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10 Of The Best Project Scheduling Software

By 05/11/2018 No Comments

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.

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.

Project-Scheduling-Software-Logo-Soup

What Does Project Scheduling Software Do?

Project scheduling tools are a great way to get yourself organized, providing the whole team with a platform where they can collaborate. They share many typical features of project management software in general, such as budget planning, task management, calendar views, Gantt charts and resource allocation modules.

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.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Project Scheduling Software

Project-Scheduling-Software-1

Especially if your organization is scaling, project scheduling software is 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.

What Is The Best Project Scheduling Software?

Project-Scheduling-Software

We’ve seen a lot of great project scheduling software, but we think these are a cut above the rest. We examine these tools in this review:

  1. Microsoft Project Online –  https://products.office.com/en-us/project/
  2. Wrike – https://www.wrike.com/
  3. Monday – https://monday.com/
  4. Outplanr – https://www.outplanr.com/
  5. Flow – https://www.getflow.com/
  6. Asana – https://asana.com/
  7. Workfront – https://www.workfront.com/
  8. Smartsheet – https://www.smartsheet.com/
  9. Liquidplanner – https://www.liquidplanner.com/
  10. Accelo – https://www.accelo.com/
microsoft project online - project scheduling software

Score

92%
  • free trial
  • from $7/user/month

Microsoft Project Online – https://products.office.com/en-us/project/

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-project-online-screenshot-project-scheduling-softwareMicrosoft 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.

Summary of Microsoft Project Online:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Fail
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 9.2
wrike logo - basecamp alternatives

Score

100%
  • freemium version
  • free 14-day  trial
  • from $9.80/user/month

Wrike – https://www.wrike.com/

This software is specially designed for large-scale enterprises and features a real-time collaboration tool. Wrike is an all-in-one PM software which has everything covered from planning, reporting, collaborating, third-party integrations and workflow automation.

wrike-screenshot-project-scheduling-softwareIt simplifies your life by connecting all the tasks, reports, discussions, emails and newsfeed with your project in one place to give you an overall picture of your project’s progress. Wrike also has a smart reporting feature which has many infographics that updates itself every 15 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about pulling new information.

Wrike has a unique feature which enables new team members to get access to complete context along with previous discussions on important issues, including relevant files. So the new members have all the information they need.

Project schedules are live and dynamic in Wrike, with every member having access to real-time updates and changes, so there are no clashes between projects. It is a very powerful tool which can help you streamline operations, build repeatable processes and at the same time have clear visibility about the status of key milestones and projects.

Wrike costs from $9.80/user/month.

Summary of Wrike:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 10
monday logo - basecamp alternatives

Score

92%
  • free trial
  • from $34/month for 5 users

Monday – https://monday.com/

Monday, formerly Dapulse, has a very simple, visually appealing dashboard which shows you everything in a single glance. It is designed to help teams of all sizes, whether you are a small start-up or a huge enterprise. Likewise, is versatile enough to handle clients from a wide range of markets and industries—from marketing firms to doctor’s offices. A major perk of this tool is that they make it easy to import your current spreadsheets into their Kanban-style boards with no trouble. In terms of ease of onboarding, this tool is one of the best.

monday-screenshot-project-scheduling-softwareMonday provides visibility into who is working on what task and it lets you assign team members to tasks and projects quickly. However, it’s not your conventional Gantt chart tool—there’s no Gantt chart module, but you can schedule tasks in multiple views: by calendar, timeline, files, kanban board, map, and chart. Monday’s strong suit isn’t in reporting (it’s really designed to provide real-time visibility into your team’s progress and status). As such, it has great visual displays of progress, tasks completed, etc, but if you’re looking for client-facing custom reports, other tools like Wrike or Asana.

Monday is fully integrated with Zapier, which allows you to use sync with thousands of apps, and it has pre-built integrations with Slack, Trello, Google Drive, Asana, Google Calendar, Jira, Dropbox and Microsoft Excel.

Monday costs from $34/month for 5 users.

Summary of Monday:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 9.2
Outplanr logo - project scheduling software

Score

96%
  • free 30-day trial
  • from $15/month for 3 users

Outplanr – https://www.outplanr.com/

Outplanr is a relatively new project management tool which turns simple to-do lists into daily work plans for everyone. It unifies  all your projects and resources in one place and gives you a complete insight into each team member’s workload, allowing users to assign new tasks across multiple projects in one go.

outplanr-screenshot-project-scheduling-softwareOutplanr features include real-time task tracking, appointment/meeting scheduling, automatic timesheets, workload-balancing tools, and features for estimating resource loads and prioritizing tasks. It’s useful for calculating time and budget estimates against how much time was actually spent on each task. Another useful feature of this project scheduling software is the “task broadcasting” feature, which automatically displays what you’re working on to your teammates and tracking your time when you start any task. Like Monday, Outplanr’s forte isn’t it’s reporting—it does have reporting features to keep management informed on progress, but if you’re looking for configurable client-facing reports, check out Wrike or Asana.

Outplanr integrates with popular apps including Slack, Asana, and Outlook, and has versions for both Android and iOS. Out of the box, it doesn’t have integrations with Google calendar or other calendar apps, but it’s available as a Power-Up for an additional price.

Outplanr costs from $15/month for up to 3 users.

Summary of Outplanr:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 9.6
getflow logo - project scheduling software

Score

98%
  • free trial
  • from $4.79/user/month

Flow – https://www.getflow.com/

Flow (or Getflow) is a perfect project management tool for small businesses, lean agencies, and startups who find sticky notes and whiteboards too simple—but who don’t want anything too advanced like Asana or Wrike. This is a visually minimalistic tool with great graphic visualizations—users who find technical tools like MS Projects Online to be intimidating or cumbersome will prefer this simple and intuitive tool.

getflow-screenshot-project-scheduling-softwareFlow offers a suite of project management, task tracking, resource management, and collaboration features, making it a well-rounded tool. It allows you to streamline your project from conception to completion. As project scheduling software, this tool offers useful features like monthly and weekly views of workloads, calendar task views, drag and drop resourcing, and a team workload calendar. Plenty of filters allow you to organize and schedule tasks by due date, team, keyword, project, keyword, etc.  The project timeline feature gives you a clear overview of your team’s progress, and the reporting dashboard is one of the more visually clear and easiest to read.

Flow integrations include Drobbox, Box, Google Drive, Slack, Harvest, and a REST API for integrating with other tools.

Flow costs from $4.79/user/month.

Summary of Flow:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 9.8
asana logo - basecamp alternatives

Score

100%
  • freemium version
  • free trial of paid versions
  • $9.99/user/month

Asana – https://asana.com/

Asana is a very popular project scheduling software; it has been around longer than a lot of the other tools and is the go-to product for many multi-million dollar companies. It is a project manager’s dream tool as it organizes all your work in one place, so you don’t waste time between emails, sticky notes, and spreadsheets. Asana is visually beautiful, making it a breeze to maneuver and quickly understand.

asana-screenshot-project-scheduling-softwareAsana’s project scheduling features include a calendar and timeline that allow you to map out your project plan: create, visualize, and manage tasks, deadlines, assignees, and dependencies. It has a great dashboard that allows you to set custom fields to track the things that matter most to you.

Asana integrations include over 100 apps. It has a more comprehensive app directory than most, making it a good choice for teams already using a handful of tools. These include communication apps (Slack, MailChimp, Gmail, Glip), development apps (BitBucket, GitHub, Phabricator, Jira), time tracking apps (TimeCamp, Toggl, Velocity), reporting apps (Grow, Instagantt, Power BI, Weekdone), and many more. For any integrations not in the app directory, you can use Zapier to connect with additional tools.

Asana costs from $9.99/user/month.

Summary of Asana:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication: Pass
Score: 10
Workfront-logo-project scheduling software

Score

100%
  • free 30-day trail
  • from $30/user/month

Workfront – https://www.workfront.com/

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).

workfront-screenshot-project-scheduling-softwareIt 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 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.

Summary of Workfront:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 10
smartsheet logo project scheduling software

Score

98%
  • free 30-day trial
  • $14/user/month

Smartsheet – https://www.smartsheet.com/

Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-like project management tool. It has won a few awards for quickly becoming a favorite business app. It’s a nice tool if you’re comfortable working in Excel but want a break from complicated formulas — Smartsheet performs all the calculations for you across multiple sheets. You can also add customized brand logos and set color themes for individual projects.

smartsheet-screenshot-project-scheduling-software
For project scheduling, Smartsheet has useful features such as workflow automation and visualization of tasks in Gantt, calendar and card views. Team members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminder, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed. The Critical Path feature highlights all the tasks which directly impact your project completion date to keep an eye on important milestones. Reporting is a strong feature of this tool, with editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel.

Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps ilke Salesforce, servicenow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.

Smartsheet costs from $14/user/month

Summary of Smartsheet:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 9.8
liquidplanner logo - project scheduling software

Score

100%
  • free 5-person trial
  • from $45/user/month

Liquid Planner – https://www.liquidplanner.com/

Liquid Planner is designed to create reliable and sustainable schedules by using smart algorithms to automate parts of your resource allocation and scheduling processes. Liquid Planner’s scheduler takes into account each member’s availability and priorities to creates a robust schedule which provides you with different ranges of time for likely completion dates. Like Workfront, Liquid Planner is a more comprehensive tool, with time tracking, resource management, portfolio management, collaboration and scheduling tools all in one.

liquid-planner-screenshot-project-scheduling-software 2Liquid Planner provides visibility into what every member is doing and gives you the flexibility to balance workloads in real-time. It’s a great collaboration tool, with the essential chat, mention, and file sharing features. In terms of reporting, Liquid Planner is more advanced than many of the other project scheduling software, offering cross-project visibility in addition to project insights with reports on project performance, costs, resource utilization, portfolios, and baseline trends.

Liquid Planner has integrations with tools like Dropbox, Zapier, and Salesforce. It also has a great community with developer resources for using the API and webhooks to connect with other services.

Liquid Planner costs from $45/user/month.

Summary of Liquid Planner:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 10
accelo logo - project scheduling software

Score

94%
  • free 14-day trial
  • from $16/user/month

Accelo – https://www.accelo.com/

Accelo provides a platform to streamline all client processes in one place. For managing client-centric tasks, it automatically shares client’s emails, notes, attachments and appointments without changing how you normally use email. It also has a client portal for sharing files and getting sign-off in one platform. If you are struggling to keep all your client-related information in one place, then Accelo is a great choice.

accelo-screenshot-project-scheduling-software

As a project scheduling software, Accelo offers useful features like dynamic scheduling, booking features, task management tools, and timesheet reports. There are multiple reporting dashboards that are preconfigured to provide visibility into resource utilization and profitability, with different dashboards for team members, managers, and admin.

Accelo provides seamless integrations with all the leading apps and platforms including Quickbooks, Salesforce, Slack, Office 365, GSuite, Twitter, Zapier, Paypal, Jira, Stripe, HubSpot, xero, intercom, solarwinds, and Airtable.

Accelo costs from $16/user/month.

Summary of Accelo:

  1. Planning & Scheduling: Pass
  2. Analytics & Reporting: Pass
  3. Integrations: Pass
  4. Communication:  Pass
Score: 9.4

Best Project Scheduling Software Summary Chart

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

Software Overview Free Option Price Score Site
Microsoft Project
microsoft project online - project scheduling software
Read Microsoft Project features & functionality Free trial From $7/user/month 9.2 Check out Microsoft Project
Wrikewrike logo - project scheduling software Read Wrike features & functionality Freemium version

Free 14-day  trial

From $9.80/user/month 10 Check out Wrike
Mondaymonday logo -project scheduling software Read Monday features & functionality Free trial From $34/month for 5 users 9.2 Check out Monday
OutplanrOutplanr logo - project scheduling software Read Outplanr features & functionality Free 30-day trial From $15/month for 3 users 9.6 Check out Outplanr
Flowgetflow logo - project scheduling software Read Flow features & functionality Free trial From $4.79/user/month 9.8 Check out Flow
Asanaasana-logo-project scheduling software Read Asana features & functionality Freemium version

Free trial of paid versions

From $9.99/user/month 10 Check out Asana
WorkfrontWorkfront-logo-project scheduling software Read Workfront features & functionality Free 30-day trail From $30/user/month 10 Check out Workfront
Smartsheetsmartsheet logo project scheduling software Read Smartsheet features & functionality Free 30-day trial From $14/user/month 9.8 Check out Smartsheet
Liquid Plannerliquidplanner logo - project scheduling software Read Liquid Planner features & functionality Free 5-person trial From $45/user/month 10 Check out Liquid Planner
Acceloaccelo logo - project scheduling software Read Accelo features & functionality Free 14-day trial From $16/user/month 9.4 Check out Accelo

Criteria for Selecting Project Scheduling Software

No single project scheduling software fits the requirements for all kinds of projects. Since every project has different needs and every team size is unique, you’ve got to find the one that meets your project’s requirements. The following are the main criteria to look for in project scheduling software:

  • Planning & Scheduling – A necessary feature for any project management tool. 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 these days has some kind of communication tool as a pre-built integration. Communication features in project scheduling software 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 all the information into reports. We look for tools that offer 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.
  • Integration – You’re already using a handful of other apps for work, so any new tool needs to integrate quickly with other apps and programs. At a minimum, most project scheduling software will have pre-built integrations with work apps like Google Suite, Dropbox, and Box. Something to watch for is integrations or syncing with calendar apps—while it may seem like a no-brainer for scheduling software, 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).
  • Price – For small teams with simple project scheduling needs, the basic, freemium versions offered by tools like Wrike and Asana might do the trick. For paid versions, most tools fall in the $6-$10 per user range. You’ll find a few tools, like Workfront and Liquid Planner, that are over $30 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.

Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager. I've been in the industry for more than 10 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from video virals to CMS’, flash games to banner ads 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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