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10 Best Microsoft Project Alternatives For 2022 [Expert Review]

Best Microsoft Project Alternatives 2022

Here’s my list of the best MS Project Alternatives for 2022:

  1. monday.com

    Best for integrating with other tools

  2. ClickUp

    More features, nice visuals, and colorful boards with loads of information.

  3. Smartsheet

    Best built-in critical path feature

  4. Wrike

    Best Microsoft Project alternative for team collaboration

  5. GanttPRO

    Best Microsoft Project alternative for creating powerful Gantt charts

  6. Zoho Projects

    Best for project visualization

  7. Celoxis

    Comprehensive project and portfolio management features

  8. Forecast

    Best Microsoft Project alternative for resource management

  9. Nifty

    Best for cross-departmental and cross-functional teams

  10. ProjectManager.com

    Best MS Project alternative for progress tracking and reporting

Microsoft Project remains one of the most popular project management software. However, loads of companies are moving away from it and onto products that are updated more frequently. Long gone are the days when we had to wait a year for a product upgrade, plus Microsoft Project alternatives are more robust nowadays.

Having said that, Microsoft has released an online version of its software and is making strides to make it a competitive product. While we wait for it to be better, here are a few options to consider and the features that make them a great alternative to MS Project.

Selection Criteria

The following are the criteria I used to evaluate the alternatives after carefully selecting them from the wide range of options available in the market.

  1. User Interface (UI): I look at the tool from a designer's perspective. Therefore, every element on the screen is part of the analysis of its visual appeal. Although you might think it’s secondary to functionality, a pretty tool affects our mood and performance if we see it every day.
  2. Usability: Is it intuitive and user-friendly? Similar to the criterion above, the elements on the screen and their distribution must make sense to the user. A pretty tool without a good user experience is equal to having a Ferrari without an engine. Something that boosts this category is the availability of tutorials, detailed documentation, and training.
  3. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? I look into the available pre-built connections with other tools that extend its functionality. Further, I fetch details on available APIs in case your team wants to jump in and build their own integrations.
  4. Pricing: Here, I go into their pricing structure, analyze plans, starting costs, free trials or even a free version that you can use.

Key Features

A great alternative to software must at least match the features in the one you are trying to replace. Here’s what to look for in your new software.

  1. Import and export .mpp files: The tool should be able to open and import MS Project files, either natively or through a .csv file. Then, export PDFs or shareable project plans.
  2. Resource management: The tool should have a module that handles workload and resource scheduling and supports capacity planning.
  3. Time tracking: From simple to complex projects, the software needs a time tracking tool so the team can record the time they invest in activities. This can be built into the tool itself or handled through an add-on (like an integration).
  4. Roadmap: The ability to track multiple projects in one view, display goals, and overall progress. This specific feature might be available only on higher-tier plans.
  5. Reporting: The tool must have a reporting module that lets you track progress on your projects, portfolios, programs, and resources.
  6. Views: The ability to see information in diverse formats. The minimum required is a Gantt and a Kanban view. Modern tools will have more, such as calendar, table, box, and list views, for example.

Disclaimer, I left a couple of features that belong to the Enterprise plan out. This is on purpose because, if you are at that level, almost any of the tools on this list will out-feature MS Project anyway.

microsoft project alternatives logos list

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Best Microsoft Project Alternatives

In the overview of Microsoft Project alternatives below, I break down the features, pricing, and main benefits of the best MS Project alternatives.

1

monday.com

Best for integrating with other tools

monday.com is one of the few tools that prides itself in ‘not being a project management tool’! They’ve done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical tools and focused on simple structures that help clarify the sequence of work that needs to be done.

This tool is a great Microsoft Project alternative in that it functions a lot like a spreadsheet—but one that’s more intuitive to use and modify without having to mess around with formulas. Likewise, it offers more than a basic spreadsheet by giving you various views of your projects—view as spreadsheets or as lists, on a map, on a Kanban board, and other views. Users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more.

It offers the ability to create summary charts as well as export and share project plans. However, one downside is that it doesn’t allow you to make Gantt charts in the traditional sense (they have a feature that serves the same purpose and works just as well, called “timelines”), nor can you import or export MPP files. That said, monday.com is designed as a true alternative to MS Project, not something to be used in tandem with it.

monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Excel, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and many more, accessible via Zapier.

monday.com costs from $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.

14-day free trial

From $10/user/month

2

ClickUp

More features, nice visuals, and colorful boards with loads of information.

Clickup is definitely a tool that you can get as an alternative to Microsoft Project. It has features like task management, time management, collaboration documents, whiteboards, and reporting tools that make it a viable option if you want a strong performance and low cost solution.

Unlike MS Project, ClickUp has beautiful visuals, an intuitive interface, support for sprints, goals, and workload view of your resources. Every detail in this tool has been properly designed, created, and deployed to give you a 5-star user experience on mobile, desktop and browser.

Although you can’t import your .mpp files, it does have importing capabilities for .csv files, .xlsx, and other project tools like Trello, Asana, Jira, and more.

ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.

ClickUp is free with limited storage for an unlimited number of users. Paid plans start at $5/user/month and offer a free-trial.

Free plan available

$9/user/month

3

Smartsheet

Best built-in critical path feature

Smartsheet's online project management tool takes some of the most useful features of Microsoft Project, combines them with the simple use of an online spreadsheet, and then incorporates team collaboration and automation functions to save money. It offers the basics: functions such as making a schedule with tasks, subtasks, activities, assigned resources, and sections on tasks.

Smartsheet helps you organize projects, grids, calendars, dashboards, portals, forms, and more all from a unified control center. They have pre-built Gantt chart templates with customizable fonts and colors, “% Complete” and “Assigned To” columns, and more. It 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, reminders, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed.

The Critical Path feature highlights all the tasks which directly impact your project completion date so you can 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 like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.

Smartsheet costs from $7/user/month, with a minimum of 3 users and a maximum of 25 users at the base tier. Larger teams require a different plan. They also offer a 30-day free trial.

30-day free trial

From $9/user/month

4

Wrike

Best Microsoft Project alternative for team collaboration

Wrike is the most powerful work management software, trusted by 20,000+ organizations worldwide. Regularly named a leader by IDC and Forrester Wave, Wrike consistently receives the highest scores because it offers much more than single-project management.

Wrike is a full-scale platform that balances an entire set of project management features with usability, scalability, and configurability. Teams of any size can customize workflows, dashboards, reports, request forms, and more to support multiple ways of working.

Wrike and Microsoft have a ‘better together’ strategy that offers the best Microsoft Teams integration on the market. With 400+ integrations, users can also keep their favorite tools, including Google, Dropbox, and all Microsoft products.

Its award-winning user interface helps project managers get a 360° view of their workflow. Toggle between colorful Kanban boards, one-click Gantt charts, connected calendars, or detailed dashboards — all adaptable to highlight key priorities. Keep work organized, secure, and visible via distinct Spaces, folders, projects, and tasks.

Wrike’s unrivaled collaboration tools make it easy to connect cross-functionally. Communicate live, share workflows, and tag each other in tasks. Divide complex projects into lists, tasks, and sub-tasks, or use a ready-built template to get started fast.

Customer support is available 24/7, with a dedicated help center and a thriving expert community.

Wrike pricing starts at $9.80 per user per month, but users can get started for free with a 14-day trial.

14-day free trial

From $9.80/user/month

5

GanttPRO

Best Microsoft Project alternative for creating powerful Gantt charts

You’re probably aware of how painful it is to find an MS Project alternative that is nice looking and has powerful Gantt charts. In GanttPRO, you will find both. This reliable project management software helps plan work, track tasks, set

deadlines, and collaborate with stakeholders. If you already started your plan in MS Project but need to change it, import it directly to GanttPRO, in seconds. Exporting projects is also available.

The tool looks really nice with its intuitive UX/UI design and a short learning curve. It offers a wide range of robust project management, project portfolio management, team collaboration, resource and cost management features.

In this MS Project alternative, you can create tasks with lots of settings like statuses, priorities, dates, deadlines, progress, time log, etc. Thanks to the auto-scheduling feature, any change in your tasks, dates, or dependencies will be automatically reflected.

Besides the native Gantt chart timeline, there is also a board view and a tasks view, and you can switch between views to get more flexibility.

Basic plan for 1 user starts at $7.99/month if billed annually. Their free trial period lasts 14 days.

14-day free trial

From $7.99/user/month (billed annually)

6

Zoho Projects

Best for project visualization

Zoho Projects is a MS Project alternative that has a simple, easy-to-use interface that also comes with a mobile application. Zoho Projects has extensive Gantt chart features and capabilities at an affordable price range which creates an all-round project management experience. It has an intuitive Gantt chart that can be operated with simple drag-and-drop actions. It supports all four kinds of dependencies and contains a critical path and baseline to help avoid delays.

Zoho Projects comes with features like task management, time tracking, and resource utilization. All projects can be split into milestones that you want to reach at various time periods. Task management is easy with features like custom fields and statuses, task recurrence, reminders, and a Kanban view. You can manage your time by splitting and allocating your available hours to all your work items.

The resource utilization chart comes with simple seesaws that depict the workload of your resources. While allocating tasks, you can easily see who is over-utilized, under-utilized, or unavailable . Collaboration is possible with any of the project’s stakeholders with interactive feeds and forums, wiki pages, and built-in chat.

Zoho Projects integrates with several Zoho applications like Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, Zoho People, and other applications like Office 360, Google Drive, G Cal, GitHub, BitBucket, and Crashlytics. Zoho has a Marketplace that has several pre-built extensions. Zoho Projects also has support engineers and live chat support to help with onboarding.

Zoho Projects costs from $4/user/month (billed annually) and comes with a 10-day free trial. They have a freemium version for up to 3 users and 2 projects.

10-day free trial

From $5/user/month

7

Celoxis

Comprehensive project and portfolio management features

More than just a Gantt chart tool, Celoxis is a comprehensive but easy-to-use project management tool used by HBO, Deloitte, and Rolex that handily comes in two flavors: as an online app or on-premise. When compared to MS Project, it’s lower in cost yet fuller featured, and it comes with powerful interactive Gantt charts, handy portfolio dependencies, and all the keyboard shortcuts you could want.

Just as you would with Microsoft Project, Celoxis allows you to create tasks, subtasks, and milestones, as well as assign resources and dependencies to tasks. It is a comprehensive and enterprise-grade integrated solution that you can use not only to create Gantt charts but also use to manage your project portfolios, workflows, expenses, timesheets, and resources. It is really a complete and full-featured project management tool with project tracking, resource management, risk management, and reporting all rolled into one, as well as full-blown capabilities for collaboration with clients. Celoxis offers the option of a product demo or a free 30-day trial if you’re looking to take it for a test drive.

Celoxis costs $25/user/month for SaaS users and $450/user for on-premise.

30 days free trial

From $22.50/user/month

8

Forecast

Best Microsoft Project alternative for resource management

Forecast is a powerful combination of resource management and project management built on the foundation that successful projects require a combination of short and long term planning. You can build advanced interactive Gantt charts with Forecast’s full suite of project management features.

Powered by AI, it is designed for companies that want to monitor the progress of their projects, programs, and portfolios in real-time. Forecast learns from hundreds of thousands of projects and turns a simple list of tasks into a project plan with assigned team members, estimated task duration, and precise delivery dates - allowing you to be more efficient and build project timelines in seconds.

Team members can collaborate and comment on tasks, and Forecast gives you profitability insights as well, so management can monitor revenue by project.

Forecast is currently used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agencies, consulting companies, and enterprises. The tool offers Lite, Pro, and Enterprise options that cost from $29/user/month, as well as a 14-day free trial.

14-day free trial

From $29/user/month

9

Nifty

Best for cross-departmental and cross-functional teams

Nifty is a project management and team collaboration tool that offers robust and powerful features while remaining easy to use. Features include dependencies, reports, and portfolio management, as well as a full suite of communication tools including project discussions, chat, and docs, as well as a two-way Google suite integration.

Nifty's Gantt chart is scalable and readable for managers and non-managers alike, and allows users to create milestones that reflect project status. These milestones can be used to unlock phase-based dependencies and can be shared as a public link for presentations. Outside collaborators can join projects to collaborate in a limited capacity as guests, without being added to your subscription.

Managers can oversee portfolio and organizational deadlines and tasks in overview, calendar, and workload views, while team members can utilize the My Tasks view to quickly identify what needs their attention in the short term.

The Nifty team can import your data from Microsoft Project so you can continue working without delay.

Nifty does not offer a free plan, but it offers a 14 day free trial and starts as low as $39/mo for up to 10 users in its bucket-based plan.

14 days free trial. No credit card required.

From $39/month

10

ProjectManager.com

Best MS Project alternative for progress tracking and reporting

ProjectManager combines Gantt chart functionality with many other project views—kanban boards, spreadsheets, task lists, and more—to support the needs of hybrid teams. While the project manager may prefer the Gantt view to create a detailed work breakdown structure, others team members can work in the same project through a simple task list.

Offering key project management features such as collaboration tools, reporting capabilities, and to-do lists, ProjectManager is simple enough for anyone to use, yet powerful enough for managers to make data-driven decisions and for businesses to manage projects of all levels of complexity. The tool integrates with Office 365, Jira, Slack, and Google Drive, with even more connections available through Zapier.

Gantt charts allow users to drag-and-drop to adjust deadlines, add and visualize dependencies, and set specific milestones. Users can import Gantt charts to and from other tools (including .mpp files from MS Project) to get projects up and running quickly. The tool also allows users to create reports in one click, view progress bars for quick project health checks, and create PDF versions and shareable links.

ProjectManager offers users a 30-day free trial with no credit card required. After the trial plans cost from $14/user/month or $11.50/user/month when billed annually. The tool also has a freemium plan for up to 3 users.

30-day trial

From $16/user/month

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The Best Microsoft Project Alternatives Comparison Chart

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the baffling array of Microsoft Project alternatives out there.

Below, we’ve put together a reader-friendly table neatly summarizing basic info about the tools described in this article. We’ve investigated the pricing and availability of free trials and demo versions for you to make a side-by-side comparison that much simpler.

Tool Free Option Price
1
monday.com

Best for integrating with other tools

14-day free trial

From $10/user/month Visit Website
2
ClickUp

More features, nice visuals, and colorful boards with loads of information.

Free plan available

$9/user/month Visit Website
3
Smartsheet

Best built-in critical path feature

30-day free trial

From $9/user/month Visit Website
4
Wrike

Best Microsoft Project alternative for team collaboration

14-day free trial

From $9.80/user/month Visit Website
5
GanttPRO

Best Microsoft Project alternative for creating powerful Gantt charts

14-day free trial

From $7.99/user/month (billed annually) Visit Website
6
Zoho Projects

Best for project visualization

10-day free trial

From $5/user/month Visit Website
7
Celoxis

Comprehensive project and portfolio management features

30 days free trial

From $22.50/user/month Visit Website
8
Forecast

Best Microsoft Project alternative for resource management

14-day free trial

From $29/user/month Visit Website
9
Nifty

Best for cross-departmental and cross-functional teams

14 days free trial. No credit card required.

From $39/month Visit Website
10
ProjectManager.com

Best MS Project alternative for progress tracking and reporting

30-day trial

From $16/user/month Visit Website

Other project scheduling software alternatives worth considering:

There are some new kids on the Gantt chart block! I haven’t had a chance to review these properly, but if none of the above work for you, it’s worth checking some of these out:

  1. Project Plan 365

    Best MS Project MPP compatibility

  2. Merlin Project

    MS Project alternative for iOS with customization

  3. Moovila

    Best Microsoft Project alternative for project scoring features

  4. Workzone

    Best for project template capabilities

  5. Tom's Planner

    Collaborative Gantt chart software for teams who use MS Excel

  6. TeamGantt

    Best for viewing multiple projects on one Gantt chart

  7. Hive

    Best Microsoft Project alternative for scalability

  8. Planview Clarizen

    Best enterprise Microsoft Project alternative

  9. Easy Projects

    Best Microsoft Project Alternative for enterprise and portfolio project management

Free Microsoft Project Alternative

If you don't have the budget to upgrade and are okay with having limited functionality, here are some options.

  1. Project Libre – open source project management software
  2. GanttProject – free project management and scheduling app to make Gantt charts on Windows, OSX, and Linux
  3. Ganttology – interactive Gantt chart software with basic free plan (1 chart, 50 tasks), in addition to paid plans
  4. Toggl Plan – simple, sleek project planning software with a free plan (5 people max) in addition to paid plan

What is Microsoft Project?

Microsoft Project is a project management tool used by different types of users, with varying levels of access. The software provides tables, views, filters, fields, calendars, and a database for doing things like:

  • Developing project plans
  • Assigning resources
  • Tracking time & progress
  • Creating Gantt charts
  • Creating & managing budgets
  • Balancing workloads
  • Scheduling tasks & resources
  • Creating graphical reports
  • Storing project data in a shared database

You can learn more about Microsoft Project features, benefits, cost, and use cases in my overview of Microsoft project management software.

Is Microsoft Project useful?

For a lot of agencies, yes. In many cases, the default project management tool for creating project plans is still Microsoft Project, and it provides a lot of useful tools.

For starters, Microsoft Project is not just a fuzzy old tool that Microsoft doesn’t really care about. They’ve been in business for over 30 years, and they’re introducing some really smart integrations with Power BI, Internet of Things, bots, and machine learning that are awesome.

Questions to ask when choosing a Microsoft Project alternative

It really depends on whether or not you subscribe to the requirements we set out above. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the right MS project alternative for your particular needs.

How do you use your project plans and schedules?

The software on this list is meant to keep your project plans front and center. They promote visibility and communication around the plan. Consider if this is the use you currently give your plans and schedules or if it’s what you would like to have.

Here are some common uses:

  • Gantt charts exist at the beginning of the project and are never updated again.
  • Timelines serve as a tool for baseline analysis.
  • Schedules communicate progress to the project and executive team.

Who will use it?

Think of who needs to see the project information. Is it a team member, client, third party, or only the project manager? The more people need to be involved and collaborate, the bigger the need for a tool that has integrated chat features, the ability to export dashboard information and create external users for the tool.

What other tools are you using?

Make a list of all the tools that you currently use. Then, define which ones are, should, and you would like to be connected. Finally, go into the integrations section of your tool of choice and see if it can mimic what’s on your list.

Sometimes these integrations are already built. Other times, they have to be connected through an external party like Zapier, or programmed by your IT team using the tool’s API.

Are you always online?

Cloud-based project apps can be great, and they can be kept more up to date with ‘live’ information, but consider that they require an active internet connection to work.If you do not have a reliable internet connection or are constantly on the go, look for apps that have offline capabilities. This can be from a desktop version of the software or a mobile app.

What’s the cost?

The cost of Microsoft Project tends to be one of the primary reasons that people look for an alternative. Microsoft Project isn’t cheap, but if you do a quick search on Amazon, you can find Microsoft Project 2019 for less than $600. In addition, you should factor in the number of users and the cost of ownership of the product.

Consider Projects vs Users

Most of the Microsoft Project alternatives are priced on a cost-per-user basis. So in working out which solution is the most affordable, consider what makes the most sense for you; is it a tool that many people in the organization will need to use, or will it be used principally by the project manager?

Consider The Lifetime Cost Of Ownership

While web-based apps might seem affordable in the short run, typically costing around $15/user/month, the cost of ownership over 3 years is actually the same as buying a copy of Microsoft Project. So before deciding on subscribing to a service, consider purchasing a desktop-based non-cloud solution like:

Most of the cloud-based Microsoft project alternatives offer at least some paltry freemium offering which might be enough for you:

Summary of Microsoft Project Alternatives

While Microsoft Project might seem like an easy tool to replace, when you can subscribe to Project Online Professional for $30/user/month, it’s worth weighing up all the options before subscribing to a cloud-based option.

But if you’re not using it every day, and just need a simple Gantt project planner, there are lots of great, cheap, and even free options for you.

Just realized that you need a different type of tool? Check out these other reviews:

What Do You Think?

What project management tools do you think we’re missing? Any other great alternatives to Microsoft Project for project scheduling, making Gantt charts, and project plans? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any suggestions, tips, or thoughts on using this kind of project scheduling software – why not share them using the comments below?

By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.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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47 Comments

  • Love Project in a Box. Excellent alternative to MS Project.

    Reply

  • Useful content, will definitely test your recommendation

    Reply

  • Hey Ben, Thanks for compiling the list, I am amazed few of the products I've tried before are not included in the list like Trello, Basecamp, Notion and TeamGantt. I've been searching a good project manager for a while, thanks for listing these, I am going to try SmartSheet because it seems like Google Sheets on Steriods. Thanks again

    Reply

  • You shuld add Proggio.com to your list, it's a new free tool very easy to use for professional PMOs

    Reply

  • Great compilation. Please also checkout Avaza (www.avaza.com). We offer integrated Project Management, Time Tracking, Expense Tracking, Scheduling, Time Billing, Fixed Fee Billing, 30+ reports and more. We also offer great 24/7 customer support, a robust API, and free pieces of training anytime you'd like! All that for a price that most can't beat!

    Reply

  • Here is another free and simple project management tool with built in Gantt and Canvas https://ruumapp.com/

    Reply

  • Hi, Ben It is a great article and a rich collection of MS project alternatives. Like you said you would like to hear about others too. I would like to represent TIEMCHART Tiemchart have been helping some of the largest organisation where were initially on MS Project. We have delivered a system that is also taking into account for Human, Material and Assets to account for project progress. Please visit our website https://tiemchart.com/ms-project-alternative.html to understand bit more about how we are helping the industry. We would love to hear back from you and also will be thankful if you can kindly include our name in your list. Thanks & Regards,

    Reply

  • Looking for a recommendation for a novice - what's a good, free tool to learn project management software on? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Hey Liz, if you're looking for project management software, including Gantt charts, I'd try Wrike

      Reply

  • What about taskworld - how does this stack up in comparison to say SmartSheet?

    Reply

  • I would highly recommend to take a look at Hansoft ( https://www.hansoft.com ) to which you can easily import MS Project XML. It is completely free for up to 9 users (it is intended to be used collaboratively) and then costs 28$/user/month. It is stable, super fast and very flexible.

    Reply

  • Gantter is no longer supported so is in effect a dead programme - and a very buggy one at that.

    Reply

    • Thanks for the heads up on that one - last time I tried it I didn't encounter any bugs, but good to know! Did you find any good free alternatives?

      Reply

  • If you are interested in Gantt chart tool then GanttPRO is the best choice. As its just intuitive, fast and smart to use, then other alternatives.

    Reply

    • Agree, GanttPRO works really fast and the pricing model is clear and fair. Just compare teamgantt to ganttpro: https://www.teamgantt.com/pricing/ - $9.95 /user per month and minimum of 5 users, that means that if I want a plan for me I need to for 5 and the cost is 49,75. https://ganttpro.com/pricing/ - $19 / month for 1 user and $49 / month for 5 members The choice is obvious :)

      Reply

  • Another good "alternative" can be MS Project by itself, this program is available in cloud at https://www.apponfly.com/en/microsoft-project-standard-2016?KAI Full version of Project but online, not bad.

    Reply

  • HI Ben, Interesting review but not quite sure how you missed Planner from PROJECT in a box. https://www.projectinabox.org.uk/planner/ now quite a mature product and completely free for ever for all organisations to download https://www.projectinabox.org.uk/registration/ . We found in our commercial products that 80+percent of the plans people created in MS Project used a very basic set of functions, tasks, dependencies, groupings, resources etc so we provided these in a simple to use tool five years ago and now there are well over 100,000 users. We find many people ditching MS Project to use this instead at an organisation wide level as well as on a new user at a time basis. Over the years we have added a lot to Planner so it now includes project accounting and costing model and uniquely is also a risk and issue/RAID tool so users can collect all their key project controls data in one place. Of course we also provide reports and all data and charts etc can be exported and dropped to clip board. We even provide two way exchange with MS Project and Excel. We know of other customers who transfer to Primavera through this interface. Planner is used by many of our biggest global customers on some huge projects and also by the complete novice to create there first ever plans. A full set of training videos and free technical support is also provided. Although it is free forever it doesn't mean it is some simple trial tool, we continue to add interesting new features to it based on the dialog with our many customers. Hope your readers find this a helpful update. Regards Malcolm West MD PROJECT in a box

    Reply

  • For those who are handling with sensitive data, I would also recommend stackfield.com

    Reply

  • Thanks Ben for this lowdown. It's an interesting to get a PM's perspective on Project Management software. This is a good guide for PC users although for Mac users the options are a bit more limited. However, there's also some excellent project management software for those on Mac. This is a really useful article for anyone that needs something suitable for Macs - hope it helps! https://machow2.com/best-alternatives-microsoft-project-mac/

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  • Fantastic review, thank you! I was just a bit surprised about the Merlin evaluation though. I use a Mac and found it to be the best Microsoft Project alternative I have tried. It looks very much like Project, and is sufficiently advanced. That is: you can create tasks and subtasks with dependencies and constraints, add work and duration separately, assign resources with an option to decrease duration or increase work, see how much work each resource has assigned, and add your own fields to each task, for which you can define the field type (e.g. checkbox, date, etc.) This last feature is why I dropped Omniplan - the devil's in the detail! I needed to add, and filter by, a number of checkboxes and custom dates next to each task (like "urgent" flag, "important" flag, date task was requested etc.). The only downside I found was being unable to save straight to mpp - you can save to xml and whoever has the latest Project version can open it, but older versions don't. And a quick note about Omniplan: a great feature for those who frequently change task dates and assignments is that you can define whether to adjust duration or work in a clear option button, rather than indirectly by adjusting dates and work/duration values. Hope you find this helpful!

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    • Hi Alice, Thanks for your comments. It seems like my review was out of date - I discovered a few improvements since I last checked it out so thank you!

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  • ProjExec (https://www.triloggroup.com) is the IBM-based alternative to MS Project with high fidelity compatibility with all versions of MS Project. It ships as an add-on IBM's Enterprise Social Platform IBM Connections both on premises and on the IBM Cloud. If your company is using IBM Connections for social collaboration, then ProjExec is the way to go. Usually the cost of upgrading existing MS Project licenses pays for an enterprise-wide license of ProjExec.

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  • Here's the challenge that I keep running into: as a company who from time-to-time runs defense/government projects, there are big questions with regard to security of web-/cloud-based programs. In the research that I have done, specifically related to ITAR/EAR regulations, it is not recommended to use cloud-based programs at all. This really limits my options to a program that we can host on our internal server. Anyone else run into this same issue, or am I just making it up?

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    • I've not encountered this challenge - why can't you just install something like MS Project on your local machine?

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      • That would be an option, and one that I have considered. However, the cost of setting up an internal server and the licenses for it, not to mention missing out on the incremental product updates, tends to make locally-hosted services less desirable. I'm still working on determining whether or not project planning data falls under ITAR/EAR regulations, but so far it is clear that we could not use document storage features of a cloud-based software.

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    • I am not sure if that really works but a possible solution would be to use a PM tool from a provider that runs on an AWS GovCloud (US) (https://docs.aws.amazon.com/govcloud-us/latest/UserGuide/whatis.html). The service seems to be in compliance with ITAR: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/govcloud-us/latest/UserGuide/govcloud-itar.html That would mean that instead of hosting the program on your internal server and handle version updates, the software producer would do it for you on a dedicated AWS GovCloud (US) machine and you would have the exact same benefits of a cloud/web-based PM tool. We haven't tried that yet with RationalPlan but it could be a viable solution... Interesting point of view, thanks!

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  • Hi Ben, I'm guessing there is a typo in Smartsheet as it's saying it could export as XML only, yet in your summary for Smartsheet it says it passes the export as .mpp. Thanks for the article, really helpful.

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    • Good spot! It doesn't export to mpp - https://help.smartsheet.com/customer/portal/articles/770623-exporting-sheets-reports-from-smartsheet#project

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  • I just used Gantter.com and man did love the intuitive old time feel . It worked beautifully for a basic 12 item 56 point steel construction schedule. Thanks for the Recommendation. I like bells and whistles as much as the next person but simplicity is also a wonderful thing sometimes. It was straight forward and quite like using MS project 2003. I also took a look at the Rational plan that is suggested above and as far as I can tell that too looks very good for a good price. i would likely purchase that if I did these schedules more often.

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  • Hi Ben, Great list! Thanks! We're a small company and we've found that our main criteria is we need "fixed work" resource allocation (versus "fixed duration"). https://www.project.net/blog/work-duration-calculation-types Other than Project 365 and OmniPlan, it seems all the other solutions use the fixed duration model. We're trying to get away from Project because we don't want to continue having to use an outside solution like Basecamp for file sharing and discussions, and we don't have Macs (OmniPlan also requires an outside platform for file sharing). We signed up for Wrike because we loved the feature set, only to find they are fixed duration only. Do you (or anyone else reading this thread) have any recommendations for a cloud-based DPM platform that uses/allows a fixed work model and also integrates discussions, file sharing, etc. so we don't have to run on two separate platforms like we are now? Thanks, Dan

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    • I'm just jumping on this one because Dan summed up my problem, except I'm searching for an alternative to ConceptDraw Project, which has the same obstacle. If you please, do keep me posted on what you find.

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    • Dan, RationalPlan will allow you to plan using Fixed-Duration, Fixed-Work and Fixed-Units just like MS Project does and also using Dependency-Driven for rare and special cases... You can also use RationalPlan within the cloud and will have concurrent access from multiple users, with file sharing but no integrated discussions (but very likely to be added). Give it a try and maybe it will solve your problem.

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      • Thanks for the tip, Tiberiu. I'll definitely check into it. Dan

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    • Hansoft also supports fixed work OR fixed duration: https://support.hansoft.com/hc/en-us/articles/205185731-Fixed-duration-and-fixed-work

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  • Thank you, Ben, for your review. I just start experimenting after using MS Project for a long time. How do you think is Arike good for small projects? I can also share with you my personal discovery - GanttPRO - user-friendly online project planning soft which is free and will stay free forever for everyone who sign up now (well, developers promise it :) ). For me I've found 5 features: - extremely untuitive interface - after using MS Project GanttPRO is like a child toy) - 360 view of my projects with a critical path and zooming - export to pdf, jpg, xlsx, ical - possibility to share my project plans with colleagues and clients giving the right to edit or the right to view project - perfect visibility - graphic interface is hotsy totsy))

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    • I tried installing GanntPRO, but everything leads me back to paying for an upgrade, in order to do anything useful (i.e., even save my project) :(

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      • If you're looking for a free solution, have you tried https://gantter.com/ ? TeamGantt - https://www.teamgantt.com is also free for one project!

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        • Ganttr is very very unstable. We've used it so for about 10 projects. It keeps blowing up our tasks & resource assignments. I'd not recommend Ganttr to anybody anymore.

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  • Ben, you should also take a look at RationalPlan as an alternative to Microsoft Project https://www.rationalplan.com/ You will see that the transition from MS Project To RationalPlan is flawless.

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  • Good article, thanks for the info!

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  • Ben, Really liked the article and the brief listing format for the comparisons, proved very useful and timely, just had the experience you open with…. MS Project …….. How much!……. is there nothing else out there etc? As a result, found your article. Coming from an equipment manufacturing environment, dealing with large scale consultants & Construction companies, the ability to develop, share and reiterate schedules in a consistent format, that they can readily import and export in and out of the clients larger project databases is important. (in some cases it's a contractual, project communications requirement). Hence the ability to import & export in .mpp is critical, it's a shame that the developers for some of the online packages don't provide this as a defacto standard feature. If there was consistent import/export format across multiple platforms, I think more of these smaller packages would be used more readily, especially by smaller contractors/equipment suppliers supplying into larger projects, where MS Project is simply not cost effective solution. Having said that, from this same perspective, Primavera Project scheduling software is also prevalent on these larger projects and having a similar capability would be useful. I know Excel data can be imported and passed around, but it can be a bit of nightmare, trying to maintain the spreadsheet structure, maintaining the correct data types in fields etc. I'd be interested to hear back from readers, if there are any workable, or proven standard file formats for transferring data between these smaller scheduling software packages, into the larger Project schedule software systems. Thanks again for a clear and informative article. Alan

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  • There are couple of apps you missed, for example bi-platformed ConceptDraw Project [which works with MS Project files] and Bugzilla - which is simple, but free https://www.conceptdraw.com/products/project-management-software/ https://www.bugzilla.org/ Cheers!

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    • Dear Adam, you can not consider Bugzilla as an alternative to MS Project...

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    • Thank you guys for the list and the comments supplementing it. Pretty much satisfied with CD PROJECT as it resembles MS PROJECTS so much. Due to the fact I used to work on Win platform and now that I switched to macOS - ConceptDraw software is a great alternative. Zillion of dashboard reports help me visualize my projects. https://www.conceptdraw.com/products/project-management-software/manage-plans-reports-and-changes

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  • Hi Ben, thanks for taking the time to review WorkZone. Just to clarify that in addition to our interactive Gantt Chart, WorkZone does indeed allow for importing/exporting of .mpp files and has reporting features to show a project overview. For more information on how WorkZone can help you better track your projects, please visit us at https://www.workzone.com.

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    • Thanks for this review. We just signed up for Workzone after reviewing solutions with more and less features - so far it's just right in terms of functionality for us. Rob Foster Profarma Specialty Group Brazil

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  • Hi Ben ! you got right list of Microsoft alternatives and summarized in detail. As you said you will love to hear about any other alternative :) I want to share proofhub. Its a feature rich tool and we are using it since 2012, we are quite happy with their service so i thought sharing can help your post to keep it refreshing ProofHub costs from $49/ Unlimited USERS /month Summary of ProofHub: Create a Gantt chart: Pass Create a project overview chart: Pass Import and export mpp files: Fail Export PDF’s or shareable project plans: Pass Overall score: 4/5 I will share more if i found more competitive alternative! Also please let me know where I am wrong.

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