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Plan Your Projects: 10 Best Project Scheduling Software Of 2020

By 01/01/2020 2 Comments
 

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Managing your team and resources without a project scheduling software can be a nightmare for any project manager. Your job as project manager is to ensure everything runs smoothly—from putting a team together, allocating resources, running meetings, budget planning, and forecasting.

The Best Project Scheduling Software

Here are the top 10 project scheduling tools I’ve included in this review:


Below, you’ll find overviews of each tool, along with screenshots, feature overview, and pricing.

Jump to project scheduling software reviews

Project Scheduling Software FAQ

What Does Project Scheduling Software Do?

Scheduling software helps you not plan your projects, but to also get a grip on what’s currently happening as the project unfolds. It also allows you to centralize all work-related activities such as planning, task allocation, resource management and reporting.

Finally project scheduling tools create transparency, not only for stakeholders, but also for team members who want to know what’s expected of them.

What Is Project Scheduling In Software Project Management?

Project scheduling in software project management is part of project planning. It’s the process of defining a project’s phases, milestones, resources, and workflow, and plotting these key components on a timeline that factors in the dependencies between the different parts.

Throughout the lifecycle of a software project, you refer to the project schedule to understand its critical path and how your project is currently tracking.

When there are changes, a well-made project schedule helps you to factor in the effects of any changes through dependencies laid out initially, providing a visual tool to understand the relationship between different roles, tasks, and phases of a project.

What Are Some Common Project Scheduling Techniques?

Most project scheduling techniques make use of a Gantt chart or similar chart, and they include:

  • The Critical Path Method (CPM): a mathematically-based technique where you create a schedule by using your scope to list tasks, their durations, and dependencies
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT or PERT Analysis): a technique similar to CPM, but you calculate a weighted average duration for tasks based on your confidence level in their timing (optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely duration)
  • Fast tracking: a form of Duration Compression where you shorten a project schedule by overlapping tasks that can be done simultaneously
  • Crashing: a form of Duration Compression where you get tasks done faster by adding more resources to the project timeline
  • Simulation: modeling “what if” scenarios to forecast possible durations of a project
  • Resource Leveling: adjusting a schedule so there’s as little over- or under-utilization of resources as possible

What Are Some Common Features in Project Scheduling Software?

Project scheduling software shares many typical features of project management software, such as budget planning, task management, calendar views, Gantt charts and resource allocation modules.

Just realized you’re looking for something different? Try these other tools:

Project management software to help you manage projects, files, team communication, and more.

Gantt chart software to quickly and easily create resource plans for your projects.

Since so many tasks are repeated continuously over hours or days, it makes sense to automate these time-consuming tasks. And this is why knowing how to choose the right project management tools can save you loads of valuable time. It’s especially critical if you’re working on a big project and have a huge team of professionals to manage.

Here, we help you evaluate the best project scheduling software out there—we dig deep to help you find a good fit for your organization and projects, spelling out how the tool is designed to work and how its features differ from other tools on the market.

DPM Project Scheduling Logo Soup

Project-Scheduling-Software

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Project Scheduling Software

Especially if your organization is scaling, project management scheduling tools are a must-have. Here are a few key benefits of project scheduling software:

  1. Define the project workflow and keep the team focused on the right tasks
  2. Identify and track your project’s critical path to leverage flex in the schedule
  3. Waste less time rescheduling with priorities & dependencies that automatically adjust
  4. Set project baselines to track your project plan against your execution
  5. Free up time and energy by setting the tool to provide automatic deadline reminders
  6. Easily visualize, compare, spot holes and adjust your resource availability
  7. Generate reports on utilization, organizational demand and capacity and review trends to forecast future hiring needs

There are many more benefits—and they will continue to grow in number as technology evolves, providing more opportunities for automating tasks and making smarter decisions.

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The Best Tools For Project Scheduling

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $17/2 users/month

1. monday.com – Award-winning, visually intuitive tool for planning projects, and tracking and collaborating on work.

monday.com is a schedule tool with intuitive collaboration features that’s easy to learn and quickly understand. It’s a highly customizable tool that helps you clarify the sequence of work and see the progress and status of your projects at a glance.

Most of the project scheduling features in monday.com are in the “timelines” feature—this is where you can plan projects, set deadlines, assign team members, break down tasks, and set dependencies.  You can reassign tasks by simply clicking and dragging, and you can view your timelines as spreadsheets, as lists, on a map, on a Kanban board, and other views.

monday.com offers the ability to create summary charts as well as export and share project plans in a variety of formats (XML, PDF, etc). Apart from that, monday.com enable big picture view using reporting dashboards that collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress

All said and done, monday.com technically doesn’t enable you to make Gantt charts in the very traditional sense (nor can you import or export MPP files). However, it’s a flexible, intuitive schedule management software tool that helps you see where tasks are bottlenecking, understand who’s currently working on what, etc. What’s more, the customizable fields and the drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to quickly set up and start to use.

monday.com’s integrates with apps like Slack, Excel, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and others, accessible via Zapier.

monday.com costs from $17/month for two users.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $25/user/month

2. Celoxis – Popular, widely used web-based tool with comprehensive project scheduling, management, and PPM features.

When it comes to project scheduling, Celoxis comes packed with powerful planning and scheduling tools to help you build dynamic project plans that automatically adjust to changing real-world conditions. Armed with one of the most flexible, fast and responsive interactive Gantt charts, Celoxis can effortlessly handle large project plans involving multiple levels of sub-tasks, inter-project dependencies and even multiple resources per task.

Its automatic scheduling feature accommodates almost every real-world scenario to provide a robust and reliable project schedule. With features like automatic email alerts, RAG health indicators, and critical path analysis, Celoxis makes project tracking a breeze. Celoxis provides visibility into what every member is doing and gives you the ability to track resource loads in real-time. With built-in team and client collaboration features, one can effortlessly share files, discuss and exchange comments not just with other team members but also with your clients. Several best-practice and custom reports including drill-down charts lets you gather 360-degree real-time insights around your projects and resources.

Celoxis integrates out-of-the-box with popular apps likes Google Drive, Excel, MS Project, Jira, Salesforce and Quickbooks Online. It is also fully integrated with Zapier, which allows you to use sync with thousands of apps. It also has an easy-to-use web-based API to connect with other services and legacy business apps.

Celoxis is one of the few tools that offer SaaS and On-Premise deployment options. Celoxis costs $25/user/month with additional commitment discounts.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $15/user/month

3. ProjectManager.com – Fully-featured, award-winning project scheduling software known for ease of use and great customer support.

ProjectManager.com is a well-rounded, award-winning software used by some big names like including NASA, Volvo, Brookstone, and Ralph Lauren. This is a great solution, especially for managing multiple projects at once.

This tool delivers a ton of useful project planning and scheduling features: using this tool, you can create project plans (Gantt charts), manage tasks, create reports, and manage timesheets, expenses, and workloads. This project planning application also provides a useful feature that lets you easily switch between views—between gantt chart, task list, and Kanban board views. You can use in the in-app communication features to comment on tasks and assign to team members.

Their real-time reports are easy to use—get pre-set reports (project status, timesheets, expenses) in a single click, or set up your own custom reports. You can also use the real-time dashboard to get a glimpse of your current project stats. And you can use all of these features to schedule and report across multiple projects, as well.

ProjectManager.com integrations include native integrations with GoogleApps like Drive, Gmail, Calendar, etc. as well as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project. For 400 other integrations, you can use Zapier to connect with additional tools.

Pricing for ProjectManager.com starts at $15/user/month, with their basic “Personal” plan requiring a minimum of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (a credit card is required to sign up for a free trial).

  • Free trial
  • From $11.95/user/month

4. Paymo – Well-integrated project management software with planning, resource scheduling, and a built-in leave planner.

Paymo is a work management tool designed to help creative and marketing teams own their entire project cycle. Besides planning and resource scheduling, they also offer task management, time tracking, and invoicing modules that are well integrated with each other.

When it comes to project scheduling, the tool allows you to define the critical path by also taking lead and lag time into account. Project scheduling wise, you can get a bird’s-eye view of your entire team’s workload across several projects – thanks to the different user/project/ungrouped views. Instead of manually setting up bookings, Paymo creates them automatically based on your previously entered task details to cut the data entry process in half. The built-in leave planner can also be used to mark leave days directly from the scheduler and save your company precious time and money.

Paymo lacks the possibility to attribute people skills and filter after them, which leaves you at the mercy of the user filter. The same workaround applies since there’s no team functionality available.

Paymo integrates natively with popular apps such as Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Drive, QuickBooks Online, Xero, JotForm, Shift, to name a few. Other integrations are available through Zapier or by syncing with their fully-documented API.

There are two paid plans, the lowest one starting at $11.95/user/month –  no seat cap. Yearly subscribers are also eligible at a 20% discount. Free trial available.

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $24/user/month

5. Forecast.app – Streamlined project scheduling software with forecasting, capacity planning, and plenty of pre-built integrations.

Forecast is a brilliantly simple combination of a resource management and project management tool built on the foundation that successful projects require a combination of short and long term planning. It does not dictate how you work so you can mix scrum, Kanban and traditional Gantt scheduling.

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) built into Forecast enables you to easily spot projects that are at risk of delay or veering off track. Build and share your own powerful dashboards, reports and insights so you can put real-time information right at your team or clients’ fingertips. Effortless resource planning enables you to track utilization and capacity. In the upcoming work view the connection between prioritization and scheduling easily lets team members focus on the most important tasks.

Forecast is is currently used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agencies, consulting companies and enterprises – has standard, premium and enterprise options that cost from $24/seat/month (14-day free trial).

  • Free demo
  • From $50/user/month

6. FunctionFox – User-friendly project schedules and gantt charts, and keep traffic meetings on track with production reports.

Built by creative professionals for the creative industry, FunctionFox features user-friendly tools to help you create detailed project schedules, track your progress through interactive gantt charts and calendars, manage your resources with action assignments and to-do lists, and communicate and collaborate through the project blog. FunctionFox is entirely web-based so it allows both in-office and remote users to work together seamlessly.

Their intuitive project scheduling software allows you to allocate work to your team through action assignments, mark out important dates within a project using milestones, and schedule project meetings. You can keep an eye on your team’s capacity through to-do lists and the availability tool, and monitor project timelines using their interactive gantt charts and project calendar. The project blog allows your team to communicate in real time, and they offer flexible, comprehensive reports that can be exported in Excel format.

FunctionFox is easy to use and made even easier with the tutorials and support provided. All customer support is unlimited, ongoing, and included in your subscription cost. If you have account-related questions, or would like to review specific features, the customer success team is happy to assist you over the phone, by email, or via scheduled webinars customized to your needs. Their website also includes a help center, and there are detailed help files included within the software itself.

The project scheduling tools are included in their FunctionFox Premier platform. Compatible with all up to date web browsers, you can also schedule projects and monitor deadlines while on the go using their mobile site, iPhone/iPad, and Android Apps.

FunctionFox Premier is $50/month for the first user, plus $10/month for each additional user. You can sign up for a free demo as well.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $7/user/month

7. MS Projects – Plan your projects with the power of dynamic scheduling based on effort needed, project duration, and allotted team members.

MS Projects screenshot - Plan Your Projects: 10 Best Project Scheduling Software Of 2020

Schedule projects using Excel spreadsheets and Gantt chart features.

Microsoft Projects can be purchased with Office 365 or as a stand-alone item; any team already accustomed to Microsoft programs’ interfaces will find that learning this software is straightforward. If you’re not using the MS ecosystem, I’d suggest checking out some MS Project alternatives. Top features include start date restraint rules and visualization in a grid, board, or timeline.

Microsoft Projects has the honed functionality of an Excel doc with scheduling-specific tools for project management pros. If you need project scheduling help, try their intuitive and robust Gant chart generator to navigate product timelines.

Integrations include other Microsoft software, like Outlook, Excel, Skype, and more.

One critique to note is that MS Projects, like any Microsoft software, tend to be a bit of a memory and CPU hog. Thus, they lost a few points in Usability, as it may limit the performance of your computing machine if it’s not up to snuff.

MS Projects starts at $7/user/month and has a free 30-day trial.

  • freemium version
  • 10 days free trial
  • From $18 for 6 users

8. Zoho Projects – Zoho’s most comprehensive project management tool helps you plan, track and collaborate effectively all on one platform.

Zoho Projects is an award-winning project management and project scheduling tool from Zoho. It offers flexibility and customizations to suit the needs of traditional project managers as well as agile teams.

Plan and track the way you like – as lists, kanban, or visually with Gantt charts. With task tags and custom views and filters, organize your tasks and find them with ease. In addition to timeline planning, plan your resources effectively with the drag and drop resource utilization module. Keep everyone in the loop right inside Projects via inbuilt chat, forums, comments or take the social route with the project portal feed. Add to that the advanced analytics capabilities integrated within to generate more than 50 types of charts and reports. The colorful dashboards are fully customizable so that users can make Zoho Projects their own.

The interface and modules are highly customizable. All aspects of the UI from theme colors to arrangement and visibility of the various modules can be changed to suit a user’s preferences. Zoho projects also offer free onboarding for its customers and a comprehensive online help guide for all users.

Zoho Projects stands out in cases where there are multiple hand-offs involved. It is especially popular among IT companies, consultants and education organizations. The tool is trusted by over three million users and hundreds of big brands across the globe.

Being part of the Zoho’s ecosystem allows Projects to connect to several of Zoho’s own services such as Zoho Books, Zoho CRM and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well.

Starts from $18 for 6 users. Free 10-day trial available. No credit card information required.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $30/user/month

9. Workfront – Complete project management solution with impressive project scheduling features.

If you are looking for a complete project management solution, Workfront is your go-to software. It has everything from file sharing, customizable reports, workflow automation, resource management, capacity planning and collaboration tools. It also features a help-desk and issues tracking tool which can help to identify any potential problems and solve them. It’s a more complete project and portfolio management solution, with a higher price tag.  One of the strongest points of this tool is its ability to sync all of your other business apps (see below).

It has an impressive project scheduling tool which can create tasks, milestones, predecessors, allocate resources while monitoring progress within set time-frames. It is a great collaboration tool where team members stay in sync through threaded conversations, status updates, and comments. They can even assign milestones to each other and get live notifications of any changes taking place. For reporting, Workfront offers 50 report templates to analyze and share the status of your project. You can even create your own dashboard and combine multiple reports into one.

Workfront integrates with out-of-the-box with apps likes Dropbox, Google Docs, SharePoint, Jira, Jive, AEM, and Salesforce. They also have an integration platform called Workfront Fusion that’s specifically designed to connect 100s of business apps, syncing tools like Airtable, Amazon SNS, Asana, Atlassian Confluence, Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Mavenlink, Oracle, Netsuite, Quickbooks, and dozens more.

Workfront costs from $30/user/month.

  • From $7/user/month

10. Microsoft Project Online – Industry standard software for streamlining project, resource, and portfolio management.

Learning how to use Microsoft Project scheduling software (Microsoft Project Online) can prove to be difficult for some because it is a huge program which requires experience to master. It’s available as a desktop app with an Office 365 subscription in order to use it. You can use any MS viewer software to view the MPP files even if you do not have the Microsoft Project license.

Microsoft scheduling software is used by many multi-million dollar companies. Despite the fact that it’s a legacy project management software (or maybe because of it), many new project managers and mid-sized agencies prefer Microsoft project alternatives because MS project files are usually very big and cannot always be shared easily online.

MS Project Online allows you to work remotely from anywhere by collaborating with your team members and stakeholders. It is useful for managing projects, planning budgets, allocating resources with Gantt charts, and creating diagrams to visualize project data. You can use colors to highlight critical data and keep track of the progress so you don’t miss any deadlines.

MS Project Online integrates with other Microsoft Office products—but keep in mind that it only works only on Windows platforms.

Microsoft Project Online costs from $7/user/month.

Best Project Scheduling Software Summary Chart

We go into detail about the pros & cons and main features of each of project software scheduling tools based on our criteria. Here, the info is summarized in a simple chart:

Other Tools You Might Find Useful

There are many project scheduling tools out there and here are a couple of honorable mentions that we haven’t included in this review. Check them out!

Want Help Narrowing Down the Options?

This tool is pretty useful. We’ve partnered with Crozdesk to give you access to their “Software Finder”.

If you input some of the details about your project and the features you’re looking for in a project management tool, it will generate a list of scheduling programs that match your preferences. You provide your email, and they send over a nice PDF guide with a summary of your best matches.

Criteria for Selecting Project Scheduling Software

No single project scheduling software fits the requirements for all kinds of projects, but below I’ve taken my general criteria for evaluating software and applied it to project scheduling software. I’ve used it to score the tools on the list according to what’s most important to have in a project scheduling tool

  • User Interface (UI): Are the displays intuitive and clear? For scheduling tools, I also look for drag & drop interfaces that let you quickly move resources around with a single click.
  • Usability: Is it easy to learn? How good are the tutorials and training? Does the company offer good user support?
  • Features & Functionality: In these tools, I narrowed in on the most important project scheduling features and functions, explained below.
      • Planning & Scheduling: At its most basic, project scheduling requires some form of project management calendar software. Planning and scheduling features might include: calendars, task boards and cards, task lists, multiple views for seeing daily and monthly workloads, Gantt charts, timelines, drag & drop resourcing, filters for finding specific tasks, and time and deadline tracking.
      • Communication: A lot of PM software has some kind of communication tool built in. These include team chat, integrations with email for automatic notifications, a live activity stream or notifications feed, and task comments.
      • Analytics & Reporting: One of the main benefits of project scheduling software is its capability to easily provide loads of project data and compile it into reports. The best project planning software offers analytics and reporting features like configurable reports, real-time and interactive reporting features, automatic report generation, and advanced analytics that track time, resource utilization, costs, and other key project metrics.
  • Integrations: At a minimum, most project scheduling software will have pre-built integrations with Google Suite, Dropbox, and Box. Something to watch for is integrations or syncing with calendar apps—while it may seem like a no-brainer, not all tools have pre-built integrations with calendar apps that you’re already using (or you have to upgrade your plan to gain access to that functionality).
  • Value for $: How does this tool compare in price to other tools with similar feature sets? A note on price: for small teams with simple project scheduling needs, you might be able to get by with free project scheduling software. Look for the basic, freemium versions offered by tools like Wrike and Asana. For paid versions, most tools fall in the $6-$10 per user range. You’ll find a few tools, like Forecast and Celoxis that are over $20 per user and provide a more robust set of tools that expand into portfolio management territory.

What Do You Think?

What do you use to put your project schedules together? Is there a tool that you feel does it all, or have you figured out a magic combination of tools that works especially well? Share it with our community of digital project managers below.

 

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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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