Best Microsoft Software for Project Management

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Microsoft Project is one of the most popular project management tools on the market. Whether you’re a small business or an organization with tens of thousands of employees, Microsoft Project is a powerful tool that can help you manage projects and keep them on track. But what if you don’t have a Microsoft Project account? What if you’re in an industry where other project management tools are more commonly used? In this article, we’ll discuss the 10 best project management tools for businesses of all sizes.

Best Microsoft Software for Project Management

Planner

Planner enables teams to manage private and public plans and task buckets. Users can create and follow various tasks and plans, prioritize them, get instant reporting via board and charts views. As a part of Office 365 Groups, Planner also enables team members to collaborate on project documents using a SharePoint library, comment on project tasks in Outlook Groups, schedule project-related events in the team Calendar, take project notes in a team OneNote notebook.

Strengths: Owing to a nice visualization, users can get a clear snapshot of their activities and see if the project goes as planned. Plans and tasks are well-structured and are easy to manage. Planner can also be integrated with Microsoft Teams, which makes it a part of a larger collaborative environment (please find the details in the second section of the article.

Weaknesses: Experienced project managers are discreet about Planner. While they admit the tool handles smaller projects perfectly, they say it’s insufficient for managing large projects and supervising large teams.

SharePoint Project Task Lists

Another option for Office 365 subscribers is to use SharePoint Online for project management through SharePoint Task Lists. The tool enables users to create lists of tasks and subtasks and see their distribution on a project timeline. Apart from these basic capabilities, users can manage tasks, assign resources and get diverse tasks views (including Gantt charts, late tasks, my tasks, upcoming). Task Lists also enables employees to benefit from the Outlook calendar and conversations, manage documents in a dedicated SharePoint library and use a project notebook.

Strengths: The tool offers a clear representation of a project and the tasks within it. Task Lists provide even more capabilities if coupled with other SharePoint features (e.g., project document management) or if integrated with Project Online.

Weaknesses: By default, it is impossible to add multiple timelines within one task list, so teams will need extra development efforts to bring several timelines together. Customization will also be required to allow reporting, which is a must-have for larger projects.

Project Online

One more Office 365 project management tool is Project Online. It is a professional application for project portfolio management that goes with 3 available plans: Essentials, Professional and Premium. Each plan targets a different group of users including project and resource managers and covers projects of any complexity. The application offers project planning and task scheduling, resource management, reporting features and more, which makes it the most powerful project management tool in the entire Office 365 suite.

Strengths: Project Online is a fully-fledged Office 365 project management tool that can handle various projects and meet needs of both ordinary employees and seasoned project managers.

Weaknesses: As a professional tool, Project Online requires employees’ skills to handle it. New team members can find it difficult to deal with it. Training for end users is highly recommended: otherwise, adoption can become a challenge.

Outlook Tasks

Apart from project management tools, Office 365 users can also benefit from personalized task management. First come Outlook Tasks. They will suit employees and teams that prefer managing their activities within their email app. Outlook enables a rich representation of tasks through numerous attributes (status, priority, completeness, category, etc.) and views. Users can also follow their tasks on the calendar grid and share them with the team members.

Strengths: Outlook Tasks can become even more effective when coupled with Outlook Groups. Groups enable users to collaborate on their tasks using the same app. The tool can be a great option for moderate project management.

Weaknesses: The tool’s UI and UX leave much to be desired. Users have to put an effort to make all the tasks arranged and clear, that’s why additional training might be required. As the number of entries increases, tasks can look messy especially if mixed up with other events or meetings.

To-Do

The To-Do app is a personal task management tool that will replace Wunderlist acquired by Microsoft in 2015. The app allows users to manage any kind of tasks be they private or business-related. Users can create lists of tasks, set due dates and notifications, regroup tasks and make slight UI changes. As a part of the Office 365 suite, To-Do can be integrated with Outlook Tasks, so that employees synchronize their to-dos with their inbox task management areas.

Strengths: An easy-to-use and a good-looking tool that allows managing personal tasks. Employees can use it as a private task management area to prioritize their activities the way they like it, independently of other team members.

Weaknesses: The tool is still incomplete and lags behind its ‘father’ Wunderlist. Employees can’t create subtasks or share tasks with other users, as well as create reports. Besides, the mobile app is much weaker than the web app, while the latter isn’t available for Mac OS.

project management tools

1 ClickUp

Best for unlimited users/seats

ClickUp is a project management software tool with powerful features for managing and completing all your team’s projects in one platform. Users can plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage resources in a centralized workspace, as well as communicate and collaborate with team members and guests.

Task management features include task checklists, subtasks, and task templates, as well as the ability to filter, sort, search for, easily reorder, and view tasks in the manner most convenient for the team. Users can also create Gantt charts, calendars, and timelines to visualize tasks.

ClickUp also includes features for creating, sharing, and collaborative editing for Wikis and documents. Users can comment on documents and tasks, assign comments, and chat with other team members for increased communication and collaboration. Reporting features include the ability to create custom dashboards, as well as six built-in report types for team reporting.

ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.

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ClickUp’s free plan is robust and includes all primary features. The unlimited plan starts at $5/user/month and offers additional functionality.

Free forever with paid plans starting at $5/user/month

PROS

  • Free forever plan allows unlimited members
  • Unlimited file storage on all paid account tiers
  • Can email (set-up) a task directly from Outlook

CONS

  • Read-only guest permissions are limited to paid account
  • Reporting suite is limited to paid plans only
  • Granular customization options results in a time consuming set-up

2 Smartsheet

Best for flexibility & customizability

Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-like project management tool. It has won a few awards for quickly becoming a favorite business app. It’s a nice project management software if you’re comfortable working in Excel but wants a break from complicated formulas—Smartsheet performs all the calculations for you across multiple sheets. You can also add customized brand logos and set color themes for individual projects.

Smartsheet has useful project management features such as workflow automation and visualization of tasks in Gantt, calendar and card views. Team members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminders, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed. The Critical Path feature highlights all the tasks which directly impact your project completion date to keep an eye on important milestones. Reporting is a strong feature of this tool, with editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel.

Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.

Smartsheet costs from $7/user/month, with a minimum of 3 users and a maximum of 25 users. They also offer a 30-day free trial.

30 days free trial

From $7/user/month

PROS

  • Sheet-to-sheet linking
  • Many project templates & resources
  • Ease of sharing
  • Easily customizable dashboards

CONS

  • Jira, Salesforce, Dynamics connector limited to Premier plan
  • Changes don’t update in real-time
  • Can’t customize chart colors

3 Kintone

Best for building custom project workflows

Kintone is a customizable project tracking software 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.

Kintone lets you build no-code project tracking 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.

Once you’ve built the app you want, you can use it to more easily manage whatever data and tasks you and your team need to track. And with custom notifications and reminders as well as detailed permissions settings, your project tracking solution can look and work however you want it to.

What makes Kintone particularly great for project tracking are the features to filter and prioritize tasks by data field or team member to generate custom reports or dashboard views, as well as the ability to automate reminders and handoffs between team members for multi-step workflows.

Kintone’s built-in communication features also allow teams to discuss projects directly in the app and in topic or project-based threads. Dedicated “spaces” organize everything your team needs for your project, including task-tracking apps and searchable conversation threads.

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.

30 days free trial

From $24/user/month

PROS

  • Flexible pricing that includes special deals for schools and NPOs
  • Admin accounts have access to tons of customization tools
  • Data is easy to pull and manipulate into good looking reports

CONS

  • No single-user plan available (minimum 5 users)
  • Limited to 5GB/user storage on every pricing tier
  • No native templates for common project types or documents

4 Forecast.app

Best AI-native project planning tool

Forecast is an all-in-one platform for resource and project management, used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agency, software, and consulting companies. It’s equipped with tools to manage everything from quote to invoice, plus it offers intelligent automation to predict project delivery dates, forecast capacity needs, and become more efficient. Their AI uses cumulative learnings from hundreds of thousands of projects and creates rules based on that user data.

Let’s talk about features. The Auto-Schedule feature is great for project scheduling, providing estimates, automatically assigning resources to tasks. It’s got a drag-and-drop module that lets you adjust plans and resources in an instant. Another cool feature is that the tool automatically builds a budget for every project with key financial metrics to track planned vs. actuals. It also supports various billing types (fixed price, time & materials) side-by-side and in real-time. It has advanced up-to-the-minute reports you can customize.

Forecast also introduced a one-of-its-kind feature to manage projects in a retainer setup. A dashboard with retainer periods and totals lets you track the financials of ongoing projects without losing sight of staff workloads and time spent on delivery.

Forecast integrations include several turnkey integrations with mainstream project management tools and two-way sync with Jira on the market. It also complements accounting systems like Quickbooks and Xero with PM capabilities.

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Forecast costs from $31.76/user/month (€27/user/month) with a 10-seat minimum requirement. They offer a 14-day free trial.

14 days free trial

From $31.76/user/month

PROS

  • Predictive tasks for spreadsheets
  • Can manage resources across multiple projects
  • Easy to plan projects and timelines

CONS

  • Milestone data is lumped together rather than separated
  • Additional fee for onboarding/training
  • Higher learning curve

5 GanttPro

Best project management tool for planning and scheduling projects with an online Gantt chart

GanttPRO is a project management software based on Gantt charts and useful for managing all kinds of projects and teams from different spheres. It stands out for its intuitive interface and powerful features.

The software includes features for breaking down projects in an efficient manner into subtasks, sibling tasks, and subprojects, as well as set dependencies and milestones. To get more visibility, users can choose between the Gantt chart, Board views, and task dashboards. GanttPRO also offers handy task management features such as statuses, priorities, duration & estimation, progress, dates and deadlines, assignees, and more.

The Gantt chart maker allows teams to collaborate in real-time using comments, mentions, and attachments. Resource management and workload features for monitoring team members workload and tasks are also included.

You can integrate your projects with Jira, Google Drive, Slack, and other applications. GanttPRO is widely used in software development, construction, healthcare, finances, events, education, and many other spheres.

Basic plans for 1 user start at $7.99/month if billed annually.

14 days free trial

From $7.99/user/month

PROS

  • Intuitive interface with a short learning curve
  • Multiple and flexible project views
  • Professional Gantt chart templates

CONS

  • Light on integrations
  • Lack of options to create recurring tasks

free project management software

1. Instagantt

If you want online Gantt software, this is the way to go. It’s designed to work with Asana (which we’ll talk about in a moment) and also allows you to link schedules from other sources. That means you only have to put in all of your information once, and you’ll be able to see it across each of your different platforms. You can set up timelines and tasks as well as managing and monitoring your teams’ workload. While you’re at it, you’ll be able to see everything in a format that works for you and your team.

If you’re not using Asana, you can still get a lot out of this system, including monitoring and assigning tasks, assigning due dates, and evaluating progress. All of these things come in several different price points that will help you work with the team that you have and keep apprised of everything that needs to be done.

Some of Instagantt’s awesome features are:

  • Gantt and workload view
  • Task and subtasks
  • Public snapshot sharing options
  • Timelines
  • Multiple projects and workspaces
  • Dependencies and milestones
  • Critical path
  • Team collaboration options: notification and task assignment
  • Estimated and actual cost
  • Custom view and custom fields
  • Custom color options for progress bars
  • Risk and priority
  • Baselines
  • Drag & drop
  • Diverse exporting options: Excel, image and PDF

2. TeamGantt

With this tool, you’re creating workflows, and you’re doing it in a way that’s simple for people to understand and get a handle on. You can create different projects, milestones, and tasks and even use it on any of your devices. This system works on iOS, Android, Google Chrome, and Web. That means any of your users and team members can access it no matter where they are or what type of device they use. And you can check in to see just what they’re doing through the snapshot view.
You get to assign high, low, and medium priority to tasks, see how your team is doing and even set up the start dates and due dates for everything. You’ll also be able to use Gantt style timelines to keep an eye on everything. And you can try out the whole thing for free for 30 days. Then you pay based on the number of people who are on your team.

Some of TeamGantt Features:

– Drag&Drop
– Guest permission
– Baselines
– Multiple project view in one Gantt chart
– Guest permission
– Baselines
– Tasks & Subtasks

3. Asana

You want to be able to keep track of everything that everyone is working on, and that’s where Asana does well. This program gives you the ability to create the task list you want and then move it as much as you like. You also have a visual project timeline that you can use to see everything you need to get done. You can even set up your progress, note due dates, and make sure that scheduling and rescheduling are simple and easy.  

What makes this application even better is that it works with several of your other favorites. You can link it to your Slack, Outplanr, Google Calendar, and Dropbox. All of these links make it easy to integrate, and they also ensure you don’t have to put in information all at once. Plus, you can choose between different fee schedules to find what works for you. From free to enterprises.

Asana Features:

  • Document Management
  • Project Management
  • Time & Expense Tracking
  • CRM
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Portfolio Management
  • Resource Management
  • Integration with Instagantt

4. Click Up:

If you want to manage tasks efficiently, including managing your more substantial tasks, full projects, small tasks, and notes, you’ll want to check out this service. It’s designed to let you customize everything, so you have a system that works for you. It also enables you to do automatic scheduling with estimated times, and you can choose who gets to see what on the system. That way, when you bring your team into the system, they’re not automatically privy to everything.

You can set goals and see how they’re doing as well as changing up the view that works best for you, check on the status of projects and more. You’ll also have an inexpensive rate because this system is paid based on how many people you have on your team. You only pay $4.99 per person each month.

Click Up Features:

  • Task tray
  • Notepad
  • Assigned comments
  • Dark mode
  • Integrations
  • Assigned comments
  • Multiple views

5. Wrike

This tool will give you the ability to communicate with your team through what they call ‘best-in-class’ collaboration. They also have document management tools and different communication features. You can even set up priorities for what needs to be done and make sure that your team is working more efficiently at the tasks that matter. If you already use Outlook, iCalendar, or Google, you can even sync your tasks or your milestones to keep everything working together.

With this system, you can use Gantt charts, which help you to create the timelines you’re looking for. You also get a more straightforward process for staying up-to-date on what’s happening in your projects so you can send the information on to your clients. Pricing is also based on the number of users that you have signed up with the service during the year.

Wrike Features:

  • Critical path
  • Collaborative team editing
  • Folder hierarchy
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6. Smartsheet

If you want your team to be able to collaborate on anything and everything, this is a great way to go. It offers you attachment options so you can upload files directly into the system from Google Drive, Onedrive, Dropbox, and many of your other favorites. You can even see who is busy and who isn’t on your team so you can contact people at more convenient times. All you need to do is take a look at the dashboard.

While you’re at it, you’re able to set up different permissions, and you can make sure everything is maintained and updated correctly along the way. That’s because it sends out automatic update requests to make sure everyone is on the same page. When you’re ready to try it out you’ll find time-tracking, reporting, resource management, and planning. It’s all entirely cloud-based, too, so you can access it from anywhere. Plus, some plans vary from $14 to $25 per month.

Smartsheet Features:

  • Spreadsheet templates
  • Predecessor tasks
  • Automated workflows

7. Trello

Here you’re going to have a basic but easy to use a system for keeping track of all of your different tasks. You can create entirely different boards for different types of jobs, different projects, different teams, or anything else you like. What’s great about this system is that it’s a Kanban management tool, which is one of the most popular methods available. You get to switch between boards however you want and create any tasks that you want within them.

You can drag and drop your cards, add tags, fields, priority levels, and a whole lot more. The interface is user-friendly, and there are even power-ups that help you add on different features that you may need. You also can choose between different modes that range from free for individuals or small groups up to an enterprise version that’s available for each member of your team.

Trello Features:

  • Kanban View
  • Drag & drop
  • Detailed & Quick Overviews of Front/Back Cards
  • Tasks and subtasks
  • In-Line Editing
  • Deadline Alerts and Notifications

8. Monday

What if you could have a system that makes things easier for you and is named for everybody’s least favorite day of the week? Well, you can with Monday. This system offers you plenty of features, including following Twitter and LinkedIn threads and even commenting on different tasks. You also can customize who can access various projects. If you already use other systems, you can integrate them into your account, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Zapier.

The open-source framework is one of the best parts of this tool, letting you create any integrations and other features you may want. You can also get more detailed reports, and you can add on any people you want, including third-party agents or freelancers. You can choose between different pricing structures depending on the size of your team.

Monday Features:

  • Collaboration tool for multiple employees.
  • Visual display of progress.
  • Easy communication: tag people.
  • Email notifications
  • Execution Board – with big screen display
  • Integrations: Dropbox, Google Drive, Pipedrive

9. ProofHub

The user-friendly aspect of ProofHub is one of the first things you’re going to like. From there, you’ll love that it’s got a minimal learning curve. You can organize the projects you want to create, the teams that are responsible for them, and more. You get to customize everything from the color scheme to the names and logos that you use. There are even six different language options, so you can make it work for your team even if you’re international.

When you set up each of your team members, you’ll be able to assign roles and provide only the level of access that each team member needs. You also get mobile options that work with both iOS and Android devices. On top of that, you can choose between two different versions that vary from $55 to $99 per month

ProofHub Features:

  • Collaboration
  • File sharing
  • Gantt charts
  • Idea management
  • Product roadmapping
  • Multi-language
  • Chat

10. Teamwork

With this tool, you’re creating workflows, and you’re doing it in a way that’s simple for people to understand and get a handle on. You can create different projects, milestones, and tasks and even use it on any of your devices. This system works on iOS, Android, Google Chrome, and Web. That means any of your users and team members can access it no matter where they are or what type of device they use. And you can check in to see just what they’re doing through the snapshot view.

You get to assign high, low, and medium priority to tasks, see how your team is doing and even set up the start dates and due dates for everything. You’ll also be able to use Gantt style timelines to keep an eye on everything. And you can try out the whole thing for free for 30 days. Then you pay based on the number of people who are on your team.
Teamwork Features:

  • Workload
  • Templates
  • Collaboration
  • Board View
  • Time Tracking
  • Milestones

Conclusion

Microsoft Project is a great tool for managing projects. You can use it to find the project you want to work on, use the tools to work on your project, and collaborate with other team members. If you have any questions about Microsoft Project, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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