Are you looking for project management tools for your company? In this article, we introduce you to the free solutions most appreciated by our users.
Deadlines not met. Bottlenecks. Silos communication.
These problems are wasting your time and money. Fortunately, you don’t need to go bankrupt to find the project management tool for you.
If you run a small team and are on a tight budget but would like to take advantage of some advanced features, a free or freemium project management tool might be the solution for you (freemium products are the free versions of paid software that offer limited functionality and / or a limitation on the number of users).
In this article we offer you the 10 free project management (PM) software with the best ratings on Capterra, with the characteristics of each and the cost of the upgrade.
With this review you can decide 1) if free software is the right solution for your organization and 2) which free project management solution best meets your needs.
What does “best” mean? For each of the 10 tools listed below, the overall rating received by Capterra users is above average compared to other products in the same category. See the full methodology at the end of the article.
Project management vs. work management: what is the best solution for you?
The term “project management (PM) software” encompasses a variety of solutions ranging from the simplest collaborative management tools to more advanced project portfolio management programs.
In order to choose the tool that best suits your needs, it is essential to understand how these two types of software differ:
- Work management software allows teams to manage workflows, organize tasks and activities (projects and processes) and collaborate in a shared work environment. Tools of this type allow you to have control over the execution of the work, providing real-time specific overviews and notifications to the various interested parties. The target user is made up of non-technical professionals.
- Real project management software allows project managers and organizations to implement projects starting from unique initiatives with specific objectives (deliverables), roadmaps and budgets (resources). Thanks to these programs it is possible to plan, monitor and control costs, schedules and resources, thus creating added value and meeting the criteria for the success of projects. The user target is made up of technical professionals, such as project managers. Many of these software tools also offer an application that allows you to check for status updates and manage messages in real time.
Knowing the different features that distinguish project management software from work management software can be useful to understand which is the most suitable tool for your business.
The 10 best free tools for project management
Airtable is a cloud-based collaborative work management solution, with which teams can view activities on a grid (similar to a spreadsheet), calendar, Kanban board or gallery. Its main features include task management, collaboration, report / project monitoring and time tracking.
Airtable has a structure made up of databases that contain all the data necessary to manage a project. The databases consist of a series of tables, each dedicated to a specific aspect of the project, in which it is possible to insert different fields (attachments, checklists, etc.) and records (important data points that are being monitored).
- Free version: Allows you to create unlimited databases and offers 1200 records per database, 2 GB of attachment space for each database and two weeks of revision and snapshot history, as well as the ability to collaborate and comment in real time.
- Paid plans: Include additional records for each database, more space for attachments, longer revision history, priority support, and access to “blocks” (modular applications that extend the functionality of databases). Paid plans are available starting at $ 10 (about € 8) per user, per month.
Asana is a cloud-based project and task management solution that helps companies manage and organize activities and projects, communicate and collaborate. This is a useful tool for teams and companies that manage multiple projects at a time, regardless of the size of the company.
Key features include task management, reporting, automatic notifications, a customer portal, collaboration tools, dashboards, a mobile app, document management and task assignment. Asana also includes a feature that collects all updates automatically generated by the software.
It allows access through mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones (both Android and iOS).
Asana offers integration with various applications such as Dropbox , Slack , Gmail and Zapier , with a limit of 100 MB for each single attachment.
- Free version: Includes up to 15 users, list, bulletin board and calendar view, time tracking, unlimited tasks and projects, activity log, and more than 100 free integrations.
- Paid Plans: These are available starting at $ 13.49 ($ 11) per user, per month, and include features like advanced integrations, dashboards, and custom branding.
Basecamp is a real-time communication tool with to-do lists, calendars, deadlines and file sharing, which allows teams to keep track of priorities and processable elements.
With Basecamp, users can create projects, document progress and manage activities. This web-based software also allows you to log in via a web browser or mobile application.
Basecamp can be used by any organization that needs to manage groups, including nonprofits, start-ups and customer service businesses, but also freelancers. Subscriptions are scalable and come with tiers with varying storage spaces and numbers of users.
- Free version: Ideal for freelancers, personal use, families and light use, includes 1GB of storage, up to three projects and 20 users.
- Paid plans: $ 99 ($ 82) monthly flat rate with unlimited projects and users and 500GB of storage.
ClickUp is a cloud-based work management solution that defines itself as “productivity software” and helps individual workers and teams set goals, manage tasks and organize work in “project areas”. Its main features include task management, collaboration, report / project monitoring, time tracking and Gantt charts.
Among the essential elements of ClickUp are tasks, customizable fields, objectives (which are broken down into quantifiable and assigned objectives) and portfolios (high-level overview of the work, similar to a dashboard).
- Free version: Includes unlimited users, tasks and workspaces, 100 MB of storage, 24/7 support (chat, phone, email and online help center), 100 uses of customizable fields, 100 uses of goals, 100 portfolio uses and limited reporting.
- Paid plans – Offer unlimited storage, integrations, comprehensive reporting options, and additional features like Gantt charts.
Jira is a workflow management tool that Agile teams use to plan, track and release software products. Ideal for teams using Scrum, Kanban, a hybrid model, or other unique workflows.
Jira allows users to create project roadmaps to map all ongoing projects. The project board features a drag-and-drop interface that allows teams to manage every detail of the project. You can also create user stories and open support tickets, plan sprints, and distribute activities among team members. Users also have access to information from thousands of business applications, from design and monitoring tools to source code and productivity applications.
Jira offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. Support is available through an online help portal, online documentation, and video tutorials.
- Free version: Includes Scrum and Kanban boards, Agile reporting, customizable workflows, 2GB of storage, and a support community.
- Paid plans: the price is per user, per month, and varies based on the number of users. For 10 users, the price starts at an average of $ 7 (about € 6) per user, per month, for a total of about $ 70 (about € 58) per month. Includes a minimum of 250GB of storage (which increases in higher tiers) and additional features such as an audit log.
6. Master Task
MeisterTask is a visual work management tool that helps teams manage workflows and organize tasks on a shared Kanban-style board. It can be deployed in the cloud or installed on a Mac or Windows operating system. Its main features include task management, collaboration, report / project monitoring and time tracking.
- Free version: Provides unlimited users, activities, Kanban boards and storage space, plus the ability to attach files up to 20MB in size.
- Paid plans: Offer priority support and additional features such as recurring tasks, reporting, and customizable fields. The upgrade to the first subscription level costs $ 8.25 (approximately € 7) per user, per month (paid annually).
Citrix Podio is a project management and social collaboration tool that allows companies to create favorite workflows and customized applications to meet specific needs. No technical skills are required to use the software, which saves development resources.
Users can access hundreds of free applications through the Podio App Market, including apps for task management, project portfolio and problem management. Other applications available include those for customer relationship management (CRM) and application management.
All the applications of the Podio App Market are complete with a series of social collaboration features, including Facebook-like “likes”, file sharing anywhere in the system, instant internal messaging and video chats.
Podio’s ability to develop its own applications makes it the ideal program for small organizations that require a high degree of customization, especially those that manage multiple business processes in a single system.
- Free version: Up to five authorized employees, also includes applications, workspaces and task management functions.
- Paid plans: starting at $ 9 (about € 7.50) per user, per month, with unlimited items, user management and unlimited external users. By choosing the annual payment you can take advantage of a discount on the price per user.
Quire is a cloud-based project management solution that helps small and medium-sized businesses manage to-do lists and tasks to enable collaboration between teams. Quire’s core features include document management, real-time editing, communication tools, discussion forums, file sharing, milestone tracking, and project planning.
Quire allows teams to organize and prioritize tasks via a Kanban board so members can view workflows. Managers can assign tasks to team members, sort tasks by priority, filter tasks, and view project start / due dates using Gantt charts. Additionally, users can track activities to get reminders of upcoming deadlines on their enrolled devices.
Quire comes with an Application Programming Interface (API), which allows integration with various third-party applications, such as Slack , Outlook Calendar, iCal, and others. Users can remotely manage activities through mobile applications for Android and iOS devices. Quire also provides email and FAQ support.
- Free version: Quire currently only offers a free plan. According to what is read on the software website, paid versions will also be launched in the future, but all the features that are now free will continue to be there even after the release of the paid versions.
- Paid plans : currently not available.
Teamwork is a cloud-based work management solution that helps teams collaborate, organize tasks and meet deadlines. Its main features include Gantt charts, Kanban boards, task management, collaboration, report / project monitoring, resource management and time tracking.
- Free version: Includes access for five users, two active projects, 100MB of storage, and multiple support options (email, live chat, telephone, online knowledge base and user manuals).
- Paid plans: Offer more projects, more storage, priority support, and a more reliable tracking system, such as portfolio view and risk log. Upgrading to a paid plan costs $ 12.50 (approximately € 10) per user, per month (there is a small discount with annual payment).
Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform designed for teams of more than 20 people from small and medium-sized companies. It includes features like Gantt charts, calendars, a workload view for resource management, custom dashboards, and real-time updates. It allows you to structure your work in folders, projects and tasks, as well as to assign these automatically based on the status of each. Wrike is an ideal solution for different types of teams, from finance and technology to creative professions and advertising. Wrike for Marketers is a separate product with bespoke templates, review tools, and an Adobe extension. Wrike integrates a variety of tools, including Salesforce , Dropbox and Slack . It also offers an API.
- Free version: Up to 5 licenses including board view, task management, file sharing, real-time activity stream, basic integrations, and 2GB of storage.
- Paid plans: Tier 1 costs $ 9.80 (about € 8) per user, per month, and includes Gantt charts, core and sub task management, advanced integrations, shared dashboards, and 5GB of storage (i more advanced levels offer higher storage space).
Key functionalities and characteristics of the project management tools
Below you will find the descriptions of the software features mentioned in the analyzes of the products presented:
It allows you to create activities (tasks), add descriptions, set start and due dates, define a priority, estimate the level of commitment (eg: hours, points, etc.) and assign activities to users. They can upload attachments, leave comments and update task status as work on the item progresses, or move tasks within a workflow to a bulletin board (Kanban or Scrum). Additional features include: convert email into tasks, set dependencies, create sub-tasks, create recurring tasks, create task checklists.
It provides a centralized work environment that allows multiple users to communicate with each other, come together and coordinate to facilitate teamwork. It allows you to create shared teams and / or message boards with project activities, calendars, wikis, dashboards, etc .; stay up to date on the work of other users through the activity feed; involve team members in the project through mentions (with the @ symbol); share files; use chat; participate in video conferences and invite guests to join.
Monitoring of reports / projects
Reports and dashboards allow users to quickly and visually see the status of a project, its costs or other essential information. You can view the progress of the project against its schedule, monitor objectives, monitor active tasks, view the list of completed tasks, compare estimated time vs actual time spent, and monitor team performance.
It allows to define the scope of the project, the timetable and the resources / budget; break down complex projects into objectives, identify deliverables and forecast cash flow; create the analytical project structure, outline the critical path, identify dependencies and limitations, and plan essential resources.
It allows you to monitor the time dedicated to the various tasks, create reports on the estimated time vs actual time dedicated to the tasks, record the billable hours vs non-billable hours, extract the time recorded in the timesheet to issue invoices.
It allows you to create a record / chart of resources with contact information, rate, role and skill level, and to allocate staff to projects and monitor workloads. Capabilities can include resource capacity planning and project prioritization based on demand for essential resources.
Digital sharing of various types of files.
Diagramma in Gantt
Horizontal bar waterfall chart with dates indicating the start and end of the interdependent parts of a project. Tasks are arranged based on when they need to be completed. Often used to create an analytical project structure and outline the critical path during the planning of the project and to compare, later, during the execution, the status of the project against the initial plans.
Kanban boards are the digital equivalent of magnetic whiteboard sticky notes and provide a visual representation of a workflow or process. The bulletin board is divided into columns that reflect the phases of a workflow (eg: “backlog”, “development” and “test”) or a status (eg: “to-do”, “in progress” and ” done “). Tasks are depicted as “tabs” which can be expanded to show assignees, task details and comments. Kanban metrics include cumulative flow charts and cycle time and delivery time charts.