Trello and Paymo are two of the most popular project management tools available today.
But how do they stack up against each other?
Which one manages tasks better?
Which one helps you allocate resources more effectively?
Which one is more affordable?
Discover all the answers in our detailed comparison guide.
A. Project and Task Management
Get. Things. Done.
You and every project manager likely live by those words.
It’s also the heart and soul of any project management software.
This is why, before anything else, you must evaluate a tool’s ability to help you manage your tasks and projects.
Features to look out for:
- Project structure: A simple, intuitive way to organize work and toggle through multiple projects, tasks, boards, etc.
- Views: Board, list, timeline, Gantt, and other types of views that let you visualize various types of information within each project.
- Tasks & subtasks: Dedicated spaces offering the ability to drill down to the smallest level of actionable detail about each project item.
- Statuses: Effortless ways to communicate the exact progress of each task, board, project, etc.
- Checklists: Quick to-do lists for each task so things don’t fall through the cracks
- Task templates: Easy-to-copy templates to create identical tasks at scale across multiple projects.
- Assignees: The ability to assign tasks, boards, or projects to individual team members, groups, or even teams.
- Priorities: A way to communicate the urgency level of each task, subtask, or project.
- Automations: Trigger-based (if X happens then do Y); ways to automate repetitive actions such as notifications, comments, status updates, etc.
1. Project Structure / Hierarchy
Track your workload in Trello by organizing it into:
Workspaces > Boards > Lists > Cards
- Workspaces: A container for all the Boards in your team. You can create multiple Workspaces to classify your work further.
- Boards: A simple Kanban board interface to view task progress within a Workplace.
- List: A series of tasks (Cards) at the same progress stage. For example, To-do List, Doing list, Done List, etc.
- Cards: The smallest component of the board with all the actionable aspects of the project.
Keep your work organized with Paymo’s hierarchy:
Client > Project > Task list > Task > Subtask
- Client: All the work for each client is grouped together
- Project: All projects belonging to one client
- Task list: A collection of tasks that need to be done to complete a project
- Task: Individual work items within the task list
- Subtask: Tasks broken down into smaller steps
Trello provides seven project views, namely:
- Boards: View your tasks on a Kanban board. It’s the simplest way to go from idea to action, plan projects, and track tasks.
- Timeline: Stay on top of project timelines, sprints, and goals. It’s great for adjusting dates on the fly and spotting potential gaps.
- Calendar: Perfect for managing schedules or to-dos; plus, you can sync it with third-party calendars.
- Dashboard: Offers a bird’s-eye view of projects and processes, helping you manage workloads and spot bottlenecks before they start.
- Map: Ideal for location-based data. Great for tracking properties, planning events, or organizing fieldwork.
- Workspace: Manage work across multiple Boards. Create custom overviews for detailed tracking of both minor tasks and large projects.
- Table: See your work like a spreadsheet. Sort and filter to focus on what matters.
Paymo enables you to visualize your projects in five different ways:
- List: For each project, you see a list of tasks with a brief overview of their details (E.g., due date, assignees, etc.)
- Table: A more detailed view of tasks with information fields in columns
- Board: A Kanban board view of tasks grouped by status
- Calendar: Displays tasks on a calendar, showing their start and due dates
- Gantt: A timeline of tasks depicting start and due dates, dependencies, and milestones
3. Tasks & Subtasks
Manage tasks, goals, or anything that needs to get done via cards on Board.
Your cards can hold a variety of useful information, like:
- Members who are responsible for the task
- Due dates
- Custom Fields
You can also track and monitor task progress via a Checklist of smaller to-dos within the task.
Break tasks into granular subtasks to indicate the steps needed to complete a task.
Fill out the details on tasks to provide assignees with all the information they’ll require, such as:
- Task name and description
- List of subtasks
- Link to the project and task list
- Start and due dates
- Billing type
- Time estimate
- Billing estimate
- Invoice status
- Time budget alerts
Move cards to specific lists that indicate the workflow stage they’re in. Customize these lists to suit your workflow.
Paymo includes the following default task statuses:
You can create custom statuses in the company settings menu, which apply globally.
Additionally, Paymo allows you to set up workflows for specific projects. The default workflow contains To Do, In Progress, and Complete. From the company settings, you can establish new workflows with custom statuses.
Add multiple checklists to a single card. @mention team members in checklist items to notify them.
You can also track checklist completion with the help of a progress bar at the top that shows the completion percentage.
Finally, turn checklist items into cards to move them to the main board.
Paymo doesn’t include a native feature for adding checklists to tasks and subtasks.
6. Task Templates
Trello allows you to create a default Card Template. You can do this from a blank or new card, where you can:
- Format the description
- Add custom fields
- Copy over checklists, and more.
Paymo offers project templates, which are useful when multiple projects share the same task lists and structure.
However, you can’t templatize individual tasks on Paymo.
Assign a Card by going to the Members icon and selecting a member or multiple people from the dropdown.
Add assignees to projects, task lists, and tasks.
Use the custom fields functionality to add a Priority field to each Card.
Indicate the urgency of a task by setting the priority to one of the default statuses — low, normal, high, or critical. Paymo doesn’t offer custom priority statuses.
Trello’s automation features include:
- Card and board buttons: Adds buttons to automate the next step in a workflow
- Rules: Set triggers to automate actions
- Scheduled automations: Set up recurring actions
- Due date automations: Trigger actions when a task reaches its due date
Paymo doesn’t include a native feature for setting up automation rules.
However, it does have some time-saving automation features, including:
- Automatic recurring tasks
- Automatic time tracking
- Auto-scheduling (to adjust dependent tasks when dates change)
B. Time Management
Time is money for a reason.
The right software can be the difference between pinching pennies and raking in the big bucks.
Effective project management software offers effortless time management features to help you befriend the clock.
With the right one, expect to keep all your tasks running as scheduled and meet your deadlines with ease.
Features to look out for include:
- Due dates: Communicate expected delivery dates.
- Time estimates: Make capacity decisions based on how much time each task or project is expected to take.
- Time tracking: Measure productivity with accurate time consumption data for each team member.
1. Due Dates
Trello lets you add and edit start dates, due dates, and due date reminders in a card.
Set task due dates and time budgets and set up alerts for when you’re approaching deadlines.
2. Time Estimates
Trello doesn’t have a dedicated time estimates feature. However, you can create a custom field to note a time estimate for working on a card.
Set time estimates for tasks. Additionally, if the billing type is time-based, you can set a billable rate and calculate the estimated billable amount.
3. Time Tracking
Trello doesn’t offer any native time-tracking features.
Paymo offers six different avenues for tracking time:
- Web timer: Select the project and task you’re working on and use a timer to track time in the web app.
- Manual: Add time directly to tasks by inputting a duration or time interval of work.
- Bulk function: Input time entries for an entire week on a timesheet.
- Desktop Widget: Track time or manually add time from the Paymo tracking widget for desktop.
- PaymoPlus: Receive an automatic record of your activities for the day, and map them onto time entries at the end of the day to sync them with Paymo.
- Mobile app: Track time or add it manually via the Paymo mobile app.
What you can’t measure, you can’t improve.
Reporting and analytics features can help you track real-time progress, monitor key metrics, and sniff out bottlenecks like a detective.
Armed with these insights, your team can stay ahead of the curve no matter the situation.
Expect better resource management, superior deadline compliance, and a more focused and decisive team.
Features to look out for include:
- Goals and milestones: Record targets for the whole team to see and work towards.
- Dashboards: Visualize data from all corners of the team into a user-friendly, interactive interface.
- Gantt charts: Keep your plans flexible with Gantt charts that allow you to adjust timelines based on changing resource availability and task completion ratio.
1. Goals & Milestones
Browse the Trello template library for templates to help you set and track goals. For example, you can clearly define project goals and track milestones with the OKR (objectives and key results) template.
On Paymo, you can set milestones that are dates by which you want the associated tasklist to be resolved. You can also set reminders for upcoming milestones.
Trello keeps it simple and user-friendly, so its reporting mainly consists of the Dashboard View — a bird’s-eye perspective on your projects and how much work needs to be done.
You can add bar or pie charts in tiles that tabulate the number of cards (tasks) per list, due date, member, and label.
The Paymo dashboard displays real-time graphs and information from across clients, projects, and tasks.
You can customize the dashboard by activating, deactivating, and reordering various plugins, which include:
- Finance plugin: A graph of sent vs paid invoices for a period
- Time plugin: Displays time tracked by you, the whole company, or team members you manage, depending on your company role
- Billable vs non-billable plugin: Shows a pie chart of billable vs non-billable hours tracked
- Milestones plugin: Displays upcoming and overdue project milestones
- Active timers plugin: Shows which team members are working and what they’re working on in real time
3. Gantt Charts
Trello doesn’t have any native Gantt chart capabilities. However, it does offer a timeline view that provides a visual representation of project interconnections and deadlines.
It allows you to:
- Adjust start and end dates for issues
- View by day, week, month, or quarter
- Group by member, list, and label
- View unscheduled cards
Paymo automatically displays all tasks that have a start and end date in the Gantt chart view, where you can:
- Drag to adjust dates and duration
- Change the view to show days, weeks, months, or years
- Create dependencies between tasks
- Click on tasks to see an overview of details
D. User Management
Software, features, and other tech things aside, the real heroes of any project are your team members. So make sure to pick the kind of project management software that puts them front and center!
How do you do this?
Look for software that knows what different team members need and helps you deliver the right experience.
Features to look out for include:
- User groups: Create internal teams representing various departments, functions, or projects.
- Permission levels: Grant different access levels depending on the users’ information requirements and the company’s security concerns.
- Guest users: Invite team members from other companies/teams to collaborate with your team without compromising on confidential data.
1. User Groups
Trello doesn’t let you create custom user groups with different permission levels.
Paymo doesn’t offer any native features for creating user groups or teams.
2. Permission Levels
Set different permission levels for all team members. Choose who can comment, react, invite, or remove members on your Trello boards.
Paymo offers the following user privilege levels:
- Admin: Has access to financial information, client data, company settings, company-wide time data, team scheduling, and PTO
- Project manager: Can add, manage, and view time entries, time reports, and schedules for the projects they’re assigned to
- Regular user: Can add tasks for themselves, view task details, and discuss tasks they are assigned to
3. Guest Users
Invite guest users to one or multiple Boards to view and edit Cards.
You can invite external people to view a project on Paymo as a guest user.
They will be able to:
- View projects, tasks, time reports, invoices, and estimates you share with them
- See upcoming milestones
- Contribute to discussions on shared tasks
- Add tasks (If granted the user privilege by an admin)
In project management, collaboration and communication are like a ballroom dance — if everyone isn’t in sync, you’re just stepping on each other’s toes!
A project manager should encourage their team to be on the same page regarding everything happening on the project. This could involve regular meetings, periodic status updates, shared checklists, etc.
But things can get tricky when you add different team structures (remote, hybrid, distributed, etc.).
The trick is to balance ‘informing everyone’ with ‘over-communicating.’
The solution is to forge a shared space where the whole team can contribute without hampering individual productivity. Picking a suitable project management software is the first step toward achieving this goal.
Features to look for include:
- Comments: Simple ways to send feedback or discuss a task or project.
- Threads: Keep all relevant comments in a single thread.
- Tagging/@mention: Mention a team member on a task, in comments, or in any shared space to notify them.
- Sharing tasks: Share tasks with relevant team members for efficient collaboration.
- File management: Attach and store files, create and annotate documents, etc., for ready access to project documentation.
- Notifications: Customize how team members receive notifications.
1. Comments, Threads, & Tagging
Click any card to open the comments section and leave a comment. Add attachments in them and @mention team members to collaborate on tasks.
Edit your comments to keep them up to date with the latest information. Or delete them to avoid miscommunication.
Right-click the timestamp to get a share link. Share these comments with others to invite more people to view and comment on the cards.
Comment on tasks and assign comments to notify specific users on Paymo.
Alternatively, you can comment at the project level by adding a discussion in the Discussion tab.
2. File Management
Attach files to cards to offer more insight into the task.
Trello automatically makes it the Card cover if it’s an image file.
You can upload files to tasks from your device or Google Drive. You can also add files in comments on tasks.
All files for a project will be available in the Files tab.
The maximum file size is 2GB, and the following file formats are allowed:
Send and receive notifications for various actions such as adding cards, being mentioned on them, changing due dates, moving cards, and more.
Change how and when you receive these notifications.
Paymo can send in-app and email notifications to assignees for activities on their projects and tasks.
Each user can change their email notification settings to select which activities they want to be notified about.
F. Customer Support
Individual users in smaller teams often face a steep learning curve with most project management software.
In their case, having access to responsive support executives and a wealth of helpful resources can make a significant difference, turning a frustrating experience into a positive one.
However, customer support is just as crucial for larger teams.
Even if these teams initially received thorough onboarding and training, their needs and use cases tend to evolve over time. Continuous and adaptable customer support becomes essential to address these changing needs effectively.
With adequate customer support, you can:
- Derive maximum value from the app with the help of professional guidance whenever required
- Ensure your team is making full use of all the features you’re paying for
- Learn from case studies of other teams using the same software
- Expand your use cases with time
- Learn about the features your team uses the most and avoid spending on those you don’t need
- Solve minor issues on your end by going through help resources
- Get hands-on support when you get stuck
- Keep a record of all your complaints and feedback for the platform to aid future buying decisions
- Send feedback to the app’s developers so they can design the features you most desire
Features to look for include:
- Detailed knowledge bases and documentation to aid DIY solutions to common issues
- Case studies, templates, guides, and other resources
- Easy access to resources for all types of users — free or paid
- Async support executives to cover for the time difference
- Live agents who can respond via chat or phone
- Screenshots and recordings to display how the tool works
- Translations to resources in other languages, if needed
- Atlassian University: Product training and certification for Jira, Confluence, Trello, and more
- Atlassian Playbook: Free workshop resources to address common team challenges
- Atlassian Documentation: Help to administer Atlassian products
- Developer Resources: Build, deploy, and manage your apps while Atlassian takes care of security, computing, and storage
- Atlassian Community: Ask questions to product experts
- Atlassian Support: Resources for users and administrators
- Migration Program: Cloud migration support for all teams
- Enterprise Services: Support for enterprise teams
- Support: Email/Help Desk, Chat, 24/7 Live rep, Phone
- Help Center: A collection of written tutorials about how to use Paymo
- Customer Support: Fill in a support request form to get help via email
G. Platforms Supported
Distributed and field teams might not always be armed with laptops or computers.
But that doesn’t mean productivity has to stop.
With a mobile-friendly project management tool, the workflow keeps humming along, turning those smartphones into mighty workflow tools.
More reason to look into this?
If your company follows a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, your team members need the freedom to switch between various devices.
With support for all types of apps, you can:
- Ensure uniform access irrespective of device type
- Save on the cost of buying the same types of devices for the whole team
- Give all team members a chance to log work from anywhere, anytime
Features to look for include:
- App support for the latest Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android versions.
- Maximum coverage for all key features across devices
- Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge
- Desktop: Mac, Windows
- Mobile: iOS, Android
- Browser: Firefox, Chrome (Desktop and Android), Safari
- Desktop: Mac, Windows, Linux
- Mobile: iOS, Android
Whether you have deep pockets or shoestring budgets, there’s project management software out there for every kind of organization.
But the confusing combination of features and numbers on pricing pages can make it difficult to choose.
Here are some easy tips for starters.
If you plan on buying the software subscription for just yourself or a small team that’s not likely to grow rapidly anytime soon — stick to the free plan as long as possible. Or pick the cheapest monthly subscription possible. These should cover most of your feature requirements comfortably in most cases.
However, if you expect to hire rapidly and grow to a sizable number, go for a plan that grows with you — ideally with a per-user rate that doesn’t add up exponentially.
Finally, most software offers flexible enterprise plans that let you cherry-pick your favorite features into a custom package. If you’re part of such a team, it’s best to contact the sales team and get the best deal possible.
Trello’s four pricing plans are as follows:
- Free: Up to 10 boards, 250 workspace commands a month
- Standard ($6/user/month): Everything in Free plus unlimited board, 1,000 Workspace commands a month
- Premium ($12.50/user/month): Everything in Standard plus extra views, Unlimited Workspace command
- Enterprise ($17.50/user/month): Everything in Premium plus unlimited workspaces, public board management, SSO and user provisioning
Paymo’s pricing plans are structured as follows:
- Free: Unlimited users, five clients, 10 projects, and 1GB storage.
- Starter ($9.90/user/month): Everything in Free, plus unlimited clients and projects, calendar and Kanban views, and 5GB storage.
- Small Office ($15.90/user/month): Everything in Starter, plus recurring tasks, project templates, and 50GB storage.
- Business ($23.90/user/month): Everything in Small Office, plus Gantt chart view, employee scheduling, priority support, and 500GB storage.
I. Best Suited To
Picking the right project management tool is like finding the perfect pair of shoes. They must be a snug fit but also leave you some wiggle room to get comfortable!
In other words, the tool you pick must fit all your current needs and grow alongside your future requirements, too.
So make sure you’ve covered all bases in your research when picking project management software for your team.
One way to do this is to check what types of teams your choice serves best.
For instance, what works for a small software development team might not suit a large marketing agency.
When hunting for a PM solution, it’s vital to match the tool’s features and use cases with your team’s workflow. Tailor your search to find a tool with all the necessary features to manage your tasks and boost productivity.
Trello is an exceptionally user-friendly and intuitive PM tool. It focuses heavily on visualizing work, especially on Kanban boards (though other views are available in higher-paid tiers). And its customization features make your workspaces visually engaging to make work more fun.
These factors make Trello perfectly suited to PM beginners, startups, and SMEs with relatively simple processes and small teams.
It’s also great for personal productivity and project management — E.g., if you’re a freelancer or you’re planning a big party.
The tradeoff for simplicity is, of course, limited complexity. Trello isn’t the best choice if you want to manage big projects with lots of simultaneous tasks, team members, and moving parts.
For example, Trello’s commenting functionalities are quite linear and not well-suited to multiple conversation threads at once.
There are extensive options to expand the app’s functionality with account upgrades, integrations, and power-ups. However, these will also cost extra money and time.
Paymo presents a modern and user-friendly interface with a solid set of project management features, offering a comprehensive solution for users.
However, it’s missing some features that are industry staples, like automation rules, task checklists, user groups, and task templates.
Also, some important views and tools are only available in the higher-priced plans. For example, the Gantt view is only in the Business plan, and project templates are not available in the free and starter plans.
In the end, Paymo could do with some advanced and unique features that would make it stand out from the big names in the project management space. However, it covers the essentials for effective project management and provides a free plan, making it worth a try.