The 15 Top Microsoft Project Alternatives in 2020 (Free & Paid!)

The 15 Top Microsoft Project Alternatives in 2020 (Free & Paid!)

Microsoft Project is the largest and most well-known project management tool available. It was released in 1984 when any type of desktop software was a novelty. But because of that history, it can definitely seem outdated.

Sure, it paved the way for modern project management software (like Microsoft Planner), but now it lacks new innovation. It’s too scared of alienating its user base. That doesn’t bode well for new ideas!

That’s why we’ll go over the top 15 alternatives to Microsoft Project. We’ll provide you with a detailed review of each one along with their pros, cons, pricing, and user reviews.

 

This Article Contains:

(Click on the links to jump to a specific tool)

Let’s get started!

 

MS Project: Trained Experts Only!

One of the biggest drawbacks to Microsoft Project is its clunky nature and steep learning curve. In many ways, Microsoft Project protects those who know it best.

It takes so long to master that anyone who does master it feels like they must defend their position (and the use of Microsoft Project).

Microsoft Project is powerful when it comes to the more detailed aspects of project management, such as resource management, customized reports, and timesheets. Powerful doesn’t mean easy or simple, of course,” states one review of MS Project.

It can effectively create a project plan and drill down into the nitty-gritty of your resources but you shouldn’t use it unless you are already trained to tame the beast that is Microsoft Project.

And just take a look at this…that’s not so user-friendly!

ms projects view

Also, there’s another downside.

Is there an online version of MS Project?

Sort of. The online version of MS Project is like an add-on to the desktop version. This means that if your team wants to use the online version, they’ll need to have the desktop version too.

What are the pros of using Microsoft Project?

Here are some reasons why people use MS Project:

  • Time estimates based on past tasks
  • Customized templates
  • Customizable reports
  • Local hosting
  • Gantt charts
  • Dependencies

Don’t worry, most of the alternatives we listed here have all of the above features and more!

What are the drawbacks of using Microsoft Project?

Here are just some of the drawbacks to using MS Project:

  • Need a certified project manager
  • Depends on exports
  • Long adoption time

But thankfully, we are in a new century, and there are tons of great Microsoft Project alternatives that you can use!

What are the best alternatives available for Microsoft Project?

Whether it’s ClickUp, Asana, Trello, or any of the other 12 Microsoft Project alternatives we listed here, you’re sure to find one that fits your needs. 

Take a look at this list for a feature comparison of the best Microsoft Project alternatives.

 

1. ClickUp

clickup devices

Show your manager this one! ClickUp is impressive, racking up thousands of reviews on the top software sites in only a short time.

And you won’t need to be a certified project manager to make this tool work for your team.

We prioritize features, so even the free plan comes with a lot that other companies make you pay for.

In ClickUp, you can add guest accounts, Gantt charts, calendar views, a Notepad, and more. 

Other project management software and Microsoft Project alternatives will have a hard time keeping up!

ClickUp is an all-in-one tool that offers a fundamentally new way to work that makes it simple to manage multiple projects with your team. It’s a beautiful and easy MS Project alternative!

Here’s a quick overview of some key ClickUp features:

  • Powerful Agile Dashboard: offers you a central place to receive Agile project insights like overall project health, project goals, project timelines, and much more
  • Comments: have dedicated project conversations with built-in document sharing/file sharing for different project files 
  • Tasks: each comes with their own task status bar and message boards for better teamwork, and you can break each task down further into subtasks and checklists
  • Powerful integrations: integrates with time tracking tools and other productivity tools for managing your onsite as well as virtual teams

Note: See the full list of ClickUp’s powerful features!

ClickUp pros:

ClickUp cons:

  • 100MB of storage on Free Plan

Learn more about our product roadmap here.

ClickUp review:

“ClickUp is the swiss army knife of task and project management apps.” — G2 Crowd

ClickUp pricing plans:

Free to $9/user/month (Basic plan for free and Business plan for $9) 

Note: Here’s how to convince your manager to select a new project management platform.

 

2. Asana

asana project management screenshot

Asana started in 2011 and quickly gained a lot of notoriety due to the founders’ connections to Facebook. With that pedigree, Asana had no problem raising funding and is on track to be a $1 billion company soon. 

But does that mean this tool is right for you? Not necessarily.

Asana has a simple interface with clear sections for effective visual project management. Much like its name, it has a calm UI that helps you feel settled when working. This alone makes it a great alternative to Microsoft Project.

Despite a fast start, their product development has lagged in recent years. And it’s not great for all teams across your organization: most software development teams wouldn’t use it.

Asana pros:

  • Very customizable
  • Great shared calendar sync
  • Good recurring project task management system
  • Free Microsoft Project alternative
  • Portfolio management

Asana cons:

  • No time tracking
  • Slow UI
  • Big learning curve
  • Has user minimums
  • Gantt chart only through an add-on

Asana review:

“We juggle many competing projects and deadlines, so it helps keep everything in one big picture, in a place we can talk about individual tasks as we go along. I prefer this workflow to Slack-like emphasis on chat/email, etc. Asana’s prospects for time planning are getting better, but are a bit obfuscated right now.” — G2Crowd

Asana pricing: 

Free to $24.99/user/month (The basic version is free, premium plans start from $10.99)

Compare Asana and ClickUp! 

 

3. Trello

trello

Now for something completely different.

Instead of using lots of lists, you can switch to cards and a Kanban board for your task management. The system, made popular with Japanese manufacturing, has taken on a life of its own, primarily through the influence of Trello.

Besides creating multiple tasks, it’s also become popular as a project data repository. It’s public sharing features have also helped make it a productivity suite leader with teams, hobbyists, and friends. 

Trello pros:

  • Easy onboarding
  • Easy to assign tasks and track progress
  • Simpler to use than most
  • Real-time team collaboration capabilities

Trello cons:

  • No Gantt chart
  • No calendar
  • Can be limiting
  • Integrations only available on the paid plan

Trello review:

“Its interface is a little basic, I can also say that its search engine is not efficient since it does not find what I’m looking for, besides the free version is very limited.” — G2Crowd

Trello pricing: 

Free to $17.50/user/month (Paid version starts from $9.99 while the Enterprise plan starts from $17.50)

Compare ClickUp with Trello!

 

4. Paymo

paymo

Paymo is a solid project management app. Nothing flashy here. 

They have a nice home screen that highlights what your most critical items are for the day, which helps track deadlines.

They also offer board views, similar to ClickUp and Trello. They have robust dashboard features to help you gauge the project progress and have a centralized place for managing projects. Paymo is a safe pick your manager will be comfortable with.

Paymo pros:

  • Mobile app with project tracking
  • Customizable timesheets
  • Beautiful, interactive Gantt charts
  • Task planning and task dependencies
  • Free Microsoft Project alternative

Paymo cons:

  • Integrations only on the paid plan
  • Only three invoices with the free plan
  • A lot of views can make it difficult to learn

Paymo review: 

“There’s no import function for tasks/projects so there’s a very manual process required to get up and running if you’re moving from different tools.” — G2Crowd

Paymo pricing: 

$8.95 to $14.25/user/month 

 

5. Monday.com

monday.com pm software

Ah, Monday.

This tool is based on turning things green, meaning they want you to check off a bunch of things. They’ve also developed a very interesting table/task manager hybrid, with lots of custom fields to make certain tasks the way you want them.

The problem? That’s not always scalable across large-sized teams for effective online collaboration. They also have a limiting free trial version that won’t give you enough time to explore all of their useful features without paying a hefty fee.

Despite an impressive advertising push, anyone with a working knowledge of Google can also find a lot of their features for free elsewhere (like at ClickUp!).

Monday.com pros:

  • Intuitive interface and 
  • Offers a Chrome extension too
  • Lots of customizability
  • Integration with Dropbox and OneDrive

Monday.com cons:

  • No calendar
  • Expensive
  • No recurring tasks
  • No subtasks

Monday.com review: 

“The name change to “Monday.” Nobody likes Mondays. There’s a bad connotation there.” — G2Crowd

Monday.com pricing: 

$8 to $16/month/5 users

Compare ClickUp and Monday!

 

6. Hitask

hitask

Another team collaboration tool, this one is less powerful than MS Project but will have some of the features you want from a development perspective like issue tracking, repeating tasks, and team chat. It has reports too, but may not be as advanced as Microsoft Project.

Hitask pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Clean interface
  • Google Calendar Sync

Hitask cons:

  • Not many integrations
  • No private notes
  • No Gantt Chart feature
  • No kanban board

Hitask review: 

“The visual environment lacks color, could improve by adding items that allow employees to differentiate quickly without reading, assigning color labels to each one in order to quickly detect any change or observation as well as its source…” — G2Crowd

Hitask pricing: 

Free to $20/user/month (The paid plan starts at $5)

 

7. nTask

ntask

nTask views itself mostly as an Asana replacement, but it’s also great as a simpler tool than Microsoft Project.

nTask has solid reporting tools around time tracking, work progress tracking, and meetings that all managers will love. 

It also has built-in Gantt charts to view multiple projects from a high level. Add in their bug/issue tracking and it might be an easy solution compared to Microsoft Project.

Like most of these productivity tools, it’s a lot more affordable than Microsoft Project as well which makes it a good MS project alternative.

nTask pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Meeting manager tool
  • Bug/Issue tracking
  • Task dependencies

nTask cons:

  • No timer
  • Bad app for mobile access
  • Gantt Charts are not interactive (yet)

nTask Review: 

“The biggest difference in the meeting functionality compared to something like GCal is that you can create a detailed agenda, store meeting minutes, and automatically share it with a project team, without ever leaving the app.” — Bombchelle

nTask pricing: 

Free to $7.99/user/month (The paid plan starts at $2.99)

 

8. Zenkit

zenkit screenshot

Zenkit is a potent Microsoft alternative, with lots of different views, including a board and table view. 

It includes activity tracking and notifications, so you always know what each member of your whole team is working on. It’s perfect for managers to get a high-level project view of upcoming projects too. 

But because of some of its missing features, this may not be the best option for a complex, large project. You’ll also get rich text editing and custom backgrounds to make Zenkit your own.

Zenkit pros:

  • Multiple views
  • Easy project task management
  • Mind mapping tools

Zenkit cons:

  • No Gantt charts
  • No time tracking
  • No public API
  • Long load times

Zenkit review:  

“The user interface can seem a little utilitarian and not as friendly as some other software systems.” — Capterra

Zenkit pricing: 

Free to $29/user/month (only the Personal/individual plan is free, the Team plan starts at $11)

 

9. Slenke

slenke screenshot

If you’re aiming for an easier tool with resource management, Gantt charts, and more overall visual appeal than Microsoft Project, then Slenke may be an option.

It’s a relatively new tool, so there will be an adoption curve. Team members also use it to manage their internal communication, so you could wean yourself off Slack if you wanted to. 

It may not be the best for several projects, but it’s a simple tool to help your small team stay focused and communicate. 

Slenke pros:

  • Lots of third party integration
  • Internal communication
  • Clean interface

Slenke cons:

  • No desktop app
  • No enterprise plan
  • English only

Slenke review: 

“Alerts section can get overwhelming at times, more control over what kind of alerts I receive would be ideal.” — Review on Capterra

Slenke pricing: 

Free to $15/user/month

 

10. Basecamp

basecamp project management

Basecamp took a whole different approach to project management compared to Microsoft Project.

They focus on team communication and project files overdue dates and tasks, making them one of the leaders for communicating with large teams, clients, and vendors.

With Basecamp, you can set your to-do lists, add messages, and update your project schedule. It’s more about information and advanced collaboration features rather than an exact project management solution

Think of it as a unified place for updates, but not project specifics.

Basecamp pros:

  • Same price, no matter how many users
  • Unlimited users and tasks
  • Reliable

Basecamp cons:

  • Limited features
  • No time tracking
  • Unappealing project dashboard
  • No analytics

Basecamp reviews: 

“Basecamp requires a bit of learning initially, not anyone could handle it at first, so I would only dislike that, but it’s not a counter because it really is software that is worth using.” — 

G2Crowd

Basecamp pricing: 

From $99/month

See the top Basecamp alternatives!

Compare Basecamp and ClickUp.

 

11. Celoxis

celoxis screenshot

This is one of the most comparable tools to Microsoft Project. You can track your project financials, identify risks, set up custom workflows, and facilitate collaboration with project files and comments like the other task management platforms. 

If you want to shake off Microsoft Project, but need something that’s technically similar, Celoxis may be the program for you. They also offer local, on-premise solutions if you prefer, but we’d opt for their cloud-based, easy project management solution.

Celoxis pros:

  • Auto project scheduling feature
  • Very customizable
  • Good project resource management tools
  • Tracks project statuses

Celoxis cons:

  • No phone support
  • Only one type of paid plan
  • No iPhone or Google app
  • UI needs improvements for better user experience

Celoxis review: 

“I manage 20-25 projects at any given time, so tracking time and project status is a bit difficult. Celoxis makes it easier for me to do this efficiently, without taking too much time away from ‘real work.’” — G2 Crowd

Celoxis pricing: 

$25/user/month to $450/user/one time 

 

12. RaveTree

ravetree screenshot

Want to manage your sales contacts with your tasks?

RaveTree offers a solid CRM function alongside its project management platform

RaveTree stands nicely as a Microsoft alternative with its resource management and admin tools.

RaveTree pros:

  • Highly Intuitive
  • Includes CRM
  • Client Portal

RaveTree cons:

  • No Gantt charts
  • No mobile iOS or Android app
  • Expensive

RaveTree review: 

“Ravetree is fairly new, but for how new it is, it still works great. It does have changes implemented every now and again, but it’s also helpful that it’s constantly improving to make it easier to use. The company is smaller, but that has made customer support more attentive!” — G2Crowd

RaveTree pricing: 

From $29/user/month to $39/user/month

 

13. Wrike

wrike screenshot

Wrike is for active teams looking for additional support with managing projects. Wrike banks on its accessibility, meaning that you can see a lot of things in one view without too many extra clicks.

The hierarchy is well-defined. If you hover over a project task, the important details will be pulled up automatically. However, it lacks multiple views and favors the List and Waterfall methodologies.

If your team needs something similar to MS Project, but with fewer bells and whistles, then you may find a home with Wrike. Even though it isn’t open source, it offers a free version.

Compare Wrike and ClickUp!

Wrike pros:

  • Assign tasks using drag and drop menu
  • Quick setup
  • Time tracking
  • Customizable
  • Work management function like creating work breakdown structure

Wrike cons:

  • Complex
  • Poor Interface
  • Poor Customer Service

Wrike review: 

“Wrike is unique with respect to other similar applications because it is not just a project management tool. It also functions as a work management tool, which is slightly different.” — 

G2Crowd

Wrike pricing: 

Free to $24.80/user/month 

Compare Wrike and ClickUp.

 

14. Clarizen

clarizen asana alternative

Clarizen is a hefty project tool that any serious (and certified!) project manager may want to consider. This tool is for project planning and etching each detail into stone when you can’t afford to be wrong.

Clarizen gives you serious chops to scope, set specifications, estimate times, schedule due dates, and staff your project appropriately. The back-end technicality does the heavy lifting, but the interface isn’t cutting edge.

If you’re looking for a serious technical solution (that feels that way, too) then try out Clarizen.

Clarizen pros:

  • Great project scheduling with recurring tasks
  • Portfolio management and multiple projects
  • Built-in capacity planning, resource allocation, and resource management
  • Project timelines for better task management

Clarizen cons:

  • Clunky interface
  • Doesn’t offer much for Agile project management teams like Scrum and Kanban
  • Poor search functionality

Clarizen review: 

“The most difficult part of implementing Clarizen in my environment was the initial configuration through the Clarizen Admin portal. It was quite overwhelming at first however after some practice I have become better at making changes on the fly. I am hoping to also attend one of Clarizen’s on site training courses soon to continue to develop my skills.” — G2Crowd

Clarizen pricing: 

Contact Sales

Compare Clarizen and ClickUp.

 

15. Jira

jira screenshot

Jira is a Microsoft Project alternative if you’re running a software development, product management, or QA team. However, like Microsoft Project, Jira has grown into an old and outdated platform.

It’s a difficult tool to use unless you’re nested deep within the development process. It has lots of integrations, issue tracking, and bug tracking features. For other teams, it’s not a valuable tool.

Jira pros:

  • Customizable
  • Lots of integrations like Dropbox
  • Text and email notifications
  • Issue alerts

Jira cons:

  • Extremely complicated
  • Hard setup
  • Dated

Jira pricing: 

Free to $14/user per month

Compare JIRA and ClickUp!

 

Conclusion

Despite all of these there’s still a huge list of Microsoft Project alternatives that we haven’t covered like: Zoho project, Active Collab, Mavenlink, Smartsheet, Team Gantt, and the list goes on… 

There’s no doubt that MS Project is a leader in the project management field. 

However, many of these top programs are chipping away at that reputation.

Even with some of those benefits, its cons drive users away. 

There’s not a simple way for teams to effectively collaborate, there aren’t many tutorials and it functions in a blocky way, much like Excel project templates. Obviously, this isn’t the most appealing tool when there are so many great cloud-based project management software available.

When your entire team desperately needs something the whole organization can use, it’s time to ditch Microsoft Project for a new, collaborative project management solution. You’ll get more work done and faceless bottlenecks.

Sign up with ClickUp today and take your project management to a whole new level.

 

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