Managing projects is a lot easier if you’ve got a tool that helps you get organized. But a lot of us out there are tasked (either by ourselves or our bosses) to manage projects without a budget for infrastructure, including software tools. Here are seven free project management software tools that can help you get a handle on the complexity of your project.
For those working in waterfall projects, look at GanttProject. It’s a downloadable, free piece of software that keeps your activities, dependencies and schedule all in a good-looking Gantt chart. For those working in agile/scrum environments, try Trello. It’s a free online card-based system that allows you great flexibility in setting up how you want the cards to flow. You can set up your view like a scrum board, or any other organizational system that you like.
Here’s a quick look at the popular free software that’s available online for project management. The nice part is, if it doesn’t fit your needs, you can ditch it and not worry about any money sunk into the software.
Assana is essentially a to-do list on steroids. Many projects don’t require the complex reporting and communicating tools like Gantt charts or scrum boards. Just keeping track of tasks, and who they’re assigned to may be enough for a lot of projects. This is a great place to start for the non-project manager who’s been thrust into the role and told to manage a project.
There’s an extensive community forum at https://forum.asana.com/. You’ll find lots of folks who’ve taken Asana to greater depths and have likely solved any issues that you’ve encountered. This sort of support is what makes Asana so popular.
- If your style of project management is managing to-do list, then this what I think is the best of the bunch. Major organizations like Zappos.Com use this tool and use it well.
- The biggest battle for the project manager and the best win that the project manager can achieve in the short term is to get organized. Asana can help you do that in spades.
- Does it do a Gantt chart? No, that’s not it’s style.
- There are tons of options that you can experiment with to get your system just right. Try it out!
Trello is a visual card-based organizing tool that you’ll find very familiar if you’ve worked with scrum boards in the past. You create tasks in cards, and those cards can be assigned to individuals or teams. You can keep all of a task’s notes, comments, attachments and details in that card.
The card then lives in a column. You set up columns any way you like. For example, you can set up columns for backlog, ready in sprint, being worked on, in testing, ready for deployment and deployed. This would be an example of a simple scrum board for software feature development.
Alternately, you could set up columns for unassigned, assigned to Greg, assigned to Jane, assigned to Anish, and complete. It’s up to you how you set up your columns. There are paid add-ons and features you can add to Trello, but the basics are free, and that’s enough for most project management.
- Trello looks like a card driven agile board. It’s well suited for Kanban or Scrum project management. You can set up controls on the cards to allow only those authorized to move the cards around.
- With a browser add-on, http://scrumfortrello.com/, you can even add complexity points to the cards.
- I said “looks like” above because Trello can be used for any card-based management system you like. If you want to make a to-do list of tasks with each card being a task, and each column being a person on your team, that works too!
- Gantt charts? No, this is very much an agile approach, so you won’t find much to support your waterfall project here.
- Like Asana, there are many ways to use Trello, and you can find a way to do your project with this.
Tudil is more than just a visual card system. It includes a ticketing system and a testing documentation platform. It’s completely free, and comes in desktop, iOS and Android flavors, and all interoperate.
It has some integrated reporting and charting, so it might be just the thing for a smaller company to use. It’s less flexible than Trello, as it’s designed for agile frameworks. But if that’s your thing, this is a polished tool that does a lot, and the price is right at free!
- This Indian-born desktop and mobile app is a more robust version of Trello.
- It has some reporting, including time reporting, and backlog management features that are a nice set for more mature teams. I find it a little too integrated for my tastes, and so I use Trello, but a team that could use these features could well find that this tool fits.
- Everything is cloud based, like Trello, and that makes it great for collaboration across the globe, and for distributed teams.
TeamGantt is an online tool for waterfall project management. It displays its information as a Gantt chart, but it’s quite a good looking Gantt chart. Some effort on the part of the developers to ensure that both the onscreen and outputted charts and reports look good. That’s a bonus if you’re working with visually-inspired stakeholders and leadership.
It has some restrictions, at least in the free version. You can only have three collaborators on a project. For me, that’s not an issue, as I’m usually the only one working on a project from the project management point of view. Others, though, who are looking for a good collaboration tool, may want to look elsewhere, or pay for the full version, which allows good collaboration for more than three people.
- This is a slick online Gantt chart program that’s browser based.
- It’s designed for waterfall methodology projects, but it does a nice job if you’re managing this sort of project. It can handle activity list, dependencies, milestones, resource assignment, and showing over-allocation or dependencies that don’t work.
- It’s free, to a point. You can only have up to three users in the free version, but that may be enough if you’re doing top-down planning.
- It does a nice job of creating Gantt charts in PDF for your team or stakeholders, so having only one user (you, the project manager), may not be so bad.
- You have the option of try-before-you-buy, and can upgrade to the paid version if you need more than three people sharing project plans, or if any of their premium features is of interest. For me, the free stuff includes enough for all my waterfall needs. I disseminate information to the team in a static format, so I don’t need them in the project management software.
GanttProject is an open source tool that works offline. It’s PC, Mac or Linux-based, so mobile isn’t an option. But it’s totally free and full-featured. It looks a lot like an MS Project replacement, and that’s likely how it was built.
This would be ideal for a waterfall project management approach in a small or mid-sized company. Open source means that it’s being added to over time, and if you have that skillset, you can add to it, too. It’s not as pretty as some products on the market, but it does a good job, and that may be all you need. It still provides PDF exports and reports, and the ability to export to Excel too. It definitely is worth a look if you’re doing waterfall project management.
- This also is a nice Gantt chart program, but it doesn’t require an internet connection.
- Like TeamGantt, it has all the regular stuff: activity list, dependencies, milestones, resource assignment and the like. It’s somewhat similar to MS Project in their approach.
- This program is totally free, even for commercial use.
- It has the ability to store projects on a cloud instance, so that distributed teams can access the same project files.
- While not fully robust, it does attempt to avoid multi-user collisions for saves and changes.
- Imports and exports MS Project files, and exports Excel and PDF formats, too.
- Can generate a PERT chart from the Gantt chart.
Does Google have a free project management tool?
Some people manage projects from spreadsheets, so in a way, Google Sheets is a project management tool. Otherwise, no, Google does not have a project management tool in its suite of productivity tools. Consider any of the tools above for a good, free way to manage your projects.
Is Microsoft Project free?
No, it’s not. And Microsoft Project is PC-based only. Instead, look at TeamGantt or GanttProject as alternatives. They are both free and both capable of doing the core work that Microsoft Project was designed to do.