26 Best Microsoft Project Alternatives for Project Management in 2020 (Free and Paid)
Microsoft Project alternatives have been popping up ever since the software was introduced in 1984…1984!
So how can we sort through such a big list?
We’ll start with what this isn’t. This isn’t a list where you’ll see scores. Many scores and ranking lists are in the eye of the beholder and we think its more appropriate to share some pros and cons about each and let you decide which Microsoft Project alternative to research.
Why would you want a list of Microsoft Project Alternatives?
In reality, Microsoft Project is meant for actual PMPs and on today’s teams, many people aren’t professional project managers but are building projects and teams. They need uncomplicated tools to track their work with some flexibility for task management and collaboration. And you’ll definitely find a workable solution from the options listed below.
Here’s a list of Pros and Cons most people rank Microsoft Project on:
Microsoft Project Pros:
- Compatibility with their existing Microsoft suite
- Powerful, loaded with features including resource management, Gantt charts, planning, and scheduling tools
- Deployed on-premise or in the cloud
- Proven, it’s been around since 1984
Microsoft Project Cons:
- Limited integrations with outside software
- Steep learning curve, it’s not for everyone
- Sharing files with team members creates extra complexity
- Many parts of MS Project feels dated
List of Microsoft Project Alternatives
Top 26 Microsoft Project Alternatives for Project Management
Based outside Philadelphia, PA Workzone has been a major player in the project management world since 2002.
Pros: If you’re not used to the process-centric nature of Microsoft Project or have a more creative bent, then you should try Workzone. You’ll work smoothly and with less frustration. It’s built specifically for teams that need to get things done and manage their projects more effectively.
Here are some of the benefits of Workzone:
- Project dashboard provides a portfolio view of all the projects across the team
- Personalized to-do lists keep team members on track (and can be automatically emailed each day)
- Unlimited Support and comprehensive onboarding so your team gets up to speed quickly
- Associate, share, and store documents by each project
- Customize your own project intake forms and reporting features
- Interactive Gantt Chart and Calendar for visual project tracking
- Set permission levels by project and document, so each person sees just what’s appropriate
- Already a Microsoft Project user? Import MS Project files directly into Workzone
Cons: Some users complain that the search function could be improved.
Review: “We have been using this software for about three years now and cannot imagine life without it. Best thing about the software is the ease of use. For software that’s so robust, it’s quite intuitive. The team has been able to figure out how to navigate around with minimal training.” -Source: Software Advice
What makes ProofHub an excellent Microsoft Project alternative is the fact that it has advanced collaboration features besides flexible project management features. From having a dedicated space for online discussions, an in-built chat app, custom workflows, and Kanban boards, to an online proofing tool that makes it effortless to review and proof files and custom reports- ProofHub has got it all.
Pros: All-in-one software that brings all your team’s tasks, projects, and communications under one roof. The easy-to-use interface makes onboarding for teams easier. Simple, no per-user pricing makes it a comparatively affordable option.
Cons: Although ProofHub has got all the features that a team needs to work productively, the limited number of third party integrations is something they can work upon.
Pricing: Starts at $45 per month, with Ultimate Control plan having unlimited users and all the features available at $89 per month.
Scoro offers a suite of products ranging from CRM to project management.
Pros: Scoro offers an advantage if you want to keep your CRM with your project management tasks. They’re also good for client work, as they combine time tracking, billing, quoting and invoicing.
Cons: When compared to stand-alone project management software or CRMs, “comprehensive” productivity suites like Scoro aren’t as robust in each module. With as many integrations out there today, having an all-in-one solution isn’t as attractive as it once was.
Review: “Scoro seems great at first but is a major let down once you get deeper into it.” -Source G2Crowd
Bitrix24 combines a social intranet, project management tasks, and a CRM together. Like if you smashed Salesforce into your project to-do list but wanted something simpler.
Pros: A big part of Bitrix24 is the ability to keep all the conversations and company updates in one place, along with your projects. They have self-hosted and cloud-hosted versions.
Cons: Each tier of Bitrix24 has limitations on storage, email sending, invoicing, number of projects and more which makes it complicated to sort out which option is right for your team. Like the other free-to-paid options, with a large team, you’ll want to upgrade beyond the basics.
Pricing: Free, with a paid version starting at $24/user/month
5. Monday, formerly daPulse
daPulse went through a transformation in recent years to a productivity suite known as Monday.com. They retained the word “pulse” as a fancier name for tasks in the hopes that you have a little more fun on Monday.
Pros: Colorful and friendly, Monday hopes you kick the case of your Mondays when using their software. The lower price entry point makes it easy for teams to jump in to use some basic project management features that teams need to be productive.
Cons: Similar to how the free-to-paid alternatives work where each tier gives you more features, the really useful features for teams are reserved in the Enterprise tier.
Pricing: Starting at $39/month for 5 users
Acquired by Planview in 2017, Leankit was added to Planview’s productivity suite to attract engineers and maximize Leankit’s lean project management approach.
Pros: Emphasizing optimization and eliminating waste for engineers, Leankit has jumped to the top for their visualization boards (Kanban approach), but also because their system scales easily.
Cons: Before getting a Kanban-like approach, think about how your team works, and their habits. A project management tool should fit into your workflow, not completely change it.
For more on choosing project management software, check out this free guide.
Pricing: Starting at $19user/month. Inquire about Enterprise pricing.
Made in Berlin, Germany, Planio has a world-wide presence with its heavy focus on issue tracking, time-tracking, version control, and team chat.
Pros: Planio tracks issues, keeps versions clean, and offers chat and content wikis. It also has loads of storage.
Cons: If you aren’t quite focused on bug tracking or issue tracking in your project management, then Planio may not be a fit.
Pricing: $25-$199/month based on projects and users
Clarizen is a work management solution for teams who need more than just project management to engage with their company.
Pros: Clarizen has features that you don’t see everywhere, including accounting and sales functions. Scope, size and schedule a project quickly. Clarizen provides cross-department insights to determine risk, scope, size and estimates.
Cons: It’s an enterprise-level tool that will take a while for your team to use. Mid-size teams (such as 5-50 users) won’t find it as nimble as others like Workzone.
Pricing: Paid, upon request
Zenkit is another Microsoft Project alternative that can be best described as an all-in-one collaboration suite with project management, CRM, bug tracking, and invoicing.
Pros: If you’re in software development and want visualization, then check out Zenkit. They offer member-level swimlanes for your Kanban board and time estimates for tasks or Sprints. Their Martian mascot is pretty cool!
Cons: Non-agile teams won’t find it as useful…if you don’t know what “agile” means, then you definitely won’t find it as useful.
Pricing: Free, $9/user/month to Enterprise level
This Canadian based company finds its niche in marrying time-tracking with project management. FunctionFox makes the list of Microsoft Project alternatives because of its full-featured time tracking abilities.
Pros: FunctionFox is best for client billing and time tracking. It has timesheets, project tracking and client management capabilities that may be right for service-oriented teams. There’s a stopwatch feature which helps any employees who are charging for client hours or non-billable hours.
Cons: If your project management doesn’t primarily revolve around timesheets and time-tracking, then FunctionFox may not be for you.
Pricing: Classic plan starting at $35/month to Enterprise starting at $150/month
LiquidPlanner dubs itself as smarter project management software for fast-moving teams. Liquidplanner makes the list of Microsoft Project alternatives because of its strong scheduling power.
Pros: Have difficulty scheduling your projects? Whenever you change the priority of a task, assign more work to a team member, the timelines in LiquidPlanner adjust and update everyone. Once a dependency is changed, the whole schedule is updated.
Cons: LiquidPlanner was designed for more technical users, so you may want to find a tool like Workzone that everyone can use right away.
Pricing: Starting at $45/user/month up to an Enterprise package
Compared to Microsoft Project, everything is connected with Mavenlink.
Pros: What sets Mavenlink apart is their financial capabilities, giving teams the ability to charge vendors or contractors right inside the tool. Their charts and reports are updated automatically and can quickly show you critical path.
Cons: If tracking finances is not your main goal, then another tool may suit you better.
Pricing: Starting at $19/user/month up to an Enterprise package
OmniPlan is apart of the Omni suite of software and is one of the only tools on this list of Microsoft Project alternatives that is Mac only.
Pros: If you’re on a Mac and need to connect with Microsoft Project, try OmniPlan. You can integrate files with MS Project, easily sort tasks by dependencies and dates and also have multi-project dashboards.
Cons: Not on a Mac? This may be the opportunity to check out a SaaS solution designed for multiple operating systems.
Pricing: $199.99 to $399.99 for the Desktop version, $99.99 to $199.99 for the iOS version
As a well-funded venture-backed company, Smartsheet offers an entire suite of tools to help manage your work beyond project management software.
Pros: Smartsheet puts power behind a traditional spreadsheet so if you love spreadsheets then you may be a natural Smartsheet user. You can utilize formulas with traditional project management features like Critical Path.
Cons: Because it’s built to mimic a spreadsheet, Smartsheet’s interface has limits when it comes to effectively managing tasks and resources for more complex projects. Project managers can create multiple “sheets” for different projects and also customize their reports. However, the sheets could go on forever with no limit! Then you’re stuck with the same problems when using Microsoft Excel.
Pricing: Individual plan for $14/month, Team plan for $15/user/month, Business plan for $25/user/month, Enterprise plan quoted
15. Team Gantt
This one is built on its name–Gantt charts. So you better love them if you’ll be using this tool.
Pros: TeamGantt’s interface is based on breaking your team down into members who are assigned certain tasks on a certain timeline. The Gantt Charts are flexible and dynamic and offer an easy way to manage projects.
Cons: Gantt charts are great, but mid-size project management tools offer Gantt chart capabilities within their tools. If you need different types of reporting and different ways of viewing information, like individual tasks lists and projects, then TeamGantt may not be for you.
Pricing: Free to $62 per month for 5 users
This Utah-based project management company serves Enterprise level customers combining complex project management with document collaboration, issue tracking, and portfolio management.
Pros: Workfront is perhaps the most full-featured Microsoft Project alternative on this list with a high cost of entry. It can service the needs of mid-sized companies to large corporations.
Cons: Workfront can handle lots of different roles but is an Enterprise level tool. It’s not the easiest system to grasp so expect a lot of onboarding time with an uninspiring interface.
Pricing: Not public, request pricing.
Wrike is a project management system based on the concept of folders and nested folders.
Pros: Wrike has a lot of features to go with its many views on how to project manage. They have instituted timelines, Gantt Charts, boards, and cards so that users can work how they want.
Cons: Wrike is a little unfocused, because it be customized and do everything–which means it can be hard to learn and onboard new employees. You can subdivide projects into tasks and create larger hierarchies to represent your business units or company departments.
Because Wrike was meant as a document sharing solution that transitioned to project management, they’re stuck with a hard-to-navigate folder system that layers more and more on top of it. It can be hard to focus and track projects without helpful workspaces like in Workzone.
Pricing: Free-to-Paid to $36.40/user/month, Enterprise plan quoted.
18. Zoho Projects
Zoho, an India-based company, is known for its marketing automation and CRM capabilities, but it also includes project management. It makes the list of Microsoft Project alternatives because teams can make use of a decent set of features for a good price.
Pros: Zoho Projects is an adequately featured project management solution especially for the price and is a great complement to its ecosystem. Unlike many similar services, you can add unlimited users on all plans at no extra cost.
Cons: The Zoho ecosystem is a big one and that comes at a cost of usability for many users. Don’t expect this to have the ease of use as other SaaS project management tools.
19. CollabNet VersionOne
Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, VersionOne (who merged with Collabnet in 2017), was recently purchased by the TPG Group. They are still operating as CollabNet VersionOne and still offer a work management suite complete with project management software.
Pros: Meant for software development around Agile and Scrum, CollabNet VersionOne is the leading platform provider for Value Stream Management, Agile planning, DevOps and source code management.
Cons: Much like Microsoft Project, it could take users lots of time to figure out how it works and to connect its many applications.
Based in Buffalo, NY, Targetprocess offers agile project management software to Scrum, Kanban, SAFe and other agile processes.
Pros: Targetprocess’ cards and visualization allows for more tasks in timelines and milestones.
Cons: Some users find the software’s interface overly complex and it often takes a while for team members to get up to speed.
Pricing: $20/user/month to Enterprise level pricing
Headquartered in Ireland, Teamwork offers a full suite of productivity tools such as a sales CRM, chat, help desk software, and project management software.
Pros: For advanced features and a full range of business software, Teamwork may have what you need. Some stand-out project management features include privacy and permissions, real time team member status updates, and invoice tracking.
Cons: Suffering from being an “all-in-one” solution, it is hard to claim Teamwork as a Microsoft Project alternative as the feature set suffers compared to standalone project management software.
Pricing: Small Office plan $44.92/month, Professional plan for $136.58, Business plan for $228.25/month, Enterprise plan quoted
Based in Raleigh, NC, Podio was recently purchased by Citrix. Podio is based on the idea of transparency and its “open-plan online office.”
Pros: It has more social features like peer recognition and sharing than a more complex tool like Microsoft Project.
Cons: Scaling to manage large projects will come with some difficulty as Podio lacks an all projects dashboard or portfolio view to get a handle on all active projects.
Pricing: Free to Premium Plans. Basic plan for $9/user/month; Plus plan for $14/user/month; Premium plan for $24/user/month.
JIRA is Australian software developer Atlassian’s flagship product, best known as the leader in devOps, and can support Scrum, Lean or Kanban. JIRA makes the list of Microsoft Project alternatives because it is the leader in devOps and tech teams would move from Microsoft Project to JIRA.
Pros: Highly customizable, Jira can create great reports for roadmapping and agile project management. It also has issue tracking and prioritization for the items that must rise to the top of the list.
Cons: If your team isn’t technical or is not steeped in bug tracking and issue tracking, then JIRA probably won’t be the right fit. It has a nomenclature all its own that may be difficult to learn.
Pricing: Free, Standard for $7/user/month, and Premium for $14/user/month
Based in Chicago, IL, USA, Basecamp one is one of the most familiar project management tools for most project managers. Basecamp makes the list of Microsoft Project alternatives because it cuts out many features that frustrates users and simplifies project management so that its easily understood by most people.
Pros: While Basecamp doesn’t have more advanced project management features like Gantt charts, time tracking, and dependent subtasks, it is a suitable collaboration space for teams that don’t need the bells and whistles of Microsoft Project.
Cons: Perhaps the biggest negative in Basecamp is that it only allows users to view one project at a time. Teams with a lot of work going on need the ability to view multiple projects at once so it is easy to see where all projects stand. Catching delays before they wreck a deliverable is essential to a project manager’s success. Limited visibility is typical in lightweight project management tools like Basecamp.
Pricing: Free and Business for $99 per month/unlimited users
Redmine is built and maintained by community volunteers and is a favorite of developers for project management.
Pros: Developers love this one because you have to know Ruby on Rails to implement it. Redmine comes with a load of extensions and plug-ins, so if you want it to do something, there’s a good chance someone has already written the code for it.
Cons: Redmine isn’t necessarily for tasks, but for bugs and issues and ship dates that come up in software development. It also comes along with a wiki that’s set up for each project for storing documents and notes.
Pros: Asana is well-designed and is a hit for small teams. At various pricing tiers, teams can add traditional project management features that you would be used to in Microsoft Project.
Cons: As a team grows their projects in complexity and number, Asana may have trouble keeping up. A drawback of scaling Asana lies in having to rely on adding modules and plugins within their marketplace to add extra functionality.
Pricing: Free for teams up to 15; Premium ($10.99/user/month); Business ($24.99/user/month); Enterprise (quoted)
If you are looking to move to one of the Microsoft Project alternatives, remember to consider not only the features but how the project management software can help you succeed.
You don’t want another tool that will just throw you in the fire, but a collaborator that will work with your team and get them started on the right foot. Remember, you’re trying to avoid the complexity of Microsoft Project. You need an option that will make your life easier and less chaotic, not harder.
Does your team need a powerful project management tool that the whole team can use? Workzone may be just the ticket…