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Being at work feels so much better than the other way around.
A stakeholder asks you a question with the third decimal place about a future project. You nail it. The answer is ready and the proof is two clicks away.
With the right project management software, it's easier to work at a high level.
It's like wearing the right pair of shoes.
If you've never tried project management software, these free options are a great place to start.
And when you use a frustrating tool, you stop fighting.
These are the best free Project management software options currently available.
Seriously, all of these products are forever free to use.
The top 4 free options for project management software
- Trello – Best for light project management
- Wrike – Best for Marketing Teams
- Jira – Best for agile teams
- ClickUp – Best for large companies
How to choose the best free project management software for you
This stuff is not magic. You get what you put in.
I like to think of project management software as an empty workspace waiting for a company to move in.
There's a home for every task, so projects don't just roam freely across email chains, chat threads, sticky notes, and casual conversations.
One of the best things about having a free forever platform is that you actually get the chance to see what happens when you join your business.
Work with it for months, trying different types of projects.
I know freelancers and even small businesses who have gotten along well with a freemium plan for years.
So which one is for you
Let's cover the key aspects of project management software and how they can impact.
Any good project management tool is just stupid. This is especially true for freemium plans.
But they are not all organized equally. Some use traditional folders and lists, while others keep track of tasks entirely on boards.
How does your team's work fit into each room?
The more the basic structure of a platform matches your team's projects, the better they can use the software to get where they want to go.
After all, with free project management software, you want it to fit your organizational processes and not adapt to the freemium platform you have chosen.
Ideally, project management software will help develop your business processes in a positive direction. But not overnight.
These platforms enable people to collaborate better by making business processes transparent. Everyone can see the status of projects and tasks.
This will keep people on the same page. And when changes need to be made, users can notify each other with comments or by tagging team members. This draws proper attention to the exact point of the problem.
With less uncertainty, people can act freely instead of waiting for a long chain of emails to finally get a response.
Some platforms keep a comment history for each individual task. Others have an activity feed that logs updates to the task.
These features make it easy for teams to see when a task is 100% complete.
The tools I like are great for assigning tasks and due dates to users. Very easy, very helpful.
Whether you are creating a board or a list, you can toggle views to see the tasks displayed on a calendar.
Updating the task's due date also updates the calendar so that everyone stays on the same page.
Some of the more robust free options like ClickUp let you set dependencies to control the schedule.
Reports created with project management software offer a lot of insight because they contain information about what teams are doing.
I'm talking about measuring productivity, spotting trends, and staying on budget. This information can really help managers run their teams productively.
Some of the options in this list, such as B. Jira, have ready-made reports that are ready for any project.
Not all free project management software has reporting capabilities.
Trello, for example, doesn't offer anything "out of the box". However, you can bring in a third-party analytics platform to do the heavy lifting.
Automation in free project management software is undoubtedly limited. But everyone can use it.
It's just a taste of what these platforms can do, but getting involved early can pay off in the long run.
When it comes time to move higher, users are ready to take advantage of automation instead of being intimidated by these features.
This is not a make-or-break criterion, but if users find they can remove some busy work from their day, it can increase the buy-in to the platform.
The different types of free project management software
There is an amazing variety of ways to think about when looking at the best project management software on the market.
When it comes to sharing plans forever, the field narrows.
There are two types of free project management software:
You will find some overlap, but knowing the differences between these types can help you find a solution that suits your needs.
Free board-based project management software
These products have an organizational hierarchy that looks something like this:
Team → Board of Directors → List → Map
Here is a screenshot of Trello, one of the most popular board-based options in the world:
this is that blackboard, which are all members of the team can see. Everyone map is a task and it is under the appropriate list.
With Trello and other board-based software, teams spend most of their time on the board. To do this, you will need to perform tasks to add details and check off completed tasks, and possibly switch to Calendar view to check bandwidth.
Does your current workflow fit this card layout well?
Free list-based project management software
These products have an organizational hierarchy that looks something like this:
Team → Folder → List → Task
ClickUp is a great example of how a list-based product can help teams stay on track:
The team has her folder listed on the left. Very traditional. Each folder contains Lists, which are divided into tasks.
List-based software can make it easier for teams to stay organized than a cluttered board. In ClickUp and other good options, the list is drag and drop so it isn't harder to use.
In Wrike, another list-based project management solution, you can even view your projects as a spreadsheet.
Both types have great flexibility in viewing projects in different forms, such as: B. List, blackboard, calendar or table.
Because of this, the line between these two seems a bit blurry.
However, from my point of view, flexible ad doesn't always mean flexible management.
Trello works great when you're building on a board. ClickUp works great when you're building on a list.
Sure, they can do what the other is doing to a certain extent. I just think they work best when you use them as intended.
And since all of these products are forever free, it won't break the bank to control one of each type and see what you and your team think.
# 1 – Trello – Best for light project management
Trello is one of the easiest project management options out there. Maybe that's why more than 1 million teams around the world use Trello.
When I say user-friendly, it means that dealing with the product has practically no learning curve.
Pull. Falling. Click. Done.
Boards are made up of cards and lists. When you click on a card, all relevant details are displayed, e.g. B. Who is responsible, what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
Of course, agile teams will love the Kanban-style setup, but Trello is so simple (in a good way) that people can build boards in a framework that suits them best.
Staying on track in Trello is so easy it is almost fun.
Assign people to tasks and they will be notified immediately when changes are made. There is a comment feed built into each task, and team members can use @mentions to view specific issues.
Users can switch from the board view to the calendar view to see how their tasks are spread out week after week. You can also "watch" cards that they are not assigned to, which is ideal for managers.
The Trello platform has two main features.
There are power-ups that you can use to use a third-party service. It can be a timepiece, a Gantt chart maker, or a collaboration tool like Slack.
And then there's Butler, an AI service that finds repetitive tasks and helps you automate them. You can create buttons to start simple workflows or schedule tasks to be created.
With the free version of Trello, you get:
- 10 boards per team
- Unlimited cards and lists
- The ability to add attachments of up to 10MB to cards
- Two-factor authentication
- One power-up per board
- 50 butler orders per month
It's incredibly easy to create what you need in Trello. There is still a lot of freedom to create the structure you want, but they also offer a number of templates for project management:
There are also templates for HR, sales, support, and other departments.
With Trello, you're covered for easy project management. There is definitely a cap when it comes to what you can track on each board, even compared to other free project management software.
However, for a single team, managing a sales pipeline, content calendar, or similar area is a breeze.
# 2 – Wrike – Best for Marketing Teams
Wrike is a really versatile project management platform with a free forever version for teams of up to five people.
There are a few reasons why it works so well for marketing teams compared to some of the other best free project management software.
First off, the collaboration features are really well designed.
You can save tasks in projects or folders. Teammates can add comments, @mentions to colleagues, and attach files directly to any task, folder, or project.
Okay, I hear you say, "It sounds like some of the other free project management software."
However, what makes Wrike so effective for marketing teams is email integration. Users can update, create, and prioritize tasks right from their email.
It's great for your team, but you can also invite clients and contractors. These users are known as employees. Basically, you can share projects and plans without having to worry about outside users making serious changes.
Another useful function for tracking marketing campaigns at scale is the table view, in which all tasks are summarized in a table view:
These and other time-saving features help marketing teams stay on track and save time.
For example, the real-time activity stream provides users with a feed of all updates and comments on projects that have been assigned to them. Users can quickly filter the flow of activity to see the most important updates.
Some of the other useful features included in the free version of Wrike are:
- Board view
- Task management via drag & drop
- Bulk processing
- Cloud storage integrations
- Microsoft 365 integration
- 2 GB memory
If Wrike is a good solution, they have paid plans tailored for marketing and creative teams.
Wrike for Marketers is enterprise-level project management software that helps teams across the enterprise create branded experiences at scale. They are offering a 14-day free trial so teams can get a taste of everything that comes with the premium platform.
Wrike for Marketers Performance takes analytics and workflow automation to another level.
There are pre-built dashboards, advanced reporting functions, data visualization tools and integrations with an additional 400 apps.
For marketing teams, Wrike is an excellent choice. Their free project management software is enough for a team to get started, and their paid plans take a company to the next level.
# 3 – Jira – Best for agile teams
Jira was designed from the ground up for teams working in an agile setting.
The customizable task boards are ideal for Scrum and Kanban, but also Trello.
What makes Jira stand out in terms of good work for agile teams are the integrated reporting and roadmap functions.
Both functions save a lot of time when managing a single team. They work behind the scenes to turn all of the information on your boards into visual intelligence.
Roadmaps help you see the big picture by placing work on a timeline that clearly shows project dependencies.
Instead of a Gantt chart in which the results are recorded, the results are recorded in a roadmap, for example when solving customer problems. Work feedback, product vision, and goals into your roadmap, not just the results, to get a better picture of the long-term strategy.
Whether it's a new product or a Sprint Increment, roadmaps help teams connect their day-to-day work with the team's progress toward the overall goal.
There are also 12 agile standard reports available for each Jira project.
Users don't have to do anything to configure these. Jira automatically takes out your boards and creates really helpful reports for agile project management, such as burndown charts, speed charts and sprint reports.
The free version of Jira offers other helpful functions for agile teams such as:
- 10 users for one site
- Customizable workflows
- Apps and integrations
- 2 GB file storage
- Data exchange
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
A word on some of these features. Since Jira is an Atlassian product (like Trello) there is a really long list of apps and integrations that will work.
The customizable workflows and automation are definitely limited with the free version of Jira, but you can incorporate many third-party tools into your processes.
At Jira, the deliberately agile design means that teams and executives do not have to do finagling to get the tools they need.
For example, backlogs can be set up with other free project management software. In Jira, however, it is a special function that was developed for backlog maintenance and sprint planning.
Instead of spending time configuring the system, teams can use Jira on the first day.
Another helpful feature is that each task is assigned a unique key and ID. This is great for ticketing and bug tracking.
Try their free version forever and find out why so many agile teams depend on Jira.
# 4 – ClickUp – Best for large companies
ClickUp offers the most control and functionality in the free project management software category. It is my choice for larger organizations for two reasons.
First, the free platform is generous enough to accommodate multiple teams. In addition, the simple structure is built to scale.
The main reason is customizability. Each team can configure their workspace to suit their specific needs.
Let's examine these two reasons in more detail.
The free version allows five spaces, each of which is sufficient to support a single team. Spaces can contain up to 400 folders, which in turn can contain up to 100 lists.
There are tasks in lists, and ClickUp allows unlimited tasks in each list. You can also create up to 100 custom list fields to keep track of what's most important for each task.
And it's still super intuitive.
Everything is drag and drop and you can switch between list, board and calendar views. There's even a "Me" view that only shows tasks assigned to the user.
When it comes to tasks, ClickUp's customizability is just the thing.
Here is a list of some of the things you can do within tasks
- Assign members to the task
- Comment thread with @mentions
- Assign comments to members
- View activity feed
- Track time
- Add due dates
- Create checklists for subtasks
- Change status
- Set dependencies
- Move tasks to different folders
- Draft a rich text task description
- Add attachments: documents, pictures, videos
Yes. I'm still talking about the ClickUp Free Plan forever. It's almost like they're being too generous.
For example, to set dependencies, users simply specify that a task should wait for another task to start another task in the workflow, or block it from starting.
Because you can keep track of dependencies and due dates, the free version of ClickUp 100 offers ways to use the Gantt chart feature.
To be honest, I've barely covered half of what ClickUp can do.
It's my first choice for larger companies that want free project management software that they can actually use.
Little things – such as how every task in ClickUp has a unique ID – make it possible to stay organized on a scale.
In addition, the hierarchy of spaces, folders, lists, and tasks is simple and flexible enough to suit almost any use case.
In the end, ClickUp really forces teams to stay organized while building. You can't put a price on that.
When we take all the icing off the cake, what really leaves us is a simple real-time system that tracks a team's workflow.
To find the right free project management software, you need to understand how each platform meets each team's local needs.
If you're just starting out with project management software, the free version of Trello is a good place to start. Mastering it doesn't take long and has enough features for teams to tackle light projects.
For companies that need a little more performance from their project management solution, ClickUp is the best choice. The range of functions is robust compared to other tools and works well in multiple teams.
On the marketing side of things, Wrike has email integration that I think is essential. This is only possible with paid versions from other providers.
In addition, both internal and external collaboration functions are extensive. This makes it easier to contact customers and coordinate behind the scenes.
Workplaces that follow an agile methodology will find that Jira has been handcrafted to suit their needs. The ready-to-use reporting and the conscious design make it very attractive.