- 1. monday.com — Best software for planning project project workflows
- 2. Wrike — Best project planning software for agencies
- 3. Height — Best for cross-functional project planning
- 4. Zoho Projects — Best for planning multiple projects of varying complexity
- 5. ProjectManager.com — Best for multiple project views (lists, kanban boards, Gantt charts, etc)
- 6. Hubstaff — Best for agile team planning
- 7. FunctionFox — Best project planning software for creative teams
- 8. LiquidPlanner — Best for its planning intelligence features
- 9. Birdview PSA — Best for planning projects, resources, and finances in one system
- 10. Easy Projects — Best for enterprise teams from medium to large companies
In this article, I provide a trustworthy list of the best project planning software options. I have also outlined what each tool does best so that you can select one based on what you need from it.
Project planning is essential to ensure you and your team members meet the objectives of any assignment and deliver something that makes stakeholders happy. A project plan may pull together many components of the project lifecycle in order to tell a succinct story of what complex projects ought to look like from start to finish.
Rather than focusing specifically on the resource management functionality that a lot of planning tools and project management solutions offer, I looked at a broader range of planning software, as project planning is often a functionality within project management platforms more broadly. I rounded up a list of the best tools for generally planning the flow from A to B on your project, and then assigning and tracking the resources required along the way.
Microsoft Project is arguably the original project planning software, designed for allocating tasks and resources, but there are many competitors nowadays. Below, find the best project planning tools and why they are awesome.
What is project planning software?
Project planning software is a digital tool that helps users effectively plan, organize, and manage a project from start to finish. It provides a centralized platform for defining project goals, creating project tasks and dependencies, assigning resources, setting deadlines, and tracking progress.
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.
- Very easy to invite others, share timelines, and assign tasks
- Simple organization by dragging and dropping tasks
- Excellent collaborative features
- No bottleneck identification or assistance
- Automations are not fully customizable
- Best features locked to Standard or Pro versions
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.
- Ease of use and setup
- Holistic, comprehensive task modeling
- Variety of project views met different user needs
- Best features limited to Business plan
- Commenting system needs to be more prominent
- Drag and drop feature not flexible
Height is a project planning software that provides a user-friendly platform for managing projects, tracking progress, and collaborating with team members. It offers an intuitive and responsive interface that allows users to create and manage unlimited projects, tasks, and subtasks.
Height is ideal for companies that handle multiple projects and need an organized way to track work progress. Users can also generate visual reports that showcase team performance, task completion rates, and an overview of all projects, giving essential insights that help decision-making. And pre-built project templates provide users with ready-to-use project outlines, eliminating the need for manual task creation.
You can create SMART goals using the intuitive goal-setting feature. The software enables teams to set dependencies between tasks to complete each step correctly. Team members can communicate about project updates and discuss assignments in real time. This feature promotes team communication transparency and eliminates communication silos between organizational functions.
Height starts at $8.50/user/month and offers a 30-day free trial and a free plan with unlimited users.
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.
- Free plan is available for up to 2 projects and up to 3 users
- Migration from other software providers is available
- Robust feature suite for team members and project managers alike
- Employee scheduling functionality is limited
- Large feature set can make for a steep learning curve
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.
- Good for costing and construction work monitoring
- Easy to use project scheduling
- Fits well into an Agile framework
- No way to track and update partially complete tasks
- No way to sort Agile Boards by project, only by task
- Most reports require a manual clean-up
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.
- Different project views allow for more accurate project planning
- Built-in stand-ups feature for progress tracking
- Task notifications help keep everyone on the same page
- Limited integrations
- No reporting
- No mobile app
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.
- Unlimited number of clients and projects
- Designed with the creative industry in mind
- Easy, accessible automatic timer
- Has time tracking but no automated time capture
- No Kanban board planning
- Minimal format options for downloading reports
LiquidPlanner is a cloud-based project management software that enables users to plan, collaborate on, and deliver projects of all sizes. The software uses a unique 'liquid planning' approach that considers the complexities and uncertainties of real-world projects to create more accurate plans and predictions.
Its forecasting engine helps users predict how long a project will take. This engine considers all project tasks and their dependencies and uses statistical analysis to generate a range of possible completion dates. The forecast can be refined by adjusting the input parameters, such as the estimated effort for each task or the project's expected duration.
Liquid Planner offers integrated time-tracking, which can be used to generate reports, helping users optimize their workflow and productivity. The resource leveling feature automatically schedules and reschedules tasks based on each team member's availability and workload, and ensures that no team member is overburdened with work.
Finally, the data customization feature allows users to choose which data points to display and create custom fields to track additional information. A user can track the number of hours worked on a project or the amount of money spent on materials.
Liquid Planner makes their API documentation available for teams who want to build custom integrations with their current digital ecosystem.
Pricing starts at $15 per user monthly.
- Free plan available
- Uses Monte Carlo simulations for forecasting
- Custom rate sheets track billable time
- Unlimited tasks only available in its Ultimate plan
Birdview PSA is a project management software that also provides resource and finance management tools. It helps you plan, track, and manage multiple projects and portfolios, making it a well-suited option for professional service companies. You can create project templates to speed up your planning process and set milestones to mark your progress. Both Gantt charts and Kanban boards are available for progress tracking.
The software has built-in resource planning tools, which you can use to assign team members to projects based on their availability, skills, and workload. Its resource forecasting feature helps you predict upcoming demand and identify potential bottlenecks in advance.
As for financial tracking, you can create budgets, monitor expenses, and generate financial reports to understand how money is allocated across projects. Time tracking and billing are also included, so you can track billable hours and invoice clients accordingly.
The software integrates with other tools including Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Project, Jira, Adobe Creative Cloud, MS Excel, Outlook, Hubspot, Salesforce, Oracle NetSuite, Gmail, Slack, Zoom, Github, Gitlab, HelpScout, HelpDocs, Olark, and other options for time tracking, design, ERP, and accounting software. You can also use their RESTful API to build additional integrations.
Paid plans start from $27 per user per month, when billed annually. A 12-day free trial is also available.
- Comprehensive project, resource, and financial management in one
- Highly customizable and scalable
- Works with Zapier and Workato for extra integrations
- Simulations only available in Team plan
- No free-forever version available
Easy Projects is an award-winning enterprise and portfolio project management platform. It is well suited for medium to large enterprise companies that require a highly scalable and configurable solution yet easy to adopt.
The software is built to plan and deliver on projects that have varying complexity levels, anywhere from simple tasks to more in-depth projects that involve multiple departments. With this in mind, Easy Projects promotes real-time collaboration between executives, project managers, stakeholders, and all other team members.
Their advanced reporting and business intelligence features help project managers and executives present and analyze large amounts of data in beautifully designed interactive reports and dashboards. In addition, resource loading reports provide a quick and easy way to visualize current and expected resource use, so bottlenecks can be avoided. Advanced capabilities include enterprise-grade security, flexible deployment options, and machine learning project forecasting.
Easy Projects integrates with over 2,000 business apps, including MS Outlook, Jira, Salesforce, Hubspot, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Easy Projects offers pricing details upon request and a free 14-day trial.
Need Expert Help Selecting The Right Project Management Software?
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Best software for planning project project workflows
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)||Visit Website|
Best project planning software for agencies
Free plan available
|From $9.80/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for cross-functional project planning
30-day free trial
|From $8.50/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for planning multiple projects of varying complexity
Free trial available
|From $5/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for multiple project views (lists, kanban boards, Gantt charts, etc)
30-day free trial
|From $16/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for agile team planning
14-day free trial
|From $7/user/month||Visit Website|
Best project planning software for creative teams
Free demo available
|From $35/month + $3.75/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for its planning intelligence features
14-day free trial
|From $15/user/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
Best for planning projects, resources, and finances in one system
14-day free trial
|From $27/user/month (billed annually)||Visit Website|
Best for enterprise teams from medium to large companies
Free trial available
|From $24/user/month||Visit Website|
- Hub Planner
Best project planning software with built-in budget and resource allocation features
Best software for analyzing project profitability
Best project planning software for small teams or small businesses
Best project template gallery
Best online project planning tool for 3rd party integrations
Best for enterprise project planning
Best for contextual collaboration
- Planview Clarizen
Best project planning for marketers
Best for Waterfall and Critical Chain methodologies
Best planning tool mobile app for most touchscreen-based devices
Best for project templates
Best for task collaboration
Best for building and construction management
Best for AI work automation
Best for software development planning
Best open source project planning software
Best for project portfolio planning
Best free Gantt chart software
Best for personal to-do lists and automatic reminder emails
Best simple to use project planning
Best for web design planning
Free Project Planning Software
- Nutcache – Pretty generous free plan: free forever for max 20 users (includes unlimited projects, time tracking, some integrations, and more)
- Runn – Free for up to 5 users with unlimited projects
- TeamGantt – Free forever for up to 3 users and 1 project
- Wrike – Free for up to 5 users
- Monday.com – Free for up to 5 users
- ClickUp – Free for unlimited users with some storage and feature restrictions
- 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.
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?
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?
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?
- Planning and scheduling charts and templates
- Task dependencies
- Project timelines, calendar views, and roadmaps
- Team collaboration features and communication features (chat, comments, etc)
- Task management and work management features, such as checklists and to-do lists or a timeline view
- Documentation for planned workflow processes
- Track progress through real-time reporting and analysis of KPIs
- Project budget planning and tracking
- Portfolio management and tracking overall portfolio health
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:
- 10 Best Web-Based Resource Scheduling Software
- Resource management software
- Project tracking software
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