds!
Are you looking for more inspiration? Check out our other articles on best CTO books, tech blogs, valuable Twitter accounts to follow and last but not least, our CTO Survey 2020!