About This Report
Executive Summary
The Observatory
Contact Us
Key Terms
About ETR
See More Observatory Reports
Download Report PDF
Thank you for your interest in this ETR Observatory. Please share a little info then click the button below.
View and download PDF

Project and Work Management Tools

Atlassian and Microsoft Omnipresent for Enterprise Work Management, but Plenty of Room in the Marketplace for Lighter Weight Alternatives

About This Report
Executive Summary
The Observatory
Contact Us
Key Terms
About ETR
See More Observatory Reports
View and download report PDF

about this report

23-minute read • Based on data collected June 2024
This Observatory features comprehensive and current data about the Project and Work Management marketplace. The ETR Market Array for Project and Work Management Tools was specifically designed to capture usage and evaluation metrics across a wide swath of professionals representing the end user and evaluator buying demographic. The study offers data and analysis around spending trends, usage, return on investment (ROI), churn, product feature rankings, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and more for the plethora of players encompassed in this Observatory Scope. This report utilizes a small portion of that market intelligence data; however, the full Project and Work Management Market Array study is available separately. While structuring a grouping of disparate vendors with varying functionalities is subjective, the ETR Observatory for Project and Work Management Tools categorizes the vendor group primarily by breaking down the data-driven plotting of each vendor into our four Observatory Scope vectors and by analyzing proprietary user and evaluation metrics, including Momentum, Presence, and Net Score. As with all ETR research, ETR’s Observatory reports are based solely on end-user data and feedback from our qualified IT decision maker community, without vendor involvement. This report focuses on Project and Work Management Tools, with data on the following products: Adobe Workfront | Airtable | Asana | Atlassian Confluence | Atlassian Jira | Atlassian Trello | Basecamp | ClickUp | Coda | GanttPRO | Hive | Linear | Microsoft Planner | Microsoft Project | | Notion | Smartsheet | Quickbase | Wrike | Zoho Projects


In addition to relying upon ETR’s industry-leading evaluation and spending intentions data, this report also leverages ETR’s proprietary data set: the ETR Market Array. The ETR Market Array for Project and Work Management Tools was designed specifically to capture usage and evaluation metrics across a wide swath of security professionals representing the end user and evaluator buying demographic. The study offers data and analysis around spending trends, usage, return on investment (ROI), churn, product feature rankings, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and more for the plethora of players encompassed in this Observatory scope. This report utilizes a small portion of that market intelligence data; however, the full Project and Work Management Tools Market Array study is available separately.
Figure 1. Positioning for the above ETR Observatory Scope for Project and Work Management tools was determined purely by ETR’s proprietary surveys powered by the ETR Community. The full methodology and graphic explanation are available on our About the ETR Observatory page.

Executive Summary

Whether you’re working with a ping-pong table en vue, at the home office, on the factory floor, or on the road, chances are some facets of your work-life and expectations are managed by software on your phone, laptop, tablet, or other device. An increasingly digitized and distributed enterprise landscape dictates digital solutions for enterprises to manage and support their resources and initiatives, and for workers to keep track of it all.
Like project managers themselves, these tools wear many hats, from master scheduler, shared workspace, information radiator, and knowledge center, to sometimes digital assistant and communicator, and more. At their best, these tools are a panacea for all things project management, and in a perfect world this takes away the stress of getting work done. What these tools offer goes beyond the discrete definitions of Project Management as a discipline. Accordingly, we broaden our definition of the space to Project and Work Management Tools, a bit more of a catch-all to accurately define how these tools are being used and in-line with enterprise trends.
The bounds of the space are amorphous, with endless permutation of vertical-specific offerings, methodology-specific tools, homegrown, and open-source tools on one end, and more robust offerings on the other end. These more robust offerings are utilized for full-fledged enterprise-level project management, formal project management offices, program and portfolio management, and to address deeper strategic, financial, and resource complexities.
In ETR’s Market Array for Project and Work Management Tools, we settle on a middle ground, including software products that are well-developed and relevant across a range of general enterprise settings. We focus on tools with a solid base of general project management functionality; these tools can certainly handle robust configurations and be used at the enterprise level, though they can also be used more simply for a lone worker or team, to track and manage everyday work and operations. In the Market Array and ensuing report, we see robust metrics for a solid spread of vendors, skewing towards higher Presence and Momentum. We’ll also see that Atlassian and Microsoft hold clear advantages with their full-fledged suites of products, but vendors like Monday, Smartsheet, Asana, and others clearly possess footholds in the space.
The Observatory
The plotting of vendors and products across the Observatory Scope is supported wholly by ETR’s exclusive market intelligence and spending intentions data sets (see Figure 1). Vectors in this period were distributed fairly evenly, skewed slightly towards the top right of the Scope, indicating a breadth of competition and strength in the market, though clear leaders shine through.
Based on the results of this Market Array study, the Leading vector consists of Atlassian Confluence, Atlassian Jira, Smartsheet, Atlassian Trello, and Microsoft Planner (listed by highest Momentum positioning first). Impressively, all three tracked Atlassian products (Confluence, Jira, and Trello) find a spot in the Leading vector, with Confluence and Jira holding the first and second positions in Momentum, respectively. Smartsheet, Atlassian Trello, and Microsoft Planner round out the Leading vector, with strong overall levels of Momentum and Presence. Atlassian Trello holds relatively worse positioning when compared to Jira and Confluence, but this does not diminish the feat of landing three products into the vector.
In the Advancing vector, holds the second-highest Momentum level across all products. However, lower relative Presence (citation count in the survey) places the vendor just shy of the Leading vector, within Advancing. Though not in the Leading vector, this is admirable positioning for the vendor, up against the likes of established vendors Atlassian and Microsoft. Notion accompanies Monday in the Advancing vector, but with less-advantageous positioning.
Meanwhile, Asana just makes the citation cut to land a spot in the Tracking vector, along with Microsoft Project. Both vendors hold similar levels of Momentum. While not enough to cross the bounds into the Leading vector, Momentum falls within the highest ranges of the vector. Ranked by Momentum, Basecamp, Wirke, Adobe Workfront, ClickUp, and Airtable find their place in the Pursuing vector. ClickUp holds the lowest Presence and Airtable displays the lowest Momentum but are located mid-vector, with none positioned far to the bottom left.

It is critical to note again that ETR’s positioning is based wholly on survey responses from IT decision makers with direct utilization and knowledge of the Project and Work Management vendors and toolsets. The plotting does not reflect, nor does it intend to opine on, the efficacy of these tools and vendors. For more information, check out the full Observatory methodology.
This report will first break down the overall spending intent Net Score for these Project and Work Management vendors and will then analyze each of the four Observatory Scope vectors and the vendors in more detail in the following sections; however, the best way to view this data is through the full ETR Market Array, which is available on the ETR Research platform.
Marketplace Overview: Evaluating User-Level Metrics
ETR’s Market Array for Project and Work Management Tools surveyed 330 IT decision makers. Fifty-eight percent represent Large enterprises (1,200 employees or more), and the remaining 42% of respondents are split roughly between Midsize and Small organizations. The most representative industry verticals are Services/Consulting, IT/TelCo, and Financials/Insurance, collectively accounting for nearly half of the subsample. Geographically, 76% of respondents are located in North America.
Figure 2. ETR’s Market Array spending Net Score for Project and Work Management Tools was derived from a survey of 330 IT decision makers with direct utilization and evaluation knowledge of the specific tools listed. Circles are for illustrative purposes only.
In Figure 2, we exhibit the Market Array Net Score for selected vendors within the Project and Work Management Tools marketplace. This tracks the forward-looking spending trajectory for each tool’s specific offerings. The data visualized in this figure will be referenced throughout this Observatory report. This visualization depicts respondents’ spending intent by answer options, showing the percentage of end users intending to Adopt, Increase, Remain Flat, Decrease, or Replace the vendor. The right-side percentage scale is the culmination of these inputs, resulting in ETR’s proprietary Market Array Net Score metric. Spending intentions data is limited to current users only.
Before diving deeper into the spending intentions data, it is important to consider the Presence, or citation count, of each product. This metric is an evocative data point in and of itself. (Plus, it is indicative of double- or triple-tool dipping, given the total number of user citations across all products compared to the total N of 330 users). With 202 citations, a whopping 61% of respondents are current users of Microsoft Project (see Figure 3a). Not far behind, 190 respondents indicate current spend on Atlassian Jira, trailed by Confluence with 150 citations. Microsoft Planner also has a robust user base with 117 respondents. These numbers begin to hint at the grip these two have on the space. Smartsheet also deserves honorable mention, with a solid representation of 90 end users. Behind them, Atlassian Trello, Asana, and Monday register moderate levels before citations begin to taper off.
With that context, products register a wide range of Net Scores from 7% to 53%, falling into five approximate ranges, as illustrated in Figure 2. Leading the way, Atlassian Confluence takes the top spot with a healthy 53% Net Score, backed by strong citations (see Figure 3b). Confluence’s Net Score is driven largely by Increase indications, and further bolstered by nominal levels of negative spend intent. Confluence is joined by other outperformers Notion, Jira, and Monday in this tranche.
Figure 3a. User citation counts in descending order.
Notion holds the second-highest Net Score at 50%, though citations are low (N = 18). Notion’s Net Score is driven up by strong Increase and Adoption indications; however, the vendor also registers the highest level of Replacing spend across the survey. Notion’s strong Net Score is commendable, but user-level data may be volatile given the low citations. Just below, Atlassian Jira and Monday earned similar aggregate Net Scores around 49%. Monday shows stronger Adoptions, but Jira is a mature product with high citations and robust Increasing spend indications.
Figure 3b. Spending Net Scores in descending order.
In the next group, Basecamp and Smartsheet hold Net Scores at 38% and 37%, respectively. Smartsheet respondents indicated strong Increasing spend, though Decreasing spend is relatively elevated. Overall, these vendors are in a healthy position, though citations are low for Basecamp (N = 16). The next range includes Atlassian Trello and Microsoft Planner, with fairly healthy Net Scores between 27% and 28%. Planner has greater Adoptions than Trello but less Increasing spend. Even though Trello spend is less than other Atlassian tools, it still shows robust positive intent via Increase spend, as well as a solid block of Flat spend. The next grouping reflects weaker overall spending velocity driven by relatively elevated negative spending intent. In this range between 18% and 21% lie Asana, Microsoft Project, Wrike, and Adobe Workfront.
Finally, ClickUp and Airtable round out user spending intentions data with the lowest Net Scores among peers. Decrease and Replace indications are elevated among users of these products but both vendors showed large segments of positive and Flat intent. Notably, ClickUp shows the second-strongest Adoption percentage across the survey, behind Notion. Citations for these two vendors are low, especially ClickUp. Airtable has a slightly greater Presence (N = 29).
Gorillas in the Room – Atlassian Steals the Show but Don’t Forget about Microsoft
Atlassian is clearly a force to be reckoned with. Across the three products tracked in the Market Array, the vendor boasts several accolades. Jira ranked highest on difficulty to replace, with 64% of its respondents agreeing. This can be viewed as a proxy for stickiness of a product. Confluence holds the third rank in the same analysis at a more modest 49%. Jira and Confluence also rank first for providing good cost value, at 72% and 70%, respectively. Trello ranks below these two but at a strong 62%. Incidentally, the latter two also hold the highest ROI Net Scores at 73% and 69%, respectively. Further, Jira has the highest proportion to agree they receive technical support needed (69%), with Confluence at 63%. Atlassian was also noted as the most innovative vendor by a plurality of respondents at 30%, followed by Microsoft (21%), and Monday (10%), as seen below.

Most Innovative Vendors

Figure 4. ETR’s Market Array survey asked expert IT decision makers to write-in which ONE vendor they believe is the most innovative. The image above shows only the top three responses. The full analysis is available via the Market Array data set.
Atlassian tools are some of the most mentioned and lauded Project and Work Management Tools in ETR Insights interviews. While Atlassian may have been first championed in organizations by IT teams, the product suite has long spread its tentacles across the enterprise, and users praise its robust product suite and visionary technical roadmap. Over the years Atlassian has received hall-of-fame praise, worth recycling from a previous report. As one Group Head of Cloud for a large IT services enterprise remarked: “I don’t think we can imagine an IT department without Jira and Confluence. For now, they have the two best tools to track and manage tasks, and a [well-integrated] wiki that is easy-to-use.” Another, the Head of IT for a financial services enterprise, stated: “Without Atlassian, we wouldn’t have any [organizational] knowledge. We 100% rely on the stack to manage projects and share knowledge.”
In tandem, we have heard critical feedback around Atlassian’s premium pricing along with heavy-handed tactics in forcing cloud migrations. However, changes to their product and bundling scheme do not seem to have deterred customers from positive overall viewpoints and continued utilization, but the long-term effects of this remain unclear. Within our data, all three Atlassian products show robust Increasing spend indications, especially for Confluence and Jira. A Managing Director for a business services firm noted: “Jira is so much more elegant in terms of how it manages a project and how it integrates seamlessly.” By contrast, management of tasks in Project “becomes a challenge.” This IT professional stated they really enjoyed their experience with Jira, and when it comes to Microsoft Project, “integrating with Office and Teams is not as smooth as it could be.”
Despite that commentary, more than half of the total respondents indicate using a Microsoft product, with Microsoft Project topping all other vendors within Presence. While acknowledging the lower overall spending intent, Microsoft tools are undeniably entrenched with steady intentions. In fact, only 1% indicated Replacing, which is a markedly low churn rate for any software product. Microsoft Project is perhaps unfairly maligned sometimes for “clunkiness” in ETR Insights interviews; that judgment may be a bit short-sighted. Moreover, the product is extremely robust, but a learning curve does exist, and configuration can take time. Still, Project and Planner rank first and fourth, respectively, regarding the availability of technical professionals with knowledge (see Figure 5). Even those skilled practitioners may be opting for easier-to-use alternatives.
Figure 5. ETR’s Market Array posed a series of statements about Project and Work Management products and ranked respondents' level of agreement for each statement. This chart shows agreement with whether technical professionals with relevant expertise for a given product are available in the market.
Microsoft leads peers across five of 10 Product Strength attributes (four in Project and one in Planner) while Atlassian Jira ranks first in three. Both Project and Planner hold the top two places for easily integrating with existing ecosystems, 86% and 81%, respectively, underscoring the leverage of Microsoft’s enterprise product suite. A heavy user of Teams, SharePoint, and Office via the 365 stack, one Enterprise Architect from a large tech services enterprise consequently noted: “Microsoft Project, that's the [enterprise] project management tool we're using, apart from Planner – Planner is for smaller projects.” Microsoft recently rolled out improvements to Planner, making it a more sophisticated tool that is integrated with Teams and a premium version with Copilot. We await feedback on whether the newer iteration will be able to scale up in complexity, but like several other software categories Microsoft wins out as the desired vendor. Atlassian is on its tail as the next most desired. Commendably, Asana and Monday also show up in the write-ins (see Figure 6).

Most Desired Vendors

Figure 6. ETR’s Market Array survey asked expert IT decision makers to write-in which ONE vendor is the most desired. The image above shows the top four responses. The full analysis is available via the Market Array data set.
“I Don’t Need All the Muscle” – Monday, Smartsheet, Asana, Notion, and More
Despite the dominance of Atlassian and Microsoft, it is not a two-pony show. Our survey results show there is value and space in the market for alternatives like Smartsheet, Monday, Notion, and Asana. Only Smartsheet is in the Leading vector, but Monday shows even stronger Momentum, coming up just short in citations to join Jira and Confluence there. Asana is also punching up, with enough citations to make it into the Tracking vector, which is generally reserved for established and entrenched players, with its Momentum score just shy of the Leading vector. In the Advancing vector, Notion outperforms peers in its citation range.
Fueling the appeal of these tools is a desire for tech with less complexity across smaller footprints or less formal environments. Redundancy often exists across and within organizations and teams, and tools may be adopted in ad hoc or grassroots fashions, sliding their way into the budget unofficially. Beyond that, it is common to see multiple tools in use across business units. The Senior Manager of Global IT for an architectural firm stated that: “Project-based tools like Microsoft Project and Smartsheet have different use cases in our environment, and we have licenses for both.” Another IT decision maker, a global Director of IT, advocated for flexibility, noting that: “People work in different ways. To really mandate that someone uses something like MS Project doesn't necessarily work anymore.” He went on to describe that, while his organization “gravitated towards Asana,” they also maintain a Smartsheet footprint for the IT team, praising the vendor for being “so powerful and so simplistic, especially when sharing with large teams.” Beyond specific choices, this executive went on to describe how his organization ultimately favored “the ones that didn't necessarily require a big learning curve. They were SaaS-based products, the Asanas and

Smaller firms, as a Managing Director of Insights, Analytics, and Planning noted, “don’t necessarily need that kind of muscle, so they look for something that's much smaller and that's much more affordable.” He elaborated how some tools can be used for certain use cases, while others may be stronger than others. Overall though, “I don't need all the muscle that Microsoft Project or Jira is going to give me. I'm a small shop. I need X, Y, and Z. I don't need A, B, and C, too” He appreciates this competitive aspect of the market and the wide array of options because it lets them choose which tools they need. In the Market Array, focusing on Midsize and Small customers, spending Net Scores for Monday (65%) and Smartsheet (56%) outpace all Atlassian and Microsoft products, with particularly robust Increasing spend. Asana’s relative ranking versus peers also improves among respondents from Midsize and Small organization. One midsize educational institution CIO mentioned using small footprints of Monday, Basecamp, and Asana across the board, for varied use cases. She described being generally satisfied with each in their line, and noted how “Microsoft Project is kind of heavy for the types of work we do, so we don't have a lot of Microsoft Project use.”
Market Array respondents indicated the most important features of to be ease of use / implementation (31%), ease of integration with ecosystem and other tools (26%), scheduling, tracking, and calendar features (17%), collaboration capabilities (15%), and report generation capabilities (14%). Respondents are looking for tools with simple dashboards that can be easily configured to appease a range of stakeholders. These features include easy tracking of due dates and task completion status and advanced functionality and intelligent features to support complex scheduling, help understand root causes and triage issues, optimize resources and speed up activities, and send automated communications, reports, and summaries.

The Market Array also analyzes Net Promotor Scores (NPS), from which a Key Drivers Analysis shows that ease of implementation, doing everything expected of a Project and Work Management Tool, and good value for money are the strongest drivers of recommendation. When asked to assess a product’s ability to “do everything a Project and Work Management Tool should do,” Microsoft Project scored 81%, with Atlassian Jira in tow at 74%. Monday (73%), Asana (65%), and GanttPRO (58%) make an appearance in the top third of this strength attribute, while Coda and Linear fall in the first half. For “product is easy to implement” Notion (83%) beats both Planner (82%) and Project (80%), with Monday (79%) and Smartsheet (75%) rounding out the top five. ClickUp, Basecamp, Asana, and Zoho Projects deserve an honorable mention, appearing ahead of all Atlassian tools with scores between 71% and 74%.
The Market Array also tracks expected ROI on products that have been used or evaluated. Planner (21%), Notion (17%), and Asana (17%), report the highest level of the quickest ROI category – within the first three months. Overall, though, Atlassian leads this metric with ROI Net Scores from 66% to 73% for its three products. Asana was rated to lead having an innovative technical roadmap at 64%, followed by Monday, Coda, and Notion (see Figure 7). Jira and Confluence follow the top five closely and we note that several vendors including ClickUp, Hive, and Trello score higher than Microsoft in this area.
Figure 7. ETR’s Market Array posed a series of statements about Project and Work Management products and ranked respondents’ level of agreement for each statement. This chart shows agreement with whether the product has an innovative technical roadmap.

Conclusion– A Tool for Everyone and EveryThing

No doubt, the Project and Work Management space is dominated by Atlassian and Microsoft. Large organizations especially value their robust feature sets and ability to handle complexity. However, depending on organizational size and structure, not everyone is looking for a full-fledged project management set up, but they still want to be able to manage the work they need to get done. In this case, it is evident that alternatives like Monday and Smartsheet are a popular choice. Asana, Notion, and ClickUp also find their place in favorable positioning across several analyses in the Market Array. The products that will win wallet share will be easy-to-use but robust. With different teams, varying business requirements, and endless ways to work, vendors can also find their way into the enterprise by differentiating specific use cases and allowing for customization and flexibility to unique needs.
Work cannot be managed away – at some point, the hammer needs to hit the nail, but proper planning and coordination can make execution a lot easier. Advances in AI will likely impact the space by allowing for smarter management of tasks and projects, better visibility and communication, better use of resources, and simplification of complex tasks such as scheduling. There is a spectrum from lighter weight tools and task management to full-fledged organizational project management platforms. Ultimately, the selection of the right tools depends on the needs of the individual, team, and organization. Most SaaS offerings provide sufficient tools with good usability but can scale in complexity if needed. Integration into ecosystems is important to end users, as is the ability to get up-and-running quickly with easy implementation. We think these tools liberate workers from planning and enable greater productivity, rather than becoming a headache themselves.


Fill out the form below to get a downloadable PDF of this report.
View and download report
Press Need a quote, image, or additional information for an article, reach out to our press team at
Reprints If you would like permission to reprint this report or our ETR Observatory Scope graphic, please send your request to
ETR Insights Team Contact a member of our ETR Insights team to discuss all the details from this analysis or request custom research.
  • Erik Bradley, Chief Strategist & Research Director
  • Daren Brabham, PhD, VP Research Analyst
  • Jake Fabrizio, Principal Research Analyst
  • Doug Bruehl, Principal Research Analyst

Key Terms

Emerging Technology Survey
The Emerging Technology Survey (ETS) is our quarterly survey of technology decision makers capturing the enterprise’s appetite for emerging technology vendors across the global market. Our surveys are standardized, multiple choice format.                         For each survey question, the technology decision maker will select one of the following answers:
  • Allocating further
  • Evaluated, plan to utilize
  • Currently evaluating
  • Plan to evaluate
  • Aware of, no plan to evaluate
  • Evaluated, no plan to utilize
  • Replaced or in containment
Net Score
Net Score represents the intensity of spend for a vendor.
  • Higher Net Scores = a positive spend trajectory
  • Lower Net Scores = a flat or negative spend trajectory
Pervasion represents how widely a vendor or product is utilized relative to a given sample.

Technology Spending Intentions Survey
The Technology Spending Intentions Survey (TSIS) is our quarterly survey (Jan, Apr, July, Oct) of technology decision makers capturing forward-looking spending intentions for enterprise technology vendors across the global market. Our surveys are standardized, multiple choice format.   For each survey question, the technology decision maker will select one of the following answers:
  • Adoption
  • Increase
  • Flat
  • Decrease
  • Replacing


Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) is a technology market research firm that leverages proprietary data from our targeted IT decision maker (ITDM) community to provide actionable insights about spending intentions and industry trends. With a mission to eliminate the need for opinions to fill the gaps in enterprise research, ETR provides comprehensive, quality data to inform all businesses every step of the way.
We use our three quarterly surveys (the Technology Spending Intentions Survey, the Emerging Technology Survey, and the Macro Views Survey) to collect data and insights directly from the ETR Community. This data and insights empower institutional investors, technology companies, and ITDMs to navigate the complex enterprise technology landscape. Our proprietary visualizations and models make it easy to mine insights from our data and unearth predictors of enterprise technology performance.
Beyond our core surveys, we also offer custom market research surveys. These can be commissioned with a targeted group of ITDMs and are guided by our expert content team to determine the best audience, topics, and questions. Additionally, the target group can not only be based on their organization size, sector, and title, but also on our proprietary research around a firm’s spending intentions and technology stack.
Discover what ETR can do for you at
This document was prepared by Aptiviti, Inc. (“Aptiviti”), the parent company that operates the Enterprise Technology Research or “ETR” business, and is intended only for the designated recipient(s). It may contain confidential or proprietary information and may be subject to confidentiality protections. Except as expressly stated in the Aptiviti, Inc./ETR Terms of Use, (i) this document is provided “as is”, and Aptiviti makes no warranties, representations, or covenants, expressed or implied, regarding this document and its contents, (ii) Aptiviti expressly disclaims all warranties, representations, and covenants regarding this document and its contents, and (iii) your use of this document is at your own risk. In no event will Aptiviti be liable for any damages or other costs or fees incurred by you arising out of your use of, or your inability to use, this document, even if Aptiviti has been notified of the possibility of such damages or other costs or fees. If you received this document in error, please notify the sender and delete this document. Thank you.