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10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

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In this article, I provide a trustworthy list of the best project planning software options. I have also outlined what each tool does best so that you can select one based on what you need from it.

Project planning is essential to ensure you and your team members meet the objectives of any assignment and deliver something that makes stakeholders happy. A project plan may pull together many components of the project lifecycle in order to tell a succinct story of what complex projects ought to look like from start to finish.

Rather than focusing specifically on the resource management functionality that a lot of planning tools offer, I looked at a broader range of planning software. I rounded up a list of the best tools for generally planning the flow from A to B on your project, and then assigning and tracking the resources required along the way.

Microsoft Project is arguably the original project planning software, designed for allocating tasks and resources, but there are many competitors nowadays. Below, find the best project planning tools and why they are awesome.

The Best Project Planning Software List

Here’s a shortlist of the best project planning software:

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the 10 best project planning software, with screenshots, feature overviews, and pricing.

Jump to project planning software overviews

Project Planning Software Comparison Criteria

Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:

  1. User Interface (UI): Project management software needs to organize all data quickly, efficiently, and cleanly. It’s easier to get teams and clients on board when your tools make it visually clear what needs to happen when.
  2. Usability: Does the project planning software offer tutorials, training, whitepapers, forums, and customer service to help users? Does it work with iPhone and Android for planning on-the-go?
  3. Integrations: You’ll find with project planning software that you might need two or more tools to do everything you need to do. Does each planning tool connect to everything else in your tool kit? Does the project software plug into common project-oriented software like Excel, Google Drive, Jira, Microsoft Project, messaging apps (like Slack), Dropbox, and so forth?
  4. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? I place priority on tools that have simple scalability options to add additional features, users, or storage space.

Project Planning Software Key Features

  1. Planning and scheduling charts and templates
  2. Task dependencies
  3. Project timelines and roadmaps
  4. Team collaboration and communication features (chat, comments, etc)
  5. Task management features
  6. Documentation for planned workflow processes
  7. Real-time reporting and analysis of KPIs
  8. Project budget planning and tracking

Overviews Of The 10 Best Project Planning Software

Here’s a brief description of the project planning software on my list showing what it does best, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.

Runn logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • Freemium plan for up to 5 users
  • From $10/user/month

1. Runn – Best software for analyzing project profitability

Runn screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Track project data through their lifecycle and benefit from profitability tracking and predictions.

Runn is an affordable project planning tool with real-time scheduling, tracking, and forecasting features. It has an accessible and readable shared project view with charts and templates designed to highlight dependencies and due dates. It also has a full API available for building custom integrations.

Runn costs from $10/user/month and has a freemium plan for up to 5 users.

Pros

  • Easy-to-understand cost, revenue, and profitability forecasts
  • Quickly create 1-day, 1-week, or recurring assignments
  • Easily transfer assignments to other people or placeholders

Cons

  • Concierge onboarding limited to enterprise plans
  • A bit of a learning curve to use holistic planning views
FunctionFox logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • Free Demo
  • From $5/user/month

2. FunctionFox – Best project planning software for creative teams

FunctionFox screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Calendars and timeline charts help you plan projects day-by-day.

FunctionFox is a pretty great project planning tool, but it’s an especially good fit for creative teams. It provides easy, visually intuitive project management tools like a simple online timesheet feature that helps you figure out if your billable and nonbillable hours on a project are within your estimates. You can also schedule project milestones, meetings, and actions—everything you’d need to plan out and then carry out projects.

FunctionFox costs from $5/user/month and offers a free demo.

Pros

  • Unlimited number of clients and projects
  • Designed with the creative industry in mind
  • Easy, accessible automatic timer

Cons

  • Has time tracking but no automated time capture
  • No Kanban board planning
  • Minimal format options for downloading reports
Celoxis logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $22.50/user/month

3. Celoxis – Best enterprise project planning software

Celoxis screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Break complex project plans down into tasks and track each’s health and progress.

Celoxis is an all-in-oneproject planning tool used by the likes of HBO, Rolex, KPMG, and Tesla. You can collate project requests from various sources and sort them based on your KPIs. Plus, teams have real-time visibility into metrics like budget spends, receivables, and profitability across projects and portfolios. It is also very easy to allocate resources to tasks based on availability and skills.

Celoxis costs from $22.50/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial and a free demo.

Pros

  • Excellent dynamic dashboards
  • Well-structured reports
  • Easy to use client portal

Cons

  • Heavy interface for small teams to navigate
  • Steep learning curve
  • Can’t add a custom field to a Discussion

 

Hive logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • 14 days free trial
  • From $12/user/month

4. Hive – Best online project planning tool for 3rd party integrations

Hive screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Kanban-style charts are just one way users can plan projects with Hive.

Hive lets your team manage projects in the way they work best and lets you easily switch between views like Kanban and Gantt charts. You will be able to monitor and report on projects in real-time to spot risks and opportunities proactively. They also offer over 1,000 3rd party integrations to bring all your project information into one centralized dashboard.

Hive costs from $12/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Infinite sub-tasks available
  • Task owners can turn sub-tasks into separate projects
  • Add external users without paying for a seat

Cons

  • Cannot attach multiple files to a project request.
  • Can’t move urgent actions to the top.
  • Mobile version is stripped down.
Wrike logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • freemium version
  • From $9.80/user/month

5. Wrike – Best project planning software for agencies

Wrike screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Break your agency’s project plans into new, in progress, and completed tasks and assignments.

Wrike is a cloud-based work management platform with robust project planning capabilities. I know a few agencies who use this tool and are happy with it. In Wrike, you can drill down to individual tasks or zoom out for a holistic view of everything in your portfolio. There’s also custom dashboards, custom workflows, and automations for those workflows to help automate the flow of tasks from one user to another.

Wrike costs from $9.80/user/month and offers a freemium plan for up to 5 users.

Pros

  • Ease of use and setup
  • Holistic, comprehensive task modeling
  • Variety of project views met different user needs

Cons

  • Best features limited to Business plan
  • Commenting system needs to be more prominent
  • Drag and drop feature not flexible
ProjectManager logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $15/user/month

6. ProjectManager – Best for multiple project views (lists, kanban boards, Gantt charts, etc)

ProjectManager screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Comprehensive charts and Gantt views visualize your plan, and you can toggle between other views like calendars, lists, and kanban boards.

ProjectManager is a cloud based project planning software that runs on both Windows and Mac computers with no downloads or complex installation needed. Gantt chart tools help users and your team plan, schedule, and update your projects in real-time. You can plan simple workflows or full Agile sprints with powerful Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and task lists.

ProjectManagement costs from $15/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • Good for costing and construction work monitoring
  • Easy to use project scheduling
  • Fits well into an Agile framework

Cons

  • No way to track and update partially complete tasks
  • No way to sort Agile Boards by project, only by task
  • Most reports require a manual clean-up
Mavenlink logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • 10 days free trial
  • From $39/user/month

7. Mavenlink – Best for contextual collaboration

Mavenlink screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

The Mavenlink feature Smart Snips lets you mark up pages and collaborate with your team.

Mavenlink is a modern collaborative planning platform with award-winning project and resource management features. Collaborate with clients on timelines, deliverables, proofs, approvals, and change orders using easy tagging, commenting, and approval systems. You can even invite clients and subcontractors into Mavenlink for free.

Mavenlink costs from $39/user/month and offers a 10-day free trial.

Pros

  • Good for resource planning and project accounting
  • Ability to search all client communication within a single space
  • Easy to track time, develop timelines, and break projects down into tasks

Cons

  • Can’t automatically repeat budgets or resource allocations
  • Some data syncing lag
  • Task and Gantt data columns aren’t fully customizable
Smartsheet logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $18/month

8. Smartsheet – Best project template gallery

Smartsheet screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Over 200 unique templates and template sets to choose from, sorted by industry.

Smartsheet is the best project management software for template galleries and template sets. These starter solutions are packed with pre-built sheets, reports, forms, and dashboards that your users can modify as needed—saving you a ton of time. They have planning for construction estimates, inventory management, Gantt timelines, and customer lifetime value. If you spend a lot of time building documents, Smartsheet’s a great choice.

Smartsheet costs from $18/month and offers a 30-day free trial.

Pros

  • Customizable sheets and dashboards for different departments
  • Reminders and update requests are great collaborative tools
  • Quick Gantt charts with easy entry of tasks

Cons

  • Power users may hit row and cell link limitations
  • Changes do not autosave instantly when editing
  • May be over-engineered for simple projects

 

monday.com logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • Freemium plan for up to 5 users
  • From $14/user/month

9. monday.com – Best software for planning project project workflows

monday.com screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

Project planning in monday.com is facilitated by colorful, highly visual dashboards and charts.

monday.com is a colorful, user-friendly, jack-of-all-trades project planning tool for modern teams. You’ll be able to plan, track, and deliver projects using hundreds of visual and customizabletemplates that make data more digestible. View data as a map, calendar, timeline, or kanban. I also love the ability to automate repetitive administrative tasks, like creating new lead entries according to incoming emails.

monday.com costs from $14/user/month and has a freemium plan for up to 5 users.

Pros

  • Very easy to invite others, share timelines, and assign tasks
  • Simple organization by dragging and dropping tasks
  • Excellent collaborative features

Cons

  • No bottleneck identification or assistance
  • Automations are not fully customizable
  • Best features locked to Standard or Pro versions

 

ClickUp logo - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020
  • freemium version
  • From $6.64/user/month

10. ClickUp – Best project planning software for small teams or small businesses

ClickUp screenshot - 10 Best Project Planning Software Of 2020

ClickUp’s free plan allows for unlimited users and unlimited projects.

ClickUp is a flexible project planning tool that can accomodate small or large teams who need to-do lists, project management, docs and wikis, spreadsheets, email and chat, events, reminders, goal tracking, time tracking, screenshots and recording features, and resource management. Plus, if you are switching from another PM tool, ClickUp can easily import data from other productivity apps.

ClickUp costs from $6.64/user/month with a freemium plan for simple tasks.

Pros

  • Easy to switch between unrelated project plans
  • Huge number of customization options
  • Impressive organization: create folders, sub-groups, and sub-tasks

Cons

  • Steep learning curve due to number of features
  • Tricky to email with attachments, files sometimes unopenable
  • More third-party integrations welcomed

 

Summary Of The Best Project Planning Software

Other Project Planning Software Options

Here are descriptions of a few other tools to try out:

  1. Team Gantt – Best free Gantt chart software
  2. Teamwork – Best for project templates
  3. Scoro – Best for building and construction management
  4. Forecast – Best for AI work automation
  5. Zoho Projects – Best cloud-based project management tool
  6. Clarizen – Best project planning for marketers
  7. Asana – Best simple to use project planning
  8. Basecamp – Best for software development planning
  9. Trello – Best for task collaboration
  10. Liquid Planner – Best automated scheduling and forecasting
  11. KeyedIn – Best for project portfolio planning
  12. Workzone – Best for personal to-do lists and automatic reminder emails
  13. ProWorkflow – Best planning tool mobile app for most touchscreen-based devices
  14. EasyProjects – Best for web design planning
  15. Sciforma – Best for Waterfall and Critical Chain methodologies
  16. OpenProject – Best open source project planning software

Free Project Planning Software

  1. Nutcache – Pretty generous free plan: free forever for max 20 users (includes unlimited projects, time tracking, some integrations, and more)
  2. Runn – Free for up to 5 users with unlimited projects
  3. TeamGantt – Free forever for up to 3 users and 1 project
  4. Wrike – Free for up to 5 users
  5. Monday.com – Free for up to 5 users
  6. ClickUp – Free for unlimited users with some storage and feature restrictions
  7. Asana – Free for up to 15 users

Which Project Planning Software Do You Recommend?

Which project planning tools do you use for your workspace? Does your project team use any other planning software apps that you would add to this list? Do you use the same app for collaboration tools as well as project tasks? Let us know in the comments below. For updates on our latest articles and podcasts from project management experts, sign up for the DPM newsletter.

You can also share tool recommendations and best practices with other digital PMs in our online community—get involved with our community in DPM Membership.

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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