With software development dominating 64% of outsourced services worldwide, it’s no surprise that project management software has become the unsung hero.
It will take one project management tool to successfully plan, execute, monitor, and launch your product. But with the numerous options available today, choosing one can feel overwhelming.
We’ve got you covered!
In this post, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best free project management software solutions that will be a great fit for your team, whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation.
6 Qualities of a Good Project Management Tool
While free sounds like an already great deal for project management software, it’s important to note that not all free tools are created equal. Some may offer limited features or have a clunky user interface, while others may require paid upgrades for essential functions.
To help you make an informed decision, here are six qualities to look for in a good project management tool:
No one wants to spend hours trying to figure out how to use complicated software. A good project management software tool should have an easy-to-navigate interface that allows team members to adapt and collaborate quickly.
Collaboration and sharing task management features
Developing custom software requires the brains of many expert programmers, designers, and project managers. Hence, your typical project management software or app should allow collaboration on tasks and enable real-time communication.
Real-time updates and notifications
In the fast-paced world of software development, it’s crucial to have real-time updates on project progress, deadlines, and changes. A good project management tool features automatic notifications and updates to keep everyone on the same page.
Allows an unlimited number of projects
As your business grows, so will the number of projects you undertake. Your project management tool should keep up with that by having unlimited users and projects so that you don’t have to switch tools every time you take on a new project.
Customizable to fit your project
Every team has a unique workflow and processes. Whether you are a startup or a large corporation, your project management tool should be customizable to fit your team’s specific needs.
Seamless integration with other apps
Project management is not the only tool your team will be using. Look for project management software that integrates seamlessly with third-party apps like communication tools, file-sharing platforms, and time-tracking software.
Gone are the days of manually creating reports and analyzing data. Look for a project management software that has automation features that generate reports and analyze data to give you valuable insights.
12 Best Free Project Management Tools to Use in 2023
Now that you know what to look for in a project management tool, let’s dive into the 12 best free options available for your team:
Trello has taken the project management world by storm with its innovative Kanban board approach. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Trello’s simple yet powerful software empowers you to organize your projects effortlessly.
Just like other tools, you can assign tasks, set deadlines, see task dependencies, attach files, and comment on task cards. As you complete tasks, drag the cards to the appropriate list. You can keep track of comments and tasks mentioning you from the activity menu. Plus, you can automate processes or tasks by creating rules.
Trello also offers different views like Timeline, Table, Calendar, and Map. With ten boards and unlimited users, Trello is the tool for everyone. But it doesn’t have built-in time tracking. You can use third-party apps for that.
Key features we love from Trello:
- Numerous templates are available to help you kickstart your project
- Files can be up to 10MB in size
- Power-Up options (now unlimited even on the free plan) offer more features
- Create personal and work tasks to suit your needs
- Integrations to connect apps such as Gmail and Slack
Zoho Projects is a versatile project management software with a freemium model. It offers full project management functionality with a user-friendly interface for creating work breakdown structures, tracking issues, managing tasks, and setting milestones.
With its efficient features, Zoho Projects is an excellent choice for document management, team collaboration, and issue tracking. Plus, it’s got a handy Gantt chart that helps you break down large projects and plan them in detail. You can even use this chart for resource allocation and workload management.
Zoho Projects is part of the broader suite of Zoho products, such as CRM, virtual assistant software, and meeting tools. This allows for flexible bundling options to meet your team’s needs. It’s a free project management software for up to 3 users, making it ideal for small teams.
Key features we love from Zoho Projects:
- Visualize tasks with its list, board, and Gantt charts
- Monitor project progress with project baseline, sprint tracking, and portfolio dashboards
- Manage invoices and stay within budget using timesheet and invoicing tools
- Create a variety of charts and reports
- Seamlessly integrate with numerous third-party apps and services
ClickUp is the ultimate free project management tool and software that helps teams efficiently handle all types of work. It offers comprehensive solutions to collaborate on tasks, streamline complex workflows, and organize even the most intricate projects effortlessly.
With ClickUp’s flexible Hierarchy infrastructure, you can easily manage tasks and subtasks all in one place. It offers 15 different task views to choose from, including Gantt charts and mind maps. So, you have the freedom to organize and visualize your projects the way you prefer!
ClickUp offers a free plan that provides unlimited users, unlimited tasks, and product features. There are no limits on task or project management options. Premium value without the premium price.
Key features we love from ClickUp:
- Choose from a Scrum board, list, box, Gantt chart, board, table, or calendar view
- Assign tasks to individuals, clients, or teams using its drag-and-drop interface
- ClickUp Whiteboards enables real-time visual collaboration with your team
- ClickUp’s Reminders help you stay on top of important tasks, start dates, and due dates
- Custom Task Statuses allow you to create and track custom task statuses
You’ve probably come across Asana, the project management platform that helps teams collaborate seamlessly. With Asana’s free plan, up to 15 people can join forces, unleashing unlimited potential for tasks, projects, messages, activity logs, and even file storage (up to 100MB per file)
Asana, the ultimate agile tool, empowers you to streamline work pipelines and effortlessly identify bottlenecks and backlogs. With a focus on tasks, you can seamlessly group them into larger projects and assign them to individual team members.
What’s more, it offers you a bunch of flexible dashboard options like Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and calendar views. Asana has a free plan with limited features, but if you want more, you can go for their paid plan, starting at just $10.99, which unlocks premium features.
Key features we love from Asana:
- Easily keep track of your own assigned tasks with the My Tasks view
- Prevent unwanted edits by activating comment-only projects
- Transform important data into visually appealing charts and other highlights
- Collaborate seamlessly with guests
- Access thousands of native and integrations for enhanced productivity
Monday is like the ultimate work operating system, designed to handle projects and campaigns like a boss. It’s seriously one of the most popular free project management apps and software out there. With Monday.com, you can bring all your work, processes, apps, and files together in one place.
And guess what? Monday.com has a free plan to help you and your team (up to 5 people) rock your project management game. They’ve got all the goodies like task management, dependency tracking, and awesome app integrations with Slack, Jira, Asana, and HubSpot CRM.
As an all-in-one project management software, Monday has different products for sales teams, marketers, project managers, and developers. Plus, it’s totally suitable for operations, HR, and nonprofit organizations. So basically, Monday.com has your back, no matter what you’re working on.
Key features we love from Monday.com:
- Enjoy native social media management, customer relationship management, and free educational webinars
- Includes a “panic button” to lock down your accounts and protect data in case of compromise
- Supports unlimited docs and is accessible through iOS and Android apps
- Use project templates, checklists, boards, and columns
- Integrates with popular platforms such as Slack, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud, and over 40 other applications
Jira is a project management software that provides a free tier, making it particularly appealing to software development teams. With its comprehensive suite of tools, Jira makes project tracking and management both effortless and efficient. It empowers you to effortlessly create user stories and issues, plan sprints, and assign tasks to your team.
Created with software development teams in mind, Jira is a powerful issue and project-tracking software. It’s got your back with Scrum and Kanban boards to help you stay on top of your projects and day-to-day tasks. And that’s not all! Jira also offers advanced reporting options like user workload, average issue age, and recently created issues.
Moreover, Jira’s roadmaps give teams full visibility, helping them make quick decisions. With its strong reporting and insights, you can effortlessly track project success and keep your teams in the loop.
Key features we love from Jira:
- Designed for Scrum and Agile workflows
- For Scrum projects, you can easily add epics to the Roadmap page
- Integrates with popular development tools like GitHub, GitLab, Sentry, and Jenkins.
- Free plan includes up to 10 users—suited for smaller development teams
- Use Jira’s Zapier integrations to auto-create new issues in Jira from Slack messages or GitHub issues.
Nifty is a great free project management solution for startups, new teams, and small businesses that are just starting out. From project planning to automating progress tracking, it’s a tool that helps you stay focused on managing your work effectively.
Whether you need a simple to-do list or a full-blown project plan with automated progress reporting, Nifty has got you covered. It’s super easy to use perfect for teams and guests. You can even invite clients and freelancers to join specific projects, and they don’t need a subscription to view the projects.
Upgraded plans offer an array of features to simplify project management functionality and tracking: built-in discussions, milestones, automation, time tracking, and more! You can also customize each project’s home screen to match your workflow. Nifty offers five subscriptions, starting with a free plan (with limited functionality).
Key features we love from Nifty:
- Customizable view options, including kanban-style boards
- Track project milestones effortlessly with Gantt charts
- Personalize your home screen and toggle specific modules
- Benefit from nine native integrations, with an additional 2,000 available from Zapier.
- Collaborate effortlessly with editable Google docs and built-in Direct Messaging suite
Wrike, the award-winning project management software, is designed for teams managing projects of any size, from five to unlimited users. With Wrike, you get the best of both worlds: the flexibility of a spreadsheet and the ability to track all the important details about your tasks using columns.
With Wrike, your team can easily update task statuses at different intervals—in progress, on hold, canceled, or completed. Thanks to customizable dashboards, you can visualize progress and team performance with real-time insights. Gain 360° visibility across departments. Also, visual proofing and automated approvals help shorten the feedback loop.
Wrike offers pre-built workflows for projects like onboarding, event management, and creative development. It suits creatives, consultants, professional services, IT, engineering, and marketing teams.
Key features we love from Wrike:
- Task lists, schedules, and customizable workflows
- Real-time communication, collaboration, and resource management
- 400+ pre-built integrations with popular software
- Advanced analytics for real-time progress visualization
- Visual proofing, Gantt charts, and Kanban boards for efficient planning
Airtable is not your average spreadsheet. It’s a beautifully designed, table-meets-database solution that combines the best of Excel and Google Sheets with a modern web-based interface. With Airtable, you can effortlessly track inventory, manage reference lists, or even use it as a bootstrap CRM.
But the true power of Airtable lies in its customization. While it may require some upfront effort to tailor Airtable to your specific needs, the possibilities are limitless. You have the flexibility to customize everything, from methodology and view types to column headers, field types, data validation, and more.
Airtable is a user-friendly, modern database that disrupts traditional database management systems reliant on SQL or complex languages. With its free plan, you get up to 5 creators or editors, unlimited bases to unleash your creativity, unlimited commenters, and read-only users, up to 1,200 records per base, and a whopping 2GB of attachment per base.
Key features we love from Airtable:
- Data visualization in multiple views (Timeline, Board, Gantt, Grid, Gallery, Form)
- Automation with trigger and action logic
- Highly customizable project management software with pivot tables, flow charts, and more
- Integration with 1000+ websites and tools
GoodDay is a versatile project management software catering to a wide range of needs. It seamlessly supports different methodologies and views, such as Gantt, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and waterfall. With its user-friendly interface, accessible across multiple platforms, it keeps the entire team engaged and productive.
With GoodDay, every project can have its own unique approach, and you can add extra views whenever you want. Each project has a Summary tab that gives you a quick overview of tasks, events, users, and burndown. Also, don’t forget the My Work view in Airtable! It brings together all your work, tasks, calendar, and individual projects assigned to you.
You can get started with GoodDay for free! If you want to subscribe, you can get their plan that includes unlimited projects/tasks/events for up to 15 users. Upgrade to the Professional plan for just $4/user/month to unlock advanced views, integrations, custom fields, user role customization, and more.
Key features we love from GoodDay:
- One-click start templates, resource management, and milestone tracking
- Unlimited hierarchy for organizing work with folders and projects
- Portfolios for quick access and hassle-free project management
- Custom states and workflows to adapt project workflows
- Recurring activities and events according to a defined schedule
Todoist, the beloved to-do list and free task management software, has become an indispensable tool for users in countless industries. Independent contractors use Todoist to manage tasks for multiple clients and volunteer commitments, while small teams rely on it for seamless collaboration and efficient project management.
With Todoist, you can effortlessly jot down thoughts and ideas on your phone and get reminded about them later. Need to pay bills in three days? Just plug in the deadline, and this handy project management app will automatically remind you.
By the way, fun fact: Todoist was actually created as a personal task management app, not specifically for team collaborations or business projects. So, if you want to handle your teams and their tasks smoothly, you’ll need to go for the paid plan or consider a different tier version.
Key features we love from Todoist:
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Todoist Karma point system for task completion and productivity goals
- Efficient task management with dates, comments, priorities, and attachments
- Seamless synchronization across multiple devices
- Access on 10+ platforms with SSL-secured connection
TeamGantt is hands down one of the most user-friendly project management tools out there. Why? Well, it’s not just because it’s free but also because it’s solely dedicated to Gantt charts. This amazing software tool excels at building and visualizing Gantt charts, giving you a clear picture of task overlaps and who’s responsible for what.
It’s also an awesome tool for measuring team and individual progress against project milestones! See workloads, manage resources, and track project progress compared to the original timeline. Plus, you can set dependencies, and create tasks, subgroups and tasks, track time, and more!
TeamGantt has got you covered with templates so you can skip the hassle of starting projects from scratch. And guess what? They only charge for users who plan projects. The rest of the team can collaborate for free. Plus, for project managers, pricing plans start from just $19 per manager per month when billed yearly.
Key features we love from TeamGantt:
- Easy drag-and-drop functionality
- Team conversation view to chat about the project’s progress
- Compare project timelines effortlessly
- Keep track of time spent with time-tracking
- Seamlessly import spreadsheets
5 Tips for Choosing the Right Project Management Tool
Selecting a project management software is like navigating a maze; you won’t always find the right path immediately. With numerous platforms available, ranging from spreadsheet versions to drag-and-drop Kanban tools, it may be necessary to explore and evaluate multiple choices before finding the perfect fit.
However, we’ve got you covered with these five tips to help narrow down your search and make the best decision for your team:
Identify the needs of your project
First things first, you need to understand the specific requirements of your project. Is it a one-time task, or will it be an ongoing project? Will you need to manage resources and delegate tasks to team members? Do you require advanced project management features like automation, data visualization, or integration with other tools?
Before exploring software options, analyze your project’s scope and identify essential features. Clarity regarding goals is crucial when facing roadblocks during the implementation process. When stuck, refer back to the project’s goals to stay focused on its significance and everyone’s objectives.
Ask your team
Project management apps are not just for project managers; they’re tools that the entire team will use. So, it’s essential to involve your team in the decision-making process and get their feedback on any potential software platforms.
Ask about their preferences, must-have collaboration features, and preferred workflows. This approach increases buy-in from your team and ensures everyone is comfortable with the chosen tool. You may discover valuable insights from team members with prior experience on specific platforms. Involving your team in the decision-making process fosters employee engagement and facilitates smooth onboarding.
Consider your budget
Even when you plan only to get the free version of a project management software, there may be additional costs for certain features or when the team expands. Ensure you understand your chosen software’s pricing structure and potential long-term costs. Consider if you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan as your team grows or requires advanced features.
Don’t forget to explore options for non-profit discounts, student discounts, or special promotions that could help lower costs. And don’t be afraid to negotiate pricing with the software provider; you may be surprised at what they’re willing to offer.
Plan integration with other tools
Your team may already be using various software tools for communication, file sharing, or specific track progress tools. Consider if the chosen platform integrates with your team’s current tools to ensure smooth workflows and minimize the need for multiple logins.
For example, if your team uses Google Drive for document storage, it may be beneficial to choose a project management software that integrates with Google Drive. This way, you can easily attach relevant documents to tasks within the project management software without having to switch between multiple platforms.
Define key performance metrics for success
Once you’ve chosen your project management software, take some time to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that your team should aim for when implementing these systems. This will help you assess whether your selected method and software are the best solution for your team.
If your system doesn’t hit those KPIs, you might want to think about redesigning it. But hey, no worries! It’s totally normal for teams to not get it right on the first try. Just stay flexible during the setup process, and you’ll find the best solution for your organization.
Try before you buy
Many project management platforms offer free trials or demos, so take advantage of these opportunities. It’s one thing to read about a tool’s features and another thing entirely to use them in action.
During the trial period, involve your team in testing the software and gather feedback from everyone. This will give you a better understanding of how the platform functions and its ease of use for different team members.
Remember, the right project management software should help streamline workflows, improve communication and collaboration, and ultimately increase productivity. So take your time exploring options before making a decision—it’s worth the investment!
Need Managed IT Services for Your Software Project?
In today’s digitized world, the project management process becomes the cornerstone of a successful IT product or service. But let’s face it: managing the technical and business aspects of a project can be quite overwhelming, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
When it comes to managing multiple projects in software development, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It requires a tailored approach that considers your company’s unique needs and goals.
At StarTechUP, we understand the challenges of project management in the technology industry. That’s why we offer customizable solutions to help businesses like yours streamline their project management processes and achieve success.
From planning and implementation to monitoring and support, our managed IT services can help your team work more efficiently and effectively.
Want to learn more? Contact us today for a free consultation and see how we can help take your software projects to the next level!