Free alternatives to MS Project?

Microsoft Office Project 2007Image via Wikipedia
Let's face it, MS Project costs real money. If you're a small company, buying licenses for it will eat up your project margin faster than you can say - well, "margin". However, don't despair - there are free Project Management tools around!

One: OpenProj. Best free PM application ever.

OpenProj by Projity is a desktop replacement of Microsoft Project. OpenProj has equivalent functionality, a familiar user interface an even opens existing MSProject files. It does Gantt Charts, PERT charts etc. Available on Linux, Unix, Mac or Windows, and it's free - how much better does it get? Review here, Download here.

Second: Zoho Project.

The team at Zoho is one of the coolest "Web 2.0" companies out there. Their online office suite includes tools for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, note-taking, wikis, CRM, project management, invoicing and other applications. Being web-native, all Zoho applications are operating system independent. It supports creating tasks, ownership, setting deadlines and tracking milestones; working with calendars, Gantt charts, reports, share supporting files—all the cool features expected in a project management package.

The major difference is that while one can debate the merits of online/offline for individual productivity applications, project management by definition is team-work and as such a natural fit for the Web. Zoho Projects is free for one project, and has a scaled price structure above. 12$ a month gives you 10 projects and 2gigs of file storage. And, even better - if you're running an open-source project - well, it's free. "Beer" free.

Third and last: Ganttproject

Another free alternative - a little less fully featured than the others, but from my experience, the developers take the time to listen to their users (heck, they've incorporated some of my suggestions!). On their website, they claim that "This set is enough for most people (remember that 80% of MSProject customers use 20% of it's numerous features)" - which is probably true, I know I might use 35%, and I'm a heavy user :). Your mileage may vary, of course.

Best news: platform independent(ish), works in Java (so you need a Java Runtime Enviroment if you're running Windows), and free for any kind of use.

More at: - but I've tried all of these, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them!


Herb said...

If only the cost of MS Project was the only problem... The tool costs you thousands and does not solve the problem of efficient project collaboration. Here's a link to an interesting blog post. The author sees three major pains with MS Project and similar tools. I think he is right.

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Easystorehosting said...

Cost is the 1st problem. So difficult to use and complex to understand that you have to take training is a 2nd major problem which by itself increases your cost one more time. I would say use for cheap and quicker way of managing your projects.

Shyam said...

Check out Deskera, the project management tool which combines the best of Project Planning tools like MS Project and Project Execution tools like Basecamp.

It also integrates with MS Project allowing you to import/export your existing project plans.

For collaboration, there are discussion forums, to-dos, calendar, networking etc.

Give it a shot.

PM Hut said...

In all fairness, none of these are real alternatives to MS Project. There are lots of things that you do on MS Project that you still can't do using these online tools.

I have an article published on PM Hut about the ideal project management tool, it's written by the CEO of a PM Tool company. The article is fairly objective though.

PM Hut said...

All of the "alternatives" that you provided do miss some functionalities almost exclusively available in MS Project, most Project Managers still use MS Project, and an lot of them use MS Project and their choice of an online too.

PM Hut

millenium said...

Of course, check express scheduler

Piter said...

I would recommend Ganttzilla.
Great tool.

Tiberiu said...

RationalPlan is a good alternative to MS Project. Not free but with an affordable price and plenty of features:

Unknown said...

Check out TeamWeek ( It's a lightweight team management tool with a weekly calendar.

It's a sort of an antidote to clumsy Gantt charts, allows managers to respond to change faster.

Gracie Christina said...

These are very useful tools for Online Project Management and team collaboration. Thanks for sharing. We will like to use them for our company. We are working on many projects and facing some problem to manage project data. This tools are very helpful for us.