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With so many different project planning tools available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you need a tool to build a project plan and mange the resources to execute effectively, but need to figure out which is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using dozens of different project planning tools with large teams and projects, with my picks of the best project planning software.

What are Project Planning Tools?

Project planning tools are software that assist in organizing, managing, and executing various aspects of a project. These tools provide a framework for mapping out tasks, timelines, resources, and dependencies, enabling project managers and teams to visualize the entire project scope efficiently. They facilitate tracking progress, identifying potential bottlenecks, and adjusting plans as needed.

With features such as task assignments, deadline reminders, and collaborative workspaces, these tools help ensure that all team members are aligned and informed. By streamlining communication and providing a central hub for project information, project planning tools are essential for keeping projects on track, within budget, and completed on time.

Overviews Of The Project Planning Tools Software

Here’s a brief description of each of the project planning tools. If you get stuck, you can always get free advice on which software is best for you.

1

Kantata

Best for resource management and planning

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.1
716 reviews

Free demo

Pricing upon request

Mavenlink is a robust resource management software with advanced project planning tools for execution, project accounting, and project analysis. For those going all out, you can leverage their business intelligence and team collaboration modules for a complete project management experience in a single operating environment.

On top of this, it offers a system of dashboards, live time and expense tracking features, and a great documenting system. Drilling down into its key features, the BI suite module supplies built-in reports, custom reporting, trend analysis, data visualization, as well as data integration with other systems.

The software also provides more accounting tools than many others, with project costing, project and task budget management, real-time utilization and margin tracking, invoicing, rate cards, and robust integrations into back-end financial systems. It also has some good contextual collaboration features to communicate in both provide and public discussions around tasks, projects, and many other project objects.

Mavenlink operates its own integration platform (called M-Bridge) that lets you connect to other business apps like CRM, HCM, and financial software. On top of the M-Bridge platform, Mavelink provides several pre-built integrations with these tools: Expensify, G Suite, Xero, Salesforce, Netsuite, Jira, Hubspot, Slack, Concur, Dynamics 365, Qualtrics, Quickbooks, and Sage Intacct.

Mavenlink costs from $39/user/month and offers a free trial and demo.

2

Parallax

Best for efficient project visualization and team collaboration in real time

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.5
2 reviews

Free demo

Pricing upon request

Parallax is a SaaS product that's designed to help with project planning. It's a tool that's all about helping you visualize your project's workflow, making it easier to see what needs to be done, who's doing it, and when it's due.

I chose Parallax because it's so easy to use. I've tried a bunch of different project planning tools in the past, and while they all have their pros and cons, I found Parallax to be the most intuitive. It's got a clean, simple interface that doesn't take ages to figure out, and it's flexible enough to adapt to different project types and workflows.

One of the standout features of Parallax is its timeline view. This lets you see your entire project laid out on a timeline, which makes it really easy to get a sense of how everything fits together. You can see at a glance what tasks are coming up, which ones are overdue, and how much progress you've made.

Parallax offers integrations with popular third-party tools like Asana, Google Calendar, Jira, Microsoft Teams, and Slack. Developers can also use the API to integrate the tool with custom applications or other third-party systems.

Pricing is available upon request through the website. Users can book a free demo to get a tour of the product.

3

Resource Guru

Best for efficient resource scheduling

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
173 reviews

30-day free trial available

From $3/user/month

Resource Guru is a resource management and scheduling platform designed to assist organizations in managing their teams, equipment, and other resources efficiently. It stands out for its rapid scheduling capabilities, which are particularly beneficial for dynamic teams that require swift and effective scaling of resources without compromising on speed or performance.

Resource Guru provides features like resource scheduling, leave management, and project forecasting reports. It enables fast scheduling and sends daily schedule emails to ensure all team members are informed. The software also allows for monitoring of resource utilization rates and has the ability to quickly assign people, equipment, and meeting rooms from a single resource pool.

One feature I'm particularly fond of is the waiting list feature, which helps keep workloads balanced and prevents resource over-allocation. This contributes to maintaining happier and more engaged teams.

The software's emphasis on simplicity and detail, as well as its capacity planning and project forecasting reports, make it an effective tool for managing resources in real time and ensuring project success.

Integrations include Basecamp, Google Calendar, Google Sheets, Gmail, Jira, Maintenance Care, Outlook, Slack, Teamwork, and Wrike. The platform also supports integrations through Zapier, for which you will need an additional subscription. Finally, it has an API you can use to connect your instance to other software in your tech stack.

4

Integrify

Best for streamlining & visualizing digital workflows

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
31 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Integrify is a digital workflow management tool that helps streamline and automate business processes. With its focus on efficiency and productivity, Integrify stands out as the best solution for organizations looking to optimize their digital workflows. Integrify provides robust reporting and analytics capabilities to track and measure the performance of workflows. Users can generate reports and dashboards to gain insights into process efficiency, bottlenecks, and overall productivity.

Integrify provides a visual process builder that allows users to design and customize workflows without the need for coding. Users can define the steps, rules, and conditions for each process, creating a clear and structured workflow. The form designer feature enables users to create custom forms for capturing data within the workflow. Users can design forms with various field types, validations, and conditional logic to ensure accurate and relevant data collection.

Integrify offers a customizable service portal where users can access and interact with their workflows. The portal provides a user-friendly interface for submitting requests, tracking progress, and collaborating with team members. Integrify also has pre-built workflow solutions tailored to specific industries and departments. These solutions provide a starting point for organizations to automate common processes and accelerate implementation.

Integrify offers pricing upon request with a free demo available.

5

Wrike

Best collaborative project planning tool

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.2
2545 reviews

Free plan available

From $9.80/user/month

Wrike is a project planning tool that is suitable for teams of five or more. Wrike includes tools for predicting and preventing delays, visualizing deadlines, and monitoring project progress in real-time. The tool is also highly configurable, and allows users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.

Users can switch between Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views to understand priorities. Project planning tools include task lists, subtasks, schedules, file sharing, and real-time communication and collaboration.

Wrike also offers a robust mobile application that allows users to update team members or upload files and photos. You can easily switch between calendars, dashboards, and task lists and keep an eye on notifications and messages. Wrike 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 that make project planning more efficient, 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.

Wrike integrates with over 400 apps, including 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.

6

Zoho Projects

Best for team scalability

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.2
286 reviews

Free trial available

From $5/user/month

Zoho Projects is an online project management solution that focuses on easy and effective planning, tracking, and collaboration. You can manage both simple and complex projects by splitting work items into milestones, tasklists, tasks and subtasks and viewing them as Kanban boards.

Zoho Projects lets you plan and schedule work with Gantt charts that have a drag and drop interface. You can set up baselines, compare multiple baselines, identify critical tasks, and create dependencies right from the Gantt chart. Zoho Projects comes with a workload allocation feature that lets you manage tasks and resources as well.

Your team can track project progress closely with numerous dashboards, charts and reports, communication tools, and collaborative documents. Zoho Projects also provides numerous features such as time tracking, budgeting, issue tracking, portfolio management, and automation capabilities.

Zoho Projects is great for scalability. You can start with their free plan and easily expand as you grow and need additional user spots or more advanced features. Even the uppermost plan is super affordable comparatively. You can also scale by integrating their other first-party platforms into your plan for sales, CRM, customer service, and so on.

Zoho Projects integrates with tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Slack, Github, Bitbucket, and Dropbox. Access even more integrations through Zapier.

Zoho Projects costs from $4/user/month (billed annually) and offers a 10-day free trial. They have a free plan for up to 3 users.

7

Miro

Best for collaborative brainstorming

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.8
3415 reviews

Free plan available

From $10/user/month

Miro is a collaborative platform that can be used for all kinds of things including project planning and brainstorming. It allows team members to work on a virtual canvas, where they can create and share ideas using various visual aids. Users can create charts, diagrams, mind maps, and virtual sticky notes, and contribute their ideas in real time. It can help facilitate virtual meetings, and team members can share their screens and conduct video conferences while working on the virtual canvas.

Users can create multiple boards in the software, which they can use to organize their projects, teams, and tasks. Pre-built templates are available and can be customized to suit the specific needs of projects. It also has tagging and labeling options, which can help with identifying and searching for specific projects or information. The platform provides end-to-end encryption and adheres to industry-standard security protocols. Users can manage access to boards, set passwords, and activate two-factor authentication, enhancing security further.

The software integrates with other workplace tools like Figma, Slack, monday.com, Asana, and Jira, among others. With these integrations ideas generated in Miro can be turned into tasks and projects, or shared across teams and departments. A free plan is available, and paid plans start from $10/user/month.

8

Forecast

Best for managing your projects, resources, and finances in one

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
253 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Forecast is a project planning tool that unites your task lists, resources, and financials in one AI-powered platform. Project managers can leverage Forecast’s workflow automation capabilities to create smart schedules, estimate timeframes and budgets, and populate timesheets instantly. Forecast is currently used in over 40 countries by an assortment of agencies, consulting companies, SMBs, and enterprises.

PMs can control the workflow by building out detailed task lists and flagging clear priorities. Task cards allow every team member to easily comment, share files, and register time spent. Everything related to the specific task appears in one place, including dependencies and subtasks. You can put together projects for any type of work: fixed price, time and material, or retainer.

Forecast’s AI learns from previous work and suggests the number of hours you normally register on similar tasks to help you log time faster. You can monitor time registrations from a team perspective and notify each member if they forget to enter something in. Time tracking utilization on a company-wide level is calculated for you for easy alerts, estimates, and reporting.

Forecast integrates with Slack, Microsoft Teams, iCloud Calendar, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Outlook, Harvest, Trello, Asana, GitLab, Github, and dozens more using a paid plan through Zapier. Higher-tier subscriptions include native integrations with Timelog, Xero, QuickBooks Online, JIRA, Azure DevOps, Salesforce, Okta, OneLogin, and Azure Active Directory.

Forecast costs from $29/user/month with a minimum of 10 users and offers a 14-day free trial.

Pros

  • Projects, resources and financials connected in one platform
  • AI powered auto-scheduling and time entry suggestions
  • Excellent iOS and Android apps
  • Automated cost and budget estimations

Cons

  • No browser extension for time tracking
  • No asset management
  • Minimum of 10 seats
9

Paymo

Best planning software for small & medium teams

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
561 reviews

15-day free trial + free version available

From $5.95/user/month

Paymo is a project planning software for freelancers, small and medium teams, and businesses. It helps you plan projects and tasks, track your work time, and bill clients from the same platform and conveniently comes with a mobile app.

In Paymo, you can manage different workspaces and workflows, set recurring tasks, assign multiple users, and set deadlines and priorities. View all your tasks across all projects grouped by priority, progress, or due date. Even better, use the meta Kanban board to overview your team’s tasks grouped by workflow and user. Set task hours budget and get notifications for due dates or exceeded budgets.

Paymo’s Gantt chart schedules tasks automatically on the project timeline. Simply drag and drop tasks to create dependencies and make adjustments to lead & lag time while visualizing the critical path. It’s a great way to set milestones and monitor the progress of your project. If you’re instead focused on your team and HR, the resource scheduling and planning tools allow you to manage your resource allocation, view your resource capacity, create bookings, and schedule paid or unpaid leaves.

Paymo integrates with Google, Slack, Zapier, and more.

Free for freelancers and teams of up to 10 users. Paid plans start at $9.95/user/month. Paymo comes with a 15-day free trial.

10

Teamwork.com

Best for real-time metrics, KPIs, deliverables

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
1100 reviews

30-day free trial

From $13.99/user/month

Teamwork is a project planning tool used by the likes of Disney, Netflix, PayPal, and Spotify. team managers will benefit from their workload capacity features to help organize and schedule the team’s day, week, and month in advance. Their free plan is quite generous and offers space for 5 users and 2 projects; plus, it comes with 100MB storage.

Teamwork includes features that help you structure your projects and milestones: create task lists, tasks, and subtasks to break down the work into action items for your team. You can add due dates, priority, description, supporting documents, or tags to help mark up your tasks with useful information and track deadlines. Team members can track time on tasks, so project managers can analyze time spent.

There’s also a useful “Workload” feature that provides a big picture of your team’s capacity. The collaboration features in this project management software are great—collaborate and communicate with clients and/or your internal team with comments on tasks.

Integrations include Gmail, HubSpot, Slack, Float, Numerics, Automate.io, timeBro, Userback, Easy Insight, Integromat, Chatify, PieSync, and hundreds more through Zapier.

Teamwork costs from $10/user/month and offers a free version for up to 5 users.

Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

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Other Project Planning Tools

Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for handy project planning tools, check these out.

  1. ProWorkflow

    Best for mobile users

  2. Projectworks

    Best for consultants, engineering firms, and architects

  3. nutcache

    Best time tracker + planner

  4. GoodDay

    Best for team productivity and collaboration

  5. RAIDLOG.com

    Best for risk management

  6. Socratic

    Best AI-powered project planning tool

  7. Height

    Best for project planning using visualization tools

  8. Primetric

    Best for IT service companies & digital agencies

  9. CROOW

    Best for workflow customization, automation, and visibility into overall business performance

  10. GanttPRO

    Best for building project plans and timelines with online Gantt charts

Selection Criteria for the Best Project Planning Tools

I evaluated and compared the most popular project management platforms on the market using the criteria outlined below. I also relied on my project management experience to look out for standout features that would be particularly valuable.

Key Features

For a project planning tool to make it onto my list, here are some of the features it needs to have:

  1. Multiple project views: Various ways to oversee your projects, tasks, and milestones, like Gantt charts, Kanban boards, calendar views, table views, and list views.
  2. Task management: The ability to create task lists, approvals and dependencies, set due dates, and break complex projects into smaller pieces.
  3. Team collaboration tools: These might be in the form of integrated chat, real-time notifications, tagging, proofing, a mobile app, or an interactive whiteboard.
  4. Resource management: Resource allocation for employees and freelancers, time tracking and timesheets, and work management and capacity planning tools. Even better if it lets you use placeholders for future resources.
  5. Reporting and analytics: The ability to track time spent on different tasks, workflow efficiency, people and project team data, and more with customizable dashboards.

Usability

The easier and more intuitive a project management system is, the better your team will be able to navigate, do project tracking, and teach others how to use it. I looked for tools with user-friendly interfaces and flexibility to suit scrum and agile methodologies. Whether it’s a simple project management software for small businesses or a more robust enterprise solution, it should be something every team member can learn to use quickly.

Integrations

I look for tools that integrate with common SaaS tools and cloud-based apps that can extend its functionality. These integrations might include common communication tools like Slack or even other PM tools like Smartsheet and Airtable. I also looked for integrations with CRMs and the ability to import and export data to and from spreadsheets. Many software also have APIs you can use to build custom integrations.

Pricing

Price points can vary from one tool to the next, and I’ve noted the cost of paid plans for every product on my list. I’ve also noted whether a free plan or free trial is available. Free versions may be limited to small teams, while advanced features like custom fields or unlimited users are reserved to paid plans. For context, the tools I’ve listed range from about $8/user/month up to $40/user/month and higher.

Project Planning Tools FAQs

Find answers to common questions other people ask about this topic.

What is project planning?

Project planning is the second phase of the project life cycle and the one where you define all the work to be done and create the roadmap that you will follow for the remainder of the project.

This phase is critical to the success of the project because you will think about the tasks to be done, if you have the right resources to finish it on time, and if the budget will allow it. When project planning, expect to create a:

Then, depending on the project, you might need other deliverables like a procurement plan and risk assessment.

What is project planning software used for?

Project planning software is used to define and prioritize tasks, track progress, and help streamline the work needed to deliver a project on time.

Additionally, thanks to the flexibility provided by scheduling software, it can be used to:

  • Schedule a series of tasks in a Gantt chart that follow a chronological order
  • Handle projects that require simultaneous execution of tasks
  • Schedule a series of sprints in agile projects

What are some helpful project management organizational tools?

There are a ton of tools out there that can be used for project planning, from project management apps and software to more analog solutions. In fact, some of the best project management tools come in the form of a pen and paper. Here are a few organizational tools that can support your project planning:

  • Templates: Creating project templates to help you outline different types of projects or specific tasks can be a huge time-saver. You won’t have to start from scratch every time you’re planning a new project, and you can easily use them for recurring tasks.
  • Automation: Whether it’s using a workflow management software or setting up smart notifications, automation can be a big help in project execution. It can help your team stay up to date on project progress and move things along more smoothly.
  • Checklists: These come in handy for breaking down tasks into specific subtasks as well as creating a daily to-do list for team members. Checklists are an excellent way to track projects and ensure important steps don’t get missed.
  • Risk management plans: It’s important to know how your team will mitigate risks and issues before they arise. In software development and small business management alike, navigating uncertain territory is easier when you have a plan in place.

How do I measure the ROI of a product planning tool?

Adding a product planning tool to your tech stack means investing in software that will make your project team more productive. Having a place where people can collaborate in real time, exchange messages, and follow the progress of tasks and projects translates into better deliveries.

However, to make sure the investment is worth it, consider the following steps to calculate ROI:

  • Calculate the total cost of acquiring and implementing the project planning software, including any licensing fees, hardware or infrastructure costs, and employee training expenses.
  • Determine the net gain from the investment, which can include cost savings, increased revenue, or any other financial benefits directly attributed to the software. Subtract the total cost of the investment from this net gain.
  • Divide the result by the cost of the investment, and multiply by 100 to express the ROI as a percentage.

Security and Data Privacy within Project Planning Tools

Data security and privacy are of great importance in project planning tools. They often contain sensitive and confidential information about the organization, its employees, clients, and projects.

Therefore, improper security measures mean this data can be vulnerable to unauthorized access, theft, or breaches, potentially leading to significant financial and reputational damage.

Here are some of the security features you can expect to see:

  • Compliance with European standards: With GDPR came a revolution in how SaaS companies handle data privacy for their customers. The common theme is for these companies to work with the hosting services of massive companies, like Amazon, and have servers in different parts of the world.

Hosting tip

Some vendors allow you to select the location where you would like your instance to be hosted. Make sure you ask.

  • Data encryption: Data encryption to keep your information hidden from 3rd parties. This encryption is normally in transit and at rest. This means your information is protected while being sent or simply stored.
  • Security certifications: Expect the vendor to be certified in ISO 27001, SOC2 Type I, Type II, CSA STAR, and similar.

Some vendors will be more transparent than others when displaying their security and data privacy information, but they all have it. If you cannot see that right away, ask for clarification during your demo call.

Other Project Management Software

Not looking for project planning tools? Check out our other lists of top project management software and other tools:

project planning tools logos list

What's Next?

Planning is not only about having the right tool. Learn how to use project milestones to guide your team through their work. Also, you should read our guide to project budgets. Especially if you don't have a natural inclination for numbers.

Finally, if you want to get better at project planning, you may learn a trick or two by subscribing to our Insider Membership newsletter. It will be delivered to your inbox every week.

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!