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18 Finest Examples of Project Planning Software: Free & Paid

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An excellent project idea means nothing without a thought-through project plan, and every seasoned project manager is well aware that planning is as vital for the success of any endeavor as the actual work on tasks. Hence, prior to starting a project — either small or large — it is crucial to create a good plan describing the cost, the scope, and the timeline of a new undertaking.

Though planning can be performed manually, using digital tools is by far more beneficial and convenient since project planning software supports a streamlined and data-driven management process. So, which tools are the best for project planning? Below we reviewed some of the best software products on the market up to date.

Free Project Planning Software

1. MeisterTask

Key features:

  • Project dashboards
  • File sharing
  • Mobile app
  • Time tracking

MeisterTask’s free version is a great starting point for project planning software. You have the basic set of task management and organization tools, as well as a handful of neat additional features.

While many free versions only allow you to run one project, you have more leeway here and can organize three simultaneously. You can scale these three projects to include unlimited members, which means you won’t hit a glass ceiling where upgrading instantly becomes mandatory to continue working. There are some severe limitations, such as a lack of integrations for different apps to support the features in MeisterTask.

2. Basecamp

Key features:

  • Dashboards
  • To-dos
  • Document management
  • Scheduling

If you aspire to grow your projects and eventually upgrade to a full version of your chosen project management software, Basecamp might be right for you.

The free version is highly functional for small teams, with easy-to-use management tools and a limit of twenty users that should be suitable for many projects. Once you exceed twenty users, you’ll appreciate the flat-rate pricing that will only charge you $100 a month, no matter how many more members join your projects. You’ll also gain unlimited clients and projects, priority support, and everything else you need to take your company to the next level.

3. TeamGantt

Key features:

  • Gantt charts
  • Team collaboration
  • Reports
  • Kanban

If you’re familiar with Gantt charts and how useful they are when it comes to project management, you might have wished that you could simply digitize your Gantt charts.

That’s exactly what TeamGantt does, and more. It offers comprehensive, detailed digital Gantt charts that allow you to visualize individual and group schedules, track progress, and keep a clear view of your goals. You control the schedules with a simple, drag-and-drop mechanism that saves time and effort so you can get back to the work you enjoy. While TeamGantt doesn’t cut out features for the free version, it does throttle the member limit down to three. While this is an excellent choice for extremely small projects, you’ll have to pay to scale up at all.

4. RedBooth

Key features:

  • Task deadlines
  • Gantt charts
  • Calendar
  • Conversations

The free version of RedBooth is one of the most functional options you can choose, with a mixture of management and collaboration tools.

You can use Gantt charts and task overviews as well as calendars to organize and assign work on an hourly and daily basis. Another nice feature is that you have an impressive amount of free storage space, with 2 GB available before you upgrade. However, this free version is also only suitable for extremely small teams since RedBooth limits free users to two.

5. Todoist

Key features:

  • Task priorities
  • Reminders
  • File management
  • Calendar integration

When it comes to running large projects for free, Todoist is unbeatable.

Even with the free version, you can run up to eighty projects at once and assign five users to each project. You could theoretically manage four hundred people without paying a cent, although it’s unlikely anyone is managing exactly eighty projects with exactly five members. On the other hand, the scheduling and organizational tools are fairly basic, but they’re also extremely intuitive.

6. Trello

Key features:

  • Tasks scope visualization
  • Data storage
  • Activity logs
  • Workflow automation

With Trello, you can easily visualize tasks through boards, lists, and cards. You can assign stakeholders to the cards, as well as drag and drop them to different boards. In addition, there’s the Butler AI available, which allows you to automate workflows. Because it’s so easy to use, Trello can even be utilized for individual projects or even personal tasks.

This tool can be integrated with a plethora of handy apps, such as actiTIME which allows for effortless time tracking and productivity analysis. It has a free plan, which does have its limitations. But if you’re working with a small team (or alone), the available functions should be more than enough.

7. Backlog

Key features:

  • Project boards
  • Wiki
  • Data storage
  • Gantt charts (paid version)

For those of you using Linux, you don’t have many choices when it comes to project planning software. Thankfully, Backlog is the perfect one for you, especially if you’re in the software development industry.

You’ll get boards similar to those on Trello and task assignments like with MeisterTask. You’ll also get a streamlined way to view roadmaps and track bugs. And as for the free version of Backlog, it affords up to 10 users.

8. Freedcamp

Key features:

  • Project templates
  • Milestones
  • Task boards
  • Wiki

Freedcamp is software that utilizes cloud computing for project management. You can view a calendar, have discussions, and list milestones for your project. You can even put together a wiki for all documents.

What’s great about Freedcamp is this tool can send notifications, which can keep all stakeholders up-to-date about projects. This means they have a mobile app as well. And the best part of it all: Freedcamp is available for free with unlimited essential features.

9. ProjectManager

Key features:

  • Kanban board
  • Calendar view
  • Task management
  • Collaboration

How can we have a list of project management tools without including one called ProjectManager? This software is best used for medium to large-sized businesses. However, it also has a free version for basic project planning for up to three users.

ProjectManager has a simple and easy-to-use dashboard where you can see information in real-time. For visual workers, this is excellent, as you can do workload management and track easily from the dashboard.

10. Wrike

Key features:

  • Task management
  • Collaboration
  • Interactive boards
  • Work schedules

Wrike is a fantastic tool for IT project management. Choose from pre-built templates to save on time. You can also create custom workflows.

If you’d like to integrate Wrike with other tools, then it’ll be easy to do so. This is because it provides you with APIs for you to build these integrations. This makes Wrike ideal for medium to large-sized projects.

11. Pipefy

Key features:

  • Collaboration
  • Task management
  • Templates
  • Integrations

If you need more than just a project management tool, Pipefy allows you to monitor customer communication. You can request feedback, incorporate edits, and monitor all changes through a timeline attached to your project. There are also templates, pre-written emails, and other tools you can use to stick to your timeline.

12. Zoho Projects

Key features:

  • Gantt charts
  • Kanban board
  • Milestones
  • Task dependencies

Zoho Projects comprises plenty of useful features for project planning and management, as well as for team collaboration and in-depth performance analysis. Multifunctionality is the main thing why experienced project managers love this tool.

Zoho Projects is a budget-friendly option for small and medium-sized enterprises. Plus, it has a free version for up to three users. You may use Zoho Projects for creating Gantt charts to build a project plan and track progress. Plus, thanks to the mobile app, everyone on your team can stay on track even if they’re away from the office.

13. Fieldwire

Key features:

  • Task management
  • File sharing
  • Plan viewing
  • Messaging

Fieldwire is an excellent project management tool tailored to the needs of construction businesses. Its free plan has limited functionality and affords merely five users. Yet with one of the paid versions, your team can share and edit blueprints, design schedules and run detailed reports.

Fieldwire is easy to operate and provides users with a structure throughout the entire project, starting with the bid. The best part is that it helps teams stay in line with project forecasts, so they don’t go over the budget. Plus, you can add users to the project for free to keep everyone working on it on the same page. This keeps everyone in the loop on updates or changes that might throw a curveball in our process.

14. JIRA

Key features:

  • Scrum and Kanban boards
  • Roadmaps
  • Agile reports
  • Integrations

If you run agile teams, then you’ll want to check out JIRA. This software combines Scrum, Kanban, and mixed methodology. Like the other programs on this list, you can automate tasks for better efficiency. You can also integrate JIRA with other developer tools, like Confluence.

JIRA is available for free for up to 10 users. Otherwise, their plans for up to 100 users are very affordable.

Paid Project Planning Software

1. Thrive

Key features:

  • To-dos
  • Timesheets
  • Resource management
  • Analytics

This eye-catching tool will help you create your work, manage all of your projects, and analyze any data. In addition to project tracking, Thrive will help you create invoices, manage your time, and store client data and contact information in one, user-friendly place.

2. ProWorkflow

Key features:

  • Project timelines
  • File storage
  • Notes
  • Project and task reports

Need a mobile project planning tool? Then download ProWorkflow and use it on any touchscreen device! ProWorkflow comes with an Adobe extension app, which means you can access tasks and projects without leaving any design you have open. It also has Microsoft Teams integration, so you’ll have full chat support.

3. Microsoft Project

Key features:

  • Multiple project view modes
  • Timelines
  • Collaboration
  • Scheduling

Microsoft Project delivers on quality and creates a profound project planning experience for its users. According to Michael Schaeffer, Compliance Engineering Manager at Dialight, this app doesn’t have equal rivals:

Microsoft Project has many pros, from templates and timelines to automated reporting. It has every aspect of project planning in one place, which creates a tremendously powerful tool. I especially love that there is a cloud-based option that easily travels with me and can be shared with my team. One minor drawback is that the program’s learning curve is slightly steeper than other options. With that said, once a user is acclimated, there is nothing better on the market.

4. HoneyBook

Key features:

  • Scheduling
  • Contact management
  • Project tracking
  • Mobile app

From a job proposal to invoicing, HoneyBook can help you manage all the aspects of your business seamlessly. It allows you to create branded proposals easily and create contracts and invoices, all while staying on time with client requests.

Bonus Tool: actiTIME

Work scope planning is an intrinsic part of project management, and actiTIME can readily assist you with this job. The app lets users create as many tasks in their projects as they wish; add descriptions, estimates and deadlines to those tasks; and then allot them to responsible team members. These features foster an incredibly clear picture of workloads and project expectations. In addition, with time tracking — actiTIME’s core functionality — you will always stay in the know of current performance progress and get in-depth data for smarter decision making.

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