Many companies relied on Microsoft Project due to its central role in the Microsoft ecosystem. It is often convenient for companies that are already dedicated to the Microsoft software stack to do so. However, when examined on its own, Microsoft lacks many of the project management features users expect from their business software.
The project management software field has grown astronomically, even for users that want free or low cost software. Whether you’re an individual, a small business or a larger organization that needs a better system for managing project workflows and tasks, these Microsoft Project alternatives are great options for a range of budgets and needs.
- Why search for a Microsoft Project alternative?
- Top Microsoft Project alternatives compared
- Top 8 Microsoft Project alternatives
- Microsoft Project pricing vs alternatives
- Is Microsoft Project outdated?
- Key features of Microsoft Project alternatives
- How do I choose the best Microsoft Project alternative for my business?
- Review methodology
Why search for a Microsoft Project alternative?
Though Microsoft Project has many advantages, it also has some disadvantages you need to consider. Here are four reasons why you might search for a Microsoft Project alternative:
Steep learning curve
Microsoft Project is designed with experienced project managers in mind, which presents a very steep learning curve due to the number of features. Even advanced project managers will need time to teach themselves how to use the tool. It is not particularly intuitive and definitely not geared towards beginners.
On a similar note, Microsoft Project is not the most user-friendly project management tool out there. While the 2019 version significantly updated the user interface, the sheer number of features can make it time-consuming to find the exact one you’re looking for. Some users complain that much of the tool’s functionality goes unused, and they find it frustrating to wade through all the options.
Lack of certain features
While Microsoft Project includes almost any project management feature you can imagine, it lacks in other departments. That’s because it was designed with the assumption that you will be using other Microsoft products for other functions, such as Teams for communication and OneDrive for document management. If you’re not already part of the Microsoft ecosystem, then you’ll need to seek out additional tools besides Microsoft Project to compensate for the lack of features.
On its own, Microsoft Project is not the least expensive project management software available. It doesn’t offer a forever-free plan, and its entry-level pricing tier is more costly than some competitors. The price only goes up once you consider the external tools you’ll need to invest in for communication, document management and so on.
Read the full Microsoft Project review for more information.
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Top Microsoft Project alternatives compared
Here is a head-to-head comparison of the best Microsoft Project alternatives.
|Multiple view types||Reporting and analytics||Time tracking||Forever free plan||Pricing (billed annually)|
|monday work management||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$8 per user per month|
|ClickUp||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$7 per user per month|
|Asana||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$10.99 per user per month|
|Smartsheet||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$7 per user per month|
|Trello||Yes||No||No||Yes||$5 per user per month|
|Teamwork||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$5.99 per user per month|
|TeamGantt||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$19 per manager per month|
|Wrike||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$9.80 per user per month|
monday work management: Best all-round choice
monday work management is a web-based suite that supports milestone tracking, analytics and workflow automation, which gives it the edge over smaller project management open source apps. A desktop version is also available. monday work management runs on Windows and macOS and supports iOS and Android mobile devices. It also works with Microsoft Teams, Google, Slack, Dropbox, Zoom and Outlook.
For more information, read the full monday work management review.
- Individual: $0 for up to two seats.
- Basic: $8 per seat per month, billed annually, or $10 per seat per month, billed monthly.
- Standard: $10 per seat per month, billed annually, or $12 per seat per month, billed monthly.
- Pro: $16 per seat per month, billed annually, or $20 per seat per month, billed monthly.
- Enterprise: Quotes available upon request.
- Project views include Gantt charts as well as kanban and dashboards.
- Analytic tools provide real-time data for reporting budgets and costs.
- Collaboration and communication tools are included in the app.
- Clean user interface that is easy to navigate.
- Extensive feature set for complex projects.
- Logging of all changes for transparency.
- Steep learning curve due to all the features.
- Not as many enterprise integrations as some competitors.
- Excessive alerts unless notification settings are configured.
Why we picked monday work management
We selected monday work management due to its versatility, extensive advanced features and ability to serve the needs of various teams across various industries. It also allows users to manage both basic and complex projects with ease.
ClickUp: Best for teams on a budget
ClickUp is another web-based project management all-in-one package that can run on Windows, macOS, Android or iOS. It integrates with Slack and Zoom, and it can sync your cloud storage, calendars and messaging apps. Its project management features work as expected, but ClickUp also supports team collaboration, documentation management, whiteboarding and kanban. When purchased annually, its subscriptions are some of the most affordable solutions on the market for small businesses.
For more information, read the full ClickUp review.
- Free Forever: $0; best for personal use.
- Unlimited: $7 per user per month, billed annually, or $10 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Business: $12 per user per month, billed annually, or $19 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Business Plus: $19 per user per month, billed annually, or $29 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Enterprise: Quote available upon request.
- Agile project management features support sprints, roadmaps and backlogs.
- Customizations don’t require codes or add-ons.
- Whiteboards allow remote teams to collaborate visually.
- More than 1,000 integrations with popular business tools.
- Real-time reporting features support evidence-based decisions.
- Pricing plans well-suited to small teams and growing businesses.
- Limited storage for the free plan.
- Premium tiers might be too expensive for some small businesses.
- Occasional lags and performance issues reported by some users.
Why we picked ClickUp
We selected ClickUp because it balances affordability with quality features, and it offers a generous free plan that includes most of the necessary features required to run a project successfully.
Asana: Best for ease of use
Asana is a web-based project management offering that runs on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It’s easy to learn and use, which is its best advantage. Its simple interface makes it easy for users of all skill levels to move from task to task. Asana’s online documentation and active user community are added bonuses for ease of use. Its forever-free plan supports up to 15 users, which will suffice for many small teams.
For more information, read the full Asana review.
- Basic: $0 per user per month.
- Premium: $10.99 per user per month, billed annually, or $13.49 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Business: $24.99 per user per month, billed annually, or $30.49 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Asana Enterprise: Custom pricing.
- Multiple options for importing data for existing projects.
- Rules features let you automate common workflows.
- Task templates cut down on repetitive work.
- Forever free plan supports up to 15 members and unlimited tasks and projects.
- Multiple project views are available even on the free plan.
- Extensive feature sets on the premium plans compete with alternatives.
- Tasks can only be assigned to one team member at a time.
- Projects with large datasets can experience lags.
- The interface can feel less intuitive compared to alternatives.
Why we picked Asana
Aside from being an easy-to-use project management software, Asana also stands out for its extensive advanced features. We picked it because it’s a quality project management software for distributed teams, freelancers and companies that hire contractors.
Smartsheet: Best for spreadsheet fans
Smartsheet is a flexible cloud-based project management system that runs on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Each new project starts with a grid view — based on a traditional spreadsheet interface — that can be turned into a Gantt, calendar or card view. Beyond project management, Smartsheet offers collaborative, workflow and content management components that support dashboards, reports and forms for data input. Smartsheet integrates with Microsoft Teams, Google and more.
For more information, read the full Smartsheet review.
- Free: $0 for one user and up to two editors.
- Pro: $7 per user per month, billed annually, or $9 per user per month, billed monthly. A free trial is available.
- Business: $25 per user per month, billed annually, or $32 per user per month,billed monthly. A free trial is available.
- Enterprise: Quotes available upon request.
- Pre-built templates make building out projects fast and easy.
- Proofing feature lets teams give feedback and markup content in the platform.
- Automations can be made from scratch or built using preloaded templates.
- Spreadsheet-based interface will be familiar to many users.
- Extensive platform documentation assists with troubleshooting.
- Guided set-up process orients new users.
- Only the Enterprise plan features advanced security measures.
- Many helpful features are only available in the premium plans or as paid add-ons.
- Spreadsheet interface is less user-friendly than some project management competitors.
Why we picked Smartsheet
We picked Smartsheet as one of the best Microsoft project alternatives for its user-friendly interface and its versatility. It can handle simple task tracking, complex project planning, and even large-scale project portfolios. Smartsheet also offers various templates that can be customized to fit different project needs, making it a flexible tool for different industries and project types.
Trello: Best kanban boards
Trello is a full-package cloud-based project management solution that runs on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It integrates with Slack and many other business applications. Users can manage their tasks within a kanban interface that makes it easy to use, even for beginners. As a project’s status changes, the card changes and moves through a variety of customized lists: To-Do, New, In Progress, Waiting, Done and more. Other project views are also available for users looking for something different from Trello’s signature kanban interface.
For more information, read the full Trello review.
- Free: For individuals or teams at no cost for unlimited cards and up to 10 boards per Workspace.
- Standard: $5 per user per month, billed annually, or $6 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Premium: $10 per user per month, billed annually, or $12.50 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Enterprise: Starts at $17.50 per user per month, billed annually, depending on the number of users.
- Butler automation tools can be used to make rules, buttons and commands.
- Collaboration tools support communication in the app.
- Multiple view options beyond just the kanban boards are available.
- Many pre-loaded board layouts make setting up a project fast and easy.
- Highly-visual kanban boards are some of the best.
- Integration with the Atlassian ecosystem as well as 180+ third-party tools.
- No native Gantt chart view; must use a third-party integration to add one.
- Customization options are limited.
- Free plan restricts teams to 10 boards or projects.
Why we picked Trello
We chose Trello as one of the best Microsoft project alternatives due to its intuitive user interface. It is an excellent choice for small teams and those just getting started with a project management tool. While Microsoft Project offers many collaborative features, Trello is designed for easy collaboration and task management. Its Kanban-style boards make it easy for teams to see their tasks progress at a glance.
Teamwork: Best for client service teams
Teamwork is a cloud-based project management tool that is also available as a desktop app for Mac and Windows and a mobile app for iPhone and Android. It’s specifically designed for client-facing work such as marketing and consulting teams, which sets it apart from other project management apps. For example, Teamwork includes billing and invoicing tools, while many other project management tools do not.
For more information, read the full Teamwork review.
- Free forever: No cost for up to five users.
- Starter: $5.99 per user per month, billed annually, or $8.99 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Deliver: $9.99 per user per month, billed annually, or $13.99 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Grow: $19.99 per user per month, billed annually, or $25.99 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Scale: Quotes available upon request.
- Billing and invoicing management tools are included in the software.
- Google Chrome extension and Gmail add-ons are available.
- Project risk management helps teams mitigate risk.
- Simple and intuitive-to-navigate user interface.
- Excellent customization and automation features.
- Billable time tracking.
- New proofing feature is only in beta release for premium paid plans.
- Forever free plan offers pretty limited functionality.
- Pricing might be too expensive for small businesses.
Why we picked Teamwork
We choose Teamwork as one of the top-rated Microsoft Project alternatives because it offers various features that serve the needs of client-focused teams. Agencies, professional service teams and creative teams will find Teamwork beneficial. It includes the capability to help teams manage project budgets, invoices, workload capacity, and more.
TeamGantt: Best for Gantt charts
TeamGantt is a cloud-based, Gantt-focused project management tool that runs on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. As its name implies, TeamGantt offers the ability to create colorful Gantt charts with a simple drag-and-drop function. TeamGantt offers additional features, including time tracking, calendar and list views, project history and more.
For more information, read our roundup of the best Gantt chart software for your business.
- Free: No cost for 1 manager and 2 collaborators.
- Lite: $19 per manager per month, billed annually, or $24 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Pro: $49 per manager per month, billed annually, or $59 per user per month, billed monthly.
- Enterprise: $99 per manager per month, billed annually or monthly.
- Multiple project views beyond just Gantt charts.
- Many pre-made project templates.
- Shake feature which fixes violations in dependent tasks.
- Highly intuitive user interface that works well for beginners.
- Excellent tutorials and other learning resources.
- Automated dependencies for tasks.
- Per-manager pricing plan won’t make sense for every business.
- Fewer integrations than some other competitors.
- Reporting features aren’t as advanced as they could be.
Why we picked TeamGantt
TeamGantt is one of the best Microsoft Project alternatives for its visual project planning capability that allows users to create Gantt charts and timelines. Its drag-and-drop scheduling capability makes it easy to manage projects and timelines. This helps in visualizing project schedules and dependencies, making it easier to track progress.
Wrike: Best for power users
Wrike is a cloud-based project management tool that runs on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It’s a comprehensive software that is especially well-suited to larger businesses that need a lot of features. Fully configure the workspace with custom item types, dynamic request forms, pre-built templates and more.
For more information, read the full Wrike review.
- Free: $0 per user per month.
- Team: $9.80 per user per month.
- Business: $24.80 per user per month.
- Enterprise: Quote available upon request.
- Pinnacle: Quote available upon request.
- Proofing and document management.
- Wiki knowledge base creation within the tool.
- Automation Engine which speeds up workflows and notifications.
- Friendly user interface.
- Enterprise-grade security and data privacy.
- Special tools for marketing/creative teams and professional services.
- Learning curve is relatively steep due to the number of features.
- More expensive than other tools.
- Mobile functionality can be limited.
Why we picked Wrike
Enterprise users with different teams across various departments will find Wrike beneficial as a Microsoft Project alternative. You can easily adapt the platform to your team’s and overall organization’s workflow, making it helpful for enterprise businesses with multiple departments and teams working simultaneously on different projects.
Microsoft Project pricing vs. alternatives
Microsoft Project offers a 30-day free trial, allowing users to try the tool before buying it. Like the alternatives on this list, Microsoft Project also offers a tiered subscription and licensing model. It takes it further by offering an on-premise subscription option, allowing those that favor on-premise project management over cloud-based solutions to opt for a local installation.
This subscription model includes three pricing plans with various features and functionalities.
- Project plan 1: $10 per user per month. This plan is ideal for small teams with basic project management needs.
- Project plan 3: $30 per user per month. This plan is ideal for fast-growing teams looking for additional functionalities like resource management and more.
- Project plan 5: $55 per user per month. Large enterprises with various project portfolios and complex project management needs will find this plan suitable for their needs.
This license model is also available in three tiers. Keep in mind that your actual price may vary based on your region or location.
- Project Standard 2021: $679.99 per user per month. This plan is suitable for those looking for an on-premise project management tool with limited or no collaboration tools and advanced features.
- Project Professional 2021: $1,129.99 per user per month. This includes advanced features.
- Project server: Custom pricing.
Compared to its alternatives, Microsoft Project is expensive. Although the “Project plan 1” pricing per user is cheaper than Asana and TeamGantt base subscription fees, it may not offer enough features to manage complex projects. This means you may need to buy an advanced plan, which will cost you more.
Those looking for affordable pricing may find one of the alternatives suitable for their needs, or you can explore our list of the best project management software.
Is Microsoft Project outdated?
Microsoft Project released a redesigned version in 2019. It now looks more like a typical Microsoft web-based product, which is a good thing if you’re a devoted Microsoft user. This update also made the user interface more similar to competitors’ and made it somewhat more intuitive to use.
Project supports a desktop and online version, runs on Windows and integrates well with other Microsoft products. If you’re already familiar with Microsoft products, especially Microsoft 365, Project might be your best choice. It has every basic feature you need to manage your projects. On the other hand, new users will need a bit of time to learn Project, and it’s missing some bells and whistles that the others support, such as chatting within the software.
Key features of Microsoft Project alternatives
Although Microsoft Project offers a number of helpful project management features to users, it’s certainly not the right fit for every company and tech stack. Here are five things a company should look for in alternatives to Project:
Intuitive user interface
If you’re not running a lot of Microsoft products already, you’ll likely find a product that’s easier for your new users to learn and master. Microsoft Project users often report a very steep learning curve — even for people that are already familiar with the Microsoft tech stack — due to the design of the user interface.
Beginner-friendly feature set
Microsoft Project is designed for super complex projects and organizations that need to track hundreds or thousands of tasks at once. If you work for a smaller organization looking to get started with project management, Microsoft Project will likely bog you down with a bunch of super advanced features that you simply don’t need.
Built-in collaboration tools
Because Microsoft Project is designed to be used in conjunction with Microsoft Teams, it doesn’t offer any built-in communication or chat tools of its own. Choosing a project management alternative that keeps communication centralized in a single platform can streamline your teamwork and promote collaboration.
Integrations with third-party apps
Microsoft Project is designed to work with the Microsoft ecosystem, and pretty much only the Microsoft ecosystem, meaning that integrations with third-party apps are very limited. If you need your project management software to integrate with lots of non-Microsoft products, then your team should consider a different solution.
Interest in forever-free plans
There are many project management software tools that offer forever free plans for individuals and small teams, but Microsoft Project is not one of them. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner on a super tight budget, you’ll want to consider one of the alternatives listed here that offer a forever free plan.
How do I choose the best Microsoft Project alternative for my business?
Choosing the best project management software is no different than choosing any other software. The best decisions come from weighing the pros and cons after spending a bit of time with each product you’re considering.
Can your organization afford the software? None of the bells and whistles matter if you can’t buy them. Start your decision-making process by determining the costs that will come with licensing all of your relevant users. These costs can add up quickly.
If all you need is project management support, look for the following features and assess their ease of use on each solution:
- Managing tasks and scheduling: Users should be able to see with a quick glance whether they’re on pace with their daily and bigger goals.
- Collaboration features: In-app chatting is a popular option that is usually available in a higher-tier package.
- Document management and storage: These features are also primarily available in higher-tier packages.
- Customer support: For the best overall user experience, look for good user documentation, support communities and technical support services.
- Security: Most of these products are very secure, but especially if you work in an industry that processes a lot of sensitive information. It’s important to get specific about what you need.
Investing in the right project management software will save you money in the long run. You want a package that meets your company’s current needs but also allows for growth without breaking the bank. This list of Microsoft Project alternatives is a helpful starting point if you’re unsure about what will work for your business needs.
To choose the best Microsoft Project alternatives for 2023, we considered many different parameters. This includes the pricing, user interfaces, project views, user friendliness and collaboration features. We gathered information about each platform from the vendor’s websites and tested the alternatives to learn about their features and capabilities. We also analyzed current and past users’ feedback on review websites to learn about user experience with each tool.
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