Project management may sometimes feel like trying to catch the wind: overwhelming. This is because 59 percent of project managers always run between two and five projects simultaneously.
As a project director or manager, you manage a team(s) with constantly shifting tasks and priorities ever-changing goals and always limited resource availability.
Yet, the demand for project managers or coordinators is still increasing. Because of their increasing performance requirements, companies have now started supporting project managers with Project documentation tools to enhance their abilities.
But only around one in four businesses use project documentation software, with the rest still using tools like Excel, paper, etc., for project management. This means about 54 percent of project managers or organizations can't access real-time project data and KPIs.
These and other statistics show that the best way to organize your project management processes and gain from them is to use project documentation software.
So, without further ado, if you're looking to evaluate project documentation software to support your project management endavor, see the outline below.
Top project documentation tools of 2023
- Confluence (Atlassian).
- ProProfs Knowledge Base.
- DropBox Paper.
What is project documentation?
To understand the meaning of project documentation software, you must first understand the meaning of project documentation and their types.
What is project documentation?
In general, project documentation is the process of recording and organizing the key project details and documents. This includes producing, recording, organizing and referencing all the documents and information used in the life cycle of a particular project.
Ideally, project documentation supplies detailed project information for each phase from ideation to completion. This means documentation begins as early as the project brainstorming sessions.
But project documentation will differ based on company, industry and methodology. These categories have different infrastructure, collaboration needs, management (waterfall vs. agile), documentation tools, internal processes, etc.
🎓 Related Resource: How to Write Project Documentation
Types of project documentation
It's challenging to strictly define or list these types of project documentation because there are different documents based on project types. For example, a big project at a corporation has many phases and may require more personnel and resources than a small project at a startup.
That said, the most common types of project documents that need documentation are:
- Project proposal.
- Project chatter.
- Project scope statement.
- Project plan.
- Project budget and financial plan.
- Project schedule/milestones.
- Projects tasks/activities.
- Project team documentation.
- Procedures and guidelines.
- Risk management plan.
- Project communication plan.
- Project status report.
- Project retrospective.
- Project report.
There can't be an exhaustive list of types of documentation in a project. Large-scale projects may require hundreds of separate forms and documents, while smaller projects may simplify and combine them. The important thing is to know what's worth documenting throughout the project life cycle.
What is project documentation software?
Project documentation software is a tool/solution that helps create, manage, collaborate and distribute important project documents (internal and external).
Using a project documentation tool makes the project process easier, provides a repository for easy referencing and creates an easy collaboration among team members. This cuts down on time spent searching folders or email inboxes and improves efficiency.
Why you need project documentation software
The key benefit of documentation tools is (of course) productivity.
The right project management documentation tools cut down on time spent creating and finding documents. It also gives team members an easier time doing their job.
Other benefits of project documentation tools to users (project managers and teams) are:
- Helps create, edit, store and maintain project documents, plan and assign project resources.
- Clarifies the project objectives, expectations and outcomes.
- Breaks down the project's tasks into manageable blocks.
- Allows collaboration on project documents with colleagues – online, in real-time.
- Enables multimedia integration, charts, diagrams, designs, etc., in project documents.
- Supports creating and availing customizable templates for project document creation.
- Create project workflows, schedules and processes.
- Effective knowledge management. Documentation tools structures project documents' storage, creating a logical, easy-to-search knowledge base.
- Manage internal communications with teams and external communication with shareholders or customers to ensure that everyone is informed about the project's progress.
To help achieve these benefits, the project's documentation should be accurate, well-written and always up-to-date.
How To choose the right project documentation software
Before we discuss our list of project documentation software, let's first see how you choose the right project documentation software.
Because there are different types of documentation software, and you must choose the right one depending on your team's size, project management approach and general needs.
Some companies or teams may need complex software with advanced features, such as automated tasks, templates, built-in approval workflows, etc. Other teams may prefer more straightforward and easier-to-use software.
In any case, the ideal project documentation tool should have the following characteristics.
- Have intuitive navigation.
- Have an instant search function.
- Be easily editable, ideally in real-time, including by non-technical users.
- Encourage and support team collaboration on project documents.
- Allow easy content organization.
- Integrate with other project and resource tools.
- Provide visual and easy multimedia compatibility.
9 best project documentation software
The following are the top project documentation tools to check out in 2023:
G2 Rating: 5/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 5/5 stars
Scribe Pricing: Free plans are available. Pro plan starts at $29/user/mo.
Scribe is your answer if you never want to manually document a process again.
Capture your screen and turn any workflow into a step-by-step guide — instantly. You can then share the documentation with team members or embed in other tools like an LMS, CMS or a knowledge management platform. And with Scribe’s newest feature, Pages, you can combine guides with video, images and more.
Any project team member can use Scribe to create project documentation, freeing up managers and supervisors to focus on other tasks. Scribe also shows team members to comply with documentation standards to maintain consistency and keep processes running smoothly.
Scribe works well on Edge, Chrome and desktop. You can also share your step-by-step guide with one click to anyone, with a URL link, or directly to teammates or export to other tools like Confluence.
2. Confluence (Atlassian)
G2 Rating: 4.1/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.4/5 stars
Confluence Pricing: Free plan for up to 10 users
Confluence is a shared and open workspace and a Knowledge Management tool connecting teams to ideas and information that support work. It's one of the market's most popular and dominant project documentation tools.
Confluence is also collaborative, helping people create, manage and collaborate on project and program documents. It can be used to capture, organize, mornitor and preserve valuable assets. It's part of the larger Atlassian suite and integrates easily with Trello or Jira Atlassian solutions.
Confluence prioritizes team collaboration, making all forms of communication simple within the platform. It allows users to tag each other, share updates, comment and give instant feedback ensuring all documents are accurate and up to date. It also comes with built-in templates allowing easy documentation processes.
Whether it is company updates, presentations, project plans, budget documents and other important intel, you can keep it trackable and accessible with Confluence.
G2 Rating: 4.6/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.8/5 stars
Notion Pricing: Available Free personal plans
Notion is both a unified workspace for teams, a project management tool with great features and an excellent alternative for Confluence.
Notion is an all-in-one workspace that combines program documentation, such as notes, docs, wikis, tables, databases and project management — and makes all of them customizable. It allows teams and companies to collaborate, get knowledge and get more done together.
Notion gives users full control of their documentation by letting them get creative about how they design, layout, and present their information and data. It's a great documentation solution for companies with diverse teams that want to use one documentation tool for collaboration.
Some of Notion's unique features are that
- It supports more than 150+ pre-built documentation templates.
- Follows an easier-to-understand block structure, which is quicker to build.
- Has more linked databases than other tools.
But Notion's ease of use and flexibility can also be a shortcoming. It's not as intuitive as some straightforward tools and lacks analytics or additional insights.
G2 Rating: 4.7/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.6/5 stars
Nuclino Pricing: Free version available
Nuclino describes itself as a "collective brain" for teams, providing a simple, modern and fast way to collaborate on documents, projects and knowledge in a unified space. It's a more straightforward way to organize and share knowledge in teams.
Nuclino is primarily used for internal project documentation and knowledge sharing. But it can also act as a management system and planning tool — helping teams keep everything they need right in a single, unified place. You can also visualize work seamlessly by switching between a list, table, board and graph view to match your reference and current use case.
Furthermore, designed as a lightweight app, Nuclino has an intuitive, clean interface, keeps things simple and frictionless editing with fast and reliable search. It's simply an easy-to-use tool for every member of a team. Team members and staff can edit and save documents in real-time and give feedback immediately. It helps eliminate the chaos of files and folders, content silos, or context switching.
Nuclino Apps and Platforms Integrations entails a list of 40+ apps, including Slack, G-Suite, Windows, Teams, Calendar, Draw.io, DropBox, Jira, etc.
G2 Rating: 4.3/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Asana Pricing: Free trial available (limited), and Basic Plan is $0
Asana helps teams coordinate and manage projects by clearly clarifying plans, processes, schedules and responsibilities. It offers project planning, document sharing and organization for to-do lists and lets the entire team be an active part of the whole process.
Asana ranks #1 in the G2 Grid for Work Management and Project Management.
Asana helps teams orchestrate projects, from daily tasks to cross-functional, strategic initiatives. It allows teams to be more confident, accomplish more and move faster regardless of location. It's designed with the team in mind to allow people to execute projects according to plan and process.
Where other project or work management platforms focus on quantity features, Asana focuses on quality, scalability and reliability. This allows team members always to be ready to work and achieve project goals.
Teams use Asana to manage every type of project in a company, from general company objectives, product launches and digital transformation to marketing campaigns.
The best part of Asana is the integrations and continued tool development orientation. Connecting workflow with 3rd party apps is much easier.
G2 Rating: 4.7/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.7/5 stars
Document360 Pricing: Free: $0 - 5 team accounts; Starting at $99/project/month for 5-20 team accounts
Rated #1 Knowledge Base Software worldwide, Document360 helps teams create, collaborate and publish self-service knowledge bases for stakeholders (both internal and external). It's the perfect tool for project documentation, workflow management and software documentation.
Used and trusted by 1000s of users from Harvard University, Monday.com, Customer.io, Datree.io and more. Document360 is an advanced editorial portal for creaters. It allows easy content production and review while incorporating analytics, managing project categories and designing rich pages with multimedia blocks.
Document360 allows users to create up to six category and subcategory levels for contents, which they easily rearrange through the drag-and-drop UI. It also offers a document difference viewer that lets users quickly see changes on a page and who made them. If necessary, this allows you to roll back to previous document visions or editions.
With detailed analytics, project managers can keep an eye on documents with the most frequent views to know where a team might need direction or additional support.
7. ProProfs Knowledge Base
G2 Rating: 4.6/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.6/5 stars
ProProfs Pricing: 15-Day Free Trial; Perpetual Free plan for Small public Knowledge bases; Starting From $30 /month for small companies
ProProfs Knowledge Base is a great project documentation tool and one of the best online documentation tools. Designed for both corporations and small-and-medium-sized businesses, ProProfs Knowledge Base software operates across a spectrum of industries.
Designed with ease of use, ProProfs Knowledge Base can be used to create a great knowledge base and repository, documentation, manuals, help centers and FAQs. From designing and authoring to publishing and user management, this documentation tool is a perfect content partner across all project stages.
ProProfs provides 100+ settings and integrations, advanced user management and detailed reports to support project goals efficiently. The tool integrates well with Zendesk, Google Analytics, Freshdesk and Desk, allowing users to link existing support software stack with their knowledge base. Users can also customize their knowledge bases from within the settings, including adding a favicon, changing the theme, updating the logo, etc.
G2 Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.1/4 stars
Tettra Pricing: Free up to 10 users; Scaling/growing organizations: $8.33/user/month; Enterprise: custom pricing
Tettra is a simple knowledge management tool and sharing for growing teams. It's an internal knowledge base and documentation tool that integrates with significant communication tools such as MS Teams, Slack, Trello and more for more accessible team communication. It also integrates well with many tools teams rely on for everyday work, including GSuite, Zapier, GitHub, Wistia and more.
Tettra allows sharing of documentation right where questions are asked, keeping communication smooth, tasks running on schedule and processes moving forward. Team members can also submit questions on the go and experts can respond in their own time.
To stay on top of your documentation, Tettra alerts you when content and pages are unowned, stable, or need a refresh. This eliminates unnecessary pages, allows easy identification of knowledge gaps and allows team members to point out missing information. Ultimately, this allows collaborative effort in documentation, ensuring everyone has the information they need.
9. Dropbox Paper
G2 Rating: 4.1/5 stars
Capterra Rating: 4.4/4 stars
Dropbox Paper Pricing: Free for anyone with DropBox account.
Dropbox Paper Overview
DropBox Paper is a lightweight, web-based, cloud, word processing tool from Dropbox that lets users save files and folders online and sync them to their devices.
Paper started as a cloud storage service and then became a documentation tool and ideal software for a company's internal documentation. Companies of all sizes can use DropBox to create a wiki for employees and allow teams to consult their questions. It also allows secure sharing of documents with people outside the company.
DropBox paper also allows teams to link documents together, add multimedia (images, audio, and videos), and insert code blocks from within the interface. It allows teams to collaborate easily by inviting each other to share, edit and comment on a document or folder. Team leaders, supervisors, or project managers can assign milestones and deadlines through the interface.
The best thing about Dropbox Paper is that it's free if you already have a Dropbox account. There's also great integration between the mobile DropBox Paper app and the web-based version, allowing users to work on documents anytime, anywhere.
Let’s get you the perfect project documentation software
Project documentation can be difficult, wearisome and overwhelming if every document had a random place on the shelf.
But you can make it easier with the right project documentation tool.
Use a modern documentation tool that can support team sharing of project documents, integration with many apps and tools and real-time collaboration.
This will allow you to assign roles, monitor projects easily and coordinate your team for improved productivity!