Microsoft Project is a powerful tool for project management, whether you’re a business or a sole trader looking to keep all the plates spinning. It keeps track of timelines, of who’s doing what, and gives you access to the various Gantt charts and Kanban boards that keep projects flowing. It’s great, but it’s also expensive, and if you’re on a budget, you may need a free alternative.
We’ve gone out and found them for you – the best tools for managing high-intensity, elaborate projects.
Hygger not only lets you create multiple projects but manage them all seamlessly. It’s designed for the Agile project methodology, focused around breaking the project up into stages and making it easy to iterate, though really it can apply to different PM approaches if you like.
The main dashboards in Hygger include a timeline, Kanban board and sprints. It’s uniquely good at multiple-project management, letting you combine multiple projects into collections and offering plenty of customization options in terms of layouts.
The free version of Hygger supports up to five users with unlimited storage, so it’s perfect for small teams with a ton of workload.
One of the older project management tools out there remains one of the best. The browser-based Freedcamp has done a great job of keeping up with the times, with a neat interface based around three main dashboards – Taskboard, Calendar and Widgets, which offers a section of customizable insights into your project progress.
All this is contained within a neat, color-coded interface that lets you quickly manage projects using the ever-present and handy cog icon. It features the usual necessities like Gantt charts and a Kanban view, which you can quickly toggle to from the List view.
What makes Freedcamp stand out from other free project-management options is that it has unlimited users and storage, though file sizes are limited to 10MB. It also has helpful customer support.
Another offering designed for those who take the Agile approach to project management, specifically ‘Scrum’, making it easy to constantly iterate and respond to changes and obstacles in a given project. It’s particularly good for software development teams, in other words.
It has plenty of features to that end, such as sprint-planning, great reporting features and intuitive tracking. The interface isn’t quite as clean as other tools in this list, but it makes up for it in excellent user-tracking features, setting up alerts, task distribution and more. Targetprocess may not always be simple, but that’s because it’s so feature-heavy.
The free version supports 1000 free projects, unlimited storage and live chat support.
This free collaborative tool has picked up its share of accolades over the years, offering a complete package of project, task, time and document management in a social-style interface.
By “social” we mean that it’s great for communication in the way of messaging, comments, sharing of files and content, and even Facebook-style ‘Likes’ to create a friendly digital environment. It’s brimming with more serious features, too, like Gantt charts, robust document libraries and great time-planning tools that can be synced with Outlook.
For free, you get 5GB storage, twelve users and an unlimited number of projects. It takes a little getting to grips with it, with little in the way of tutorials, but it’s worth the effort.
Not unlike Bitrix24, Redbooth has a pretty social theme, creating a workspace in which multiple users can easily switch between various tasks and communicate with each other.
It has a neatly organized workspace screen that lets you view notes and communications between collaborators, relevant files and of course task progress, as well as allowing for the easy conversion of emails into tasks. You have the usual Gantt charts and other fundamental PM tools, though some may find that it’s a little light on more in-depth features like reporting.
With the free version you can have up to ten free users, 2GB storage and two projects, making this a great option for smaller teams.
“No Project, No Problem,” as users of the above apps would probably say if you gave them the chance. While the fact remains with all the above (which all offer paid versions, too) that you always get more bang for your buck, there’s plenty up above to work with.
This article was first published in January 2012 and was updated in June 2018.