Top Microsoft Project Competitors:
The Best Alternatives to MS Project

Microsoft’s project and portfolio management platform, Microsoft Project, is a leading player in the project management (PM) marketplace. The comprehensive solution offers a range of capabilities, including project planning, resource management, budgeting and project reporting.

One of the biggest advantages of this system is the easy integration with other Microsoft products—including Skype, SharePoint and Office applications, such as Excel and Outlook. However, the biggest disadvantage may be that the main applications (Project Professional and Project Standard) are not cloud-based. What’s more, these desktop applications are only compatible with Windows systems.

Project Online is the cloud-based version of this solution; however, it doesn’t offer some of the day-to-day functionality project managers need, such as project scheduling and job costing. Rather, it’s geared more toward project portfolio management, addressing the needs of the project management office and executives. It’s also priced higher than comparable cloud-based systems on the market.

In recent years, several competitors have established themselves as alternatives to Microsoft Project. To help guide buyers in search of an alternative to this prominent solution, we’ve put together the following list of products, broken down into two sections:

Project Management Market Leaders

This first group of Microsoft Project alternatives includes other market-leading PM solutions. To compile this list, we scored products based on their online brand popularity as well as on data from our own survey of software users. (Please see our “Methodologies” page for more details.)

Asana

Asana is a cloud-based collaboration platform designed to support teams of all sizes and industries. The platform offers easy integrations with popular business applications such as DropBox, Slack and Github.

Asana includes all the basics for task and project management, such as scheduling and assigning tasks, setting due dates and sharing files. However, it also places a heavy emphasis on team communication and transparency.

With Asana, users can:

  • Comment directly on a task
  • Have project conversations in a centralized group chat
  • Set up a customized dashboard to view progress on projects
  • Access team calendars and individual to-do lists
  • Search a centralized document hub to find files

The best part? Asana is free for teams of up to 15 people. The free version includes Asana’s standard feature set; it allows for unlimited projects, and users can track up to three projects on their dashboard. When teams grow or need greater functionality, they can pay for the premium version, which offers unlimited dashboard-based project tracking, guest access for clients and collaborators and more.

Basecamp

Basecamp is designed to facilitate team communication and collaboration. The platform is available in three packages:

  • For teams doing internal work only
  • For teams doing client work that need to provide external access
  • For enterprise-level teams

As a cloud-based solution, Basecamp acts as a centralized project space. Users start with one free project, with no limits on time or number of users, and can upgrade within the app to a paid version if they need more projects.

Basic features include the ability to create to-dos, share files and invite team members to collaborate. More advanced capabilities allow managers to set up automatic, recurring “check-in” messages to stay in touch with their team, and to run reports on key stats such as team workloads and upcoming or past-due items.

Trello

Trello is a Kanban project management solution, in which teams manage projects visually by setting up to-dos and tasks as “cards” on a virtual Kanban board. Users drag-and-drop cards to columns on the board representing work stages (e.g., “to-do,” “in-progress” and “complete”).

Within a card, users can add comments, set due dates, attach files and invite team members to collaborate. Teams stay apprised of task updates and progress via a real-time activity notification stream.

Due to its straightforward approach, Trello is widely used across business segments and is especially popular among agile software development teams.

Top-Rated Project Management Solutions

In this section of Microsoft Project alternatives, we showcase three PM solutions that have received high user ratings and reviews on SoftwareAdvice.com.

At the time of publication, Microsoft Project was a new addition to our site; as a result, it has not yet been rated or reviewed. Since we couldn’t compare products to Microsoft Project’s rating, we calculated an average market rating to show how the following products stack up. The average market rating is 4.2 out of five stars, recommended by an average 73 percent of reviewers.

(Please note that products already identified as market leaders in the previous section are excluded from this category.)

QuickBase

QuickBase by Intuit is the highest-rated Microsoft Project alternative: It has an average rating of 4.5 out of five stars and is recommended by 94 percent of users. Reviewers praise QuickBase’s ease of use as well as its support and customer service teams.

The solution is extremely flexible, allowing users to customize and configure business apps—including reports, dashboards, time cards and workflows—to their exact needs. Using QuickBase Sync, users can also easily integrate the platform with other cloud apps for accounting and customer relationship management systems, such as Intacct, Zendesk and QuickBooks Online.

Due to this flexibility, QuickBase is popular across several business segments, including advertising/public relations, IT and financial services.

Tiered packages are available to support every level of an organization, from individual team projects up to executive-level portfolio projects. Each tier is available as a cloud-based application for which users pay a separate per-user, per-month subscription fee, rather than purchasing the entire system outright.

ProWorkflow

ProWorkflow has an average rating of 4.1 out of five stars and is recommended by 80 percent of users. It includes task and time management, contact management and project reporting capabilities. Plug-ins providing templates and reports for quotes and/or invoices are also available.

Reviewers say the product offers a breadth of functionality, yet is easy to learn; one user in particular says ProWorkflow “provides an ideal balance of power and ease of use.” What’s more, the system has pre-built integration with cloud accounting platforms such as Xero and QuickBooks Online.

ProWorkflow is a cloud-based system, so users have real-time access to project data from any location. It offers a tiered feature set to support different project levels, but every package includes API integration, free client/guest access, regular backups and support.

Wrike

Wrike has an average rating of 4.1 out of five stars, and is recommended by 77 percent of users. This solution has been reviewed nearly 100 times, making it the second most reviewed PM product on our site at the time of publication. Users give it high marks for ease of use and its user interface design.

Wrike is a cloud-based system, so users can access the platform remotely; mobile apps for Android and iOS are also available. The solution is scalable, supporting small businesses and individual team projects as well as enterprise organizations and portfolio-level projects.

Wrike’s basic package is free for five users, including functionality such as task management, file sharing and a real-time activity stream. More advanced features offered in the mid- and top-tier packages include Gantt charts, time tracking and reporting.

Next Steps

So which PM platform is right for you? Although it may be tempting to fall back on brand recognition and purchase a system based on that alone, teams should carefully evaluate solutions based on the unique needs of their business and chose a solution that supports those needs.

For more information on Microsoft Project or any of the competitors listed above, visit our market page to read reviews or watch product demos. You can also call our project management software experts for a free consultation at
(855) 210-9106.

To arrive at the market-leading rankings, we surveyed U.S. software users about current products used. We then calculated an online brand popularity score, which is based on the number of times the product name and related phrases are searched for on Google per month. We valued the popularity score twice as much as the survey data.

To arrive at the rankings for top-rated competitors and top-rated best-of-breed alternatives, we analyzed our proprietary reviews data. From this data, we ranked products based on their average overall star rating (out of a possible five) as well as the percentage of reviewers who said they would recommend the product.