If you’re a Project Manager, then you know that there is one way to ensure a project’s success: plan, plan and plan some more. Plan your team’s workload and plan your milestones; plan your budget and plan your emergency budget if that budget doesn’t work; plan your communication strategy and plan your road bump response; plan the stages of your critical path strategy; plotting a comprehensive roadmap. Plan, plan, plan!
A successful project is all about having the right plan. But how can you make building and maintaining your project plan as easy as possible? Bring in some support software. Project planning tools like Wrike and Nutcache can help you track task progress, collaborate on ideas, and set common goals. Leaning on tools like this will make your life much easier.
Project planning doesn’t have to feel like you’re drowning in notes, calendars, and messages. Find a project planning tool that does the heavy lifting for you so that you can focus on the important stuff. In this article, I will evaluate some of the best tools for project planning and provide a simple summary of where each item excels.
Project Planning Comparison Criteria
What am I looking for when we select project planning tools for review? Beyond the key features that I look for, here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive?
- Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? Do they offer apps for Android and iOS, and how well do they work?
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other project management tools? Any pre-built integrations?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? Do they offer a free plan or free trial?
Key Features For Project Planning Tools
- Gantt chart builder (or see a roundup of Gantt chart tools)
- Team collaboration tools (or see a roundup of collaboration tools)
- Resource planning (or see a round-up of resource management tools)
- Workflow management (or see a round-up of workflow management tools)
- Requirements management (or see a round-up of requirements management tools)
- Analytics & reporting tools (or see a round-up of reporting tools)
- Timeline & schedule builder (see a round-up of calendar-specific PM tools)
- Budget management & planning
- File sharing & file management
- Drag and drop schedule editing
- Work management (task lists, task boards)
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monday.com is a popular project management software that can easily handle basic and complicated projects. Users will find it easy to collaborate, keep track of progress, customize workflows, and analyze information within the platform.
With an emphasis on transparency and collaboration, monday.com is packed with features that let you do your tasks and work with others using the tools you love. View your data in various highly visual dashboard options, communicate easily within monday.com, and manage all your resources efficiently.
monday.com integrates with popular productivity tools such as Slack, Dropbox, Outlook, and so much more with the option to integrate without any code required.
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.
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.
Runn is a real-time project and resource planning tool with integrated time tracking and powerful forecasting capabilities. Get a bird’s-eye view of all projects and people to stay on top of your business. Collaborate with co-workers to remain up-to-date and on the same page with remote teams.
Scheduling is easy and intuitive in Runn–simply drag-and-drop to create project phases and allocations. Create project milestones, project notes and add time off. Flick between monthly, quarterly and half-yearly views to plan for the short and long term. If you don’t have the right person at the right time, use placeholders to define the requirements for the project.
Runn makes planning dynamic and visual. Watch the charts and reports update as you plan your projects. You can see visualisations of capacity, workload, availability, and billable and non-billable utilisation. Plan out tentative projects to see how your resourcing plans might change if the work gets confirmed.
Track projects, view forecasts, and get relevant metrics within Runn. You’ll have up-to-date data in one place to keep tabs on insights like utilization, project variance, and overall financial performance. Use Runn’s built-in timesheets to understand how much time was worked on your projects compared to what was planned.
Runn integrates with Harvest, WorkflowMax, and Clockify for importing project, client, and people data and syncing time entries. With Runn’s API, you can build your own integration to send data across your favorite tools.
Try Runn free for 14 days, no credit card required. Runn has three pricing plans: Free for Startup (5 or fewer people), $10 per person for Pro, and custom pricing for Enterprise. There is also a 20% discount on annual plans.
Kintone is a customizable project planning platform used by teams at Volvo Trucks North America, Japan Airlines, Shiseido, and over 23,000 organizations worldwide. Their unique approach to project and task management lets you build a wide variety of customizable “apps” either from scratch, using templates or from your existing spreadsheets, for data management, business processes, and workflows. Kintone apps can be customized for project management, sales CRM, customer databases, expense reports, shared to-do lists, equipment management, product feedback, and much more.
Apps can be built either from scratch, using templates, or from existing spreadsheets for data management, business processes, and workflow purposes. Kintone apps can be customized for project management, sales CRM, customer databases, expense reports, shared to-do lists, equipment management, product feedback, and much more.
Kintone lets you build agile project management apps by dragging and dropping elements that you want to see onto the page: rich text fields, date fields, drop-down menus, number fields with built-in calculations, spaces for attachments, user or group selection menus, related data from other apps, tables, and more. Your agile project management solution can look and work however you want it to.
What makes Kintone particularly great for agile project management is that it empowers project managers to track all facets of their project, from individual tasks and project data to workflows and communication—and then use their findings to rapidly improve their processes as they go. Because the end-users are also the app designers, feedback loops are instant, continuous, and actionable.
There are so many ways to customize Kintone it can be hard to know where to start. Read the starter blog “What Can You Build with Kintone?” or watch Creating an App from Scratch for a quick look at how the drag-and-drop builder works.
Kintone lets you expand its capabilities with both free native plugins built by the Kintone team as well as integrations with other tools like Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Tableau, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eventbrite, WordPress, QuickBooks, MailChimp, and many more through a paid plan with Zapier or via API integrations.
Kintone costs $24/user/month with a minimum requirement of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) and discounted prices for nonprofits and educators. Kintone’s team also offers a free custom app build as part of the free trial process.
GanttPRO is a project planning tool with powerful features for managing and completing various projects. Project teams can plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage resources in a centralized workspace, collaborating with colleagues, customers, and stakeholders.
GanttPRO users can break down their work into tasks using handy Gantt charts, assign tasks to their teammates, organize them into projects for timelines, set task dependencies and milestones, check the team’s progress, get notifications, and more.
This planning tool allows creating of several workspaces and projects. As soon as you’re done creating them, the drag & drop option will make it easy to start adding tasks and setting start/due dates.
GanttPRO is an inexpensive project planning solution with a friendly design, so you can get started without extra overhead. For an easy start, you may use ready-made Gantt chart templates. Additionally, you may export your diagrams and import charts from software like Microsoft Project and Excel.
Basic plans for 1 user start at $7.99/month if billed annually.
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.
Nutcache offers users an all-in-one solution for project management where users can organize their data the way they want, stay within budget with the help of alerts, approve time and expenses as well as bill and invoice within the platform, to increase productivity, gain visibility, and maintain control.
Keep your projects on budget with Nutcache. Organize your workspace by viewing your data in Gantt charts, stay on track by automating reminders and alerts, and track all of your team members’ time no matter where they’re working from.
Nutcache integrates with PayPal, Stripe, QuickBooks, Dynacom Accounting, 2Checkout, Authorized.Net, Gmail, Google Drive, Github, Slack, and hundreds more using a paid plan through Zapier.
Nutcache costs $6 per user per month and they offer a free plan with limited features for a maximum of 20 users. Their Enterprise plan starts at $12 per user per month.
ProWorkflow makes it easy to work on the go, from anywhere, using any device. It’s a cloud-based project management software that serves as a platform for task tracking, time tracking, collaboration, and is a central source of information. It also comes with invoicing and performance and financial reporting features.
Because ProWorkflow is accessible on any device, making your teams more productive, allowing management to gain more insight, and everyone can communicate with teammates, clients, and contractors within one platform.
ProWorkflow integrates with tools such as Xero, Dropbox, Quickbooks Online, Quickbooks Desktop, and so much more through Zapier.
ProWorkflow costs from $20 per user per month with no user limit. ProWorkflow offers a free trial and more specific pricing details upon request.
Hive is a project management software built with an emphasis on workplace collaboration and it shows in its range of communication features. Within Hive users can collaborate with Hive Chat, comments, Hive Mail, multiple and shared inboxes, and project access.
Hive makes it easy to collaborate with team members in ways that work best for every person. Choose between the many ways to get your teammates’ eyes on what you’re working on by sending them messages, tagging them in comments, alerting them about urgent tasks with card priority levels, and determining who gets to see your information.
Hive integrates with over a thousand third-party apps but requires a paid plan through Zapier to do so.
Hive costs from $12 per user per month and they offer free use of Hive for small teams with limited features. Enterprise pricing details are available 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.
Need expert help selecting the right Project Scheduling Software?
We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Project Scheduling Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions with unbiased recommendations to help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.
It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out monday.com|
14 days free trial
|From $9.80/user/month||Check out Wrike|
14 days free trial
|From $10/user/month||Check out Runn|
30 days free trial
|From $24/user/month||Check out Kintone|
14 days free trial
|From $7.99/user/month||Check out GanttPRO|
10 day free trial
|From $4/user/month (billed annually)||Check out Zoho Projects|
14 days free trial
|From $6/user/month||Check out Nutcache|
14 days free trial
|From $10/user/month||Check out ProWorkflow|
14 days free trial
|From $12/user/month||Check out Hive|
|From $19 /month for up to 5 users.||Visit Website|
Not looking for project planning tools? Check out our other lists of top project management software and other tools:
- Need help building, storing, and processing timesheets? Try these 10 Best Time Tracking Software For Employees.
- Need tools for managing a smaller project team? Try these 10 Best Project Management Software For Small Business.
- Have concerns about risk management? Try some of the Best Risk Management Software for Enterprises and Midsize Businesses.
What Do You Think About These Project Planning Tools?
Have you tried out any project planning tools listed above? What tool would you pick as the best online project planning tool? Is there any project planning software that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments.