Best Microsoft Project Alternatives of 2021 for Project Managers

Megan Keup

As projects grow in complexity and workforces expand globally, the need for online project management tools is no luxury. There is no lack of products to choose from, with varying degrees of usefulness. Microsoft has thrown its considerable weight into the ring with Microsoft Project. While MS Project has become an industry-standard in project management, it comes with problems, leaving people to search for the best Microsoft Project alternative.

Why People Seek a Microsoft Project Alternative

Microsoft Project can do much of what you need when managing a project, but it’s not a perfect tool. There are many reasons why people who use it are searching for an MS Project alternative. Thankfully, there are many other software solutions on the market that offer users a great alternative to Microsoft Project. We’ll get to those in a moment, but first, let’s outline the reasons people are dissatisfied with MS Project.

  • Steep Learning Curve: Microsoft Project is not for beginners. The software is very technical and not user-friendly. That might be fine if you have an advanced degree in project management, but for the rest of us it’s going to require a lot of work, time and training to get a handle on how to use the tool. If you struggle with project management software, your project struggles too.
  • Poor Team Communication: Microsoft Project falls short in this category. You can’t easily message your team in the app, which means you’re going to have to jump onto one of the messaging tools that Microsoft offers, such as Teams, Outlook or Skype. Why do you want an add-on when it’s so much more efficient to have your communication tool embedded in the software?
  • Lack of Integration: While MS Project works okay with other Microsoft products, that’s not the case if you want to use a tool outside of the Microsoft family of apps. So, if you’re looking to integrate with Salesforce, Slack or other tools, you’re probably going to find yourself frustrated and looking for an MS Project alternative.
  • High Price: If money is your bottom line, then Microsoft Project’s price tag will be a tough pill to swallow. What makes matters worse is that you have to pay for each license. You may have to selectively license MS Project to your team. Some will get to use it, others won’t, which is going to block collaboration and slow down progress on your project.
  • Hard to Share Data: It’s almost as if Microsoft Project doesn’t want your team to work together. If anyone on your team works on an Apple product, they’re out of luck. It’s such a problem that a cottage industry of online tools has emerged that offer ways to take MPP files, convert them into friendlier formats to edit and share, then convert them back to MS Project files. That’s not very efficient!

2021 Best Microsoft Project Alternatives: Software Rankings

projectmanager logo, a Microsoft Project Alternative1. ProjectManager

ProjectManager is a cloud-based project and work management software that provides real-time data for more insightful decision-making. It organizes tasks, teams and projects (including portfolios) with ease and effectiveness.

This is likely the best Microsoft Project alternative for your team, as it matches Microsoft Project in terms of having extensive features and beats it as a team collaboration platform. It also can import and export MS Project files, so making the switch is easy!

Schedule on Gantt Charts

Like Microsoft Project, ProjectManager is equipped to manage one project, a program or a portfolio of projects with the same easy usability. For example, its Gantt chart does everything expected of this fundamental tool, but can also filter the critical path and set a baseline to compare actual to the planned effort, which keeps you on track.

A screenshot of a Gantt chart in ProjectManager, a Microsoft Project Alternative
ProjectManger has a Gantt chart that is easier to use than MS Project and more dynamic.—Try It Free!

Work Your Way with Multiple Project Views

ProjectManager has multiple project views, too, including kanban boards, task lists, calendars and sheets. If you want to see more columns on the Gantt, then toggle over to the sheet view. This loses the visual timeline of the Gantt and adds an expanded spreadsheet. Add as many customized columns as you need and then select the ones you want reflected on the timeline when you return to the Gantt view.

But if you want to take your team collaboration to the next level, then switch over to the kanban board and build custom workflows for your team. It’s easy to get work done, collaborate and track progress in one intuitive location.

A screenshot of the Kanban board in ProjectManager, the best Microsoft Project Alternative

Plan Projects from Start-to-Finish on Roadmaps

If you’re managing more than one project, use the roadmap view, which is like a Gantt, but with a timeline that tracks multiple projects on the same page. This allows users to chart all their projects and discern how to more efficiently distribute resources. There’s also a portfolio dashboard that automatically calculates metrics across all your projects for an instant status report. You can customize your portfolio dashboard too, and filter your projects by client, team, project manager and more. This is a great ppm tool.

A screenshot of the Roadmap view in ProjectManager, the best Microsoft Project Alternative

Track Progress on Real-Time Dashboards

Speaking of dashboards, there’s a real-time dashboard that tracks single projects as well. Displaying live data on workload, timesheets and more in easy-to-read charts and graphs. For more in-depth information, one-click reports can be filtered to show only the data you want to see. They can also be easily shared with stakeholders to keep them updated.

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Fuente: PMideas (
Best Microsoft Project Alternatives of 2021 for Project Managers).