7 Top-Rated Affordable Project Management Software

By: Barkha Bali on March 18, 2024

Project management software is a staple across industries, helping businesses automate project planning, standardize workflows, and simplify team collaboration. Yet, investing in a full-fledged project management tool can be cost-prohibitive if you have a strict budget. Fortunately, there are affordable options that enable you to achieve strategic project goals without compromising on quality or performance.

This article lists seven top-rated affordable project management software solutions based on verified user reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products with base plans priced less than $14 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices.

We’ve grouped these products into three categories: dedicated project management software, work management software with project management capabilities, and Kanban-based project management software. Regardless of the category, all products offer the core features of project management software: collaboration tools, task management, and reporting/project tracking.

What is a base software plan?

A base plan is the most affordable pricing tier offered by a software provider. Besides having the lowest price, base plans provide access to all core software features. However, they may have limitations compared to higher-tier plans in terms of the available functionality, storage capacity, number of user seats, support options, etc.

We selected products for this article based on their average ratings between February 2022 - February 2024, which may differ from their current overall average ratings.

1. Zoho Sprints

Zoho Sprints is an Agile project management solution that helps break down a complex project into simpler tasks and subtasks for easier execution. It lets you plan Agile sprints (i.e., fixed periods where you focus on specific tasks), set launch dates, and create a backlog of tasks (i.e., a prioritized list of work items). You can analyze past sprints to estimate how long tasks typically take and use timesheet data to estimate project timeframes. Additionally, you can use customizable bars, donuts, and burnup charts to create shareable dashboards that showcase project data, including sprint progress and backlog status.

Zoho Sprints’ base plan supports up to 12 users, 50 projects, 20GB storage, and five project templates. Upgrading to a premium version will get you unlimited user accounts, projects, templates, and storage, as well as access to advanced project customizations and integrations.

Base plan features:*

  • Scrum board: Use built-in scrum boards to visualize the progress of each sprint. You can customize the scrum board and include various templates and burndown charts to manage backlogs and plan sprints.

  • Project feed: Track and monitor project developments using the project feed. This feature provides a chronological list of activities, including task updates, discussions, comments, file uploads, and other project-related interactions.

  • Collaboration tools: Leverage built-in team chat and meeting features for real-time conversations, file sharing, and communication. You can schedule recurring meetings and send email and chat reminders to project team members.

Starting price: $1 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $2.50 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Email and knowledge base

Who should consider Zoho Sprints?

Zoho Sprints is worth considering for project teams that follow an iterative, incremental approach to product or software development. This Agile software allows users to break down a complex project into manageable tasks and work items, and visualize them using an Agile scrum framework. The scrum framework helps monitor the cycle time (i.e., time taken to complete a task) and lead time (i.e., time taken from task creation to completion) to identify bottlenecks and optimize the project plan.

Zoho Sprints

Zoho Sprints

4.53 out of 5 stars

236 reviews

2. GoodDay

GoodDay is a work management platform with project planning and tracking capabilities. It offers Kanban board templates to visualize project workflows and organize tasks within different project stages. You can organize related projects into a single portfolio for a consolidated view and assess portfolio health using customizable dashboards that display progress, risks, completion rates, and resource utilization. You can also use advanced analytics to generate progress reports and get insights into the task summary, effort distribution, task completion time, and process followed.

GoodDay’s base plan supports up to 250 users, unlimited projects, unlimited storage, and unlimited workflow automation. Consider upgrading to a premium version if you have a growing team and need more user accounts. Premium plans include unlimited members, productivity tools, advanced security features, custom access rules, and priority customer support.

Base plan features:*

  • Task management dashboard: Leverage a centralized dashboard to visualize project tasks using Gantt charts or multiple project views (e.g., list, board, timeline). The dashboard offers real-time visibility into the status of active, scheduled, and on-hold tasks.

  • Custom workflows: Configure workflows and processes to align with your unique project requirements. For instance, you can define custom project stages, such as brainstorming, development, testing, and approval.

  • Activity stream: Get an overview of activities and updates on tasks and projects you’re involved in. You can also group activities by options such as date and project, apply filters to view specific activities, and group tasks by the current action required.

Starting price: $4 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $7 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: 24/7 ticket support, email, and help center

Who should consider GoodDay?

Project teams that work with multiple clients simultaneously can consider GoodDay for its portfolio management feature. This functionality helps create dedicated project portfolios for each client. It provides a consolidated overview of the project plan, status, progress, and risks of all portfolios in one place. Users can drill down into the details of each portfolio by applying filters such as task type, assignee, due date, and current status. By offering a single view of all client projects, this feature makes it easier for project teams to understand current priorities, identify bottlenecks, and optimize resource management and allocation to ensure timely delivery for each client.

GoodDay

GoodDay

4.7 out of 5 stars

143 reviews

Pro tip

Consider your specific project workflows and preferred tools. Simple projects might require basic task management functionality, while complex ones may need advanced resource allocation and risk management features. Similarly, distributed teams require robust communication and collaboration tools, such as video conferencing and file sharing. Identify the must-have features for your project team so you don't end up paying for functionality you won't use.

3. Nuclino

As a dedicated project management solution, Nuclino lets you visualize project progress using the board, list, table, and graph views. It allows you to add custom fields to the project dashboard to track additional information about work items. You can also add tasks, document project goals, reference related documents, set due dates, add comments and @mentions, and embed media files via the project dashboard. Additionally, you can use the built-in issue tracker to document project bottlenecks and add basic information such as the issue type, severity, and priority level.

Nuclino’s base plan lets you create unlimited collaborative documents and add unlimited custom fields to the project dashboard. You also get version history tracking and 10GB file storage per user. Switching to a premium version increases file storage to 20GB per user and offers audit logs, team insights (e.g., most active contributors, most popular content), and advanced security controls, including the ability to restrict specific capabilities such as document or workspace export.

Base plan features:*

  • Sprint template: Use a predesigned template to plan and execute project sprints. You can customize the sprint name, length, and goal; list the specific tasks or deliverables to be completed; and define the conditions that mark a task as complete.

  • Status tracking and version history: Track the real-time status and progress of tasks via the project dashboard. Additionally, the software saves previous versions of project documents, allowing you to track changes and restore the former content if needed.

  • Security and control: Use two-factor authentication (2FA) and single sign-on (SSO) to protect your project data and documents from unauthorized access. You can also assign roles (admin, member, or guest) to your team members to define their access rights.

Starting price: $5 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $10 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Email and help center

Who should consider Nuclino?

Project managers who want to prioritize secure collaboration can consider Nuclino for its security and access control capabilities. Its 2FA feature adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step beyond just a password. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access to project data, even if any team member’s password is compromised. Moreover, project managers can set granular access permissions tailored to members’ roles and needs. For example, a marketing team member might only get access to view project timelines and marketing-specific tasks, while a developer might have edit access to code repositories and project documentation.

Nuclino

Nuclino

4.74 out of 5 stars

84 reviews

4. Paymo

Paymo is a project management tool with time tracking and invoicing capabilities. It offers Kanban boards to help create client dashboards, specify deadlines and project objectives, and assign employees based on their skills and workload. It lets you provide guest access to clients so they can view tasks, comment on projects, and track progress within their respective dashboards. It also allows your team members to collaborate in real time through discussions and comments within the project dashboard.

Paymo’s base plan supports unlimited users, clients, projects, and invoices, and offers up to 5GB storage. Upgrading to a premium version will let you access up to 500GB storage along with advanced features such as portfolio Gantt charts, profitability tracking, leave planner, and expense tracking.

Base plan features:*

  • Project scheduling: Use built-in project planning templates and calendar views to plan and schedule projects. You can visualize tasks or work items within a project framework along with their priority level, dependencies, and milestones.

  • Native in-app time tracking: Leverage a built-in time tracker to track work hours on specific projects and tasks. You can track all running timers in parallel for each team member. 

  • Invoicing: Generate client invoices based on the tracked time and expenses. You can customize the invoices with your brand logo, color, and payment terms. 

Starting price: $5.9 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $10.9 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Knowledge base and online tickets

Who should consider Paymo?

Paymo is worth considering for project managers struggling with manual time tracking and invoicing for different types of projects, such as retainers and flat-rate projects. Its native in-app time tracker automatically records billable hours spent on various project tasks. This timesheet data is pulled in automatically to generate client invoices, and users can make any required adjustments manually. They can also clone an existing invoice to save time. Additionally, the software simplifies billing by setting up automated recurring invoices for retainer projects and subscriptions, enabling project managers to focus more on strategic tasks.

Paymo

Paymo

4.69 out of 5 stars

668 reviews

Pro tip

Identify the features your team’s project methodology relies on. For example, the Agile methodology needs backlog management, sprint planning, and burndown charts, while the Waterfall methodology needs requirements management and milestone tracking. Some software solutions offer broader support for various methodologies, while others are more specialized. Choosing software that aligns with your existing project methodology ensures efficient project execution.

5. Kanban Tool

Kanban Tool helps create Kanban boards to organize and visualize different projects, workflows, and tasks. This Kanban-based project management solution lets you customize project stages to reflect unique workflows. It also offers swimlanes within the Kanban boards to categorize tasks based on specific criteria, such as team, department, stage, or priority. Moreover, its limit work-in-progress (WIP) feature lets you control the number of tasks your team can work on at any specific workflow stage (e.g., “In progress”). You can either set an absolute number (e.g., three tasks) or a relative value (e.g., two tasks per team member) as the limit for each stage. 

Kanban Tool’s base plan supports unlimited boards, file attachments, and advanced analytics. With its premium version, you get time tracking and reporting, user group management, and process automation capabilities.

Base plan features:*

  • AI board assistant: Leverage an AI assistant to generate Kanban boards. This feature uses artificial intelligence to analyze your project details and create boards that align with your workflows.

  • Reporting/project tracking: Visualize key project metrics, including cycle time, lead time, and WIP limits, on a centralized reporting dashboard. You can also generate reports on roadblocks, team performance, individual contributions, and task completion rates.

  • Real-time board updates: Get real-time updates about activities or comments on specific tasks or across a Kanban board. This feature provides insights into the progress of tasks and projects, enabling swift decision-making based on the latest information available.

Starting price: $6 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $11 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Call and knowledge base

Who should consider Kanban Tool?

Project teams looking to improve workflow transparency and team collaboration can consider Kanban Tool. This visual project management solution replaces traditional task lists with customizable Kanban boards that display tasks in different stages (e.g., “To Do,” “In Progress,” “Done”), offering a clear picture of project progress and individual responsibilities. Additionally, the software reflects changes made by team members in real time. Whenever a team member edits a task (e.g., moves it to a new stage, updates its description, or adds an attachment), the change instantly reflects on everyone’s Kanban boards. This real-time functionality fosters transparency within the project team and eliminates the need for constant status updates.

Kanban Tool

Kanban Tool

4.74 out of 5 stars

153 reviews

6. Anywhere

As a dedicated project management solution, Anywhere provides predesigned, customizable templates for different project types, including marketing campaigns, software development, and event planning. It offers calendar, board, table, and chart views to visualize projects and track progress in real time. It lets you apply filters to focus on specific tasks or team members. For example, you can filter high-priority tasks from the marketing team. Additionally, the software provides an online client portal where your clients can view their project details, track progress, and share feedback.

Anywhere’s base plan supports unlimited projects and up to 500GB storage for files and documents. You can upgrade to a premium plan to get unlimited user accounts, priority support, 5TB storage, and role-based access controls.

Base plan features:*

  • Task progress tracking: View and monitor the progress of tasks within a project or workflow. You can filter specific tasks, check the deadlines, view the real-time status, and more. 

  • Automation rules: Set up workflow automation for repetitive tasks such as assigning tasks to team members, sending updates, and moving tasks between stages. You can add conditions such as task completion and approaching deadline to trigger automated actions.

  • Group chat with private conversations: Leverage the built-in group chat feature to communicate with team members in real time. You can also initiate private chats with specific members for sensitive topics or quick questions.

Starting price: $6.99 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $149 per month for unlimited users

Billing cycle: Monthly for the starter plan; annual for the upgrade plan

Customer support options: Call, chat, email, and knowledge base

Who should consider Anywhere?

Anywhere is worth considering for project teams looking to automate workflows and eliminate inconsistencies. Its workflow automation feature enables users to define the sequence of tasks in a workflow and set conditions to trigger specific automated actions. For example, if a task is due within 24 hours, the software can be configured to send an automated notification to the assigned team member reminding them of the upcoming deadline. By automating repetitive tasks and standardizing processes, Anywhere reduces the likelihood of errors, accelerates project timelines, and enhances collaboration.

Anywhere

Anywhere

4.54 out of 5 stars

28 reviews

Pro tip

Opt for software with performance analytics and reporting capabilities. These features provide valuable insights into your project's execution and efficiency, including project completion time and resource allocation. Using these insights, you can identify bottlenecks in project workflows and areas where resources are underutilized or overextended. Based on this analysis, you can optimize resource reallocation to ensure your project team members focus on tasks that drive impact.

7. OpenProject

OpenProject is an open-source project management tool for collaborative planning, execution, and monitoring of projects. Its overview page gives a glimpse of the project health, progress percentage, recent activities, budget status, and deadlines. It offers Gantt chart and timeline views to define task durations and dependencies, monitor the completion status, and identify potential delays. Its bug tracking module lets you log project-related issues (e.g., software bugs, technical glitches) with detailed descriptions, severity levels, and assigned priorities.

Each OpenProject pricing plan includes all the features of the software, ranging from project templates, budgeting, and time tracking to Agile boards, Gantt chart, custom workflows, and scheduling. However, OpenProject’s base plan comes with a minimum requirement of five users and basic email support, while its premium plan offers a dedicated support engineer and onboarding manager.

Base plan features:*

  • Agile boards: Visualize projects using Kanban and Scrum boards. You can define sprints by adding details about tasks to be done, deadlines, and dependencies, and create customized workflows by adding specific stages.

  • Task scheduling: Use automatic and manual scheduling modes to optimize project workload management. The automatic mode adjusts all related tasks automatically, keeping your project plans consistent, whereas the manual mode lets you control each task’s date independently.

  • Project budgeting: Set the budget for each project and define the planned costs for individuals and materials required. You can link tasks to budgets and set up automatic time and cost tracking. This feature helps visualize project progress with an overview of planned versus actual costs.

Starting price: $7.25 per user, per month (minimum five users)

Cost to upgrade: $13.50 per user, per month (minimum 25 users)

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Community, email, and knowledge base

Who should consider OpenProject?

OpenProject is worth considering for project teams looking to prioritize software flexibility and customization options. This open-source solution lets users tailor the software to meet the specific needs of their projects or organization by modifying the source code or integrating additional features through plugins and extensions. Additionally, being an open-source solution, OpenProject provides a cost-effective alternative to proprietary software, allowing organizations to access project management tools without hefty licensing fees.

OpenProject

OpenProject

4.51 out of 5 stars

138 reviews

Top 5 project management software features users rate as highly critical

All the products listed in this article include the features mentioned below. To identify these, we asked users to rate, on a scale of “low importance” to “critical,” how important different features are for project management software. The features showcased are those that the highest percentage of reviewers rated as “highly important” or “critical” over the past two years (as of Feb. 13, 2024).

Feature name

Criticality rating (%)

Description

Task management

91%

Allows users to create, assign, organize, and track tasks throughout the project lifecycle

Project planning

90%

Enables users to plan project activities, set timelines, allocate resources, and schedule tasks

Task progress tracking

85.4%

Provides visibility into the status of individual tasks, allowing users to monitor project progress

Task scheduling

85%

Facilitates the scheduling of tasks based on dependencies, deadlines, and available resources

Reporting/project tracking

82.1%

Generates reports on project progress, performance, and key metrics to track overall success

How much does project management software cost?

Project management software solutions can cost as low as $1 per month or up to $299+ per month, depending on various factors—features, number of users, infrastructure requirements, business size/type, training availability, deployment options, integrations, and storage. Most project management solutions typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for project teams that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer perpetual access to limited software features. These free plans are ideal for small businesses or individuals on a budget.

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $1 per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for small businesses or project teams with basic feature requirements, such as task management, project budgeting, resource management, and basic reporting.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $16 to $159 per month and offer advanced features such as unlimited tasks, multiple project views, team collaboration tools, customizable dashboards, and advanced reporting. These are suitable for businesses that have outgrown entry-level project management solutions but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level tools.

  • High-end plans: Cost more than $299 per month and offer a range of advanced features, including unlimited access to entry-level and mid-tier features, priority customer support, and integrations with third-party systems. These are suitable for large businesses with multiple project management teams and departments and extensive customization needs.

Hidden costs associated with project management software

Besides the software license, additional costs can include:

  • Training expenses: Initial training for new users and ongoing training for updates or new features can lead to additional costs.

  • Data migration costs: Migrating data from your existing system to the new tool may require expert assistance, adding to the software implementation cost.

  • Software upgrades: Additional costs may be incurred for software upgrades to access the latest project management features and security patches.

Frequently asked questions when selecting affordable project management software 

Here are some questions to ask project management software providers before making a final purchase:

  • What are the limitations of the base plan?

As already discussed, base plans often have a reduced set of features compared to premium plans. For instance, a limited number of team members might be able to access the software. Additionally, certain features such as time tracking, reporting, custom roles, or integrations with other tools might be reserved for higher-tier plans. Understand these limitations to make an informed purchase decision and ensure your project team can comfortably work with the base plan of the software. 

  • Is the base plan scalable? 

Not all project management tools have a scalable base plan. As your team or project needs increase, you might outgrow the functionalities or limitations of these plans. Therefore, ensure you have the option to upgrade to accommodate increased users, additional features, and larger data volumes. Look for features such as data storage options and performance enhancement to check scalability. Ample data storage prevents limitations as your business accumulates more data, while performance improvements ensure the software remains responsive even as your teams and projects scale up.

  • What are the collaboration features in the base plan?

Evaluate the collaboration capabilities offered in the base plan of your shortlisted software. Look for features such as real-time messaging, file sharing, task assignments, commenting, and activity feeds. These features enable team members to communicate, share information, and coordinate tasks. Additionally, consider whether the base plan has collaborative workspace functionality, including virtual whiteboards, brainstorming tools, and document co-authoring. These features promote synergy among team members and facilitate knowledge sharing.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Feature in Software Advice’s 2024 FrontRunners report for project management software.

  • Include collaboration tools, task management, and reporting/project tracking as the core features.

  • Meet our market definition for project management software: “Project management software automates task assignment, resource allocation, and milestone tracking for all project phases. Project management tools and systems may take one of several approaches: collaborative, when multiple people work on a project; top-down, when one person works on a project at a time; or integrated, when multiple aspects of the organization are involved.”

  • For all the 25 products included in the FrontRunners report, we assessed the monthly subscription price of the base plans and found the average price to be $14—we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. We then shortlisted products with a monthly base price lower than $14 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of Feb. 13, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from project management software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor’s website.

Editorial independence: We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s project management software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of Feb. 13, 2024, were considered for the pricing calculation.