When to Use Project Management v. Issue Tracking Software

The Difference and Why It Matters to Your Help Desk

Project management tools monitor workplace progress on projects while issue tracking solutions manage tickets at your help, complaint, or support desk.

Read time: 3 minutes

Some may herald Asana as the latest and greatest at all things track-worthy. But the internet of things offers misleading information that confuses project management tools with issue tracking systems.

Shoppers looking for a workplace tool to manage their time and productivity will need a very different software solution than those shopping for help desk, complaint management, or support desk ticketing.

Learn the difference so you’re not fooled by the next article telling you to buy Trello for complaint management. This blog will help you distinguish different aspects of a desk manager so you can make the right decision for your employees’ and customers’ needs.

Project Management VS. Issue Tracking: What’s The Difference?

You can implement Project Management (PM) tools at your workplace to keep employees on task with individual roles in group projects. PM is highly effective for collaborative undertakings (hence the term project management). PM tools display a dashboard view of any project’s status, task owners, and collaborators. It’s also a relevant feedback source with a twofold benefit: it keeps worker bees on the ball and gives them immediate commentary for personal and professional growth.

Issue trackers are also highly efficient tools, but for broader purposes. Issue trackers track problems (again, it’s in the name) at your company’s help desk, complaint desk, or support desk. Tracking assets, collecting surveys, and capturing information with webforms also fall under the issue tracking umbrella. Modern issue tracking platforms are digital ticket suppliers. They provide systematized data collection where customers or employees can fill out requests or complaint forms to receive a service.

All platforms claim to simplify your workflow, save time, boost work efficiency, and optimize your business’ growth potential—which is true. PM and issue tracking software differ in a simple but crucial way: project managers manage projects, while issue trackers manage issues.

Project Management Tools Boost Project Productivity

What Asana, ClickUp, and Trello Have In Common

Productivity tools get your office humming with workflow simplicity and project automation. Workers have a lot of tasks and need an easy, all-in-one way to accomplish them. Project management tools let teams assign tasks and priorities to complete work projects well.

Team Members Can Work To Their Strengths

Developers popularized easy drag-and-drop PM workflow systems for quick, organized progress. The options of Kanban boards, lists, calendars, portfolios, workloads, and timelines support diverse work styles so team members can complete projects by playing to their strengths.

Collaboration Helps Coordinate Group Work On Large Projects

A project management tool is a glorified party host (and no doubt the life of the party). It enables team communication with extensive collaboration for file sharing, brainstorming, etc. Workers keep up progress by assigning tasks to the next person in a workflow using the basic automation PM tools offer. Despite its best efforts, this is still quite a manual process.

Agile-Scrum Methods Help Teams Produce Projects To Specification

From sprint planning to bug tracking to product roadmaps, task iterations help teammates fulfill the needs of a project to the stakeholder’s vision and satisfaction. Agile-scrum methodology is also how developers create effective issue tracking tools.

Issue Tracking Tools Trace Employee and Customer Problems

Issue tracking is a project management tool on steroids. It addresses customer and employee setbacks rather than shifting the boulders of progress on team projects (as a PM tool does).

Issue tracking takes project management to the next level because what is possible in PM is more or less achievable in issue management systems. (This includes collaboration, status updates, workflows, etc.).

The primary purpose of issue tracking is to expedite queries and complaints in a smooth automated ticketing process. It addresses a broader range of workplace and client requests than what project management tools handle.

Everyday Situations Where You Need an Issue Tracking Software

  • Requests overrun your help desk, some less urgent than others. Maybe your IT tech is constantly stopped in the hallway for a printer connection issue, distracting them from a more pressing matter of a security risk in someone’s inbox.
  • You’re still using spreadsheets to combat the flood of complaints about your transportation system, your service, or your slow delivery process.
  • Your call center is derailed, lacking the necessary support desk staff to respond to customer problems—especially if your customer support manager is stuck on the line with an irate client.

Numerous companies across various industries face these problems more commonly than you think. Addressing these problems is also more accessible than you might expect.

Best Features to Look for in Issue Tracking Software Solutions

toolbox Custom fields, templates, surveys, and webforms
toolbox Cloud and on-premise hosted options
toolbox API Integrations
toolbox Task Managers and Auto-Assignment
toolbox Automated Workflows
toolbox Trend Reporting
toolbox Pre-defined response to recurring issues
toolbox Quality Support and SLAs
toolbox Security Compliance


The first step: decipher your needs to discover the right solution. Do you want team productivity? Or are you looking for an efficient ticketing system for issue management at your help desk? Once you answer that, you can narrow your search to either a project management tool or an issue tracking software solution.

Topics from this blog: Issue Tracking