10 Best Microsoft Project Alternatives Online [Free & Paid]

Criteria for alternative Microsoft Project software

There are lots of project scheduling software that do all sorts of things that we, as digital project managers, will never use. In the tool that replaces MS Project, what exactly are we looking for? Here are the criteria I used to evaluate Microsoft Project alternative project scheduling tools:

  • User Interface (UI): How well designed? How clear are the views and navigation?
  • usability: Is it intuitive and user-friendly? Are there any tutorials and training? Does the tool offer fast and responsive customer support when your team members have questions? Does it have an Android and iOS app so you can access it from any device?
  • Features and functionality: How many of the key features and functions of a resource management software does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I was looking for the following functions:
    • Create a Gantt chart: Demonstrate in detail the Work Breakdown (WBS) structure with tasks, subtasks, and to-do lists. It should show duration, start and end dates, task dependency and resources allocated to facilitate task management. Ghent chart templates are also an advantage.
    • Create an Executive Project Summary Table: Provide a high-level view of the project plan to provide a snapshot of the project that anyone can understand
    • Import and export mpp files: Be able to open MS Project files, seamlessly import someone else’s project plan, make edits and send it back to him without causing anyone a headache. All project files should be able to be stored within the project management solution, not in Dropbox or Google Drive.
    • Export PDFs or shared project plans: Be able to share something that looks representative. Bonus points if you can switch views to easily see your programs as to-do lists, calendars, calendars, etc.
    • Collaboration tools: Be able to use built-in functions to encourage team collaboration and receive real-time alerts on updates.
    • Monitoring issues: Be able to point out and keep track of ongoing issues and problems with specific projects or project types.
    • Reporting features: Be able to generate reports on project progress, budget use, resource utilization, roadmaps and more.
  • Integrations: Is it easy to connect to other tools? What are the pre-built integrations?
  • Value for $: How appropriate is the price for its features, capabilities and uses? Is the pricing clear, transparent and flexible?

I know, I know: yes Lots more things MS Project does, Like resource management and portfolio management with business intelligence integrations, which is great. But in general, all we really do is schedule our projects. Yes, there are lots of other great features, but be honest – you do not use them much!

Questions to ask when choosing between the best alternatives to Microsoft projects

So what is the best project scheduling software to use as an alternative to Microsoft Project? It really depends on whether you subscribe to the requirements we set out above or not.

If you are really looking for something a little more than that, then one of the cloud-based solutions like Smartsheet Probably will work out well. Because I often find myself offline, on planes and in the wilds of BC, I would miss the desktop app to get my .mpp on the road. So in short, my preference will be for Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365. It does everything I want it to do, in the format I need it to. Yes, it’s kind of a cop but it works – and it’s actually not more expensive than all the better paid alternatives.

That’s how I made my decision. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the right MS project for your case:

Where is the Ghent chart and project schedule used in your workflow?

This is a bit of a solution, but when choosing an alternative to Microsoft Project, you should think about how you manage estimates, tasks, resources, budgets, risks, time sheets and project reporting. There are features within Microsoft Project that support this, and many of the alternatives include them as well.

How do you use the plans and schedules of your project?

If they are just Gantt charts created at the beginning of a project and then not updated, this is very different from the requirement for a tool that needs daily updates, as it might be if you use a nimble methodology.

Consider why you are using project schedules; Do you print them every day and basic progress? How do you share this information with the project team and manager? Also consider updating the timeline during the project.

Who will use it?

It is worth considering whether it will be just the project manager who will update the project plan, or whether the team will have to do so as well. If the project team needs to actively update the project timeline, it is worth considering tools that are easy to use and require minimal training.

What other tools do you use?

Microsoft Project integrates and plays nicely with its Microsoft, SharePoint and Project Server friends who are enterprise-based solutions capable of doing some incredibly smart things with Power BI, Internet of Things, bots and machine learning. Microsoft Project also integrates with many other applications and tools, including JIRA (which will most likely use software development projects) using the Ceptah plugin and Daptiv PPM.

Are you always online?

Cloud-based project timeline apps can be great, and can be kept up to date with ‘live’ information, but keep in mind that they require an active internet connection to work. If you have ever worked offline, and have not received cellular reception, for example on an airplane, you will regret and want a desktop application instead.

what is the cost?

The cost of Microsoft Project tends to be one of the main reasons why people are looking for an alternative. Microsoft Project is not cheap, but did you know that if you do a quick search on Amazon you can find The latest version of Microsoft Project 2019 for less than $ 600?

Consider projects versus users

Most Microsoft Project alternatives are priced based on cost per user. So to figure out which solution is the most cost effective, consider what makes the most sense for you; Is this a tool that many people in the organization will need to use, or will the project manager use it primarily?

Consider the cost of lifetime ownership

While web-based apps may seem reasonable in the short term, usually costing around $ 15 per user per month, the cost of ownership over 3 years is actually the same as Buy a copy of Microsoft Project. So before you decide to sign up for the service, consider purchasing a non-cloud based desktop solution like:

Most alternatives to Microsoft cloud-based projects offer at least poor premium offers that may suffice you:

Summary

While Microsoft Project may seem like an easy tool to replace when you sign up for it Professional online project For $ 30 per user per month, it’s worth considering all the options before signing up for a cloud-based option.

But if you do not use it every day, and just need to plan a simple Gantt project, there are lots of great, cheap and even free options for you.

What do you think?

What do you think we are missing? Are there other great alternatives to Microsoft Project for project scheduling, creating Gantt charts and project plans? We’d love to hear if you have any suggestions, tips or thoughts on using this type of project scheduling software – why not share them using the comments below?

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