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There are so many different project planning tools that making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want to have a central hub to create, visualize, and adjust project plans to ensure successful and timely project delivery - and need the right tool for your team. I've got you covered! In this post, I use my personal experience managing hundreds of projects and planning many different complex projects with large teams to share my picks of the best project planning software.

What is project planning software?

Project planning software is a digital tool that helps you effectively plan, organize, and manage a project from start to finish. It provides a centralized platform where you can input project tasks, set dependencies, allocate resources, and define milestones, creating a comprehensive plan that serves as a roadmap for the project's execution.

This software helps you set the stage for team members to understand how their work contributes to project success and enables clients to comprehend the project's risks and track progress.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Project Planning Software

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

Best software for planning project project workflows

  • 14-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)
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Rating: 4.7/5

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

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

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

Best project planning software for agencies

  • Freemium version available
  • From $9.80/user/month min. 2 seats
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Rating: 4.2/5

Wrike is a project planning tool and is ideal for teams of five members to an unlimited number of members. Wrike offers tools for predicting and preventing delays, visualizing deadlines, and monitoring project progress. The tool is highly configurable, and allows users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.

Wrike’s interface is highly visual, and allows users to switch between Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views to understand priorities. Project planning capabilities include task lists, subtasks, schedules, file sharing, and real-time communication and collaboration.

Wrike includes a robust mobile application that allows users to update team members or upload files and photos. Users can switch between calendars, dashboards, and task lists, and keep an eye on notifications and messages. Wrike also has a dedicated help center with interactive training, videos, a ‘Getting Started’ guide, and a thriving community.

Wrike offers a host of pre-built templates, including a phased project template, which can help break a complex project into manageable chunks, as well as a simple project scheduling template. Real-time reporting helps project managers allocate resources and adjust workloads, and requests keep repetitive admin to a minimum.

Wrike includes over 400 pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox.

Wrike starts at $9.80/user/month and has a free version for up to five users. There is also a 14-day free trial for paid plans.

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Drag and drop feature not flexible
  • Commenting system needs to be more prominent
  • Best features limited to Business plan

Best for dynamic project management through custom workflows

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $35/user/month with a 20 user minimum
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Rating: 4.4/5

QuickBase is a user-friendly platform that helps you plan and manage dynamic workflows and projects. You can use its no-code builder to craft customized applications tailored to your unique business needs. It's a flexible solution that provides various tools to support your project and resource management and workflow automation.

Even for complex workflows and projects, this tool is capable of helping your map them out and execute them effectively. Because of its code-free builder, it's easy to set up your workflows and get them up and running quickly. The builder can be used for designing workflows, applications, integrations, and automations, making it a versatile tool to contribute to your various work processes.

Paid plans start from $35 per user, per month, and a 30-day free trial is available.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • User-friendly and quick to learn
  • Helpful and responsive customer support team
  • Highly customizable to suit various industries

Cons:

  • Limited offline access
  • Limited analytics capabilities

Best for enterprise project planning

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $25/user/month (billed annually)
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Rating: 4.5/5

Celoxis has powerful planning and scheduling tools that help you build project plans that adapt to real-world conditions.

Celoxis has one of the most flexible and responsive interactive Gantt charts and can effortlessly handle large project plans involving multiple levels of sub-tasks, inter-project dependencies and even multiple resources per task.

Among the many features available, there is automatic scheduling that helps build a reliable project schedule and resource workload, utilization, capacity, and efficiency. These features, in turn, enable data-driven planning and decision-making across the project lifecycle. Ultimately helping you with better resource planning and management.

Celoxis integrates with over 400 business apps, including Google Drive, email and calendar platforms, Jira, Salesforce, Slack, and many more through Zapier. In addition, their API lets you build custom integrations with any other tools you use.

Celoxis is one of the few project management software programs available both in SaaS and on-premise flavors. SaaS costs $22.50/user/month (annually), and on-premise pricing is available upon request. Both require a minimum 5-user sign-up and come with 30-day free trial.

Best for planning multiple projects of varying complexity

  • 10-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $5/user/month (min 6 users, billed annually)
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Rating: 4.2/5

Zoho Projects is a project planning and management solution that can support multiple projects of any scale or complexity. The platform has tools like Gantt charts, Kanban boards, portfolio dashboards, a built-in issue tracker, and a task automation system with blueprint functionality. The task automation with blueprint feature enables project managers and admins to map out their entire workflow, creating a visual flowchart representation.

Tasks and notifications can be automated, and approval criteria can be set for projects and tasks. The software also has collaboration tools like discussion boards, community forums, and real-time activity feeds. In addition to project planning , users can also benefit from in-depth reporting. The cloud-based software’s reporting tools allow project managers to generate detailed reports to keep track of various aspects of project performance and progress.

Pricing for Zoho Projects starts at $5 per user/month with a 10-day free trial included. A free plan is available for teams of no more than three users.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Robust feature suite for team members and project managers alike
  • Migration from other software providers is available
  • Free plan is available for up to 2 projects and up to 3 users

Cons:

  • Large feature set can make for a steep learning curve
  • Employee scheduling functionality is limited

Best for time tracking & project management

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $12/user/month
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Rating: 4.3/5

ClickTime is a comprehensive project planning system that helps organizations achieve smarter time management by allowing users to track time spent on various tasks and projects, either through manual entry or timers. ClickTime aims to streamline time tracking and expense management processes to enhance productivity and resource management and to increase profitability and customer satisfaction.

ClickTime offers real-time visibility into project progress, enabling managers to allocate resources efficiently. For example, ClickTime enables you to monitor a project’s profit, costs, and billings as teams work against a budget in real-time. The ability to visualize project metrics at-a-glance helps teams plan, organize, and monitor project performance in one place. From that view, anyone can drill down for a deeper view into specific projects or clients to stay on top of goals and budgets. 

ClickTime costs from $10/user/month and offers a 14-day free trial.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Provides extensive reporting tools
  • Helps users to accurately predict project timelines and costs
  • Offers a wide selection of customization options

Cons:

  • Integrations may require additional configuration
  • Long lag times when entering data
  • Mobile app functionality needs improvement

Best software for analyzing project profitability

  • Free trial + free version available
  • From $10/user/month (billed annually)
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Rating: 3.7/5

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

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

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • A bit of a learning curve to use holistic planning views
  • Concierge onboarding limited to enterprise plans

Best for multiple project views (lists, kanban boards, Gantt charts, etc)

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $13/user/month (billed annually)
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Rating: 4.4/5

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

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

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Most reports require a manual clean-up
  • No way to sort Agile Boards by project, only by task
  • No way to track and update partially complete tasks

Best for agile team planning

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $7/user/month
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Rating: 4.3/5

Hubstaff Tasks is a project management tool built to simplify project planning and team collaboration. With its Kanban interface, you can create multiple project stages, add tasks to them, and move tasks to different stages by dragging and dropping.

Aside from Kanban, the app has a Sprints feature that lets users organize their assigned tasks by the sprint in which they need to be done. Tasks can be moved to current or future sprints — or to the backlog for non-urgent to-dos.

Hubstaff Tasks includes a Roadmaps feature that allows you to view projects in Gantt chart form. Users can see all projects on a calendar, giving an overview of the team’s timeline.

The app also has daily stand-ups that your team can use to report progress updates and what they will be working on next. Project managers will receive a notification if team members report any task roadblocks.

Pricing for Hubstaff Tasks starts at $7 per user per month.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Task notifications help keep everyone on the same page
  • Built-in stand-ups feature for progress tracking
  • Different project views allow for more accurate project planning

Cons:

  • No mobile app
  • No reporting
  • Limited integrations

Best project planning software for creative teams

  • Free plan available
  • Starts from $35/month
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Rating: 4.4/5

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

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

Pros and cons

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Minimal format options for downloading reports
  • No Kanban board planning
  • Has time tracking but no automated time capture

Best Project Planning Software Comparison Chart

Here is a table where you can compare the tools we just reviewed in the overviews.

Tools Price
monday.com From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)
Wrike From $9.80/user/month min. 2 seats
QuickBase From $35/user/month with a 20 user minimum
Celoxis From $25/user/month (billed annually)
Zoho Projects From $5/user/month (min 6 users, billed annually)
ClickTime From $12/user/month
Runn From $10/user/month (billed annually)
ProjectManager.com From $13/user/month (billed annually)
Hubstaff From $7/user/month
FunctionFox Starts from $35/month
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Other Project Planning Software Options

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

  1. LiquidPlanner

    Best for its planning intelligence features

  2. Easy Projects

    Best for enterprise teams from medium to large companies

  3. Office Timeline

    Best for PowerPoint timeline visuals

  4. Ravetree

    Best for integrated project planning and management

  5. Height

    Best for cross-functional project planning

  6. ClickUp

    Best project planning software for small teams or small businesses

  7. Smartsheet

    Best project template gallery

  8. Hive

    Best online project planning tool for 3rd party integrations

  9. Kantata

    Best for contextual collaboration

  10. Birdview

    Best for planning projects, resources, and finances in one system

  11. Hub Planner

    Best project planning software with built-in budget and resource allocation features

  12. Forecast

    Best for AI work automation

  13. Scoro

    Best for building and construction management

  14. Sciforma

    Best for Waterfall and Critical Chain methodologies

  15. Basecamp

    Best for software development planning

  16. Trello

    Best for task collaboration

  17. Planview Clarizen

    Best project planning for marketers

  18. Teamwork.com

    Best for project templates

  19. ProWorkflow

    Best planning tool mobile app for most touchscreen-based devices

  20. OpenProject

    Best open source project planning software

  21. KeyedIn

    Best for project portfolio planning

  22. TeamGantt

    Best free Gantt chart software

  23. EasyProjects

    Best for web design planning

  24. Workzone

    Best for personal to-do lists and automatic reminder emails

  25. Asana

    Best simple to use project planning

Free Project Planning Software

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

How I Picked The Best Project Planning Software

Selecting the top software for this review was a process that resembled a funnel. First, I selected all the popular project planning tools I could find based on user reviews and ratings. Then, I narrowed down the list based on my experience in project management and the features that I believe are key to have. Finally, I selected the top 10 and defined the criteria below to help with my evaluation. Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:

User Interface (UI)

Project management software needs to organize all data quickly, efficiently, and cleanly. It’s easier to get teams and clients on board when your tools make it visually clear what needs to happen when.

Usability

Does the project planning software offer tutorials, training, whitepapers, forums, and customer service to help users? Does it work with iOS and Android for planning on-the-go? How does it support remote teams or hybrid teams? Can you create accounts for your entire team and set up user permissions as needed?

Integrations

You’ll find with project planning software that you might need two or more tools to do everything you need to do. Does each planning tool connect to everything else in your tool kit, such as task management software, CRMs, and invoicing software? Does the project software plug into common project-oriented software like Excel, Google Drive, Jira, Microsoft Project, Zapier, messaging apps (like Slack), Dropbox, and so forth?

Pricing

How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? I place priority on tools that have simple scalability options to add additional features, users, or storage space. Most tools charge depending on the number of users or according to which features you require.

What key features do I look for in project planning software?

  1. Planning and scheduling charts and templates
  2. Task dependencies
  3. Project timelines, calendar views, and roadmaps
  4. Team collaboration features and communication features (chat, comments, etc)
  5. Task management and work management features, such as checklists and to-do lists or a timeline view
  6. Documentation for planned workflow processes
  7. Track progress through real-time reporting and analysis of KPIs
  8. Project budget planning and tracking
  9. Portfolio management and tracking overall portfolio health
project planning software logos list

What's Next?

The best project management software and all the advanced features in the world will not be enough if you cannot create a project plan. In our 10-step guide to a project plan, you can quickly learn about this phase’s deliverables, how to work with agile methodologies like Scrum, and access a template that is perfect for small teams in startups or other small businesses.

And speaking of phases, you should read about the project life cycle. This article tells gives you a quick rundown of each phase and the docs related to them.

Related Tool Lists:

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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 20 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. I'm a Certified Scrum Master, PRINCE2 Practitioner and productivity nut!