If you’re starting to bring PM practices to a small or new team, you might start with free project management software. Sometimes free tools are a major help in getting the job done right.
Sure, you might miss out on some fancier features but there is plenty of free project management software that offers a host of useful functions.
This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best project management software with particular attention given to free software, like:
- Free Gantt Chart Software
- Free Project Scheduling Software
- Free Scrum Tools
- Free Kanban Boards
- Free Online Planners
Why these in particular? Because they are necessary elements of any project management system, whether you are a small start-up or a large enterprise. Smaller, low-budget operations and small businesses alike still deserve access to the best tools, like the above. This is why we put together a list of project management apps that are free-to-use, free-trial applicable, or offer a freemium.
Free Project Management Software FAQ
Microsoft software is essentially ubiquitous as the industry standard for many. While you can use certain Microsoft tools online for free, like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote, there is no project management-dedicated free software from Microsoft. Microsoft Project starts at $12.80/user/month and the on-premise version starts at $769.00.
Some teams are going to require the larger feature set of paid agile project management software. However, many do not. If you answer “Yes” to any of the following, you would probably be a good candidate for free PM software:
- Do I work with a smaller team of between 3-5 people?
- Do I manage only 1-2 projects at a given time?
- Am I interested in a test run of free PM software before committing to a paid plan?
- Do I work with a team of freelancers?
- Do I manage remote teams?
If any of these sound like you, you could benefit from the free PM tools on our list.
If you are looking for open source project management options in particular, try: OpenProject, Odoo, OrangeScrum, project-open, TaskJuggler, Freedcamp, or ProjectLibre, just to name a few.
Best Free Project Management Software Comparison Criteria
What do I look for when selecting the best free project management software? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): What kind of customization does the software provide? Is the navigation and UI well-organized? Are there too many features or options for your business? How user-friendly is the navigation aspect?
- Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? Does the free version offer enough tools or premium features to make the software useful for your business or team? Is there a mobile app? What about intuitive automation?
- Integrations: How easy is it to connect with other tools? Are there pre-built integrations? How many third party applications can the software integrate with? Are there messaging integrations?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the free plan for the features and capabilities, with respect to your use case? Does it include useful project management features such as time tracking, timesheets, or custom fields for creation?
The 10 Best Free Project Management Tools
Whether you need the best to-do list app or the best free Gantt chart software, there’s something here for you. The best free software may simply be free kanban software, free Gantt charts online, free agile software, or all of the above.
Free or freemium PM software comes in many forms. Here is just a sample of what you might come across:
- Free workflow software: Any tool that helps you chart your course, organize task lists, sort resources, manage budgets, and assign duties.
- Free collaboration tools: Any tool that helps your team, near and far, communicate and collaborate in real-time to keep the workflow moving.
- Free Agile tools: Any tool that helps you organize your projects according to agile methodologies.
You can find our project management software comparisons below. Here are the best free project planning apps:
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You can find our project management software comparisons below. Here are the best free project management apps:
ClickUp is a project management software tool with powerful features for managing and completing all your team’s projects in one platform. Users can plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage resources in a centralized workspace, as well as communicate and collaborate with team members and guests.
Task management features include task checklists, subtasks, and task templates, as well as the ability to filter, sort, search for, easily reorder, and view tasks in the manner most convenient for the team. Users can also create Gantt charts, calendars, and timelines to visualize tasks.
ClickUp also includes features for creating, sharing, and collaborative editing for Wikis and documents. Users can comment on documents and tasks, assign comments, and chat with other team members for increased communication and collaboration. Reporting features include the ability to create custom dashboards, as well as six built-in report types for team reporting.
ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.
ClickUp’s free plan is robust and includes all primary features. The unlimited plan starts at $5 a month per user and offers additional functionality.
Wrike is an award-winning project management software for teams of five up to an unlimited number of users. The tool allows users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms and get advanced insights with reporting tools, resource management, and allocation.
Wrike’s simple interface enables users to switch between Kanban boards, drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views. Wrike also features task lists, subtasks, schedules, shared workflows, file sharing, and real-time communication and collaboration.
Wrike is easy to navigate with an interface that has distinct spaces for folders and tasks. You can switch between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and stream (for notifications and messages). Wrike also has a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a ‘Getting Started’ guide, and a community.
Wrike also offers a variety of specific solutions depending on the type of team or organization — including marketing teams and professional service teams, and the tool offers a variety of templates for common organizational processes.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Wrike Free is the best free work management software plan on the market. Those with a free plan can have unlimited users on their account, and with real-time edits and updates, app and cloud storage integrations, and newly added subtask management.
For companies with additional needs or who would like even more customizability, Wrike offers four paid plans to suit any size organization, starting at $9.80/user/month. From small establishments to large enterprises, Wrike helps all teams do the best work of their lives.
Nutcache is a free project management tool that provides an integrated workspace for managing projects. It includes unlimited projects and tasks, as well as project budgeting, task management, time tracking, expense tracking, online invoicing, and reporting capabilities.
The tool includes a suite of collaboration features such as live editing, commenting, and mentions. Nutcache is fully customizable and allows you to create custom workflows. It offers multiple views for projects, including Kanban boards or list views, as well as simple time tracking.
Nutcache’s free plan is robust and includes all project-related basic features. It also includes 10 GB of document storage for any number of projects.
Integrations include Dynacom Accounting, PayPal, 2Checkout, Stripe, Authorized.Net, Google Sign In, and GitHub.
Nutcache costs from $6/user/month with a PRO plan with a minimum of 5 users.
- Easy to set up, short learning curve
- Unique time management features
- Customizable workflows
- No option to create recurring tasks
- Notes can’t be quickly added to stopwatch
- Gantt chart could be improved
Kissflow Project is a free collaborative project management solution tool designed to focus on collaboration, transparency, coordination, and productivity. The tool also includes streamlined tracking features to provide visibility into items and tasks.
Kissflow Project is customizable and can be adapted to your team’s needs. It offers multiple views for projects, including Kanban boards, list views, and swimlanes. The project states function allows team members to mark tasks with one of three statuses — on hold, in progress, and done — which helps users reduce the amount of tracking they need to do.
The tool allows users to share project plans and documents, and includes other file sharing features for discussing projects directly within the software. Team members also get reminders when due dates are approaching. Another great feature is the ability to set priorities and assign team members to them.
Kissflow integrations include native Microsoft and G suite integrations, and the platform offers a REST API and webhooks.
- Multiple views like Kanban, lists, and swimlanes
- On hold, in progress, and done states available for tracking progress
- Powerful reporting features
- No Gantt chart feature
- No ability to set up recurring tasks
- Not intended for complex projects
Used by Amazon and Netflix, TeamGantt is a project management tool with a freemium version for smaller groups and teams who don’t yet need an upgrade to a paid plan. Obviously, TeamGantt specializes in Gantt charts and other task planning capabilities but they also track workloads and team availability, offer collaboration features like chat and tagging, and offer customizable alerts.
The free version of this tool limits you to 3 users and 1 project, which is a constraint users should be aware of. The dependencies can be a bit tricky to navigate, as the more you have of them, the more likely a wrong move will shift everything you have done.
TeamGantt scores well in the Usability segment of the evaluation criteria, as it is incredibly flexible to use. The tool accommodates however you may want to set up and track your projects, no matter their structure or constraints. Additionally, providing an easy “read-only” URL makes it great for sharing with outside parties for input.
TeamGantt is free to use for up to 3 users.
Teamwork lets your team manage multiple complex projects so you can scale your project portfolio. Trusted by over 20,000 businesses such as PayPal, Netflix, and Spotify, Teamwork offers simple-to-use Gantt charts, portfolio management, dashboards, and workload management features to simplify huge projects. By offering hundreds of simple integrations, teams can easily connect with the tools they know.
Teamwork is best for creative product and marketing teams working remotely and that need assistance with complex task management and project planning.
Podio defines team roles and how your team works best by tailoring project processes step by step. Podio shines in its ability to build low code and customizable solutions, as well as its accessible, seemingly endless features. Web and mobile capabilities, task management, apps, and workspace management are all available with the free plan that offers up to 5 users.
If you have fewer project needs, you’ll be more than fine with Podio’s free plan, but in my opinion, larger teams will be more suited to the tool’s paid plans.
Used in 155 countries all over the world, nTask Manager takes on the bigger task of resource management and resource allocation. With the tool’s ability to manage projects with a larger scope, budgeting, organizing finances, and setting project milestones become easier to manage.
nTask Manager offers a unique plan structure. The tool offers a basic plan suited to freelancers and individual teams that allows for up to 5 users and provides unlimited work areas. If the basic plan doesn’t cover enough, they currently offer an awesome premium plan for $1/user/month.
Bitrix24 software manages all your projects, optimizes your sales funnel, and acts as an e-commerce store. The tool offers curated features, and best encompasses marketing, human resources (HR), project management, and customer service sectors. Their software aids each part individually by putting a strong focus on customers, task creation for managers, keeping track of marketing budget and efforts, storing timecards, and creating announcement boards.
Startups and small businesses will be able to quickly adapt and grow with their starter business suite package. The plan provides an unlimited number of users with online storage, a CRM, task and project management, sales, and marketing intelligence.
PivotalTracker prides itself on providing organization and collaboration with its project management software. PivotalTracker makes priorities clearer with backlogging for easy viewing, focusing, and managing hiccups along the way. The software breaks projects into smaller chunks so teams won’t get overwhelmed and can move faster without any surprises along the way.
Their free plan is best for smaller teams, as it allows for unlimited use of the core features, up to 5 projects, and 1-5 collaborators.
The Best Free Project Management Software Summary Chart
|ClickUp||Read ClickUp features & functionality||Freemium version||Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/month||Check out ClickUp|
|Wrike||Read Wrike features & functionality||
14 days free trial, Freemium version for unlimited users
|From $9.80/user/month||Check out Wrike|
|Nutcache||Read Nutcache features & functionality||
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month (minimum 5 users)||Check out Nutcache|
|Kissflow Project||Read Kissflow Project features & functionality||
15 days free trial
|From $35/month (Includes 5 user)||Check out Kissflow Project|
|TeamGantt||Read TeamGantt features & functionality||
14 days free trial for paid plan
|From $24.95/month||Check out TeamGantt|
|Teamwork||Read Teamwork features & functionality||
30 days free trial for paid plans
|From $10/user/month||Check out Teamwork|
|Podio||Read Podio features & functionality||Freemium version||From $7.20/month||Check out Podio|
|nTask Manager||Read nTask Manager features & functionality||
14 days free trial for paid plans
|From $2.99/user/month||Check out nTask Manager|
|Bitrix24||Read Bitrix24 features & functionality||
30 days free trial for paid plans
|From $24/month||Check out Bitrix24|
|PivotalTracker||Read PivotalTracker features & functionality||
30 days free trial for paid plans
|From $6.50/user/month||Check out PivotalTracker|
What Do You Think About These Tools?
Free project software can be a quick and easy way to jumpstart smaller projects or teams who don’t yet have the budget (or need) for a full suite of tools. Just think about what item is most important to you. Is it: Free planning software? A free Gantt chart online? Access to a free online kanban board? Free Scrum software? Once you know the “must have” item you need for your project, you can most likely find a simple project management software solution for little to no cost.
Have you tried out any of the task management software listed above? Do you regularly use any free project management templates? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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